Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

So here I am on a Thursday night updating my social media.

Logged into Twitter.

Added some connections on LinkedIn.

Reset the password on a Yahoo account that had 400+ unread messages…why do I have four email addresses again?

This blog in particular is long overdue for a post.

It’s not like I have been idle. I’ve had all the actual work writing to contend with…often requiring interviews at odd hours. Oh, and a family…kids parties…life…etc etc…

Anyways, here are some links to pre-written ready-made content and photos!

Recently I got the chance to chat to Daniel Dae Kim whose work I have been following since the days of Angel.

Read about his time on Hawaii Five-O here:

Earlier in the year when I was at the TCA Winter Press Tour in Los Angeles I attended the session for the new Shonda Rhimes drama Scandal starring Kerry Washington.

The lovely Annabel Crabb was happy  to chat about her new season of Kitchen Cabinet – she has high praise for the cooking skills of WA Senator Louise Pratt. Not so much so for poor Joe Hockey‘s barbecue prowess and the fact his oven still had plastic on it!

In an ideal world, I’d have posted the links to the kids’ movie reviews in the school holidays, not several days after they finished. Yes believe it or not, I watch TV every day and still go to the movies too!

Mwahahaha here’s Hotel Transylvania with the voice work of Adam Sandler “blah blah blah” , and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days with general silliness.

And let’s call it a wrap with Perth’s Mandy McElhinney aka Rhonda the safe driver soon to be known as Nene King.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Stop wearing deodorant, eat raw garlic, don’t bathe….

Just joking. Here’s a review of a film I actually liked! Much better than Simon Pegg’s last offering, Run Fatboy Run. Though nothing has yet topped Shaun of the Dead, IMHO.

This appeared in The West Australian last month.

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People (M)

Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Jeff Bridges

Directed by Robert Weide

3 stars

 

Magazines, newspapers and websites have a seemingly insatiable appetite for celebrity gossip and scandal, so following every move of the rich and famous has become an increasingly lucrative fulltime occupation for many writers and paparazzi.

Yet many entertainment writers struggle with the constant dichotomy of needing to be enough a part of the in-crowd to get the scoops but far enough out of it to do their job.

British celebrity writer Sidney Young (Simon Pegg) thinks he has found Shangri-la the night of the Apollo Awards when his companion, the dazzling but dim Sophie Maes (a sultry and pouty Megan Fox), wins best actress for her portrayal of Mother Theresa.

Sophie had previously promised Sidney she would sleep with him if she won the award. But just as it looks like Sidney is about to get everything he has ever desired, he gets a wake up call and sabotages himself.

How Sidney gets to this defining point in his personal and professional lives forms the basis of this film based on the memoir of former Vanity Fair writer Toby Young.

The inherent problem with a film like this is the average punter will probably regard it as an off-kilter romantic comedy about a journalist who seems a bit of a tosser. In fact, the romantic comedy angle was created to give a series of funny disconnected events from Toby’s life a spine.

Like his cinematic alter-ego, Toby left London with the aim of taking New York by storm but managed to get fired from Vanity Fair after alienating all the people he was supposed to write about.

In London, Sidney runs a satirical no-budget magazine called Post Modern Review from his flat above a kebab shop. Banned from the celebrity functions he loves to skewer, Sidney resorts to posing as a waiter to get into A-list gatherings.

Somehow his spirited writing catches the eye of one time rebel Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges), now editor-in-chief of Sharps magazine and soon Sidney is living above a kebab shop in the Big Apple trying desperately to get published.

Problem is, Sidney discovers that the Sharps brand of celebrity journalism is more about being sycophantic than satirical. 

He quickly gets everyone offside, from slimy, well-connected senior editor Lawrence Maddox (Danny Huston) to publicity queen Eleanor Johnson (Gillian Anderson), who can’t understand why Sidney won’t accept her offer to interview a hotshot film director in exchange for editorial approval.

In Simon Pegg’s capable hands Sidney isn’t nearly as dislikeable as I was expecting and is apparently much tamer than the real Toby. He’s more of a bumbling fish out of water, wearing crude shirts, socks with sandals and confusing korma with karma.

He speaks his mind, thinks Con Air is the best film ever made and simply can’t stand all the fawning that goes on to land a celebrity scoop. In fact Sidney just about pukes when Eleanor tells him landing an interview with one of her stars equates to them “offering you some of their starlight to sell your magazine.”

Sadly that’s about as far as the film goes toward exploring the almost chicken and egg like (or some say parasitic) relationship between celebrities and media.

Despite a rocky start, fellow Sharps minion Alison Olsen (Kirsten Dunst) becomes Sidney’s only friend. An aspiring novelist and fellow out of towner, Alison eventually comes to understand there’s more Sidney than a case of chronic foot in mouth disease.

After one faux-pas to many, Clayton tells Sidney he’s on his last chance. But it takes a major jolt in his blossoming friendship with Alison for Sidney to abandon his principles and throw himself headlong on to the celebrity schmooze and scoop bandwagon.

Unfortunately director Robert Weide of TV’s Curb Your Enthusiasm takes too long getting to the point when Sidney’s priorities change, then just as rapidly applies the handbrake to bring the film to its slightly sappy halt.

The introduction of Sidney’s famous intellectual father and revelation about his mother’s early career also come late in the piece but help explain Sidney’s motivations and make the character more sympathetic.

Hilarious scenes punctuate the film, some slapstick, others more gross-out in nature but their placement often seems disconnected from the main plot.

Filmgoers will relish those comic moments while the minority who have experienced celebrity first hand may squirm at the home truths, cringe if Sidney’s experiences trigger old memories and sigh with relief that Perth is mostly Eleanor Johnson-free.

 

Read Full Post »

Don’t look now, it’s Jack Bauer, oops I mean Kiefer Sutherland, taking on the forces of evil…that live inside mirrors.

Here’s my review from The West Australian today.

Mirrors (MA)

Kiefer Sutherland, Amy Smart, Paula Patton

Directed by Alexandre Aja

2 stars

You wouldn’t want to be a narcissist among the cast of Mirrors, a new horror thriller in which malevolent forces use the humble looking glass and other reflective surfaces to unleash evil.

Down on his luck former cop Ben Carson (Kiefer Sutherland) takes a night job working security at the derelict Mayflower department store which was gutted by fire five years ago.

Carson, a former NYPD cop, lost his job after accidentally killing another officer, a fact revealed in a newspaper clipping among his boxes of possessions.

After the shooting Carson hit the bottle, became estranged from his wife Amy and their two children and started sleeping on his sister Angela’s couch.

A remake of the 2003 South Korean film Into the Mirror, there were times early in the film when I did have a genuine sense of fear, perhaps inspired by a nervous 10 minute stint where I was the only person in the  cinema (did that curtain just move?).

The dark atmosphere is suitably creepy and there are glaringly obvious hints in the clunking soundtrack whenever something bad is about to happen.

Dozens of charred mannequins and shop displays are in stark contrast to the magnificent gleaming mirrors, giving the first of several indicators something’s not quite right at the old Mayflower.

French director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes) initially does a reasonable job of building the psychological tension and there are signs he has perhaps been schooled in the M Night Shyamalan school of storytelling (hint: supernatural overtones and a big twist).

But Aja starts to make a mess of it way earlier than the ending – probably around the time when one of the characters rips off her own jaw.

Grotesque and violent in the extreme, I watched the scene through eyes half-closed but my fear and squeamishness completely subsided once I realised just how ludicrous the plot had become.

Mirrors is at its scariest when the evil can’t really be seen or heard, with the audience and Ben’s family wondering if the bad things he is experiencing are hallucinations caused by the heavy medication he is taking to combat his drinking problem.

Once the evil follows Ben home and to his car, plausibility begins to wear thin.

In fact one of the scariest things about the film is not the mirrors but the imposing, haunting Academy of Sciences building in Bucharest which was used as the Mayflower. Commissioned by oppressive Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and left unfinished following his death in 1989, one floor of the building was dressed to resemble a once opulent department store then burned and blackened.

Angela suggests Ben should simply quit and get a day job (why not just stop looking in the damn mirrors!) but the cop-within seems determined to crack the case of the Mayflower, which in a previous life was a hospital.

Even learning the fate of his predecessor doesn’t deter Ben, who by now is getting creepy messages in the mirrors and becoming more ostracised from his family instead of closer to them.

Golden Globe and Emmy winning Sutherland seems to be channelling his popular 24 character Jack Bauer, a conflicted but devoted family man who can be ruthless when required. Smart is underutilised and Paula Patton’s character Amy goes unconvincingly from being independent, protective and suspicious of Ben to needy and fearful.

Let’s hope audiences don’t get seven years of bad luck just by watching Mirrors.

 

Read Full Post »

Could someone please invent a device that allows thoughts to be transferred to computer, possibly by USB? Speech to text won’t do it as I am too tired to talk!

So much to say so little time to type. I saw WALL-E at a preview screening last weekend and the kids seemed to enjoy it. I’d say 7 to 10s would be the perfect age. Also saw a trailer for the new High School Musical 3 and Beverley Hills Chihuahua, both on the soon to be eight-year-old daughter’s must see list.

In a nutshell, another Pixar masterpiece, a robot love story with messages about the obesity epidemic and the state of the environment. Did I mention that about the first half has almost no dialogue apart from WALL-E’s blips and beeps.

This weekend it is a cheesy dose of high adventure with The Mummy III. Yippee.

What else is on this weekend, oh yes, the WA state election. I live in one of the newly created electorates, the controversial northern suburbs one being contested by former TV reporter Reece Whitby (the hand-picked Labour candidate) and the Labour turned independent candidate John D’Orazio.

Yes there is a Liberal candidate, Ian Britza, but I had to search for that information on the Web. Three days out and we have received no information about what he stands for. Or who he is. The only Ian Britza I can find using Google is associated with Ian Britza Ministries in NSW. I think he could be one and the same. Wouldn’t know what he looked like, no posters anywhere. There’s also a Christian Democrat running in the area (I think) but they are anti daylight saving, anti extended shopping…etc etc.

I don’t know what is worse, being bombarded by campaign material or not having enough to know who stands for what. The light rail down Alexander Drive is something they should all adopt.

Just for something light to end with, check out the new dating show Taken Out on Ten weeknights at 7pm. I don’t know how long it will last but it is a bit of a crackup. We have taken to shouting at the telly “nah, she’s gone, nose is too big” or “nah, get rid of her, bad hair”…”turn your light out, he’s a dork…” Bit rude for 7pm with talk of sex on the dance floor and the mile high club but 7pm is dodgy all round, really. Host James Kerley, however, should lose the T-shirt and suit jacket type look, Andrew G used to be able to pull it off but I think Kerley should decide – scruffy, casual or smart?

Read Full Post »

Crikey I had forgotten just how creepy this Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman movie was until I again watched the trailer while looking for an image to use. I am very glad that I saw it during the day, I don’t think I could have slept at night if I had seen it in the dark.

You will never view the “unwind in Melbourne” tourism ads (the ones with the giant red ball of string) the same way after seeing The Strangers. During one of the film’s creepiest scenes (as opposed to ultra-violent), Joanna Newsom’s whimsical/kooky/eerie Sprout and the Bean is playing on the record player…but who put the LP on (!?!)

Anyways here is my review (I haven’t checked to see if anything was edited out yet)  from today’s edition of The West Australian

Read it and shudder.

The Strangers (MA)

Scott Speedman, Liv Tyler, Gemma Ward

Directed by Bryan Bertino

3 stars

Review: Sue Yeap

 

As someone who deliberately goes out of their way to avoid horror movies, I’d say The Strangers had the desired affect on me. My knuckles were white, I had the jitters and was too terrified to sneak out in the dark to go to the toilet.

But let it be known that those less easily scared may not be entirely satisfied with this brutal film, the point of which seems to be to inflict as much torment and terror on the attractive lead as 80 minutes allows.

The Strangers is in many ways a fairly conventional slasher film that employs bump in the night style tactics and creepy music to create a rising sense of panic.

Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler are James Hoyt and Kristen McKay, a young couple in love whose relationship has just hit a hurdle; she has turned down his marriage proposal.

Returning to their isolated holiday home for what should have been a romantic, rose-petal strewn enchanted evening, James makes arrangements to have a friend pick him up.

Things start to go bad around 4am when a young girl (Gemma Ward, who spends most of the movie under a mask) arrives at the door looking for a Tamara. She returns to give Kristen the creeps while James is out buying her cigarettes.

As is mandatory in this genre the leads are always at a disadvantage and don’t do much to help themselves. Come on, who opens the door to strangers in the middle of the night not once, but twice?

James soon realises Kristen is not just being paranoid when the knocks at the door escalate to thumps, smashing and nasty notes scrawled on windows.

With the power cut, the mobile phone destroyed and the car out of order, the couple have little choice but to bunker down in this unfamiliar home and fight back as best they can against the creepy trio of masked assailants.

There were moments when I wanted to finish Kristen off myself, such as the scene in which she dives into a cutlery drawer to arm herself and grabs a what, a tiny paring knife!

Kristen runs and falls into a ditch, she has a torch but leaves it in a shed, she manages to get to a radio but instead of yelling for help and shouting out her address, whispers “can anyone hear me?” She may not be ready to marry James just yet but nor is she ready to die.

There has been much internet speculation as to the nature of the true events that “inspired” this film but it appears first time director Bryan Bertino actually drew on several stories and myths to create The Strangers rather than one ghastly crime.

All the classic horror movie behaviour is there, with the couple separating rather than staying together and finishing sentences by saying “be careful”. 

Given the action starts at 4am, I held on to a slim sliver of hope that the sun would rise, the increasingly nasty acts of violence would end and the whole thing would be someone’s bad dream.

No chance. What’s scariest is several comments leave the door wide open for a sequel.

 

Read Full Post »

Movie Invite

Sex and the City

Rated MA

Directed by Michael Patrick King

Now Showing

 

 

The sold out signs are up all over town. Sex and the City finally arrived in cinemas today and you’ll be all frocked up with no place to go tonight if you haven’t already secured a ticket. Evening sessions at Greater Union Innaloo apparently sold out some weeks ago and yesterday I saw sold out signs at the Astor in Mt Lawley.

I was fortunate enough to attend Roadshow’s premiere on Monday at Hoyts La Premiere at Carousel, complete with yummy finger food and drinks (no Cosmos, though).

Predictably women way outnumbered men; this really is one for the girls. Not a chick flick per se but one to share with girlfriends who have been there for you through the good times and bad.

Despite what you may have read, this is a great film. As a long time Sex and the City fan (I was suckered in to getting the original shoebox DVD set way back when), I couldn’t have asked for more and wouldn’t have expected anything less.

Be warned, there are some plot spoilers ahead, although not anywhere near as many as in the trailer; what’s with that!?

 

After attending the auction of a New York socialite’s jewellery (the poor woman was turfed out on the street with nothing), Carrie begins to wonder what would happen if something bad were to happen between her and Mr Big (still can’t quite get used to the notion is name is John).

Although Big has just signed up to buy them a penthouse love-nest, Carrie is seeking a little more security. So she thinks. Somehow in a conversation devoid of romance and more like a business transaction, they agree to get married. Carrie even eschews a ring in favour of getting a massive new closet to house all those frocks and Manolos.

Of course the road to the altar was never going to run smoothly for this couple and Mr Big begins to get the jitters as “the wedding” becomes fodder for newspaper columns and more troubling, the focus of a cover feature and spread in Vogue.

An intimate gathering for 75 soon blows out to a full blown affair for 200 complete with wedding planner, couture gown and all the trimmings.

As trouble brews in paradise, Carrie’s friends are having problems of their own. Sex-mad Samantha is tiring of life in Los Angeles, where she has been managing Smith’s career. She spends a lot of time perving on her sexy neighbour, who likes to have sex with the blinds open and to shower in the nude.

Steve and Miranda also hit a rough patch sparked by a confession of infidelity, leading to some of the film’s most heartfelt, honest and realistic scenes and dialogue

Perky Charlotte seems to be the only one bathed in a cocoon of happiness, living a charmed life with husband Harry and her adopted three-year-old daughter.

Critics love to hurl slings and arrows at Sex and the City for its rampant consumerism, its blasé attitude to sex and relationships and they way the characters covet luxury items and lifestyle above all else.

There are plenty of other things we could add to that list; a lack of family members to exert influence, the unrealistic way the foursome can just drop work and commitments to shop, lunch or holiday, the fact a columnist like Carrie has enough money to own a swish apartment and all that designer gear. Heck this time around she even has an assistant.

Some are now complaining there’s not enough sex and sassiness in the big screen outing. Come on – four years have passed since we last saw the girls and two are now parents. Wouldn’t it be more outrageous if they were out on the town all night with strange men?

New York looks fabulous and I still harbour a deep desire to head to the home of yellow cabs and the Magnolia Bakery, even if it doesn’t feature here.

Kristin Davis has some surprisingly feisty moments as Charlotte and an embarrassing one that is possibly the film’s funniest moment. She’s also instrumental in how Carrie’s story ends.

Career-mad Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) was always my least favourite of the women and this instalment does little to change that opinion, particularly when the fallout of her unhappy marriage is deflected towards the already troubled Big and Carrie. Samantha (Kim Cattrall) seems happiest when the number one person in her life is Samantha. And Chris Noth, well, he’s suave, he’s suited, he’s not good at letters and emotions – he’s Mr Big.

And then there’s Carrie. Sarah Jessica Parker gives her style, class, vitality and in key moments, vulnerability. She’s a strong woman who spends a lot of time kicking herself for ever believing she could have a happily ever after. I’ve never been sold on many of her fashion and shoe choices but that’s just me.

Carrie’s assistant Louise from St Louis (Jennifer Hudson) comes to New York looking for love, like Carrie did 20 years ago, and helps put the writer’s life and spirit back on track. The “love” key ring Louise carries is a little trite and gooey, especially its significance later in the film.

I won’t reveal any more other than get your tickets now, if you still can.

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »