Australia Day

Woo Australia Day! Barbeques, sunshine and whatnot.

Now that I’ve experienced sunburn for the first time in my life (stupidity in leaving out key areas when applying sunscreen yesterday at the beach) and decided it’s not a pleasant experience (no, really, I mean, I understood that before, it’s just more personal now –  the idea that your skin has had a slow-cooking process in the sunshine was never attractive, but to keep feeling it for literally hours after you’ve left the sun? Not fun.), I feel all that much more Australian. Barring the bit where I’m not cheering for Australia at the cricket (not until they’re the underdog, and I reckon (hah) that there’s nothing more Australian than that), there’s something unmistakable about the fact that we take the piss out of our national day by honouring such time-worn cranks as Sam Kekovitch and his message to go forth and slaughter the lambs. Other nations have parades, military and non, on their national days; we view it as a well deserved break shortly into the New Year, a chance to further soak up the summer, usually just before we bed down in earnest for work, what with the kids returning to school this week too.

So to all those over-the-top flag-waving alleged patriots I saw yesterday, before Australia day even, pull your heads in and remember Australia’s not America, and we don’t need to proclaim our allegiance to the country so bloody loudly.

(If there’s a more inane and empty chant than the shout of Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi anywhere in the world, I’ll happily dine on hat a la mode.)

Movie Review: In Bruges

In Bruges: Dark-as-pitch comedy about a couple of hitmen (Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson) who are banished to Bruges, an historic town in Belgium, by their boss (Ralph Finnes) to lay low after a botched hit. A few good laughs and a great performance from Farrell, but there’s little enough redemption for any of the characters. This movie is definitely not one for the queasy. ★★★☆

High Fidelity

High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby, an extract:

I see a woman on her own, Saturday -night-smart, off to meet somebody somewhere, friends, or a lover. And when I was living with [the ex] Laura, I missed… what? Maybe I missed somebody travelling on a bus or tube or cab, going out of their way, to meet me, maybe dressed up a little, maybe wearing more make-up than usual, maybe even slightly nervous; when I was younger, the knowledge that I was responsible for any of this, even the bus ride, made me feel pathetically grateful.

Hot damn. The ‘I’ here is ostensibly Rob, a 35 year old who has just broken up and is taking it a little badly. Something about this passage did more than strike a chord, though – it’s an insight into the male condition, in many ways, when it comes to dealing with the fairer sex.

This book is fairly brilliant, by the by, though I’d recommend it to single and/or recently seperated guys first before all others. I’ve gone out and gotten the film too, but from the opening moments I was disappointed to find the story was transposed to New York. It somehow fits better in London, or perhaps that’s my own familiarity with London taking precedence.

In any case, worth a read.

Unsporting should be un-Australian

Not for the Australian cricket team, not yet.

The incident: A. B. de Villiers, third ball of the second over, Australia v South Africa, 20-20 match, gets a Tait special in his gut, edging off his bat. In pain, he keels over and inadvertantly hits the stumps, out hit-wicket.

The man is doubled over in pain on the grass, and the Australian team? Celebrating away, meters from the man.

This is an image that will linger in my mind for a while yet – that the disgusting sporting behaviour continues, that not a man on the Australian team took a second to ask that de Villiers was ok.

Disgusting.

Movies 2009

Last year I did a preview of the 2008 movies, and ended up misreading half of them (21 is not a heist movie, Cloverfield was the most bleh since the second Matrix, and let’s not even talk about The Forbidden Kingdom – not to mention the fact that I missed entirely the second half of the year), but let’s charge ahead for what 2009 promises!

  • AkiraA live action remake of Akira set in ‘New Manhattan’. I fear it, and yet… (part 1 is scheduled for mid-year)
  • Fast & Furious – look, I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff. It will probably be awful, but a car chase is a car chase, and F&F is one long car chase. (trailer)
  • Them – new movie by Edgar Wright, director of Sean of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Just going on form here.
  • Rachel Getting Married – Anne Hathaway is the slightly messed up sister of the bride, in a movie widely tipped for Oscars. One for the serious column.
  • Duplicity – hang about, is this a remake of Mr & Mrs Smith? Or a Julia Roberts movie I could actually like? Clive Owen and Julia Roberts are ex-spies moving to the corporate world, and… just watch the trailer.
  • The Brothers Bloom – Adrien Brody and Rachel Weisz in a fun looking flick about a pair of conmen (Mark Ruffalo – Just Like Heaven – and Brody) trying to run a scam on an heiress (Weisz). Also stars Rinko Kikuchi (of Babel fame) as a slightly crazy explosives expert. (trailer)
  • Underworld 3: Rise of the Lycans – this is a un-recommendation. There is no Kate Beckinsale.
  • The International – Clive Owen and Naomi Watts in this rather timely action-thriller set in an international bank. Practically mandatory viewing for me (trailer).
  • The Spirit – Samuel L Jackson headlines in this film directed by 300‘s Frank Miller, in a visual style reminiscient of Sin City. Broad appeal is questionable, but does look damn good – although reviews are panning it. (trailer, and un-trailer – read the text!)
  • Sherlock Holmes – Guy Ritchie directs Robert Downey Jr (Iron Man) and Jude Law (er… Alfie? Talented Mr Ripley?) in what one can only hope is the Batman Begins-isation of the classic detective stories.
  • Coraline – weird little animation based on a story by Neil Gaiman, meaning it’s going to be dark, quietly funny and something you never quite know where it goes next. (site, trailer)
  • Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen – yes, I didn’t like Transformers all that much in 2007, but you’ve got to give them another chance, right? And who can say no to Megan Fox, right? (due in June)
  • Inglorious Basterds – Taratino’s long-awaited misspelt WWII flick with Brad Pitt and Mike Myers, which is definitely in the not-to-be-missed column. (due August)
  • Monsters vs Aliens – new Dreamworks animation that looks like it might in fact be targeted at older folk. Aliens invade Earth, and we have monsters to fight back. (trailer)
  • Avatar – I’m just intrigued by James Cameron’s return to sci-fi, teaming with Sigourney Weaver (both from Aliens). (teaser trailer)
  • The Class – French movie about a bunch of disadvantaged kids in a class. Rave reviews and genuine looking acting looks intriguing. (trailer)
  • Wolverine – Let’s see what Hugh Jackman can do by himself. I’m hoping this salvages the X-Men series somewhat, as the co-ordinated jumpsuits of the third were just a bit… camp. (due May – trailer)
  • Watchmen – I know nothing of the comics, but this certainly looks promising. (trailer)
  • Star Trek – J J Abrams takes on the ultimate geek series. Now, I’m no trekkie, and Abrams hasn’t exactly got a movie track record, but he could salvage the appeal for this just based on the trailer. Now if only Spock didn’t look so much like Sylar… (trailer)
  • Public Enemies – I’m just going on names here – Johnny Depp, Christian Bale and Michael Mann (director of Miami Vice) in a crime story set in the (first) Great Depression sounds fairly intriguing to me.
  • Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – a necessary mention, though this was supposed to be a 2008 film. The second last in the series, and probably the one with the best title and harshest conclusion. (trailer)
  • Revolutionary Road – Kate Winslet and Leo Di Caprio reunited, with Kate looking gorgeous, and Leo having learnt how to act. Will be a quiet one but should be a good movie. (trailer)
  • Nottingham – Russell Crowe v Russell Crowe, directed by Ridley Scott. Yes, Russell Crowe in a double role, as both Robin Hood and the Sherrif. How this is going to work is beyond me.
  • Up – Pixar’s next release is the story of a 78 year old balloon salesman who lifts his house up with balloons. What this ultimately leads to is unrevealed, but since it’s Pixar it’s got to be worth a look, right? (trailer)
  • Notorious – Biggie Smalls, B.I.G., the biggest name in rap in the 90s bar Tupac Shakur, gets a biopic. Let’s say it’ll be a very specific film and the target audience is pretty clearly identified, but it’s certainly one for me. (trailer)
  • Astro Boy – ASTRO BOY DOES NOT WEAR A SHIRT. (trailer)
  • Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li – it’s the halfie chick from Smallville as our favorite Street Fighter! Apart from the part where she looks nothing at all like Chun-Li (where are the thighs?!), this could be… decent? (trailer)
  • The Code – Morgan Freeman, Antonio Banderas, guns, theives, heist, etc. (poster)
  • Push – Dakota Fanning is growing up, but she’s keeping her strange looks. This movie seems to be a bit like Jumper, but without angsty-pants Christensen. (trailer)
  • Necessary mentions you can google yourself: Terminator Salvation, Where the Wild Things Are, Land of the Lost, Angels and Demons (Tom Hanks returns in the se-/pre-quel to The Da Vinci Code), Year One (Jack Black), The Taking of Pelham 123 (Travolta).

There are plenty of others to come, and it may be that I need to revisit this list halfway through the year to rejig it, but that should be a good start to the proceedings. There’s enough sequelism to keep the year churning, but there’s enough outside of that to make it a decent year.