Tuesday, 31 May 2011
“He was always telling me about Bethany and telling her about me and then one day we crossed paths and became good friends,” said Brittani.
“She’s definitely inspirational, strong-willed and someone people should aspire to be like.
“She’s a lovely person and very down-to-earth.
“Now whenever she comes over to Australia for an event we go for a surf, hang out at and do touristy things.”
Bethany became known around the world in 2003 when her arm was bitten off by a tiger shark while surfing off the coast of Hawaii. Despite losing over 60 per cent of her blood, the then 13-year-old recovered and learnt how to ride a surfboard again. Like Britanni, she now competes throughout the world as a professional surfer. Although she hasn’t had any encounters with sharks, Brittani too has an inspirational story. The Pottsville local suffers from Crohn's disease, an illness of the digestive system. She had to wear an ileostomy bag for several years after she haemorrhaged when 30cm of her bowel was removed in major surgery.
Despite her severe illness, Britanni still competed in surfing events even with her an ileostomy bag.
“They didn’t think I would be able to surf again with the bag, but I did; you just have to adjust to it,” she said.
“I used to have to surf in a full piece (swimsuit) to hold the bag in place.”
In January last year she had reversal surgery and is now able to get on without a bag, despite living with constant symptoms. Brittani (above: in action) is the face of a new national television campaign for Crohn’s & Colitis Australia which aims to raise awareness of the debilitating and incurable bowel diseases that affects over 61,000 Australians.
“Surfing with Crohn’s has definitely affected me over the years,” she said.
“I remember a few years ago Bethany said to me that she thought I was so inspirational after she learnt about everything I’ve been through.
“I looked at her and said `seriously? Look what you’ve been through’ and she looked at me like I was crazy.
“We both look at things positively. Life can always be worse and we’re both just lucky to be here.”
Brittani is currently travelling to France to compete in a World Qualifying Series and looks forward to catching up and competing with Bethany over there. She said she “can’t wait” to talk to Bethany (below) about Soul Surfer, a film based on Bethany’s journey to return to the board after her attack.
“I saw it last week and I thought the film was amazing, I had tears in my eyes,” she said.
“It was pretty different knowing her as a person and seeing the actor act it out. It was her story, but with someone else telling it.
“But there was a scene when the real Bethany walked across the screen as an extra which was pretty funny.Soul Surfer is out in cinemas now.
Monday, 30 May 2011
In my previous chat with Rush, he eluded to the fact that there will indeed be a fifth and sixth Pirates film depending on how On Stanger Tides went at the ol’ box office. But initially Rush, who plays Captain Barbosa, says no one had any idea just how successful the franchise would be.
“No one commercially had made a popular pirates film, but Jerry’s (Bruckheimer) pretty astute,” he says.
“The first ideas that came through in the screenplay didn’t have the curse of the Black Pearl in it, it was just another swashbuckling ride.
“Then Jerry said they needed more to it and they came up with the idea of the Pirates becoming freaks under moonlight.
“It became so popular we made part two and three back-to-back.
“It was always a one-off at the beginning and it was only towards the end of the shoot when there was a week or two left that it was known as Pirates Of The Caribbean.
“We started getting memos from the Disney head office and once we saw the semi-colon on the letterhead we smelt a sequel.”
Rush says the “fantastic little cliffhanger” at the end of the third Pirates film, At World’s End, left potential for a fourth.
“I was pretty confident I had the Fountain Of Youth map at the end and that Johnny had the hole in it and it took them a while to thread that story together and freshen it up, but there are completely new storylines,” he says.
“Elizabeth and Will’s story had come to an end.
“They’re probably 120 years old now and settling down for a quiet life in Dorchester.”
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is sailing the cinema high-seas now.
Madison Pettis: "13 Going On 30 and all of the Twilight movies. I'm quite girly really."
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
Directed by Sean McNamara (Raise Your Voice, Bratz), this is not Jaws meets Blue Crush, but rather a Disney-esque version of events. Sure, this is a fairytale, so heart warming sentiments and inspirational monologues are to be expected. But somewhere between lines like “love is bigger than any tidal wave or fear” the film succumbs to family movie cheesiness. Written, produced and directed by McNamara, Soul Surfer is elevated by a trio of strong performances from AnnaSophia Robb as Bethany and Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her parents. Robb is beyond convincing and beautifully balances Bethany's vulnerability and inner-strength. Quaid and Hunt are fantastic as the supportive and highly likable parents. Their love for each other and their family has a tangible presence and one of the best scenes is when the Hollywood veterans take to the waves for a surfing/bonding session. Plus, Hunt is undoubtedly one of the most naturally beautiful women in the bizz. At 47 she rocks a bikini and in close-ups it’s clear to see she hasn’t had a spot of work done; she’s aging gracefully and looking all the better for it.
Also good is Jack Nicholson's daughter Lorraine Nicholson as Bethany's best friend Alana Blanchard and former Hercules star Kevin Sorbo in a meaty role as her dad Holt Blanchard. The Blanchard’s were close friends of the Hamilton family and responsible for saving Bethany's life that day when they dragged her to shore and used a leg rope as a tourniquet. These days Alana is better known for having the best ass in international surfing.Based on Bethany's autobiography of the same name, the surfer has always attributed God and her faith for getting her through the traumatic ideal and back on the board. The Christian elements of Bethany's life are certainly not skipped over. In fact, they're perhaps covered too extensively and the powerful Christian themes are likely to ostracise some viewers. American Idol winner Carrie Underwood's performance as a Christian councillor doesn't help. Her big screen debut is so terrible, you would be happy to throw yourself into the mouth of a tiger shark to escape her wooden and preachy portrayal. Her sense of superiority and righteousness would be excruciating enough, but Underwood sports heavy makeup throughout the film which seems especially ridiculous when she's working in the slums of Indonesian in the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami. A Christian missionary with more eye shadow than Hedwig from the Angry Inch strips any sort of believability from the situation.
Despite its shortcomings, Soul Surfer isn't a wipe out. It's an inspirational, family-friendly film that might over-do the cheese, but that doesn't mean it can't please.
Soul Surfer is out Thursday, May 26.
Thursday, 19 May 2011
``At the premiere in Disneyland 25,000 people lined up to see us and that kind of fan worship and turn out . . .if there wasn't that kind of enthusiasm we would stop making them,'' he says.
``The energy, the loyalty, the madness, the craziness, the obsession; these fans have been with us since 2003 and that audience doesn't want to be cheated.
``The films have got to be as funny and generous as the last ones, everyone's keen not make it a sausage machine.
```I love how we got into the pirate mythology, not just pirate history, which is a large part of what stops them getting tired.''
If anyone should be tired, it's Rush. The Oscar-winner, who turns 60 in July, is currently resting up in Australia after a whirlwind press tour for the film which has seen stopovers in Disneyland, London, Cannes and finally Sydney all within the past two weeks for Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides premieres. The fourth film sees Rush's Captain Barbossa reunite with Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) in a quest for The Fountain Of Youth (you can read my review below). Although the on-screen chemistry is supposed to be between Depp and new cast member Penelope Cruz as Blackbeard's daughter, Rush says Barbossa and Sparrow's long running love-hate relationship is where the sparks fly.
``Barbossa quite unashamedly just stole the Black Pearl from Jack and they've been arguing about that ever since,'' he says.
``So I said to Johnny `lets imagine that the Black Pearl is our shared girlfriend' because for me that's more interesting than a boat.''Rush is renowned for championing independent film projects such as Oscar-winning The King's Speech, for which he was nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar and served as executive producer. But Rush says there isn't that much difference when it comes to working on a blockbuster franchise.
``Johnny (Depp) has spoken about it and I agree; the process doesn't change,'' he says.
``He said early on in the first one that it as like shooting a small, independent film that just happens to have a bucket load of money behind it.
``When you're on camera doing a two person scene it feels very intimate and just the same as doing The King's Speech for me or for him, Finding Neverland.''
Although Rush says a script for a fifth Pirates film has already been completed, his next focus is drama The Eye Of The Storm, alongside Judy Davis, and playing Lady Bracknell in The Melbourne Theatre Company's production of The Importance Of Being Earnest in November. Rush is one of 25 people to have won the Triple Crown of Acting - an Academy Award, a Tony Award and an Emmy Award - and says it's important for young thespians to have a grounding in theatre.
``I would certainly say if your going into it, don't be accidentally deceived.
``If you want to be a celebrity, be a celebrity.
``If you want to be an actor, get on stage and try and find out what that's about.''
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is out today. Above: You know you've `made it' when you get your very own waistcoat-wearing monkey. The fact it's carrying the Rage virus is a secondary concern.
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Turns out Angelica is Blackbeard's daughter and the duo need Sparrow to navigate their way to the Fountain Of Youth so the notorious pirate can cheat a death prophecy. As well as racing against the Spanish, Captain Barbossa (Rush) is hot on their sail and looking to reunite with Sparrow so they can get revenge on the murderous Blackbeard who also has zombie minions. And his beard lights up when he smokes. And there's man-eating mermaids. Savvy?
Yep, the On Stranger Tides plot makes about as much sense as Cruz's role in the film, which is to say, none. Although there have been holes in the other films in Disney's flagship franchise, Depp's Oscar-nominated performance and the turns from a supporting cast including Rush, Kiera Knightley and Orlando Bloom has been enough to keep the films afloat. This time around that's not the case. Knightley and Bloom clearly recognise a sinking ship when they see one and have jumped over board, with acclaimed actors Cruz and McShane added to the cast in their wake.They add little life to the film, flopping around aimlessly, and even Depp looks as if he doesn't want to be there. For the first time in the series, which relies heavily on the shoulders of Depp's performance as Sparrow, the actor doesn't seem to be enjoying himself. It's only in the final 10 minutes the cheeky charm, flamboyance and liveliness that we associate with Sparrow seems to return. By then it's too late and Rush has been left to do all the work. But it's nice to see they took the minimalist approach to costume design with Sparrow. Not.
Everything about Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is over the top; from the endless locations to the very premise itself. With the director of the past three films opting out, Rob Marshall (Chicago, Nine) has stepped in and become the studio's lapdog, replacing sense and creativity with the Michael Bay's take on filmmaking; stunts + fire + nearly topless women = success. With a big budget and big running time, Pirates is small on any lasting enjoyment and will leave your mind plank.
P.S. Keep an eye out for Australian supermodel Gemma Ward in a cameo as an ethereal yet evil mermaid.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens Thursday, May 19.
With Thor giving Fast and Furious 5 a panel beating at the global box office, what better time to look back on my chat with one of the films stars; Jaimie Alexander. The US actress is becoming a bit of a genre superstar, getting her start in horror flicks such as Rest Stop, Hallowed Ground and The Other Side before heading over into equally fanatic fan territory with sci-fi work in cult show Kyle XY and now Thor. But Alexander hasn’t forgotten her roots and the starlet was more than happy to give the horror genre the kudos it deserves. She also didn’t rule out a return to scare-fests, once she finishes up work on dramas Loosies and Savannah that is. Here’s what she had to say:
“They’re almost superheroish characters and the leads in the films…they’re looking for someone to carry that. It’s a good starting ground and because they’re made for not a lot of money, they take a risk on actors without much on their resumes. I never say never and if I thought the script was decent, then I’d say yeah (to being in another horror).”
There you have it. To read my exclusive chat with Alexander where we talk girl power, body image and she-warriors click here. For my Thor review, here, and the best Thor poster you will ever see, here.
Monday, 16 May 2011
I have this friend who for the sake of anonymity we shall call Tricky Hickson. You can follow her on Twitter here. Anyway, these pricks in her apartment building let down her tires the other day because, well, pricks are pricks. She put this hilarious note on their car. I’m a big fan of Passive Aggressive Notes but frankly, this kicks anything I’ve seen on their site in the gonads. Enjoy:
Thank you for letting all four of my tyres down. I understand the fastest way to ensure my car is moved from your spot is to make my vehicle immobile. Genius. The reason I took your spot was because mine was in fact also taken so I understand the earth-ending soul-crushing hysteria that would have ensued upon discovering your spot was taken. I too felt the pain. But did I let the tyres down on the car of the P-plater that took my spot? No, because I am not an asshole who would deem the slight inconvenience of having their precious car space taken to warrant vandalising someone else’s car, especially a resident of the same building who parks directly across from you each day. Awkward. I suppose you are lucky I am not the vengeful type seen as I obviously know where you park. I’d like to apologise that out the hundreds of free spaces, I chose to park in the space of some bat-shit crazy fucktard. Have an awesome day asshole.
Love, your neighbour x
Saturday, 14 May 2011
I’m feelin’ rough, I’m feelin’ raw and in the prime of my life so I thought what better time to share Andrew VanWyngarden’s Favourite Movie Friday picks. Yep, okay that was a cruel pun. But what can I say? I’m down with the kids *spins bowtie*. For those of you without an electric feel *huzzah!*, VanWyngarden is one half of electro rock outfit MGMT and these are his all time fave flicks:
“Dude Ranch and Wayne’s World is probably one of my top favourite movies. I just like dumb, comedy movies most of the time.”
So, hope you enjoyed that. Control yourself. Take only what you need from it *boom tish*.
I want to commit seppuku now.
Thursday, 12 May 2011
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Terrence Malick: The Tree of Life
Julia Leigh: Sleeping Beauty
Nicolas Winding Refn: Drive
Lars Von Trier: Melancholia
Takashi Miike: Ichemei (Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai)
Out of competition films to keep an eye on throughout the course of the festival are Australian serial-killer drama Snowtown, the controversial Princess Diana documentary Unlawful Killing and Oscar-winner Gus Van Sant's latest Restless, starring talented Aussie actress Mia Wasikowka. The Cannes film festival wraps on May 22. In the meantime, I suggest you check out the Restless trailer below because, put simply, it looks amazing.
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
His skill and natural ability with the animals attracts the attention of Marlena's husband and ringmaster August (Christoph Waltz), who hires him as the circus veterinary. His main task is to train a newly acquired elephant, Rosie, to perform in a new segment with Marlena. But as Jacob begins to settle into his new family within the circus, he realises there's a sinister underbelly. August tell Jacob "the world's run on tricks . . .everybody plays'' and he soon realises the ringmaster, although charming at times, is actually a psychotic and abusive individual who runs the circus with an iron first. As Jacob and Marlena begin to fall in love and the danger of their situation intensifies, the couple and their friends unwittingly head down a path towards the "most famous circus disaster of all time.''
Outside of the panty-throwing hysteria of The Twilight Saga, Pattinson shows the range of his formidable acting talent which he hinted at in the underrated Remember Me. Jacob is a compassionate, intelligent character and the fact Pattinson manages to stand his own against two Oscar-winners in Witherspoon and Waltz is impressive. Although it would be nice to see him break type and play a villain, Pattinson does make a great romantic hero. Witherspoon is gorgeous as the dazzling Marlena and gives a box-ticking performance, but her increasingly aggressive chin threatens to out-do the elephant in the room, quite literally. For star-crossed lovers there's a sizable lack of chemistry between Witherspoon and Pattinson, probably because they've made it so clear in interviews that they loath each other, but the story and environment more than make up for it. Just as with his breakout turn in Inglourious Basterds, Waltz is a force to be reckoned with as the animalistic August and he steals the show from his co-stars.
Saturday, 7 May 2011
Australian Muay Thai legend John Wayne Parr is many things; lethal, fighter, champion. Now add movie star to the list. Parr is the subject and star of a new documentary, Beneath The Venom, which charts his evolution from a kid dreaming of being a boxer to his current status as one of the most recognised fighters in the world.
In January Parr and a camera crew headed to Thailand where they interviewed trainers, promoters and opponents who were there for the first part of his professional journey which began at a Muay Thai camp when he was 17.
``I was a kid with a dream who in 1996 had the opportunity to go to Thailand and I was only supposed to be there for six months but after I won a few fights they saw I had the potential to go all the way,'' said Parr.
``I went and lived in Thailand for four years and had about 40 to 45 fights over there.
``It did a lot for the Australian Muay Thai scene and I was the first Australian to fight at Lumpinee Stadium and on the Thai King's birthday which had crowds of 150 000 out in the park.
``I was the first Westerner to really make an impression on them and we've managed to get fight footage from those early days in Thailand that no one's ever seen before.''
Parr, who's known of Norris' work as the head stuntman on films such as Moulin Rouge, Superman Returns and the upcoming Mad Max 4: Fury Road, said he was ``very lucky'' to work with him on the doco.
``He showed a lot of interest and got behind it,'' said Parr.
``He's got contacts to some big players in Sydney who helped get the doco going financially.''
Parr said the documentary is ``about ninety per cent finished'' and already they are in talks with several major Australian TV networks for the broadcasting rights. Beneath The Venom is also expected to get a limited theatrical release in America later this year. In the meantime the seven-time world champion, based at the Boonchu Gym in Burleigh, is concentrating on defending his World Kickboxng Federation title against Mike Zambidis in Melbourne later this month. Parr has six more fights scheduled for the year but after that he said he's looking at hanging up his gloves and pursuing a career in film.
``I wanted to be a fighter since I was five or six-years old and now I'm almost 35 and have been lucky enough to live my dream many times over,'' he said.
``Hopefully this documentary opens a few doors.''
Parr made his acting debut in the short film The Violent which won the Best Fight Choreography Short at the Action On Film International Film Festival in Los Angeles. Beneath The Venom is set to debut on Australian television later this year.
Friday, 6 May 2011
You may remember me ranting and raving about interviewing one of my heroes, John Cameron Mitchell, back in March of this year. Although I’m yet to post my extensive feature with him (it’s coming, I swear) here are his picks for favourite movies:
“I would say A Woman Under The Influence, throw in Annie, Knight Of Siberia, The King Of Comedy, Dr Strangleove and Network.”
Short, but to the point. Stay tuned for my feature with one of the nicest guys in show bizz coming later this month. We talk homosexuality, republicans, censorship and Hollywood. There are minimal tangents, I swear.
Thursday, 5 May 2011
In the meantime, this gives me the perfect excuse to share the above genius piece of poster art from Dave Williams. It’s a minimalist version of the Thor poster and put simply, it rocks.
But this is less reverse bear traps and more cheap chills.
When married couple Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Patrick Wilson) move into a new home with their three children, Renai begins to think there is "something wrong'' after she experiences a serious of paranormal events. They include doors opening by themselves, voices heard whispering over the baby monitor, objects moving of their own accord, creepy child laughter and shadowy figures appearing suddenly. I know, groundbreaking stuff. When their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) suffers a serious accident and goes into a coma, the couple are forced to consider whether it's the house that's haunted or their child.
Insidious is clearly influenced by creepy child-classics within the genre such as The Exorcist, Poltergeist, Rosemary's Baby and even the more recent Spanish spine-tingler The Orphanage. The difference though, is they were actually scary. Insidious relies on cheap tricks, like an ashen-faced ghost appearing out of nowhere, that may provide plenty of jump-out-of-your-seat moments but lack the power of slow-burning suspense.
(Left: Darth Maul, the latest in horror movie villains.)
It's full of haunted house and possessed child clichés which, frankly, seem beneath Wan and Whannell who previously seemed so bent on bringing original ideas to the horror genre. The stereotypical séance scene has the most potential thanks to some clever lighting and camera work but, like the rest of the film, it quickly descends into melancholy. The situation isn't helped by Joseph Bishara's relentless score that's like Psycho on speed; heavy on the multiple violins and light on any actual impact.
If Wan and Whannell wanted to prove to fans of their previous work that horror films can be scary without the gore, they failed. Boring instead of gory, mundane instead of insane, expected instead of unexpected. By the lack lustre conclusion, it's clear the only thing sinister and menacing about Insidious is the title.
Insidious is out Thursday, May 12.
P.S. As a side note, keep your eyes peeled for the Jigsaw caricature on the black board in the classroom scene.
Monday, 2 May 2011
Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin, left) and Darcy (Kate Hudson) have been best friends since childhood. Rachel is used to being the hardworking good-girl who exists in the shadow of flashy and often selfish Darcy. However, on her 30th birthday, Rachel drinks too much and sleeps with Darcy's fiance, Dex (Colin Egglesfield). The fling turns into an affair, and Rachel is forced to decide which is more important, friendship or true love.
Based on best-selling novel by Emily Giffin, Something Borrowed was adapted for the screen by Jennie Synder, a writer/producer of shows such as Gilmore Girls and the 90210 reboot. She brings that female sensibility, humour and maturity of the former to Something Borrowed, while director Luke Greenfield (The Girl Next Door, Animal) gives it that My Best Friend's Wedding-vibe. This is easily Greenfield's best film and despite some genre cliches (all of the characters are white, rich, American and upper class), for the most part he keeps it fresh. He takes staples of the rom-com genre, such as a romantic rain scene or friend-falling-for friend scenario, and twists them into something unexpected and realistic. The flashbacks where we get to see Dex and Rachel meet in law school and how that relationship developed add depth to this complex love-story.
Two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank originally bought the rights to Giffin's book and in her role as producer you can see her hand crafting this into more of an amusing dramedy that takes a mature look at 30-something's trying to negotiate the battlefield of love (a la P.S. I Love You). Something Borrowed doesn't break tradition, but it won't lead to extra-marital despair.
The Scream movies are known for their literally killer openings and without spoiling it, number four delivers a double knockout in that category with a layered first act that will leave you laughing, gasping and, if your audience was anything like mine, shouting with approval come the opening title. Our heroine Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) happens to return to Woodsboro to promote her new book during the aftermath of the introductory murders, which also occur on the 10-year anniversary of the original Woodsboro massacre. Barney Fife, sorry, I mean Dewey Riley (David Arquette) is now sheriff and the once fiery Gale Weathers is now Mrs Riley (Courtney Cox), resigned to small town married life. The original trio are again at the centre of a spree of vicious murders by the Ghostface killer/s who’s also interested in a bevy of hot young things led by Sidney’s niece Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), the spunky Kirby (Hayden Panettierre), babe Olivia (Marielle Jaffe), Jill’s creepy ex Trevor (Nico Tortorella) and film geeks Robbie (Erik Knudsen) and Charlie (Rory Culkin), proving it takes twice the effort to make up for Randy. With the veterans and the new generation working together, they begin to decipher the killer/s key medium and establish some new rules. For instance, the unexpected is the new cliché and, most importantly, for the killer to take it into the next generation they need to film their kills and stream live.
In the Scream 4 production notes Wes Craven said the only way he would come back to the franchise was if Scream and Scream 2 scribe Williamson wrote a script that was worth coming back for. Well, congratulations Wes because although My Soul To Take mightn’t have been worth it, this certainly is. As horror buffs, we think we know the genre better than the insides of a teenage babysitter, but Craven and Williamson succeed in providing an abundance of plot twists and creative kills. Gore hounds be excited, because they certainly up the entrail-ante in what is easily the most gruesome Scream flick yet. The series is infamous for being self-aware and Williamson has done a brilliant job of turning this expectation on the audience, diffusing the element with gags so far in cheek you expect a tongue to come out the other side. It could have backfired terribly, but they pull it off. Just.
The performances too are solid, with the leading trio doing what they do best and standout turns from Panettierre and Roberts especially. Culkin is amiable as a Hanson-haired movie buff, but there’s something about those Culkin siblings that makes me think they’d be good as a nerd in anything. A lot of the supporting cast’s appearances are fleeting, but Marley Shelton leaves a lasting impression as a female version of Dewey aka Deputy Judy Hicks.