peteg's blog - noise - movies

Incredibles 2

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Opening night at The Ritz, 8:30pm, $10, cinema 4. Packed with people who were born around about the time the first one got released; the MLC "life unchanging" advertisement offered them nothing (yet) and they talked the whole time. I had a quick dinner at Tum's Thai beforehand after staying a bit too late at work.

Bao was the opening short. The crowd laughed all the way through, including at the parts that seem intended to be poignant. Oops. The feature continued the 1960s retro nostalgic aesthetic, when people were just plain awesome(ly good or evil) and America was incontestably great. This was helped along by generous thievery from Bond. I enjoyed it for what it is, which is something less than the first one. The best bits featured baby Jack-Jack and involved no speaking and little politics.

Manohla Dargis. Sam Adams.

The Hudsucker Proxy

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A sometimes-fun piece of Coen brothers fluff. Paul Newman in fine growling form; Jennifer Jason Leigh almost gets there with her His Girl Friday schtick, accent sometimes wobbling; and Tim Robbins has it the toughest as a bumpkin. Second time around.

Mystic River

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An Eastwood jag from Unforgiven. Second time around.

Unforgiven

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Second time around. Vincent Canby reminded me that Eastwood has made a truckload of movies that I've never seen.

25th Hour

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A Spike Lee classic, rated lower than I would have expected on IMDB. Third or fourth time around. A Brian Cox, Anna Paquin jag from X-Men.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

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Same as always. Last seen quite a while back.

X-Men, X-Men 2, X-Men: The Last Stand

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Last seen an age ago, but I mostly remembered how they went. It's been a while since they've progressed the semi-rebooted "first class" storyline.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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Last seen an age ago; something of a jag from Deadpool 2. It's entirely vacuous and somewhat fun, and still makes so little sense.

The Man Who Would Be King

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Second time around with Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer as Kipling. The woman who undoes the King is Shakira Caine, Caine's wife. The gorgeous scenery is in Morocco and Utah, and the French Alps. I'm surprised to find that Kafiristan was a real place. A great story well told.

Intolerable Cruelty

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Second time around with a silly and fun Coen brothers flick.

Hobson's Choice (1954)

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A David Lean jag. Charles Laughton is quite amusing as the dipsomaniac patriarch and owner of a bootmaking shop up Manchester way, ballpark 1880s. Brenda de Banzie is the brainy daughter who makes it all work out in the end. John Mills is a not-very-credible simpleton master craftsman. A very young Prunella Scales (Mrs Fawlty) plays another daughter. Black and White. Fun for what it is.

Doctor Zhivago

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What to do on a cool evening but chug through a David Lean classic for the second time.

No Country for Old Men

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A Josh Brolin jag. Always good to see Woody Harrelson and Kelly Macdonald, and Tommy Lee Jones in the lead. Did Javier Bardem ever reach these heights again? Echoes of Apocalypse Now. Still #159 in the IMDB top-250, at least until the next Marvel event.

Salomé

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Al Pacino directs a stagey, campy filmed production of Oscar Wilde's play, compulsively. It has its moments. Jessica Chastain plays the title character in her first role on film. Roxanne Hart is imperious as her mother the queen, who has similar marital arrangements as in Hamlet. The dialogue is arch and over invested in affect.

Glenn Kenny on this and the companion doco Wilde Salomé just this month, though both films date from half a decade ago. Digging into the archives, Sheryl Lee played Salomé back in Pacino's first attempt in 1992, and Marissa Tomei in 2003.

Deadpool 2

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$10, The Ritz, 9:30pm, cinema 5, opening night. Loads of millenials who got all the pop-cultural references I missed. Some funny bits, especially the mid-credits timeline cleanup. The action was an almost complete waste of time, and the references to other movies doubled down on the lameness. The plot is basically a mild variant of Terminator 2. Chances are the coming Solo flick will be better.

A. O. Scott.

Office Space

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It's been too long but I remembered almost all of it. Hilarious. I see writer/director Mike Judge is responsible for Silicon Valley amongst other things.

Breath

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The Ritz, $10, 9:20pm session, Theatre 3, four rows from the front. Maybe ten people total on this opening weekend. Had dinner at Arthur's for the first time in an age.

This is Simon Baker's passion project: an adaptation of Tim Winton's novel from about ten years ago, set in the 1970s. While it was good to see Rachel Blake (still happily married to Tony Martin?!?) and Richard Roxburgh play a low-key, almost characterless but supportive married couple, the young blokes had to do all the heavy lifting, which was sometimes asking a bit much. Elizabeth Debicki is little more than a passive aggressive flirt. Baker himself is a generic surfing cypher. Apparently Winton did the voiceover. Some of the cinematography is gorgeous (the sea, the towns of Albany and Denmark, ...), and I enjoyed it, but was there anything we hadn't seen before?

The local press were out in force, and as boosterish of the provincial produce as ever. John McDonald is not a fan of Tim Winton, and wishes there were fewer coming-of-age Australian movies. Paul Byrnes. Luke Buckmaster. Jason Di Rosso carefully separates Winton's work from Baker's. David Stratton. The long list of funding agencies reflects the film's troubled history.

Much later: Manohla Dargis.

The Man from Earth

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Still fun on a second viewing.

Avengers: Infinity War

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1:10pm session, The Ritz, $8 'cause Tuesday, beaut day, six rows from the front, hardly anyone there. They're still running heaps of sessions, despite school being back.

The whole thing is a general bummer. Roughly this is what happens when an individual superdude becomes too powerful; played straight, without the plot holes, it would have been even more dire. There is too much credulity and incredulity; Josh Brolin (huge and purple, solid) was doing well on that front until he got to one of the boss levels (which didn't even have a proper boss!) where he bows to ancient, noseless mythology (and where was Hugo?). There are some funny touches, far funnier than the stagy Guardians scenes, such as when Robert Downey Jr knights the latest Spiderman actor, and Thor retaining his taste for Kiwi humour. The hordes are about as interesting as the orcs in Lord of the Rings. And really, who wants to see Wakanda laid waste?

Somehow rated #9 on the IMDB top-250, biggest opening in history, but I don't think it's a classic; it's too much like the first Matrix sequel. I can only imagine a revitalised Wolverine taking the next one anywhere worthwhile.

A. O. Scott, and he had another go about the ending. Sam Adams. Stephanie Zacharek, and I agree that Tom Hiddleston and Zoe Saldana were (relatively) great.

Full Metal Jacket

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Sunday afternoon, 4:30pm at The Ritz Cinema 1, downstairs, $10, a 35mm print as part of their Stanley Kubrick revival. Perhaps at 5-10% capacity. Last seen about five years ago. Slipping down the IMDB top-250 (now #95). Also timely: R. Lee Ermey recently passed. They played the soundtrack while we were waiting, but not the famous outro pairing of the Mickey Mouse Club and the Rolling Stones's Paint it Black. The pre-show was hopelessly retro, with "coming attractions" being the shorts for Paths of Glory, Spartacus, Taxi Driver and The Shining.

This movie is entirely unforgettable, and mostly does not pay rewatching. It remains almost beyond belief that they could recreate wartime Huế and its Imperial City on a studio lot in England, and the old Beckton Gas Works on the edge of London.

Kubrick owes something, and also pays some homage, to Apocalypse Now, most notably with a passing shot of the iconic tropical sun. We also get a mouthy colonel (whose lines I confuse with Robert Duvall's) and a film maker on the edge of the action. I just discoved that Vivian Kubrick made a making-of documentary, echoing Hearts of Darkness.

Vincent Canby reviewed it for the New York Times.