Archive | December 2009

Dave’s Top Ten Films 2009

2009 has been business as usual really but another busy year for cinema with a vast array of good offerings that have been thrown at us left, right and centre! And just as well because the weather has been awful! Hollywood waged war with epics such as Avatar and Transformers 2 with maximum CGI and mega profits and indie films have seen a little bit of a boost. Films such as Moon, Paranormal Activity and District 9 have all recieved some good attention from audiences. 2009 has also been an important year in the development of 3D movies. The film industry has gambled millions in 3D movies as a way for cinema to move forward; 2009 has seen it grow in popularity, but is it really the future of cinema? Well just ask James Cameron as he is swimming ‘Duck Tales’ style in his profits from Avatar! The fact that I only have one 3D movie in this list lets my opinion speak for itself but nevertheless 2009 will be remembered as the year 3D became a real presence in our theatres. This was also a year in which the very best movies went pretty much under the radar; some of which I missed were Antichrist, An Education, Let the Right One In and Coraline (Shocking I know, but some of us have lives dammit!) which I imagine would have been contenders for the list. Well, here is a top ten selection of films that I think are a very fine bunch in the 2009 crop! Drop us a line and let us know what you think or let us know what your top ten would be? Hope you enjoy, Dave. Read More…

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Where The Wild Things Are (PG)

Spike Jones is the latest brave soul to take on Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things are, this time as a feature-length film. It is a very bold venture as there have been many attempts in the past to bring Sendak’s wonderful tale to the big screen. The book itself is barely 200 words long and for it to transfer successfully to cinema it would need a bit of buffing up and Spike Jonze has done exactly that. The original book was one of the rare children’s books that properly delved into the mind of a child; indeed this, In the Night Kitchen and Outside Over There have been described as a sort of trilogy as they examine anger, change and other difficult characteristics that affect children as they grow up. It is not just aimed at children though as the monsters in the story are based on various relatives of Sendak and they represent the flaws in adults and how this impacts on everyone around. Despite being an enormous success on its release it was deemed too scary for children at the time as the major theme of anger and fury is dished out abundantly throughout. Thankfully Spike Jonze has stuck very faithfully to book and explores Sendak’s themes in greater depth and length. It is possibly the best adaption of the novel and captures the emotion, beauty and revolutionary approach to storytelling that Sendak achieved in 1963. Read More…

James Cameron

James Cameron

James Cameron is not only one of the most successful directors of the last 30 years, but one of the best. With 3 Oscars, 28 other awards (including Saturn, Golden Globe & Bradbury wins) and 18 nominations it is clear he has continued to delight both fans and critics throughout his career. His CV not only boasts a plethora of well loved, successful movies but multiple bona fide classics that have changed the way people have made movies since. Having grossed in excess of $3.5 billion worldwide is it little wonder we are currently greeting a film 12 years in the making and costing an estimate $230 million (so says imdb) to make. Very few directors could pull off such an audacious project, even fewer would be allowed, but Cameron is one of them.

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A Serious Man (15)

While staring at the weirdest ending sequence since the Coen’s last outing Burn After Reading, I had to take a deep breath and have a real hard think about how you would start writing a review for this one! A Serious Man is undeniable proof of how well refined and smart but also how bleak and weird their work is becoming. It follows the Coen’s usual trademarks of human buffoonery and wacky humour and flows within the same vein as Burn After Reading, but it is definitely a stand-out effort from the veteran filmmakers. Its trance-like feel, seamless direction and crisp look make it a truly awesome spectacle but what really makes this film is the brilliantly awkward and dark humour that the Coen’s just revel in. This is high in the running order as far as the Coen’s previous efforts are concerned and is proof that there is still so much more to come from this zany duo. Read More…

Nativity! (U)

Nativity!

Everyone knew it was a bad idea to make the kids Scanners musical

It’s been four days since I saw Nativity! and I’m still not sure why that exclamation mark is there. It could be to portray the excitement and wonder that the film so desperately tries to portray, or it could be an exclamation warning cinematic diabetics to steer well clear of what is likely the most sickly sweet film of 2009.

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The Men Who Stare At Goats (15)

Clooney. McGregor. Spacey. Bridges. Patrick. No, this isn’t a strange Oceans ‘insert number to fit the chronology’ attempt but rather an amusingly hip look at how paranoia can drive those in power to strange things and the wonderous (for us at least) outcomes it can have.  Goats is a movie that finds Ewan McGregor investigating & learning about a secret psychic military unit and a specific handful of their members as he embarks on a sometimes dangerous, frequently amusing adventure through Iraq.

The Men Who Stare At Goats

Seriously, it's just 2 hours of this... in 3D!

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5 Classic Westerns

The Western genre is one that has generally faded away in the last few decades. Many consider it to be a tried and tested genre with nothing much more to offer. I guess they have a point, considering its limited timescale (roughly 1850s to 1910s), there’s really not much to work with. You take science fiction for example and you have an unlimited resource where anything is possible, you can set films or novels in any time, place or even universe; The Western has never had that luxury and very few films have diverted from the original Western form – most notably the remake of The Proposition. It is part of the bygone age of the old Hollywood production system but has created some of the most influential films in cinema history. It’s still a brilliant father-son ritual to sit with ol’ pop and watch John Wayne riddle holes into those no do-gooders that steal cattle and rob rich people. Bastards! Even in this age of special effects and slow-mo actions shots, a la The Matrix, many of the best Westerns still have the same impact they did 50 years ago. The five Westerns I have picked made waves when they were first released but ultimately the choice was made on how well these films have stood against the test of time. Read More…