In Time – Review

Who wants to live forever? What if living forever came at a cost? Like, someone else’s life?

Thats the issue facing Justin Timberlake’s Will Salace in New Zealand born writer-director, Andrew Niccol’s In Time.

In time starts out like many sci-fi films, an almost blatant set up of the world the film is set in. In this dystopian future, time is litterally money, spend it wisely or watch as it runs out before your eyes. On top of that, in what i’m assuming is a ploy to have a cast of young, attractive actors, you stop aging at 25. Thats when your 1 year clock starts.

Justin Timberlake is Will, a 28 year old who lives in the ghetto with his yummy mummy played by Olivia Wilde. He and his best friend, Borel, Johnny Galeki (Leonard from the Big Bang Theory), work every day in order to get enough time to make it to the next… With a little on the side for the bar in Borel’s case. The major threat in the Ghetto is not the police (known here as Timekeepers), it is the mobsters known as Minutemen (yes, they really worked hard on names), led by Fortis, played by a ridiculously old looking Alex Pettyfer. Amanda Seyfried plays Sylvia Weis, daughter of one of the big wigs in New Greenwich (again, these names must have been so hard to come up with), Philippe Weis (Vincent Kartheiser). The only other character worth talking about is the head Timekeeper who is investigating a suicide that is thought to be a murder, committed by Will… Cillian (I can’t believe he doesn’t have a bag on his head) Murphy, who plays the highlight of the film as Timekeeper Raymond Leon.

Niccol is obviously a big fan of the dystopian, having written and directed Gattaca and S1m0ne, and in In Time he looks at the classic Metropolistion* concept of those down below serving those up above. The film also looks at themes of greed and selflessness and how they can become the exact opposite of what was intended. JT’s character realises that he can give all the time in the world but the higher-ups can never truly lose. His take on the value of time is an interesting one and it got me hooked when I first heard about the concept. The acting was average with as I said before, Cillian Murphy being the stand out for me. I question Sylvia’s character motives as she quickly shifts from the rich and well off to the Bonnie to Will’s Clyde. And yes, there is a resonating Bonnie and Clyde reference throughout the whole movie and Amanda Seyfried looks sexy with a gun.

With some funny one-liners and some nice sort of action In Time is a good fun movie… don’t go to see it if you want a super meaningful movie but if your up for a bit of ‘on the run fun’… in a similar vein as The Island, this is definitely a movie worth going to see.

3 Stars

In Time is now showing in cinemas.

*Metropolistion – Reminiscent of the German Expressionism great, Metropolis… A Nicholas Linde New Word.


NFB Update

Howdy all, been a while…

Been off for a while, with assignments and all but back for the Summer from now on! And why not? Summer is the time of movies! To catch up on everything here is a update of things that have been missed on NFB over the past few weeks…

  • The ultimate Marvel team-up is building up speed as the trailer for 2012’s The Avengers hits Cinemas and the Internet.
  • Also on the topic of the mighty mighty director, Joss Whedon. It has been announced that he had just completed a mystery film project entitled Much Ado About Nothing… yes thats right, the incredible writer of our time, joined forces with the incredible writer of yester-year! Bellweather Pictures released a Press Release regarding the film…
    • Bellwether Pictures proudly announces the completion of principal photography on MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, a modern version of Shakespeare’s classic comedy adapted and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel’s upcoming THE AVENGERS, “Dr.Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”). Filmed in just 12 days entirely on location in exotic Santa Monica, the film features a stellar cast of beloved (or soon to be beloved) actors ñ some of them veterans of Shakespearean theater, some completely new to the form. But all dedicated to the idea that this story bears retelling, that this dialogue is as fresh and intoxicating as any being written, and that the joy of working on a passion project surrounded by dear friends, admired colleagues and an atmosphere of unabashed rapture far outweighs their hilariously miniature paychecks.MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is the first feature from Bellwether, a micro-studio created by Joss Whedon and Kai Cole for the production of small, independent narratives for all media, embracing a DIY ethos and newer technologies for, in this particular case, a somewhat older story.

      Shot in glorious black and white by Jay Hunter (PAPER HEART, “Dollhouse”), the film stars Amy Acker (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Alias”) and Alexis Denisof (“How I Met Your Mother,” “Angel”) as Beatrice and Benedick, the worldís least likely lovers headed for their inevitable tumble into love. As Joss Whedon puts it: “The text is to me a deconstruction of the idea of love, which is ironic, since the entire production is a love letter ñ to the text, to the cast, even to the house itís shot in.” The supporting cast includes Nathan Fillion (“Castle,” WAITRESS) as Dogberry, Clark Gregg (AVENGERS, IRON MAN) as Leonato, Fran Kranz (CABIN IN THE WOODS, “Dollhouse”) as Claudio and Reed Diamond (“Franklin & Bash,” MONEYBALL) as Don Pedro.

      The film was produced by Whedon, line-produced by Nathan Kelly and M. Elizabeth Hughes, and co-produced by Kai Cole and Danny Kaminsky. The super-impressive cast is listed below. Full tech credits (for the extraordinary crew) will be up shortly. The film should be completed by early spring and headed for the festival circuit, because it is fancy.

      The Players:
      Amy Acker – Beatrice
      Alexis Denisof – Benedick
      Nathan Fillion – Dogberry
      Clark Gregg – Leonato
      Reed Diamond – Don Pedro
      Fran Kranz – Claudio
      Sean Maher – Don John
      Spencer Treat Clark – Borachio
      Riki Lindhome – Conrade
      Ashley Johnson – Margaret
      Emma Bates – Ursula
      Tom Lenk – Verges
      Nick Kocher – First Watchman
      Brian McElhaney – Second Watchman
      Joshua Zar – Leonatoís aide
      Paul M. Meston – Friar Francis
      Romy Rosemont – The Sexton
      And introducing Jillian Morgese as Hero

  • Harry Potter DVD’s will cease to exist on shelves by the end of the year… Warner Bros. are taking a page out of Disney’s book and stopping prints of Harry Potter DVD’s on December 29th. This will no doubt mean a re-release in the future sometime, similar to the re-birth of the Lion King in the last few weeks. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 goes on sale November 11… So get in quick!
  • Bryan Singer could be on par with my greatest movie-making villain, Joel Schumacher, when he directs his version of Battlestar Galactica. The director previously killed a series (that, given was not amazing beforehand) in Superman. In turn he gave up the direction of X-Men: The Last Stand (Another Franchise Killer) to work on Superman Returns.
  • The Adventures of Tintin premiered in Belgium on the 22nd of October, it’s set to screen in the UK on the 26th of October, India in November, the US, December 21st, and Australia… The 26th of December… Once again everyone… Australia is last to see a movie… (Vengeance maybe for Harry Potter DHP2?).
  • Sony Pictures have secured the rights for an Assassin’s Creed movie adaptation… Assassin’s Creed joins, the development at Sony, who are also working on adaptations for InFAMOUS and Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.
  • Brad Bird plans Incredibles sequel… But wants it to be in the same vein as Toy Story 2, not a complete sell out… I’m proud of you Brad.
Coming Out Today in Australian Cinemas
In Time
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
DVD Releases this Week
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Fringe: Season 3
V: Season 2
The Mentalist: Season 3
NFB returns completely Next Week…

Contagion – Review

It all started with a bat.  Unfortunately, not of the man variety.

Be prepared to freak out a little more when your next cold strikes.  When it does, you’ll have Steven Soderbergh’s new biological drama Contagion to thank.  At the very least, shifty eyes will occur to the next poor sod whom sniffs or coughs.

The disease in question inflicts seizures, frothing at the mouth, and radical damage to the central nervous system.  The bodies pile up worldwide as an expert team of scientists and government officials frantically search for a cure, quarantine the infected and keep a population in panic from violently revolting.

The performances, as you’d expect from actors of this calibre, are fantastic.  Therefore this section is extensive, as is the star-studded cast.  First to the good.  Matt Damon as the immune average Joe whose family and life crumbles in a matter of minutes is touching, as the protection of his remaining daughter becomes the sole reason for existence.  Gwyneth Paltrow’s role as Damon’s cheating wife, illustrating the horrific symptoms as one of the first cases, is cleverly manipulated as the catalyst for the forthcoming events and ties it together seamlessly.  Laurence Fishburne plays Dr. Ellis Sheever straight laced and determined to bring the virus down, working alongside Dr. Ally Hextall (Jennifer Ehle) who sacrifices her own safety in the name of science.  In his desperation Sheever brings in Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet), an expert on epidemics and refreshingly blunt.

Now the not-so fantastic.  Marion Cotilliard is Dr. Leanora Orantes, whose kidnapping is mainly the only significant event to happen to this character.  Unfortunately she is underutilised, and her storyline is left gaping open.  At one point I actively forgot the character existed, having not made an appearance on the screen for at least half an hour.  Jude Law makes an appearance as well as cockney Alan Krumweide, technologically rebelling against the scientists and touting his own remedy.  Found it impossible to warm to this character, even moreso as time progresses.  Maybe it was just the rotten tooth he was sporting, but there is something entirely unsavoury about him.

And I think that’s just about the lot of them.  Take a breath.  Continue.

Contagion hinges on realism.  The thrills come from the notion that this, should a similar event occur, could be the actual protocol.  Scarier still is the day count that appears in each new sequence, illustrating how quickly viruses can spread, and how rapid bodies pile up.

The cinematography is bleak and desaturated when the outbreak emerges, making it feel sterile and generally horrible.  Effective when what you’re seeing is mass graves and more people sniffling than a hay fever sufferer at Floriade.

About three-quarters of the way through the film loses its pace.  Loses something.  You start twiddling your thumbs and looking elsewhere.  I am aware that this film is not one resulting to cheap thrills or explosions to gain your attention, however the story needed to progress a little quicker.

By far the highlight of this film is its conclusion.  It’s realistic.  It’s not over-exaggerated, nobody screams in anguish or triumph.  The cycle is sewn up tight in a neat little package, bringing completion to the film by beginning it.  The initial symptoms are all ones we’ve seen and experienced before.  Coughing, sneezing, general signs that we are not perfect specimens.  God help the unfortunate individual who sees this film whilst afflicted with a cold.

You’ll be washing your hands a little more vigorously after this one.

3.5 Stars

Contagion is in Cinemas now.

This review was by Danielle Muir.

Alfred Hitchcock: A Retrospective

With these three words, ‘Master of Suspense’, you already know who I’m talking about.  THAT says more about Alfred Hitchcock than any award or analysis ever could.

Luckily for us, the Gallery of Modern Art have decided that you can never overdose on Hitchcock, providing us with “all 56 films in existance and 17 selected episodes for television.”  Yes, thats right.  EVERYTHING.

For someone like me, (a film student who seems to watch alot of trash and bypass the classics), this is my shot to talk in a somewhat educated fashion about a truly fantastic director, who made films with class, technique, make trademarks and pushed the boundaries of his time.  I had the privilege of attending the launch of the program on October 7th.  Every Friday night GOMA whips out the Hitchcock lounge, complete with deliciously devised cocktails, music, and ominous crows scattered about the place.

It was on this night that I once again viewed the only Hitchcock film I had seen before.  The infamous Psycho.  But I hadn’t seen it like this before.  GOMA had managed to acquire, from Universal Studios no less, a copy on 35mm film.  On the big screen, you have a sense that this is the way classic cinema should be seen.  Every dot, slip, just adds to the authenticity of the experience.  In a world thats full steam ahead digital, it felt refreshing knowing that the organic medium of film hadn’t been lost quite yet.

But the real highlight for me so far is the Sunday films.  Somewhere along the way, an individual/group had the ingenious idea of pairing Hitchcock’s silent films with a live band playing a score they themselves had devised.  Introducing The Quadratic Contingency, who upon my viewing of The Pleasure Garden on the 9th of October, accompanied the film with their talents.  I can honestly say that this musical addition enhanced the experience of watching Hitchcock’s first directorial effort (a melodrama!), capturing my attention and holding it tight.  I was captivated by the storyline, the tale of two dancers tangled in a web of fame, lust, deciet and cuddles.  Watching an aged black and white silent film is simply charming and almost soothing admist our current filmic environment of big budget explosions, 3D and megastars.

For people like me, this is an opportunity to actually come out the otherside educated in the Hitchcockian way, and discover truly timeless filmaking together.  For others, here’s a chance to catch up on the classics that, after all these years, delivers chills and thrills courtesy of everyones favourite Master of Suspense.

Alfred Hitchcock: A Retrospective is running from the 7th October to the 27th November at the Gallery of Modern Art.

Check Out the GoMA Website for more information on the retrospective.

This review was by Danielle Muir.



Steve Jobs Dies, Aged 56

Former CEO and founding member of Apple died today at the age of 56. Steve Jobs was not only a technology expert, he was the CEO of Pixar Animation Studios and a member of the Board of Directors of Disney. He was also an executive producer on 1995’s Toy Story.

Apple released the following statement… Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

Walt Disney Company president Bob Iger said… Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. Steve was such an “original,” with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time.

Finally, visionary filmmaker Steven Speilberg stated the following about the founder of Apple… Steve Jobs was the greatest inventor since Thomas Edison. He put the world at our fingertips.

The world has lost a true visionary and a very talented man in Steve Jobs. His entrepreneurial skills allowed him to drastically change the world of technology and animation. Macs make the world go round.

Steve Jobs


Forecast – Week 40, 2011


Writer/Director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) delivers a new take of the beloved 1984 classic film. Ren MacCormack (Kenny Wormald) is transplanted from Boston to the small southern town of Bomont where he experiences a heavy dose of culture shock. A few years prior, the community was rocked by a tragic accident that killed five teenagers after a night out and Bomont’s local councilmen and the beloved Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) responded by implementing ordinances that prohibit loud music and dancing. Not one to bow to the status quo, Ren challenges the ban, revitalizing the town and falling in love with the minister’s troubled daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) in the process

Pregnant, married, and awkward at eighteen years old, Carolyn Briggs grows more and more interested in Jesus, eventually giving herself over to a radical New Testament church. Amidst her community of self-described “Jesus Freaks,” Carolyn’s daily life consists of hours of Bible study, alternative family practices and bracing for the oncoming Rapture. It’s only when her marriage begins to unravel that Carolyn dares to question the religious dogma she has embraced for her entire adult life.

Based on the acclaimed novel by Julia Leigh, THE HUNTER is a powerful psychological drama that tells the story of Martin (Willem Dafoe), a mercenary sent from Europe by a mysterious biotech company to the Tasmanian wilderness on a dramatic hunt for the last Tasmanian Tiger.

A gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near-future where the sport of boxing has gone high-tech, Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback. REAL STEEL is directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum franchise and Date Night).


In May 2007 the Port Phillip City Council unveiled plans for a large-scale commercial development on the St Kilda foreshore – a $400 million mega mall that would comprise 180 shops, a hotel, a supermarket, eight cinemas, a gallery and five bars. Local residents were outraged, and with developers preparing to push the project through council, the community galvanised to stop it going ahead.

In this compelling story of democracy in action, truth proves stranger than fiction as accusations of betrayal, deceit and corruption abound. Filmed over three years, The Triangle Wars captures the fascinating battle between an outraged community, an intractable local government apparatus and a powerful development consortium, as heads roll and careers are destroyed.



Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil (DVD)

Thor (DVD)

Big Bang Theory Season 4 (TV Series)

Andy X – Review

Jim Sharman, the eccentric mind that brought us everyone’s favourite sweet transvestite, delivers his latest uber-retro musical ‘Andy X’ with lashings of sex appeal, sass and delicious visuals.

Pop art is digitised with this tale of Andy Warhol, switching between hooded man, multi-coloured splotch ridden man and wigged man.  All sharp as a tack and exaggerated perfectly.

The performances are pitch perfect.  Akos Armont is spot on as everyone’s favourite pop-artist, his performance quick and versatile, and keeping pace with the fast-moving pace of the film.  Fast tracking the journey from a young man to the Warhol phenomena is a joy with Armont at the helm.

Sheridan Harbridge is a joy as Valerie, a rough-talkin’ American with an itchy trigger finger.  She also plays other smaller roles throughout with the same vigour as the rest of the cast.

In short, I ate this film up.  Catchy, sensual, exaggerated and luscious, it was a piece of unashamed fun and frivolity.  Sharman has done a fabulous job of bringing the life of Warhol to the screen in the only manner in which it would have done the man justice.

I managed to see this as part of the previews that ran during the Brisbane Festival 2011.  I realise just how much of a privilege it was to see such a new work, by such a grand director.  Thankyou, Mr Sharman, for giving me a shot of digital pop-art straight into my arteries.

If ANYONE has the opportunity to see this film, do it.  Your witnessing something rather special.

3.5 Stars

Andy X is due for online release later this year.

This review was by Danielle Muir.