Category Archives: Film: Past Releases

The Master (2012); Review Link.

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The good people at film/TV/literature website, The Artifice, were kind enough to publish my review of Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated The Master. I guess I was pretty late to the game with it as it was released two months ago, but I was unable to catch it in its initial run. Determined to see it on the cinema screen, I had to wait until Camelot Outdoor screened it last weekend to finally catch the best film of 2012 the way it was meant to be.

Check the review out over HERE.

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Killing Them Softly (2012)

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Where to begin on Killing Them Softly? This is a good film. Maybe even a great one. But there is plenty that hampers it. Perhaps a brief synopsis will help but not a lot really happens so maybe it won’t. The film initially centres around Frankie (played by up-and-comer Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Aussie Ben Mendelsohn who actually gets to play it Australian) as a pair of young crims, the latter a dog walking heroin addict, who rob a poker game that has more consequences both expected and not for everyone involved. Enter Brad Pitt’s hitman, Jackie Coogan, often seen conversing with mafia spokesperson Richard Jenkins and enlisted old-schooler, Mickey (James Gandolfini). They’re here to do a job but times are tough. Set to the backdrop of the 2008 Presidential election campaign, Killing Them Softly is ultimately about economics. Or at least it wants to be.

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Gonzo: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson (2008)

Opening with writer/journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s written reactions to seeing 9/11 unfold on TV, Alex Gibney’s Gonzo documentary thrusts us into the idea of Hunter first as a journalist, then a rebel, a successful writer, a political campaigner and finally a man, the product of all his excesses, who was loved and admired by many. In-between detailing the author’s rebellion, out-of-control gun enthusiasm and drug use, the director chooses to focus on only three major writings of his – his breakthrough novel; ‘Hell’s Angels‘, his most popular work, ‘Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas’ and arguably his best; ‘Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72‘.

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Blue Valentine (2010)

Note: This was my number one film of 2010, and this review was written at the end of that year.

Set in an unknown, unimportant time and place, Blue Valentine is the story of a couple, Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams). As well as their young daughter, Frankie (Faith Wladyka). The story, in the direct sense is about their first meeting, their falling in love, marriage and eventual divorce. However, the film never plays it that straight. And it doesn’t always limit itself to questioning only their relationship. It goes beyond one couple’s existence, inevitably analysing the notion of what love can mean between any two people.

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The Wrestler (2008)

In one scene from The Wrestler, there is a response from Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) when after just having bypass surgery following a heart attack, he is told by his doctor that he must stop putting steroids into his system and can only perform mild exercise. It is as much bemusing as it is heartbreaking: “But Doc, I’m a professional wrestler!” The significance of that assertion to Randy’s story of a once great wrestling icon, now twenty years later relegated to Community Hall matches and unsatisfying signing appearances, is cemented by it being said with such conviction and pride by the actor. He is a wrestler. That is what he does. That is what he knows. Rourke embodies Ram and all his flaws in such a sincere way; the authenticity of his colossal performance raises the bar for realism.

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He Got Game (1998)

Spike Lee’s homage to the game that he loves is a passionate father and son story that hits all the right marks, most of the time. Shot in less than a month, the film was famous for Lee’s choice to use a real NBA player in the lead role of Jesus Shuttlesworth. After several considerations, he landed on (then rookie) Ray Allen.

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Drag Me to Hell (2009)

The idea of cult director Sam Raimi returning to his horror roots with Drag Me to Hell was an exciting prospect. Add to that enthusiasm an impressive trailer and strong word of mouth and you’ve got some fairly high expectations. Virtually from the get go, they’re almost bettered with a prologue that deafeningly slams you into your seat. It’s a powerful effects belter and provides early evidence that Raimi is in his element here and that he is definitely approaching it with a nostalgic attitude. The fact that the original treatment was drafted up not long after Army of Darkness was completed is not surprising.

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