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.