Posts Tagged ‘movies’
Initially, it was just a slightly irritating book title which mixed tenses. Tomorrow, When the War Began.
Then I took the time to read through it, and the sequel, and the one after that and the one after that, all the way up until the seventh. I even read the first instalment of the second series it spawned, but I gave up at that point. Let’s just pretend it was only ever a trilogy, as the original vision went.
So when news of the NZ premiere started trickling in, I entered every competition I could. And wonder of wonders, last week I got an email – I’d won a double pass.
I’ve been to many movie previews before. But I’ve never been to a full on premiere like this, and considering it’s an Australian film, I guess this was almost the equivalent of, say, a London or New York premiere. There were quasi celebs, cameras, interviews. And while I guess it is, as others say, a “kidult” film, at least half of the audience was well out of their teens. These are some well-loved books. (And for some, prescribed high school English novels.)
I won’t talk about how we got there at 7, when the screening was meant to start. Or how we stood and waited for the stars to arrive. Or how our phones were all confiscated. How it was quarter to 8 by the time we were seated inside, or 8 when the lights finally darkened. Or how when it was all over, everyone stampeded to the front of the theatre to scoop up the rest of the unclaimed goodie bags. Some people have no shame.
Instead, I’ll just say that despite the wait, it was a worthy adaptation. The acting, the cinematography, and scenery were all spot on. They knew there was a lot riding on their shoulders, and acknowledged it in an ironic little line about book-to-film conversions- a nice touch.
I don’t recall all the nuances of the first book, but I think the film captured the essence of the novel very well. Basically, it tells the story of seven teenagers who go away on a camping trip and upon their return find that a foreign army has invaded their home and imprisoned their families. Broadly speaking, the first part focuses on characterisation, while the second half of the movie illustrates their fight to survive, and their fight back. Trust me when I say the action scenes are up there with anything American-made.
Minor annoyances – the score, some of the painfully predictable dialogue, and Robyn’s characterisation – it was humorous, yes, but bordering on farcical. And the familiarity of the cast! T immediately recognised Kevin from Home and Away (and so did all the screaming teenage girls); Ellie resembled a darker Emma Watson, Lee was a dead ringer for Heroes‘ Ando, Homer reminded me of Sayid from Lost, and I’m still trying to figure out who Fi’s doppelganger is.
I hope they do well, because the second and third movies would be beyond awesome. And yes, the Australian accents are beyond annoying, but on a global scale, they’re probably easier to understand than ours.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go to the library and track down the books so I can reread them.
I am officially swearing off going to the city cinema on cheap Tuesdays. Odds are, you’re not going to get a seat, because everything fills up so fast. And the lines are insane. And you’re likely to have a breakdown halfway down the queue because the show you wanted to go to is now blinking FULL, as is the one after it and the one after it. And you will be allocated seats in the very front row, making for a very uncomfortable two hours. Instead, we’re going to the Newmarket branch instead, which is just up the road. The branch that we had planned to go to, had the car not randomly died on the street and forced us to bus to the city instead for a later screening.
But I digress. (Iron Man 2 was pretty good, by the way). Among the trailers was a teaser for Tomorrow, When the War Began!!!!!!!!!
Yes, this news deserves multiple exclamation marks. I’m totally excited for this. And, surprisingly, so is the boy. (He’s not a reader AT ALL, and this is one of the few books he’s actually finished.)
For those who don’t know what I’m on about, Tomorrow is the first of a seven-book series. It was originally meant to be a trilogy – and you can tell; the third is so long and jam packed with action, it had me tensed up from start to finish – then the next four books kind of drift downhill. In it, John Marsden tells the story of a group of teenagers who go out camping (I think? Don’t quote me on that) and while they’re out in the bush, some unnamed enemy invades their country. It takes all their wits and resources to stay on the run and elude capture, and even more so when they get all guerilla soldier like and start fighting back. It’s not the most realistic of plots, but I tell you, these books were a bloody good read back in the day.
Who is John Marsden, you ask? He was (is?) an Australian author who wrote a lot of young adult fiction. Personally, I think Marden’s best work was Letters from the Inside - a tale of two penpals, one of whomturns out not to be quite who she says she is. It ends on the most heartwrenching, cliffhangerly note. I’ve never forgotten it.
Anyway. Australian accents aside, this should be a ripper! I can’t wait. According to IMDB, it’s due out in September and stars that achingly beautiful girl who played Wendy in Peter Pan.
When I saw Lord of the Rings 3 at the cinema, the audience (me included) went to get up several times towards the end, thinking it had finally ended. Upon realising there was more to come, we sat our numb asses back down, sighing at the sheer length of the movie, but not wanting to miss the final scenes. I thought that was an epic film, but jeez, Gone With The Wind is right up there alongside it.
My thoughts on the movie, in no particular order:
- It bugged me just how noble and prestigious the war was made out to be (“But don’t you believe in the cause?”) and how the death of the “old south” was mourned (Rhett: “You’re witnessing a moment in history.”) For crying out loud, you guys were fighting for slavery! To keep your black servants – no matter how well you might have treated them, how can you justify this as a cause? OTOH, often war ceases to be about ideology and ends up just being about, well, winning… and destruction. Something which I think also came across in the movie.
- Corsets and pantalettes aside, I almost wish I could swan around in ridiculous gowns and wear frilly hats and gloves all day. There’s something so sassy, so graceful, so elegant about the fashions of the time. (Can’t say the same for the old ladies and their smelling salts). I bet all those layers got mighty hot and heavy in the southern summer, though.
- I despise moustaches. But Clark Gable was actually kind of hot. Makes me want to run out and marry a rich Southern rogue. (Now I feel dirty for typing that.) Also, I want Vivien Leigh’s cheekbones.
- I simply could not believe Scarlett’s pining for the wimpy Ashley. I couldn’t believe that stayed in love with him for so many years and treated Rhett so badly – it was painful to watch sometimes.
- But I was so impressed by her grit and how she was prepared to do whatever it took to get what she wanted. It was sad that she had to marry not for love but to save her home, but women didn’t have much of a choice back then, did they? Normally, these kinds of stories bore me to death – but there was just something gripping about all these characters. Now I completely understand why it’s a classic.
Rating: * * * *
Good fun, but lacking that magical touch.
What can I say? This is Tim Burton. And as always, he delivers a visual extravaganza. Depp’s Mad Hatter tucking Alice safely into a teapot for hiding. Alice riding a bloodhound on her way to save the Hatter. The White Queen concocting a potion made of buttered fingers, among other things.
Some of the original elements are still here: the shrinking potion and the growing cake, the Cheshire Cat and the caterpillar, the flamingo croquet and the mad tea partiers. But it’s not a remake: it’s a retelling, based on the original but set in the future on her second visit to Underland. A visit that turns out to have a very important purpose – restoring the White Queen to her rightful throne.
And that’s where it gets a little boring. After all, that”s not exactly an original storyline. Cute lines like “Sometimes I believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast” help break the monotonous charge towards the grand finale, but not enough to stop us fidgeting a little more than should be expected.
Helena Bonham Carter as the bulbous-headed Red Queen is the standout – a lonely, insecure dictator who wrestles with the question: Is it better to be loved, or feared? Surrounded by a fawning court – all of whom wear prosthetics in order to avoid upstaging her – she gets a giggle out of her two “fat boys” (Tweedledee and Tweedledum), shouting (what else?) “Off with their heads!” and her Jabberwocky.
There’s also plenty of humour peppered throughout – a lot of which centres around the unfortunate ginger lord with food allergies who proposes to Alice and sparks her escape to Underland. Personally, I think she should have stayed there.
Although we paid the extra to watch this in 3D, neither of us were impressed. I wouldn’t recommend it; it’s unnecessary and even a little distracting. It certainly doesn’t add anything to a movie like this – especially when there’s movement on screen which only ends up looking out of focus.
In short, Burton’s Wonderland isn’t as mindblowing as I might have hoped, but it was an enjoyable, if not entirely wild, ride. Now I have to go and rent the original to enjoy all over again.
Serendipity asked me what I was gonna do on my long weekend without the boy around. The answer? Not a hell of a lot. The weather was awful, and I didn’t end up going to the seafood festival – which apparently, wasn’t all that great. The most exciting it got was going down to the pub with a couple of friends to watch the Aussie Open final (and we didn’t get to see the men’s final, as the weather meant it kept getting pushed back). And all that freaking about my imminent death didn’t help.
What I DID do: I watched a hell of a lot of movies and more TV than I can ever remember!
Jersey Girl – possibly Ben Affleck’s best movie ever.
Shopgirl - a bittersweet, too-true slice of life and love. Could have done without the voiceover, though.
The Graduate – ugh. Ugh. UGH.
Cider House Rules – a touching story, but man, that ‘princes of Maine’ line was SO overdone.
The Notebook – bawlworthy. I think the version I watched had a different ending than the one you saw, Red…
Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid – I thought it would be terrible, but it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t see the end, though, so I can’t say for sure. A not half-bad blockbuster.
Gone with the Wind – well, I watched about half of it before falling asleep, seeing as it came on sometime after midnight. You know what? I thought I’d hate it. Scarlett was a spoilt, selfish little brat, and yet I was hooked. The skirts! The hair! (And the butt-ugly hats!) I fell asleep sometime after she decided to stay and help Melanie give birth; the next day I went on Wiki and found out exactly what happened after. Which didn’t sound all that great, but I’m sorry to have missed “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. Also, that moustache did Clark Gable NO favours. And I was slightly perturbed by the portrayal of the war, and of the slaves. But let’s not get started on that.
I’m thinking about signing up to Fatso. I’ve signed up with them before (had 2 free two-week trials) but always cancelled my membership before the grace period ended. I guess I just never rented enough movies/TV series to warrant it.
But now my evenings and weekends are mine, all mine, and I have soooo many movies to catch up on – hopefully I can remember them all – as well as more Buffy, Mad Men (only seen two episodes), True Blood (none) Dexter (a couple) and maybe at some point when I’m REALLY bored, Gilmore Girls, because I definitely missed a lot of episodes towards the end.
One of the things I hate most about borrowing DVDs is late fees. We’re usually pretty good with returning DVDs (although, I wish video rentals were more like libraries – you can return books to any branch library, not just the one where you checked out the book!).
But among T’s family, passing around movies is like a sacred tradition. He’ll get a DVD out, watch it, gush about it, and share it with his mother, sister, brother, whoever. And when money’s at stake, you just can’t rely on others.
For example, his sister racked up a $42 fine on our tab (an overnight movie, returned a WEEK later), his uncle another $24 or so, and once a friend of his “forgot” that he had a game they hired from Video Ezy – bam, $30 fine.
So…I still have a bit of a fear of commitment, but it’s not like a contract; I can cancel at any time. So that just leaves me with the question: which plan?
I don’t know how much I’m actually going to watch. I’m looking at four choices:
- 2 DVDs a month for $9.95 (one at a time),
- 4 DVDs a month for $15.95 (two at a time),
- 6 DVDs a month for $21.95 (three at a time)
- or unlimited for $27.95 (two at a time).
There are two more unlimited packages which let you borrow even more at a time, but I KNOW that’s way overkill.
Tags: money, movies
I liked the movie, I did. The transformers were super freaking awesome (I think inside me lurks a seven year old boy trying to get out). And for the rest of the day, I looked askance at every car, van, truck and crane I passed, half expecting it to whizz and whirr and contort itself into a giant transformer. (I know, overactive imagination).
But it really was super mysogynistic. Megan Fox. Every single scene. And she wore more clothing in the desert than she did in her greasy car workshop. What was up with that? And the robot bitch trying to seduce Sam, and the skanky ho in Astronomy class who, uh, picked up the sleazy professor’s strategically dropped, half eaten apple.
I feel the urge to devolve into some sort of feministing rant. But I’ll restrain myself. I’ll just say that Megan Fox seems like an intelligent person. She was happy, according to interviews, to be shot in tiny shorts and play the sex symbol. It lowers expectations of her. And most of all, it makes her insane amounts of $$$.
Fair enough. At some point it became cool to admit to wanting to make lots of money, no matter what. But how are women ever going to get decent roles in movies, to not be thrown off the heap at the age of thirty, to play leads instead of just support, to stop being the “hot” one and get to perform, legitimately, on their own merit at this rate?
Finally rented the movie on DVD.
Loved it. 4.5/5.
Cate Blanchett was absolutely sumptuous. Her glowing skin, her gleaming red hair…what a siren! And the makeup was amazing. They got that papery, powdery, thin texture just right – her ageing face was done so well. I wasn’t a fan of her mannerisms though, in particular her voice, and her way of speaking. Her accent drove me nuts!
I have a newfound respect for Brad Pitt. I think he’s gotten better with age. It broke my heart when he said “I feel like there’s this whole life I can’t remember”. Other memorable lines: “Will you still love me when I have acne?”
Didn’t like: the hummingbird. The Katrina tie-in (or really, the whole retelling from the hospital bed, but it was needed because Benjamin couldn’t have retold his own demise now, could he?). And that irritating narrative sequence in Paris. And overall it was a tad long – scenes like the “pygmy” excursion could have been cut.
I wasn’t surprised to find the Forrest Gump writer also wrote this script. There were so many parallels.
I loved musicals, Disney films and family happy fare when I was little (as you do!) I used to dress up in cardboard princess tiara and wand and carry my wicker basket, and pretend I was Dorothy. I also liked the flying carpet in Aladdin, but that was harder to imitate.
But I think one of my most fave movies remains the Sound of Music. It was on last night and I only caught the very end of it. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it, but it’s always so familiar to me. Every song. Every scene. How ridiculously sweet and good the children are. The friggin catchy, timeless songs (I don’t think there is a single song in there that ain’t a classic – well the boy might beg to differ, but his ringtone is John Cena’s ring song, so whatever) – My Favourite Things, How do you solve a problem like Maria? Edelweiss, 16 going on 17, even Climb Every Mountain ..though maybe not I Have Confidence, that one was a bit of a bum note. And of course the Lonely Goatherd! Leigh ee oo leigh ee oo leigh!
Of course there were things I didn’t pick up in my younger years. The captain’s slightly condescending, arrogant tone (why did Maria fall for him?). What was up with the lady in blue. Why they were singing as a family on stage and why they had to run, why were there people after them? And why they were on a mountain when it ended?
Of course now I get that it was WWII and they wanted to deploy the captain, and he didn’t believe in it and wanted to stay with the family. However, I really don’t know about walking over the mountains to safety (Switzerland, I presume?) Is that possible? I mean, I’m sure it is, but under the conditions. They fled with literally nothing. They weren’t really dressed for mountain weather (what real mountain isn’t cold and windy and snowy, etc?) There certainly aren’t birds and flowers and grasses and handy footpaths over the alps. What would they eat and drink? They did have seven children after all, one of whom was barely old enough to be at school…
I really would like to know how realistic that whole scene would be!
I cried my eyes out last night at Forrest Gump. I absolutely love that movie. I have a pretty terrible memory, so everytime I watch it it seems fresh and I see new things that I didn’t notice or simply forgot over time. I have to admit I got annoyed a couple of times at the sheer improbability of all the things Forrest was responsible for (busting Watergate, making the famous smiley face logo), but I got over that, because really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Overcoming the odds and doing extraordinary things, despite being an ordinary, somewhat hindered person? I WANT to see Forrest doing well, I WANT to see him succeed, because he’s such a sweet, innocent, kind hearted person, and he deserves everything in the world.
Some of my fave moments of the movie:
“My favourite book!” – Pulling out a book from his son’s bag
“Is he…smart? Or he is like….(me)” – Asking about his son
“He’s just so…smart! He wrote you a letter….I can’t read it, so I’ll just leave it here for you” – Oh, how I cried at this one. Talking to his wife’s grave
“Why don’t you love me? I’m not a smart man…but I know what love is”
“It was the happiest moment of my life” Jenny wading through that gigantic pond thing in Washington to get to him….Incidentally, I am dying to know what the “one thing he had to say” about the war was. Would it be about Bubba? Shrimping? Lieutenant Daim? Ping Pong?
“New legs!” To Lieutenant Daim, at his wedding, followed by “This is my Jenny” – finally, she is!
Naming his boat Jenny, “The most beautiful name in the whole wide world”
“Momma said it was just a little white lie, and wouldn’t hurt nobody” About being sponsored by that ping pong bat company
“Life’s like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” says his mum, to which he tells her she’s so good at explaining things so he understands
Okay…that’s probably enough!
I think I’m just feeling hormonal. I was teary eyed on the bus home, reading the paper and came across this column. Not normally a Colin James fan, but his short yet poignant description of the boy in questions left me damp eyed. Then a few pages on was a feature on the Congo atrocities, where 2 out of 3 women have been raped and the situation is still deteriorating, impossibly enough. Plus a full Africa map with arrows and boxes detailing the humanitarian crises in places like Zimbabwe. It’s all too much. I think about how much needless bloodshed and suffering us humans are inflicting on each other for NO good reason and it’s way too overwhelming. It makes me think how can we celebrate Christmas when this is going on? How can we keep grinding away in our capitalist economies, complaining about traffic and the weather – how can fat cat corporations in all good conscience keep turning massive profits while ignoring the plight of Africa?
What can I do? I’m never going to be one of those souls who devotes their lives to bettering the children of Africa and go over there to live and teach and offer aid, but surely there is something I can do.
Tags: life, movies, social issues