Film Notes – The Big Short (2015)

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This movie is basically a dramatised version of the Global Financial Crisis for Dummies with a bail-out package of comic relief thrown in to make sure you don’t fall asleep. After all, lets face it, economics and finance affect every facet of our lives yet it manages to bore the average person senseless. And so we distract ourselves with pop culture while at the very same time allowing the Wolves on Wall Street to run wild in the chicken coop.

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Film Notes – A Trip to the Moon (1902)

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Everything I love about cinema started right there in the 1890s. The Lumière Brothers started a long tradition of realism, capturing life on camera and providing a snapshot of different times, people and places. In extension of this, Alice Guy-Blache utilised this new mass media to reach out and engage broad audiences in social commentary and make the first fledgling attempts to influence individuals and engender positive change through film. These films serve an important function in preserving history; providing insights into other people and cultures; and providing us with an opportunity to reflect on society, ourselves and the meaning of life.

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Film Notes – La La Land (2016)

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When I was young music was more life sustaining to me than the blood that ran through my veins. It was the oxygen that my emotions breathed, it kept me grounded and it gave me a fundamental and direct method for expressing myself. From the moment my parents let me drop the turntable’s needle on their LPs I started cranking the music 24/7 as loud as I possibly could. Their music collection, including Elvis, The Beach Boys and The Beatles, became the soundtrack of my youth. As I became older I picked up my first guitar and although I never had a natural knack for it, I used to try and play my own grunge, punk, metal riffs and blues solos for hours until both my fingers and my ears bled. Finally, after many years of restless anticipation I attended my first music festival and I found my true home amongst the sweaty, seething mass of rambunctious music fans in the mosh pit. It is a cliche but it was not just about the music, it became a whole way of life.

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Film Notes – Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1998)

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Coulrophobia [kool-ruh-foh-bee-uh]

noun

1. an abnormal fear of clowns.

Killer Klowns from Outer Space is one of those movies that has the mythic reputation of being so bad that they are good. Perhaps, I have no sense of discernment whatsoever, but after having finally gotten around to watching this film, I have realised that it is not so much that the film is poorly constructed, but rather that it is in only too successful in achieving the creation of a ludicrous and absurd carnivalesque nightmare, befitting  a troupe of murderous buffoons from galaxies unknown.

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Film Notes – Nosferatu (1922)

Imagine being a young man, perched on the cusp of adult life taking his beautiful young wife to the movie theatre to celebrate a promising promotion at work. This new role will take him right out of his comfort zone, requiring him to travel to exotic locales and meet people with all kinds of diverse customs. Looking up at the marquee he beholds the name “Nosferatu” and is transfixed. The word rolls off the tongue like a small peculiar bird dancing away on the breath of night.

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Film Notes – Manchester by the Sea (2016)

There is no denying it, death is a bitch. And for those left behind grief hurts like hell. When coupled with a guilt fuelled self-flagellation, the constant companions of anguish and despair can be suffocating and intractable. Manchester by the Sea is like a beautiful expanse of ocean. At times the steady motion of its waves are mesmerising and almost serene. But underneath the surface rages thunderous forces of emotion, sometimes agitating the surface with explosive force but mostly subdued, muted by the pressure of it’s own immense weight. At the beginning of the film, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) returns to his hometown of Manchester when his brother passes away. When he arrives at the local hospital, we alight in this town along with him and begin a journey of discovery as the personal narrative of Lee and his relationships to family, friends and the community are slowly revealed to us.

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Film Notes – The Awful Truth (1937)

“Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There is too much fraternizing with the enemy.”
― Henry Kissinger

The only Screwball Comedy I had seen before now was His Girl Friday. It was a real doozy of a film, a thrilling depiction of a highly entertaining battle between a divorced couple, played by Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, as they go at it hammer and tongs. It felt like I had court-side seats to a tennis open grand final as the couple traded verbal zingers back and forth with panache and force until one of them lobbed up an opportunity for the other one to slam down a stinging punchline back across the net. Each actor’s verbal delivery was sharp as a tack and the chemistry between the both of them absolutely sizzled.

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