Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Revisited - Top 10 of 2012

It's almost a year since I first put out my top 10 of 2012, but movies do not stay the same. Thus, with my 2013 list about a month away (it's Australia guys, Nebraska hasn't been released yet, give me a break), I thought it might be nice to revisit the list and see what's changed.
Note: I still haven't seen Amour - terrible, right?

10. Lincoln: Time is helping. The absurdity of modern politics is helping. The depth of the screenplay and performances are helping. The ending still isn't helping.

9. The Cabin in the Woods: I still think about this and chuckle, and then every time I watch a horror movie (which is rare) or see a horror movie preview (less rare) I think about this movie and admire.

8. Django Unchained: This has certainly slipped. I still love the performances, and the 'evening at Candyland' sequence only increases in power and awe. But as people pointed out to me at the time, and I am now coming to realise - this should either be an hour shorter, or two hours longer.

7. Magic Mike: Don't retire Mr. Soderbergh, Mr. Miyazaki isn't, so come home... come home.

6. Holy Motors: I need another 10 years to get everything that's going on... but one helps.

5. Silver Linings Playbook: Would this have been a challenger to Gravity/12 Years a Slave? It's a whole lot better than American Hustle, so by that logic... oh well, it's held up pretty well, not as strong as The Fighter. Which makes me concerned about this trajectory Mr. O. Russell.

4. Zero Dark Thirty: Mr. Scorsese should contact Ms. Bigelow and compare notes for their end of year sociology paper: 'herd behaviour in the reception of art' -- This is one heck of a film.

3. The Color Wheel: I haven't revisited this film, I haven't really needed to, it's etched on my mind.

2. Moonrise Kingdom: The 2012 film I have re-watched the most, I've also shown it to the most people. Still hilarious, still touching, still picking up on more details, still the finest love story of the decade so far... oh wait, there may be a 2013 contender... anyhow, it's wonderful!

1. The Master: Where are you now Freddy Quill? How could another movie come and take The Master's position atop the mountain? No other film looks more like the cinema than this, no film takes its audience to the same depth as this, no film has me changing my mind as to what is going on as this, no other film (of 2012) is as aptly named as this... this is the master.


Thursday, 23 January 2014

10 tweetable notions on Coen brothers films

I'm trying something a little new, that will hopefully continue with future films. Feel free to come play; either in the comments or on twitter using the tag #filmicnotions

Basically they are short thoughts on films, not reviewing/criticising them, rather trying to capture a little of their nature... hopefully after these 10 you'll get the drift.

Miller's Crossing: A coward weeping in the woods evokes the pity of an Irishman; he was reminded of his hat.

Barton Fink: You think your life's tough? I'm in pictures now.

Fargo: This isn't what they were thinking when they coined the phrase: "in the family way."

The Big Lebowski: Everyone wants to be an individual; this individual's name is The Dude.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?: Nothing distracts from the task at hand quite like music.

No Country for Old Men: A conscience is one hell of a liability.

Burn After Reading: As we lay our heads on the pillow; exhausted from hijinks and hullabaloo, we ask ourselves: was anyone ever shot over less?

A Serious Man: Larry: "Why G-d? I'm not an evil man." G-d: "Larry, don't sweat the small stuff; the worst is yet to come."

True Grit: Take me back to a time when the men were true, the women had grit, and the horses weren't unionised.

Inside Llewyn Davis: Sing, fuck up, rinse, repeat. The only advice worth taking is impossible to follow.

Hope that was enjoyable, the invitation is open, add you own!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Well it's been a long time between drinks once more, but I saw another film that I just couldn't shake, so here's a notion.

Dazzling, uncompromising, precise; almost painful in its heights of humour and attack. This movie strikes at the world in a way that cannot be shaken, and attacks a whole 'type' of movie in a way that will not be equalled.

Scene after exquisite scene, performance after incredible performance, act after deplorable act; The Wolf of Wall Street is a brutal, stinging indictment on crimes unpunished and men unscathed. An expedition into their world of pixie dust and nothingness where characters grasp at whatever straws they can, trying to convince themselves that it is real. His own moniker, coined in an article he despised (and by all accounts should have been the wake up call society needed to call humbug on this whole charade) is adopted by Jordan and co. as a term of endearment and admiration.

The futility and the absurdity of their quest for material existence (ranging from drugs to dominatrixes) is at once hilarious and disturbing. We realise that to have 'everything' at a fingers reach, can mean having absolutely nothing to hold.

The final sequence is a more piercing challenge to the moments in our lives when I covet the lifestyle of these types of men, (their stuff, their money, etc.) than any person yelling through a megaphone at a rally could ever muster. A stark reminder that all which glitters is not golden, and they are there because they are standing on a pile of other people's hurt.  

It is the best thing Scorsese has done in some time, the best thing DiCaprio has done, period.

Now, this film is going to receive a lot of heat - when A Clockwork Orange came out their were copycat crimes, some guy shot up a cinema because of The Dark Knight, John Lennon's dead and Catcher in the Rye had something to do with it, a young man, I overheard leaving our cinema remarked (hopefully ironically) "well I guess the message is become a stockbroker" - but as I argued with Zero Dark Thirty and will argue once again: representation is not endorsement (it may have actually been Bigelow who said that but whatever).
Basically, Julien Faddoul said what I want to say:

"Almost six years after a horrific economic collapse in 2008 caused by massive fraud, almost all the financial executives responsible have walked away with their personal fortunes intact. None of the debaucherous, disgusting situations depicted in The Wolf of Wall Street are as infuriating as that simple fact. And as the film concludes (with a similar outcome), Scorsese produces a final shot that explains why. Scorsese shows us, essentially, a mirror image and after the glee this 3-hour sales pitch has given us, we are left with nothing but the bitter truth."

Find the rest of his review here: http://thecinematouch.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/the-wolf-of-wall-street-2013us.html

This movie is not for all people, but it is certainly for our time.