Monday, 31 May 2010
Michôd also had another film in competition at the festival, Hesher, starring Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rainn Wilson, which he co-wrote with director Spencer Susser who was nominated for the dramatic grand jury prize.
``It was incredibly exciting,'' says Michôd.
``I already felt like I won before the awards were presented because for it to play the way it played and for it to go down the way it went down…it was so exhilarating.
``I didn't need a prize; I already had my wildest dreams achieved.
``I was extremely happy that Hesher got in and Spencer was going to be there too.
``It's quite extraordinary when you think it about it because out of the 12 to 13 films in competition and the 2500 entries, we had them both in.
``I was very much living in an Animal Kingdom bubble. . .and to be there with so many of the cast and crew it felt fun, like being on tour with a rock band.
``It was great to be there with Spencer and Hesher and on some weird level it felt like we owned Sundance, but I think that way because I’m self-obsessed.''
Michôd says he had already left the festival when the award was presented because he didn't know `how the film was going to be received.' It was not his first time at Sundance, as he ventured there in 2008 in a déjà vu situation when his short film Crossbow was selected along with two others he co-wrote; Spider, directed by Nash Edgerton, and I Love You, Sarah Jane, directed by Spencer Susser and starring Mia Wasikowska.
“It really felt like people were talking about us and that there was something new coming out of Australia,” he says.
“People became aware we were all working on each others films.
“It was incredibly rewarding to go through the whole trauma of making a feature film and having it land there – I wouldn’t want it to play at any other festival.”
That wish cam true and to great result, with reviews for Animal Kingdom unanimously positive so far. Michôd says he had been carrying around the idea for the film for a while, however, it was his move from Sydney to Melbourne that prompted him to put pen to paper.
``It felt like a big city to me and I read a lot of true crime writing,” he says.
“It gave this new personality to the neighbourhoods behind the stories.
``I wanted to do a big, sprawling, crime story in Melbourne.”
His crime epic took a back seat while he finished film school and then got a job in Sydney working at Inside Film magazine where within two-years he became editor.
Michôd says he learnt a lot about how the business works in his time at the magazine and saw the distribution, marketing and publicity side of the filmmaking process which `filmmakers don't often get to see.' He says now that Animal Kingdom is to be released soon, he is surprised he was not more fearful of reviews given his experience writing them.
``I do think of myself as a sensitive soul and I'm surprised I didn't fear having the tables turned after having cast judgement for so long,'' he says.
``I didn't really enjoy reviewing films and I knew that if I didn't just jump out and have a crack, make Animal Kingdom, then I was never going to do it.''
As he began to gather momentum for Animal Kingdom through short film work, he also established a connection with Blue-Tongue Films, a loose-jointed Australian moviemaking collective founded by the Edgerton brothers Nash and Joel. Michôd, Spencer Susser, Nash Edgerton, Luke Doolan and Joel Edgerton (pictured in order above) make up the core of the group.
“The beauty of Blue-Tongue is it’s a collective of friends,” says Michôd.
“We’re all off making films with different production companies, but we always make sure we’re involved in each others stuff.
“It’s all about feeling like your not doing it alone, especially in the early days when you’re making shorts and none of you have any idea if there are careers awaiting you.”
Once the project was up off the ground, Michôd says `one of the most encouraging things' was how quickly people came on board.
``I felt good about it, but I didn't know it would work and I was racked with self-doubt,” he says.
“So, to have actors with such an incredible body of work jump on board quickly and enthusiastically made me think the material would work.
``It feels intimidating walking on set and all these powerful personalities and actors are waiting for you.
``But when you know the movie inside out, you know what you need to say.
``I know I wanted it to be quite simple and almost beautiful.
``I knew early on and talked about this a lot with the cinematographer that I didn't want it to be full of funky camera stuff.
``I didn't want it to feel like a rock 'n' roll crime movie that's about how cool criminals are.''
Animal Kingdom stars a who's who of Australian acting talent such as Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Ben Mendelsohn, James Frecheville and Jacki Weaver. It is psychological crime drama about a 17-year-old boy (Frecheville) as he tries to survive amongst his criminal family and manage a detective who is determined to save him. Animal Kingdom opens in cinemas on Thursday and you can check out the trailer below.
In the meantime, if you find the indie and oh-so-awesome film collective Blue-Tongue Films as interesting as I do, then I suggest you head over to the NY Times and read this far superior piece by Michael Cieply. Tis’ fascinating.
The group begins to file into the huts, which are held together by strips of material and more wood, and slightly elevated off the ground, as Japanese soldiers continue to bark orders. Towering over the scene are huge trees that more resemble Ents in The Lord Of The Rings than anything from the human world. I am in a prisoner of war camp, watching Australian missionaries as they take in the weathered cubbies that will become home for the next several months.
``Annnnd cut!'' screams director Brendan Maher, the man in charge of recreating this pivotal scene for Sisters Of War. Like an army of tree people, camera operators, assistant directors and make-up technicians start filing out of the jungle into the camp, busily preparing the actors and making adjustments to the set before the next scene starts. A photographer snaps a nun as she strikes various poses under an almost celestial beam of sunlight that filters through the canopy. The nun's face is familiar. It takes a second look before I realise she's former Australian Idol contestant Paulini Curuenavuli (below). Sisters of War is Curuenavuli's first foray into acting and the popstar is barely recognisable in the all-white garments, the uniform of the Roman Catholic nuns. ``Really, you couldn't ask for better light,'' says producer Andrew Wiseman as he admires the surroundings.
``It's like nature's own lighting technician.''
A veteran of the Australian film industry, Wiseman has worked on more than a dozen film and television projects and won two AFI awards for My Brother Jack (best telefeature) and After The Deluge (best mini-series). He hopes Sisters Of War, a uniquely Australian tale of extraordinary courage, will be his magnum opus.
``It's an important one that needs to be told,'' he says.
However, the story of the nuns' capture was almost lost forever.
Auctioneer Rod Miller stumbled across the lost diary of civilian nurse Grace Kruger in 1991 while he was clearing out an estate.
``He nearly threw it out,'' says Wiseman.
``Eventually he found seven other diaries and started to piece (the story) together.
``It was written in cryptic prose. Many of the women kept diaries but destroyed them in case the Japanese found them.''
It was not until Miller began working with writer John Misto that the story began to take shape. The wartime diaries formed the basis of the material for Sisters Of War. Interviews were also conducted with Sister Bernice Twohill, former army nurse Lorna Whyte and other survivors. Wiseman says the crux of the story is the friendship that developed between Sister Bernice and Lorna during their time in captivity. Fresh from her role in the big-budget mini-series The Pacific, Claire van der Boom stars as Sister Bernice, with NIDA graduate Sarah Snook as Lorna. Scottish-born actor Gerald Lepkowski, last seen in Beneath Hill 60, is the group's leader, Bishop Leo Scharmach. He leads the group out of the jungle and down into a valley as the director calls `cut' on another take.
The 40ha Tamborine property where the scene is set has been used for film and TV productions including Daybreakers, Nim's Island, Scooby-Doo, Sea Patrol, Elephant Princess and Kokoda.Wiseman filmed a two-part television documentary, also called Kokoda, at the site and says he knew it would be the perfect location for his new production's nuns' mission, prisoner-of-war camp and some serious stunts.
``There is bombing, aerial shots, explosions... but I can't give away too much,'' he says.
``It's a project where we've had many consultants, both Australian and Japanese military experts and nurses.
``We're trying to put together as many resources as we can to make history breathe.
``Just because it's on the small screen, that doesn't diminish its value.''
The TV movie's $4 million budget is bigger than that of most Australian films. It's obvious the money has been put to good use, with set designers recreating the nuns' dormitories and the hospital in which they treated injured soldiers.
``A lot of the props for inside the buildings had to be specifically sought out to fit the time and place perfectly,'' says Wiseman as he shows off his new hospital.
``The costumes, too, are all authentic, with some of them coming from The Pacific shoot, which was handy.''
The crew set up an exterior scene to film prisoners walking along a dirt road on their way to camp. A technician uses what looks like a giant vacuum cleaner to blow smoke across the path for dramatic effect. Between takes, Lepkowski (above, far right) wanders over to greet us and discuss his character, Bishop Leo Scharmach.
``Ultimately he's a good man but it's complex,'' he says.
``He has to make a lot of compromises and collateral damage to keep his nuns alive.
``He was a tough cookie, this bishop. He did get worn down but he was still quite principled.''
Lepkowski feels a deep respect for the bishop who served as a stretcher bearer in WWI before surviving his prisoner of war experience in WWII. He says the bishop returned to Papua New Guinea to rebuild his mission after the war.
Filming on Tamborine will wrap this week as interior shots at the Village Roadshow Studios, at Movie World, continue.When the production caravan packs up and leaves, the Tamborine property will return to what it was a peaceful, sprawling slice of nature; passers-by unaware of the role it has played in retelling one of WWII's forgotten stories.
Sisters Of War will screen on ABC1 later this year.
Friday, 28 May 2010
The sequel picks up two years after the first film, with the women struggling to deal with the various `stresses' in their lives. Charlotte (Kristin Davis), despite the help of a full-time nanny, is finding the demands of motherhood challenging, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) is having trouble juggling her job as a lawyer and her responsibilities as a mother, Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is terrified she and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) are becoming an old, married couple and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), as the only single member of the group, is struggling to keep her sex drive alive at 52. To escape from their problems the ladies jet-off to Abu Dhabi on a luxury vacation where Carrie runs into a former flame and, in a vaguely offensive plot turn, they find their style and attitudes clash with the Muslim society.
Sex and the City 2 is at least an hour too long and the running time of almost two and a half hours will leave even hardcore followers of the series itching for the end credits. We really didn't need to see every room of their hotel suite, every furniture item in their NYC homes or the plethora of slo-mo shots of outfit after outfit. Yes, I get it, a large part of it is about the clothes, but there was always a balance of substance and style in the TV series. Some audiences might also find it hard to relate to four, upper-class white women whose greatest problems are wearing the same ridiculously overpriced dress as Miley Cyrus to a premiere or the possibility of having to fly coach. The horror! Did I mention it's girly? So sickeningly girly I'm at the point where if I hear the word `sparkle' or another freakin wind-chime effect when something `magical' happens, I'm going to put Sarah Jessica Parker down like the Afghan dog she so closely resembles (exhibit A).
Instead of progressing into the new aspects of their lives, the main characters have become the Barbie dolls of gay men as they try to revive the glory days when they were much younger, much sassier and much more interesting. But unfortunately these women stopped representing Sex and the City about six years ago. Now they are more like Menopause in the Desert.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
It’s a well known fact Chris Nolan’s Inception is the film I’m most looking forward to this year. After putting together an overall wrap with the scant details that have been released through various sources online, a loose plot is beginning to filter through thanks to the magnetic full length trailer. Basically, DiCaprio’s character is a dream stealer, who slips into the subconscious and plucks away those nifty ideas. That’s as much as we have so far, but the full length trailer (below) looks fucking fantastic!
In other Inception news, besides original The Dark Knight-esque poster, there has been a cast series released featuring the key players and a line about their roles. Most importantly, Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets a poster all to himself, so I can die happy. Inception hits July 22 and I’m already clearing my calendar in preparation for critic screenings.
Tuesday, 25 May 2010
Led by their Clay (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Roque (Idris Elba), Jensen (Chris Evans), Pooch (Columbus Short) and Cougar (Óscar Jaenada) make up the Losers: a CIA black ops team (above). They are the Spice Girls of action movies, each with their own unique personality and character twerks. After being betrayed and left for dead in the jungles of Bolivia, the Losers team up with the mysterious Aisha (Zoe Saldana) who helps them seek out Max (Jason Patric), an evil mastermind who targeted them for assassination.
With its promise of sufficiently quirky bad-asses, stylish violence and adult humour stemming from the original comic series, I wanted so badly to like The Losers. Yet something about it feels hollow, which is ridiculously frustrating because there is potential here for a great action movie. Instead, The Losers just ends up being moderately entertaining.
There are some beautifully stylish action sequences in the film that point to its comic book origins and the accompanying soundtrack features the best use of a Journey song since Glee. The performances too are all excellent, with Saldana ditching the blue CGI in favour of some tatts and a facial piercing (above) and JDM proving his charismatic turn as an action-lead in Watchmen wasn't a one off. Surprisingly though, it's Chris Evans (aka the human torch from the Fantastic Four series) who really stands out. He steals the show as the Losers quick-witted and somewhat daggy tech expert, with his delivery of some of the best lines in the film receiving applause from the audience in the screening I attended. Pooch, the team’s “Black MacGuyver” or “Blagyver” is also particularly entertaining. Oh, and did I mention the sex on a stick that is Cougar (below)? Move over my Mark Wahlberg obsession, because now I have a fictional character to fall in love (why should the Twihards have all the fun*?). Jaenada’s turn as Cougar is so incredibly sexy, it had me and several other ladies in the audience omitting a little squeal every time he came on scream.
But where the film falls down is, despite moments of unpredictability, the generic plotting and villain, who is like a left over Bond bad guy. Sure, he has some okay moments (particularly his delivery of “It's like giving a handgun to a six-year-old, Wade - you don't know how it's gonna end, but you're pretty sure it's gonna make the papers”) but essentially he is your typical `evil' bent on destroying the world and starting a war, despite a lack of clear motivation or vendetta. The plot turns you can see coming a mile off and the final action scenes verge on boring, a flaw that could have been cured if they let the actors spend less time in slo-mo with machine guns and more time in combat or scurrying along rough tops. If not for films humour and style, The Losers is worth seeing just so you can get to know the well-acted, multi-dimensional characters and witness the family dynamic created between them. This will lead action fans to overlook its many flaws and the open-ended conclusion leaves room for what will hopefully be a superior sequel.
A sequel I'm cautiously optimistic for. Okay, okay I just want to see Cougar all sweaty and Spanish again.
*Fun: in relation to `Twihard fun’ I mean staying at home on a Saturday night and making out with your cat. You know they all do it.
While we’re on the subject of The Losers, now is as good a time as any to gush over the poster art accompanying the movie. While the Kick-Ass poster is still my favourite of the year so far, these variations are coming dangerously close to the top spot. My only criticism is that there are so many, audiences don’t have the opportunity to be exposed to them all…which is the artsy fun of it, like The Dark Knight. The first is a real-life depiction of the comic cover, so it’s doubly clever as an eye-catching promo and a nod to fans of the series.
The Losers opens Thursday.
Monday, 24 May 2010
DB: So where are you calling from Maria?
MM: From this quaint little place called Australia, have you been?
DB: Yes, my brother lives in Sydney, I love Australia. I’ve filmed there a few times and what I’ve found is that the people there work to live and I like that. I came there with my family and we took my son to learn to surf at Bondi.
MM: Well, that makes sense. It is our most famous surfing beach after all. So, about the film, what was it like going from your short film The Tonto Woman to a full length feature?
DB: It was wonderful actually because The Tonto Woman was quite a long short film so I really enjoyed it. The difficult thing for Harry Brown was not the story or the acting, but pacing…to try and get the pacing correct. I wanted to increase the pace subtly as we went along. A lot of people think directors cuts are overlong and I wanted it to be right, so we worked quite hard with the editor to get the length of the film perfect. As much as the film makes important social and political comment, I wanted it to be entertaining as well. I don't want to be ramming messages down people's throat. At the core of it it talks about important things and we need to help understand why we have a whole generation of youth in Britain who are disenfranchised. In modern British cinema there is more of a gentrified view you might see in some period drama, but there's an underbelly in England's society that's growing which is fed up, angry and brutal.
MM: Yeah, that definitely comes across. Is this what attracted you to the Harry Brown screenplay?
DB: It’s my first film and I wanted to make a film that would make an impact. I don't want to go unnoticed, I want to be a filmmaker who has something to say and who knows how to say it. It spoke to me, I read it and I got really excited about it. It has become a famous British film whether you like it or not, it does divide opinion. But one thing you can't disagree with is that it is popular and it has brought discussion.
MM: One thing I noticed in the end credits was you had Matthew Vaughn as a producer, who of course has worked with Guy Ritchie and is having a lot of success at the moment with Kick-Ass. During the making of the film was he able to impart some good advice or give you some tips, British filmmaker to British filmmaker?
DB: To be honest I never met him or had anything to do with him. He never had any input and we never had a conversation, how fucking Hollywood is that? I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think he even read script.
MM: (Laughs) Righto. A lot of the American critics have been calling Harry Brown Britain’s answer to Gran Tarino, how do you respond to comments like that? Do you see it as a compliment?
DB: I don’t think Gran Tarino is a very good film. Firstly, it’s about racism and we’re not. And he’s no good in it, he’s a bit schmaltzy. I don’t respond badly to being compared to Clint Eastwood film but Harry Brown is a very different film, it has something to say. People love to pigeon hole something don’t they? We’re something much different
MM: You’ve substituted Clint Eastwood for Sir Michael Caine (below) for starters.
DB: (Laughs) Yeah, that’s right.
MM: So how did Michael Caine become involved with the film?
DB: He read script and he really liked it. He doesn't need to do things for the money and he just did this because he wanted to do it and said `I want to work with you and I loved The Tonto Woman’. On one hand he's working with Chris Nolan on Batman and on the other he's working with little old me on a low budget British film. In truth, no one else could play the role as well as he does and give such an amazing performance.
MM: And what was it like working with him on set? I mean, he’s such an icon of the business.
DB: What experience, what an amazing life experience. I'll always have that memory of working with him on set and him asking me if I liked what he was doing. I really loved it. He’s really cool isn’t he? He’s the fucking king of cool.
MM: You’ve won and have been nominated for several awards for Harry Brown, what has that experience been like? I mean, you won best British film at the Empire awards and came up against films like Moon, it must have been gratifying winning awards from critics and fans alike?
DB: I’m not a big fan of Moon really, it didn’t speak to me.
MM: What? Really? I’ve got to say I absolutely loved it. I thought it was a really clever take on an overused element of sci-fi.
DB: Good, I’m glad you like it. But what’s great about the Empire awards is that they’re voted by the general public and they are by far and away the most honest awards out there. There are no political shenanigans or political committee for it, or people who think they know more than everyone else. It’s just the general public. I’m so proud we won that award because it’s the ultimate; the best British film decided by the British public.
MM: So, I know you guys have to be pretty secretive about this kind of thing but what can you tell me about your next project Devotchka? Have you cast it already?
DB: I can’t actually tell you a lot about it. It’s a film about a female protagonist who has had a very tough upbringing and it’s the part of her life where she travels from Russia to America. It’s very commercial and exciting. We’ve had a lot of interest in it from very successful female actors, but I can’t really say who.
MM: Oh fair enough. Finally, what are some of your favourite films? Whether they are ones that inspire you or you can just watch over and over again?
DB: That’s tough, but I would have to start with Star Wars, Jaws, Raging Bull, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, 2001, Debbie Does Dallas…
DB: Okay, that was a joke. That was a fucking joke (laughs).
MM: (Laughs) Oh, um, righto.
DB: There’s too many to mention really, those are the kind of films that blow me away and when I saw them they were life defining moments. It’s like when you listen to a piece of music and think `wow, that’s amazing.’ Like the first piece of music that really affected me was David Bowie’s Space Oddity. I love comedies too, Mel Brooks films, Ben Hur, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, it goes on.
MM: Fantastic. Well, look, thanks so much for chatting to me and being so honest. It’s really refreshing to get some opinions from someone who’s not media-trained to answer a specific way.
DB: Thanks, it was really lovely chatting with you and yes, I like being honest. I don’t really remember the press notes. anyway
Harry Brown is in cinemas now.
Wednesday, 19 May 2010
In semi-related news he couldn’t believe I wasn’t Greek, or even Italian, with name like Maria and insisted on knowing my parentage. I have to give a big shout out to my BFF Courto and her dad Mr Brady, and the lovely Sultana and her delightfully crafty sister Kat who came along for moral. For the sake of interweb love, I suggest your embrace the inner craft goddess and head along to Kat’s blog Tea & Cupcakes, which would make even Martha Stewart feel inferior. Anyway, I’m getting side-tracked from the film which, to my surprise, was actually pretty enjoyable.
After The Wog Boy took $13.4 million at the box office, the film's star, producer and writer Giannopoulos is back 10-years later with the bigger, brighter and ballsy sequel.
The film opens in Melbourne, where wog boys Steve (Giannopoulos) and Frank (Vince Colosimo) are down on their luck and without their treasured wog-mobile; the Chrysler Valiant. Things take a turn for the better when Steve gets a phone call telling him about a beach he has inherited on the resort island of Mykonos from an uncle he has never met. Before you can say `farkin’, they are strutting the streets of Mykonos where they have to contend with locals such as Mihali (Alex Dimitriades) and Pierluigi (Hercules hunk Kevin Sorbo above) to claim the beach.
The Kings Of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2 is like your beloved Devo t-shirt; it is a little daggy and has a few holes in it, but that doesn't take away from its charm. It lacks the wit and social commentary of the first film, which took a tongue-in-cheek look at racism in Australia. Yet you can't help admire how Giannopoulos has tried to substitute that with exploring what it means to be `Aussie' and how we are perceived overseas. His explanation of Gallipoli is one of the more obvious attempts at this, but there are many more subtle hints throughout the film.
Plenty of jokes fall flat and had me rolling me eyes, but they were often the parts that had the audience clapping…so perhaps I’m out of touch. Either way, the dance scenes and banter between the characters make up for it, in particular the chemistry between Steve and Frank provided much of the films humour. A refreshingly commercial and light-hearted Australian film, The Kings Of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2 is the popcorn entertainment it sets out to be. Whether you will remember the salty tang once the end credits have rolled is another thing. The Kings Of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2 opens in cinemas tomorrow.
Friday, 14 May 2010
The always-awesome Sir Michael Caine plays the title character in this dark and twisty British film from director Daniel Barber. Harry Brown is an elderly ex-serviceman and widower who lives in a council estate in South London. The highlight of his day is playing chess with close friend Leonard, another pensioner who complains about being tormented by the gangs in the neighbourhood. A few days later Leonard is viciously murdered by one of the gangs after trying to confront them and although some of the thugs are arrested; they are released after refusing to answer questions.
Frustrated by the police and heartbroken by the loss of his friend and the deterioration of his neighbourhood, Harry Brown recalls his skills as a former Royal Marine and Northern Ireland veteran and becomes somewhat of a vigilante. Soon he's hunting down and killing drug traffickers, murderers, arms dealers, rapist and picking off the gang members one by one.
Overseas critics desperate to associate on thing with another have called this Britain's answer to Gran Tarino. Harry Brown exceeds Clint Eastwood's film on almost every conceivable level. After his Oscar-nominated short film The Tonto Woman, Barber has done what so many film makers fail to do and made an impressive feature film debut. From a faux-documentary opening scene which portrays the violent realism of gang life to lingering close-ups with a muted colour palette to foreground Brown's isolation, Barber really knows what he's doing.
It's no wonder this film has been so well received by the British public, as it is a very poignant and socially relevant film that commentates on a disenfranchised youth population that exists in the country at the moment. Technically and emotionally the film is flawless, with superb performances. Harry Brown is the role Michael Caine was born to play and it feels as if his whole career has been building towards this role.
However, the only drawback is in his bid to make the film as gritty and realistic as possible, Barber has sacrificed pace at times. Those expecting an exciting action film will not be disappointed, but they should be warned this is a very dark thriller with soul. This is an important film and one that achieves its aim of generating discussion.
Harry Brown is released in cinemas this Thursday, May 20 and stay posted for my exclusive interview with director Daniel Barber next week (he’s hilarious).
Tuesday, 11 May 2010
It follows Sophie and her fiancée Victor (Gael García Bernal) who travel to the city of Verona, home of the star-crossed lover Juliet Capulet of Romeo and Juliet fame.Sick of being ignored by her fiancee as he runs around trying find suppliers for his restaurant, Sophie joins a group of volunteers who respond to letters written to Juliet seeking advice about love. After answering one letter dated 1951, she inspires its author Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) to travel to Italy in search of her long-lost love, with her uptight grandson Charlie along for the ride (played by former Home & Away star Chris Egan).
At first Sophie and Charlie clash over such deep character flaws as her use of phrases like `awesome' and `oh my god' and his, well, Britishness. Yet after a few days in the car together on the hunt for Claire's Romeo, they begin to fall for each other. But can Sophie follow her own advice on love as easily as she can dish it out? After 10 minutes of this ill-conceived dud you won't care about the answer.
Director Gary Winick comes from a long line of romantic comedies such as Bride Wars and Suddenly 30, but he seems to care more about the Italian sunshine filtering through Seyfried's hair than the quality of this film. The jokes are harder to spot than Egan's acting ability and it seems his terrible performance in last year's Crush was not a one off. This could have been a big move for him, the next forward step into a Hollywood career after notable turns in Resident Evil: Extinction and short lived series Kings. But he is simply terrible as Charlie. Even teen fans will be hard pressed to overlook his awkwardness, despite a shirtless scene.
The usual talents of Seyfried and Redgrave as leading ladies are dwindled down to a few meaningful looks here and there, but for the most part they are merely players in this woeful story. Throw in kissing couples played over the opening credits and lines like "I didn't know that true love had an expiration date'' and you will quickly find yourself reaching for a bucket.
Lovers of sickly sweet romances might have been able to overlook all of the above if there were at least two charismatic leads. However, there is absolutely no chemistry between Seyfried and Egan, and even the older lovers manage to generate more heat (which is disturbing on many levels). Letters To Juliet assumes that its audience will flock to see any version of Hollywood romance no matter how stupid and pathetic it is. Hopefully, this is not the case.
Ahoy there to the Razzie committee, I think we have an awards frontrunner.
Monday, 10 May 2010
In fact, he wants to lead the genre revolution with his new film Savages Crossing. He wrote, produced and stars in the thriller which opens in cinemas this Thursday. It follows a group of strangers who are forced to take shelter in an outback roadhouse while a flood rages around them. However, the tension inside the building becomes greater than the threat outside.
Jarratt says he hopes the film is another step away from the `dark and depressing dramas' Australian cinema has become synonymous with in recent years.
"We've created the market for it,'' he says.
"A lot of the Government funded films in the last 12-years have been boring, coming of age dramas or smack films.
"Myself, Jack Thompson and people like Shane Jacobson, we said `enough of this' and we've started trying to make films that Australian people want to see.
"The lunatics have taken back the asylum.''
Above: Jarrat in a scene from Savages Crossing and again, top above.
Jarratt says he looks up to actors like Anthony LaPaglia, especially after his work on Balibo recently, because it shows `experienced and true Aussie actors have got off their bums and put something back in'. Jarratt has become renowned for playing `the villain' after his chilling turn as Mick Taylor in the hit Wolf Creek and says he is once again the bad guy in Savages Crossing.
"It wasn't highly intentional,'' he says.
"I do write with people in mind and he, the character, wasn't that bad: just one of the crew really and more of a bumbling fool.
"But by the end he had to become the menacing person with a gun in his hand.
"He's quite mean and reacts badly.''
Jarratt says people have been `hanging' for him to play another villain.
"I'm playing another maniac and they've been waiting a long time, since Wolf Creek,'' he says.
"He's not evil like Mick Taylor though, he's just a drug addled fool.''
Jarratt raised the film's $3.6 million budget and says so far audiences have been `very supportive'. You can check out Savages Crossing trailer below and click here for all on the dets on session times etc.
Peter Helliar -
"The Godfather, it’s probably one of my favourites films. A great Serbian film called Underground. Sideways. I love Wes Anderson, so most of his stuff. And Boogie Nights, Magnolia and The Station Agent."
Yvonne Strahovski -
"Dancer In The Dark because it just had such an effect on me. I’ve carried from that trying to do films that have big effects on the audience. The Last Of The Mohicans. And when I was a kid Big, I had a big crush on Tom Hanks."
Brendan Cowell -
"The Blues Brothers, I watched that a couple o’ 100 times as a kid. I think it has everything and the music was awesome. I liked Punch Drunk Love, that was a beautiful movie. Secrets & Lies, that’s a Mike Leigh film. And anything by Lukas Moodysson, he’s my favourite director, so Show Me Love, A Hole In My Heart and Lilya 4-ever. And The Station Agent."
In semi-related news, Cowell mentioned he is next starring in a play titled True West, which is playing at Sydney’s The Wharf this October. It’s being directed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman (below) and he had this to say about working with one of his idols:
"I think he’s arguably one of the greatest actors in the world. I love his choices. He inspired me a lot because he’s so instinctual from role to role, which is something I strive for and really inhibiting characters.
I auditioned for him in New York for a couple of hours and I learnt so much in those two hours working with him. I’d do the scene, look at him and he’d give me direction and then I would turn around and face the wall and go `it’s Phillip Seymour Hoffman!' "I Love You Too is in cinemas now.