peteg's blog - noise - movies

The Killing

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Classic Stanley Kubrick. Sterling Hayden is Johnny Clay, on his way to being Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper, and later Captain McCluskey. Coleen Gray adds some Howard Hawks sass: a lady out of time.

The Dark Knight Rises

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I'd forgotten great swathes of this. Cotilard's character makes even less sense on this second time around. Hathaway steals every scene she's in. #64 in the IMDB top-250.

The Dark Knight

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Far superior to the first one. #4 on the IMDB top-250, up four places since I last saw this in 2012. I haven't seen Aaron Eckhart in anything since Sully. I'm pretty sure that Bale drives his Lamborghini down Lake, along which I used to ride my bicycle.

Batman Begins

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It's amazing what they don't do with CGI. Chicago stars while Bale attempts to turn the comic book into something more. Still #117 in the IMDB top-250.

Destiny Turns on the Radio

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I saw this an age ago, probably on VHS. It is proof that while Tarantino can talk himself into almost anything, he cannot act. Elements of it uncreatively reflect the supernatural themes of the day (cf Twin Peaks, The X-Files and so forth).


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The 9pm session at the dear old Chauvel. I had dinner at Pinocchio Sushi; traffic was ridiculous between the Park Hyatt and the Eastern Distributor tunnel, but Anzac Parade was empty. They'd shut their coffee machine down by the time I got there, so I went to Mickey's and got a takeaway. Four people and me in the theatre.

This was something of a farewell for Harry Dean Stanton and plays like an indulgent episode of the Twin Peaks reboot; David Lynch is here, maudlin about the desert and his missing tortoise, while Stanton finds solace with minority ladies (not so very different to the role Mexico played in movies like Born on the Fourth of July) and picks fights with middle aged men. There are war stories with another WWII vet in a diner, and something is made of the smoking bans in bars. This is almost exactly the kind of movie Clint Eastwood would not make.

Jeannette Catsoulis was more tolerant of this tosh than I was.

Yellow Submarine

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I thought I saw this at the Valhalla in Glebe in 2002 or so, but maybe I didn't. The art and animation remains somewhat entertaining, but as I get older I'm starting to wonder if The Beatles were all that.

The Beguiled

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Sofia Coppola's latest. It is entirely meh. I had some hopes that she'd learnt from the Koreans; Kidman was quite good in this sort of role in Stoker, though there she had a far better male (played by Matthew Goode) to rub up against than Colin Farrell, who is essentially a cliched volatile lettuce. Here the photography is dank, the females all a-quiver, the plot entirely predictable, the twist so coldly plausible you wonder why they bothered, and if there was time enough for a proper shock. Kirsten Dunst would be better of re-hitching her star to von Trier. Elle Fanning is no more than a haughty stereotype that I'm sure she's played before. I wonder if the original (a Clint Eastwood vehicle) is much chop; the IMDB rating is higher at least.

J. Hoberman. Dana Stevens.

Mumon: The Land of Stealth

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With Dariusz, Amy and a friend of hers, 7.15pm, opening night of the Japanese Film Festival — with speeches that pushed the start time back by 30 minutes or more. Beforehand I wasn't hungry so I just sat on an Asahi as Dariusz ate sushi at the sushi train next to the remaining George St cinema.

This is something of a reinvention of the ninja genre, in roughly the same way that Guy Richie relaunched (and relaunched) the English lad flick a few decades back. The tropes are in short supply and the parallels with modern grasping, materialistic society could have been left implicit. I didn't understand the final "river" fight scene; it didn't strike me that anyone had any honour left. The indomitable prefecture reminded me of the Gauls in dear old Asterix. It's finely made and fun, but I don't think it's enough to claw back the cinematic high ground long occupied by Korea.

Logan Lucky

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Soderbergh's resumption after retiring from this kind of thing a few years back. I guess it was the money, for this is a tepid warm over of his standard heist formula. Like Baby Driver, there are some clever bits, but most of those smarts went into the marketing. It's somehow absorbing though. I enjoyed Adam Driver's droll performance, and Channing Tatum was robust. Daniel Craig phoned it in. Riley Keough (grandsprog of Elvis) never had to go up against Katie Holmes in the trashy stakes. The outro with Hilary Swank was excruciatingly predictable.

A. O. Scott. Dana Stevens.

The Running Man

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Vintage B-Movie Arnie, somewhen inbetween Conan and Terminator 2. Apparently based on a Stephen King novel, but really a threadbare variation on Terminator and relentlessly mediocre. The kill-'em-all-dead game show hasn't come to pass in 2017 (yet) but too many movies have milked the premise in the interim. Maria Conchita Alonso vamps things up, and is often thrown around in a most un-PC way by various males. Jesse Ventura is bigger than Arnie (?). Dweezil Zappa tries to make out like Che. I saw this ages ago and remembered it for Arnie's one-liner about the loudness of his shirt.

Boogie Nights

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Last seen an age ago.

The Snowman

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Palace Cinemas opened some new theatres recently at Central Park (the old Carlton Brewery) on Broadway, on level 3 of the generic highrise. The theatres are numbered in neon and open directly onto the mezzanine; there was no security as near as I could tell. I got a ticket for the 6:45pm session from the machine for $16.00 + 0.74 credit card fee. The screen was dinky. The seats are huge. I chose C1 but moved to B5 or so when the people sitting next to me started talking after things started, only to find everyone talked throughout.

Unfortunately this is a movie that cannot be ruined; see Manohla Dargis for why. I'd just add that the climactic scene is totally borked, and the short is far better. The best part was a trailer for Sally Hawkins's new effort with Guillermo del Toro: The Shape of Water. The plot looks a bit dire but, and Michael Shannon is better than that.

Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest)

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Tigôn told me that she'd seen this one in the cinema in Hồ Chí Minh City. It's a Spanish mystery thriller whodunwhat in the modern Gone Girl reverseroo style. Totally fine for what it is.

Blade Runner 2049

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With Dave, Palace Cinemas Norton St, 8:20pm session, $8 each. We almost baled on it due to the Greek Film Festival patrons overflowing the foyer, but after a coffee from downstairs (Moretti) while deliberating a dash to The Ritz, we fronted the hugely inefficient ticket and junk food vending area and squeaked in just as the explanatory text started. This came after my work meeting ran until 7.50pm.

This movie is expansive and I wish I'd seen it on a bigger screen. The music is pure, concussive Hans Zimmer; more Terminator 2 than the Vangelis of the original. Ryan Gosling was totally OK. Harrison Ford didn't have to do much. Dave Bautista is fine. Jared Leto is a long way from decent. I wish Sylvia Hoeks had had more opportunity for character development. Robin Wright leaves me frosty. The plot is mostly adequate, though there are a few holes. (OK, because I can't help myself: if Gosling was who we're led to believe he was, he would have recognised his own DNA sequence in those records.) The aesthetic is generally awesome, except when it gets Mad Max-generic. Unfortunately they blew it in Chinatown, but even so — this is the way to spend your CGI budget.

Anthony Lane. A. O. Scott. Sam Machkovech, like Dave, got caught up in the poem from Vladimir Nabakov's Pale Fire. Dana Stevens. There are three shorts on YouTube on the time in between. Michael Wood.

The Godfather: Part III

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In two sittings with Tigôn. We finished it around lunchtime. This is simply a mashup of the first two and contains nothing new.

The Godfather: Part II

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In two sittings with Tigôn. We finished it in the Termeil Beach day use carpark in the Meroo State Park in the back of Dariusz's car. (A sign said the campground was full; I wonder if that was true. One other bloke had the same idea as us.)


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Palace Cinemas Norton St, $16 + $4.50 for a flat white, 9pm, Theatre 7 (first time upstairs), C5 (good spot, it's small). I only went because I was at something of a loose end after having dinner at the Indian in Coogee.

This is Aronofsky's latest. (The Wrestler I enjoyed, the rest not so much.) He's currently dating Jennifer Lawrence so she's front and centre in almost all frames. Javier Bardem does what he can with a cardboard character. Ed Harris is somehow scrawny and entirely competent as an emphysemic doctor. Michelle Pfeiffer enjoys herself immensely, especially when draping herself on Bardem (and makes this something of a jag from Scarface). There were about five people in the theatre and I wonder if anyone had any idea what was going on.

Anthony Lane: I also enjoyed Pfeiffer's efforts the most. A. O. Scott. I didn't get the humour. Francine Prose. Dana Stevens.

Old Boy (Spike Lee, 2013)

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Over several nights. A strong cast: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Sharlto Copley. A completely unnecessary remake of the Park Chan-Wook original.


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A recommendation from Mum and Glenn Kenny. Over several nights. The cats of Istanbul. Beautiful cinematography, some genuine empathy and amusing stories.