Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Magician (2005)

To paraphrase leading Australian critic, David Stratton, “Not everyone is going to like the idea of spending an evening at the cinema with Ray”. Ray being of course being the protagonist , the hitman, that grinning guy on the posters and basically the fellow we are locked shoulder to shoulder with ‘home video’ style for almost the entire length of The Magician. To count disliking Ray to the point of not being able to enjoy or even watch the film is not wrong, but rather maybe missing out on what an accomplishment this film is for it’s young writer/director/star, Scott Ryan. Fresh out of film school and made with merely three thousand dollars of his own money, Ryan’s Magician is an excellent example of what can be achieved when you have passion and ability.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Host (2006)

The Host is without a doubt expertly directed, and the star of the film is probably the most interesting creature creation since Stan Winston’s Kothoga (from The Relic), but it never really impressed as much as the films it’s being compared to. These being such iconic fare as Jaws and The Thing. Maybe the hype machine had too much influence, but I think because it is in essence more a drama than a creature-feature, means that it doesn’t quite reach such similar or stellar company. It is it’s own victim in that sense, because while it is a good film, it holds little to offer on repeat viewings like those films do. It won’t let you settle into a specific mood for example. Describing the film is an issue in itself. Director Bong Joon-Ho probably summed it up best himself when he said that it is less a monster movie and more a film about a kidnapping, where the kidnapper just happens to be a mutant amphibian.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Global Metal (2008)

I don’t really want to compare Global Metal with Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey, but when in the introduction, our familiar world weary anthropologist metal-head from that film, Sam Dunn, reminds us that he did indeed make a film about metal culture before this one, it’s hard not too. And in that sense, this is the inferior documentary, but by no means a bad or uninteresting one. I’m not sure if it was ever supposed to be viewed as a “sequel”, but specifically, Global Metal does just feel more of an afterthought and lacks the weight, enthusiasm and resources of it’s predecessor to carry it through completely. Perhaps the passion of our buoyant young filmmakers has dwindled after the successful first film, or maybe it would have faired better as a TV special or series, because trying to be another cinematic looking feature doco, that AHJ was so successful at being, is probably it’s biggest downfall - at least in the beginning.

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

Opening with Hunter S. Thompson’s written reactions to seeing 9/11 unfold on TV, Alex Gibney’s Gonzo thrusts us into the idea of Hunter first as a journalist, 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, we 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 work; ‘Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72‘.