# 421 – Days of Heaven

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“Nobody’s perfect. There was never a perfect person around. You just have half-angel and half-devil in you.”

Yet another piece of art, directed by Terrence Malick in 1978, that took two years to edit. It’s one of those films that is slightly odd, but simple and intriguing enough to keep you hooked. Linda (Linda Manz) narrates the story, in her young and somewhat uneducated point of view, that really ties the film together, her accent and authenticity are really powerful story-telling tools.

Linda is the sister of Bill (Richard Gere), a hot-headed labourer who is forced to flee after an incident at work. In an attempt to leave the city for a better life, he hops on a train to nowhere with Linda and his girlfriend Abby (Brooke Adams), yet, not wishing for the world to know, he pretends that Abby is his sister. They arrive at a farm to work and soon enough, the Farmer (the owner that has no name, played by Sam Shepard) falls in love with Abby. The story takes a turn when Bill convinces Abby to feign interest in the farmer after learning he only has a year to live, planning to rob the farmer after his death. A love triangle develops and the farmer becomes suspicious of Bill and Abby’s relationship, eventually leading to a┬átragic ending for all.

As I said, it’s a very ‘artsy’ film with minimal dialogue and an emphasis on cinematography (which won it an Oscar) and body language. This can often make you feel uncomfortable in the silence, but the addition of the narration is fantastic (and apparently another trademark of Malick’s).

I think it is worth a watch, if for nothing else than witnessing Richard Gere in his 20’s.

 

Enjoy

E x

 

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# 392 – Romper Stomper

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Excuse my ignorance, but at first glance, I thought that handsome lad on the cover picture was James McAvoy – so once again I was not ready for what came next; raw Aussie violence. Do you hate those movies that just dragggg on forever and let loose the action right at the very end? Romper Stomper is not one of those. It set the scene within the first minute.

That handsome lad I mentioned is our Russell Crowe – Hando – he loves partying, fighting and Hitler. He and his fellow neo-nazi skinheads decide to take matters into their own hands when their neighbourhood starts becoming… less white. His acting is convincing and quite remarkable. As far as I can tell, this movie formed the basis of his future career.

As for the movie itself – highly controversial. As far as I can tell, there are people who say it is inaccurate, and others who say it is accurate. The main issue, however, is simply the fact that it’s brutally violent and racist, yet the tone is – sympathetic? None the less, I felt it was honest, confronting and super entertaining. I was really captivated by the story and enjoyed the romance and comedy that came along with it. I did cringe and feel my stomach turn at the appropriate points, don’t get me wrong – it was cruel! But these are the things a movie SHOULD bring out in a person.

Cheers to directors who enjoy getting people out of their comfort zones. Enjoy!

P.S – probably not one for the kids…

E x

 

# 393 – Donnie Darko

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I’ve been hanging out for this one and it’s a nice change not to be disappointed! Huuggee fan of Jake Gyllenhaal and I believe this role won him a few awards. He plays Donnie, obviously, and has a few ’emotional’ problems, as he puts it. He stops taking his medication and as a result starts sleepwalking and having hallucinations of Frank – the fucking creepy arse bunny. The only thing that rivals the creepiness of that bunny is Donnie’s face whilst doing the bunny’s bidding. Anyway, Frank tells Donnie that the world will end in 28 days; the rest of the movie becomes a countdown, following Donnie as he experiences events due to his insanity – or possibly something else.

I really enjoyed the balance of this movie; it’s a combination of comedy, time travel, drama, mystery and spookiness. As I only just recently mentioned, I like a movie with direction and consider the fun part to be figuring the whole thing out. I think someone who can combine those aspects and still manage to keep viewers engaged and somewhat in the loop is the best kind of director. I thought about it all night and kept waking up thinking there was a fucking rabbit in my room! Excuse the language.

There are heaps of little clues and foreshadowing (I just learnt that word, do I sound like a real reviewer?) elements so keep a look out for them, specifically rabbit related. It also has a great soundtrack! I’d class it as a must watch, and if it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, see it again!

If you like, comment your thoughts or something cool you picked up on. I enjoyed the aspect that questions whether Donnie is actually schizophrenic or if he is the key to something more…

Enjoy!

E x

 

# 399 – Mulholland Drive

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I love movies because I believe that the people behind them are some of the smartest, most powerful people in the world. They have an opportunity to tell a story to all of humanity and when they do it well, it’s generally because they have a vision and a passion and a point to make. I love dissecting a movie, checking out the trivia, making connections, really trying to understand what they are saying. Basically, I like there to be a point. A reason.

Therefore, I hated this. I’ve read the articles – Naomi Watts’ big break (she was awesome in it), Lynch’s best work, blah blah blah. It was kind of nonsense. It is literally stated everywhere that this man had no reason behind the ending, he just did it and wanted to see how many different theories people could come up with. Like I’m going to do his job for him. I don’t think so, buddy.

I do not care what it was about, I do not care how famous and cool you are. You had me excited (because the first half of the movie was actually great) and then you ruined it. And wasted 2.5 hours of my time.

Watch this movie if you like:
– boobies
– lesbian action
– feeling confused
– different threads that don’t tie into the main storyline whatsoever
– feeling creeped out
– dreamland

E x

# 397 – Rain Man

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Tom is back as Charlie; a character that suits him well (by that I mean, he’s a dick). His father has passed away, leaving him with very little whilst some stranger inherits three million dollars. He sets out, with his girl, to suss out the situation and attempt to get his money. What he finds though, is that he has a brother, Raymond (played by Dustin Hoffman) who has been diagnosed with autism and has absolutely no idea how rich he has recently become. Charlie kidnaps his brother, via trickery, in an attempt to claim his half of the inheritance. What follows is Charlie trying to handle a situation that lies way out of his control.

Barry Levinson, the director, has done quite a bit of stuff in his lifetime, but he has only won 1 Oscar, and it was for Rain Man. This may give you an indication of how well the story is told. My only issue is that that the brothers didn’t really connect until what felt like the last second. But maybe that’s half the point, we are talking about autism in its early days when it wasn’t widely understood or even talked about. It’s a long journey of getting to know each other, and it really tells it realistically I think.

It wasn’t overly thrilling or dramatic, it just tells a good story. I think it is worth a watch.

E x

 

# 398 – The English Patient

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It’s nearing the end of WWII and a burn victim, Count Laszlo, is dying. Rather than endure the long trip to… somewhere else… this lovely lady named Hana decides to stay with him in an abandoned church until he dies. He doesn’t remember much, but the arrival of a guy who believes Laszlo was giving information to the Germans, encourages (or strongly recommends) him to share his story, one of a love affair.

It’s got a really great cast (Ralph Fiennes, Colin Firth, Kristen Scott Thomas and Willem Dafoe) and it won 9 Oscars and it’s very sweet and sad and there are quite a few naked shots but that’s about it. I was a little bored, couldn’t really get into it and I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. Safe to say I’m glad they cut down the length; the original went for 4 hours!

E x

#401 – The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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I’ve been putting this one off lately, due to the length, but finally found some time and it was well worth it! Now, I’m not generally much of a history lover – but I am a lover of a good old true story, so I’ve done a little research for you too.

The movie is set in the 1880’s and depicts the last seven months of Jesse James’ life before he was killed by Robert Ford, who once admired Jesse and tried to weave himself into his gang before eventually turning on him.

It’s a crime/drama/western with a touch of thriller; the main attraction, however, lies in the history (being one of the most accurate depictions of the tale) and the performances. Which leads me to the awesome cast: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell and Jeremy Renner being the most popular, but there’s a few other familiar faces. Casey Affleck is a perfect Robert Ford, so riveting; and Brad Pitt is, well, just his usual amazing self.

So, the history… Jesse James and his brother formed the James-Younger gang to rob banks and trains after their return from the Confederate war. There may be some confusion as to whether they were good bad guys (you know stealing for the greater good and all that), but as far as I can tell they’re mostly just messed up from the war and killed anyone who got in their way of their new career path. They were protected by their community and they were good family men who respected their wives and loved their children, but crime is just too much fun to resist. The last job they were to do was with the Ford brothers who had secretly accepted a reward to rid the world of the feared James brothers – the movie will do a better job at explaining this part than I.

From what I’ve read, there are a lot of political reasons behind the outcome of all in involved. Whatever the reason, Jesse James, became one of the most famous names of his time – isn’t that just mindblowing? Do you think that he would have ever imagined that people would know his name and reference it in pop culture over 100 years later?

I hope you enjoy as much as I did!

E x

 

 

References:

https://www.biography.com/people/jesse-james-9352646#!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesse_James