Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Favourite Films of ALL TIME! #17The Rules of Attraction [2002]
Starring: James Van Der Beek, Jessica Biel, Ian Somerhalder, Shannyn Sossamon
Directed by: Roger Avary

"Since when does fucking somebody else mean that I'm not faithful to you?"

This comes from the same people who gave us American Psycho and Pulp Fiction, so you have a fair idea of what style of movie i'm talking about when i try and describe this to you. I remember reading the book a few years back before the movie came out. I found myself laughing out loud on the train while reading it, so once the movie hit screens, i was glad to see it lived up to the enjoyment i got out of the book. They needed to make this fucked up, it needed to be done a specific way. Luckily the right team got behind it.....

Rules follows the lives of a group of college students, and the "interaction" they have with one another during their mundane day to day lives. It deals with relationships, sex and drugs. Most, if not all the characters are dealing with all 3 of those things at one point or another. There's a whole collection of quirky characters. There's the main guy, Sean [James Van Der Beek], who spends his solitary days selling drugs and trying to find as much pussy as he can. He develops a crush on Lauren [Shannyn Sossamon], who has her eyes set on her teacher, and can't stop thinking about her ex boyfriend Victor [Kip Pardue]. Then we meet Paul [Ian Somerhalder], a gay student who has a crush on Sean, but doesn't know how to go about once they become friends. Then there's Lara [Jessica Biel], who is Lauren's roommate. She spends her days being the resident slut, and becomes the object of Sean's lust when he can't get his hands on Lauren. Sean actually hates Lara, but feels she'll do in the meantime while he tries to get Lauren to fall for him.
In the midst of all that we have a whole bunch of other misfit weirdo characters who try not to get murdered by drug dealers, try not to overdoes, try to deal with obsession, and a whole mix of other angsty issues. Basically, it's a mess!.Two things stand out the most when you watch Rules. The first is the direction by Roger Avary, the guys got some style and nifty camera techniques. The movie is scattered with lots of cool editing and camera shots. You see it right away once the movie starts during the 'End of the World' party. Out comes the vomit [you'll need to see the movie to know what i'm talking about], and back in it goes as the entire party scene is on backwards replay. There's also a great split screen meeting between Sean and Lauren, which is broken down in detail in the special features of the DVD. There's also some GREAT camera work during a suicide scene, and a fast paced Europe trip montage made up of hundreds of photographs and a quick voice over. I imagine this movie would be a film students wet dream. You could sit and talk about the camera styling all day.

The second thing that will stand out to you is James Van Der Beek in the title role. When i think of James, i think of that shit Dawson's Creek show, his giant forehead and that stupid wavy hair. You'll soon forget all about that once you watch him in this. Talk about a polar opposite of what you're used to seeing him play!.........he eats up this role like crazy. You can tell he loved every minute of it. He's really good in the role. It's such a departure for him. Have you ever wondered what Dawson would look like fucking? well you'll see that. Have you ever wondered what Dawson would look like taking a dump? well you see that too! haha!
He's not the only one trying to break away in this film either. Jessica Biel sheds away her WHOLESOME 7th Heaven tv show fuckery by slutting around in her underwear and getting gang banged by footballers. There's also a cameo from The Wonder Years kid, Fred Savage, who's credited as The Junkie Named Mark, ha!. He's certainly changed since his childhood star years in this.

It's s dark comedy, so it's funny, but with a fucked up twist. You'll be laughing at the character shenanigans and then be really focused on the more serious aspects of the story. The movie goes between the two easily. See it, if only for how fucked up everyone is, ha!.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Runaways [2010]
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning
Directed by: Floria Sigismondi

No idea when this will get a indie cinema run here, but i managed to catch an early screening of it at the Sydney Film Festival last night. I'm glad i did, because the movie was fucking badass!.

First time movie director Floria Sigismondi is best known for her music video work. She's directed a lot of rock videos [including collaborations with singers like Marilyn Manson], and has even thrown a couple pop videos into her portfolio as well [both with Christina Aguilera]. Her slick music video style is PERFECT for this type of film. Not only does she KNOW how to shoot rock and roll and make it look cool, but she captures the feel of the 70's really well. It looks authentic. She has a good eye for colour and editing as well, there's some great camera work in this, and she gets very up close and wild with the live performance sections of the film.

The story isn't anything we haven't seen or heard before. Band gets created, band gets big, singer gets all the acclaim, other band members get pissed off, and drug habits and sex antics run rampant. What really makes this film move beyond a predictable plot however are the lead performances. Talk about a 360!!!! Dakota and Kristen are both FANTASTIC in this. I've been vocal about Kristen's shaky acting in the Twilight films on many occasions, and although she's been perfectly fine in her other films, this is the first time we REALLY get to see her actually BECOME someone else and show off her acting ability. She really surprised me in this, and she looked like she loved every minute of it. Butch dykey rockstar suits her very well.
We all know Dakota can act, she's been tackling adult roles she was a kid. She really steps it up a notch in this though. She is completely magnetic on screen, she has a great presence for such a young actress and she stole every scene she was in. I absolutely loved her in this. Michael Shannon as their eccentric manager was good in this too. He got some good laughs out of the audience i was with.

The band may not have been around for too long, and they may only be famous for one song [Cherry Bomb, they did have a few albums though], but it wasn't their hits or record sales that made such a big impact. They were the first EVER all girl rock band, and not only were they all girl, but they rocked it out like THE BOYS too. They changed the rules, and it was after them that a window for female rockers really opened up.
Also, it was the early starting point for Joan Jett, who as we know, later became one of the most iconic female rockers in the history of music. Their short lived run certainly made a special impact.

If you like rock, if you like music bios, or are a fan of either Dakota or Kristen, you'll find SOMETHING to like in this movie. It may not offer anything original, but it still has some great performances, direction and music that's bound to entertain you. The audience of aged hippies and young punks only made my viewing experience even MORE special than it already was!.

It's my second favourite film of the year so far. I loved every minute of it.
My Favourite Music Videos #3

The White Stripes - I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sex & The City 2 [2010]
Starring: Sarah Jessica Parker & her usual crew
Directed by: Michael Patrick King

Carrie Bradshaw decides to run away to Dubai with her "girls" to try and think through her stupid and insignificant marriage problems. Wacky adventures and lots of high heels soon follow.

I'm a big fan of the tv show, and the first movie. I think the series finished a little too open ended, so it was nice to see lose ends tied up with the first film. At this point though, i think they have taken these characters as far as they possibly can with their story lines, and S&TC 2 is showing the cracks of an over long stay.

I'm all for care free comedies, and the tv series certainly had A LOT of that. However, the more serious side of relationships that the show used to get into have now become really banal. There are only 2 series plots in the film, one revolving around Miranda and Charlotte and their struggles with motherhood, and the other revolving around Samantha and her uncontrollable vagina in a very conservative country. Although, Samantha's story line is supposed to be comic relief, so they don't go too crazy with making a statement. It is the highlight of the movie though, so it didn't bother me that they handled the issue of women's rights with inappropriate comedy. Deep down, we all agree with her on the matter anyway, even if we know it's a......touchy subject.

The rest of the movie revolves around Carrie and her ever growing shrinking brain. I like Carrie, but she really is one of the dumbest women i've come across on film ever. The woman cries about finding a man for 7 years on tv, finds one, gets married, lives in a nice place, has a guy who worships her, and STILL.......she has something to complain about. Turns out Carrie doesn't want to sit on the couch at night with her HARD WORKING HUSBAND, she'd rather complain about the fact that she can't go out at night and party. Wow, Carrie, your marriage issues are awful. The writers need to focus more on making this woman GROW UP, because she's a damn immature moron. And don't even start me on the AWFUL metaphor for finding the SPARKLE in her marriage through a bloody black diamond ring. What kind of stupid retard woman relates to that mess of a character? Awful.

Minor gripes about stupid women aside, the movie is entertaining from start to end. It's hugely unrealistic, over the top, gay to the extreme, and slightly annoying in parts, but i did have a blast. The girls are just way too funny.
If another film is made, i'd happily see it again, but after the reception this film has gotten, i think maybe it's time Carrie said goodbye.

See it if you're a big fan. Avoid it if you've never liked anything about it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Christina Aguilera
Bionic: Deluxe Edition [2010]

With people like M.I.A, Santigold, Goldfrapp, Ladytron and Sia on board for this project, it's hard to imagine how the final product for this album became so uninteresting. Christina chose the best people for this album, and she seems to have merely sprinkled their work over a handful of tracks, and chosen more generic pop songs produced by 'Tricky Stewart' to make up most of the tracklist.

What's even more baffling is that this album was meant to be her big first step into electronic music, so how the 'electronic' artists helping her out got pushed to the back of the line just makes no sense. Either she had NO idea what she got herself into, or she wanted to play it as safe as possible. Either way, she's missed the boat.

There are a few songs that do stay in line with what direction this album should have gone in. The title track, 'Bionic' [produced by the epic Santigold] is a nice opener to the album, 'Elastic Love' [produced by M.I.A] has a cool new wave sound sound to it, and 'Glam', although lyrically cringe worthy and forced, does have some decent electro production on it. Other than those three songs though, we don't get much else from the world of electronic music. The Ladytron produced track 'Birds of Prey' was even pasted onto the bonus disc of the deluxe edition, while awfully bland songs like 'Desdunodet' and 'Vanity' made the "official" standard tracklist. Huh?............a bit of a mess, yes.

Speaking of 'Vanity', talk about atrocious!!!!! it's the worst song she has ever done in her career and one of the most inflated ego driven pieces of crap i've ever heard. The lyrics MUST be heard to be believed! it's just unbearably tragic to hear. How anyone can stand listening to anymore than 30 seconds of it is beyond it. Just awful. Not to mention how it made it on the album when Goldfrapp's entry didn't event make ANY of the discs!.

It's not ALL bad though, as generic as most of it is, and as awful as a few of the songs are, there is some enjoyable stuff on the album as well. 'WooHoo' is an IMMENSE club track, and some of the ballads are really nicely produced, mainly 'Lift Me Up' and my favourite off the album, 'I Am', such a beautiful track.

If you think of the album and see the producers it had on board, it comes across as a bit of a failure. If you ignore that though, it's a DECENT ENOUGH pop album for the most part. After 4 years, you think she'd be a little MORE adventurous with it though. I'm certainly playing the album a lot, but it's nowhere near what it should have been, and it barely touches the records her peers put out like Britney or Gaga, who know pop like the back of their hand. I struggled with giving the alum a 2.5 or a 3, but i decided with a 3 after i heard the bonus disc.

I appreciate Christina's attempt, but maybe she should stick to what she does best.............which ain't electronic pop music.

DVD Round up: May, 2010
A Nightmare On Elm St [Blu-ray]
I wish the whole series was in HD, but this is the only one.....for now. Classic 80's horror, gotta love it.

Gunslinger Girl 1 & 2
Ah, 2 dorra, 2 dorra! It's been a while since i've watched an Anime. I better get around to seeing volume 2. 1 was good stuff.

The Neverending Story 2
Omg, my childhood!............well, sort of. Not one of my most beloved kids films, but one i enjoyed catching as a kid anyway. Found it for like....$3!.

A Clockwork Orange [Blu-ray]
Trippy, smart and funny..........well.....funny in that sick sort of way. I appreciate this movie the more i see it over the years. I look forward to catching it again when the mood strikes me. Kubrick was a cool director. Love the music in this too.

Never Sleep Again: An Elm St Legacy
A 4 hour long doco covering the 7 original Elm St films. The only making of doco's iv'e seen that come anywhere near as thourough are the ones found on the Lord of the Rings extended DVD's. It's a beast of a film! It's getting raves all over the place. LOVE IT, and worth EVERY penny!

Wild Things
Omg, remember this!.......Neve as a goth, Denise getting champaign poured on her giant tits, and Kevin Bacon's big dick in the shower!!!! trashtastic!

True Blood: Season 2 [Blu-ray]
I was going to wait to get this for a few months, but i couldn't help myself. I'm such a big fan, it'd drive me nuts knowing it's just SITTING there down the road in my local shop and that i haven't got it in my hands.