Sunday, 30 March 2014

Preview Screening: The Grand Budapest Hotel

In film, there are two distinct ends of the artistic spectrum. On one end we have realism - an incredibly popular facade to be found in Australian film (e.g. Look Both Ways, Muriel's Wedding). On the other end we have substantial, orchestrated, staged glamour. Extravagant costumes, set pieces and colour schemes. This is where we find Wes AndersonWes Anderson is just about the most stylish director of his generation. He takes notions of 'originality' and 'artistic zeal' under his wing and flies with it. He brought us the feverish dream-like films The Darjeeling Limited and Moonrise Kingdom. Never abandoning his distinct aptitude for creating worlds within worlds, he disappoints us not in his latest creation. 
Every time he allows us to see through his eyes, ours inevitably shine in awe of the new world. We leave the cinema having seen more colours than we ever knew existed.  If it is possible, Anderson has let simply let perfection run awry in his latest masterpiece. 

The story of A Grand Budapest Hotel is no simple one. Set in three different time frames, the film chronicles the adventures a young meagre lobby boy, Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), and how he comes to own the once-renowned hotel. Taken under the strict tutelage of a notable, rather legendary concierge Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), Zero becomes his greatest confidant. When a murder mystery, a stolen priceless Rennaissance painting and an organised jailbreak are thrown into the mix the result is nothing less than pure cinematic delight. 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Top 13 Films of 2013

2013 Minimalist Film Art

In the year 2013 I finished my final year of high school and was given, as reward like thousands of students across the country, 3.5 entire months of idle reckoning, of freedom. I, in much realism feared I would spend the entire summer wasting away - partying until exhaustion, nauseousness and smeared makeup be commonplace. My mind shouted insults of recklessness, inadequacy and general uselessness at my self-esteem - "what do you have to count for 18 years of being alive?" I scrambled of course in panic to realise what I could achieve in the space of 3 months before my life would be consumed with the academic indulgence of university life. Summer - a concept I once longed for in the insanity of year 12, became upon reproach a nightmare of unrealised and impossible expectation. So I abandoned idle thoughts of long dark nights in fake bright lights with 'new friends', beaches decorated with bikinis, tanning oil and barely audible music on our iPhones. I chose to indulge myself in material perfection. Because we can all exist in movies but life is effort. I switched the reality where films were the truth and life was cloying with fakeness. It is this type of thinking of course that breeds anti-social behaviour - writers and artists, appreciators of non-existent cultures will always be pretentious. We carry grace only in our mediums but stumble around in life. We're all pseudo-intellectuals begging for attention.  

People can say its sad, because I chose not to have a real life but live in the lives of others, ones that might not even be real. But that's the irony and beauty of insanity. It's my reality... so in my world you're only lying. 

So here it is: the top 13 films responsible for my insanity in 2013

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Preview Screening: Tracks

An event I had been looking forward to for quite some time was a preview screening of the Australian semi-biographical film Tracks. The night encapsulated much discussion of the adaptation and a special appearance by the author of the basis novel Tracks and the original protagonist, Robyn Davidson, herself along with photographer, Rick Smolan. An interesting aspect of the night was the discussion of the idea and basis of adaptations - of how closely a filmmaker can translate a story or series of events from page to screen. An eloquent speaker, Robyn Davidson emphasised the belief of her experience to be completely segregated from that of the one presented in the film. This being said, she neglected not to articulate just how seamless and singularly remarkable she found the film to be. 

Tracks tells the story of a driven, lost young woman who abandons all social conventions and instead seeks to cross the deserts of Western Australia - a distance of 1,700 miles. She spends months prior searching and working for funds and training camels. Eventually finding a means for her personal odyssey in media, she embarks on her journey with a promise, on her part, of several meet-ups with a photographer along the way and an appearance in The National Geographic.  

Some Comments About the 2014 Oscars

Though nowhere near the most enjoyable Academy Awards show I have seen, it was by far the most agreeable. 
I think I speak on behalf of most people when I say that Ellen Degenerous was quite the disappointment. Her pizza gag and twitter selfie debacle were highlights of the night and even they were not memorable enough to save her from securing her never-again-to-be-host stature. 

The 2014 Oscars nominations were certainly questionable especially in the Foreign Language Film category. Both Blue Is The Warmest Colour and The Past were snubbed. Here, for once I believe that the Golden Globes got it right - both films were nominated although the winners of the category were the same in both - The Great Beauty which I can argue too much with. I laughed upon seeing the Bad Grandpa nomination almost as much as I ridiculed the Jonah Hill best supporting actor nomination. This years Oscars was strange in that although you couldn't exactly predict the winner, the two front runners were incredibly obvious. But this alone was enough to have us on the edge of our seats for the entire duration of the highly-anticipated night.