Saturday, December 19, 2009


Plot summary here

This is the most fun I had in a movie theatre all year.
It's hilarity is beyond what I expected and is actually (quite) scary at times. Ok laugh.

This is probably the only time I will complain that a movie was too short. I didn't want the fun to end.

The actors have fantastic comedic timing and the characters, although not very three dimensional, are still interesting enough so that you care for them.

Everything about it worked so well, the set of rules that one character lays out in the beginning, and is constanly referred to thorughout the film, was an effective device and also provided some laughs. The cameo in the middle was the highlight of the whole movie and the the setting of the ending perfectly encapsulates what this film is all about, a tremendously enjoyable rollercoaster ride.

RATING: 9/10

Friday, December 18, 2009


This is my Penguin Classics challenge. It's very simple, I just pick up a book included in the classics list from Penguin it. First up is Moby Dick by Herman Mellville.

It's big. It's fat. It's a whale of a book. Pun intended.

And it's intimidating.

Some people absolutely love it. Some surrender halfway through. Some think it's a complete waste of time.

But I am going to bravely tackle Moby Dick. If I manage to finish, that could be my excuse for cracking open War and Peace and Les Miserables. But we'll get to that later on.

For those who don't know what the book is about, it's basically the story of a whaleman who goes out to sea to pursue a whale. Yeah I know, it sounds really boring. It's full of whale/sea talk but thankfully there is a glossary of terms in the back.

So, I'm currently on page 50, chapter 9. So far so good. The central character is compelling enough for me to keep turning the pages and it's actually quite funny. But it's still the beginning, he's not even out at sea yet, so I guess the most challenging bits are still ahead of me. Wish me luck.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

FILM REVIEWS: Antichrist

Directed by Lars Von Trier

A nameless couple, He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) retreat to a cabin in the woods to grieve the loss of their young son. After falling from a window, while the couple have sex in the other room.

This film caused controversy when it screened in Cannes. People boo-ed the film, while others passionately applauded it. Where I sit, I still don't know. And I don't think I'll ever know.

This is a very difficult film to digest, I was almost in physical pain the whole way through. It played like an arthouse horror film. But it's the kind of horror that I've never experienced before, and one that I hopefully will not experience again. It's like a demon that sits on your shoulders and takes away all the happiness and hope inside of you. Or like a dementor from Harry Potter, you know, the creepy hooded monsters that suck all the joy right out of you.

After walking out of the film, I felt scarred. It's not the kind of film one would want to see again or buy the dvd for all their loved ones for Christmas. I can't even define what it's purpose was other than to be so relentlessly brutal to its audience.

But I have to admit that Lars von Trier is one heck of a talented auteur. The images he creates are so beautiful it could potentially make your heart stop. But the reason for your heart stopping might not just come from the beauty of the image but also the horror of which it represents.

If "Antichrist" was a person, it would be the popular, bitchy one at school. The one that everybody worships but secretly hate. They're beautiful but so utterly nasty and vile.

Trier has mastered the technical aspects of filmmaking but I find him so frustratingly immature. In the press conference after the screening of the film in Cannes, when the journalists direct a question at him, he answers it either with a joke, an incomplete answer or he seeks help from the actors sitting beside him. And for a filmmaker who just created a film with such heavy subject matter and who is unable to justify the reasons and the purpose of the film makes me wonder if he really did place a lot of thought towards the work or if he just made it to create a reaction.

RATING: ??/10

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What I'm DYING to see in the cinema

It sucks living in Australia, having to wait for so long for movies to get here from the US. Luckily, one of the most anticipated films of 2009, Avatar, is getting an earlier release here Down Under. So I cannot wait to see that, but it's quite hard to convince people to see it with me as the trailer makes it look stupid. Surprisingly, given the hype that it has, not a lot of people are aware of the film.

It is now referred to as the "blue people" movie because the title "Avatar" causes too much confusion as people automatically assume I'm talking about "Avatar: The Last Airbender" which is another movie coming up.

Another movie I'm dying to see is the AUSTRALIAN horror film: "The Loved Ones" (I'm so stupid I didn't see it when it was out here. Imdb says it was theatrically released in Australia in July. Damn). You know, the movie that got a lot of buzz after winning the Midnight Madness Award in the Toronto Intl Film Festival. After that, the buzz just dissipated, and it's not even getting a dvd release, as far as I know.

New Zealand director Jane Campion's new film, "Bright Star" is another one I'm excited about and I've already got a pass for it. Yay! But I have to wait till January. In preparation before seeing the movie, I'm going to read a sample of John Keat's works as I'm only familiar with the butterfly one.

Another director hailing from the beautiful country of New Zealand, Peter Jackson, has "The Lovely Bones" coming up, based on the novel of the same name by Alice Sebold. I read the book and I can't wait to see how it is translated into film. I've been monitoring reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and it seems that people have mixed feelings about it. I don't care though, it's still Peter Jackson, so as a New Zealander, it's practically a New Zealand citizen's duty to see this film.

What are your current movies to-see. Any that you are so excited about that you watch the trailers over and over again and get you even more hyped about it?? (maybe it's only me who does this). Any small, indie movies that I should be aware of that are coming out in the next two months?
Posters from Imp Awards

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Favourite Regina Spektor Songs

Have you ever walked past a music store, or sat down to see a movie and suddenly a song comes on.

You're not familiar with the music, it's the first time you've heard it, but something about it draws you to it, sucking you in like a vortex. Every thought and action ceases, and for that brief moment, you realise beauty.

The moment after, when you get your consciousness back, you realise that it's not the melody, or the beat, but the voice. The organic musical instrument, the voice, triggers something primal within you.

Very few musicians have the voice possessing the ability to stir me. A few I can think of in my head are Bjork, Roisin Murphy, and Ella Fitzgerald. But the most recent one who I've only started listening to is Regina Spektor.

Her song 'Hero' is just beautiful, I love how its so repetitive, as if she's trying to embed the message of the song upon us, and us not really listening. I love the playful bvvvvv after "open wide here comes original sin" like how a child gives up after they tire of explaining something.

'Samson' is incredibly heartbreaking and it highlights a kind of love that is simple and basic, something that we gradually lose over time in all our relationships.

'Eet' is very left off-centre, very unusual and produces a question mark, everytime it is played. But it is still just as beautiful.

Everyone has different preferences to the kind of voice that we want to hear. Soo, which musicians, thinking just about their voice, have an emotional and/or personal hold over you?

ART SAMPLES: My Digital Art on "Fame/Celebrity"

The following are some pieces I did on the subject of fame and celebrity. Heavily inspired by Andy Warhol and the pop art movement. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks! Sorry they're a bit small. Don't really know how to make them bigger.


"Red Carpet"

"The Walk to Fame"
"Fame in a Can"


Note: Please do not reproduce, duplicate or copy any of the above images without my permission.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Set in the 'Community', a world where free will and choice is so strictly controlled that it's almost non-existent, in exchange for a society where everyone is free from pain, suffering and hurt - numb. This is a sci-fi adventure of a boy who discover that dark and distrurbing events can happen amongst a seemingly perfect world.

This is currently on my top ten books of all time. I hate to sound cliche but this book truly changed my life. It was a harrowing experience to read this as the story itself was quite disturbing but it made me appreciate a lot of the things that I took for granted in my life. With all the horrible things going on around the world, this book made me utterly grateful to live in a society that harbours freedom and choice.

I would recommend this to everyone I know, it's just one of those books that you have to read at least once in your lifetime, it's not hard as it's a fairly short book, so it's very easy to digest - you can easily finish this in one night. Please, do yourself a favour and read this book.

You'll love this if you liked the film Pleasantville and/or the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Book cover from: Cover Browser

Sunday, December 6, 2009


RATING: 7.5/10

9 (not to be confused with the upcoming musical Nine) is an animated film set in the aftermath of a war that destroyed pretty much everything on the planet. The story centres on a group of burlap dolls who have come to life and are trying to survive in a place where destructive machines roam and where life is very bleak, and seemingly hopeless.

The animation of this film, to be an honest, took some time to get used to. At first, I felt like I was watching a video game interlude. Fortunately, it did not take long for me to get used to the visuals and I actually started to appreciate it. It was organic and fresh. A breath of fresh air from the Disney/Dreamworks computer animation factory.

On the surface, it's a dark and depressing film but you can't help but fall in love with (some) of these burlap dolls and feel a tiny glimmer of hope for their survival in this cruel, dystopic world. I thought it would be difficult to identify with a bunch of awakened sack puppets, but they had more charm and personality than some people I know. I was very much invested with these characters and it was fun to take this journey with them. It's not a perfect film, it does have its flaws and plot holes. But it's entertaining, with a decent storyline and characters you can easily fall in love with. Much better than some bigger budget films coming out.

RATING: 7.5/10

Screenshots from: Film in Focus
Poster from: Vision 6


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