Saturday, 30 August 2014

P.S. Guardians of the Galaxy

Dazzling, oddly original and inherently witty Guardians of the Galaxy is a Marvel adaptation which is surprisingly hard to resist. As the congenial 70s and 80s pop songs blared during the action sequences and leading man Chris Pratt delivered joke after joke, I found myself utterly taken by the charm of this superhero feature. Its blatant and irreverent disregard for its plot holes only added to its appeal - its ironic, almost self-referential manner even infectious. The film's unabashed sentimentality is redeemed by amusing repartees of a smart-alec racoon, a humanoid tree of a three word vocabulary ("I am groot"), an orphan assassin, a conceited "star-lord" and a typical vengeance-fueled warrior. The unlikely group team up, escape from a high-security prison and fight a galaxy-wide war against "Ronan the Accuser". The feature is furthered by some unexpected, genuinely touching moments of emotional embrace and visual wonder.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

P.S. The Kings of Summer (2013)

The darling of the 2013 Sundance film festival, the Kings of Summer, is the product of delicious slow-motion shots, a nuanced, witty tie-in script and some incredible sound mixing. The feature is intensely likeable, providing an intriguing balance of comedy and drama and a series of compelling, self-motivated characters. The film chronicles the summer of three boys who, in search of independence, build a house and live in the woods. What ensues are forest-deep rhythmic dancing and drumming, graceful leaps into the river, treks across sun-lit fields and drinks at sunset, every sunset. And most of all this is presented in true cinematic style: endless montages accompanied by impeccable sound editing. What makes The Kings of Summer so noteworthy is its many forms: it is an honest, endearing coming-of-age story, a love letter to nature and youth and a romance with a realistic slap. It borders on revelatory, never is it jarring and consistently it is quotable, euphoric and completely, of the moment. 


Thursday, 21 August 2014

P.S. Reviews

American Beauty. 

My first film review on Cinema 13 was an uncharacteristic one: the recent adaptation of a Stephen King horror novel, Carrie. Stripped temporarily bare of mundane academic aspirations having just finished high school, I become faced with a strange identity crisis: what was I beyond my education, my friends, my family and my love for odd things? Embracing my newfound freedom and its great confidant, boredom, I picked up my laptop and began to write. Initially named Gluey Feathers on a Flume, my first intention for this blog was not to write about film, but to create something of a personal memo, a published diary. Having just returned from a screening of Carrie, my first instinct was to publish my thoughts on it. I had more to say than I imagined I would. I kept writing. And so came Cinema 13. 

P.S. signals a new era for Cinema 13. It is an endeavour to document each and every film that I view in the cinemas as well as a selection out on DVD. Whilst I will continue to write comprehensive reviews on the most imposing, compelling of films, P.S. will entail a cast of short reviews, the length of just one paragraph. They will be concise considerations and hopefully, memorable persuasions.  

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Week Sans Cinema

A combination of morphine, anaesthetic, Panadol and Nurofen meant I couldn't maintain my concentration for much longer than 15 minutes this past week. I spent a quiet night in the hospital following a knee construction surgery and struggled to watch the only film I could find on the hospital television: some bleary, mind-numblingly terrible Anna Faris rom-com. When I arrived home the next day, I was determined to make the best of my time and binge-watch anything I could get my hands on. However, for the first four days this did not come to pass: every time I tried I'd feel nauseous, dizzy and drowsy. So I devised a plan: I watched in 30 minute instalments - a film a day keeps the dizzy away. I haven't had the opportunity to visit the cinema in a whole week and I also missed many an event - a Broods concert, Melbourne International Film Festival screenings of Boyhood and The Immigrant and a ball. So yes, this is my first week in a long while which is very much sans the cinema. Scroll down to read 6 short DVD reviews. 

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Under the Skin

Under the Skin, in all its sinister grace, is most extraordinary in that it is capable of evoking physical responses from its audience. My skin prickled at many a moment, I was short of breath at other points and my fingernails dug deep into skin as I clenched my fists involuntarily from the sheer suspense. The piece is a refreshing, revolutionary, entirely bizarre take on on the tired alien science fiction genre. It burns the trademark disturbing images deep into our minds, not by force but by art. Under the Skin transcends a twisted, cold beauty, stepping deeply into a subversive Stanley-Kubrick-style vision. What director Jonathan Glazer crafts expertly with a clear aesthetic precision in each and every scene, is the eerie atmosphere. At many points, together with otherworldly high-pitched sound effects, the solemn heavy drum beat and sharp, shocking visuals the film borders on pure horror. 

An alien, in the form of a mysterious, attractive young woman, (Scarlett Johanson) roams through Scotland in search of vulnerable, isolated men. She entices them away where they are met with an ominous, perplexing fate: their bodies are absorbed into a thick black liquid where eventually they are sucked away into a strange red light leaving only their skin behind. However, the alien begins to become increasingly self-aware of the humanity of her disguise and seeks to understand it.