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See you next Tuesday #Adelaide. @southaustralia #mikeymelbs

See you next Tuesday #Adelaide. @southaustralia #mikeymelbs

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TGI-Clever Little Tailor. @cleverlittletailor @jmkitto @___madeline___ #adelaide

TGI-Clever Little Tailor. @cleverlittletailor @jmkitto @___madeline___ #adelaide

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Let’s go @adelutd_fc! #coyr #ADLvMCF @laliga @aleague

Let’s go @adelutd_fc! #coyr #ADLvMCF @laliga @aleague

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How’s your day at work going? Here’s mine. #pinballwizard

How’s your day at work going? Here’s mine. #pinballwizard

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Cinema going on your own has never been so fun. @mercurycinema #cinematheque

Cinema going on your own has never been so fun. @mercurycinema #cinematheque

2 Notes

365 Films in 2014 (#156 - #184)

The #365films2014 saga continues and for the month of July I’ve been celebrating sportsball films or sportsing films in general to honour the definitely not corrupt World Cup. There’s also the raft of assorted new release, classics, some not so classics, and recommendations. 

From now on I’ll also be reviewing a few films a fortnight from ‘Cinemateque' a program put on by a great Adelaide establishment, the Mercury Cinema. Look out for those more left of centre films that Mercury Cinema is so great at showcasing.

Hugs.

- June 15 -

156/365 Lords of Dogtown [2005]

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“Surf’s up! Cowabunga! Pop a wheelie!” are all things you’d probably hear from someone attempting to keep up with the kids of today rather than the cool dudes at the centre of Lords of Dogtown.

Based on the lives of real awesome skating guys such as Jay Adams (Emile Hirsch), Stacy Peralta (John Robinson) and Tony Alva (Viktor Rasuk) Lords of Dogtown uses the rise of their position in the competitive skating world to showcase 1970s Santa Monica.

Director Catherine Hardwicke perfectly captures the feel of the era alongside the crash of the surf and scrape of the skateboards but then she went on to direct Twilight, which does my head in.

Heath Ledger, as the notorious Skip Engblom, and Rebecca de Tuna Mornay steal most of their scenes but overall Lords of Dogtown is probably for diehard skater/surfer types.

(2 and a half)

157/365 Hedwig and the Angry Inch [2001]

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First came the off-Broadway musical, and then came the cult film adaptation followed by a Broadway revival with a big name star and bunch of Tony nominations. Thus completes the musical cycle.

John Cameron Mitchell is one busy dude. He’s adapting his own musical into a big screen version and also decided to star and direct the whole damn rock ‘n’ roll story. Hedwig is a trans woman but more importantly the front woman for rock band The Angry Inch (normally I’d ignore the need to mention her gender surgery, but the name of the band directly relates to the botched operation and what remains, unfortunately for young Hedwig.)

Michael Pitt stars as Hedwig’s love interest, musical collaborator and Guy Who Fucks Her Over Creatively, Tommy Gnosis.

The score is more Rent than Les Miserables, which in this case, is most definitely called for. With Neil Patrick Harris starring as Hedwig on Broadway, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the type of musical that although cult in nature, anyone can enjoy.

 (4 stars)

- June 16 -

158/365 Shortbus [2006]

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You have to hand it to writer/director John Cameron Mitchell. He doesn’t beat around the bush with his work. He wanted to do a film about the sex lives of New Yorkers so he advertised a film project, cast a bunch of strangers and then crafted a story.

Shortbus is definitely a NSFW film, but on that note, how are you able to watch films at work? No wonder this economy is in the shitter.

The sex in Shortbus is most certainly not simulated and there’s a lot of peen and vag screen time but the story itself is rather charming – married sex therapist, no wait, “couples counselor” Sofia (Sook-Yin Lee) has never had an orgasm and tries her luck at a famed sex club recommended by patients of hers; gay couple Jamie (PJ DeBoy) and Jamie/James (Paul Dawson).

The risk a director runs with this type of subject matter is that it’s hard to cast legitimate actors which can lead to pretty clunky performances. For the most part, the relative unknowns get it done. Also, as far as the internet is concerned, none of the cast is in the adult industry. There’s even a character, Ceth, who’s played by writer of cutesy pop songs Jay Brannan.

Relationships and sexuality are front and centre as Sofia goes on a journey of self-discovery with her husband while James and Jamie are dealing with psychological problems of their own. When Sofia’s big O finally comes (ha) it’s a shattering moment for her and New York, both figuratively and literally.

Shortbus is not for everyone, but if you’re looking for something left of centre, it’s a sure thing. You’ll also never see a rendition of the American national anthem quite like the performance in this film.

(3 stars)

159/365 World War Z [2013]

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Zombies that run are the worst. That’s not the point of zombies. The fear comes from critical mass and the impending, shuffling death of a zombie apocalypse.

World War Z, based on Max Brooks’ novel, strayed from the author’s original intent and went with the running-sprinting variety of zombies and it doesn’t make for enjoyable viewing.

That’s the zombie frustration out of the way. The film itself is far less offensive. Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) splits with his family when zombie violence runs rampant in Newark. It’s not that he’s a deadbeat dad, he’s just super important to the people at the World Health Organisation so he has to fly around the planet trying to figure out what the hell needs to be done.

Director Marc Foster does a reasonable job at creating tension (save for those stupid fast zombies) and Pitt does what he does well as the leading hero man person.

More The Running Dead than World War ZZzzzz.

(3 stars)

160/365 Submarine [2011]

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Better known for his participation in the absurdist British comedy The I.T Crowd and for having glorious hair, Richard Ayoade’s big screen directorial debut is a refreshing coming-of-age tale of high school love, melodrama and family life in the Welsh suburbs of Swansea.

Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts) is like any hormonally charged boy in high school - a smile from the right person and he’s head over heels in love. Fortunately for ol’ mate Tate, classmate Jordana (Yasmine Paige) is out for revenge and chooses him as her conquest.

Noah Taylor is brilliant as Oliver’s ridiculously dull and very depressed father Lloyd. And the amazing Sally Hawkins (known for her Blue Jasmine performance which would have garnered her an Oscar except no one was beating Lupita) continues to show why she needs to be cast in all of the things, as his mother Jill.

Submarine is one of those films that perfectly and beautifully captures a time in everyone’s life that they’d probably like to forget, but when it’s presented in the way it is here, are all too happy to reminisce.

(4 stars)

- June 17 -

161/365 Pacific Rim [2013]

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Big, dumb action film is big, dumb and full of action but there’s fun times abound. Sort of.

Aside from the awkward title, all round amazing Mexican director dude Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth) helms Pacific Rim. That’s a mark in the plus column. There’s also the nice addition of a leading lady who happens to be a person of colour and sometimes she even speaks in her native language - slow down there progressive film. Unfortunately, Rinko Kikuchi’s character Mako Mori is under-utilised so don’t break out the Bechdel champagne yet.

Raleigh Becket (Charlie Hunnam) and Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) spend most of the film battling extraterrestrials with Jägerbombs but we all know the biggest battle is their fight between each other for leading man status. But they can both go home empty handed because there’s an actor named BURN GORMAN.

What works for Pacific Rim is the part where the giant aliens battle the giant robots. What doesn’t work is when the plot tries to rear its unnecessary head.

(2 and a half stars)

- June 18 -

162/365 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas [2008]

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Oh no no no. Just no. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas is what happens when you use a tragic historical event like the Holocaust and pimp the shit out of it for exploitative purposes.

Based on John Boyne’s New York Times bestseller, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas focuses on a German family living through World War II and having to put up with pesky neighbours - a Nazi Death Camp. Bruno (Asa Butterfield), being the inquisitive yet dangerously naïve child that he is, stumbles upon the camp and befriends a young Jewish boy, Schmuel (Jack Scanlon), on the other side of a barbed wire fence.

The kids are cute but the story reeks of historical inaccuracies and its attempts to humanise the German family with the Nazi Lieutenant father (David Thewlis) are a bit icky. And the ending, well let’s say it felt all kinds of ridiculous.

Stick to Schindler’s List.

(2 stars)

- June 19 -

163/365 22 Jump Street [2014]

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It’s easy to see where a sequel to a widely embraced remake could fall in the toilet. There have been many who have come before and have done just that. Where 22 Jump Street rights the wrongs of the past is all in the meta, self-aware nature of the film.

Morton Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Greg Jenko (Channing Tatum) are back for round two of undercover cop fun and like all sequels 22 Jump Street is flashier and more explodier than ever. The difference is, it knows it.

You can’t deny that Hill and the man known to the internet as a potato, Channing Tatum, have chemistry. Maybe a little too much if the stories about their friendly bets are to go by. But where 21 was a film with unexpected heart, 22 is too predictable and the laughs come few and far between. Ice Cube is back, as always-annoyed Captain Dickson, except the angry black man stereotype he lampoons in the original seems to have fallen by the way side and the audience is basically laughing AT him.

That’s not to say it isn’t funny. The meta stuff works because everyone commits. My advice, wait until the end of the cinematic run to see it in a barely attended screening where you don’t have to deal with packs of dude-bros who seem to miss the point that they’re kind of being laughed at.

(2 and a half stars)

- June 20 -

164/365 The Princess Diaries [2001]

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Every decade a make over film comes along catapulting its starlet into Hollywood stardom. First came My Fair Ladywith Audrey Hepburn. Even Australia’s own Olivia Newton-John had her moments in Grease. The 90s had Pretty Woman and Julia Roberts as well as Clueless with the late Brittany Murphy. Which makes The Princess Diaries one of the first for the 00s generation starring a rather less insufferable Anne Hathaway (and then of course came the unofficial sequel The Devil Wears Prada.) Cinema audiences clearly never get sick of this tried and tested format.

When Mia Thermopolous (Hathaway) finds out from her Grandma, Maria Von Trapp (Julie Andrews), that she’s the heir to the throne of made up European country Genovia, her goal of floating through life as an invisible nothing is quashed.

If you want to see 2001 in cinematic form, The Princess Diaries ticks all the boxes from fashunz to Mandy Moore singing to forgotten male heartthrobs (Erik von Detten) and Heather Matarazzo.

(3 stars)

- June 22 -

165/365 Champions: The Mighty Ducks [1992]

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Setting aside the debate over whether its Champions or The Mighty Ducks, the mother of all 90s childhood sporting franchises is a Disney masterpiece despite what Rotten Tomatoes may INCORRECTLY think.

Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) has been a very naughty alcoholic boy and must coach a pee-wee ice hockey team for his community service. The real kicker is that Gordon has got some mad hang ups about missed chances from his own youth on a pee-wee hockey team.

Enter the soon to be named Mighty Ducks. Charlie Conway (Pacey Witter) captains the troupe of juvenile delinquents as they take on the evil Hawks lead by none other than Bombay’s disappointed coach, Jack O’Reilly (Lane Smith). Other notable teammates include GOLDBERG (Shaun Weiss), wannabe smooth guy Averman (Matt Doherty), Banksy (Vincent Larusso) and how progressive is this?… guys and girls play together in this pee-wee league so there’s Connie (Marguerite Moreau) too.

The Mighty Ducks is a by the book sports film with montage, apparent failure, nasty opposition and come from behind victories but there’s no other way to have it, right?

Quack.

(4 and a half stars)

166/365 D2: The Mighty Ducks [1994]

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The Ducks go global in D2 and Iceland plus the ever-threatening onset of puberty act as the enemy.

Pacey’s back, Emmmeeeelio is back but for some reason Hans (Joss Ackland) sent his identical twin brother Jan (Jan Rubes) to take on the role of advice dolling out elder.

Due to the success of Bombay and his ducks, Team USA comes a-calling and everyone gets a call up to represent the red, white and blue at the Junior Goodwill Games.

It’s cheesy. It’s over the top. It’s so unrealistic. But we love Disney for it and it’s probably the only moment in history where non-American viewers will be chanting U-S-A… U-S-A…U-S-A!

How great are SPORTSING films? 

(4 stars)

- June 24 -

167/365 D3: The Mighty Ducks [1996]

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The team is back and Duck-ier than ever! Except Estevez must have had better things to do i.e. wasn’t offered enough money or went to rehab or something because he’s barely there at all.

It’s fancy school time and of course the entire Mighty Ducks outfit have been offered full scholarships to a preppy private school as Junior Varsity hockey jocks.

D3 feels like what happens when you make the jump from primary school to a different high school and everyone goes off in his or her own direction. Some of your mates come with you to the new school, some don’t and trying to get everyone together to relive the glory days of your early childhood feels forced and unnecessary.

New coach, new rivalry and a whole bunch of Caddyshack-esque pranks don’t really deliver the quality of the original films no matter how hard Charlie Conway/Pacey Witter’s dissenting face tries.

(3 stars)

168/365 Field of Dreams [1989]

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When Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) starts hearing voices and seeing dead baseball stars no one thinks to call a psychologist and get him checked? We all remember what happened to Izzy on Grey’s Anatomy, right?

Regardless of his brain function, the story of Ray and his merry band of ghosts is such a charming tale of small town Iowa that it’s very easy to suspend disbelief and get carried away by the heartwarming idea of a baseball field amongst corn crops.

And if folksy mid-West America doesn’t get tugging at your heartstrings, the sweeping James Horner score sure will - he’s the master of orchestral sweeps.

While the main action happens in and around Ray, his wife Annie (Amy Madigan) gets a badass, chest thumping moment of her own at a PTA meeting defending the right to freedom of speech. U-S-A… U-S-A…U-S-A!

Field of Dreams is the perfect prescription for a lazy, rainy day when all you want is some good ol’ fashioned Hollywood feels.

(3 and a half stars)

- June 25 -

169/365 Bend It Like Beckham [2002]

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It was as if 2002 was the year cinema audiences decided, “oh hey, we live in a multicultural society and those people that don’t really look like us or act like us are actually pretty interesting and if truth be told, we probably have more in common than first thought!” Two global box office hits to carry the flag of diversity were Nia Vardalos’ My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham.

Jesminder “Jess” Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is a typical eighteen-year-old girl, except for one glaringly obvious trait…SHE PLAYS FOOTBALL/SOCCER. She’s also Indian, but she’d rather that not define her. Her new best mate, Jules (the usually irritating Keira Knightley), introduces her to the world of serious amateur women’s soccer and Jonathan Rhys Meyer’s cheekbones. That all sounds pretty peachy keen except that her strict Indian family do not approve of her life choices.

Like the aforementioned My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Bend It Like Beckham has got a lot of heart. A lot of the laughs come at the expense of the ignorant white British stock who often mean well despite their casual racism, while the bulk of the feels come from the simple message that, in the end, your family will support your decisions as long as you do what you love.

An extra half star for the excellent soundtrack and the end credit’s dancing/singing to ‘Feeling Hot Hot Hot.

(4 stars)

170/365 The Rover [2014]

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A word of warning – take quiet snacks and prepare for a slow and steady descent into Depressionville Australia. In a word, The Rover is Bleak with a capital B. A post-apocalyptic South Australia has never looked so uninviting while still remaining visually stunning.

David Michôd came into our lives with his sucker punch to the gut of a film Animal Kingdom and, in The Rover, he continues his soul-crushing march towards stripping back humanity to its very lowest point.

Eric (Guy Pearce) has little to his name, but what he does have he wants to keep. So when his car is stolen, he gets angry…very angry. After being abandoned by his doomsday entourage, Reynolds (R-Patz) has nothing except the knowledge of where Eric’s car might be heading.

The unlikely duo roams the Outback, encountering many desperate characters and tracking shots that at times linger awkwardly. R-Patz shakes the dreaded Twilight’s off his reputation like nobody’s business and Pearce out dirties R-Patz and commands the screen with barely any dialogue.

The Rover won’t act as a Tourism SA campaign video, but Michôd and co. have put together a mesmerising piece of cinematic Australiana.

(3 and a half stars)

- June 26 -

171/365 Australian Rules [2002]

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Racism in a rural Australian country town unfortunately doesn’t feel out of place. Acceptable? Of course not. But there’s a long history of racism in this country so it’s not out of the realms of possibility that this divide would be presented to an audience through a rural AFL team. What shocks in Australian Rules is that the film is set in 2002, yet the division between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginal people is sickeningly strong.

Gary ‘Blacky’ Black (Nathan Phillips) and Dumby Red (Luke Carroll) are the Romeo and Juliet of Prospect Bay. While their love isn’t sexual, they’re certainly brothers from opposing sides in the “war” between black and white. Adding fuel to the fire, Blacky finds himself romantically linked to Dumby’s sister (Lisa Flanagan), much to the chagrin of his abusive father (the scarily good Simon Westaway).

Australian rules football appears to be the only activity that brings the town together but even then the Aboriginal teammates are ostracised and overlooked.

Australian cinema has a real knack of showcases some of our country’s amazing landscapes and Australian Rules is no different. Sadly, the racism over powers the beauty and we all need to take a long hard look at ourselves as a nation.

 (4 stars)

- June 28 -

172/365 Alive [1993]

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Not a conventional sporting film, but the biographical documenting of a rugby team that survived a plane crash in the Andes really takes relying on your teammates to a new level of consumption.

Alive’s biggest selling point comes from the way the survivors of this disaster survived – they ate the remains of the dead victims.

None of the performances particularly stand out because by the mid point of the film they’re all starting to look the same anyway - was that Ethan Hawke or Josh Hamilton looking dirty/icy with flowing locks?

While it’s good at grabbing a headline, Alive is more about the human spirit than consuming the human spirit. Alive is not quite a modern day Lord of the Flies but the questions of morality linger for the audience; what would you do if you found yourself in a similar situation?

(2 and a half stars)

- June 30 -

173/365 Friday Night Lights [2004]

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First and foremost, Billy Bob Thornton you are no Kyle Chandler, nor will you ever be so there’s no point even trying. Sure, you came before the man we all know in our hearts as Mr. Connie Britton or Mr Coach Taylor, but it’s just not the same.

Friday Night Lights suffers from the ‘spin-off-TV-show-version-of-the-original-film-is-better’ syndrome, which is nobody’s fault but that of the far superior TV cast and television’s unfair advantage of using multiple seasons to tell many feel-eliciting stories.

Director Peter Berg uses the big screen as a precursor to creating one of the all time great sporting, and in general, TV shows of our time. He’s a master of glorious shots that pop with lens flares all over the place. The themes of racism, family, performance pressure and school are all there but I’m going to make it easy for you and say JUST WATCH THE TELEVISION SHOW.

FNL: The Film isn’t bad, it’s more a case of “why bother?”

 (3 and a half stars)

- July 01 -

174/365 Wimbledon [2002]

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The realistic nature of Wimbledon all comes unstuck when it’s apparent that the comeback British tennis star, Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) has a better tan than any Australian could ever hope for. Brits with tans? Now I’ve seen everything.

Oh yeah and also the saccharine love story intertwined with all the tennis action is really ham-fisted. Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst as a tennis star?? Nah.) is taking the tennis world by storm but also Peter’s heart…nawwwww. Unfortunately their LOVE (tennis reference) making has opposite effects on both their on court performances – for Lizzie it’s downwards, for Peter it’s up up up.

There’s lots of close up shots of the actors hitting AMAZING forehands and backhands but few reverse shots to show where they land. Huzzah, the magic of cinema! 

Don’t think too hard, the writers obviously didn’t.

(2 stars)

- July 02 -

175/365 Jerry Maguire [1996]

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Jerry Maguire has a special place in pop culture that doesn’t seem to feel earned or necessary but it’s there nonetheless. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who has never heard phrases like “SHOW ME THE MONEY”, “You had me at hello” and “Help me…help you.” Cameron Crowe is probably to blame for this, known for his screenwriting ability with previous hits such as Almost Famous and Vanilla Sky.

Everyone’s favourite whipping boy, Tom Cruise, stars as fast-talking, arrogant Jerry the sports agent who has an epiphany and leaves his high-end job to regain credibility with Cuba Gooding Jnr. For some reason, his assistant Dorothy Boyd (Renee Zellweger) decides to join him on a rocky path to nowhere, oh yeah, she totally has the hots for him, that’s why she goes.

Jerry and Dorothy’s relationship seems problematic from the start with her being a single mother to the adorable Ray (pre-buff Jonathan Lipnicki) and Jerry being a commitaphobe - not entirely a match made in heaven. Bonnie Hunt tries to helps out as only Bonnie Hunt can but it’s not enough to stop their train wreck of a first kiss leading to first having of the sex leading to marriage, WHAT?

Let’s take a moment to talk about Regina King being a total boss in every scene as CGJnr’s wife. She shows everyone how it’s done and when that Obama film gets made cast the hell out of her for Mobama

SHOW ME THE AWESOME SOUNDTRACK inflating Jerry Maguire’s score.

 (3 stars)

- July 03 -

176/365 Warrior [2011]

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The real battle is not necessarily a Mixed Martial Arts bout between two estranged brothers or a father trying to win his sons’ respect back, but mostly between Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton’s ability to pull off an American accent. SPOILER ALERT Tom Hardy wins due to the trace amounts of The Secret Life of Us left in Edgerton’s vernacular.

For a film about a sport I abhor (MMA), Warrior took me by surprise. Hardy and Edgerton as competing brothers, and Nick Nolte (playing recovering alcoholic Nick Nolte) all nail it. It’s a classic underdog story with a side bar of surprise returned war hero thrown in for good measure. Director Gavin O’Connor lays on the cheese a little thick, but it’s called for and the cinematography of the fights draws the viewer into the arena.

Jennifer Morrison isn’t given much screen time as Edgerton’s concerned wife, but when she is given material to work with she mesmerises on screen.

Any film that bookends with The National tracks gets a tick of approval.

(4 stars)

- July 04 -

177/365 Million Dollar Baby [2004]

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Nobody does gritty like Hilary Swank and Million Dollar Baby is Swank at her gritty best - even the Academy agreed by giving her a Best Female Actor nod.

Another film to add to Clint Eastwood’s slew of starred and directed filmography, Million Dollar Baby uses a female protagonist in a male dominated world, but don’t worry it’s no The Next Karate Kid.

Apparently upon release, critics had a hard time reviewing Million Dollar Baby without giving away spoilers. I, for one, find that pretty easy to avoid - I won’t talk about the end!

Spoilers aside, Morgan Freeman does Morgan Freeman with a bung eye and Clint Eastwood croaks his way through a lot of acting, which is nice to see that in his twilight years he’s found a niche that he can really sink his dentures into.

Shout out to Jay Baruchel’s southern drawl.

(4 stars)

- July 05 -

178/365 Moneyball [2011]

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BASED ON A TRUE STORY where Brad Pitt portrays the lead character and can I get this guy’s contract for signing off who plays him because I’d like Brad Pitt to star as me in the story of my life. There’s embellishing for Hollywood and then there’s no chance in hell that this guy looked like Brad Pitt. It’s all there for everyone to see on Google images, you’re not fooling anyone. With that being said Moneyball probably made a tonne of money because Brad Pitt, so there’s that.

Apart from being a master at signing a contract to get Pitt to play him, Billy Beane flies by the seat of his pants as a recruiter for the San Antonio Athletics baseball team. Unfortunately he can’t afford expensive pants and has to settle for off brand knock offs due to funding issues at his team. But Beane is a maverick, he wants to do things a little differently so he takes the concept of Fantasy Baseball literally and puts together a team of statistics. This move leads to a team of easy beats transforming into a team on a record-breaking streak.

Aaron Sorkin graces us with his presence for the screenplay so there’s his usual pomp peppered throughout and Jonah Hill is bumbly enough as Peter Brand, assistant to probably-not-ugly Beane (Brad Pitt).

(3 and a half stars)

179/365 Coach Carter [2005]

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If The Mighty Ducks was set at a more racially diverse inner city school struggling to discipline its basketball team then you would have Coach Carter. Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) is the Gordon Bombay of this story as he takes on the arduous task of turning a team of delinquents into champions.

Ashanti, Channing Tatum and Octavia Spencer were all relative unknowns at the time but bolster the cast with star power when watching in 2014. Tatum gets to play the white guy martyr who brings the team together because of course.

There’s a hint of Dangerous Minds and Boyz in the Hood about Coach Carter, but the moments of sporting tension and uplifting message that to be a successful sports person you also need to be a decent human bump it from the minors to the majors (not sure if correct sporting metaphor).

(3 and a half stars)

- July 07 -

180/365 Devil’s Knot [2014]

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If you’ve been living under a rock since 1993 you might not have heard of the West Memphis Three but they are a group of men (teens at the time) who were convicted of brutally murdering three Arkansas children.

Unfortunately for Devil’s Knot, there’s nothing new added to a well worn path investigating a botched criminal case and a small town gunning for the conviction of juvenile delinquents.

Why Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth signed on to this dramatic retelling is beyond me. There have been three HBO documentaries (Paradise Lost series) and a Peter Jackson produced documentary (West of Memphis) that contribute far better to the case than Devil’s Knot ever will.

Knot worth it.

(1 and a half stars)

- July 08 -

181/365 Under the Skin [2014]

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Um…I…er, hmmm. Well then. Um. Ok. Wow.

Whatever happened in Under the Skin be sure to have someone to hold you after. Part sci-fi, part horror, part thriller, you’ll never be one hundred per cent certain what’s happening, but you’ll feel mighty unsettled throughout.

Scarlett Johansson is phenomenal as, ironically, a Black Widow-esque stalker of men. What she does with the men is creepy and mind bending but has to be seen to be believed. But her portrayal of an non-Earth being is understated and overstated at all the right points.

Writer and director of all that is Under the Skin’s bizarro nature, Jonathan Glazer, takes what could be a pretty average concept and turns it and the audience on their heads. The score drones and the cinematography stuns while a lot of the incidental characters are played by the average Joe on the streets of Scotland.

See Under the Skin so I can talk to someone about it.

(4 and a half stars)

- July 09 -

182/365 Grave of the Fireflies [1988]

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There’s something about the beauty of Japanese anime combined with the devastation of World War II that elicits feels of the highest order. The score, visual elements and simple story in Grave of the Fireflies tugs at all the heartstrings and never lets go.

Brother-sister combo Seita and Sesuko are left to fend for themselves after a bomb attack leaves them high and dry. Wartime isn’t exactly all its cracked up to be for a couple of young children trying to remain nourished, safe and find their family.

Grave of the Fireflies is a tearjerker and the bond between brother sister is perfectly established in a flashback story that you’ll wish wasn’t based on a historical fact.

(4 stars)

- July 10 -

183/365 Muppets Most Wanted [2014]

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As far as sequels go, Muppets Most Wanted sticks to the silliness of the original but packs a bigger punch on the cameo front. EVERYONE gets a cameo (I can’t even be bothered typing them out because Wikipedia has done that for me). Sometimes that can come across as a desperate ploy to cover story weaknesses and at times that’s kind of the case.

But to be fair to Muppets Most Wanted, it was always going to be hard for the film to back up the unexpected awesomeness of the original rehash from 2011. There’s no saccharine Jason Segel or Amy McAdams on set this time, rather the heavy lifting is left to the acerbic Ricky Gervais. I’m not sure it always works but the audience gets enough wink wink nudge nudge jokes that cover all demographics so it’s not a complete flop.

With Tina Fey playing a Russian Gulag officer, the fun never stops.

(3 stars)

184/365 Kill Your Darlings [2014]

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Harry Potter is all grown up but still looks decidedly Harry Potter-esque except he’s got an American accent and a vocabulary more in tune with beat poetry than spells.

Daniel Radcliffe stars as famed Greenwich Village resident, Allen Ginsberg, as he struggles with sexuality, college life and MURDER. Whoa things really escalated quickly in the 40s.

Harry Allen Potter Ginsberg is drawn to the charismatic Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan) and ends up palling around with other pre-famous writers like Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster).

John Krokidas has written and directed a visually stunning debut film about a group of famed artists before they were household names whilst Radcliffe continues his move away from the Quidditch pitch.

(4 stars)

Notes

Wineselfie. #etcboozecruise

Wineselfie. #etcboozecruise

Notes

Foetus fronds. Happy 30th @beyoncepad_thai.

Foetus fronds. Happy 30th @beyoncepad_thai.

1 Notes

Pals 5eva. @millsied @natalie_oliveri

Pals 5eva. @millsied @natalie_oliveri

Notes

Why not joint the movement #Adelaide? @mintmovement #health

Why not joint the movement #Adelaide? @mintmovement #health