I died for your sins, so accordingly, here are some inane musings to contemplate...

Monday, August 24, 2009

PROJECT 365: 84 - 154

Well it doesn't look like I'll make it to 365 moofies in a year but I'll keep trying!

84. My Sister's Keeper - it was OK but too obvious in the attempt to pull the heart strings. 2/5

85. Quantum of Solace - boring, dull, weak excuse to string some action scenes together with a very dull ending. 1/5

86. Last Ride - brilliant Aussie drama with an awesome performance by Hugo Weaving and great work by the kid, Tom Russel. 4/5

START OF MIFF (Melbourne International Film Festival)

87. Balibo (Australia) - brilliant film about the 5 young Australian men killed in Timor Leste in 1975 by the invading Indonesian army, interwoven with their story is that of Roger East who went there three weeks later investigating their disappearance witht he aid of Jose Ramos Horta. This is a film that you really must see, it isn't perfect - a little too much shaky cam and some lines are impossible to hear or decipher - but it comes extremely close. The deft touch used to weave the two stories together and the true beauty and tragedy of the country and the story really come through. Was rather emotional at the screening with members of the families of the slain and East Timorese in the crowd bawling their eyes out during the harrowing execution scenes. 4.75/5 - See it.

88. Who's Afraid of the Wolf? (Czechoslovakia) - an interesting little tale of a young girl with a very active imagination who thinks her moher is now an alien after she starts acting strange when an old flame comes back on the scene, an old flame that threatens to break the family apart. Good acting from the child actors, a nice story and actually quite emotional considering the father's story. Also, the mother is STUNNING. 2.5/5

89. The Cove (USA) - well made and rather interesting doco about the yearly slaughter of about 23,000 dolphins migrating past Taiji in Japan and the extreme lengths the doco makers go to to get footage of the actual slaughter. Beyond any kind of moral or financial arguments, the revelation of just how toxic the dolphin meat is was fascinating. Also the fact you can go to a dolphin and whale museum and watch a show while eating the performers was just ludicrously funny. 3.5/5

90. Accelerator 1 Shorts Program (Aus, NZ, Denmark) - a fantastic short film Water that has a massive emotional punch; an hilarious one - Brave Donkey (the dolphin up the arse was rather poetic after just watching The Cove); a couple of rather funny ones - Happy Country & Two Men; a so-so one - Cathrine; quite interesting character observation - Lessons From Last Night; and a piece of sh*t, vomit-worthy pile of diarrhea - Side by Side. Highly recommend Water and Brave Donkey.

91. Like You Know It All (Korea) - a really weird film about a film director attending a film festival and later a college lecture and basically him screwing up. It just didn't really seem to have any point to it and was more a mish mash of ideas and long single shot scenes. Could have been an hour shorter and much more enjoyable. 1.5/5

92. Thirst (Korea) - Park Chan-Wook's absolutely piss funny take on the Vampire genre, the fact it's played straight edge just makes it that much funnier which is the point I guess. Just go see it, you'll love it. 4.5/5

93. Kimjongilia - featuring testimonies from escapees from the Kim reign of terror in North Korea, it's hard to believe that millions starved to death in the 90's and that hundreds of thousands of "political prisoners" live in forced labour camps, many are even born in them. Although poorly made with extreme close ups of the interview subjects, far too much vision of NK propaganda and not enough of actual events and suffering in NK, it still has quite a powerful message. 2/5

94. Accelerator 2 - some great shorts with the stand outs being One Night, The Boxer and The Cat Piano, there are some truly great up and coming Aussie directors.

95. Animation Shorts (Draw Me a Story) - relatively dull session livened up by the final short The Chainsaw Maid where claymation zombies are halted in their rampage by a Korean chambermaid.

96. Prime Mover - Aussie film following a young man whose dream is to be an owner/driver with his rig travelling all over Australia. Well acted, directed and written it's still quite a predictable story of boy has dream, boy meets girl, boy screws up dream, boy loses girl, boy saves his own skin and wins the girl back. You could see the whole story from a mile off about 15 minutes in. Nice performance by Ben Mendelsohn as a drug dealing loan shark. 2.5/5

97. Martyrs - absolutely bizarre yet rather interesting French torture porn film. Kinda like Hostel but it's mad from start to end and actually has a story (and no Americans!). Worth seeing on the big screen but in the end just didn't captivate me despite it being quite well acted and having a few surprises story-wise. 2.5/5

98. Yakuza Eiga - doco about the history of Japanese Yakuza cinema and the relationship between the actual Yakuza and the film studios. It was interesting but was just a typical "paint by the numbers" type of doco, kind of join the dots. Also really only focused on the golden age of Yakuza cinema from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, I'd have liked more on how the Yakuza are depicted in modern cinema. It did have some fascinating interviews with directors. 2.5/5

99. Pierrot Le Fou - a Jean Luc Goddard "masterpiece" featuring Anna Karina (who intro'd the film very poorly) that I just plain didn't get and left after 45 minutes. It was slightly amusing but was really just 60s absurdist humour that wasn't really absurd enough. 1/5

100. Troubled Water - a young man is released from prison and gets a job as a church organist, a young mother seeks answers as to why and how her son died. Basically the same story from the two separate perspectives, this film really got to me on an emotional level where the film maker manages to show sympathy for a child killer as well as empathy for a mother who has lost her son. Despite a predictable ending, it was so well acted, directed and beautifully shot that I didn't really mind - I liked it enough I spent the last hour with a bursting bladder. 4/5

101. Moon - wow, seriously brilliant performance by Sam Rockwell as a lone miner on the far side of the moon who, after an accident, finds out that his three year contract, and indeed his life as he knows it, isn't at all what it seems. Not a perfect film but still damn great as a character study on several levels and fantastic showcase of Rockwell's talent. With a haunting Clint Mansell soundtrack and a really intense and quite funny script, I totally loved this film EXCEPT [SPOILER]the audio in the last 30 seconds just PISSED ME OFF. For a film that had such a big mystery and didn't answer every single question, to tell us what happens when he returns to Earth just plain annoyed me.[/SPOILER] 4.5/5

102. White Night Wedding - an amusing though ultimately forgettable Icelandic film about a man, on the eve of his wedding, struggling to come to terms with the way his life is heading and what he has actually achieved as a man. It was interesting but didn't really pack enough of a punch to make me recommend it, though I did quite like the final scene that sort of laid down a cyclic nature to his douchebaggery. 2.5/5

103. Home - truly bizarre French film about a family living 5 metres away from a never opened highway who use the highway as their personal playground. Things change when the highway reopens and we experience how they deal with the noise and eventually how they all go a little mad when they solve the noise problem. Strange film but quite funny, was weird seeing the non-sexualised nudity of all bar the mother but that's just the French way I guess. 2/5

104. About Elly - Iranian film detailing how little white lies told to maintain social status can balloon out of proportion to cause real grief. Fascinating film that would work in any culture, not just Iranian. Very well acted but such a muted colour palette that it becomes quite depressing. 3/5

105. Red Riding: 1974 - first in a trilogy detailed the insipid corruption of the Yorkshire police department in the late 70s and early 80s. Extremely well acted, great direction and a very tight script, I'm curious to find out how much of this actually happened. Not a typical Journalist solves the case for the cops kind of film though it did feel like that at times. 2.5/5

106. Katalin Varga - a Romanian revenge noir film where a woman seeks out the men that raped her to even the score with not exactly the hapiest ending on Earth. Despite only being 90 minutes it felt too long with certain scenes going for far too long but that's a small gripe for what turned out to be a relatively interesting film. 2.5/5

107. The Chaser - once again a Koren director takes a stab at a genre and comes up with something quite different to western cinema. When the case is pretty much solved about 30 minutes into the film, what else can happen? Actually quite realistic as it depicts the incompetence of a police department that also has their hands tied, while watching I kept thinking of how so many serial killers were caught because of something unrelated to their crimes or had previously been caught and let go due to no evidence. The idea of an ex-cop pimp essentially solving the case tickled me and with an ending that goes right out there I quite enjoyed this film though it didn't quite go as far as I was hoping. 3.5/5

108. Still Walking - pretty much a perfect film. Basically a day in the life of a Japanese family who meet up at the home of the parents on the anniversary of their son's death. With great understated acting on everyone's behalf and a script that just lets the characters reveal themselves over a leisurely two hours this film won't be for everyone but I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is why I love MIFF, where I see a film that doesn't sound like much and that I'd probably otherwise never see but I'm just mesmerized from start to end. 5/5

109. Land of Madness - a French nutter details the grisly murders and psychotic behaviour of people in a small remote area of the French countryside. A little bit nuts, a little bit scary, but a lot of utter crap. In the end was quite boring. 1/5

110. Red Riding: 1980 - continues detailing the corruption of the West Yorkshire police force with the Yorkshire Ripper murders featuring as a backdrop. This is some scary sh*t, to think that the men and women who are supposed to be protecting us could be worse than many criminals. Consummately acted, great direction and a very tight script that just oozes class. 4/5

111. Skirt Day - a teacher loses the plot when one of her students brings a gun to class and through a series of unfortunate events we see just how much pressure she is under and why she snapped and has taken the kids hostage. Good premise and well acted but just didn't go into the issues deeply enough for me and also had quite a predictable ending. 2/5

112. Prodigal Sons - poorly made but fascinating home-movie style doco about a guy who is now a girl trying to reconnect with her estranged brother who, quite frankly, is just not quite right in the head. The Orson Welles connection was just amazing and completely unexpected. Brave stuff documenting the highs and extremely low lows of this quite screwed up family. 3/5

113. The Misfortunates - although it had its moments I just didn't enjoy this film detailing the life of a young boy and his crazy arse family and his attempts later in life to free himself from his bogan-like background. Just didn't do it for me. 1/5

114. Bronson - a bizarre and violent ride through the life of Britain's most famous violent inmate. It's one of those crazy and insane films, like Ex Drummer from a couple years back, that just sucks you in and makes you realise how out there cinema can be. Brilliant performance from the lead and an awesome soundtrack with some truly classic lines that had me in stitches. 4/5

115. Hansel and Gretel - a distinctly Korean take on a classic fairy tale that just doesn't work. It had the potential to go into some seriously weird and cool head space or even into thriller/horror territory but instead sticks to PG-esque leanings and ultimately a boring pay off. 1.5/5

116. The September Issue - almost a perfect doco detailing the trials and tribulations of American Vogue and the journey to release their annually biggest issue. With particular attention paid to Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour - the inspiration behind Meryl Streep's performance in The Devil Wears Prada - and filled with inter-office and inter-personal wheelings and dealings it really is quite fascinating how they go about the process. 4.5/5

117. Ajami - 5 chapters in what you just know is gonna be a sad and grinding story set in the Ajami district of Jaffa, an incredibly violent and religiously divided city in Israel. Doesn't paint any one religion in any particularly good or bad light but instead tries to portray life as it stands for various people from different backgrounds. Well acted, well directed, and very well scripted, I enjoyed this from start to finish. It has an increasing sense of pointless dread so that you just know the end is gonna be depressing. 4/5

118. An Education - lovely UK film detailing the romance between a young school girl and her older paramour in 1961 London, however you just know that not everything is as it seems. Particularly good performances from leads Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan and highly touching and amusing turns by Emma Thompson and particularly Alfred Molina. A very enjoyable and charming film. Oh and I swear Dominic Cooper is Karl Urban's twin. 4.5/5

119. Flame & Citron - fantastically acted and brilliantly paced WW2 thriller detailing the lives of two Danish assassins charged with the task of murdering Danish Nazi sympathisers. But are they being told the right information and are they killing the right people? Based on a true story it is a great film from start to finish but for some reason the director kept doing wobbly zooms while in already close-up shots which I found very distracting. 4/5

120. Film Ist. A Girl And A Gun - utter tripe and yet I was bizarrely mesmerised by this 90 minute trot through archival footage of almost any subject from WW1 to early pornos with a constantly evolving soundtrack. The porn was fun to watch but the rest was pretty much sh*t. 0.5/5

121. All Around Us - a slow burn type film detailing the ups and downs of a Japanese couple through the 90's and early 00's. Wonderfully understated and beautifully acted, it took a while but I got fully involved and really enjoyed this film. I like how everything that happened wasn't completely explained and it was really just showing us the ever evolving nature of a couple's love for each other as well as their fears for their relationship. 4/5

122. Mother - did a son commit a crime? Is he really guilty or just a patsy? Well, leave it to Mum to find out the truth and sort this sh*t out. Despite, from the start, being able to tell how this was likely to end (knew it for sure when the old man was "remembered") I still quite enjoyed this quirky Korean whodunit with a twist. Some truly bizarre imagery and situations added to what ended up being a slightly too long but definitely watchable film. 3.5/5

123. *Watchmen - rewatched this Sunday morning 'cause housemate had it on, still a good film but I can see why some people didn't like it - you gotta follow it closely.

124. The King and the Bird - an old 1980 French film that had a dull story line, dull animation, and awful voice acting and music. Pretty damn crap all 'round really, I even dozed during the last half. 0.5/5 for the slightly cool giant robot.

125. Fish Tank - a replacement for the pulled The Moss, I enjoyed the director's first film, Red Road, and this was just as bleak yet strangely uplifting as well. Mia is infatuated with her Mum's new boyfriend and things go quickly down the gurgler when he returns the affection. Really good performances by some no-name actors, a mother who is a stunningly awful cow with perfect tits, and a little sister with some of the foulest language I have ever heard. Quite enjoyed it despite the expected dread that didn't quite go down the hardest path. 3.5/5

126. Breathless - a standover man for a debt collector has his view of the world skewed when he crosses paths with a tough-as-nails high school girl who changes his perception of life. Has a grounded reality and real sense of hope to this tale of two people whose lives have been pretty damn sh*t, to put it mildly, finding each other in a screwed up world and being able to accept each other without all the crap attached. Great performances with a real heart to the story and acting, I was taken in and surprised when it ended as the 2+ hours seemed to fly by. It's not all roses and doesn't shy away from the hard subjects and once again we have a wonderful Korean film - they can be hit and miss but this one definitely hits. 4/5

127. It Might Get Loud - The Edge, Jimmy Page and Jack White get together and talk about their love of the guitar and also have a bit of a jam together. With constant cut aways to the history of each man and their path through music with particular attention to the guitars they used and what they meant to them, this is really quite a fascinating doco for music lovers. It isn't perfect, and if you're not into the music of any of them it might prove boring, but I enjoyed it from beginning to end although ti could have done with a little more editing and more of them just jamming together. The three of them performing The Weight at the end was wonderful. 3.5/5

128. Eden Log - budget black and white noir sci-fi filmed in actual sewers. A for effort, D for result. The story took too long to get into and was too confusing, many of the scenes seemed laborious and purposefully over-stylised, the relatively dull story line didn't help it at all. Interesting but in the end a failed attempt at something a little different - if the story is fascinating or new enough, no amount of "wow" factor will hold an audience and last night's audience definitely wasn't held. 2/5

129. Cheeky Girls - a German girl-teen comedy with typical hi-jinks that ensue when three best friends decide to mess with their teachers' lives while also just discovering the joys of boys. Was a nice start to the day, not too heavy and not too dumb. 2.5/5

130. Eastern Plays - two brothers try to restore some meaning to their lives after a random violent encounter. One is a recovering heroin addict, the other is being sucked into a violent neo-nazi gang. This was a so-so kind of film where in the end not a lot happened and I just didn't feel any empathy or sympathy towards the characters - they got themselves into their own messes. The main character of Christo was just plain weird at times and didn't deserve the attentions of the stunning Turkish girl. In the end quite bland story with a very bland colour palette which really didn't help. 1.5/5

131. The Maid - Raquel has been a made for a family for over twenty years, she only has time for "her" children and devotes her entire life to them. Starting to get on in years, the family decide it is time Raquel has some help with her duties and attempts to hire another maid to ease Raquel's burden. Unfortunately Raquel takes umbrage to this an proceeds to go a little bit nuts in protecting her kids and her territory. Great performance by the lead in this slightly funny slightly scary portrayal of a woman living for someone else's children. It didn't go deep enough into her hatred of the eldest daughter which was a bit of a red herring and also tended to pull back at places when I could see it could have gone further. All the same it was quite enjoyable to watch and really quite funny. 3.5/5

132. Morphia - a young doctor arrives at a remote village in 1917 Russia and through unfortunate circumstances becomes addicted to morphia (which I am assuming is morphine). Strange little film that is shot quite beautifully, the performances seemed a little stilted and the story just didn't flow enough for me - there was no real development of the Doctor as a character, it was really just a litany of events detailing his downward spiral into drug hell. The MIFF guide billed this as having one of the best and most shocking endings of the festival, it wasn't. 1.5/5

133. Antichrist - Lars Von Trier's ode to who-the-hell-knows-what. Features some pretty good performances by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as the only two actors in the film but in the end it all seemed a little contrived and really just an excuse for Von Trier to go a little off the rails and show us some real sex, some genital mutilation and some weird animal sh*t. Beautifully shot but ultimately failing to move me in any way due to a story that was just so far out there it made little sense, I didn't really like this. 1/5

134. Brendan & the Secret of Kells - Irish animated film with a relatively dull story though it looked nice enough. 2/5

135. Members of the Funeral - confirmation that the Koreans are weirder than the Japanese. Strange film about 3 people attending the funeral of a teenage boy and remembering how they knew him. Just plain weird but actually quite entertaining. 3/5

136. Food, Inc. - scary doco about the US food industry and just how unnatural and unregulated it is. Not sure how relevant it is to the Australian market but interesting nonetheless. Didn't quite go into enough detail on a few issues as it's more a broad brushstroke sort of doco. 2.5/5

137. Blessed - brilliant Aussie drama featuring several stories about children and their relationships with the mothers. With an absolutely stand out performance by Frances O'Connor this is an overt attempt to grab the heartstrings that works quite well despite being so obvious. 4/5

138. In The Loop - one of the funniest films I've seen in a long time. I missed half the jokes 'cause the audience was laughing so much s I'll definitely have to see it again. Basically a piss take of the UK and US governments attempting to avoid or even cause war in the Middle East. Absolutely crazy and probably scarily accurate. Has a great cameo by Steve Coogan. 4.5/5

139. Louise-Michel - a French comedy that was actually amusing! Some seriously piss-funny moments are in this film about a group of factory workers pooling their money together to hire a hitman to take out their ex-boss who has shut their factory down. The 9/11 nutjob was hilarious. 3.5/5

140. Young Freud In Gaza - nice little doco about a psychologist treating various people in Gaza for mostly PTSD-like afflictions. Qas quite sad to hear the kids talk about thier loved ones who had been killed. Not brilliant but kept me interested. 3/5

141. The Hurt Locker - fantastic film about a US bomb squad in Iraq. Great story, tense action and great performances. 4/5

142. North - a guy traveling north to reconnect with his ex-girlfriend and his son meets a few off people along the way. Had quite a few funny moments and a fantastically understated ending, was a little dull at the start but last half was very good. 3.5/5

143. The Loved Ones - Best. Aussie. Horror/Thriller. EVER!!! So glad I stood in the standby queue for this one (also got to meet John Brumpton who plays the father in the film whilst I was queuing). I think the less you know of the plot the better as once it starts it just does not let up on the hilarious freakiness. 5/5

144. Tears For Sale - quite an amusing if overly long Serbian film about two sisters leaving their village to find a man to bring back to their manless village. Features some absolutely stunning women and quite a few laughs and it is beautifully shot in a highly stylized way. 3/5

145. The Sky Crawlers - worst Anime film I have EVER seen. The story was atrociously crap and it could have been an hour shorter as it featured so many scenes where nothing actually happened. 0.5/5 as the dogfights looked quite good, but that's it.

146. Bran Nue Dae - a fun Aboriginal musical with a great performance by Ernie Dingo and some hilarious over the top comedy from Geoffrey Rush and Deborah Mailman. I found the songs annoying as the Director made the mistake of just switching to the recorded songs and not including audio from the actual film - simple things like leaving in background noise at these times really makes a difference.


147. *Little Miss Sunshine - watched it again when it was on TV the other night. Great film, just great. 4/5

148. Dead Snow - concept was intriguingly funny - Nazi Zombies - execution was a little dull and not funny enough. 1.5/5

149. District 9 - fantastic film with some great commentary about race relations, bigotry, and a whole bunch of other stuff. There were two aspects of the film I didn't quite like but maybe that's just me nitpicking - during the film I thought they could be done in a different way that made much more sense. Great effects, great story, great action, lots of funny. 4/5

150. Mum & Dad - sadistic, cruel, disgusting, horrific, downright gross - all of these words perfectly describe this film inspired by Fred & Rosemary West. That being said, it goes more for the disgusting than any true attempt at looking at the motivations of such people or how they manage to cow their "adopted children." It went for shock rather than anything intelligent, give it a miss. 1/5

151. Red Riding: 1983 - final in a great trilogy once again exploring the deaths of the girls from the first film. Features a fantastic performance by Mark Addy (who will be Robert Baratheon in the Game of Thrones HBO series). I nice wrap up to the series with brilliant scripting and some great acting. The guy who plays BJ (and who narrates the whole trilogy) is just plain haunting. 4/5

152. Ice Age 3 Dawn of the Dinosaurs - the animation was better but the script was just woeful. I don't think I laughed at all and only smiled once or twice. They've really lost their touch. 1.5/5

153. Eden Lake - a couple go for a romantic camping weekend at a lake at an abandoned quarry but soon a small altercation with some local kids spirals out of control into increasingly sadistic and horrifying behaviour. Bravely acted, horrifyingly plausible and with an ending that ain't exactly happy, I was riveted. An exploration without any meaning of the sadistic and cruel nature of humanity and peer pressure. 3.5/5

154. Lesbian Vampire Killers - absolute bollocks although did feature some nice boobies but even that couldn't save an absolutely horrendously crap and boring film. 0.1/5