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Posts Tagged ‘rogue’

Long_Weekend

Long Weekend: My lack of attention to detail really screwed me up on this one. I had intended to download Colin Eggleston’s original version, but I ended up with Jamie Blanks’ 2008 remake starring James Caviezel and Claudia Karvan. A lot of folks seemed to have called for the new guy’s head since the original is apparently unfuckwitable (read: not to be fucked with). Well, to be honest, the new version of Long Weekend is pretty stupid. In fact, the cheesy and contrived lounge music (again, Blanks) that accompanies the majestic imagery of the national parks in Victoria serve as a fair warning for what was ahead. Despite having a rather interesting premise, Long Weekend falters hither and thither before falling flat on its face. I would have been cool with the “See this is what happens when you screw with Mother Nature” nonsense, if she had put up a better fight.

Just imagine, the friggin natural world – in all her brutality and splendor – wants to mess with a thirty-something dude and this is how she does it – a mother eagle claws at his eyes, ants bite him in the ass, a dugong stalks him really slowly and large waves interrupt his surfing; sounds like a teenage comedy starring Eugene Levy as the only actor with an ounce of dignity within a 100 metre radius, doesn’t it?

Long_Weekend2

On the dimly-lit side, some of the scenes sporadically seem beautiful and all, but nothing that can overwhelm the mediocrity that otherwise permeates the screen. Of course, now I really want to watch Eggleston’s original. I’d be amazed if the story was any less sillier, but I do wonder if the new wave surrealism of 1970s Australian cinema offers fair compensation.

As for the acting, ah yes the acting….actors Caviezal and Karvan paint about seventy different expressions of fear, paranoia and annoyance on their faces, the pet dog does its fair share of sniffing dead animals and running around circles, and the dugong goes through at least four visible mood changes, including one that can only be referred to as an extreme case of rigor mortis. I hope the dugong was fairly compensated. Its zombie impersonation could have only been rivaled by Keanu Reeves in Walk In The Clouds; and only one of them was required to act like one.

black_water

Black Water: Australian eco horror enthusiasts (about six, by last count) have been grappling with the question of which one turned out to be a better flick – Rogue or Black Water? Two tough-as-nails boat trip films that pit a bunch of wussies against vicious crocodiles in the serene backwaters of Australia.  I really really enjoyed Rogue and had it as the best movie about a cranky croc ever. Black Water comes close, but for me, it falters where Rogue had nailed it perfectly – character development. I just didn’t care what happened to any of the three characters in Black Water.  See, in Rogue, I jumped up whenever one of the characters escaped the gnarly jaws of the crocodile and I guess I could have thanked the director Greg Mclean for that. He showed great finesse in offering us tidbits about the men and women in peril so that we, the audience, give a crap when the crocodile goes after them.

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In Black Water, director David Nerlrich seems to have spent so much time drenching the mangrove swamps of Northern Australia in warm, ghostly light that he could have forgotten that there three people out there trying to survive the horror that effortlessly glides through them.

Then again, I can see why some people prefer this one over Rogue. Some don’t like the dramatization of an eco crisis; me, well I’m a sucker for it (the more ruthless, the better).  Of course, if I am ever stuck in the backwaters with a psychopathic reptile looking to make lunch out of me and a chance to be heroic offers itself up for grabs, I’ll say “no thank you…I’d rather live”.

Life’s more Black Water than Rogue. That explains my preference, as well. Dam I almost forgot. Brad Oxenbould of Comedy Inc makes a cameo appearance. Cool.

razorback

Razorback: Russell Mulcahy 1984 moody creature feature makes pretensions about it being more than just a film that chronicles the exploits of a crazy-ass feral pig. The pretensions work tremendously well because the director has passed some on to the cinematographer Dean Semler, who makes the desolate landscape of Mad Max look like a fertile meadow. The grim, esoteric sceneries bring goosebumps and neck hair stimulators to the party and seriously enhance the experience of watching a taut thriller. As for the killer pig, well it is a bizarre and scary sight, but nothing that most B-list directors couldn’t emulate given today’s technology; for a film made during the early Eighties, the production is fantastic.

Apparently the Peter Brennan novel on which Razorback was based apparently has another storyline going through it – one with diamond smugglers and whatnot. Thankfully, director Russell Mulcahy came to terms the film’s selling point (killer pig on the loose) and did a fine job not making a mockery of it.

Jaws Shmaws, King Kong, Sing Song… Razorback is the true creature classic, folks.

Storm Warning: To paraphrase an old joke,

Knock Knock

Who’s There?

The guy who directed the remake of Lost Weekend

Go away fucker

Rogue: Already reviewed here

Wolf Creek: Already reviewed here

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Kung Fu Panda

This was a bit of a disappointment. The trailers preceding Kung Fu Panda kicked all sorts of ass (es). But this was a clear case of a movie being unable to lets its highlights cope with the transitional passages. If we had still been living in the pre-Toy Story era, I wouldn’t have noticed the lame sections of the storyline. I have watched and enjoyed Shrek, Finding Nemo, Monster Inc, and Ice Age, and unfortunately they have imbibed a sense of aesthetic expectation within me. Kung Fun Panda does not quite match-up and could possibly have he viewers a tad annoyed, especially during scenes not involving Tai Lung. That’s because Tai Lung equals awesomeness. This psychotic snow leopard Kung Fues his way into the list of pros in this film. The way he mauls the Rhino Warriors while staging a breathtaking escape from prison pays a fitting tribute to poetry in motion. Everything else is just above a yawn. Barely.

The Orphanage

Arty thrillers often morosely sway like a pendulum between reality and insanity. Thankfully, the director Juan Antonio Bayona’s instinct to let the characters in The Orphanage wander about through a cinematographic canvas without visible purpose works just fine. A nice woman returns to the orphanage where she stayed as a child and turns it into a home for disabled kids. All sorts of haunting shenanigans ensue. Little children ghosts are scary; orphaned, disabled little children ghosts are just agents of cardiac arrest, at least for me. A special mention to the sound effects and sound mixing. Not since three years ago when Di Campo and Jack Knight’s sound mixing in The Shining sent goosebumps scurrying into my flesh, have I been this tortured (in a good way) by sound engineering. I let the lights on for a few minutes after end credits rolled.

The White Diamond

Werner Herzog is my all-time favourite documentary filmmaker. Except that he’s not one. He took German New Wave cinema kicking and screaming into the unknown and came back with a bag full of delightfully mad anecdotes. He is more of a legend than a person. His films, like him, are not. Hmmm…I guess Herzog has this sort of impact on a person. This one’s about an experimental airship (shaped like an inverted teardrop) all set to hover over the Amazon jungle in search of undiscovered fauna and flora. It’s the sort of film that can leave your visual senses in transit. Unsatisfied and peculiarly drenched in poignancy. The Grizzly Man and the The Incident At Loch Ness are perhaps amongst Herzog’s finest works. The White Diamond won’t feature on this list; but it does feature the director at the height of cynicism, both as a creator and observer. Maybe it’s the way he brings out nature’s cruel intentions or perhaps his nonchalance towards that of society, whatever it is, it perhaps is not. And that’s why most of you will think he’s pretentious while a few of us will continue to stand back and admire his films.

The Rogue

The Rogue is director Greg McLean’s sophomore effort after his debut – the insanely captivating Outback thriller Wolf Creek put Australian independent cinema back on the map. His canvas of choice once again is the Australian Outback. But gone are the vast stretches of sun-drenched dunes of sand; The Rogue is set in the lakes of Australia’s northern territory. Again, like Wolf Creek, the cinematography is breathtaking. Honestly, words might do injustice to how stunning the film looks. The storyline might bear semblance to that of Lake Placid or Primevil, but the comparisons don’t go beyond an occasional coincidence. The Rogue is by far the best film ever made about a killer crocodile. That might not sound like saying much, but by that logic I could also say that Shawshank Redemption is the best film ever made about an innocent man escaping from jail. Seriously, you should watch this film.

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