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. 

Captain Phillips 

This film was quick to transition from its rather mediocre introduction to assertive, cleverly-executed action sequences to a devastating, heart-rendering conclusion. Rare is it to find a film which picks up pace the way Captain Phillips does. The film undeniably profits from a stirring performance provided by Tom Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi.


Great Expectations

Jeremy Irvine is easily my favourite young actor at the moment. It is a true testament to his talent that regardless of having appeared in a long string of mediocre films, he has still managed to become recognised as the remarkable performer he is. As a method actor, Irvine contracted trench foot whilst filming The Battle of Somme scene in War Horse. In preparation for The Railway Man he forwent food for two months and actually performed his own torture stunts. It is Irvine's performance which places Great Expectations in higher regard. 


The Jane Austen Book Club

I had harboured high hopes for this film, being a devout Jane Austen fan. I had immersed myself countless times into my Austen favourites: Emma, Mansfield Park and Pride & Prejudice. But The Jane Austen Book Club came through as a major disappointment: this tedious, predictable, formulaic feature could not even be saved by Emily Blunt, Hugh Dancy and Amy Brenneman. 


The Duchess 

The Duchess boasts raw, accomplished performances all round from its established cast: Kiera Knightley principally shoulders the feature with the strong supporting acts of Ralph Fiennes, as the cold Duke, and Hayley Atwell, a Lady of ill circumstance. Beyond that however, The Duchess is nothing special. 


Black Swan

Whilst I wouldn't call myself an avid Darren Aronofsky fan, I do enjoy a film of his from time. His works are often very precise, flawless features with a distinctive style noticeable from the go. Black Swan is arguably Aronofsky at his best - a haunting, somewhat gothic-styled film. The feature encapsulates stunning costume design, competent, heart-quickening sound mixing and the memorable, signature cinematographic work of Matthew Libatique.  


Lust, Caution

So this is it. As my education on Ang Lee cinema continues, Lust, Caution is thus far my favourite. That's right - it tops Sense and Sensibility, Life of Pi and even Brokeback Mountain. It was the easy graces, stunning set design, sublime performances that won me over - it is a classic espionage tale but amplified with aptly portrayed sentiment and a romantic location and era to fit the bill. 


R.I.P Robin Williams

Mrs Doubtfire, Jumanji, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet's Society, Aladdin, Good Will Hunting

You sir, had our hearts, our laughter and now our thanks for those halcyon memories 


  1. I hope you're feeling better! Surgery is never any fun.

    I love Black Swan, it's one of my favorites. I enjoyed Lust, Caution as well, but I remember the ending kind of pissing me off. ha

    1. Thank you Brittani! It certainly is not, on any scale.

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed it as much as I did. The ending to Lust, Caution was really something of a surprise - heartbreaking in a pretty unique way. I have to say that I quite liked it!

  2. Hope you're feeling better now a that a couple days have passed. As for what you watched, I thoroughly enjoyed Captain Phillips and Black Swan. Haven't seen the rest, though.

    1. Thank you! I am feeling much better :) Glad to hear you enjoyed them too. I'd definitely recommend seeking out Lust, Caution if you get the chance - some wonderful filmmaking.

  3. Knee construction surgery?! Holy shit, I hope you're feeling better! That's intense right there. But I loved that you still made room for movies. Always nice to hear :)

    1. Thank you Alex! I truly appreciate that. Movies really get me through the worst of times.