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Ruby Reviews June 2015

July 1, 2015
Movies, Nerds and Geeks

tomorrowland

Tomorrowland
OK so this movie came out a little while ago now, and I had every intention of dedicating an entire post to it, but I just never got around to it and now I have a couple of other films I’d also like to review. I really liked this film, but was dismayed when I saw how poorly it was doing. I’m always hearing people complain about how films are rarely original these days, they’re all reboots or sequels or live-action adaptions of animated movies or whatever which is getting pretty boring. And yet this very original film comes out and no one bothers to see it. C’mon guys! I guess it’s because people assumed it was some sort of lazy Disney-park adaption when the only thing it shared with the Disney park is the name and the general “retro futuristic city” theme. Disney did a great job of creating an amazing new world (that may not quite be as it seems) with two of the three leading actors being young, smart women. They even did a decent enough job with diversity! My only fault with it that it was a tiny bit too family-friendly for my liking which was a little bit cheesy, but otherwise it was really fun! I thoroughly recommend you see it by legitimate means (ie. not illegally downloading it) so that Disney continues to make female-lead, diverse and original films like Tomorrowland!

JurassicWorld

Jurassic World
OK so this was another film I was going to dedicate an entire post to. I actually typed it up but since it was just a big rant about all of the bits that pissed me off, I decided not to share it with the world. So this is my condensed rant instead. Look, it was fun. I saw it twice and I’ll probably buy it on bluray. But it was pretty darn disappointing. I LOVE Jurassic Park, I watch it a lot and even watched it twice in one day after seeing this new one (because it’s that damn good), so I knew I was probably going to be a bit disappointed, but I had no idea just how much or why. First of all, the story line? A dinosaur theme park gets built despite the tragic occurrences in 1993, is successful but needs new, made-up dinosaurs with extra teeth to keep people excited. Also one guy can kind of get raptors to obey commands so another guy wants to send them to war to eat our enemies. WHO WROTE THAT? Did they just quiz some 8 year olds on what they should do and then mash the idea together without even bothering to link it all together?! Also, we need to discuss who the fuck designed the park. Who lets teenagers control their own giant glass balls among dinosaurs and not have a recall function if something happens? Who thought it’d be OK to have a giant underwater dinosaur enclosure right near the boardwalk where guests wander around? WHO ENTERS A DINOSAUR ENCLOSURE WITHOUT BEING ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THE DINOSAUR ACTUALLY GOT OUT??? OK so this is quickly turning into my full-blown rant so I’ll stop (though I could go on for a while still). But really, how was this meant to follow up Jurassic Park anyway? How the hell do you make a character played by Chris Pratt so completely boring?  If you’re yet to see it just… don’t expect too much from it, ok?

InsideOut

Inside Out
I knew this film was going to be great when I realised it was directed by the guys who wrote/directed such treasure as UP, Monsters Inc, Wall-E etc. While I wouldn’t say it has become my favourite Pixar film, it was absolutely wonderful and a joy to watch. The basic premise is that our emotions are actually controlled by cute little creatures in our brain such as Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. When we’re kids they’re very simple and distinct from one another but as we mature they start to change and merge together to form complex new ones. The whole film is a brilliant metaphor for depression which kids probably won’t fully comprehend but many adults who suffer depression would identify with, as the main character finds her “core memories” (which shape her personality) tinged with blue when Sadness feels compelled to touch them. As expected from the guys who wrote that bloody beginning sequence of UP, there’s a real tear jerker in this film (I had to try very hard not to ugly-cry) which will make even the hardest bastard shed a tear ;_;

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Ruby’s Movie Reviews – Best of January 2014

February 3, 2014
Movies

movies

Whoa! It’s been ages since I did my movie reviews. Needless to say I have continued seeing movies since my last post, but I just have neglected to blog about any them. Oops! OK well back to it then, eh?

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

the-hobbit--the-desolation-of-smaug

I technically saw this in Boxing Day but it’s close enough to January to count, right? I absolutely loved the second instalment of the Hobbit, there’s a whole lot of action, some of which is absolutely hilarious (the scene with the dwarves in the barrels hurtling down the river were brilliant). I feel like this film was slightly better than the first, it seemed to flow a bit better and I loved the introduction of new characters such as the feisty she-elf Tauriel and Smaug himself (while I’m not normally a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, his voice was absolutely perfect for this role). I honestly didn’t think they were going to need three films for The Hobbit but so far they’re doing an excellent job of filling in the time without dragging things out too much. It’s definitely recommended you see the first instalment of the Hobbit trilogy before this film, while it’s lots of fun and adventure on it’s own you’re not going to get the full effect without following the story all the way through.

The Wolf of Wall Street

wolf of wall street

I don’t even know what to say about this film. OK so I will admit it was enjoyable in many ways, very witty and clever with impeccable dialogue and superb acting from all involved. But I just couldn’t quite get into it, I found everything about Jordan Belfort absolutely grotesque and the way he seemed to get away with everything virtually scot free infuriated me. Personally I felt like the film glamorised his hedonistic, criminal lifestyle though those I saw it with felt the opposite was true. Maybe I ruined it for myself for reading up on the actual Jordan Belfort and saw what a creep he is and couldn’t just enjoy the film without thinking about how many millions he still owes and all the royalties he’s getting from the film and the inevitable increased books sales. Grrr. If you’re into Martin Scorsese films and are better at disengaging from the nasty truths than I am (and also love excess amounts of female nudity and drug use), you’ll probably love this. Otherwise maybe just wait til it’s out on DVD.

Saving Mr Banks

saving mr banks

I actually had no idea about this movie until I saw the ad on the side of a bus and found myself intrigued by the simple poster which included the shadow of Mickey Mouse and Mary Poppins. I immediately looked it up and felt a bit dumb for not getting it right away: Walt Disney spent 20 years trying to get the film rights to Mary Poppins from the author PL Travers. As it happens, Pamela Travers is an absolute bitch who is only considering selling the rights because she’s broke. She eventually relents enough to agree to spending two weeks in LA to review the script where she clashes with everyone, determined not to let Disney mutilate her beloved Mary to whom she clings so dearly.  Throughout the film there are flashbacks to her past, growing up in rural Australia where we see how her alcoholic but imaginative and fun loving father helped shape her writing and why she was so damn attached to her character. I can’t rave about this movie enough, in fact the more I think about, the more I love it. Tom Hanks is an amazing Disney and as expected, Emma Thompson is brilliants as Travers. I can’t lie, I cried quite a bit in the film, but there were also a lot of laughs too, especially at the socially awkward and comically rude things Travers would say and do.

Her

her-film-2013

I just watched this film this week and was blown away by how beautiful it was. Imagine a not too distant future where we actually interact with our smart phones and computers. That’s what happens when Theodore, a lonely writer who’s going through a divorce with a woman he still believes he loves, buys the OS1, an operating system with artificial intelligence that actually interacts with you. His OS is called Samantha and they quickly become very close, eventually falling madly in love with each other. This film could have easily just been a warning tale to those who depend on technology too much and become isolated from actual human contact, but instead it felt to me a story about how love can transcend physical relationships and the beauty of pure, emotional love. It’s one of the sweetest love stories I’ve seen in a very long time and it mattered not that one half of the couple wasn’t a tangible, living being. Joaquin is one of my favourite actors and he was incredible in this role, which I can only imagine would have been tough given he was talking to himself for most of the movie!

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Our USA Trip – Los Angeles

December 6, 2013
Movies, My Life, Nails, Nerds and Geeks, Parties and Fun, Travel

Welcome to the first post of my US trip. I have taken so long because I kept writing way too much! I had multiple paragraphs, probably a couple of pages worth of writing and I had only covered the first couple of days. Guys, I am not going to subject you to that. That is why I have a livejournal, not a blog. So please forgive me for being so slow, I just get so excited to recount my trip and the words just come flowing out! OK enough BS, let’s get started!

We arrived into LAX on Wednesday the 23rd of October, about 4 hours after we’d left Brisbane (gotta love timezones). We were exhausted from a long flight that was crazy turbulent but we arrived in one piece and were super excited about our upcoming adventure. Our first mission was to collect our hire car, which was daunting as LA roads and highways are meant to be scary, but we managed to get to the hotel (via a spot of shopping and fast food sampling along the way) unscathed and in good spirits. Awesome work, Ben!

Our first evening was… well, a drunken one. We went to some nearby craft beer bars in Hollywood and got a bit over excited (craft beer in America guys, OMG it’s amazing) and wound up at an old speak easy era jazz bar on the other side of town, based on the recommendation of one guy we chatted to at an earlier bar. It was a lot of fun but such a silly idea as we had an early start the next morning.

The next morning I had an appointment to get awesome 3D deco nails by a lady called Mari in Torrence, which is south-west LA, about a 40 minute drive from where we were staying in Hollywood. Oh, and we’d be in peak hour traffic. Darn. Being hungover while experiencing LA highways ended up being quite the adventure, in fact it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. The roads would just split and we’d be whisked off in the wrong direction without knowing how or why. Our GPS didn’t make any sense because of the crazy roads and we ended up running so late. Thankfully Mari still managed to squeeze me in and gave me the most kawaii Halloween nails ever!

Once we got back to the hotel and had an anxiety-induced nap, we felt refreshed and ready for the rest of our big day. We ended up walking to the main strip of Hollywood because we weren’t driving and cabs aren’t easy to find in LA, but it was a lovely warm day so we enjoyed the stroll. We followed the Hollywood Walk of Fame (where we stumbled upon the only star I really cared about, Buster Keaton!), stopping at a bar for a beer, standing outside of the Chinese Theatre as it was closed for an event and then had lunch at Hooters which was hilarious. Ben was very excited indeed to get a photo of me with a bunch of the Hooters girls.

  
Now full of food and drinks we grabbed a cab up to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights! It was just dark when we arrived and there were teenagers everywhere. Once inside we were almost immediately mobbed by people dressed as people from The Purge, brandishing chainsaws (I think they were real too, just with the chains removed) which was absolutely terrifying! Once I got past them and screamed my head off, we were able to have look at the park. Naturally we were immediately drawn to Krustyland where I finally got to go on the Simpsons ride (I’m still sad the Back to the Future ride was scrapped for it, but it was still a lot of fun) and marvel at all the cool Simpsons merchandise. We managed to go through all of the mazes which were all pretty darn scary and mostly filled with zombies (the main theme was The Walking Dead) as well as all of the rides that were open. It was a really fun night!

 
On the Friday we got up early for a proper American diner breakfast and went on a tour of Paramount Studios which was just up the road from our hotel. While Paramount isn’t as easily recognised as some of the other big Hollywood studios, they’ve had an amazing history and so many cools films and TV shows have been made there. Our guide was also such a cool dude which made it all the more fun. After the tour we went and sussed out a couple more craft beer bars before I headed to the Beverley Centre to do some shopping at Sephora and Forever 21. FUN! Once my shopping quota was filled we then headed to the Largo to see a performance by Jon Brion, something Ben has always dreamed of doing (it was really cool but I was so exhausted I almost fell asleep like a total jerk).

 
Because of how much we loved the Paramount tour, we booked a tour of Warner Bros studios for the next morning, which was amazing simply because of all the Harry Potter stuff they had on display everywhere. This your guide was a bit of a dork and really stuck to the script so it wasn’t quite as interesting but still a bunch of fun! We then headed back to the main strip of Hollywood to look at the autographs and hand prints at the Chinese Theatre and other touristy stuff before I (kind of) randomly got a tattoo. OK so I had considered it already but it wasn’t until we found a really cool place in the back of a rockabilly shop called Tinta Rebelde that I decided to go for it. I got a Jack O Lantern candy bucket which Chris drew up perfectly the first go. I got it on the inside of my leg (above my ankle) which, in retrospect, was a poor placement choice (I’ll elaborate later). Once I was all done there we went back to the hotel to decide what to do that evening. We initially wanted to see a film at Hollywood Forever cemetery (The Craft was screening which neither of us were crazy about, but seeing it in a cemetery sure had its appeal) but then Ben found out there was a screening of Elijah Woods new film which he’d even be at! Along the way we planned to go look at all the shops further up Melrose Avenue but we kind of ran out of time. I did manage to get to Japan LA and buy up a storm though, so that was well worth it.

We saw Grand Piano at the Silent Film Theatre, where I happened to get into a conversation with Elijah at the candy bar. I HAD A CASUAL CHAT TO FRODO AT A SCREENING OF HIS OWN FILM, GUYS! It was awesome. He just started talking about the cupcake I was buying (Halloween themed, of course) and I totally played it cool and chatted back!!! The film itself was great, it’s by Spanish director Eugenio Mira so possibly won’t get a mainstream release but worth checking out if you like the idea of a somewhat light-hearted thriller about a famous pianist getting blackmailed by a crazed sniper (really, it’s a lot of fun)!

 
On Sunday we had a road trip down to San Marcos to visit some breweries (Stone and Lost Abbey). Ben drove the whole way and was getting pretty darn good at it too. We stopped along the way to look at San Onofre beach and had Denny’s for lunch (so. much. food). I got pretty drunk because Ben kept giving me his beers so he could drive home. It was such a nice day, and a little bit of a chance to unwind after doing so much already.

 
And then the big day came, it was time to go to Disneyland. We chose to go Monday to avoid crowds and boy did we. We barely had to line up for more than 10 minutes all day! The weather was pretty cool and even rained a bit in the morning so it was especially quiet, which suited us! Oh man I love Disneyland, I went when I was 14 with my family and it was still as magical as ever. Plus this time we got to go to California Adventure which was SO GOOD. Not only do they have two awesome rides (Tower of Terror and the California Screamin’) but there was a craft beer bar which served pumpkin cider which was the tastiest thing EVER! It was such an intense day though, and my tattoo was so sore I could barely walk by the end, but we lasted nearly 12 whole hours. I also bumped into Stephiee who I’ve followed online for years, dressed as a superhero version of Rapunzel for the Halloween party at Disneyland – cute!

The next day was our last day and we only really had the morning as we had a flight at lunch time so we just spend some time wandering through the Hollywood Forever cemetery (so many ostentatious graves, and most of them weren’t for celebrities either) before we drove to LAX, bound for Vegas!

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Ruby’s Movie Reviews: May – June 2012

June 17, 2012
Movies

PROMETHEUS

I am not going to lie, this is not the best film ever. Which I think a lot of people expected it to be, and why so many of them are now bitching about how shit it was. It’s not shit, in fact it’s actually really good. Just not as amazing as Alien (it’s “sort of” sequel) or Avatar (as it was touted, with the whole shot-in-3D thing) but it’s pretty darn enjoyable. Just don’t go it expecting to have all of your Alien-related questions answered and maybe expect to have many new questions when you leave the cinema. Especially ones about the origin of life on Earth and also “so was the robot good of bad?” because there are a lot of open ends left in this film. Sequel, anyone?

Just quickly, the story is set in the not-too-distant future where two scientists have found a star-map to a mystery planet, and believe it might be where human life came from. A rich old dude (Guy Pearce, strangely enough) funds a big ol’ trip to this mystery planet along with a cool-but-creepy Michael Fassbender as robot, David. As one might expect from director  Ridley Scott, all goes to shit and it turns out maybe we were being a bit too curious for our own good. Also, aliens barge their way into mouths, burst through stomachs and generally gross everyone out, ever.

The 3D is nothing like Avatar, which is probably the biggest disappointment for me, but it was better than the average 3D film (which isn’t saying much, unfortunately). I am really looking forward to the director’s cut as I think that’s where it’ll really shine.

MEN IN BLACK 3

I was actually really surprised by how much I enjoyed this film. Let’s face it, MIB2 wasn’t exactly brilliant and so I was kind of surprised that Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones would agree to be in the 3rd installment. Thank god they did, because it shat all over the first sequel and was heaps of fun. Apparently they started filming with only half a script in order to secure Will Smith, and then madly wrote the second half while filming, which is funny because it’s actually the second half where it gets really good. Funny how things work out, hey? Can I just say, Josh Brolin stole the show. He played a better Agent K than even Tommy Lee Jones! In fact there were a couple of moments where I could have sworn they used some CGI trickery to make TLJ looks 40 years younger, he was that bloody convincing. I was also delighted when I realised it was Jemaine Clement playing the bad guy, Boris the Animal. I was actually so sure that it was Tim Curry at first. Good one, Jermaine!

The plot is pretty simple, Boris the animal busts out of space-jail and decides to go back in time to 1969 when Agent K shot his arm off and captured him, to kill him and thus be able to take over Earth with his nasty alien mates. Agent J (Will Smith) has to go back in time to stop this from happening and also work out why his partner K has been such an arsehole lately. The ending is actually really sweet and kind of explains why a lot of the things in the first film happened (but basically you just have to pretend the second film never existed for that to work, which is easy enough to do).

KING OF DEVIL’S ISLAND

I actually saw this film a while ago, but enjoyed it a lot and thought I should recommend it. I got free tickets because I’m a member of the Palace VIP club (what can I say, I’m still a film geek) for a sneak preview. It stars Stellan Skarsgård, who you might know from Thor, The AvengersThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or just as Alexander Skarsgård’s dad (ya know, Eric from True Blood). It’s Norwegian so if you’re one those people who don’t like reading subtitles then this is not for you (or maybe you should harden up and start liking foreign films because you’re missing out on a LOT of good films by being so stubborn).

Bastøy prison for is for young men where the conditions are harsh and the men who run is harsher. “C19” is one of two new arrivals who is rumoured to have committed murder (most of the crimes committed by the boys are pretty minor, often stealing) and immediately plans to get off the island ASAP. He almost succeeds at one point but it caight nd severely punished. In the meantime he become close with another boy, C1. Well, as close as two boys can given the circumstances. C1 is getting very close to being released and is therefore a model inmate while C19 is disobedient and hell bent on causing trouble. Then he discovers the kid who he came to the island with, C5 is being molested by one of the male staff and basically all of the staff are a pack of jerks, leading to a rebellion.

It’s not a very happy film, but it’s not as grim as the synopsis might have you think. It was superbly acted by the young men who portray the inmates and while the ending is far from happy, it’s almost uplifting. It’s actually based on a true story where a rebellion took place oin 1915 and the army were sent in to finish it. Definitely worth seeing for something a bit different!

Ruby Movie Reviews – April 2012

April 28, 2012
Movies

Wow I have been slack-as with my movie reviews. I don’t even know if I should keep them up? I see movies ALL the time but somehow always forget to review them. Worst blogger ever? Probably. Anyway, here’s the last FOUR films I have watched:

THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL

I will admit I saw this film simply because of the cast. I adore older, English actors and have a little bit of a crush maybe on Bill Nighy. The storyline seemed simple enough, some elderly Poms decide to go to a hotel in India for a retreat where they discover the over-enthusiastic owner (played by Dev Patel, the guy from Slumdog Millionaire) has embellished the advert somewhat and are faced with less than savoury facilities in the hotel. However (most) of them make the most of it and get right into making themselves at home and discovering their surroundings. Two of the characters have trouble aclimatising, one of which is there against her will (to get surgery) while the other is really just a whiney cow who never seems to be happy anywhere, much to her husband’s dismay.

The story is very sweet and definitely not too complex but very enjoyable. The characters are all wonderful and it’s always a pleasure seeing Maggie Smith plating a grumpy old codger. There’s an interesting/sad twist on the development of one character that is also kind of bittersweet. It also delves into the lives of young, modern Indian people who are trying to adapt to the new world while fighting off the predjudices of the old way. The scene with Maggie Smith’s character when she becomes friendly with the “untouchable” servant girl is especially nice.

THE HUNGER GAMES

So apparently I am in the minority of people I know who actually liked this film. In fact, I will go as far as saying I loved it! I decided not to read the books before seeing the film as I am sick of being disappointed by a film because I went and read the book right before it. I am very eager to read the books after seeing this film because I thought it was fabulous. With the exception of the main premise of the film, I want to live in that future! The colours, the fashion, the futuristic-yet-old-fashioned styling ala Blade Runner (but much cleaner and sparklier). It was a total feast for my eyes!

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the storyline revolves around Katniss, who volunteers herself to enter the Hunger Games in place of her little sister. Basically, there was some apocalyptic event that destroyed the USA after which there were rebellions from people in the poor areas surrounding the capital city, called “Districts”. To punish the districts for their rebellion there is an annual game called the Hunger Games where two children aged between 12 and 18 are picked to represent the district in a battle to the death. Grim, I know. It’s a big televised event and big bucks for the people who run the show. Katniss and a boy she went to school with are trained up and it’s soon learned that Katniss could possibly win the games due to her cunning at archery and her fiesty attitude.

I don’t understand why people didn’t enjoy this movie. Not just those who’ve read the books either, I got bad reviews from heaps of people. I thought it was shot beautifully and full of suspense and have thought about the film a lot since I walked out of the cinema. If you didn’t like the film and can elaborate beyond “I just hated it”, please explain why!

BATTLESHIP

Ahhh this movie was pretty fun. I didn’t have much in the way of great expectations when I went to see this film, in fact after the abysmal wreck that was Transformers 2, I was kind of expecting it to be high-action rubbish (which isn’t such a bad thing). But it as actually pretty good. It actually could have done being in 3D which I’m guessing it was meant to be in, but maybe we just lucked out in Australia. And that’s a big thing because I think 3D is over-rated and pointless in most of the films I see it used on. Or maybe I am just so used to seeing EVERY ACTION FILM EVER in 3D these days.

The plot is pretty simple, the main character Alex is forced to join the Navy by his big brother Stone (played very handsomely by Alexander Skarsgård) after fucking up his life one too many times. Alex is about to be booted out of the Navy by the father of his fiance because he is a turd who never obeys he rules. But first, RIMCPAC! Which seems to me to just be war games between US naval forces which Japan also joins in on. Meanwhile we discover there are satellites in Hawaii that are beaming out radio signals to a planet in a distant galaxy that has very similar conditns to Earth and therefore probably hosts living creatures. Obviously it does and those damn satellites probably woke them up early on a Sunday morning so they come to Earth and bring their terrifying battleship to fuck shit up with us humans.

Cue epic battle scenes, encounters with very human-like aliens and lots of witty one-liners. Unfortunately Stone doesn’t last long so it’s all up to deadbeat Alex to save the day. Very fun indeed.

THE AVENGERS

I just saw this last night and LOVED it! I am partial to all Marvel comic book adaptations so I knew I’d enjoy it, but had no idea it would be this much fun! Before seeing this, you need to have seen Thor because it’s almost a carry-on of it, and maybe also Captain America for good measure. If you haven’t seen Iron Man or Hulk before then it’s no biggie because they basically explain their parts in the early scenes of this film.

Loki, the angry, disillusioned brother of Thor has decided to come to Earth to bust shit up, partly because he wants power but mostly because he wants revenge on his perfect sibling. He has an army of vicious monsters to help him out but first he needs a fancy cube called the Tesseract which will create a portal for them to come to Earth. Once he has the cube, it’s up to S.H.I.E.L.D. to get Iron Man, Hulk and Captain America to form together to combine their powers and stop him. Thor turns up since it is his brother causing all the fuss and this the team The Avengers is born. They start off hating one another and fighting a lot, which works to Loki’s advantage, but they all manage to pull together and do what superheroes do best – bust the bad guy.

I loved the dynamic of all f the characters. Iron Man and Captain America are polar opposites so they fight a lot. Thor is just his handsome self while I really liked how Hulk was portrayed by Mark Ruffalo. Oh and I was surprisingly impressed with Hawkeye. Looks like archery is going to be the new in-thing thanks to him and Katniss! The action was awesome the final battle scene was nice and long and made the 3D worthwhile (thank god). Definitely one to see, ya’ll!

Ruby Movie Reviews: The Artist

January 29, 2012
Movies

I saw an advanced screening of The Artist today and felt that it deserved its own review as I loved it that much. But just quickly, a little bit of background on my interest in this film. I have been passionate about silent cinema for years now. I was totally obsessed with it in high school and all of my year 12 art was about my favourite silent comedians. It all started when I read a book about Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, and progressed to a massive love affair with silent comedy, in particular Buster Keaton (the guy pictured in my movie review header, as a matter of fact). Ever since then the golden era of Hollywood silent film is one of my favourite eras of cinema. It was a simpler time where so much could be conveyed without the need to resort to lots of talking (though I am also a huge fan of film noir of the 1940s which was the complete opposite of silent film, but I won’t go into that just now). So naturally, when I heard about this film many months ago, I was thrilled and have been counting down the weeks and days until I was finally able to see it.

The Artist is about famous Hollywood actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) who is the king of silent cinema. A chance encounter with a female fan, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) propels her into the public eye and due to her peppy (heh) nature and good looks she quickly starts to rise as a new star. Two years pass and as George’s home life starts to deteriorate, he is told by studio boss Al Zimmer (John Goodman) that they will cease production on all silent films and start making talkies. George is repelled by the thought of talking pictures and vows to make his own silent films by directing and staring in his own picture. But unfortunately for George, no one is interested in silent films any more and when his film is released, it is overshadowed by Peppy’s new talkie which is released on the same day. So begins George’s descent into obscurity, mostly because he is too proud to conform. His wife leaves him and within a few years winds up in a tiny apartment with his dog Jack (Uggie) and and alcohol problem. Meanwhile Peppy is the new big thing and the new darling of Hollywood, though she never stops thinking about George who helped her get where she is.

The most important thing you need to know about the film is that it is a silent film. Not just that it doesn’t have spoken dialogue, it is completely filmed in the same style as many silent films from the 1920s. Instead there is a wonderful music track that helps tell the story. The style of acting is even quite similar to how silent films were acted, with some slight exaggeration in order to convey emotions, though not enough to become hammy. They use title cards throughout, but nowhere near as many as you might expect for a modern silent film. There is actually small amount of proper audio, but I won’t elaborate on when they occur of why they’re there because that would give too much away. I know there will be a lot of people who will find this whole concept really bizarre and might not be able to enjoy it at first, which is why I’d suggest people to check out a few silent movies on youtube to get their head around how they work. It’s not all slapstick, fast motion, lingering looks and title cards telling you what was just said, there’s a fine and subtle art to how it all works and I’d hate for anyone to hate this movie because they don’t  get how silent films work.

Can I just say Jean Dujardin is my new movie star crush? Without him this film might not have been all that great. He embodies the silent movie star persona and never have I seen such fantastic acting. The way he can convey emotions without a single word is mind blowing! Plus he looks just like the classic Hollywood actor, clearly based on the likes of Douglas Fairbanks or Gene Kelly. He just… stole my heart! The way he could make the audience laugh and cry without actually saying a thing is no small feat. I don’t know if he is a dancer, but the way he danced in the film was so effortless, like he’d been doing it all his life. Amazing! Of course the other actors were terrific, but basically none of them manner in comparison to Jean.

OK I could gush for hours about how good this film is, but I won’t because I INSIST THAT YOU GO AND SEE IT. I know I recommend you go see a lot of the films I review BUT you can forget all of them right now and go see this film as soon as you possibly can. I want everyone to see what I can honestly say is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. After all, it’s been nominated for 10 Academy Awards and has won dozens of others all over the world. Please do yourself a favour and go see it. Hell, I plan to see it at least another couple of times so hit me up if you want someone to go with. I cannot praise it enough! I kind of feel like that crazy cat girl from youtube who just wants to hug all of the cats in the world, except I want to see every single screening of this movie ever!

Ruby’s Movie Reviews – August 2011

September 15, 2011
Movies

So this is a bit late. What can I say? I’m slack as hell and never gonna change! But that’s part of my charm, right???

COWBOYS & ALIENS
I had been looking forward to this film for some time. I saw the trailer a while ago online and couldn’t wait to finally see it. Daniel Craig as a tough (sexy) cowboy who doesn’t remember who he is, combined with the likes of Harrison Ford AND aliens? It was too good to be true. I took mum to see it as she was just as eager as I was, and it surpassed our expectations! Thankfully it wasn’t in 3D (have I told you just how OVER 3D films I am now?) and instead relied on a great story line and awesome special effects as well as fantastic casting.

The year is 1873 and a man wakes up with no recollection of how he wound up in the middle of nowhere, who he is, nor where the fancy metal cuff got onto his wrist. He quickly learns he is a wanted man and as he’s about to be carted off to be tried for his crimes, the town is attacked by aliens who steal people away, leaving the town devastated. The remaining citizens then go after the aliens to retrieve their loved ones and get rid of the evil aliens. It sounds a bit ridiculous, but I am telling you now, it is fantastic. I also loved how authentic it was, there was no need to glamourise that era of make it trendy by being a bit steampunk (which is something I normally love, but it would have been tacky if done in this particular film).

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES
When I first saw the trailer for this I was a little bit sceptical. After all, the remake of Planet of the Apes by Tim Burton was an absolute travesty and he’s a damn good director so I kind of assumed there was no hope. But then the reviews started rolling in and they were all excellent so between that and the fact James Franco is a dreamboat, so I went to see it with neutral feelings, hoping for something amazing but accepting of the fact it might completely blow.

Fortunately, it was EXCELLENT! The CGI as mind-blowing, to the point where you were absolutely certain that most of the apes (particularly the orang-utan’s) were real. The story line was pretty simple but very well told and as hopes, James Franco was his usual charming self and John Lithgow’s did a terrific job as his aging dad who was the catalyst for much of what happens in the film.

I really hope they don’t make a ”sequel”  as the ending explains how the world becomes the Planet of the Apes in the 1968 classic. But based on its success and the way Hollywood can;t leave a good thing alone, I’m sure one will be in production soon.

RED DOG
Now this is a film I never thought I’d see, let alone love. I saw the poster for it back when HP: DH2 was out and I recall slinging off at it and saying “I’d rather die than see that”. This is a definite case of  “don’t judge a book by its cover” because the poster did not reflect the beauty of the film one bit, and believe me, Red Dog was one of the most wonderful films I’ve seen in years. It’s very, very Aussie but not in an alienating way that only Aussies will get. It was just really authentic without going overboard with the cliche’s or the “zany” Australian style of film making that can make our films hard to market overseas.

Red Dog is the main character and is a kelpie whom the residents of the rural town of Dampier fell in love with in the 1970s. They retell his story to a truck driver who happens to stop by their only pub as Red Dog has been found gravely ill (don’t worry, this is the very first scene so I didn’t just spoil the film horribly for you). They recall his grand adventures which include his wanderings through Western Australia‘s Pilbara region, as well as the many wonderful ways that he impacted their lives.

I really don’t want to go into more detail because I want everyone to go see it and enjoy it for themselves. Ignore the lame movie poster and take some tissues because it gets really bloody sad, more than once. I really hope this film does well because it deserves to be shown all over the world and appreciated by anyone who loves dogs or just enjoys well-made Australia movies. I seriously got a tear in my eye from just reading the synopsis of the film, which means I’m probably going to have to see it again. Oh darn!

 

Ruby’s Movie Reviews – July 2011

August 3, 2011
Movies

So I actually saw more than three films this month, but three of them happened to be the final Harry Potter movie. I’ve decided not to review it as I don’t want to nerd you all into a coma and also I think I need to see it one more time before committing to putting my thought to paper (or keyboard, as the case may be). So count your lucky stars and enjoy the latest trio of film reviews!

BRIDESMAIDS

This is without a doubt, one of the funniest films I have seen in a very long time. Possibly ever. I don’t often laugh until I cry but I absolutely did during this film. Due to its popularity and the fact I have poor time management skills, I wound up being in the front row right to the side, which didn’t even ruin the experience. That is how damn good this movie is.

They say it’s the female version of the Hangover but that’s a bit of a cop put, because in reality it’s actually nothing like the Hangover but then again, if there was going to be a female version of it, this would be about it. I doubt there’s a woman under the age of 70 who wouldn’t identify with at least one of the characters, particularly the lead character Annie. The poor girl is having a shit time at life and now her best friend is buddying up to a stuck up rich bitch who is taking over all of the things she, as maid of honour, is meant to look after. There are some seriously gross parts, but mostly it’s laugh-out-loud funny and also very sweet (not in a sickening, girly-flick kind of way though, thank god). And the temper tantrum scene is just about the best scene in comedy history, I kid you not.

SUPER 8

I had very high expectations for Super 8, and fortunately for me the film exceeded them. I saw a teaser trailer for it months ago and was fascinated, but I managed to avoid as much of the hyper surrounding the film as I could so I wouldn’t know too much about the film to ensure maximum enjoyment when I finally get to see it. I did hear someone describe it as the Goonies meets Jurassic Park, which did spoil the plot a little bit, but not enough to ruin my experience.

Think back to your favourite film from the 80s where a group of young boys have some sort of adventure that sums up your childhood and always makes you happy (and possibly makes you want to go on an adventure on your own ASAP). For me this is Stand By Me or the Lost Boys. Now imagine if that film was made now with a supernatural twist and awesome CGI, but still maintaining that child-like innocence. That would be the best way to describe Super 8. Make sure to watch the end credits too!

TRANSFORMERS 3: DARK OF THE MOON

First off, let me just say that 3D movies are not very impressive these days. For the price you pay for a movie ticket to a 3D film, I expect things to pop out of the screen and look friggen awesome. Sadly, the best you get is the occasional bit of ash coming off the screen and the background looks a little bit further back than the characters. The new Transformers is no exception. There were a few key scenes that would have made for some mind blowing 3D, but sadly they didn’t take advantage of them. I was also disappointed that the trailer looked fucking amazing in 3D but the film was nowhere near is in-your-face spectacular.

But that’s not to say the film was bad. It was actually pretty good and a huge improvement on the 2nd one, much of which can be thanked by the absence of Megan Fox (god I hate her). It was fun, action-packed and featured some kick-arse robot battles. Like the first two films though, the dialogue is kind of… odd. They talk too fast and the story goes all over the place quickly and without being properly explained. It can be a bit disconcerting, particularly when you’re trying to work out which robot is good and what the hell is going on. But  then again, I doubt few people saw this film for the dialogue and story line, so maybe I’m getting a bit carried away by trying to dissect this film too much. It is excessive and loud, but it is fun and robot battles are awesome.

Ruby’s Movie Reviews – May & June 2011

June 13, 2011
Movies

SNOWTOWN

What can I say about this Australian thriller? Aside from the fact I am glad I didn’t have to pay to go? Actually I think that just about sums it up. It was basically the most unpleasant film I’ve probably seen in my entire life. It also felt like the longest despite the fact it was barely 2 hours long. Imagine long shots of ugly landscapes, close ups of people smoking, having to hear the characters eat noisily for 50% of the film, punctuated by graphic depictions of rape and torture. It’s a shame because the true story of the murders is actually very fascinating, it’s a shock that it happened in Australia and poor little Snowtown has been tarnished with it since. But it’s not worth seeing, not even worth illegally downloading if you ask me. I am not exaggerating when I say about a quarter of the cinema left about half way through after one particularly nasty scene. Save yourself the trouble and just read about the murders yourself.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 4: ON STRANGER TIDES

What is not to love about these movies? Even my intense loathing for Kiera Knightly didn’t stop me from enjoying the first three films, so it was with great relish that I saw this film knowing she wasn’t going to be on the screen, infuriating me with that damn pout, ribs sticking out all over the place. It was the first of the PotC films to be in 3D and I do get the feeling they were following the lead of Shrek by making one last film to cash in on the 3D craze. Never mind, it was still a lot of fun and worth drawing the franchise out one last time. Johnny Depp was magnificent as expected, as was Geoffrey Rush who played a very significant role in this one. I also really enjoyed the parts played by Ian McShane and Penélope Cruz (Blackbeard and his daughter, respectively). Don’t go to see this film, expecting to see something new. It’s just another swashbuckler (this time they’re after the fountain of youth which is not exactly new territory) but it’s fun and funny and has Captain Jack Sparrow, who they obviously tried to roughen up by giving him some sores and making him look especially filthy, but still happens to be the handsomest pirate to have ever existed.

X MEN: FIRST CLASS


I am not a big comic buff, I will tell you right now. I do like comics and I definitely do love films based on comics, but I am not an expert by any means, which is why I always go to these movies with my boyfriend who is basically the king of Marvel. He was so excited about this film, whereas I was a bit sceptical as I really liked the first three X Men films and all of these comic-to-film reboots are getting ridiculous. But this was very different from the other films (and indeed, most of the other Marvel films to date), and in a good way. Even I could tell these were truer portrayals of the characters than ever before, without knowing much more than few names and mutant powers of the most famous X Men. It delved in the characters of Magneto/Erik Lehnsherr and Professor X/Charles Xavier and explained a lot which you’d have to read a lot of the comics to ascertain otherwise. It also made their powers seem more realistic, knowing where they came from and seeing them struggle to control them before the big and epic climax. Watch out for a hilarious cameo appearance by everyone’s favourite mutant ;)

Ruby’s Movie Reviews for April – May 2011

May 10, 2011
Movies

It’s been a little while since my last movie review, but let’s just say I was saving it up for three really good and varied films for your review-reading pleasure.

PAUL

I knew I would like Paul no matter what. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are amazing together and have so far picked some of the best film genres to poke fun at. And now it’s time for them to get really geeky. In case you’ve been living under a rock or on the moon or some such dark, fun-less place, Paul is about two geeky English friends who go on a  road trip across the USA after attending Comic-con, to see all of the famous alien sites. Along the way they meet a real alien called Paul who lacks manners, class and tact. They end up being pursued by scary government people who are hell bent on catching Paul and naturally, hilarity ensues.

This film is not for kids, there is a LOT of swearing and general adult themes. But it is a terrific comedy that makes you go AWWWWW at the end because everything works out perfectly as we all knew it would. I managed to miss the very start and one of the key scenes thanks to my lame bladder, so I am looking forward to seeing it again soon.

MAD BASTARDS

I read a couple of decent reviews about this film, and then managed to score myself a free double pass to see a preview screening. I didn’t know what to expect, and in all honesty my expectations weren’t very high. I was expecting it to be depressing and all about the agonies Aboriginal people endure every day. In some respects I was right but I was very pleasantly surprised by how it didn’t make me feel sad at all. In fact I would say it made me feel hopeful, which is a far cry from walking out of the cinema with puffy eyes from sobbing too much. The film is essentially about a young Aboriginal boy who lives with his mum in the Kimberly region of WA. He’s starting to get into trouble so gets sent to type of camp for naughty kids to try and remind them of their heritage and help them avoid jail in the future. Meanwhile his father who he’s never met travels all the way up from Perth to finally meet his young son.

It was beautifully shot, the cinematography was just divine and I thought the pacing was really good. The acting wasn’t exactly top notch, but they used real people from the region and I think they did a magnificent job considering they’re not professional actors. It was a little bit sad, but it was mostly bittersweet and you know things were going to work out well in the end, though they didn’t delve into that and kind of let left it so you make up your own mind about what happens next. I also liked how they had candid interviews with the actors during the credits, telling their stories which the film was based on. I highly recommend it.

THOR


I had some pretty high expectations of Thor and I am delighted that I wasn’t disappointed.  admit I always found the idea of the Thor comics kind of odd, I mean he’s not a superhero really, he’s the god of thunder! But I guess the definition of what a superhero is can be very varied (after all, Batman is just a rich guy with lots of cool gadgets and Superman is actually an alien who is just average on his home planet). I didn’t realise this was directed by Kenneth Branagh, but in hindsight it was so very Branagh (aka excellent).

In the film Thor is set to become king but his dad realises he’s a bit too much of an arse with a lot of growing up to do after he incites war with an old enemy. So he banishes him to Earth to learn a few things about life. Thor quickly discovers he’s not a god on earth and when he hears bad news from back home he grows up quick-smart while also falling in love with the girl who discovered him. Then he and his cool troupe of friends do some serious arse kicking and also he takes his shirt off to the delight of women everywhere.

Without giving much away, the only flaw I found was that he learned his lesson a bit too quickly. But then again, I wouldn’t have sat through three hours of him being a pratt before he eventually realises he needs to grow up if he’s ever to go back to Asgard. But aside from that everything was wonderful. Chris Hemsworth was excellent, and although I was disappointed that Alexander Skarsgård wasn’t to play Thor, Chris more than made up for it by being equally handsome and possibly an even better actor.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

While writing this (let’s just say WordPress and I are not on very good terms right now so this has taken a lot longer than the average post) I saw yet another film which I thought I will add on the end here…

SOURCE CODE

I saw this film on a whim and am glad I did. I hadn’t heard much about it and had only seen a snippet of the trailer which had piqued my interest. I love sci-fi and I love action movies so I really, really liked this. The plot is quite complex so you do need to think a fair bit throughout, but it’s so different and engaging that even the laziest film-goer would find themselved immersed in the story.

I could spent ages trying to give you a decent enough synopsis of the movie, but I recommend you just go and read this review and then take my word that it was great. Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job, which is lucky because after Prince of Persia I have been wary of his acting (luckily that was just a one-off that we will all forget about soon enough). I kind of felt the ending pandered a bit too much to the audience who always needs a happy ending, but then again it was such a twist that I’ve been thinking about it ever since I saw the film which I guess is a sign of a good ending after all. I still don’t quite get how it all worked out, so I am going to have to make my smarter friends see it so I can pick their brains afterwards.