Sunday, August 5, 2012

Liebster Award Blog-a-thon

A few days back I learnt that Ethan, who writes at A Reservation At Dorsia, and Simon, who writes at Screen Insight, have passed the Liebster blog award on to me. I have had limited time to work on the post, but now that I do, it’s my turn to share some things about me, answer some questions and generate my own for more lucky bloggers. Here are the rules of the blog-a-thon:
  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
  3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to.
  4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
  5. No tag backs
  6. Go to their page and tell them.
Here are 11 facts about me:

 - This year more than half of the music I have listened to has been part of the soundtracks of recently viewed films.

 - My favourite bands/artists are The Doors, The Smiths, Pink Floyd, Sufjan Stevens and Metallica but my taste is constantly changing and evolving.

 - My favourite television shows are Seinfeld, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

 - I'm not entirely convinced by this, but I feel like my favourite novel is The Stand by Steven King.

 - I would love to see Steven King's The Dark Tower Series adapted into a five season HBO series, and not a series of films as has been suggested.

 - I am a Philadelphia 76ers fan.

 - In response to the recent Sight and Sound Poll (50 Greatest Films Of All Time), if I had to select a Top 10 from the ones selected, they would be:

Apocalypse Now
The Godfather
Taxi Driver
Citizen Kane
Bicycle Thieves
The Seven Samurai
The Man With A Movie Camera
The Passion of Joan of Arc
Andrei Rublev.

 - I work at my local cinema. I enjoy it.

 - My favourite film experience of the year is Holy Motors at the Sydney Film Festival.

 - The most unpleasant film experience of the year is a tie between The Woman (DVD) and Wuthering Heights (SFF).

 - Later in the year, I am hoping to attend the Brisbane International Film Festival. Along with SFF and MIFF I would have covered three of Australia's premier International Film Festivals this year. I hope to make it to TIFF next year, though.

Courtesy of Ethan, here are the eleven questions I have to answer:

1. Which do you prefer: Foreign films or english-language films?

I love both. I have no issues with reading subtitles, and in previous years many of the films I have enjoyed the most - or at least been the most affected by - have been foreign language films. At the Sydney Film Festival I watched films from 20 countries, and by the end of the year will have covered the French, Spanish, Korean and Italian film festivals. Whether I prefer foreign language films overall, I don't know, but I certainly watch my fair share.

2. Black and white or colour?

I have to go colour here. A few of the technicolor masterpieces, like Black Narcissus, are amongst my favourite films and just look at the work of guys like Terrence Malick. Without colour Wes Anderson's films would not be the same either.

3. Has any film changed the way you look at something? If so, which one and what did it change?

I looked at war a different way after watching Platoon. My younger self was convinced that Oliver Stone had effectively captured the experiences of the grunts in Vietnam and brought it to the screen in an emotionally affecting way. Obviously, I would not know what it was like to have served there, but I felt like Stone caught all of the insanity and madness, and built convincing characters and kinships, pretty well.

4. What part of the filmmaking process interests you the most?

I have always had an interest in the editing process - and it is the technical skill I would most like to learn - but I admire the skills of directors of photography and how inventive DP's can be with the camera. It has become my primary technical interest. Impressive photography can save even a flawed film for me.

5. Have you started working on creating your own films?

I made a documentary short at the very end of high school, but since then my involvement with film has been more analytical. I studied film theory, the history of cinema, and cross cultural perspectives on cinema at university, and have become a reviewer since then. I occasionally assist my friends with their short films, but I would love to find the creative drive to write my own screenplay someday. Maybe that could be a challenge I set myself in the new year.

6. Did you discover film on your own or did someone expose you to it.

I discovered it on my own. I'm not sure why it happened, but in about 2000 I became suddenly obsessed with film. I received a heap of films on VCR for Christmas that year, and made weekly trips to the video store in search of the essentials. I started with the 90s and this is why films like Se7en, The Usual Suspects, Fargo, L.A Confidential, The Silence of the Lambs and Heat are still amongst my favourite films. I have not looked back since, though I wish I had started the blog a few years earlier - and began to take record of what I was watching.

7. What's your favourite genre?

I love a good horror/thriller, but I also love films that blend comedy and drama. I love to laugh and feel moved during the course of a story.

8. Do you just enjoy watching films, is it actually a career path you want to pursue, or do you already work in the film industry?

Obviously I enjoy watching films, but I have not yet decided whether it is a career path I wish to pursue. I would love to be involved in the film industry in some capacity, whether it be a freelance reviewer/critic, a programmer, or working on the coordination of a film festival. I work at my local cinema, where I am a manager, so I am involved with films every day, but split my time between customer service, and well...customer service in a different way. I enjoy the balance, but economically (casual work, and unpaid writing) it makes life pretty tough at times.

9. When a novel is adapted to film do you read the book before watching it or vice versa?

If I learn that an upcoming release is based on a novel, I consider reading the novel before I see the film, but I almost always never have time or never get around to it. I usually watch the film having not read the novel, and almost never go back and read the novel after. With The Descendants I did, however.

10. What do you think is the most powerful creative medium? Why?

The creative medium I enjoy the most, find the most emotionally affecting and is ultimately the most satisfying to invest time and attention to, is film. I also LOVE music and I define my life by the films I watch and the music I listen to, but a truly great film is the most powerful level of creation for me.

11. What's the best use of music you have ever seen in film?

There are so many wonderful collaborations of music and image it is hard to answer this question. The Man With A Movie Camera has had many musical accompaniments over the years. I have only ever seen it accompanied by a score by Cinematic Orchestra, and I don't think there could be more perfect.

Courtesy of Simon, here are 11 more questions to answer:

1. When you think of home - and your family - which film comes to mind?

I remember as a child watching Toy Story and Robin Hood: Men In Tights over and over again with my entire family. Part of a relatively small rotation of films at the time, but sadly, films I have not revisited recently.

2. Explain a cinema story whereby something interesting happened.

I wish I could think of a cinema story more interesting than this, but I once watched V For Vendetta completely alone. Not another soul in the cinema. That has never happened before or since.

3. What is the most erotic scene in a film?

I'm not going to mention a scene, but rather, two films: Basic Instinct and Lust, Caution.

4. Which actor would [almost] guarantee your attendance to a cinema?

Daniel Day-Lewis. Up next: Lincoln. Despite Spielberg's blunder with War Horse, I am excited to see DDL back in action.

5. Which actor used to guarantee your attendance, but doesn't anymore?

Russell Crowe. I like a lot of his films - LA Confidential, Gladiator, The Insider, A Beautiful Mind - and would have seen anything he starred in, but after Robin Hood and State of Play, both disappointing, I decided to completely skip The Next Three Days.

6. If you could go anywhere in the world, related to film, where would you go?

After watching a series of Dario Argento films earlier in the year, I realised how much I want to return to Rome. It was one of my favourite cities I visited during my European trip. I hope there are no crazy murderers on the loose when I'm there, however.

7. What is your favourite 007 film?

I have seen too few of Connery's bond films, but Goldeneye was always my favourite of Brosnan's and I really liked Casino Royale. I'll go with Royale.

8. What is your favourite franchise?

Star Wars (Eps IV,V and VI) would top but I enjoy the Indiana Jones (except for Crystal Skull), The Lord of the Rings and Toy Story franchises too.

9. Which film do you want a sequel too? 

Sideways, and I believe Alexander Payne is working on adapting the novel's sequel at present.

10. Which film do you wish could be erased and re-made?

Umm...right now...Cosmopolis.

11. What is your favourite composer/score to a film?

I have really been enjoying what Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor have been putting out. Both The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo have fantastic scores.

Here are my questions to these fine folks - 1001 Plus, A Constant Visual Feast, An Online Universe, Being Norma Jean, Big Thoughts From A Small Mind, Bonjour TristesseDuke and the Movies, Film Actually, Front Room Cinema, Impassioned Cinema and The Matinee

1. What was the film that made you feel the most terrified watching?
2. Chaplin or Keaton?
3. What is the greatest shift/turnaround of opinion, either positive or negative, you have had after a repeat viewing?
4. What is your first memorable trip to the cinemas?
5. If you were to add one film to last year's Best Pic nominees to make up 10 what would it have been?
6. What is your single favourite performance ever?
7. What is you favourite animated film?
8. What is your favourite era (decade) of cinema?
9. What is the best film you have seen in 2012 so far?
10. Name an underrated television show you feel doesn't get the attention it deserves.
11. Is there a film you feel completely alone in liking/disliking?


  1. Really happy to see someone else giving The Cinematic Orchestra's score to Man with a Movie Camera the credit it deserves. The most surprisingly fitting and enjoyable silent film score I've ever heard, its relentless energy and frenetic pace works wonderfully with that of the film.

    1. I LOVE it. Sometimes I just listen to the score on its own.

  2. Yeah I agree re Cinematic Orchestra's score for Man with a Movie Camera. Love that soundtrack.

  3. Thanks for the award!

    There's going to be a Sideways sequel? :O I want!
    Oh Ross and Reznor are freaking brilliant.

  4. Glad to get a chance to get to know you a bit better. I really like Stephen King's The Stand too, and I like your "top ten" list from the Sight & Sound poll. My favorite on the list is probably Taxi Driver.

    1. Though there were a few surprises, there is a strong case for all of the films listed amongst S+S Top 50. Coming up with 10 (from the 34 I have seen) was difficult.

  5. I agree that Russell Crowe could've picked better projects recently, but I'm sticking with him. After all, he could bounce back with Les Miserables and Man of Steel.

    1. Oh I won't give up on him, but he's a guy who used to be involved in several big films every year - and was nominated for Best Actor three years in a row 1999-2001. Recently, he has not been involved in my filmgoing interests. I think you're right about his bounce back, though the Les Miserables trailer did nothing for me.

  6. Great answers! Cosmopolis really seems less and less exciting to me with each day and the more opinions I read about this movie. I don't really like Crowe but yeah his recent movies were quiute disappointing.

    1. I can't recommend Cosmopolis, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check it out if you have your heart set on seeing it. Plenty of my friends here in Sydney have liked it. It is a divisive film.

  7. I don't have a blog, but I wanted to answer your questions :)

    1. It wasn't a film, but I watched a video on Youtube of the 100 greatest movie insults, and the Exorcist girl was in it, and I was shitting myself. Literally, I can't look at her face without shitting myself.
    2. Chaplin.
    3. Probably Inception. I didn't like it the first time I watched it, but now it is one of my favourite films.
    4. I went to see Atlantis when I was about 3, and that was the first cinema trip I remember. The film was awful, but it was my also my mother's first date with the man who she then married.
    5. Senna
    6. Jack Nicholson in Chinatown
    7. Ratatouille
    8. Either the 70's or the 90's.
    9. I'm only 14, and most of the films I like I have watched this or last year. But just in case that's not what you meant, the best 2012 film I've watched is the Dark Knight Rises, but the best film I've seen this year is the Godfather.
    10. Since it went off the air, I don't think that Ricky Gervais' Extras has had enough attention. Also, I live in England, and not many people here have heard of Curb your Enthusiasm, which is my favourite show.
    11. I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't like a lot of films (Eternal Sunshine, 2001, Casablanca, the Avengers)

    Thanks, and sorry for the length of the post. I hope to start a blog soon.

  8. Ha, you know, I didn't get back to you about this here and I thought I had. I just wanted to say thanks for the mention-- my post is going up this morning! Those are some good questions you posed to me.

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