August 16th, 2009

Its not often I do a movie post, last time I did one was a year ago for the classic Dr. Strangelove. Last night Marcus, Stu and myself went to the cinema to see District 9, which is a science fiction film about aliens coming to Earth.

Alien spacecraft over JHB

Most films which see aliens visiting Earth normally end up in the aliens, obviously a far more superior race, destroying the white house or impregnating humans from which aliens burst out of their stomachs. So this is a completely refreshing film as it casts the aliens as refugees. They arrive on Earth and decide to go to Johannesburg, rather than Washington DC, LA or New York as with most other feature films of the same genre, something which the film highlights and is very refreshing.

The films setting in South Africa is obviously related to the apartheid and “District 9”, the slum where the aliens live, is based on District 6, a real life former inner-city residential area of Cape Town where forced removal occured, which is also a theme of the movie. The trailer pretty much gives nothing away about the content of the actual film, which is another thumbs up as typically the trailer is actually just the highlights for all the best bits of a film –

The film is directed by Peter Jackson Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackon who is famous for the Lord of the Rings films but also known for his comedy horror films Bad Taste and Braindead so there’s a lot of body parts flying everywhere when the guns start shooting in this film, but they are so well filmed its a strange pleasure to watch.

The central character of the film is fantastic and a newcomer to movies Sharlto Copley, a completely believeable character, in fact as the film draws to a close as I started to question if maybe this wasn’t a science fiction film at all but a real life documentary, which is half how the film is portrayed.

Alien Eviction from District 9

So if you like science fiction, horror, action, alternate reality and politcal movies you must see this film. It’s the best sci-fi film I’ve seen since I can’t remember when!

August 5th, 2008

Last night I watched the film “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” a film by Stanley Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers.

I added this film to our DVD rental queue after watching The Life and Death of Peter Sellers which was my favourite film of 2007. I think watching the Peter Sellers film before watching Dr. Strangelove is definitely a good idea – Peter Sellers is excellent in this film, playing the roles of the President of the United States, an English Group Captain and Dr. Strangelove – an ex-Nazi physicist who has become the President’s scientific advisor but who has tendencies to drop back into his old Nazi ways, calling the President “Mein Führer” on a few occasions, one of his hands also has a mind of its own – doing the Hitler salut whenever he gets excited about something, such as a doomsday event.

Dr. Strangelove

The film is based around a military general that orders a first strike nuclear attack on Russia, without the authority of the President. The “war room” is where a lot of the action takes place and in this short clip the President of the United States (Sellers) has to talk to Dmitri Kissoff, the Russian Premiere on the hotline to tell him what has happened, it is a genius piece of monologue by Sellers and apparently was mostly unscripted apart from the first few sentences –

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The bomb Dmitri, the Hydrogen Bomb

The film is very dark and some people might not get the humour, as its mostly not laugh out loud funny at any moment but it dark comedy makes it brilliant, especially for a film which is 44 years old. A few anecdotes about the film –

* It was due to be released on November 22nd 1963 however Kennedy was assasinated that day and a film about a president trying to prevent a nuclear war being released wouldn’t have gone down well in a country which didn’t have one.

* There’s only one female in the entire film but the film is entirely based around sexuality, the general who orders the nuclear strike believes that water flouridation is a communist conspiracy to impurify “bodily fluids”

* One of the crew on the bombers was James Earl Jones who is the voice of Darth Vader in Star Wars, it was his first motion picture.

* When Ronald Raegan became President of the United States he asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff where the “war room” was – probably from watching Dr. Strangelove. The war room was fictional at the time.

July 12th, 2008

This is a fantastic animation of Jerry Levitan’s conversation with John Lennon that has won a lot of prizes for best animation at various film festivals. Here’s the trailer for it –

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What the full version at YouTube (click high resolution to see it in better quality). From the website I Met the Walrus via DoobyBrain.

October 22nd, 2006

It has been a while since a film review, there’s been nothing really outstanding to report on from the world of films. Until last night, where Amy and I, fresh from our trip to Fiji went to see Children of Men, directed by Alfonso Cuarón.

Opening Scene set on Cornhill, City of London

The film is set in South East England in 2027, England has been changed by immigration as you see rickshaws travelling down the roads of London. The rest of the world is apparently under immense terrorist attacks and major cities such as New York, Tokyo, Paris and Moscow have been wrecked by nuclear terrorism.

The main theme of the film is that no child has been born for eighteen years. Women have become infertile and to make matters worse the film opens on the day that the youngest person on Earth was stabbed to death for not signing an autograph. The main protagonist of the film of course ends up having to look after a refugee who is pregnant (the only pregnant women known to be alive) and help her escape to an underground group called “The Human Project”. The film has current day relevance with an interesting angle on what it might be like if a zero tolerance policy on immigrants existed also scenes that looked like recent pictures of torture by solidiers at Abu Ghraib as well as having throw backs to the nazi holocaust.

What really made the film stand out for me was the attention to detail of locations and the extremely long scenes without cuts; it seemed like 5 minutes had passed before camera angles changed.

Visit and watch the trailer.

June 8th, 2005

I saw a trailer for this film whilst in Vancouver. Keri recommended it as well so I purchased it over in Canada (where DVDs and CDs are very cheap). It is probably one of my most favourite films of all time.

You have to notice the tiny details. The film is heavy deadpan humour so if you don’t understand like that sort of comedy you won’t get it. Napoleon is the central character in the film however all the characters in the film play a big role, including Kip, Deb, Uncle Rico and Pedro. Nothing much really happens too quick in the film, Napoleon and Pedro ask girls out to the school dance, Pedro tries to become President of School Class and they also both go to a FAA competition (which comes in out of nowhere which just adds to the comedy of this film).

This film didn’t immediately seem cool, it took a second watch. This is because some of the humour is pretty hard to notice. If you see the film, watch out for when Uncle Rico throws the steak at Napoleon. Pedro rides off on his bike out of the shot in the funniest manner ever!

Here are some clips from the film for you to enjoy (they are in MOV format so you need Quicktime) –

Video 1 – “One gang wanted me to join them because I’m pretty good with a bow-staff”

Video 2 – “we talk on line for 2 hours now so I guess you could say its getting pretty serious”

Video courtesy of IGN. See the original article here with more video clips.

March 14th, 2005

This is a film about the history of big wave surfing. From the good old days of Greg Noll surfing long boards on big waves to current day heros like Laird Hamilton flying down the face of Jaws from his tow-in. The film was really interesting, talking about the history of big wave surfing and showing some very scarey wipeouts. Only really scarey horror films make me feel as tense as I was watching people get smashed by 30ft waves. I don’t like 3ft wipeouts!!

Anyway, I rate this film –

Visit the Riding Giants homepage for more information about it.

Whilst in the cinema I bought this drink from the shop next door and it is probably the second best thing to come out of Taiwan (after cheap RAM) –

Hey-Song Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla – Originally derived from the dried roots of tropical smilax vines, this flavor is usually associated with a carbonated drink popular in the mid-1800s. Today’s sarsaparilla products—including the no-longer-popular soft drink-use artificial flavorings. (

June 26th, 2004

The Yes Men is a film about a couple of guys that run the website GATT.ORG. The site is pretty much a copy of WTO.INT the proper World Trade Organisation website. The film is about their appearances as WTO officials on television and at conferences around the world. They end the film be closing giving an announcement that the WTO is to close down, to which the audience of accountants respond positively to!!!

The film is a great little documentary. More can be found out about these guys at The Yes Men website.

I give this film –

And so that concludes the Sydney Film Festvial 🙁 A good film to end on.

June 24th, 2004

“A rebellious teen from a devout Muslim family discovers everything he likes is forbidden: music, poetry, and of course, movies”

This film was good. A autobiography from Iran. I recommend seeing this it has some great shots of Iran and the story line is good.

My only problem was with the ending. After a while the film didn’t appear to be going anywhere. When it ended everyone in the cinema seemed a little shocked. The ending could have been a little ‘better’. That’s why I give this film –

June 23rd, 2004

Having only a few days left of the film festival, but 4 tickets left (and not getting up in time for the ones I planned on seeing or them selling out) – I went to see this film with no expectations. The film is about a guy that is choosen in his South African village to make the trip to the holy land of Jerusalem. Of course when he gets there it is not what he expects and ends up getting put into jail, to be bailed out by a man that makes him work cleaning houses.

The concept sounds crazy but it really works. I really enjoyed this film and as so it gets

More information on this film can be found at the official website.

June 21st, 2004

“Film-makers Tahir Cambis (Exile in Sarajevo, SFF ’97) and Helen Newman’s brand-new documentary is a free-wheeling expansive study of democracy, western civilisation and the relationship between America and Australia. The film also analyses the intersecting of Australia’s refugee policy and the war on terror.”

This film was ok, it was a documentary that was started in 2000 and ended a couple of weeks ago in 2004. I think the film-makers started off making a documentary about Australians and ended up just making a documentary about things happening in the world. I got a little bit lost at this concept when it was first talking about Australians relationship to the Queen and then they were in an Earthquake region of Afganhistan. The film appeared to only give one view on things as well as giving time to fanatics who have hallucinogenic visions of how the world should be run (namely ‘Jack’ the ex-green beret).