January 16, 2014
My Best Albums of 2013 (for what it’s worth)
In a rough descending order –
Young Galaxy –Ultramarine
Arcade Fire -Reflektor
The National –Trouble Will Find Me
Atoms for Peace –AMOK
Momus – Bambi
Non – Back to Mono
Ministry – From Beer to Eternity
Pet Shop Boys – Electric
The Knife – Shaking the Habitual
Portugal The Man –Evil Friends
Austra – Olympia
Kirin J Callinan –Embracism
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away.
SNOG – Babes in Consumerland
Erasure – Snow Globe
OMD – English Electric
Polica – Shulamith
Pankow – And Shun the Cure They Most Desire
David Bowie – The Next Day
Depeche Mode – Delta Machine
January 16, 2014
January 16, 2014
on Her. (some mild spoilers): This vacant and deeply solipsistic movie seems like it was dreamed up inside the head of the gadget departments at Apple and Google. It feels like an aspirational style ad for a New Operating System that you can fully interact with. “Like WOW Consumers!” This is fine, sure… but pointless as a feature film. The film rolls out along these lines and then, somehow, goes awry after about 90 minutes and has a kind of soppy, bummer ending. It is in (virtual) reality the fourth film of the much lauded cinematic wunderkind, Spike Jonze. It has received much, almost universal praise from mainstream press and critics – like it is a new film from a recently resurrected Stanley Kubrick. But sadly this is not the case. It is the empty and dull story of a man called Theodore Twombly, who is a dickless nobody who writes greeting cards and letters and lives in some ‘five minutes in to the future’ version of LA/Malaysia. Ted instead of jerking off to net porn and dating a real human being gets some new OS from Apple or Google (Coming Soon for just 666.66$) and then falls in love with it. One hour of pointless navel gazing follows where you want to walk up to Joaquin Phoenix or Spike Jonza, slap their faces and demand they read the works of Martin Heidegger or Friedrich Nietzsche. Audio book versions for Spike Jonze as, apparently, he ‘doesn’t read’. Then it descends in to the aforementioned tawdry melodrama – The End. We saw this before with Andrew Nichols (flop) film SimOne from the early 00’s and this is the rehash. Has a subplot riffing on Jonze’s break up with Sofia Coppola – that seems to be about the only ‘real thing’ in this movie. The mise en scene and locations are impressive and original, that is only stand out aspect of this film I can give it praise for, but it is all just background. This film is, at it’s core, just a lame ass Romance Movie about a guy falling in love with his latest AI iPhone (available in the lobby 999.99$). That’s all. That’s it. That’s supposed to be profound. It’s not. It’s empty as the phone you have in your hand right now, and the lives many of us all revolve around it. It’s also meant to be some supposed critique of our technological isolation and loneliness. It does touch on this theme, but does so in a way that totally sells this lifestyle, also. The film is insidious in it’s embrace of this atomized lonely world of technological solipsism – even if it also acknowledges some down sides in the small print. No doubt fixable by some new individualizing app! Overall I found Her a trite and unsatisfying light sci fi romance romp for the hand gadget obsessed and alone, New Gen worker clones. Not unpleasant to watch, it washes over you in a quiet way – but a sense of cinematic dread and despair also fills you as the 2 hours of this film play themselves out, as you realize, people really do LOVE this SHIT and are that shalllow. Download that, suckers.
November 14, 2013
Joe Blow plays Monsterfest. Thanks to Neil Foley, Grant Hardie and the Monster Team.
From the Monstser site:
Actor and Independent filmmaker Michael Tierney enters the world of pornography to become porn star Joe Blow. He travels the world many times over and works with all the top female stars. But after five years in the business, he finds getting out a lot more difficult than he expected.
Ticket’s can be booked here:
September 16, 2013
The MUFF 14 Awards results. Winners are Grinners.
OZ and International –
Best Film (Tie) – Jugular (dir: JJ DeCeglie) & Thanatomorphose (dir: Éric Falardeau)
Runner Up Best Film – Model Behaviour
Best Director – JJ DeCeglie
Best Male Actor – Gregory Pakis – for Jugular & The Joe Manifesto
Best Female Actor – Lindsay Lohan – The Canyons
Best Supporting Male Actor – Don Baker – The Late Men
Best Supporting Female Actor – Samira Amira – Model Behaviour
Special Jury Prize – The House Cleaner – director Timothy Spanos
Best Guerrilla Film – Made in Australia – Director Matt Pastor
Best Documentary – Burn – directors Tom Putnam and Brenna Sanchez
Award for Innovation in the New Cinema – The Late Men – director Van Poynton
Best Screenplay – Bret Easton Ellis (The Canyons)
Best Short Film (Tie) – Butterflies (dir: Isabel Peppard) and Year of the Golf Ball (dir: David Thrussell)
Runner Up Best Short Film – The Side Entrance
Best Short Director – Chris and Robert Smellin. (She’s Having a Baby & Last Night)
Best Screnplay Short – Seamus Ryan and Michael Taylor – The Side Entrance
Best Male Actor in a Short Film – Seamus Ryan – The Side Entrance
Best Female Actor in a Short Film – Maya Jean – Ravenous
Best Foreign Film – The Canyons
Best Foreign Director – Paul Schrader – The Canyons
Best International Short – The Child, the Woman and The Men
August 13, 2013
I’m over ‘the Other’. People always accuse everything of being racist, so I’m having a little go at it and accusing the concept of ‘the Other’ as being counter intuitively racist. In what sense are foreign people ‘other’? Are we not just as ‘other’ to them, also? It seems to me to be a crit theory lazism catch phrase and magic ‘give me a grant’ wand that supposedly embraces foreignness and diversity. When I was in Uganda, I did not see the people I met or hung out with who were African as Other – I saw them as human beings – plain and simple. Often in a shitty country, run by corrupt officials and thieves our Government is well in bed with. Ricky Anyway Richards, my ‘brother from another Mother’ in Uganda was a just a bush bloke, former LRA soldier and now a peace worker. He was doing a good job, but he was human and smart too and he could see through the ‘otherness’ bullshit and our Western hypocrisies. There is no ‘other’. There is only people, regions, power, geopolitics and the way things are on the ground. There is much we can do to make foreign lands more prosperous and to flower in their own unique way- and to really help people – etc – and ditching the idea that they are ‘other’ might be a good start. They are not exotic and strange, even if they may appear so at times to us. They are simply themselves and their culture, as we are ours. Difference reigns, equality is a nice concept, but as anyone knows who has traveled, it is not exactly a reality.
August 13, 2013
The Rocket looks a bit lame – it’s not really an Australian film. The same filmmakers who made their kitchen sink dramas no one wanted to see are now getting their Screen Australia Travel vouchers and going all Orientalist and ‘other’ as they examine and ‘come to be one’ with foreign cultures – ohmmm – in films no one really wants to see. No doubt in between their five star hotels and full body massages, naturally. I should see it to be sure – but it looks a bit like a PC white guilt ‘don’t we just love the ‘other” and aren’t we so foreign and exotic outing. Go on a OS holiday and get the same feeling.
I think when foreigners – like Australians – go to a foreign land and feel they are somehow spiritually connected to it by making a work of art there – they are often deluded. We all love travel. It’s one of life’s great pluses. But don’t kid yourself your connected to the plight of Laos or Cambodia or China or whatever. You are not. And the people who live there would tell you that to your face if they could articulate the disgust they must secretly feel at your barely repressed Colonial fantasies and pretentiousness.
August 13, 2013
I hope you all picked up the Yeats reference of Tread Lightly or Softly – because you tread on my dreams (He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven) – from the new Breaking bad episode. From Whitman to Yeats – that’s the arc. Breaking Bad is a tragedy, even though Walt has crossed over to Macbeth territory – it is still tragic and sad what wake his dreams have wrought. I think the key idea of Breaking Bad is that of Meta Tragedy. Not necessarily that of Walter White, but us – wasted potential, wasted generations, wasted civilization, wasted History, wasted conquests – like Ozymandias – “look upon our works ye mighty and despair. ” The Tragedy is Us. http://whatculture.com/tv/amc-release-breaking-bad-ozymandias-trailer.php
August 13, 2013
Spoke to a number of different people at MIFF about the films they saw. Most said the fest played films that rank about 5 or 6 out of ten. With a few exceptions of course. I have noticed a dulling of taste and curation in art and Indy film circles of late. People like safe and mediocre things. Even in genre and geek land these days. Things that do not challenge or stand out too much. Things that are somehow a little passionless and lifeless. I have noticed this trend in other festivals outside MIFF – of it’s ilk and caliber. And a dulling of the critical mind and even a sense of outrage. Look at that film The Act of Killing – that is essentially a collaboration with genocidal maniacs who still heavy Chinese people who they once massacred – IN the film. This is a sick film on many levels. Sicker than any Horror fiction like Human Centipede and Serbian Film. The film subtly normalizes genocide. And the art house and fest circuit lap up this repulsive dreck – mostly without a peep. That’s an odd case, sure – but many other films at MIFF and those that play at many other festivals are just so, so. They lack passion, a directorial or authorial voice, they are gimmicky and niche driven, they lack something to say in general and are a kind of like an ersatz cinema – not as interesting or confronting or original as the the cinema that moved me in the 70’s to the 90’s. Cinema has died and Cinema 2.0 is in it’s birth stages. It’s a critical time to foster authentic and independent voices and help bridge the aesthetic crisis of the art itself. Thoughts?