Put your pants on, Spartacus

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2009 by ilostitatthemovies

Boy, have I seen a lot of movies lately! Over the weekend I got to two film festivals; saw a bunch of things at Perv, the queer erotic film festival at the Red Rattler, and then got along to catch the very end of the German Film Festival at the Chauvel. Then, last night, I stormed out of a movie I was really enjoying, only to write an angry email first thing this morning. Oh, cinema – you give me so much!

So here’s what I saw:

Tour De Pants – Mindblowing – pardon the cliche – queer pansexual bike fetish porno comedy. This was legitimately hilarious and really hot, with a rich and generous diversity of genders, sexuality and body types, and a cast that seemed really enthusiastic about what they were doing. This movie made me want to hump get a bike, and to start making queer genderfuck porno comedies, not necessarily in that order. It also made me change my mind about going to that night’s play party – which I hadn’t planned on doing, but after seeing this, well… It was easily the best film I saw in Perv, and I totally expect this to be one of my top ten for the year. It’s exceptional, and you should go out of your way to see it.

It’s hard – pardon the pun – to remember all the Perv stuff I went to. What’s the collective noun for porn? Because that’s what I saw. Lots of smart, funny, hot stuff. Actually, the whole thing brought to mind a great high school era phrase I hadn’t thought of in years – the spank bank. This weekend really topped up my account, and I look forward to a long run of withdrawals. I also look forward to next year’s festival, assuming – hoping – there is one.

Sadly, though, I missed the festival’s short comp, because I had to go to the aforementioned German Film Fest. Yes, festivals everywhere – the Spanish one is looming and has the most exciting (at least on paper) program I’ve seen in a long time, by the way. They were showing One, Two, Three, Billy Wilder’s incredible Cold War comedy. A Coke executive in West Berlin plans to crack the Communist market in East Berlin, but his plans go awry when the boss’s daughter secretly marries a card-carrying Bolshevik. Can this Coca-colonialist crush the covert Commie courtship, or is it the dustbin of history for the imperialist stooge? Fucking love this movie; I am ordering it from Amazon now because I need to watch it over and over again. Billy Wilder rules ultimate.

Then last night I went to see Day Of The Locust – very excited, because I’d never seen the movie, and it’s a book I love. And it was indeed very good, telling its own story in a way that drew on the strengths of the novel without really trying to ‘adapt’ it. But for the second week running, whoever was doing projection at the Cinematheque fucked up every single reel change. Four unscheduled intermissions, with leader reels and the house lights coming up for a couple of minutes a go. What, are they trying to drum up concession stand business? At the fourth such break, I jumped up and angrily walked out; the second or third time I’ve ever stormed out of a movie, and in many ways, the most satisfying. Straight-up bullshit; they really should hire back Brett, the old curator they sacked to try and draw a hipster audience with more crowd-pleasing arthouse fare. Afterwards I texted my friend to apologise for leaving so abruptly. They replied that I missed the best ending ever. I texted back, “No, I missed an ending being fucked up by an incompetent fucking projectionist.” (Note: The Chauvel are blaming their 16mm projector, which I don’t buy for one second.) Shitty conclusion to great weekend of movies.

A sad day without a witty movie quote

Posted in Uncategorized on April 7, 2009 by ilostitatthemovies

My shitty excuse for a computer has crashed, and I am getting terribly backed up with these reviews. I’m just going to post a list of movies I’ve watched here, and hopefully – hopefully – I will get around to writing them up at some point. In the meantime, let me know if you have any advice about buying an ibook on eBay.

- Robocop

- Ninotchka

- His Girl Friday

- Mr Leather

- Flash Gordon

- Slumdog Millionaire

- Fanny and Alexander

- If….

- All That Heaven Allows

- Annie Hall

- The Trial

I have to admit that extending this list indefinitely now seems vastly more appealling than actually blogging about the movies I see. Anyway, I think my resolution – see at least one movie at the cinema each week – needs revision. The whole point was to see more new movies, and instead I just keep heading to the Cinematheque. I mean, there are even new movies I want to see, but still, I am way more excited about One, Two, Three at the German film fest (Billy Wilder’s hilarious Cold War comedy) than, say, Camino, Let The Right One In, JCVD, or Fast and Furious, or even the queer porn film fest at the Rattler this weekend. That said… do I really want to be seeing shit like He’s Just Not That Into You and The Reader for the sake of it?

What makes an orgasm feel so great?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 3, 2009 by ilostitatthemovies

My stupid computer just ate a long post about Bastardy, the doco about Jack ‘Uncle Jackie’ Charles I saw in Melbourne recently. It might be for the best, because it was probably going to end up embarrassing. Now I will just briefly describe it as one of those documentaries that aren’t especially well made, but with a subject fascinating enough to keep you engaged anyway. I guess I will also note that I found the directorial ethics QUESTIONABLE.

Last night I couldn’t be fucked going out to dinner with my housemates, so I watched Benjamin Smoke. It’s another documentary with an eccentric drug-addicted artist for its subject. Benjamin, no last name, plays in a band called Smoke, making the most beautiful, haunting songs imaginable on such topics as Luke Perry’s feet. This movie is so optimstically tragic and hilarious, it really fit my mood yesterday. Totally recommend this.

Is it a sin to love?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2009 by ilostitatthemovies
Last night Carl Dreyer’s Day Of Wrath showed at the Cinematheque. It was the second movie I’d gone into this year thinking it was actually going to be really good. The first was The Wrestler, so this was the first where I wasn’t disappointed. Shit, the performances, shot composition and cinematography in this are practically tears-to-the-eye beautiful. I realised that even more than I’m a stan for gangster movies, I’m a stan for old, black and white, European art films. Show me anything monochrome and subtitled and I will pretty much crap my pants in aesthetic delight. I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. The movie was incredibly moving (don’t think I’ve ever felt as bad for a character in a movie as I did for Herlof’s Marthe before the witchfinders), and morally complex in a subtle, engaging way (as opposed to the shitty moralisms that hammer at you in my worst film of the year so far, The Reader). I’m very disappointed that I’m going to miss next week’s showing of Dreyer’s Ordet (because I will be in Melbourne – so if you’re reading this down there, maybe you can dig up an awesome movie we can go see instead?)
 
Halfway through the movie, I remembered I’d left my phone on. I was debating – should I get it out and turn it off, or just hope it doesn’t ring? I decided to get it out as discreetly as I could, covering the screen with my hand, and switch it off. I thought I had done a pretty good job. Then, after the movie, I was returning a text message, and this guy walked by me and said, “You’re very interested in that phone. It seems you like the phone more than the movie.” Man, I was so mad! I mean, you can say a lot of shit about me, but disparaging my cinephilia is more than I can take. I thought about beating him up, but figured I’d be banned from the Cinematheque, which would suck. So I decided to embark on a campaign of verbal harrassment and intimidation until he stopped coming.
 
When I got home, I explained this to my housemate. “What are you going to say to him?” she asked.
 
“I was thinking I’d start with, ‘Hey you fat piece of shit, why don’t you get the fuck out of my seat?'”
 
“Cool,” she replied sceptically.
 
Anyway, this morning in the shower I was thinking about it, and really, I had to admit – even though he didn’t have to be such a dick about it, I was the one at fault. I would hate it if someone in front of me at the movies pulled out their phone, and it’s a fair call to give them shit about it. So I am reluctantly shelving my plan to drive him from Sydney’s best repertoire cinema, although I may be unable to resist the urge to grease him off if I see him.

As we proceed to give you what you need…

Posted in Uncategorized on March 19, 2009 by ilostitatthemovies

I’ve been pretty down the last few days. The knee injury that came up just before Christmas, but seemed to have subsided, has flared up again. I decided to skip wrestling training until I can talk to a physio, then spent a whole afternoon ringing round, trying to find a reasonably priced one. That turned out to be a waste of an afternoon. Meanwhile, I’m cutting all lower body exercises out of my visits to the gym, which makes for a whole lot of boredom and sameness. So annoying. It’s not like I can be, “Oh yeah, I’m hardcore, I blew out my knee.” I didn’t blow it out. The problem is that I have weak pelvis stability on my left hand side, and that is putting too much strain on my knee. Essentially the least hardcore-sounding problem you could possibly have.

Anyway, the point of this story was that the workout I was supposed to do tonight was deeply uninspiring, and I was real close to ditching it, but I could see where that spiral would lead. So I bargained with myself that right after the gym, I could go see Notorious, the Biggie biopic which is easily my most anticipated movie of the year so far. This at least motivated me enough to do a gnarly set of high-rep incline push-ups, and a bunch of other shit not worth mentioning. Then I went to Broadway.

Before the movie, they showed this ad for Pepsi where a guy is chatting up a girl on a beach, then sees a dude getting attacked by a giant octopus, runs to save him, and then the swooning girl agrees to the date. Of course, it turns out the victim and the guy in the octopus suit are both his friends. It made me wonder what the worst ad I see before a movie this year will be, and then I remembered that excruciating one where the unionist from Secret Life Of Us is some kind of stressed out executive, and a mystical Aboriginal toddler transports her to an invigorating Northern Territory holiday. If I see a worse ad than that, I actually will tear an eyeball out. Hopefully belonging to whoever made the ad, but if it has to be mine, so be it

Anyway, between this and Watchmen last week, the theme for this month is shaping up to be “could have been better, but could have been a lot worse, too”. I totally consider Biggie the GOAT, and I would have loved a Biggie movie ten times shittier than this. As it is, it has a lot to recommend it, but also panders to its audience in an irritating way, indulges Biggie’s self-mythologising way too much, and takes itself seriously at inopportune moments. Ready To Die is the greatest rap record of all time* not only because you have an all-time great rapper at his hungriest working over some all-time classic production, but because of the range of moods – gangster stuff, sure, but there’s a ton of humour, sex, and it’s emo as all hell. This movie plays up the gangsterism in boring and unrealistic ways (if you ever saw a movie with a conflicted guy who has to sell drugs because he’s poor, you can happily skip the first half hour), the humour is definitely there, and it does surprisingly well with the sexy. But it cuts the emotion out – except for pisspoor philosophising and the maudlin cult of rapper death – and that’s where it really goes wrong.

The guy who plays Biggie is just fantastic. The script doesn’t give him a ton to work with, but he has an incredibly expressive face and a ton of natural charisma. There are a couple of scenes where he doesn’t have any dialogue, and they give you an idea how phenomenal he could have been with a better written role. Also, and this is really the last thing I expected to say about this movie, the cinematography is A+. The movie starts out grainy, and gets glossier as Big’s career progresses. It could easily come across as a cheesie stunt, but the quality is dazzling. Great 16mm-style stuff, beautiful. It also boasts what is surely the line of the year in, “What kind of grown man calls himself Puffy?”, which reminds me, the guy who plays Puff is also great. I almost screamed out loud in the cinema when he started doing the classic Puffy dance, I fucking love that shit.And the concert scenes are excellent – I got chills from them doing Warning, although I was confused by the apparent assertion that Big won over a hostile west-coast crowd by playing the Tupac-baiting Who Shot Ya?

Also all the Tupac scenes bite, come on, the dude wasn’t a revolutionary philosopher, he was a mug who believed his own bullshit way too much and got himself killed. If he hadn’t been murdered when he was, he would have surely ended up in the Prodigy at Summerjam role, someone digging up a photo from his teenage ballet class. You know Tupac was so street that the one time he tried to sell drugs, he ended up having to return them to his supplier? I like a couple of his songs, but basically, fuck Tupac, and more importantly, fuck Tupac fans. Yeah, I am almost pathologically brand-loyal to the East Coast.

Shit, now I have to go youtube a bunch of old Bad Boy videos. Too bad for you all I don’t remember how to embed those here.

* – I don’t actually think this is true (Illmatic forever), but it’s easily top five.

Did the costumes make it good?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2009 by ilostitatthemovies

Watchmen – pretty fun superhero movie.

That’s disgusting. You should be ashamed.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 9, 2009 by ilostitatthemovies

I went to see The Reader because it was the next movie showing when I got to the cinema, and it was Sunday, and I had to see something or I’d derail my resolution. This isn’t something I expected to say so soon after watching He’s Just Not That Into You, but this is by far the worst movie I’ve seen this year. Just terrible; really, really bad. It’s boring, stupid and insipid, and the acting is dire. Did Kate Winslet really get an Oscar for this, or did I make that up? I didn’t realise so many horny teenage boys voted for Academy Awards.

The story is about this dorky kid who has an affair with an older woman in 50s Germany. Many years later, he finds out she’d been a concentration camp guard before they met, and he is all conflicted. At this point, when she’s on trial for war crimes, Kate’s performance is pretty hilariously twitchy. Anyway, then there’s some shit about the redemptive power of literature or something? I don’t know, I left about five minutes before the end because I really needed to go to the bathroom, and I was sure I knew the ending. If anyone has seen it, can you confirm – she ends up killing herself by piling up some books and then stepping off them to hang herself. Right? That’s how subtle the symbolism is in this wretched waste of celluloid.

I didn’t know anything about this, and for the first hour, which just consists of them having sex, I was just kind of waiting for it to have a plot. There were some intimations it might develop a story, and I didn’t want to leave, despite how tedious it was, before I found out what the movie was actually about. Just really boring softcore. I kept thinking, “Are there really people so undersexed they’d be entertained by this?” Jesus, rent a fucking porn movie and stop dressing it up in shitty moral dilemmas about the Holocaust. So anyway, yeah, it eventually had a plot. A shitty one, but at least a plot. The second half was somewhat less boring, but not really less painful.

Just for the sake of saying something good about this, the actor who plays the teenage boy is such a dork you can easily imagine him growing up to be Ralph Fiennes. Actually, during his scenes, which include a generous amount of full frontal nudity, I kept wondering how you cast a part like that. Memo to casting agents, we need a dorky, proto-Ralph Fiennes type with a decent schlong. Then the casting agents are calling their dorky young guys, “Hey, kid, I gotta ask you something, how many inches you got? Well, do you think you can play well hung?” The crushing disappointment when the producer calls back to say, “Look, your screen test was good, very good really, but we’re just going with the kid with 9 inches.”

Finally, here is something that really bugs me in movies: the characters who are supposedly German (as in this example, can be any nationality) all just speak English with a German accent. This is one of the all-time dumb movie conventions, I really wish they would just speak English and stop half-arsing it.

Later on, I went to a screening of Persepolis at my local anarchist book shop. This is a really great cartoon, adapting the two volumes of Marjane Satrapi’s comic book memoir of the same name, about growing up in Iran around the time of the revolution and the Iran/Iraq war. You should see it, because I am going to sound like a big dork if I just go on about how great it is. Very sad, very funny, laden with well-crafted ironies, and beautifully drawn.

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