Monday, 31 December 2012

Lauren’s Best of 2012

2012 has been a massive year, a new job with added responsibilities, lots of family stuff happening and lots of films, books and albums (not to mention craft, restaurants, the world of finding decent decaf, the gym and just general faux-hipster time wasting activities). In fact, in 2012 I saw 91 films, I think the most I’ve ever seen.

So, here is the list of the best of 2012.


Top 20

1. Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present
This was one of the most moving film experiences I have ever had. Watching Marina’s performance art and sharing in her story had me sobbing throughout the entire film. I’ve never felt like that in a film before.
2. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
One of the first films I saw in 2012 and it was hard to beat. It crept up on you. Grey London, bold Oldman (robbed of the Oscar) and Cumberbatch!
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
This film was phenomenal. It touched my soul and challenged perspectives. Fantasy tinged with harsh reality.
4. Sound of My Voice
I do love a good story about a cult but this was about so much more than brainwashing and strange basement handshakes. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this film. It was a great narrative, perplexing and Britt Marling was incredible. A real highlight of the year.
5. Argo
I’m the first to admit I’m not a big fan of Ben Affleck the actor, but I am a massive fan of Affleck the director. A great film where the predictable suspense still had me covering my eyes!
6. Amour
Heart wrenching. Beautiful. Love.
7. Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol
Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt. Flying out a window. Renner. Action. Incredible. Enough said. Judge me, I don’t care.
8. Hugo
So beautiful (especially in 3D) that I could have sat in the cinema and watched it again and again. Thank you Scorsese. A lesson in film and a lesson in loveliness, family and dreams.
9. Weekend
A gay love story that was so much more than the average depiction, less nightclubs, more love. A beautiful film.
10. The Avengers
Superheroes!!!!! Loved every minute of Whedon fun!
11. Headhunters
A great Norwegian film that was a hilarious art-heist! Wasn’t expecting much so was totally surprised that this remained one of my favourites of the year!
12. Undefeated
I thought this would be a typical sports doco about the achievements of a wrong side turned good group of kids who win a championship. It was so much more. A moving glimpse of poverty, hard work and opportunity.
13. Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood (Italian Film Festival)
This film slayed me and really affected me for days after I saw it. It reminded me of that time around the Seattle protests and S11 and G20 and what corruption, violence and political zeal mixed with corporate zeal can do to those who believe in the truth and freedom.
14. Looper
A great film with Gordon-Levitt and Willis delivering great performances. Action and sci-fi thrills.
15. The Dark Knight Rises
Nolan delivered an amazing film, made better by seeing it in the front row at IMAX. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a highlight as Batman’s Robin, while Tom Hardy’s mumbling was a lowlight. A great end to the franchise.
16. Woody Allen: A Documentary
So great I saw this twice, once at ACMI and then on ABC. Nothing makes me feel better like Woody and Diane K talking about love and life. My teen hero.
17. Magic Mike
Soderberg for the win! What could have been Step Up with strippers ended up being emotive, gritty and real.
18. The Intouchables
As someone who has spent much of their career working in the disability policy area, often films about people with disability end up being inspiration porn, that is heart-warming stories that make you feel sympathy but hope. This film however was hilarious, genuine and avoided most clichés.
19. Margaret (Extended Version)
Lonergan delivered another great film. I’ve seen ‘You Can Count on Me’ so many times and this is just as good. To get into a teenagers brain to see tragedy, life and New York go by was incredible. Paquin was wonderful.
20. Chronicle
I went into this thinking it was a teen movie and left amazed at the way it was filmed and the impact of the story.

Almost made it to the top 20 but didn’t…

• The Artist
A beautifully shot and heart-warming film that reminds us of why cinema is so important.
• Rock of Ages
This film was a total guilty pleasure, so bad it’s good (along the lines of Burlesque), what more do you need – Tom Cruise, no shirt, singing Guns & Roses Paradise City.
• Cabin in the Woods
I’m so not into horror, in fact I’m so not into horror that I had to read the entire scene synopsis before we went into the cinema, but I surprisingly enjoyed it, I guess Joss makes everything ok. It was terrifying, random and Bradley Whitford was pure understated comedic genius!
• Moonrise Kingdom
A sweet curious tale, amazingly funning, with Bruce Willis a highlight. It was like an animated Norman Rockwell painting.
• Monsieur Lazhar
A reminder of the importance of good teachers and the importance of listening to children’s voices. The performances were emotive and beautiful.
• Safety Not Guaranteed
Funny, complete with Aubrey Plaza and Mark Duplass, what more do you need?
• Your Sister’s Sister
A well-written, charming indie. Plus Duplass and a love story!
• The Imposter
This unexpected and bizarrely fascinating documentary took me by surprise, twists and turns, reminded me of my two favourite docos of previous years, Catfish and Tabloid.
• Haywire
Soderberg does it again with a film that kind of creeps up on you and keeps you on the edge of your seat.
• Bill Cunningham New York
The story and life of Bill Cunningham was charming and unassuming.

Books (in no order):

• The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
• Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
• The Hunger Games Trilogy


• Patti Smith - Banga
• Cat Power – Sun
• Something for Kate – Leave your Soul to Science
• Ben Folds Five – The Sound of the Life of the Mind
• Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball
• Jay-Z and Kanye West – Watch the Throne
• Nicki Minaj – Roman Reloaded

Other highlights:

• Simon Callow at the Melbourne Town Hall
• Michael Palin – at the Melbourne Town Hall
• Jeffrey Eugenides at the Comedy Theatre
• Sherlock on TV – Freeman and Cumberbatch!
• Hawaii 50 and NCIS LA cross over – when cheesy met cheesier for the win!
• Being introduced to the music of Anthony and the Johnsons by Katee.
• Paul Thomas Anderson and The Master on 70mm at the Astor.
• The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime – National Theatre Live.
• Oscars Day at the Nova.

Ashley's Movies for 2012:

I cannot believe the amount of movies I was able to see in 2012. I gave myself a target for 2012 and that was to see as many movies as I could, and do a blog and score on them. At the end of the year I wanted to post my movies, ranking them from best to worst. And so here it is.

I wanted to keep the rules easy and simple, which mainly was to score them and rank them as I go, so it wouldn't be a messy affair at the end of the year. (Lauren is living through the pain of ordering films as I write) I think the hardest part was during MIFF when I saw over 30 movies in just a 2 week period. During this period I feel like I might of made some rushed scores and ranking decisions. Also, looking at my list now, I feel like I could change a few scores and ranking positions for some of the films, but in the end it is just a little fun, and nothing too serious. You will also find some old classics, which were remastered and shown at the Astor.

What surprised me was that I actually thought I saw more movies during the year than what I did see and that the bulk of the films I saw where during the two week period of the Melbourne International Film Festival. I saw double the amount of movies at MIFF than what I saw in 2011. Also, I saw some National Theatre Live productions at Cinema Nova in Carlton. Which I decided not to include in the list seeing that even though I saw them at the cinema they are more theatre productions and I enjoy them in a different way than I would a movie.

The amounts of movies I watched in the second half of the year dropped due to A-League and Melbourne Heart, but I still got to see some good movies in between the soccer, like Lawless and Argo. You can catch my soccer blog at

After saying all of that, here is my movies for 2012 and National Theatre Love list. Both list shows the score and the month which I saw the film in:

My Movies for 2012 (Well, all the movies I saw in 2012):
1: The Dark Knight Rises: 4.5/5. July. (I felt like this completed the trilogy, and I think the director is fantastic.)
2: Headhunters: 4.5/5. March. (What a movie, I highly recommend this to everyone before Hollywood wrecks it.)
3: God Bless America: 4.5/5. August. (My first Bobcat movie production. I now see him in a new light, and have to admit I had him typecast in Police Academy. This is violent but it speaks out about the state of America, a must see movie.)
4: Raiders of the Lost Ark: 4.5/5. June. (Re-Mastered and shown at the Astor)
5: Beast of the Southern Wild: 4/5. August. (This and Batman where the only movies I saw twice in the Cinema during the year)
6: Looper: 4/5. November. (It reminded me of 12 Monkeys. I really enjoyed it, and look forward to watching again.)
7: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: 4/5. January.
8: Lawrence of Arabia: 4/5. August. (Re-Mastered and shown at the Astor)
9: The Cabin in The Woods: 4/5. July. (This is one of the movies I think I rated harshly, and think maybe I could have put it in my top 5.)
10: The Imposter: 4/5. August.
11: Undefeated: 4/5. August.
12: Argo: 4/5. December.
13: Martha Marcy May Marlene: 4/5. February.
14: The Avengers: 4/5. May.
15: Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai. 4/5. August.
16: Chronicle: 4/5. February.
17: Lawless: 4/5. December.
18: The Artist: 4/5. February.
19: The Ambassador: 4/5. August.
20: Fight for your right Revisited: 4/5. August.
21: Holy Motors: 4/5. August. (After rethinking about this movie, if I could restore it I think it might be a 3/5, I would have to re watch it again.)
22: Liberal Arts: 3.5/5. August.
23: Ace Attorney: 3.5/5. August.
24: Save your Legs: 3.5/5. August.
25: Safety not Guaranteed: 3.5/5. August.
26: We are Legion: The story of the Hacktivist: 3.5/5. August.
27: Killer Joe: 3.5/5. August.
28: Into the Abyss (movie): 3.5/5 and also Into the Abyss (TV episode): 3.5/5. August.
29: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: 3.5/5. April.
30: The Hunter Games: 3.5/5. April.
31: The Muppets Movie: 3.5/5. January.
32: Interrupters: 3.5/5. January.
33: You Will Be My Son, 3.5/5. November.
34: Eames: The Architect and The Painter: 3.5/5. June.
35: Descendants: 3.5/5. March.
36: Mission Impossible 4: 3.5/5. January.
37: When a City Falls: 3.5/5. August.
38: Rampart: 3.5/5. August.
39: The Legend of Kasper Hauser: 3.5/5. August.
40: Robot and Frank: 3/5. August.
41: Nameless Gangster: Rules of the time: 4/5. August.
42: On the Road: 3/5. August.
43: Beastie Boys in Awesome I fuckn shot that: 3/5. August.
44: Something for nothing: The Art of Rap: 3/5. August.
45: Mine Games: 3/5. August. (Another movie I think I rated to high. I wished this was better than it was, it had potential.)
46: Any Questions For Ben: 3/5. February.
47: Make Hummus not war: 3/5. August.
48: Just The Wind: 3.5/5. August.
49: Step up to the plate: 2.5/5. August.
50: J Edgar: 2.5/5. January.
51: A Dangerous Method: 2.5/5. March.
52: L: 2/5. August.
53: Tomorrow: 2/5. August.
54: The Red and the Black: 2/5. August.
55: Crime and Punishment: 1.5/5. August.

And my National Theatre Live productions of 2012:
1: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. NTL. 4/5. September. (Easily in my overall top 15 for 2012. I really enjoyed this play.)
2: The Comedy of Errors, NTL 3.5/5. March.
3: Travelling Light. NTL 3.5/5. February

Saturday, 10 November 2012

You Will Be My Son

Now I haven't forgotten my blogging commitments, but the A-League is upon us, and I have been a busy bee over at blog site. I have just recently seen this French film and also Looper, more on Looper in my next blog, this is all about 'You will be my son'.

One thing about non Hollywood movies is that they don't need to worry about fitting into any type of format, and so you find more interesting and diverse movies from across the World. With this being one of them. I enjoyed this movie, being about two different families on a French winery. I would have like the start to be a little bit different, I felt like it gave away what was going to happen to early, but then I know others liked how it started.

Apart from that it had a good story line and also some good cinematography of the French countryside, just making you want to go to France on a winery tasting holiday.

It's movie is not on at Village or Hoyts but you can still catch it at either Cinema Nova, Palace Cinema Como or Classic Elternwick. I would highly recommend you catch this movie while it is still on. We saw it at the Palace, but all of these cinemas are great places to see movies.

Sharmill Films: You Will Be My Son.

Rating: 3.5/5

Monday, 1 October 2012

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

They really did a great job in working out how to visually adapt this book to the stage. I haven't read the book yet, but this play is well worth it. The visual and sound effect are fantastic and it has a great cast. These National Theatre Live Productions seem to get better and better.

Session Times at Cinema Nova:
- Saturday, October 6th 2012, 13:00
- Sunday, October 7th 2012, 13:00
- Saturday, October 13th 2102, 11:30
- Sunday, October 14th 2012, 11:30

- Cinema Nova
- National Theatre Live
- Film Trailer

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Lawrence Of Arabia

I had the pleasure of seeing Lawrence of Arabia at the Astor during the week. It is the first time I have seen the movie, and I have been wanting to see it for a long time. It is a long movie (roughly 4 hours), lucky for me Astor had an intermission break allowing us to stretch our legs and have a yummy Astor choc top. I did enjoy this movie, and you can understand why it will always be a classic.

Growing up watching Star Wars I was waiting for Alec Guinness while in conversation with Peter O'Toole to break out his Jedi mind tricks and remind him that "These are not the droids you are looking for". Disregarding the way my mind thinks, it was well cast, and of course they are all now great actors of their time.

Well worth seeing the restoration on the big screen at the Astor, so click the link below to see session times. It is great having a cinema showing these restorations, and good to know that the Astor will keep showing the classics for a long time to come.

Pros: 4k restoration. Classic. Great cast.


Links: Astor Lawrence of Arabia. Screen times at the Astor.

Rating: 4/5

Sunday, 26 August 2012, By Tyson Armstrong

Around 10am Saturday morning I received a tweet from a friend who noted that ABC2 was playing a strange double bill (Spaceballs followed by Patton). As it was around the same time that I was preparing to rearrange the apartment to move my desk back into the main living room. I had already noted that one of the benefits would be that I could ‘half-watch’ more movies whilst I work. Then I remembered an idea I’d had a few times in the past – wouldn’t it be great if I could quickly see which movies are on TV? I’m rarely interested in television shows, but I’m often up for a lazy movie if it’s on TV. Sure, you could trawl the TV guide online, but I find they’re always cumbersome and unattractive. I just wanted the information. I decided to build it myself.

To read more about Tyson's work on the fabulous site click HERE

To go to the web site click HERE

Monday, 20 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: It's a wrap

My goal at the start of the year was to start blogging and maintain the blog site for the year. To keep the goal achievable, I had to do at least 1 blog a month. I knew that in August with the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), it was going to get interesting. I decided to aim for around 30 movies during the festival, while still working and also keeping the blogs coming.

MIFF was going to be my biggest challenge with my blogging abilities on a number of levels. This will be my third year of going to the festival. My first MIFF in 2010 I saw around 5 films, last year I moved up-to 14 films, and this year I took the plunge and aimed for 30 films. For someone who is not the best at writing, and even after rewriting my blog article 3 or 4 times, I can still get simple grammar errors or wrong names, you can see why MIFF was going to be a challenge for me. I decided instead of doing my monthly movie blog, to go and try and do a blog after each film, and try and keep up with the flow of the festival. This started of well, but then I hit the wall. Once I finished the first week and up to 19 films on my film tally, I was struggling to maintain the blog site.

Hitting what I call that MIFF wall, and at that half way point, I was starting to struggle with keeping focus on the movie I was watching, and some nights seeing up to 3 movies after work, I found my self falling asleep or just having my thoughts drift away while watching movies. I felt like I was a MIFF Zombie, going from one movie to the next, feeding on what MIFF was offering to me. With MIFF providing free activities at The Forum like the comedy night on the 15th Aug, hosted by Lee Zachariah, and featuring funny man Bobcat, where good to break up the festival, and to keep my mind fresh.

In a way its sad that MIFF is over and yet I am also happy that it is over, it is hard to explain and only when you see over 30 films in 2 weeks can you understand the ups and downs which comes with MIFF. I will be looking forward to MIFF in 2013, the moments of selecting the films and then working out the hours and days, and experiencing all what comes with the festival.

I have not had time to write the blogs on the last few movies, so I will do a quick summary of each now:
- The Red and the Black: Felt like it was more of an advisement than a movie. 2/5.
- God Bless America: I have a new found respect for Bobcat. What a fantastic movie, loved it. 4.5/5.
- Nameless Gangster: Rules of the Time: Enjoyed this Korean Gangster movie, but I think went slightly too long. 3/5
- Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap: This documentary about rap was interesting. 3/5.
- Into the Abyss: Just like the TV version, I found this documentary very interesting. 3.5/5.
- Save your Legs: This will be another classic Australian film, very funny. 3.5/5.

Thank you to MIFF staff and volunteers for the hard work which has been put into another successful festival, and look forward to next years. In the end I ended up seeing a total of 31 movies, and here is how I rated them, from top to bottom:
1: God Bless America. 4.5/5
2: Beast of the Southern Wild. 4/5
3: Undefeated. 4/5
4: Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai
5: The Ambassador. 4/5
6: Fight for your right Revisited. 4/5
7: Holy Motors. 4/5 
8: Liberal Arts. 4/5
9: Ace Attorney. 3.5/5
10: Save your legs. 3.5/5
11: Safety Not Guaranteed. 3.5/5
12: We are Legion: The story of the Hacktivist. 3.5/5
13: Killer Joe. 3.5/5
14: Into the Abyss (Movie version). 3.5/5
15: Into the Abyss (TV version. 3.5/5
16: When a city Falls. 3.5/5
17: Rampart. 3.5/5
18: The Legend of Kasper Hauser. 3.5/5
19: Robot and Frank. 3/5
20: Nameless Gangster: Rules of the time. 3/5
21: On the Road. 3/5
22: Beastie Boys in Awesome I Fuckin' Shot That. 3/5
23: Something for Nothing: The Art of Rap. 3/5
24: Mine Games. 3/5
25: Make Hummus not war. 3/5
26: Just the Wind. 2.5/5
27: Step up to the plate. 2.5/5
28: L. 2/5
29: Tomorrow. 2/5
30: The Red and the Black. 2/5
31: Crime and Punishment. 1.5/5

Saturday, 18 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: Undefeated

An uplifting story about the senior players in a high school football team. Experiencing their highs and lows as we watch them go through their final year at high school. Showing us what they go through not just on the field but off, and how they handle all the pressure. How the high school coach seems to not only want to build a team to succeed on the field, he also wants to help them succeed off the field too.

Links: MIFF Undefeated

Rating: 4/5

Friday, 17 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: Mine Games

A film which debuted last night at MIFF, by local filmmaker Richard Gray. It's great to see a local get up there and do some amazing films, like his previous movie Summer Coda, but this one had a few too many holes in the storyline for it to be a classic thriller. I liked the concept of what the film is based around, I just felt like it was missing something. At the start of the movie I had Déjà vu moments, where I thought I was watching The Cabin in the Woods. It's also the little things like the sound, at the start the voice over was hard to hear, and so I felt like I missed a main part of the movie. I cannot say I didn't enjoy watching it, it did make me laugh in a lot of places.
I enjoyed Summer Coda, and look forward to Blinder, coming out next year, and hope Richard has great success into the future.



Links: MIFF Mine Games

Rating: 3/5

My MIFF2012 experience: Safety Not Guaranteed

What can I say, the second half of MIFF has been a big test for me, and I have been struggling to concentrate while watching the movies, and starting to find that nearly all the movies are merging into one big MIFF film. Lucky for me, this film, is the perfect MIFF film to see in the second week. No need to concentrate, you just sit down, grab some popcorn, laugh, and enjoy the story. No complicated plots or story lines.



Links: MIFF Safety Not Guaranteed

Rating: 3.5/4

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: Rampart

I didn't mind this movie, I was looking at it from the angle of the main character, and so straight after watching it, I felt disappointed. I was expecting more car chases, more shootings and more action in general. After having a couple of days to ponder on it, I realize that his world is no longer what it use to be, and times were changing, that he was still stuck in his old ways, which used to get him through and now seem to get him into more trouble.



Links: MIFF Rampart

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: Tomorrow

The thing which made want to see this movie was the write up in MIFF, "Revered by the likes of Banksy", I like Banksy works, so I thought I would like this film. I cannot say I know what it is like living in Russia, but for me, it doesn't matter where your from, you cannot involve children in any form of protest, where you know it will get violent. They were just as bad as the authorities for putting their baby in dangerous scenarios, and that was one of the things which I couldn't get past. They kept the baby up late, and in general not looking after the baby properly. That was the main thing which stood out for me in this film, and I couldn't get past it.



Links: MIFF Tomorrow

Rating: 2/5

My MIFF2012 experience: Killer Joe

This was one of the movies I was looking forward to seeing at MIFF, and I liked it in a dark and scary way. I think Matthew McConaughey played the part of a corrupt cop/hitman too well, not that I think he should have a career changed. In fact all characters were in same way flawed, and you wanted to feel sorry for them, but then they were just as bad as each other. It had a very good ending to it and the film provides another reason for me to stay away from KFC, and for that part chicken drumsticks in general.



Links: MIFF Killer Joe

Rating: 3.5/5

Sunday, 12 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: Beasts of the Southern Wild

I enjoyed this movie, I had to have a good think about it, because it has a few layers on it. In essence it is about a little girl Hushpuppy and her father, it is about a community not wanted to leave their town in a time when the waters are rising and their town is on the verge of disappearing in the rising waters level. With all this happening we watch it all unfold from the viewpoint of Hushpuppy, along with her imagination. Thank you MIFF for bringing these types of movies to Melbourne, I am sure I will watch this one again.

Pros: well casted, well shot.


Links: MIFF Beasts of the Southern Wild

Rating: 4/5

My MIFF2012 experience: Ace Attorney

Takashi Mike I would like you to meet Christopher Nolan and Joss Whedon. Why you ask? Well they are in a club of which was my favorite duo of directors, and I think they need to make room and give you a seat, and welcome you in for I think you will make it a trio. So boys make the new comer feel welcome.
This film is funny, and an interesting take of a Nintendo game, with the same name. It probably went slightly too long, and I just missed some of the punch lines, which most of the crowd seem to get. I would like to see this film again, just to pick up on some of the things I missed the first time around.

Pros: Nicely filmed, well cast, and has that Japanese trademark on it.

Cons: Slightly to long

Links: MIFF Ace Attorney

Rating: 3.5/5

My MIFF2012 experience: Robot and Frank

A very clever take on how robots could be used in the future. This movie follows an older man Frank, starting to lose his memory, with a concern family. His son buys him a robot helper to help around the house and Frank with his health. The robot wants Frank to get into a daily routine to help with his memory, and this is where it gets interesting. Frank gets back into his old habits of burgalry with a new partner in crime, his robot. I wasn't expecting much from this movie, and it surprised me, I found it funny and a nice little story.



Links: MIFF Robot and Frank

Rating: 3/5

My MIFF2012 experience: Beastie Boys double

Fight for Your Right Revisited:
This 30 mins short film picks off where the Fight For Your Right music video finishes. Very funny, with a huge range of Hollywood celebs. I really enjoyed it and looked like everyone in the film enjoyed making it.

Beastie Boys in Awesome I Fuckn' Shot That!:
Enjoyed watching this, but I think it is something I would have on the TV in the lounge in the background. The beastie boys handed out a few camcorders to some fans in their concert, and they had one thing to do. Press record when the lights went out and record the concert.



Links: MIFF Revisited. MIFF I Fuckn Shot That

Rating: Revisited: 4/5. I fuckn Shot That 3.5/5.

My MIFF2012 experience: Make Hummus not war

Summary: I do like my hummus, but that is not why I went to see this film. When looking through the MIFF program the title caught my eye. It looked different and the type of film that I look out for while making my selections for MIFF. Pick something which I might not be able to see on the big screen and that is different.
I felt like instead of asking the question to the people in the film of 'Could Hummus bring people together and make peace in the Middle East?', it was more of who create the Hummus, was it the Jews or the Arabs? I feel like they took the easy road, instead of keeping the film different, which is about hummus and how it brings people together no matter what race. In saying that, I do understand in that region it would have been slightly political. I didn't realize how big of a following hummus has around the world, with people dedicated in blogging just about hummus. It was a very well put together documentary, and enjoyable to watch.

Pros: very well put together.


Links: MIFF Make Hummus not war

Rating: 3/5

My MIFF2012 experience: When a City Falls

Summary: This is one of the things which makes MIFF and experience that is hard to explain and why I have been going for the last 3 years. Having the director and a few of the people involved with the filming in the cinema along with 90% of the sell out crowd being New Zealanders. Watching it in this environment, you could hear them getting very emotional, and it gave this film another dimension. Experiencing this film with people sitting next to me who grew up in the city of Christchurch, how they started getting emotionally involved with the movie, you could not help but feel it.
This movie is not just about the destructive powers of mother nature and what it can do to man made cities, but about how people pull together after these major events. The spirit of the Kiwis from all across the country, coming together and helping out their fellow comrades. Not only the Kiwis, but nations from all around the world, providing specialized teams to help out.
Same of the footage of the film, was also shoot while the second and third major earthquakes were happening, so you really got to experience and see what it must of been like.

Pros: Unique viewpoints of the destructive power of mother nature, while it happens and just after seeing the damage. Seeing people work together. Having the experience of seeing it at MIFF with that emotional audience.


Links: MIFF When a City Falls

Rating: 3.5/5

My MIFF2012 experience: On The Road

Summary: I have not been into the Beat culture, and have never read any of Jack Kerouac's works, Lauren on the other hand is very into this field, and has if not all most of the books from Jack and Co., so I was going into this movie being very naive. It was interesting seeing a movie about something Lauren has always been into and to get an understanding of the things she loves.
I felt like the movie did go slightly too long for what it was, but then I have not read the book, and I am just looking at it from a movie viewpoint. I did do a quick wiki on this movie, and if what it says is true then apparently Jack Kerouac wanting to play Sal and he was trying to get Marlon Brando to play Dean. Also, Kerouac wanted to shoot the filming of the road scenes from the front seat of the car following the twist and turns of the road, while Sal and Dean would be chatting. I think Brando would have suited playing Dean perfectly, and I think with Kerouac, it probably would have been a classic, real beat type style movie.

Pros: Good cast of actors, enjoyed the story

Cons: slightly long

Links: MIFF On The Road, Wiki On The Road.

Rating: 3/5

My MIFF2012 experience: Holy Motors

Summary: Before starting my write up for this one, I just need to say that it was my 19 movie in one week, while still doing my day job, and it was also my fourth movie on the Saturday, at 9pm. So, while watching this movie with sub titles, I was drifting asleep into my own world of thoughts. Ok, got that out of the way, now where was I, that's right Holy Motors.

The easiest way for me to probably explain this movie without giving to much about it away is using a quote from William Shakespeare "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages". Which for me some ups this wonderful and bizarre movie perfectly. I need to see it again when I am not in a zombie state of mind.

Pros: Bizarre, wonderfully.


Links: MIFF Holy Motors

Rating: 4/5.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: The Ambassador

Summary: Mads Brügger's journalistic approach to making this documentary film is fantastic. Having to use hidden cameras, and also a still camera for getting the documentary done and to maintain his fake identity was nicely done. When I first saw the preview to this film it sort of looked like a mockumentary, and I was very intrigue in seeing this one at MIFF and seeing how it played out. I was lucky that Mads was at the screening, and he did a 'Q and A' afterwards. I like this one and now want to go and see Mads other documentary film 'The Red Chapel'.

Pros: A very nicely put together Documentary showing the corrupt businessman and diplomats in the Central Republic of Africa.


Links: MIFF The Ambassador

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: We are Legion: The story of the Hacktivist

Summary: So far, the best Documentary at MIFF2012 I have seen so far. I think it captures a moment in a recent turning point in our history. I didn't agree with some of the things which they did and still probably do, but then, I also liked how they stood up to the corporation. The Internet world is fast paced, and our rules and regulations still are not able to keep up with this new virtual world which lives along side our own. 



Links: MIFF We are Legion: The story of the Hacktivist

Rating: 3.5/5

My MIFF2012 experience: liberal Arts

Summary: This I think will be one of those classic romantic comedies. It was very well written, cast, and played.

Pros: Funny and hit the spot.


Links: MIFF Liberal Arts

Rating: 4/5

My MIFF2012 experience: Step up to the plate

Summary: Two master chefs, father and son. It is about the year the son takes over the reigns and the father sort of retires, but he always seem to pop his head into the camera while at the restaurant. This was a documentary, but seemed more like a family movie. Not enough food to be seen for me, I wanted to be hungary after watching this one from seeing all this amazing food.

Pros: Good cinematography

Cons: More food please

Links: MIFF Step up to the plate

Rating: 2.5/5

My MIFF2012 experience: L

Summary: We had the director sitting in on this one, with a "Q and A" after the movie. I needed the "Q and A", because I didn't get the movie. Movie summary: Man lives in his car, gives his car up then lives on bike, and so on. After the movie when he explain what it was about, I understood what he was trying to portray, but still it didn't grab me. From the sounds of the audience I think I am in the minority with this one, the audience around me seemed to lap it up. I guess I was still in Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai mode, waiting for some good old Samurai sword fighting action to take place.



Links: MIFF L

Rating: 2/5

Sunday, 5 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Summary: Nothing like watching a good Samurai movie, this does not disappoint. The movie has a good storyline, a little fighting of course and chuck in some good old fashion Hara-Kiri. This is the second Takashi Mike directed movie now which I have seen, and I like his style.

Pros: Good Japanese style movie

Cons: -

Links: MIFF Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

Rating: 4/5

What's Hot at MIFF2012

A list of what's selling fast and being screened over the next few days at MIFF:
- The Law in these parts
- Le Grand Soir
- V/H/S
- Step up to the plate
- Liberal Arts
- Alois Nebel
- Whores' Glory
- The Fortune
- The legend of Kaspar Hauser
- Le Tableau
- When a city falls
- Beastie Boys in Awesome I fuckin' shot that
- Monsiuer Lazhar
- Beware of Mr. Baker.

Be quick or miss out.

My MIFF2012 experience: The Legend of Kaspar Hauser

Summary: After seeing the movie I did a quick wiki on Kaspar Hauser, and it is based on an actually person. After having a quick read, I think this movie actually did a good interpretation of the story of Kaspar Hauser. Had some very funny moments, and if you are into your DJ's, then this is probably for you. It is an art house style movie and if you are into your main stream movies then avoid this one. For me though, after having a good sleep on it, I actually didn't mind this movie.

Pros: Funny moments, nice cinematography, interesting characters, good music.

Cons: Sub titles where sometimes hard to read being that the movie was black and white and I missed some of what was being said.

Links: MIFF, The Legend of Kaspar Hauser

Rating: 3.5/5

My MIFF2012 experience, Just The Wind

Summary: Follows a Gypsy family in Romany over 24 hour period, based around actual events. The events which the film is based around, is not really clear to me, and I now feel like I should google search and research the events to give me more of an understanding of what actually happen. Without doing the research the film does not carry the message across and I feel like I missed the connection I was meant to get. It is sad what happen, but I didn't really get that attached to the main characters. I am sort of on the fence with this one.


Cons: Needed to give more information regarding the main events. Not enough connection, for me, with the main characters.

Links: MIFF, Just the Wind

Rating: 2.5/5

Saturday, 4 August 2012

My MIFF2012 experience: Into The Abyss

Summary: MIFF had a slight technical issue with this one, it is a four part TV documentary, and unfortunately they were given the wrong one film. I can't say that it was a bad mistake, because I enjoyed it. The director/writer Herzog, did a fantastic job in picking people to do the interviews, and the one we watched today was about two different people on death row. I have talked to MIFF and they are trying to fix the issue.

Pros: excellent editing, great interviewing. Must see.

Cons: none really.

Links: MIFF Into the Abyss

Rating: 3.5/5

My MIFF2012 experience: Crime and Punishment

Summary: Follows some young Chinese Police Officer's in a little province town in China. I think this documentary was poorly edited. Apart from that it is the people you follow in the documentary, which gives you this secret insight into what it would be like in a small country town in China, and makes you feel how lucky you are being an Australian. Warning, a dog is killed in the documentary, and I found it a little disturbing. Seeing cops slap and kick people around for just stealing a phone. One of the sad experience, which was not about the movie, was listening to the audience laughing at other peoples expense, it was very in-humane and I just wondered if these people get it.

Pros: Makes you feel lucky to be living in Australia, and sad for people who aren't us lucky. A big reality check for what happens in the real world outside our comfort zone.

Cons: Seeing a dog being killed. Moments in the movie went too long for what they were worth, just bad editing, this documentary could have probably gone for betwenn 60 to 90 minutes.

MIFF link.

Rating: 1.5/5.

Monthly Movies for July

Only two movies for the month of July, but what great movies. Joss, with a great Sci-fi horror, and Chris with the final installment of the batman trilogy.

The Cabin in the Woods: This was only screening at Cinema Nova and the Astor Theatre in July, two great movie places in Melbourne. Why they didn't show it at the major cinemas you ask? They didn't think it would gross much in Australia, I would beg to differ. It was co-written by Joss Whedon, with his great writing style, along with direct/co-writer Drew Goddard. It had some funny moments, and gave the usual horror surprise at the right times. He had a few different things going on during the movie, without making it complicated to follow. This movie was a great little horror and well worth seeing on the big screen. Unfortunately in Australia, you most likely will not get this chance. The Astor is showing it over the next few months, so go to the Astor and have a fun movie experience, I am thinking of seeing it again, just because it does have a lot going on and glad Astor is showing it. This movie is a 4/5, and will be one I would watch again and again.

The Dark Knight Rises: If you think the first two were great, then you will not be disappointed. This is just as great as the first two, and completes the trilogy nicely. It is a great action comic movie, great storyline and I think Christopher Nolan is one of the best movie directors ever. He is able to assemble a great cast, his story lines seem to always have some sort of twist to them. It is a short write up, for being one of the best movies I have seen for 2012, but all I can say is, if you have not already, go and see it at your local cinema. Yes, I did see this movie twice, and re watched Batman begins and The Dark Knight Rises, all in one week. This is getting a 4.5/5.

Both movies I recommend to see on the big screen. Also this month is MIFF, and I now have around 28 movies to see in the next two weeks. I am going to do quick blogs on these movies during the festival and If you have not already, you should go and see a movie at MIFF. Lots to see in August, so might see you on the road.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

George Calombaris, for your restaurant Mama Baba, I give you a Masterchef score of ......

Well, when my wife wanted to have our wedding day on the same day of her birthday, that was good news to me. I am the type of person who can nearly forget what happened last week, the person who still cannot remember the exact dates of Christmas, Easter, Valentines Day. I can only remember pretty much my birthday, and our anniversary and her birthday. Most other important days struggle to stay in my messy filing system in my head, they come and go as quickly as the trains at Flinders Street Station!

It was three years ago that we were in Hawaii for our wedding. We had a fancy birthday dinner at Nobu, for my wife, and every year since then we normally go to Nobu for our anniversary/birthday celebration dinner. We decided to break this tradition with going to one of George Calombaris' Restaurants, but which one? In the end, we decided on Mama Baba, which was close to home.

One of the main reasons for picking Mama Baba, was The Mama Menu option, for $55, you get a four course dining experience, which is a sample of what they have to offer. Thinking it was a good price, and we weren't sure what to get, then The Mama Menu was there to make the decision for us. So I made sure that I booked our table a few weeks in advance and lucky I did, because they only had either 6:30pm or 9pm to choose from for the night we wanted. So I of course picked the 6:30pm.

On arriving at the restaurant, we opened the doors, and started our journey down the steps, where we had a very nice surprise of seeing George himself slaving away in the kitchen. Of course we were expecting to see him, but it just added to the great night and experience which we did have. I should have probably mentioned this earlier but I am not very good at listening and going over the finer details of most things, so when my wife told me they had this special $55 per person menu, to me, it was a good way of having a good night without thinking about what to eat.

So without really looking at the menu we decided that we would go with The Mama Menu. The waitress was very quick to prompt that they cater for dietary/allergies, and of which my wife is allergic to poultry products of all sorts, and this was no issue for them. They replaced a duck dish for lamb.

I was facing away from the kitchen, and when the first course come out, I just saw the waiters arm, and was just trying to concentrate on him explaining each dish, as he was putting the plates on the table. But then it clicked, this was no waiter, this was George. George himself served our entree! First to see him working at one of his restaurant, then to see him serve us, it was just fantastic. Entree consisted of RICOTTA Byzantine vinaigrette, PROSCIUTTO with mustard fruits, and a swordfish CEVICHE.

The second course to come out was TORTELLINI Prawn saganaki, tomato, feta and the other dish was the MAKARONIA White balsamic braised lamb, chestnuts, oregano, side serve of FENNEL Orange, spring onion salad.

After the second course, we were very full, and were expecting the next course to be our dessert. At this stage I was impressed with the size of the servings per dish and I was very content with the outcome of the night, and then the mains were served. Mains consisted of Beef cheeks (cannot remember the exact dish name), MULLOWAY Parsnip purée, dutch carrot, wasabi lettuce, with sides of peas with ricotta and wet polenta with two cheeses.

Deserts was Cinnamon bomboloni with Nutella and The Italian Mess. Which we consumed very quickly.

All in all, we had a great feast. Enough food was brought out for us to make it worth our while. Not only that, the food was to die for! I would say that it would have to be one of the best restaurants that I have been to in a long time. The service was also fantastic, even if George hadn't of been there, the staff of course were A+ and very friendly. George too was very friendly, and did the rounds of the tables, everyone wanting their picture with him, and he did not blink once. He didn't mind having his photo taking, and not only having his picture taken, he would stay for a quick chat too.

George I give you my Masterchef score of 10 put of 10, for the service, also for your personal service, of course the food, and just the overall experience. Thank you Mama Baba, I will be coming back again, and look forward to many yummy memories.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Upcoming MIFF, what well you see?

Yes, it is that time of year again, the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), is back on from the 2nd August to 18th August. Next month I will be seeing just over 20 movies in two weeks, and you might think that is a lot of movies. Well, I do too, last year I saw 14 movies at MIFF and the year before I think I only saw around 5. I am a big movie geek seeing that amount? Well it might be too most people, but, I am a lightweight movie geek, compared to the heavyweights, who see around 60+ movies during the festival.

I have only been to the festival over the last three years, and have been a MIFF member since going to the festival. It is a great annual event show casing all types of movies from all over the world. I like it cause it is a great opportunity to be able to go to the movie and see something you wouldn't normally be able to see on the big screen, or to be able to see some movies earlier than expected. The movies which I am looking forward too at MIFF will be Ace Attorney, Save your Legs, Hara-Kirir: Death of a Samurai, We are Legion: The story of the Hacktivist, Rampart, plus, what am I kidding, I am looking forward to seeing all of the movies at the festival. 

Being MIFF members has it's benefits too. While the festival is on, you get priority queuing to all the movies you attend at the festival, you also get discounted movies tickets, and sneak previews to movies throughout the year. The other main benefit of being a member is knowing that you are supporting an organization which supports the local industry.

August is a big month for me then, not only am I going to be seeing lots of fantastic movies, but I will also be starting my new job too. So, lots of movie blogging for me to do for August, not sure if I will include the MIFF movies in my monthly installment, or do special MIFF blogs during the festival. This will be something I will decide when it starts.

What's on at MIFF, then click HERE.
Want to become a MIFF member, then click HERE.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Monthly movies for June, by Ash

Only the two movies for the month of June, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Eames: The Architect and The Painter. Seeing that it is a digitally remastered movie only showing at the Astor, and that it is a movie which most of us have already seen, I decided to post my blog early for that movie, the blog called "Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Astor Theatre". I would highly recommend to see the movie at the Astor, the last time I saw it on the big screen was when I was little, and being digitally remastered, it is a great movie to see again on the big screen.

Eames: The Architect and The Painter: This was a really interesting documentary, one which I would have never have gone to see if it wasn't for my wife, who keeps my mind open to different things. It was interesting on a few different levels, the Eames themselves, and then their Company. They were very open minded and creative people, wanting to create in many different forms, the first being the new style of chairs. These chairs are now classics, and a lot of companies replicate them today, but back then they were the main stream of income in the early years. From designing these chairs, they were able to go onto bigger but I cannot say better things, because people still love those chairs. They always thought outside the box, and looked like they were really willing to give anything a try. The only thing I found disappointing, yet this document gives a little light too, is the Eames employees. From this documentary it looks like the Eames themselves took a lot of credit and naming rights for things which their employees did. Now, I understand that it would have the Eames name to it and that they have ownership of the products, but I think they could have given designer credit, where credit is due. I really enjoyed this, 3.5/5. This is on at ACME, in Melbourne.

With the MIFF coming up on the 2nd of August, it will be two weeks of movies overload. Make sure you get the program on the 13th of July, in the Age newspaper, and study up, and pick your movies wisely. Also, don't forget to have a look at the Astor Theatre Calendar for July, for of course Indiana plus all the other great movies. Even new release movies, like Cabin in the Woods, where you can only see at the Astor Theatre and Cinema NOVA. I will be hoping to see this movie in July, so I might see you there.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Raiders of the Lost Ark at the Astor Theatre

Yes, I am breaking out of my monthly reviews for this movie, but for good reasons, it is a classic and also our good friends @ the Astor Theatre are showing it, as of the 1st of July, limited screening. I was lucky enough to get a little sneak peak, thanks to knowing the right people of course, and was I excited about seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on the BIG screen again.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: I still remember the first time I saw this movie at the cinema. I was just a little boy, around 6 years old at the time. I can remember being in the back seat of the car with my dad and older brother, it's just one of those child hood memories which will be with me forever. This movie is one of my all time classic, I just love it, and seeing it again at the Astor Theatre was fantastic. It has been re-mastered in new 4K Digital, which to me means bringing it up to todays technology, and we were told that some parts were still in original format. The quality of the picture and sound was excellent, there was only a few spots which the video wasn't good (being in original format of course). But, all in all, it was an unbelievable re-master. I'm giving this a 4.5 out of 5.

This is a must see at the Astor Theatre for 2 reasons. The first is seeing a classic movie re-mastered on the big screen and the second is supporting a great Melbourne cinema, the Astor Theatre. They always bring back the classic as well as the recent movies. If you have not been to the Astor at all, and you live in Melbourne, then what a better why of going to the Astor for the first time and seeing a great classic, at the same time. So, pencil this one in your diary for next month at the Astor, and don't forget to buy a chic top, they have some yummy flavours to choose from.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Star Wars Episode VII - The Review. By Ash.

I was going to start this blog with some sort of reference to star wars, like "A short time ago, in the galaxy which we live in, Ashley watched the Star Wars episodes I, II and III again", but then it just didn't sound right. I was also going to try and write something different to my basic monthly review, and try and do a real review, and breakdown of the movies, and how I used to watched the originals over and over again when I was a kid. But, I have decided that I am a movie fan, and just blog about movies, and I'll leave the real reviews to Lee and Paul at Hell Is For Hyphenates and Luke Buckmaster at Cinetology. Which if you haven't checked their reviews out, I would highly recommend in doing so, if like me, you love movies. So, I',m just going to stick to my normal style.

Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace: I think, at the time, I was pretty excited when this first come out, and then when I saw it I was full of mixed emotions, and wasn't sure if I liked it or not. Well, after all these years, I am still undecided if I do like it of not. I think that it started of with potential, with what is to come with Episode II and III. Some new characters we could have done without, also, I also think that he added too many of the original characters, which we could have also done without in the new episodes. He just seem to want to keep the new episodes as close to the original as he possible could. And then George Lucas released the:
Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clone Wars: This was the worst out of the new three episode. It is funny watching Yoda jump around. But, that is what it is, just funny, like YouTube funny, not for a Star Wars movie. Yoda looks just as old as he did in the original series, where he is so old he has to walk around with a walking stick, he just doesn't sync with me. I think we could have done without this one. I think that's enough said.
Star Wars Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith: This is like the Episode I, I am just undecided if I like it or not, all for the same reasons as Episode I.

If I treat Episode I, II and III as just movies on their own, and not related to the original trilogy, then, I don't mind them, and can accept them. But, for what they are meant to be, they just don't gel with the originals, there is too many things which don't sync with the original trilogy and characters. I can't see my views changing, but it probably want stop me than watching them again.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Monthly movies for May

Once again I only got to see one movie for this month, of course it was The Avengers. If only I didn't have to work, and I could just watch movies and get paid for it, but this is not the case, and I had a very busy workload in the last month, so without getting into my boring work, lets move onto my monthly movie review for May.

The Avengers: This was a big movie in the waiting for many people including myself. Out of the comic book characters in The Avengers, that have done movies so far, I have only seen the first Iron Man and just recently Captain America: The First Avenger. Of course Joss Whedon is one of my favourite Director/writers, creating one of my all time favourite TV shows Firefly, plus Buffy, Dollhouse, the list goes on and on. Just knowing that he was the director/writer, was enough for me to want to see this movie. Seeing that most of the main super hero's have had their own blockbuster movies shown in the last fews years, meant that they did not have to use the first movie in building up the characters too much, but I felt like they did enough in this movie for that, without messing with the main plot too much. I feel that Joss had some good humour in the movie, and massive action scenes. With total mass destruction from the evil bad guys, which only the Super Hero's of course could stop, it was, to me, a true Marvel style movie. Of course the last thing which I loved about the movie, is of course it had Samuel L Jackson, and I think that is enough said. Of course my views might be biased due to it having Joss Whedon and Samuel L Jackson involved in the movie.  If you love comic book movies, then I would say this one is a must, 4/5.

Well, as they say that is a wrap for this month, and I hope you enjoyed this movie like I did.
Ciao for now.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Monthly movies for April.

This monthly review will be quick, seeing that I only saw two movies this month, The Hunger Gamers and Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. They do say it is quality and not quantity, and I think this phrase fits well for my month of movies, I enjoyed both movies for different reasons.

The Hunger Games: Seeing that I am not a big or fast book reader, I have of course not read the hunger games, yet. I said yet, which most likely means probably not at all, I can't write these blogs and watch movies and read books, that's too much for this brain, I also have to fit my day job in there too. So, my perspective of this movie is from someone seeing the story unfold for the first time, and I will have to say I enjoyed it. Talking about this movie to friends and family, it sounds like if you have read the book you might be slightly disappointed with the movie. They say "it misses this point" or "they needed to delve into this character more", etc, etc. I think for what it is worth, the story line, for the type of movie it is, was good, you can work out things for yourself and assume certain things well happen, knowing of course they will most likely be bringing out the sequels in the coming years, seeing this looks like it is the next big franchise to come along since Twilight. The main disappointment for me in the movie was the handy cam work. It was too rough, I understand they wanted to make you feel part of the action, but I think they over did it, and it was for me to blurry, to much movement. They should have taken note on  the Chronicle style of handy cam work, which they seem to do well in that movie. Overall, I am looking forward to seeing the sequel to the hunger games, giving this a 3.5/5.

Best Exotic Marigold hotel: Before I start going into this movie, I would just like to say I think the British have the best form of comedy. Growing up I enjoyed the Goodies, Monty Python, then in the later years Black book, IT Crowd, etc. So, seeing the actors and the previews to this movie, I was thinking, it will have that nice comedic edge to it, which only the Brits know how to do, and I do love Bill Nighy, he just seems very natural and funny. I come out of this movie, knowing that I got a good little hit of comedy, with a slight touch of sadness to it. It was a very well rounded movie. The cinematography with the scene changers and just the beautiful Indian scenery really showed in this movie, along with an interesting story line, made this a nice well rounded movie, with my rating of 3.5/5.

Well, that was an easy month of movies blended in with seeing family and friends for April. I am in the process of writing my review on the star wars episodes, so the first episode of that will be posted in this galaxy and in the near future. Also, don't forget to download and listen to Hell is for Hyphenates podcast for april.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Monthly Movies for March, by ash

Still blogging, and we are up to March. I am doing these blogs more for myself to just shout out to the world, in written form, but I hope for the few readers which do read the blogs, that they have gotten something out of them. This month I watched a fantastic European movie 'Headhunters' (for me the best movie so far in 2012), another National Theatre Live production 'The Comedy of Errors', the Oscar nominated 'The Descendants' and the last movie 'A Dangerous Method' (which is the worst movie for me in 2012).

Headhunters: Being MIFF members we get to see a few free movies during the year, of which if I wasn't a member I would not think of normally seeing, this one included. I am glad I did see it though, it was a fantastic thriller. The start was slow and I thought it was going to be an average movie, but then after the first ten minutes, it had enough twist in it to keep you on your toes, and I think the movie flowed really well. It had a good sense of humour in it and they really got the right actors for the main players. Now it is Norwegian, and so it has sub titles, which did nearly scare me being that we went to see it at 10 am on a Sunday morning. Looks like this film is going to be remade by Hollywood, staring Mark Wahlberg, I would highly recommend, if this is the case, to see the original first. No disrespect to 'Marky Mark', but I am not sure if Hollywood can give this movie the justice and respect that it deserves. I am not sure if Hollywood will be able to translate the Norwegian humour, which is part of what makes this movie what it is. I'm giving this one a 4.5/5.

The Comedy of Errors: The second National Theatre Live production that I have seen for 2012. This is of course a classic Shakespeare play, set in modern day times. I will have to admit that when Lauren mentioned these live theatre productions to me, about a year ago, the first thing which come to my mind was 'the theatre' BORING. But, now after seeing this and One man, Two Guvnors I am into these live play performances. I think the next one I am looking forward to seeing is the return of the successful play, Frankenstein, in April. I'm not going to lie to you, William Shakespeare's language is something that sometimes I am lost in the translation. However, the cast was fantastic, and I found it was very funny, for the 2 hours that it went for, it only felt like an hour. The way that the set was designed with the great little four piece band, meant that it had an excellent and smooth changes in-between the scenes. I think with the National Theatre Live productions you go and see, you do have to pick the one which would suit your style, but I cannot highly recommend going to one at Cinema Nova. I give this a 4/5.

The Descendants: What can I say about this movie, Oscar worthy? I didn't think so, but then I got the wooden spoon for picking the least amount of Oscar winners this year at the Oscar Party I attended, so I don't think I am the best judge on what is or is not Oscar worthy, just the best judge on Ashley Worthiness. We did see Headhunters on the same day, so for me there was a clear winner on that day. The pros, well it is in Hawaii and I love Hawaii, the guy from the funny TV show, Community, was a co writer, and I love Community. We also saw this at the moonlight cinema, which was an experience, where I did find myself staring at the sky and watching the bats fly from tree to tree, and just praying that I didn't get bat poo on me or my food, so had some distractions. I enjoyed the movie, but probably want be in my top ratings for 2012. I give it a 3/5.

A Dangerous Method: Unlike Edgar, which was too long, at least they kept this one to a reasonable time frame. I found the main actress to have over acted big time, which put me off the film right from the start. This movie just wasn't ticking the boxes for me, and I am just glad being a MIFF member that I saw it for free, because I don't think it is worth the movie ticket, for me anyway. From the audience mood on the day I went, it did get some good responses, so maybe don't get put off by my experience of it. But, I am only giving it a 2.5/5.

Also, don't forget to listen to the latest of Hell is for Hyphenates, where you will hear expert movie critics/writers/directors/radio commentators/all round good guys, Lee Zachariah and Paul Anthony Nelson, with special guest host Marc Fennell, you know 'that movie guy'. These guys actually know what they are talking about with everything to do with movies, and very entertaining and interesting to listen too. Maybe I should put this at the top of the blog, because it is far more entertaining and informative about movies than my blog. But,I am just assuming you might read all of it.

That's all the movies I have seen for March. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Monthly movies for Feb, by ash

Ok, here are the movies which I saw in February. I ended up seeing Martha Marcy May, Chronicles, The Artist, Any Question for Ben and Travelling Light. You might have notice (or maybe not) that the last one mention, Travelling Light, is not a movie, it is a theatre play, but I did see it on the movie screen at Cinema Nova. The Nova screen's the National Theatre Live productions. I would say if you have not gone to one of these productions before, they are a must, they cater for all kinds, from comedies to Shakespeare and more, and but instead of paying ticket prices as per going to the theatre, you pay the price of a normal movie ticket. It is a great innovation which is catching on worldwide, and its at a classic cinema in Carlton, the Cinema Nova. It allows a lot more people to see more plays because of how cheap it is and it also is a good way of seeing plays which might not even come to Australia.

Martha Marcy May Marlene: The type of movie which lets your imagination do the thinking, very Hitchcock style, which I do enjoy. You come out of the cinema with a lot to think about. All the characters were well cast and played. It had some creepy scenes in it, and you were never told the full background story, you were only shown and told what was needed. So, from that perspective, I felt like I was seeing it from Martha's sister and brother-in-law view (with of course more knowledge of what was going on to what they knew), and could feel for them. They wanted to help Martha, yet they had no idea where she had been and what she had gone through. The movie really played with your mind and could be slightly disturbing for some, but if you want to see a great thriller, then this is for you. For me it was 4/5.

: Judging from the previews I was expecting another Cloverfield style of movie, which at the time I was looking forward to, but it let me down. So, I was not expecting much from Chronicle. I saw this one with my wife and our friends son who is eleven. I was surprised with the character types and how well they where used in the movie, in that we were able to have an in depth discussion with our friends son about the characters. Why it was right or wrong for what they did in the movie, and why they did what they did. If it is still out at the movies, go and see it. I gave it 4/5.

The Artist: Talk about taking it back to where it started. Nothing complicated about this script, seeing that it is a silent movie. Great cinema photography and music. This movie takes you back to the 1920's era of what a movie would have been like, with some modern input. It had very complex visuals, and well worth seeing, 4/5.

Any Questions For Ben
: Probably lots of people will say this, but after seeing the movie, I have loads of questions for Ben. Done by the great Working Dog productions. This is lacking the 'vibe' of what The Castle and The Dish had, and these are two classic Australian films, done by Working Dog. Did have a lot of funny moments, but the story was not syncing for me. I would wait for it to be on DVD, because there are a lot more quality movies showing now, which are more worthy of big screen viewing. 3/5.

Travelling Light: It went for around 3 hours, but I found that it kept me interested enough in the story that it seem to fly by. I would say if you have not seen a National Theatre live production yet, then this would be a good one to start with, the characters were well played out, and the set was well designed and perfect for the play. I give this a rating of 3.5/5.

I would recommend going to Hell Is For Hyphenates, if you want to listen and read from some real film critics. They have great knowledge of everything to do with films, and their latest podcast for February is now available.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Monthly Movies for Jan 2012, By Ash

Ok, here is my first attempt at blogging of who knows how many blogs. I have decided to try and rank all the movies I am goong to see at the cinemas for 2012, along with this I might try blogging what I have seen for the year, too. I am no movie citric or writer. Who knows it could be entertaining to read or just more blogging material landing in the vast wastelands of the Internet universe.

Movies that I have seen in January are Mission Impossible 4, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Muppets, The Interrupters,  and J. Edgar. 

I suppose looking back at the month I have seen a variety of different styles of movies. Starting the year of with Mission Imppssible 4. I would have to say that the first Mission Impossible was one of those movies I watched more than once. I can't say too much for the 2nd and 3rd though. I have to say the 4th movie was what I expected from the MI franchise.  If you want a movie where you just want to watch free flowing action, without taking itself very seriously then MI 4 is that kind of movie. I'm giving it a score of 3.5/5.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was something totally different to MI 4. Not your normal Hollywood sciepted movie you see today. I really enjoyed this one, had lots of things going on, it's the type of movie that if you watch again you will pick up new information. This was my number one pick for the month with a rating of 4/5.

The Muppets, enough said. What a great movie, classic muppets with a twist of Flight of the Concords music. I must say what a great mix. This is a must see for every age bracket and for all muppetohlics. This is a 3.5/5.

The Interrupters is of course a documentary. Done by the man who did the hoop dreams, he has not let us done on this one. I think his is only at ACMI, and is nearly over. It is about the gang shootings that happen in America and it is a must see 3.5/5.

Leading into the last movie I saw for the month is J. Edgar. I was hoping to see the tape scandals and how he kept his leverage. For todays times it was really bad make up and aging of the actors. Should be a TV movie, not worth the ticket price, 2.5/5.

Hope you enjoy my first blog, and enjoy movies like I do.
Till next blog.

Our First Post

To whomever is reading our informative work,

This is Lauren & Ash's blog of which we find interesting in this crazy world which we live in. We hope you enjoy our blogs of food, movies, TV, and just the world of Lauren and Ash.

Who are Lauren and Ash you might ask? Good question, it is one we ponder on all the time. Lauren is a cool craftaholic maniac, gifted in the hand of writing speeches, crafting cards (Check her work at and just a fantastic all rounder. Ash, well he is a Jack of all trades Master of none.