Rachel's Blog Rachel's Blog: Film and Television

Wed, 24 Dec 2008

Have spent my Xmas eve watching the horror film 1408, for what could be more festive than John Cusack? It started off OK, a couple of creepy moments, but then lost me completely about a third of the way through. Ridiculous rather than scary.

Anyway, have merry day tomorrow everyone. Remember to lock your doors from the inside and don't take candy from strangers.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008
That's their KEY strategy.
"Our key strategy is one of creating and producing programs you can only see on Seven, such as Sunrise, Dancing With The Stars and Packed To The Rafters."

Which would work great except that these shows are complete shit.

Networks take on download thieves. - The Age.

Sun, 19 Oct 2008
Star Wars as seen by Abbey for the first time.

Well, thank the Force that worked! We definitely picked the right moment for Abbey to see it; when she could understand it but before she'd heard anything about it.

For the record she is exactly four years and eleven months today, the version we watched was the original cinematic release, ripped off laser disc which gives it a fine nostalgic "taped off the tv" quality, and, in glorious stereo. The time was 4.30 in the afternoon, weather a fine 18 degrees Centigrade.

Favourite moments were the garbage masher - generated the most fear, but also the most relief - and the exploding of the Death Star which resulted in spontaneous applause. It was a real treat to watch this with Abbey, and to remember all the stuff that we take for granted now, such as the initial encounter between Rebels and Stormtroopers and not knowing which are the good guys.

I really thought she'd be more afraid of Darth Vader, but that may develop with further viewings, or perhaps he's scarier in the later films.

Quotes from a phonecall with Grandma Laraine:

"It was pretty sad in the middle where the guy in the brown coat died, but then he could keep talking, which was a bit strange."

"And it was good at the end when Luke destroyed the bad guys and it all turned into sparkles."

More quotes:

"It was good when R2D2 stopped the garbage cruncher from squashing the people inside."

"It was good when Luke and Han Solo shooted the bad guys in the white suits. And now I've got the bad part for you, when the white guys tried to shoot some of the good guys, really near the beginning."

All in all a resounding success! Empire Strikes Back in a few weeks.

An important socio-cultural moment

We are about to introduce Abbey to Star Wars. I am probably building this up more than is sensible. There will be a full report in approximately 121 minutes.

Tue, 15 Jul 2008
Review: Hancock

Don't even read this unless you've seen the film. Srsly. I'm not even going to try and separate the spoilers from the chaff*.

First off, I really liked Hancock. I'd see it again. Charlize Theron does good work with what is in the end, three different roles and Will Smith plays it well. Predictably, but well.

There were two points however, at which the story failed for me and unfortunately they occurred quite close together towards the end, so I came out thinking a little bit, huh?

The internal logic, if you think about it for just a minute really comes unglued. They're both Angels I think? And they both have the same powers (well, very similar). Conceived as pairs I get, yet later they are described as opposites. What about them is opposite? Male, female, black, white? But we're all taught these days that those are not very great differences at all. Not so much that when they get together they become mortal. What's the sense in that? They're conceived as pairs of great strength to come to earth and... live as humans? I don't get it. So why do they stay together? Some irresistible love for each other? But that's contradicted by the ending, where they're perfectly happy living separate lives with Ray and the eagle. (The eagle was cool. Pointless, but cool!)

More distracting for me though than broken logic was the way we were expected to keep up with Angel's (stoopid name btw) changing loyalties without any good reason. She's a committed partner and parent. Check, I bought that. Then, as soon as she's challenged she dons the Outfit of Sexy Eeevil (dark mascara, tight pants, plunging neckline). For what? Because she feels threatened? I would have believed this more if she'd stayed in her sundress and sandals and got really angry. But if we stay this course while they destroy the city around them we can only infer that she must be a baddie. So when Angel comes to Hancock in the hospital and talks at him about how great they used to be, how can I accept that change in character? I can't. They're just words! Why does he even believe her?

And here's where I indulge in one of my How to Improve a Will Smith film diatribes.

Angel has faced Hancock and they're wrecking the joint. As they do so he's becoming more and more mortal (staying with the faulty logic). He gets pummelled by a few buildings, has a concrete mixer dumped on top of him and he begins to remember. He remembers being with her in Greece, Miami or wherever. Via flashbacks we can see all that stuff that Angel spouts off in the hospital about their life together - the sword fight, the fire. We see how he gets injured whenever she's around. All this time he can believe she's his sister. Then we can still get the reveal at the same time as Ray at the house, they can still do the liquor store attack, which becomes even more pathetic because it's such a petty crime. Finally, at the hospital, she can come back, not to exposition us to death, but to apologise to Hancock for leaving him in the dark for eighty years. Then (and this is the good part) when they're both busy dying and Hancock leaps out of the hospital to save her life it Means Something. It shows that he forgives her and that he accepts the life she's chosen with Ray. I could see that his attempting to fly down the street was supposed to be the big moment in the film, with the rousing music and all, but it just didn't work because of the lack of emotional resonance behind it.

Also, the two codas were shit. Coulda lived without them.

Did I mention I liked the film? It's loads of fun. I like new superheroes and I like the gratuitous destruction of freight trains, so yay!

*I mean wheat. It's all finest quality wheat here.

Fri, 23 May 2008
Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Not so much a movie as a catalogue of past Lucas and Spielberg productions. You can have fun with a catalogue though, known territory and all that.

Spoiler follows in white text:

I was sitting there towards the end thinking, but what about Close Encounters? And there was the frickin' space ship! Why would inter-dimensional creatures need a flying ship?


Thanks, Cam!

Wed, 14 May 2008
The Ruby in the Smoke

I just saw an ad for a BBC production of Philip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke that will air this Sunday on ABC1 at 8.30pm. How did I not know this had even been made? It stars Billie Piper (from Doctor Who) and Julie Walters (Educating Rita, Billy Elliot) and has been adapted by Adrian Hodges (Rome). Looks like more of the Sally Lockhart Mysteries will follow. I've only read one of the books - and not one where she plays a major role - but we all love Pullman, right? and Sally's a great character.

Anyway, could be good, could be bad. Only one way to find out.

Wed, 19 Mar 2008
RIP Anthony Minghella

Anthony Minghella is being remembered today for his directing achievements - in a not very long list of released films he has directed 5 actors to Oscar nomination and took one for himself for The English Patient. But I'm mourning the loss of his writing. Among other things he wrote the scripts for the highly acclaimed Jim Henson's The Storyteller and Greek Myths series*. Beautiful work.

*And some Grange Hill. How cool is that?

Sun, 16 Mar 2008
Lost Boys 2 trailer - Lost the plot?

The trailer for the sequel to Lost Boys, Lost Boys: The Tribe can be seen here, along with, if you can stand it, five clips of Corey Feldman telling us how great it, and in particular, his character is, in it.
How terrible is that sentence? Did you see the trailer yet?

It's either sheer genius that they have so many of the original characters and cast members in it (plus Keifer's half-brother Angus Sutherland) or complete garbage. Also worth noting is that a large chunk of the target audience for the genre were not born when the original film was released (1987 - I feel old).

It looks like a good candidate for Cheapass Tuesday.

Tue, 26 Feb 2008
Coraline Teaser.

Just making sure you have all seen this.

2008 Oscars - My word counts for nothing.

Helen Mirren has twinkly sleeves. They're a bit distracting. Do I even have to say that my pick is Johnny Depp? Never a genre film though...Is he chewing gum?! That's disgraceful. See? Chew gum = No prize for you.

It's now 11:52 and another ad-break. Bastards.

Best Director. I zoned out. That's the Coens again, yeah?

The Eightieth Best Picture......Atonement? Juno? Either of those is good.

No Country For Old Men. See now that's _another_ Best Picture that I haven't seen. *sigh*

Is that the end? It is officially tomorrow now, so, can I go to bed?

Sorry about all the whinging. Next year I'll do it with alcohol and increased amounts of chocolate. That'll make me feel better about the whole thing anyway.

Going now! *waves* G'night!

Mon, 25 Feb 2008
2008 Oscars - The last one I swear.

So what's left? Best Actor, Director, Foreign Film and Director. So that means they'll keep stretching it. I predict an 11.47 end time. Because we all know how good my predictions are.

Oh and Cimena-cinen-I can do this... Cinematography too. *crosses fingers, whispers Atonement* Still can't do it.

That's some good shoulders on Hilary Swank. Silly tizzy bit, though.

Oh, the sad bit. Worst are the actresses that died in old age, but they only show footage of their early work, so it looks like all these young things have keeled over.

See there's an ad for Run, Fatboy, Run. It's better than that, I promise.

Now they're trying to cheer everyone up again with the song that didn't win an Oscar.

Original Score - another award I forgot about. I bought the Atonement soundtrack. That says something, right? WOOOOOOH! Picks another winner!

Documentary Feature. I think my prediction of 11:47 is way off. This won't end until tomorrow.

Can't anyone make an award nominatable documentary about something uplifting?

So who's that other woman up there? Stealing limelight methinks.

My eyes have glazed over. It's Indy! Screenplay... Juno? Please? It deserves something surely? YeeeeeHaaaaaa!!! Another win for me... I mean Diablo Cody! Best onstage tatt.

My cat has lost the plot again. He's probably wanting me to turn the tv off so he can go to sleep. He's that kind of a cat.

2008 Oscars - Where are the dresses?

I know I missed the whole red carpet thing, but I'm really not getting anything from the outfits this year. Where are the kilts? The pant-suits? The tulle? It's all so tasteful.

Colin Farrell doesn't want to be there either. I wonder what he slipped on. Does Jon Stewart not get toilet breaks?

Another tame dull song. Speaking of toilet breaks...

Hey there's a voice over behind all that music. I wonder if it's saying anything good?

I have seen shamefully few of these Best Pictures. Not even Casablanca! I know! What am I doing?

I'm counting genre films - one (you figure it out!), unless you want to count Ben Hur and fantasies like Titanic. Plenty of musicals though.

Editing. Oh probably The Bourne Ultimatum again. OH YES! Picks a winner! *punches air*

Nicole Kidman: Wins the necklace award, gives a lifetime achievement award to the oldest member of the Academy yet to get one.

When Robert Boyle said "Hitch" did you all picture Wil Smith? Yes, you know you did.

Half an hour to go...but there are stacks of awards to go!

Another Enchanted song... Bit light on musicals this year?

John Travolta could be a spokesman for Grecian Formula.

Best Song....not one from Enchanted. Well of course not. Couldn't be something fun and cheerful could it?

Time to post again? Oh alright.

2008 Oscars - Nothing happens

The bald man on the television is telling me I've never been wealthier. What does he know that I don't?

I'm not getting any comments... I guess this means you're all far too clever and are doing something worthwhile. Like sleeping!

The "When the Writers Go On Strike Award" (ducks - no really! I jest!) Atonement should get it. Three strikes.

Need more water....I guess someone made a speech?

Oh, this is the rules part.... I hope the Ditmar committee is taking notice.

Even Jon is bored. The less funny he is the bigger his smile gets.

Song the third. This must be the song and dance routine. So sad. Balloons. About a thousand too few. Why couldn't the actress from the film do this number? Cause a Toni winner can't sing about vermin and hair in the bathtub?

I'm nodding off... the couch is so comfy.... my head is so stuffy...snore.

The Bourne Ultimatum should _not_ get the award for sound. I remember it being confusing. See that!?!?! See how I simply cannot pick Oscar winners? It's a great skill.

OK, maybe this is the one that The Bourne Ultimatum shouldn't get. Did a horse just explode? Transformers for the win. Crap, I should put money on how much I suck at this.

An hour to go? I don't know if I can do it.

Alright, let me try this another way. Ellen Page is not going to win this award, even though I want her to. I was right that time. *grins*

I think Marion Cotillard was happy to get the award, no?

2008 Oscars - This was a bad idea.

Have you seen the pile of books I could be reading now?

More books I have not read

That's 178cm of books. Yet I sit here instead learning to differentiate the different colours of cleaning fluid.

OK enough with the grumpy. I just saw Run, Fatboy, Run, the new Simon Pegg movie. It's great fun! Easily on a par with Hot Fuzz. Perfect date movie too - it's a romcom, but filled with gruesome visual jokes.

Right, they're back.

See, even Jon knows the montages are not funny. Or entertaining.

Song 2. Wait. Didn't someone already do that?

Is it my speakers or is the sound off? No, it's them.

But, hey, broke out the budget with this. More than four people on the stage.

Here are the interesting films that most of us will never get a chance to see. Winner is the one with the cute kid in it. Isn't it always the way?

Ugh. Animated Seinfeld.

More interesting shorts. I'd love to see Peter and the Wolf (and the others) I had the music as a kid and I now have a version narrated by, oh, someone famous. Damn.

More montages. You really can't do anything without writers can they?

Golden Age of Cinema, alive? hmmm. I'll have to think on that one.

I call it for Saoirse Ronan. (I actually have a cheat sheet for the spelling on that one.) Another miss :-(

2008 Oscars - The cat is insane

My cat that is. Meowing at air.

What's with the weird shoulder things everyone's wearing?

Seeing what they actually did with the makeup is good. La Vie En Rose gets a prize! My dad'll be happy with that.

This is the "We're sorry about the Freedom Fries thing" Award.

Songs - usually a painful part of the evening. This is my pick though. Cute!

Needs dancers. Also cockroaches.

More reminscinces. I'm sure it's lovely for _them_.

Trying not to post during every ad break. Don't want to get to keen too early. Hours to go yet. I wonder if there's any chocolate.....yes! But not much. Will have to ration.

I'll have you know this is a Threadless t-shirt, Jon.

Dwayne who? Familiar face. Is he usually shirtless?

SFX. They all win, I say. But especially Transformers.

Hooray, my first miss for the evening! This is the science fiction award isn't it? Do genre films ever get anything more than FX and costuming awards?

No, cat you may not sit on me.

Art Direction. My pick is Sweeney Todd, but only because Atonement is going to win everything else.

OMG I picked it! And in case you were wondering, no, I have no idea what the results are before the telecast. What would be the point if I did?

How many shots of Johnny Depp can we fit in to someone else's result.

Oh, Cate is a dog. hilarious.

What is this _every_ past winner? *yawn*

Night of the Godawful Dress. In cinemas this summer.

Supporting actor...I pick... um... who are these guys?

2008 Oscars - Did I Miss Anything?

OK, I'm here. Just caught the end of Jon Stewart's intro. Was it funny? Well it certainly didn't end in hysterics. Plenty of time for him to warm up though.

Costume Design. Never going to be a controversial category. Pretty though!

George Clooney. It's long. The Oscars trot down memory lane. Cheeeapppppp. Where are the big production numbers nowadays?

Crap, I'm bored already.

So here's what I have in preparation for tonight. A glass of water, a packet of medicated throat lozenges and a sore throat. woooooh.

iPhone joke. Ugh.

I think I saw Justine Larbalestier comment earlier today that Anne Hathaway's outfit was hideous. She was right!

Scripted commentary. Less funny. Vomit joke.

Please don't give this award to Ratatouille.

Double Ugh.

Sun, 24 Feb 2008
Fair Warning

The Oscars telecast is on tomorrow night and you know what that means? Yep, live blogging. For those unaware, I have over-blogged the Oscars for the last two years and also in 2003. Tragically I have a free preview of Run, Fatboy, Run to go to beforehand, so the sniggering and snarking will begin a little late. Also, I think I'm getting a cold, so it may be even more incoherent than usual.

Tune in at 8.30pm to Channel Nine and I will tell you what Richard Wilkins keeps under his hair. Wooh! Bring on the frocks!

2007 Commentary - Part One, Two, Three , Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve.

2006 Commentary summary.

2003 Commentary summary.

For those reading this on the Livejournal feed, brace yourselves, there won't be any cuts.

Thu, 14 Feb 2008
The dreams in which I'm dying

Anyone else weirded out by the bedding company that's using Gary Jules' Mad World in their ads?