Project 101

Dan attempts to watch 101 movies in 12 months

Archive for December 20th, 2008

#13 Definitely, Maybe

Posted by Dan on December 20, 2008

maybeposter1I know that any last shred of credibility has probably now flown out the window at the mere reading of this title, but please bare with me faithful reader, it’s worth it in the end.

I probably should’ve given up on the romantic-comedy thing after watching Elizabethtown, which was fucking woeful. But you know, as much as I wouldn’t normally like to admit it in public, I still have a soft spot for a good romantic comedy. I did say good romantic comedy. There are some shockers, trust me. Apparently “sarcasm is the lowest form of wit”, but generally, you can replace the word “sarcasm” with “romantic comedy” and replace “wit” with “film making”. It’s such a terrible cookie-cutter of a plot-line that it’s easy to dismiss it entirely.  While you can pretty much write off anything with Meg Ryan in it, every now and again, on a very rare occasion, a genuinely enjoyable romantic comedy comes along.

Definitely, Maybe is a movie that surrounds the tale of boy-meets-girl which starts after Wil Hayes (Ryan Reynolds) picks up his daughter Maya (Abigail “Little Miss Sunshine” Breslin) to find commotion at the school after the kids were taught some rather graphic and brutal sex education classes. Maya’s a naturally inquisitive girl, and eventually the questions turned to the typical “how did you and mummy meet?”. The story it tells, however, is anything but typical. Wil then tells the story to Maya, but changes the names along the way of his story of growing up and the 3 main relationships in his life, leading Maya to try and guess which one is her real mother.

I know it sounds really cheesey, and I guess in a way, it sort of is – but the cheese isn’t laid on thick. But it’s a nice story that’s told really well, and there are a lot of genuinely funny moments. I think the reason why I enjoyed this movie so much is because I wasn’t expecting to. It’s a very sweet story told lovingly by writer and director Adam Brooks, who’s previously brought us Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason, Wimbeldon and French Kiss. Fortunately though, this movie is far more enjoyable than anything else that Brooks has done before. Whether or not you’re a girl or a guy or whether or not you love or hate romantic comedy movies, if you’re looking for a nice feel-good movie about love lost, then won then lost again, this is the perfect one.

I give Definitely Maybe 4 pelvic thrusts out of 5.

Will: I had two serious girlfriends… and then some other smattering of other women.
Maya: What’s the boy word for ‘slut’?
Will: They still haven’t come up with one yet. But I’m sure they’re working on it.

PS
Charm, if you’re reading this, I know you’re going to want to comment, and I know what you’re going to say. Don’t bother, because I’ll never approve the comment.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

#12 Little Fish

Posted by Dan on December 20, 2008

little-fish-poster-01Little Fish is an Australian film about the story of Tracey (Cate Blanchett), a former junkie trying to get her life back together, despite the pulling factors around her. Her drug-dealer ex returns from overseas, her step-dad is trying to kick his heroin habit, she’s constantly being knocked back for bank loans to expand the business at the local video shop she works at ,and her mum, while the straight one of the family, struggles to keep everything together.

Little Fish received loads of critical acclaim from almost every media publication in the country. To me, there seems to be a just as many reasons to agree with the praise as there are to disagree with them. I wanted to like this movie so much, and for the most of it I did. I just felt myself wanting more by the end. The movie ambles way too much, and there are far too many unanswered questions for me to really enjoy it.

Much like when I watched Layer Cake the other day, the same reasons seem to resonate again – there are some great moments, some fantastic acting and a really fucking impressive cast, but when it all comes together, there’s just a really big build up for what seems to be very little pay-off. I feel bad for not liking this movie, because it has so many good things about it – there’s just more bad things. The biggest problem I found was that the movie feels like you’re watching the second half of a movie. I spent half the movie trying to work out who was who, and there seemed to be no real plot to speak of, and some of the motivation for some of the characters seemed a little misplaced within the confines of the movie. I just can’t help but feel that it could’ve been a lot better than what it was.

I give Little Fish 1 out of 5 hits of golden brown.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

#11 Suburban Mayhem

Posted by Dan on December 20, 2008

Suburban MayhemFor all of it’s pride, Australian cinema still struggles to get real mainstream recognition. I’ll be the first to admit, that there’s a lot of stinkers that we put out, but it’s because of these mainstream flops that a lot of other smaller indie movies never get the exposure that they deserve. For every Fat Pizza: The Movie, there’s a dozen 2:37‘s, which I have to say that for the larger part of it, it breaks my true blue heart.

Suburban Mayhem, when it was released, seemed to get a fair bit of press, but nobody I know actually went to see it at the movies. I’ve always liked a good Aussie indie movie, but this is one that kept slipping down my To See list.

Suburban Mayhem is the quintessential tale of “where did it all go wrong?”, and at the end of the movie, you kinda realise that your life aint too bad. The story centres around Kat, a hormone-charged 19 year old single mum who seems to exist in her own separate world compared to everyone else – one that’s full of drugs, petty crime, cheap sex, fast cars and manicures. Her life then quickly starts to fall around her after her older brother Danny goes to jail for murder. Kat idolises Danny to almost disturbing levels of loyalty. He’s not a bad guy,  just a stupid kid with a bad temper. The true tragedy is that it appears that Danny is the most level-headed member of the family.

Kat’s mum was a drug addict that abandoned the family when Kat was a young girl, yet she’ll always be a little princess to her dad, John, played by Aussie screen stalwart, Robert Morgan. John’s a honest hard working tradie who just wants the best for his kids, which ends up with Kat walking all over him and treating him like her own personal ATM. Then there’s family friend Dianne, but to be honest, she has very little baring on the movie and her role seems to be nothing more than a mere afterthought.

One day, John decides that enough is enough and cuts off Kat’s financial flow, so Kat does whatever she can to make sure that someone’s looking out for her – and she gets it no matter what she has to do. Kat betrays and uses people left right and centre, and becomes more and more dillusioned about the world she’s living in, and to boot, she’s a truly awful parent, to the extent that John and Kat’s boyfriend Rusty are constantly being visited by police and Child Welfare. The main driver of the movie, is Kat’s obsession with the idea that Danny can get out of jail, if only she can raise the money to pay for court costs to appeal his sentence. It’s  then suddenly Kat gets an idea of how to get money – by killing her dad and selling the house. What happens then, well, you’ll have to find out for yourself.

Kat is played fantastically by Emily Barclay, who won an IF Award for Best Actress for this role. She’s supported by a great ensemble cast. Why Laurence Beuls, who plays Danny, hasn’t starred in more roles than he has is just beyond me.

All in all, this is a really enjoyable movie. It’s a very gritty, often confronting story about a group of people off the rails who will do anything within their grasp to get back the control of their lives that they once had.

I give Suburban Mayhem 4 out of 5 life sentances.

“I knew the mother, she was mad. I knew the grandmother, she was madder. It’s genetics I reckon. That’s the only thing I can come up with. You just can’t get clean water from a dirty tank.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »