Can of worms

26 August, 2008

A recent post of mine sledging Olympic rowing commentator, Nick Green, ended with the Iine, ‘Special = Retarded”.

Little did I realise that my comments would create a stir in Los Angeles – the next day activists protested against depictions of developmental disability and the use of the word “retarded”.

Or maybe they were referring to Ben Stiller’s latest movie, Tropic Thunder?

Speaking of Ben Stiller, he’s the subject of one of my favourite ever comedy lines, courtesy of Ricky Gervais, creator and star of the classic TV series, Extras.

Ben Stiller: And who are you?
Andy Millman: Nobody.
Ben Stiller: What?
Andy Millman: Nobody.
Ben Stiller: Exactly. And who am I?
Andy Millman: Either Starsky or Hutch, I can never remember.
Ben Stiller: Was that supposed to be funny?
Andy Millman: You tell me, you were in it.

And while we’re on the subject of comedy, and retards, here’s another classic, from Borat:

Mike Jared (Magnolia Fine Dining Society): I’m, er… recently retired…
Borat: You are a retard?
Mike Jared (Magnolia Fine Dining Society): Er… yes…
Borat: Er… physical or mental?
Bethany Weston (Magnolia Fine Dining Society): [to Jared] Retired…
Mike Jared (Magnolia Fine Dining Society): RETIRED! I don’t work anymore…
Bethany Weston (Magnolia Fine Dining Society): Stopped work…
Mike Jared (Magnolia Fine Dining Society): STOPPED WORKING!
Borat: [quietly across the table] Is very good you allow retard to, er…
[mumbles politely]

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Nothing on at the movies?

15 April, 2008

Is it just me, or is there a dearth of decent movies showing at the moment?

Wakes & I religiously watch The Movie Show each week – don’t think they’ve featured a single film that either of us has wanted to see for the past month.

Even the usually reliable Cinema Nova playlist failed to inspire.

Of the ones currently doing the rounds, we’ve seen:

  • Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
  • The Black Balloon
  • No Country for Old Men
  • There Will be Blood
  • Juno

Any suggestions?

Anyone know anything Street Kings, opening this week in Melbourne?

The Kite Runner?

(Photo credit: Jessica )


Oh no, you’re not

8 April, 2008

Pretty funny banner spotted in Melbourne this morning.

(It’s promoting a new movie but had a few people [ahem] fooled for a while)


Movie Review – The Black Balloon

24 March, 2008

black_balloon.jpg

Thomas Mollison (Rhys Wakefield) is a sensitive adolescent, constantly changing schools as his regular Army father Simon (Erik Thompson) moves from base to base. Making life especially difficult for the Mollisons is Thomas’ autistic brother, Charlie, brilliantly played by Luke Ford. Charlie is a handful at the best of times, demanding constant attention and unable to communicate except via grunting and rudimentary signing.

Toni Collette is great (yet again) as the dynamic mother, Maggie Mollison. She displays endless love and patience for Charlie, and an amazing amount of energy, despite being heavily pregnant with a third child. Maggie and Simon are philosophical as to their ‘burden’ – ‘your mother thinks we got Charlie because we’re strong enough to cope’ – however Thomas struggles to deal with the attention that Charlie demands and receives from all in the family.

I enjoyed the scenes of Thomas’ life at his new school – those tight Warrick Capper uniform shorts brought back some embarrassing memories as did the bathers that Thomas is loaned on his first day at the pool. Despite being significantly less cool than the other boys at his school, and having his credibility ruined by having a ‘spazzo’ for a brother, Thomas manages to woo the lovely Jackie Masters (Gemma Ward), who provides a nice counterpoint to the insensitive bullying of Thomas’ other classmates.

Director/writer Elissa Down draws on her own personal experiences (she has two autistic brothers), and manages to perfectly capture the humour, love, despair, and challenges of living with an autistic person. There were a couple of particularly powerful scenes – the aftermath of Charles being left on his own; and Thomas’ disastrous 16th birthday party, to name a few – and a few very funny scenes.

The Black Balloon scores 4 stars and some big thumbs up for all of the cast.


Movie Review – Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

22 March, 2008

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The title of the movie is taken from an Irish toast, ‘May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head; may you be 40 years in heaven, before the devil knows you’re dead.’

Directed by 83 year old master, Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Network, Dog Day Afternoon), ‘Devil’ is a gripping and moving cinema experience. Two brothers, Andy and Hank Hanson, need money, and fast. The manipulative Andy comes up with a plan for Hank to rob the jewellery store owned by their elderly parents, however the devil is in the detail, and things quickly go wrong, with disastrous consequences.

Lumet makes great use of chronological jumps backwards and forwards in time, and shows the same scenes from various characters’ points of view, to slowly provide the audience with more and more information about the story. Sort of like Memento, but a bit easier to follow.

The cast are brilliant – Philip Seymour Hoffman seems a strange choice as the bitter and twisted Andy, though he pulls it off well (and gets to enjoy one of his rare on-screen pants-off moments – not a pretty sight); Ethan Hawke is perfect as the bumbling and downtrodden Hank; Marisa Tomei provides a nice balance as Andy’s unsatisfied wife Gina (her pants-off moments make much better viewing); and Albert Finney is convincing as Charles Hanson, the patriarch of the family. The stars feed off each other expertly, and bring newcomer Kelly Masterton’s excellent script to life.

Only a couple of criticisms: I thought a couple of Hoffman’s scenes were a bit overplayed, and the ending was a little unsatisfying, but overall, ‘Devil’ was an entertaining film and earns 4 stars.

The movie was also memorable for the complete stranger who sat next to me and peppered me with movie questions and commentary before and after the film. A strange dude indeed. Wakes thought he had a thing for me. Methinks chemicals played some role in his strangeness…


How many 5 year olds could you take in a fight?

19 March, 2008

bubble-gum-gang.jpg

Check out this classic quiz.

I don’t know if I should be proud or embarrassed that I could take 26 of the little buggers.

Wakes could take down 15 if she had to.

In taking the quiz, I would recommend keeping in mind that scene from the movie, Hostel, where a group of marauding kids attack and murder the baddies at the end.


Movie Review – There Will Be Blood

3 March, 2008

there-will-be-blood-poster.jpg

Yes, there was blood. There was also:

  • Plenty of oil;
  • Some fine acting from Daniel Day-Lewis, intersperced with a few over-indulgent scenes;
  • Some pretty crappy fonts in the opening and closing credits;
  • An annoying soundtrack;
  • No female characters of any substance;
  • A running time that was 45 minutes too long

A disappointed 3 stars from this reviewer.

PS – is it just me, or is DD-L a dead ringer for Magnum PI?

there-will-be-blood.jpg Daniel Day-Lewis

magnum-pi.jpg Magnum PI