Tag Archives: Competition

Time for a competition

I am conscious of the fact that I have not been writing as much as I would like lately and also that I have not had the chance to engage with the great writing that many of you do through commenting on your work. I’ve also slipped further behind than usual on replying to comments on this site.

All of this is due to a range of lame ‘life’ reasons that I won’t bore you with here. But I really love to have comments from anyone on anything I write. So thanks to Madman Films, I thought I would run a little comp on the site. For exactly one week from when this post goes up, any comment on the site (no matter how rubbish) will get one entry in the draw to win two DVDs. The films up for grabs are the horror flick Hush (2009) and the Aussie, based on a true story film The Outlaw Michael Howe (2013). Both of these are from Madman.

hush dvdThis goes for any article on the site. So if you feel the need to go back through my archives and drop crappy (or incredible) comments on a bunch of articles, go for it. There’s no limit to the number of comments. Search for your favourite director, 1001, Longneck of Melbourne Bitter or Schooner of Tooheys New. Search for whatever your heart desires and comment away.

3d_39420A couple of ways to boost your entries. Any comments on the SUFF 2014 reviews, of which there will be anywhere up to 7 this week, are worth two entries. And I am trying something slightly different with the formatting toward the end of the article, just to separate the verdict or conclusion of the review from the rest of it. Tis only a minor change, but give me your feedback (positive, negative and couldn’t care less are all acceptable) to the slight change and you will get double entries for that comment too.

If you don’t usually comment on here, that is totally cool. As long as you are not a spambot you are more than welcome. Just remember to check back after a week or so, cause if I don’t have an email address for you and you happen to win, I will comment in reply to one of yours. As always, entries are open worldwide.

Peace all.

Tim

The Imposter – Review and competition

One of the things that movies are great at doing every so often is proving the old adage that real life really is stranger than fiction. The Imposter (2012) is a documentary that achieves that goal better than any film I have seen for a fair while.

The-Imposter-Poster 2

For those that don’t know, The Imposter is the story of Nicholas Barclay, a 13 year old boy who goes missing from his San Antonio home. Actually most of the story is about Frederic Bourdin, the person who impersonates him, fooling everyone from the police to Nick’s own family. I won’t go into too many specifics aside from that though, because this is a film it is best to experience with limited knowledge of what takes place. Alone the journey of presenting this amazing tale and the facts that underpin it, the film manages to provoke many trains of thought, or at least it did for me. It repeatedly makes you put yourself in the situation of those people in the film and what they must have gone through. Losing a 13 year old son/brother, finding him again and then having him torn away again for example. It also made me ponder the fact that it was possible that whoever did kidnap Nicholas was able to watch this film, which is a chilling thought indeed.

freddy sittin

Stylistically The Imposter uses a lot of re-enactments to drive the action. Re-enactments are a bit of a dirty word when it comes to documentaries which is mainly attributable to the ham fisted ones that are a feature of so many TV docos. But the ones in this film are quite good and don’t take you out of the world of the film, as well as being stylishly done and originally incorporated into the rest of the film.  Bourdin is the central focus of the film, helped in part by the fact that he was able to record lengthy interviews and participate in re-enactments. He is an incredible person, but not in a good way. There is at various times a sense of pride in the way he managed to deceive so many people with scant (no?) regard for the pain that he was causing in people’s lives. Clearly a sufferer of some form of mental illness, Bourdin is also a victim to some degree. But his unremitting narcissism makes it rather hard to empathise with him for any length of time.

Freddy smilinFor much of the film your empathy will fall with Nick’s family as they were completely sucked in by Boudin’s horrific impersonation and deception. The filmmakers also call this empathy into question though as the latter half of the film examines the possibility that Nick’s family were involved in his murder and disappearance. The lengthy interviews reveal just how exceptionally calculating Bourdin was in his approach to deception. He unveils the science behind making a succession of people, who really should have known better, believe that he was Nicholas. Frederic is pretty shameless about what he has done. He smiles often throughout the film, even when proudly recounting some of the more heinous deceptions that he spun. Making people believe that his was repeatedly raped by a military sex ring is just one example that he was willing to go to any length to maintain his position.

The Imposter is a deeply sad film. It is hard to know exactly what has taken place. But at the very least a young boy has disappeared and quite possibly died. The people who did it have not been captured. And his family has no closure. Unless they did it, which is not particularly reassuring. If you haven’t already seen it, check this film out. Very entertaining, thought provoking and another example if you needed one in your life that truth is far, far wackier than fiction.

Verdict: Pint of Kilkenny

Thanks to Madman Entertainment, I have a copy of the film on DVD to give away. Comment below for two entries in the draw, retweet or share the details of this review on Twitter or Facebook for two entries and like the review here or on Facebook for one entry. Entries will remain open until midnight on Sunday my time. Open to all readers worldwide. Best of luck all.

Like what you read? Then please like Not Now I’m Drinking a Beer and Watching a Movie on facebook here and follow me on twitter @beer_movie.

The House of Caine Guest Post: Batman Begins

begins poster

In the first look at a Michael Caine for the week, Jon Fisher from The Film Brief blog and podcast takes a look at Batman Begins.

It speaks to the deceptively rapid passage of time that it has been nearly a decade since Batman Begins (2005) was released. In the time since this movie, superhero movies have returned in a big way, a way that likely wouldn’t have happened unless this movie or something like it had come along to reinvigorate interest in comic books films as super-profitable ventures. Iron Man (2008), Thor (2011), Captain America (2011), and the other Marvel Avengers all owe Batman Begins, at least in part, for their existence so it’s worthwhile to look back at Nolan’s breakthrough piece and consider what, if anything, it did for the aesthetics of the superhero movie.

First of all, it should be pointed out that superhero stories shouldn’t be discounted as lesser films simply because of the source material. The late Roger Ebert once wrote that a movie isn’t about what it’s about – it’s about how it’s about it. With regards to superhero movies, the poor track record prior to 2005 wasn’t due to the innately vapid source material. Rather, it spoke to the puerile way that most film-makers treated the material handed to them – mining morally complex and visually exciting material for the sake of lowest-common denominator, throw-away bile, before defending it by intimating “They’re only comic books…”

Thus, Nolan deserves some credit for treating the material seriously in the first place. His Batman Begins is an origin story – (briefly) chronicling Bruce Wayne’s (Christian Bale) troubled childhood, his encounter with the League of Shadows, and the trial-and-error process that resulted in him esablishing the structure we identify as the Batman universe. This includes Alfred the Butler (played the ever-so-consummate thespian Michael Caine), Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), and some lesser known characters from the comic book series (the Scarecrow, for instance, played by Cillian Murphy). All of this is presented with choppy, non-linear narrative – a Chrisopher Nolan signature ever since his intriguing first short film Following (1998) and the outstanding Memento (2000).

picture-of-christian-bale-and-katie-holmes-in-batman-begins-large-picture-number-11

The film, overall, is a good and entertaining one, although far from a perfect one. Nolan certainly nails the film’s tone – dark, introspective and murky. He uses fine cinematography, suitably morose performances and a Hans Zimmer score that has become synonymous with the Caped Crusader to achieve this tone. The film’s shortcomings mainly lie in simple storytelling errors – which have plagued the subsequent sequels, The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). These are mainly minor, but are certainly irritating for rationalist film buffs. One example – during a scene in which the League of Shadows demands that Wayne murder a simple thief to complete his ‘graduation’ from their training, Wayne refuses on moral grounds. He explains in the screenplay’s classically succinct and modestly poetic style: “When I go back to Gotham, I will fight men like this, but I will not become an executioner.”

Wayne goes on to flick a flame stick onto a platform above him stacked with gunpowder (you can imagine Ra’s Al Ghul invoking Homer Simpson and stating “I… keep some gunpowder there), which ignites the entire fragile structure of the building, and after a brief fist-fight, Wayne manages to escape, choosing to save Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), the man who trained him but just revealed himself to be a morally simplistic, basically nasty and untrustworthy person. Wayne apparently doesn’t mind that he clearly just sealed the fate of the man he initially refused to execute.

Moments like this pop up from time to time throughout the trilogy (there’s a doozy in The Dark Knight when Harvey Dent shoots a driver in the head in order to force the car to crash and kill its passenger – no visual explanation of how Dent escaped the car before it crashed). Usually they are minor irritations, but they prevent the Nolan films from being the super-perfect saga most people so desperately wish them to be. And it’s best not to get started on the way the trilogy (and the Batman mythology generally) uses the cover-all excuse of “he’s a billionaire” to explain away any number of truly unbelievable technological set-ups. This is acceptable as an ‘all in good fun’ approach to a point – but when investing 11 or so hours of one’s life to a trilogy that insists we take it seriously, audiences deserve a little more of a cerebral approach from the film-makers.

I still prefer to focus mainly on the things that Christopher Nolan does right in his Batman films. He re-crafted Bruce Wayne as a morally complex man, truly tortured by his past, unable to express himself emotionally to those closest to him. He transformed Batman from a caricature (i.e. the Joel Schumacher produced and directed films of the 1990s) into a character. Along the way Nolan also created the most iconic (and, as it turned out, tragic) villain of modern times in Batman Begins’ sequel… But that’s a review for another day.

Verdict: Pint of Kilkenny

Jonathan Fisher is the creator and writer of (the  kinda defunct but hopefully coming back) The Film Brief website and podcast. Be sure to check out his site as well as like his page on facebook here and follow along on twitter @thefilmbrief.

The House of Caine: Intro and Competition Details

michael-caine-wallpaper-1-7302423

First of all, apologies for the terrible pun. But if you have followed this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably seen a few of them.  This whole week on the blog will be dedicated to one of the most iconic and just all-round awesome actors alive today, the great Michael Caine.

The whole spectrum is going to be covered here – his earlier starring efforts, later supporting work and even a little of his voice work in animation. Also I will be live tweeting Dark Knight Rises on Tuesday arvo/evening my time, so keep an eye out for that.  Luckily for you guys too, I also have three really awesome guest bloggers who will be bringing their thoughts about a few of Caine’s cinematic outings.

If you would ever like to have a guest blog on the site, I would love to have you. Fire me an email to drinkingbeerwatchingmovie@gmail.com if you are keen. I run these theme weeks every month or two and it is great to get as many different voices as possible.

This week there is also a competition running to coincide with House of Caine. Up for grabs is a brand spanking new copy of Len Deighton’s novel The Ipcress File which would be adapted to the screen in 1965 starring Caine himself. You know the drill on how to enter, but just in case, the details are (double entries for the post on The Ipcress File):

  • Like’ the post on Facebook for one entry.
  • Comment on the post on Facebook for two entries.
  • Share the post on Facebook for two entries.
  • Retweet the post on Twitter for two entries.
  • Like the post on this site for one entry.
  • Comment on the post on this site for two entries.

To get things started, share your favourite Caine films or performances in the comments section below.

Like what you read? Then please like Not Now I’m Drinking a Beer and Watching a Movie on facebook here and follow me on twitter @beer_movie.

Woodley Week: The Adventures of Lano and Woodley Series 1

Whilst I had come across Lano and Woodley before, on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala and other TV appearances, it was the duo’s own show The Adventures of Lano and Woodley that really sealed my love of them. My sister and I would sit down religiously every week to watch the first series of this show, hang out and laugh our arses off. This theme song was an ever-present sing-along in our house and still gets stuck in my head to this day:

The show, like many a wonderful TV comedy, is not really about anything. Rather, it sees Frank and Col bumbling their way through day to day life. From girl trouble, to flirtations with fame and psychotic video store employees, these day to day jaunts are rendered hilariously. The major strength of the show is the great rapport between stars Frank Woodley and Colin Lane. It is classic comedy stuff, Col is the straight man, Frank the really bloody silly physical comedian one who gets the huge laughs. Having said that though, the character of Col holds his own in terms of laughs. They bounce off each other so well – Woodley really is a wonderful physical comedian, the kind they do not make any more whilst Lane provides the perfect overbearing foil.

Frank Woodley and Colin Lane

Frank Woodley and Colin Lane

Rewatching the series, there are a couple of frustrations. Front and centre is the canned laughter – whoever came up with that invention has a lot to answer for. It achieves nothing, except frustration and distraction. Though there is a pretty good canned laughter joke in one of the episodes, perhaps playing off on this. While it has dated ever so slightly, this still has to be one of my favourite TV comedies ever. It is predominately slapstick, but the scripting is quite excellent with great delivery from both men. There are a couple of hilarious motifs or recurring jokes throughout the series, such as the two of them getting fired at the start of each episode, that just add so much flavour. One of the measures of great comedy is its ability to really make you laugh despite having seen it multiple times. Don’t worry about multiple, I’ve seen all the episodes in this first series countless times and it still got plenty of laughs out of me. All of the episodes in this first series have a whole lot to offer, with my favourites being Starquest and One Simple Task. Search them out if you can. Especially Starquest actually, which I think is just a simply brilliant piece of television.

I’m not going to lie, there may be a little nostalgia in my feelings about this show, but damn, this is my blog and I’ll be nostalgic if I want to. And the show still holds up excellently today, on occasions even brilliantly so. If you ever get the chance to catch this show, then I highly recommend you do. I love it.

Verdict: Longneck of Melbourne Bitter

Want to win a copy of Frank Woodley’s new show Bemusement Park on DVD courtesy of Madman Entertainment? Then head here for the details.

Like what you read? Then please like Not Now I’m Drinking a Beer and Watching a Movie on facebook here.

Woodley Week: Intro and Competition details

The great Frank Woodley

The great Frank Woodley

Frank Woodley is a name that may be unfamilar to many of my readers, especiatlly those not reading from Australia. But for me, along with many other Australinas, Woodley along with straight man Colin Lane were a formative part of my life. As Lano and Woodley they were close to the most iconic stand up act in the country for a good decade or so, success which also led to two seasons of their own show as well as guest appearances on countless other television shows. They were always my favourite comedy act, managing to be simultaneously silly and very intellighent in what they did. I recall saving up my pocket money so my sister and I could go halves in their TV show on VHS (each video only had 2 episodes and cost $20 – TV on home video has come along way). I also recall that when my parents got their first answering maching, my sister and I took it upon ourselves to record an opus of a message for them. This Lano and Woodley inspired masterpiece ran for about 5 minutes, and concluded with my line “Kath, do I have time to do a poo?” After Colin Lane left the group in 2006, Frank Woodley (the silly one) continued down the comedy path with succesful (and somewhat different) standup routines and himself having a show run on ABC earlier this year, simply titled Woodley.

Why all this chat about my beloved Frank Woodley? Well becuase his latest show Bemusement Park has just been released on DVD. And thanks to Madman Entertainment, I have a copy to give away. Entry is open to anyone who reads the site, no matter where you live (if you take the time to read my site, I’m happy to send this little mmmbaby anywhere). Even better, the DVD plays in all regions, so no worries about compatability issues.

Ok, so how do you enter. Over the next week, I will be posting five ‘Woodley Week’ posts. To earn entries, just do any of the following (including on this post and double entries on Saturday’s review of Bemusement Park):

  • ‘Like’ the post on Facebook for one entry.
  • Comment on the post on Facebook for two entries.
  • Share the post on Facebook for two entries.
  • Retweet the post on Twitter for two entries.
  • Like the post on this site for one entry.
  • Comment on the post on this site for two entries.

Any questions, please let me know. Entries will be open til midnight on Christmas Day. For now here is a little Lano and Woodley for you to enjoy.

Like what you read? Then please like Not Now I’m Drinking a Beer and Watching a Movie on facebook here.