I watched some awesome things in October, outside of my work for A Fortnight of Terror. The month included two of my absolute favourite releases for the year so far. One everyone has been raving about and one barely anyone will have seen. Only one not worth watching this month but it is all kinds of not worth watching. Urgh. Be sure to share your thoughts on all of these in the comments section below.
- Mystery Road (2013), Ivan Sen – There is a bit of Western in this new Australian film in particular the landscape, iconography and main character. But this film is crime, perhaps even a little noir, right down to its bones. The cast are all good, with Hugo Weaving growing into his complex support role. But the lead Aaron Pederson shines through, his ‘man apart’ exuding self-determination and intensity. The film, shot in various outback locations looks amazing. Sen doubles up on DOP duties, so he can take the credit there. If all that is not enough, it closes with the most fantastically original gunfight I have seen in many a year.
- Paranorman (2012), Sam Fell & Chris Butler – Occupying similarish ground and target audience to Burton’s recent Frankenweenie, this film does it much better and with more charm. The claymation is lovingly designed, and the creativity is dripping from every shot. The characters are all very unique and endearing, and it is great to see them all feel so different. The script brings some rather adult sensibility (in a good way) as well as being really quite funny. A very cool film.
- Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (2013), Mike Lerner & Maxim Pozdorovkin – Excellent doco about the plight of the Russian punk crew. Wisely grounds much of the approach in a legal exploration of the facts of the case, rather than focusing on ideology. Further shows that the imprisonment of the band is a flagrant human rights abuse. The film itself is really well put together and flies by. If anything it could be longer.
- Gravity (2013), Alfonso Cuaron – The hype is justified in this case. What a movie going experience! My jaw literally dropped at the visual splendour on more than one occasion. It is taut, never lagging despite the miniscule number of characters. Bullock is fantastic in carrying the film, Clooney equally so in support. I suspect the science is a touch questionable at times, but who gives a shit. Whilst the film is hyped to all get out, I think it is actually underrated as a human story.
- Parks and Recreation Season 2 (2009), Greg Daniels & Michael Schur – I don’t recall a show that combined genuinely consistent hilarity with such razor sharp social commentary. Branching out from examining the public service to general quipping at society’s expense, this is a great season. Poehler is a rare talent on both the writing and performing fronts.
- Blancanieves (2012), Pablo Berger – Compared to the much more hyped but not as good The Artist, this manages to feel like a legit silent film rather than jut using the form as a gimmick. I could have done without the focus on bullfighting, but narratively it is a great creative reinterpretation of the Snow White tale. Especially good is the fleshed out relationship between Snow and her father. Unfortunately the ending lacks a little punch, simply because it goes on just a touch too long.
Not Worth Watching:
- The Host (2013), Andrew Niccol – Despite feeling a little derivative of the Animorphs series of kids books, this still has an awesome premise. Shame it sucks so monumentally then. The script is both illogical and terrible while Ronan gives probably her least interesting performance. There is an internal dialogue between the alien and the human host that will make you want to gouge your eyes out and rip your ears off. Comically bad, laugh out loud so at times.
If you only have time to watch one Mystery Road
Avoid at all costs The Host