The Week That Was 31 September – 7 October

Welcome the the Week That Was where I take a look back at what I have watched over the last seven days.  Due to work and home pressures this week got off to a slow start but certainly picked up pace towards the end and saw me pass the 100 new movies mark for the year.  I still hope to hit 150 by the years end, CIFF will certainly help in this regard but I reckon I will still need to put in some solid screen time in November and December.

Talking of CIFF (The Canberra International Film Festival), I finally locked in my schedule and bought the tickets so there is no going back now.  As always there were some casualties along the way and you can read about my CIFF Casualties here.  I am hoping to do some CIFF related posts in the run up to the festival highlighting in a bit more detail the films I hope to watch.

Ok, so let’s get into it then and here is the tale of the tape for the week.  As always you can check out my full 2012 watch list here.

Cinema Screenings

Arbitrage  – Richard Gere stars in this solid thriller about a Hedge Fund manager whose life gets turned upside down by a car crash with unexpected consequences and the financial pressures of trying to save his company.  This was an impressive return to form for the Silver Fox (who appears to be getting younger) as well as Tim Roth who plays a cop investigating the car crash. Not quite as good as I expected but solid enough.  Won’t make the top ten of the year though.  ★★★

Couch Screenings

The Dictator – Sasha Baron Cohen’s latest ‘comedy’ about a Middle Eastern dictator who travels to New York to address the UN.  An offensive, unfunny and poorly judged film.  Cohen needs to look again at what he is doing as he is clearly on the wrong track at present. However once I realised that Anna Farris, who plays the female lead, was the voice from Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs it made the film slightly more palatable, mainly as it reminded me how much fun Meatballs was. ★ 

Guns, Girls and Gambling – The girls over at Reel Insight recently ran a feature on is there an actor for which you will watch anything they are in?  Well for me it appears that it may be Christian Slater as that was the sole reason for renting this cheap Tarantino knock off about 5 Elvis impersonators who get caught up in a heist.  Not good at all, but better than The Dictator.  ★★

The Woman In Black – Or as it could be entitled Harry Potter meets Home Alone.  However Harry has clearly grown up and Daniel Radcliffe puts in a measured and mature performance in this tense hammer horror.  Considering that for a large part of the film it is just Radcliffe inside a house, this shows he can carry a film outside of the franchise.  Beware though, jumpy stuff in places.  ★★★

Marley – I needed to chill out a bit after The Woman In Black and Kevin Macdonald’s raw, honest and compelling documentary which deals more on the man rather than the music was just the tonic.  This is up there with Senna as one the best docs I have seen in recent years.  ★★★★

TV Shows

Breaking Bad – It was a good day on Monday when I found that Season 4 was on Bigpond  download.  10 episodes rattled off in a  week.  Already getting concerned where I will get my next fix from.  Truly excellent television.

2012 Score Sheet

Cinema Screenings – 44
Couch Screenings – 58
 
Total (new films) – 102
 
Re-watches – 38
 
2012 Total film count – 140
 
How about you guys, seen anything good?

The Week That Was 23 – 31 September

Welcome to another Week That Was.  Quite a lot has happened over the last seven days, so lets get straight into it.

First off the Canberra International Film Festival which runs from 31 October – 11 November was officially launched.  The programme is varied with a mixture of strong Australian films alongside plenty of international fare.  I spent a good part of Monday trawling through the programme and even though I will miss out on the middle weekend I reckon I can still get in 20 films.  You can see my provisional schedule here.

Secondly, as you can tell from the rather natty new red badge on the sidebar, I officially became a member of the Large Association of Movie Blogs or The Lamb for short.  I have been reading other Lamb blogs for a couple of years now so it feels good to finally (and officially) be part of the flock.

And thirdly but most importantly, my youngest turned three this week which we celebrated with a Tinker Bell themed birthday party and a trip to see Tinker Bell: The Secret Of The Wings at the cinema.  Having 18 kids round for the party was truly exhausting, but worth it.

In amongst all of this I managed to get back into the cinema again, so here is the tale of the tape from the last week.  As always you can check out my full 2012 watch list here:-

Cinema Screenings

Beasts Of The Southern Wild  – I went in with very high expectations after reading nothing but glowing reviews for this gritty, intelligent and highly emotional drama about a family in the Southern Delta dealing with all that life and Mother Nature has to throw at them.  I am pleased to say that this held up incredibly well to its billing and will no doubt be in my top ten of the year.  Highly Recommended

The Expendables 2  – Exactly the opposite to the above.  I went in with very low expectations after reading nothing but damming reviews of this sequel to the 2010 ensemble 80s action reunion, but this time with added Chuck Norris and Jean Claude Van Damme.  Unfortunately this also lived up to its billing with a script full of badly timed puns and cringeworthy cliches, which when coupled with badly executed and over the top action set pieces, produces a film very wide of the mark and not even close to the classic action films it is trying to imitate.  Jean Claude Van Damme was great though.  Approach With Caution

Looper – An intelligent and highly entertaining sci-fi  drama which just about stays on the right side of believable.  Look out for the review later this week. Still can’t believe how good Emily Blunt was, this woman can do no wrong.   Highly Recommended 

Tinker Bell: The Secret Of The Wings – Part three in the Tinker Bell story and this time Tinkers gets all rebellious and crosses the border to the winter side.  Don’t worry she doesn’t go all Darth Vader like but manages to get into a few scrapes along the way.  Another fun and really quite watchable tale which went down a storm with the girls.  Watch It 

Couch Screenings

Jeff Who Lives At Home – I didn’t like this Duplass brothers film about a stay at home Jason Segal who after being sent on an errand by his mother embarks on a journey to try and find his own destiny.  I just couldn’t connect (or care about) any of the characters and the plinky plonky (attempting to be ever so indie) score, alongside the awful script almost had me tearing my hair out.   Approach With Caution.

The Loved Ones – Well, was this a surprise on the same level as Holy Motors from a few weeks back.  Went in knowing nothing about the film except that it was an High School Aussie film which I assumed was going to be a comedy drama type thing.  Oh no, not even close.  This turned out to be an exploitation flick, which bordered on torture porn on occasion, about how far a young girl and her father will go if you turn down an invitation to the prom.    Probably great if you like that type of thing; me not so much.  Approach With Caution (quite literally)

TV Shows

Nothing new started this week.  Trying to narrow down what my next series will be.  I suspect either season 4 of Breaking Bad or Season 5 of Dexter.

2012 Score Sheet

Cinema Screenings – 43
Couch Screenings – 54
 
Total (new films) – 97
 
Re-watches – 38
 
2012 Total film count – 135
 
How about you guys, seen anything good?

The Week That Was 9 – 23 September

Ok, so I admit I am being a little slack of late, but welcome to another double strength The Week That Was.  Sadly though it is still quite a light read as the Malone household took themselves off for a bit of an Aussie road trip driving from Canberra across country to the wine region of the Barossa Valley, with a quick stop at Adelaide in South Australia.  It was a great trip and our young girls did well being cooped up in the car for just under 3000 ks, mainly as they were  suitably entertained by an iPad mounted between the seats (therefore out of reach of sticky fingers) and loaded with Pixar goodness.  So whilst I haven’t seen a huge amount of late, I have listened to awful lot of colourful cartoon creatures.  I did manage to tick something off the bucket list though.

So here is the tale of the tape from the last two weeks.  As always you can check out my full 2012 watch list here:-

Cinema Screenings

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – The girls and I watched this in a drive in movie theatre, so ticking off a life long ambition.  Just a shame it was with this film.  Pretty standard fare. Skip It (unless you are a little person).

Your Sister’s Sister – Lynn Shelton’s comedy drama about love, relationships and loss.  Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt all deliver cracking performances in this engaging, tightly scripted and beautifully shot tale.   Another film from which I have come out of thinking that Emily Blunt is simply the nicest person in the world.  Watch It.

Ruby Sparks  – Paul Dano stars alongside Zoe Kazan in this touching romantic fantasy about a struggling novelist who creates his perfect soul-mate first through his writing and then in real life  Think Weird Science meets Lars and the Real Girl and you are on the right track.  Great fun, but slightly darker than I expected.  Watch It.

Couch Screenings

Indie Game: The Movie – A documentary that follows the journeys of indie game developers as they create games and release those works, and themselves, to the world. Even though I am not much of a gamer this was fascinating stuff, so much so that I found myself googling the developers once the credits rolled, just to check they were ok.   Watch It.

Lockout – Guy Pearce channels his inner Bruce Willis to good effect and appears to be having a great time along the way in this hugely enjoyable cross between Die Hard in space and the Last Boy Scout.  Check out the full review here . Highly Recommended.

Any Questions For Ben  – An Australian tale of a twenty something marketing executive who appears to have something of an early midlife crisis.  Whilst entertaining for the most part it is let down by a clichéd riddled script, undeveloped characters and an ill though through final reel. Australian cinema can do much better than this.  Skip It.

TV Shows

Peep Show – Really enjoyed this British comedy about two flat mates in South London.  Powered through season 1-6 in record time, helped along by only 6 episodes per season each, with a 24 minute running time.  Highly Recommended.

2012 Score Sheet

Cinema Screenings – 39
Couch Screenings – 43
 
Total (new films) – 91
 
Re-watches – 38
 
2012 Total film count – 129
 
How about you guys, seen anything good?

The Week That Was (2 -9 September 2012)

A bit of a light week this week, mainly due to a Mrs Malone bagging most of the nights out this week, leaving me home looking after the wee ones.  Therefore I only managed to get in five films, all watched from the comfort of my couch.  This has to be the first week in a long time that I haven’t made it to the cinema, I try and not let this happen too often.

So here we go with the tale of the tape this week, as always you can check out my full 2012 watch list here:-

Cinema Screenings

None  🙁  

Couch Screenings

Domino – Watched as part of my research for an upcoming Tony Scott top ten list.  Squasher88 over at Film Actually warned me via twitter in advance that it wasn’t Scott’s finest hour and boy was he right.  An incredibly over-exposed, fast edited mess of a film which tries (and fails) to tell the story of Domino Harvey, a British-born bounty hunter.  Skip It.

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey – The heartwarming tale of Kevin Clash, the main force behind Elmo, the cute furry red puppet off Sesame Street. This has received some real critical praise and in parts rightly so, I however was not quite as sold as others.  But then again the Muppets did very little for me as well.  Watch It.

Punch-Drunk Love – Paul Thomas Anderson gets a career high performance out of Adam Sandler.  Click here for the full review.  Highly Recommended.

Juno – Jason Reitman’s 2007 first tie up with Diablo Cody is still as fresh and watchable as I remembered.  What I didn’t remember was Rain Wilson (US Office – Dwight Schrute) turning up in the first 5 minutes.  Seeing him with Ellen Page again reminded me of Super (Shut Up Crime) which I have a bit of a soft spot for.  Highly Recommended. 

Up In The Air – The second half of my Jason Reitman double-bill and probably my favourite of his to date.  George Clooney, Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga all deliver top notch performances in this highly engaging and ultimately touching drama about letting go and indeed being let go.  Highly Recommended.

TV Shows

Peep Show – My new obsession.  How can I be British and not seen this already?  Halfway through season two, luckily there are seven seasons.

Miscellaneous

TIFF – The Toronto International Film Festival kicked off this week with an opening night screening of Looper.  It seems that my twitter feed is full of bloggers descending on Toronto for some film festival goodness.  I am enjoying this vicariously through Toronto residents Ryan McNeil from The Matinee, Corey Atad from JustAtad and after flying in from Melbourne, temporary Torontonian  Tom Clift who is on part one of a North American cinematic adventure. Have a great festival guys, really enjoying your coverage.

2012 Score Sheet

Cinema Screenings – 36
Couch Screenings – 49
 
Total (new films) – 85
 
Re-watches – 38
 
2012 Total film count – 123
 
How about you guys, seen anything good?

Cheers,

Will

The Week That Was 6 August – 2 September

Ok, so its been a while and there is quite a lot to catch up on, therefore let’s just dive straight it.  As always you can check out my full 2012 watch list here:-

Cinema Screenings

The Campaign – Didn’t get my vote.  Quite a funny opening hour or so but rapidly goes down hill.  Skip It. 

The Sapphires – Chris O’Dowd shines in this hugely entertaining tale of four Aboriginal girls entertaining US troops in Vietnam.  Whilst it skips over the more serious aspects of the Vietnam war, it remains engaging, funny and toe tapping good right through to the final beat.  Highly Recommended.

The Dark Knight Rises – Third time round for this one. Just keeps getting better and better.  All Time Classic.

The Bourne Legacy – I just couldn’t get past the huge plot holes and the tacked on final 20 mins or so.  A poor relation to the other Bournes.  Skip It. 

Total Recall – Continuing the theme of poor relations, this was another real let down.  Whilst it had a couple of nice nods back to the original it lacked any of its predecessors substance and intrigue.  I did however like Kate reverting to her native British tongue when she needed to be more of a badass. Skip It.

Holy Motors – Ok, so full disclosure here.  I had not seen any of the trailers, read any reviews or knew anything about the Director prior to watching this.  All I had seen was the poster, so therefore I went in thinking this was going to be a comedy about a religious used car salesmen.  It wasn’t it.  However I still have no real idea what it was about.  Even so I was equally fascinated and confused by it.  Watch It.

Moonrise Kingdom – I have never really got on with Wes Anderson in the past so was not expecting to enjoy this quite as much as I did.  Whilst it retains a lot of Anderson’s annoying tendencies these are interspersed by two genuinely charming and engaging performances by the two young leads.  Finally a Wes Anderson film which didn’t make me what to scream in frustration at the screen. Watch It.

Couch Screenings

Weekend – Great British drama about young love, which just happens to be between two men.  Watch It.

The Raid: Redemption – What The Expendables should have been.  Still makes me laugh that this was made by a lad from South Wales.  Watch It.

Salmon Fishing In The Yemen – Charming, enjoyable but instantly forgettable.  Watch It. 

Melancholia – Outstanding.  I will never look at the moon during the day in the same way again.  Kirsten Dunst delivers a career high performance, in Lars Von Trier’s tale of impending doom.  All Time Classic.

Kill List – Talking of impending doom, here is a film a really wish I had never watched.  A truly terrifying tale of two British hit men who get caught up a job that goes horrifyingly wrong.  This film stayed with me for days and not in a good way.  I simply cannot recommend this with a clear conscience so therefore Skip It (if you want to sleep at night ever again)

Frozen River – Melissa Leo stars in the interesting tale of doing what is necessary to survive.  In her case its smuggling people across the US/Canadian border using a car and a frozen lake.  Riveting stuff.  Watch It. 

Kill Bill Vol.2 – I like Vol.1 much better than Vol.2.  Still waiting to see them as one film as I suspect without the enforced gap Vol 2 would feel significantly better.  Skip It. 

Fight Club – Classic Fincher.  Is it bad that I prefer the first half over the second?  All Time Classic.

The Game – More classic Fincher.  Stands up incredibly well after 15 years or so.  Even thought I knew the end, it had me guessing and doubting myself again.  Highly Recommended.

Tinker Tailor Solider Spy – Have you ever noticed how little dialogue Gary Oldman actually has? I mean he has almost 10 mins of screen time before he utters a word.  However it is a masterclass in understatement.  Highly Recommended. 

The Hunger Games – First time rewatch on download and it still retains the dread and bewilderment of the big screen version.  The opening 15 mins or so, especially the pin drop silence during the reaping, remains one of the highlights of the year so far.  Highly Recommended.  

The Avengers – Also first time rewatch on download, but not quite as successful.  Watching it at home it seemed overly long and not as engrossing.  Maybe this film needs company?  However still lots of fun and Highly Recommended.

TV Shows

Breaking Bad – Finished off season three just in time to see the internet explode with posts and tweets about season 5.  Getting hold of season four has now become something of a priority.

2012 Score Sheet

Cinema Screenings – 36
Couch Screenings – 46
 
Total (new films) – 82
 
Re-watches – 36
 
2012 Total film count – 118
 
How about you guys, seen anything good?

Cheers,

Will