Sunday, December 30, 2012

Monthly Round-up: December 2012 Viewing

 I hope everybody had a relaxing Christmas Break, and here's to bigger and better things in 2012.

I am going to keep this brief. In December I went back and re-watched a few films I thought highly of throughout the year, but wanted to solidify my thoughts for my End-of-Year lists. Online at Graffiti With Punctuation you can find my Top 25 and Worst 10 Films from 2012. More than half of the films I watched in December were re-watches and apart from Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, The Crying Game and two surprises (Jack Reacher and This is 40) I didn't see much of note.

Before listing all of the films, here are my 2013 resolutions:

As I am moving in with Sam in a few weeks, we want to take the time to set up a sweet pad.

Make two trips: New Zealand and Japan are the likely destinations.

Be healthier: eat better, drink less and exercise more.

Continue to independently study film and further improve my writing.

Read 10 novels. I hardly ever read novels. This has to change.

Write 2 short film screenplays. Something I have been wanting to try my hand at for a little while now.

Catch up on TV. I have been recommended so many shows and have never got around to watching them. Also, I would love to re-visit Six Feet Under and The Sopranos.

Completing all of this will mean that significantly less time will be spent watching films. It has to be done. As you will see below I watched almost 400 films in 2012. Next year I feel like it will be closer to 250. Making better use of my time and utilising it to be healthier and immersing myself in a few different mediums is something I want to do. I look forward to continuing to share my experiences and opinions - and offer recommendations - with you here, whether it is film, music or otherwise.

New-to-Me Films (In Order of Preference)

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (Matthew Akers, 2012)

The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992) 

This is 40 (Judd Apatow, 2012)

Jack Reacher (Christopher McQuarrie, 2012)

Samsara (Ron Fricke, 2012)

Baraka (Ron Fricke, 1992)

Les Miserables (Tom Hooper, 2012)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Peter Jackson, 2012)

 Pitch Perfect (Jason Moore, 2012)

Sightseers (Ben Wheatley, 2012)

Quartet (Dustin Hoffman, 2012)

The Holy Mountain (Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973)

Surviving Christmas (Mike Mitchell, 2004)

Re-watches (In Order of Preference)

Monsters Inc. (Pete Docter, 2001)

The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2009)

Three Kings (David O. Russell, 1999)

Finding Nemo (Andrew Stanton, 2003)

The Grey (Joe Carnahan, 2012)

The Raid (Gareth Evans, 2012)

The Perks of Being A Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky, 2012)

500 Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009)

Greenberg (Noah Baumbach, 2010)

Bad Santa (Terry Zwigoff, 2003)

Cafe De Flore (Jean-Marc Vallee, 2011)

The Cabin in the Woods (Drew Goddard, 2012)

Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012)

Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg, 2012)

My Year in Film - 367 + 27 (Dec.) = 394 Viewings.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review: Greenberg (Noah Baumbach, 2010)

Greenberg is the sole film I have seen from Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding) but it is a film that on a re-watch evoked a whole heap of emotions, and drew unexpected admiration not only for Baumbach’s thoughtful writing, but the exemplary performances. It is an observant character study, introducing a pair of troubled souls – a neurotic, apathetic narcissist who has complete disregard for anyone else but himself and is prone to losing his temper, and a whimsical, directionless loser seeking meaning in her life and an equally messed-up shoulder to lean on.

These two are characters are difficult to sympathise with and consistently let us down, but because the performances are so nuanced and their personalities are so well observed, our contempt never stays around for long. It is not just a commentary on middle age crises, but also the bizarre differences between generations, and how social outcasts can turn their lives around in unexpected ways.

The story follows Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller), who has moved back to L.A to house and dog-sit for his brother, Phillip (Chris Messina), who is vacationing in Vietnam with his family. After a recent psychological breakdown, Roger is recovering by consciously doing absolutely nothing. A former musician, who disgraced himself years previously by botching a record deal, he is now a professional carpenter. He hates birthday songs, doesn’t have a driver’s license (but is a ‘backseat driver’) and he feeds his chronic neuroses by writing complaint letters to large corporations about petty grievances. While in L.A he reconnects with old friends (Rhys Ifans) and ex-girlfriends (Jennifer Jason Lee) and deals with everything from a sick dog to an impromptu house party full of twenty-year olds.

Friday, December 28, 2012

My 10 Worst Films of 2012

I have seen some fantastic films this year and it has been a very strong year, overall. Though I try and see as much as I can, I don't readily go out of my way to see films that I don't believe I will enjoy in some capacity. That's why it is a shame that these films came along and slipped through. 

Here are ten pretty bad films that didn't make my Worst 10:

Mine Games, Wuthering Heights, Trisha, Rock of Ages, Wrath of the Titans, Project X, What To Expect When You're Expecting, Mirror Mirror, Hit and Run and Two Little Boys.

You can check out the rest of the list at Graffiti With Punctuation

Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Release Review: Quartet (Dustin Hoffman, 2012)

A distinguished cast of likeable veteran British actors headlines Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, Quartet, a pleasant, life-affirming drama and a dainty observation on ageing and the importance of clinging to one’s passion in the twilight years. Ronald Harwood adapts the screenplay from his own play.

Reggie (Tom Courtenay), Wilfred (Billy Connolly) and Cissy (Pauline Collins) are three retired opera singers who live together, along with a community of gifted elderly artists, at Beecham Hall (Hedsor House, Buckinghamshire). Every year, to celebrate Guiseppe Verdi’s birthday and gather funding, the house puts on a gala concert, overseen by the eccentric director Cedric (Michael Gambon). But with the unexpected arrival of Jean Horton (Maggie Smith), Reggie’s ex-wife and the fourth member of their once-famous quartet, the three try and convince her to reunite with them on stage. But, with old rivalries and unresolved personal tensions emerging, Jean is hard to convince.

Continue Reading at Graffiti With Punctuation

Monday, December 24, 2012

22 Best 'New to Me' Films in 2012

The other day I posted my list of the Top 25 Films of 2012, but like last year I also wanted to acknowledge some films that I watched for the first time this year that weren't released in 2012. Here are my 22 top 'New to Me' films from 2012. Last year I revealed the films exclusively using a screen shot, challenging readers to figure out what the film is themselves. I have done it the same way this year.

A Man Escaped (1956), Pickpocket (1959), Au Hasard Balthazar (1966), Once Upon A Time in the West (1968), Solaris (1972), Deep Red (1975), Possession (1981), Paris, Texas (1984), Come and See (1985), My Neighbour Totoro (1988), Remains of the Day (1993), Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills/Purgatory (1996, 2011), Taste of Cherry (1997), Ratcatcher (1999), Werckmeister Harmonies (2000), Anvil! The Story of Anvil (1998), Polytechnique (2009), Shame (2011), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Holy Motors (2012), The Master (2012), The Imposter (2012).

So, what are your thoughts? What are some of the best films you have seen this year, 2012 releases or otherwise.

Clip: Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino's new film Django Unchained hits cinemas here in Australia on January 24. It stars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio. Here is a short clip from the film courtesy of Sony. It is hilarious and it certainly has made me very curious about what QT is up to.  

Sunday, December 23, 2012

2012 Christmas/Boxing Day Movie Guide

Boxing Day is one of the biggest days in the Australian film calendar, setting up the Summer holiday season. Notoriously there are diverse array of films released - blockbusters, family films, foreign-language and indies. For three years in a row (2001-03) Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings were the poster films of the Boxing Day slot. This year, Jackson's first installment in his Hobbit trilogy, is joined by Tom Hooper's screen adaptation of the world famous musical, Les Miserables. That should be cause for some anticipation, but do they live up to their potential?

Check out the other releases below, and take note Parental Guidance is the only release not reviewed.

Les Miserables - Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells the enthralling tale of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), a man who survives nineteen years of imprisonment and becomes a town mayor. Pursued by a relentless police inspector after breaking his parole, Valjean involves himself in the lives of those that need his help. Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech) garishly epic screen adaptation of the timeless tale of redemption features a large ensemble cast and though his bombastic ambition doesn’t amount to a wholly successful work, but there are some remarkable sequences. One can’t deny its sweeping spectacle and the fantastic work from most of the cast. While there is every chance of the unacquainted musical novice falling under Hooper’s spell, this wearying tale is better catered for connoisseurs of the genre. But, when Les Misérables peaks its reaches incredible heights. The rousing songs – sung and recorded live on set – are the result of a daring approach. Whether sung by individual performers or the ensemble as a whole, they are always endowed with energy and sung with passion, and as a result, stir the emotions. The buzz surrounding Anne Hathaway’s performance is justified too. She is pretty much perfect in a role that’s over within the film’s opening hour. Her rendition of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ is one of the highlights – so good one could argue the film never tops it again. Also impressive is Eddie Redmayne. In a film where everything is sung, I couldn’t fault his work. Though let down by a fatiguing length and inconsistent technical decisions, Les Miserables is an operatic and epic tale of social injustice, redemption, uprising and love, boasting some toe-tapping numbers and cinematic grandeur. ★★★1/2

The Hobbit - I have decided not to write a feature review of The Hobbit as I wasn't particularly keen on it - and contemplating on it has provoked a less than enthusiastic desire to write - though I did enjoy a good deal of the exciting and much-improved second half. The 3D 48fps, after initially being distracting, became tolerable, though I feel like it is an unnecessary tech addition that resulted in an image that was so sharp (video game-esque) that it removed this adventure from the realm of reality. The great thing about accompanying the characters in The Lord of the Rings was the fact that Tolkein's world felt realistically brought to the screen, and in The Hobbit everything feels manufactured and enhanced by CGI. My biggest gripe is lack of narrative drive and the episodic, exposition-heavy story that is evidently padded to account for the three films. This is a children's novel that moves briskly and is an engaging read, yet only about six chapters from the novel are covered. There are extra sequences to tie this world into the one already built in Lord of the Rings. The troll episode is awful, and a stopover in Rivendell was frankly unnecessary. Freeman (perfectly cast, despite channeling Tim from The Office) is such an affable and endearing presence, while Serkis is terrific as Gollum, who provoked one of the few emotional responses, gave the film a lift & finally allowed Bilbo to shine independently (something that is disappointingly absent for the most part). I will check it out again in 24fps 2D in the hope of greater appreciation, but for now: ★★

Upcoming Release Review: Jack Reacher (Christopher McQuarrie, 2013)

Jack Reacher, distributed through Paramount Pictures, hits Australian cinemas January 3.

When a shooter fires six shots from a parking station into a crowded bayside park, killing five innocent civilians, a former army sniper, James Barr, is quickly picked up. All of the evidence (the van used, a fingerprint on a quarter, the custom bullets) suggests that he’s the wanted man. To the surprise of his prosecutors, Barr immediately requests to have Jack Reacher, a ghost who is only ever found if he wants to be, work for his defense. It doesn’t take Reacher long to figure out that Barr has been set up; setting out to uncover who’s really responsible.

The casting of Cruise as Reacher, originally written by Lee Child to be an unstoppable force of nature (an imposing 6’5, 200 plus pound figure, I believe), has garnered controversy since the announcement. Cruise certainly doesn’t have this sort of size, so this disdain is understandable, but he makes up for that by oozing this focused and confident intensity. His compelling presence exceeds his stature. He is physically capable and convincingly pulls off the demeanour reminiscent of such a decorated career. What is terrific about Reacher is that his intelligence and his ability to unravel the case and coerce alternative theories without even a second look at the evidence is more essential than his physical prowess. His punches sure leave an impression, but Cruise is also given some killer lines, and his fast wit and cheeky delivery consistently provoked laughs.

 Continue reading at Graffiti With Punctuation

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Top 25 Films of 2012

It is that time again. Time to reflect on the year that has passed and recognise those game changing films that have left an impression, inspired rewarding contemplation and provoked discussion.

Rules: Films I have seen for the first time on an Australian screen in 2012, whether it is a general cinema release or viewed at one of the festivals I have been involved with. Films like A Separation and Martha Marcy May Marlene, which would have been included, are left off because I watched them for the first time in 2011. As there are close to 200 films considered here, it was hard to leave so many out. Here is my Top 25:

Firstly, here are 25 films that I loved this year that didn't quite make my list:

Wrinkles, Indie Game: The Movie, Killing Them Softly, Bernie, Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, Cafe De Flore, Polisse, Lore, Like Someone In Love, Celeste and Jesse Forever, A Royal Affair, Smashed, Rust and Bone, Robot and Frank, The Artist, Killer Joe, The Avengers, The Cabin in the Woods, Carnage, Headhunters, Wish You Were Here, The Intouchables, Liberal Arts, Magic Mike and Frankenweenie.

But, you can find my Top 25 now published at Graffiti With Punctuation.

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Release Review: Samsara (Ron Fricke, 2012)

Samsara is a unique and extraordinary feat of documentary filmmaking and explores, through a carefully considered ordering of breathtaking HD images, a series of worldly phenomena. It works as an often-mesmerizing trance-like journey that captures all forms of the human experience – including the natural, the spiritual and the artificial – and should provoke an array of reactions. One of the most prevalent themes is the juxtaposition between images of mass production and mass consumption, with a clear message to demonstrate the extent of humanity’s waste and convey how our planet has recently been ruined by both consumerism as well as natural disaster.

Continue reading at Graffiti With Punctuation.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Links (17/12/12)

As we near Christmas, I think everyone's lives get a little busier. Throw in an abundance of screenings to end the year, keeping up awards mania and shopping for those last gifts (exactly what I am doing after this post), there isn't as much time for writing. I am trying to keep up with everything. My reviews of upcoming Boxing Day releases, Wreck-It Ralph Les Miserables and Sightseers (and coming soon - Quartet and Samsara), as well as Judd Apatow's new film This is 40, can be found at Graffiti With Punctuation. Here on The Film Emporium I have been constructing some End-of-Year Lists. My Top 5 Australian Films and Best Male/Female Performances of 2012 have received some attention.  

Recently Bonjour Tristesse checked out Peter Strickland's masterpiece of sound, Berberian Sound Studio.

Nikhat shares her Favourite Looking Films.

Margeret's Movie of the Month is Soderbergh's Solaris. After falling for Tarkovsky's last month I am intrigued to see what Mr. Soderbergh comes up with.

Steve reviews the Powell and Pressburger I am most excited to see next, A Matter of Life And Death.

If you admired Silver Linings Playbook (haven't yet seen it) you will be interested in Amir's spirited defence of it.

Alex shines the spotlight on Michael Haneke and lists his Top 10 Movies Set In A Prison.

Sam lists her Top 6 Soundtracks of 2012 and Chris reviews new Apatow (This is 40) at An Online Universe.

Nick (Cinematic Romantico) shares his love for Atonement

James has been catching up with the good stuff. Check out his thoughts on Once Upon A Time In Anatolia and Oslo, August 31st.

Sam Fragoso makes a big announcement - and reveals some exciting news - about Duke and the Movies.

Kwenton has just joined the team at Graffiti With Punctuation. Check out his first review: Smuggler. In the hope of inspiring more people to see Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colours Trilogy, I added Red to the Five Star Films canon.

John Likes Movies has moved...and the new site looks great.

Corey discusses 48fps.

Tom Clift dug Jack Reacher (as did I). Check out his review, and interview with writer/director Chris McQuarrie

Simon lists his Ten Best Female/Male Performances of 2012.  

and finally, Jessica shares 10 Things She Loved About The Hobbit   

Though my content will not stop over the next two weeks, this is the last links post I will have the chance to write before Christmas. SO, I would like to thank everyone who has stopped by the site (and returned) over the course of the year and left me feedback. Your support and your individual work inspire me everyday. I need to make more of an effort to leave feedback of my own (add it to my 2013 resolutions). I wish you all a Merry Christmas and look forward to discussing all things film again in 2013.      

Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012 Round-Up: Some Unseen/Underrated Gems + Some Much-Loved Films I Don't Share Enthusiasm For

Everybody has different tastes. There will always be films that you love that many others don't, and there will be films that you don't see what everyone else admires so much. Opinions on films are subjective, and what makes discussing the medium so interesting is the fact that everyone brings something different into and away from the experience. Here some films from 2012 that I loved personally that have either been appreciated less by the majority or largely unseen during a limited cinema release. Following this I will list a few films I did not share the consensus enthusiasm for.

Here are some surprisingly excellent films that had a limited release in Australian cinemas this year and seen by few people. Either they were turned off by the trailer/promotional material, were adverse to the films' premise and the stars (so many guests refused to see Bernie because of Jack Black's involvement) or didn't get the chance to catch them at the cinema. Though Headhunters, Bernie and Your Sister's Sister were critically well-received, most of them either received tepid recommendations or were disregarded altogether. I highly recommend checking them out if you haven't.

This Must Be The Place - "This wonderful weird and ambitious road movie is funny in a droll, deadpan sort of way – whether Cheyenne (Sean Penn, in a flawless performance), an 80's goth rock star, debates the reasons his pool has no water in it, or corrects the fact that ‘Mick Jagger once sang with him’, it is full of great dialogue and clever self-referential comedy. Cheyenne's seemingly impossible quest, which takes him through New York, New Mexico and Utah, remains a quest we mysteriously find ourselves wholeheartedly embracing. This oddball collaboration of far-out comedy and heartbreaking drama is original and unpredictable film making from Paolo Sorrentino."

Headhunters - "A cracking Norwegian thriller. On one hand 'Headhunters' is gripping and suspenseful, while on the other it is riddled with a macabre sense of visual humour. But above all, it is a lot of fun. There are several different genres at work here (heist thriller, chase film, black comedy, melodrama - they all get thrown together) and after a fairly conventional build-up, there is a wild and unexpected turn and a dramatic shift in tone. It becomes more and more unpredictable and surprising. There is a chunk of this film that contains some of the funniest sequences I saw in a cinema all year. "

Bernie - "The latest film from writer-director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise/Sunset), is a fascinating tale based on events that seem too outrageous to be true. Linklater, through an equal dose of sensitivity and respect and exploitative humour deftly crafts one of the most surprising and effortlessly entertaining black comedies of the year out of a somewhat morbid and shocking case of true crime. Fuelled by a complex and nuanced performance from Jack Black, career-best work, and hilarious support from an in-form Matthew McConaughey and a tantrum-throwing Shirley MacLaine, the intelligent screenplay by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth features an obscure blend of cinematic technique (scripted narrative intercut with interviews with residents of Carthage about Tiede, Nugent and the story) and shape-shifting genre, Bernie is a rewarding example of offbeat mockumentary filmmaking."

Review: This is 40 (Judd Apatow, 2013)

Written and directed by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year Old Virgin, Funny People), This is 40 follows married couple Debbie (Leslie Mann) and Pete (Paul Rudd), first introduced in Apatow’s 2007 hit, Knocked Up. We re-visit them on the morning of Debbie’s 40th birthday – and the film concludes with a party to celebrate Pete’s 40th – and traverses their marriage, their relationships with their family and their tumultuous personal lives over a number of weeks, revealing they are in serious turmoil. Offering up consistent laughs, courtesy of the intelligent writing and excellent performances from the two leads and an ensemble of hilarious cameos, This is 40 also whacks an emotional punch, honestly stripping back this marriage to the roots of the problems, and challenging the characters to face them and find mature solutions.

Continue Reading at Graffiti With Punctuation

Friday, December 14, 2012

Top Male/Female Performances of 2012

Rules: These performances have been selected from films I have seen for the first time in a cinema in 2012 - whether it was released theatrically or at a festival. If you're wondering where Elizabeth Olsen is for Martha Marcy May Marlene for example, I watched that film at the Sydney Film Festival last year even though it hit cinemas in February of this year. I would have included Leslie Mann in my Top 10 Female Performances (This is 40) but the film doesn't hit cinemas until January.

As I have seen 'almost' everything eligible for consideration, here's how my selections for Best Male and Female Performances of 2012 stand. Inspired by Simon Miraudo (Quickflix).


Male Performer of the Year
Honourable Mentions - Chris O'Dowd - The Sapphires, Scoot McNairy/Brad Pitt - Killing Them Softly, Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables, Sean Penn - This Must Be The Place, Joel Edgerton - Wish You Were Here, Mark Duplass - Your Sister's Sister, Logan Lerman/Ezra Miller - The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Matthias Schoenaerts - Rust and Bone, Frank Langella - Robot and Frank, Toby Jones - Berberian Sound Studio, George Clooney - The Descendants, Jean Dujardin - The Artist and Omar Sy - The Intouchables.

 10. Anders Danielsen Lie - Oslo, August 31st

9. Gary Oldman - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

8. John Hawkes - The Sessions
7. Jack Black - Bernie
6. Mads Mikkelsen - The Hunt/A Royal Affair

5. Jean-Louis Trintignant - Amour

4. Matthew McConaughey - Killer Joe/Magic Mike/Bernie

=3. Philip Seymour Hoffman/Joaquin Phoenix - The Master

2. Denis Lavant - Holy Motors

1. Michael Fassbender - Shame/Prometheus


Female Performer of the Year
Honourable Mentions: Kirsten Dunst - Bachelorette, Kate Winslet - Carnage,  Saskia Rosendahl - Lore, Vanessa Paradis - Cafe De Flore, J. Smith Cameron - Margaret, Elizabeth Olsen - Liberal Arts, Michelle Williams - Take This Waltz, Rachel Weisz - The Deep Blue Sea, Quvenzhane Wallis - Beasts of the Southern Wild, Rosemarie DeWitt - Your Sister's Sister and Jennifer Lawrence - The Hunger Games

10. Amy Adams - The Master

9. Rashida Jones - Celeste and Jesse Forever

8. Emily Blunt - Your Sister's Sister/Salmon Fishing In the Yemen/Looper

7. Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables/The Dark Knight Rises

6. Mary Elizabeth Winstead - Smashed

5. Charlize Theron - Young Adult

4. Marion Cotillard - Rust and Bone

3. Rooney Mara - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

2. Anna Paquin - Margaret

1. Emmanuelle Riva - Amour

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012/13 Awards Coverage

Much like last year I am immersing myself in the awards season in the lead up to the 85th Academy Awards. The big problem, I haven't seen many of films in contention yet. This year, I am providing updates and commentary on the awards season for Graffiti With Punctuation. Head over there for my articles on the Independent Spirit Awards nominations, The European Film Awards, The AACTA Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards and the SAG nominations, amongst others.

Upcoming Release Review: Les Miserables (Tom Hooper, 2012)

Set against the backdrop of 19th-century France, Les Misérables tells the enthralling tale of Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman, Australia), a man who survives nineteen years of imprisonment and becomes a town mayor. Pursued by a relentless police inspector after breaking his parole, Valjean involves himself in the lives of those that need his help. Tom Hooper’s (The King’s Speech) garishly epic screen adaptation of the timeless tale of redemption features a large ensemble cast and though his bombastic ambition doesn’t amount to a wholly successful work, there are some remarkable sequences. One can’t deny its sweeping spectacle and the fantastic work from most of the cast.

Les Misérables is adapted from the enormously successful Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer’s musical, the source of which is Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel. When Javert (Russell Crowe, Master and Commander), a man who strictly adheres to the law, becomes consumed by his obsession to re-prosecute Valjean, his pursuit culminates in their unexpected meeting on the frontlines of the Paris Uprising of 1832. Along the way Valjean takes upon the care of Cosette (Amanda Seyfried, Mama Mia), the illegitimate daughter of a factory worker, Fantine (Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Maried), forced into prostitution to care for the youngster. As a teenager Cosette falls in love with Marius (Eddie Redmayne, My Week With Marilyn), one of the student revolutionaries leading the revolts on the streets of Paris.

While there is every chance of the unacquainted musical novice falling under Hooper’s spell, this wearying tale is better catered for connoisseurs of the genre. The narrative is loaded and moves briskly (often too so), and though it is still a popular and relevant stage production, some sequences are clearly unsuccessful in the transition.

Continue Reading at Graffiti With Punctuation

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top 5 Australian Films of 2012

As we draw near the conclusion of 2012 I thought I would look back and highlight some significant Australian releases over the last 12 months. Though there have been some absolute duds hit cinemas this year, it has been a strong year for Australian film overall. All of the films I mention below are very different and show off some of Australia's best up-and-coming talent. I think you will see, judging by my list, that the AACTA voters for the nominees (courtesy of Graffiti With Punctuation) got it pretty much right.

5. The Sapphires - Understandably, following a heap of buzz following the film's premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, audiences came in droves to see The Sapphires. It became one of the biggest box office hits of the year. The film is a lot of fun and can't be faulted for its energy, offering up a series of catchy soul beats and lively stage performances. Despite uneven pacing and oversimplification of some serious national issues, not to mention the grittier aspects of Vietnam struggle, viewers recognise that it is more interested in being a charming underdog story, producing laughs and lighting up the screen with renditions of soul favourites, than it is about detailing such dramatic issues. This is acceptable. It is a spirited, heartwarming tale and a celebration of the extraordinary story of these women. With a funky soundtrack, glowing cinematography and fine performances from (including the roguish, scene-stealing Chris O'Dowd) this is destined to become a classic.

4. Not Suitable For Children - A romantic comedy focusing on Jonah (Ryan Kwanten), a freewheeling young guy who sets out to ensure he fathers a child before he becomes infertile, having been diagnosed with testicular cancer. It is the directorial debut of Peter Templeman (Oscar nominated for his short film, The Saviour, in 2007). It is a light, amusing adult comedy with a consistent offering of laughs and a strong soundtrack. The use of montage cleverly pushed the story along, allowing for plenty of awkward exchanges between Jonah and his housemates, who try and talk reason into the shell-shocked partier whose paternal instincts have kicked into serious overdrive. Features great chemistry between Kwanten and Sarah Snook (in a breakout role) as well as effective support from Ryan Corr as Jonah's housemate and stressed-out party maestro.

My Favourite Albums of 2012

Honourable Mentions: Coexist - The xx, Lonerism - Tame Impala, Devotion - Jessie Ware, Slaughterhouse - Ty Segal Band, Port of Morrow - The Shins, Life if Good - Nas, The Idler Wheel... - Fiona Apple, Attack on Memory - Cloud Nothings, Shields - Grizzly Bear, Sweet Heart Sweet Light - Spiritualized.

10. The Master OST - Johnny Greenwood (8.6)
9. Bloom - Beach House (8.7)

8.  Yellow and Green - Baroness (8.8)

 7. The Money Store - Death Grips (8.8)

 6. In Our Heads - Hot Chip (8.9)

5. Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! - Godspeed You Black Emperor (9.1)

4. Kill For Love - Chromatics (9.2)

3. Channel Orange - Frank Ocean (9.3)

2. The Maccabees - Given to the Wild (9.3)

1. The Seer - Swans (9.7)