about....|....movie mezzanine....|....filmink magazine....|....concrete playground....|....moviedex....|....twitter
.
.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review - Chinese Puzzle

Director: Cédric Klapisch
Running Time: 117 minutes
by Tom Clift

Somewhere, between the heady romantic drama of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise trilogy and the good-natured bawdiness of the American Pie franchise, sit the films of Cédric Klapisch. Released in 2002, Spanish Apartment first introduced us to Xavier Rousseau (Romain Duris), a French university student on exchange in Barcelona. Four years later, Russian Dolls picked up with Xavier again, as he continued to search for love and direction in an increasingly complicated world.   

Chinese Puzzle turns the series into a trilogy, although Klapisch ensures the story is more or less accessible to newcomers. Now an author at the tail-end of his 30s, Xavier is marginally more mature than the last time we saw him, although no more lucky in the romance department. As a matter of fact, the film begins just in time for us to witness his marriage, to Englishwoman Wendy (Kelly Reilly), fall apart. When she takes their kids to live in Manhattan, Xavier decides to cross the Atlantic as well, crashing with his old friend Isabelle (Cécile de France) and her new girlfriend, Ju (Sandrine Holt), until he can find accommodation of his own.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Review - Cheap Thrills

Director: E.L. Katz
Running Time: 85 minutes
by Tom Clift

This weekend as part of their ongoing showcase of the sick, the sinister and the surreal, Melbourne's Cinema Nova invites audiences to a twisted game of big-screen one-upmanship, one that poses the simple, arresting question: how far would you go for the right amount of cash? A smart, disturbing, thriller-cum-morality play with excellent performances and liberal lashings of dark humour, EL Katz’s Cheap Thrills is a rare genre film that delivers on all the shock and horror of its premise, while also providing far more brains than its title might initially suggest.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Five Ways to Embrace Your Inner Nerd at Supanova 2014



by Tom Clift

Games of Thrones is the world’s most pirated TV show, The Avengers made more than $1.5 billion at the box office and even the President of the United States once collected Spider Man comics. In other words, it’s pretty cool to be a nerd these days. Just ask avid Dungeons and Dragons player Vin Diesel.

The ultimate celebration of everything geeky, the Supanova Pop Culture Expo hits the Melbourne Showgrounds April 11 - 13. From cosplay comps to comic book signings and photo opportunities with sci-fi and fantasy icons, it’s a three-day mecca of uninhibited, unironic nerdiness that attracts thousands of eager pilgrims every year.

Of course such an event can seem overwhelming, especially to the uninitiated. So, whether you’ll be attending in your fully functioning Iron Man costume, or experiencing the convention for the very first time, here are our recommendations for getting the best out of Supanova 2014.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Review - Only Lovers Left Alive

Director: Jim Jarmusch
Running Time: 123 minutes
by Tom Clift


The 21st-century has not been kind to the vampire. Between Stephenie Meyer’s sparkling high schoolers, the leather-clad killers of the Underworld series and whatever the hell those things in I Am Legend were meant to be, the once noble creatures of the night have been reduced by pop-culture to cringeworthy caricatures. Bela Lugosi must be turning in his grave.

Enter Jim Jarmusch, director of Dead Man, Ghost Dog and Broken Flowers, to name just a few. One of the enduring figures of the American indie film movement, Jarmusch has made a career out of minimally plotted, post-modern genre subversions, and his latest work is no exception. Mixing traditional vampire mythology with the director’s distinctively aloof brand of cool, Only Lovers Left Alive is a handsome, compelling, meditative take on the lives of the eternal undead.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review - Tiny: A Story About Living Small

Director: Christopher Smith & Merete Mueller 
Running Time: 62 minutes
by Tom Clift


Big things come in small packages. It’s a familiar adage, but one that feels perfectly suited to an innovative new housing movement gathering momentum around the world. Built no larger than caravans, with wheels to circumvent construction codes, tiny houses emphasise clever design and efficient use of space, minimising the structure’s environmental impact while saving homeowners house-loads of cash. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Review - In A World...

Director: Lake Bell
Running Time: 93 minutes
by Tom Clift


Have you ever noticed how trailers are almost exclusively narrated by men? Lake Bell has. Taking its title from those three iconic words which have set the scene in movie promos for decades, Bell’s directorial debut is an endearing indie comedy set in the world of Hollywood voiceovers — a selective, male-dominated industry for which the actress-cum-filmmaker exhibits both affection and justifiable disdain. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Review - Noah

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Running Time: 138 minutes
by Tom Clift

Love him or hate him, Darren Aronofsky has always been a filmmaker with vision. Be it in the unrelenting close-ups and quick-cuts of Requiem for a Dream, the body-horror of Black Swan or the breathtaking celestial sights of The Fountain, he’s a director who revels in exaggerated, psychologically harrowing depictions of death, erosion and rebirth, his thematic concerns and core imagery consistent, even as his stylistic approach varies drastically from film to film.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Interview with Aim High in Creation! director Anna Broinowski

.
by Tom Clift

“I’ve always been a believer that if you want people to think about a heavy issue, you’ve got to seduce them with humour.” That’s the philosophy of Anna Broinowski (Forbidden Lie$), the director of what is surely one of the strangest Australian films in recent memory: the environmentally themed, Kim Jong-il inspired documentary-cum-propaganda manual, Aim High in Creation! 

Shining a light on two wildly different subjects – namely, the dangers of coal seam gas mining and the North Korean dictatorship – it’s a bizarre project that doesn’t seem like it should work, yet somehow manages to be both highly entertaining and genuinely insightful.

Naturally, such an incongruous marriage of ideas doesn’t just pop into your head overnight. “Two things were happening at the same time”, says Broinowski of the project’s conception. “A dear friend of mine, who’s a producer with the ABC, had just been to North Korea for Foreign Correspondent, and she came back and gave me this book: Kim Jong-il’s manifesto on how to make a perfect socialist propaganda movie.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Interview with The Infinite Man producers Kate Croser & Sandy Cameron

.

by Tom Clift

An expanding arts and cultural phenomenon in the heart of Austin, Texas, each year South by Southwest hosts thousands of musicians, showcases the latest innovations in technology and introduces some of the year’s most intriguing movies to the world.

Amongst the most buzzed about films of SXSW 2014 was an Australian production named The Infinite Man, a low-budget, sci-fi rom-com about a man who attempts to give his girlfriend the perfect romantic weekend, only to accidentally trap her in a never-ending time loop.

In the wake of its world premiere in Austin, with a release date set for the middle of the year, we spoke with producers Kate Croser and Sandy Cameron about the process of getting the movie made, the story’s biggest influences, as well as the rapturous reception that saw the film listed by Time, Indiewire and The Hollywood Reporter as one of the most exciting movies of the festival.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Review - Aim High in Creation!

Director: Anna Broinowski
Running Time: 96 minutes
by Tom Clift


Fuelled by North Korea’s juche ideology of self-reliance and social betterment, this shoestring Australian doco is an oddball mashup of methods, concepts and cultures. Taking the techniques outlined in Kim Jong-il’s filmmaking manifesto The Cinema and Directing as her guide, director Anna Broinowski chronicles her own re-education in Pyongyang’s secretive film studios, where she hopes a crash course in propaganda will help her fight an environmentalist battle back home. While not particularly polished or probing, the final product is an amusing affair, one that also reveals the culturally transcendent power of shared artistic expression.