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17 reviews in total 
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another masterpiece from Australian master Peter Weir, 7 October 2014

as with Peter Weir's other masterpiece The Last Wave, it requires multiple viewings and lots of digestion time to fully grasp & appreciate... I've been wanting to watch Picnic at Hanging Rock for years... bought the blu ray recently & thought it was time... after finally watching it, I'm quite shell shocked at what I've just witnessed... the mood throughout this film is on a spiritual level, hypnotic at times, tension building below... the soundtrack & sound design compliment the film & create this mysticism surrounding the missing characters... the narrative is quite minimal, focusing on the mood of the film rather than what's being said... but quite often what is being said is cryptic & only leaves you with more questions...

after doing further reading, it is stated that even the novelist Joan Lindsay never confirmed if the story was based on fact or not... but many people including the producer of the film have gone to Hanging Rock & felt this unease... like they are being watched... this aspect to me is fascinating and makes this film such an achievement from the young director at the time... also worth mentioning that gorgeous the actress who played Sara, Margaret Nelson has been missing for sometime... plus the lead bitch of the school Mrs. Appleyard played by Rachel Roberts committed suicide in 1980... the more you dig with this film / novel and Hanging Rock the location, more is left unanswered...

it's most definitely one of the greatest Australian films & cant wait to see it again & give it 10/10, along with 2nd viewing of The Last Wave... until then ill be hunting down Mark Hartley's 2004 doco "A Dream Within a Dream: The making of 'Picnic at Hanging Rock" & continue my research on the film, the location, it's characters & the novelist...

Red Beard (1965)
one of the finest films on humanity & the art of compassion, 17 September 2014

this Akira Kurosawa film went under the radar for me, it was just another known Kurosawa film that i must see one day... watching it 2 days after my dad's funeral was actually perfect timing, cause of the theme's of death, compassion, empathy & the overall humanity of story really resonated with me... it made me even look at how i have been dealing with Dad's illness in the final weeks and raise questions of my own selfish behaviour... masterful actor Toshiro Mifune is the almost mystical wise Red Beard - the lead doctor in a small town full of peasants and generally lower class, where his presence affects everyone like a god... when his new apprentice comes to town who is full of ego & great ideas, not willing to obey Red Beard rules etc, the doctor fresh out of an acclaimed medical school has to learn some important lessons of life, and medical methods aren't in text books... unorthodox methods Red Beard teaches him to be connected with the patient and give them what they need for their soul which helps them either survive or pass away peacefully... one of the most touching films on humanity i've ever seen but without being sentimental... this film will stay with you long after watching it... after doing extended reading on this film and further thought, i pushed it up to 10/10 alongside other Kurosawa masterpieces like Ikiru and High & Low... there's still so much of his catalog i have to explore as well as re-watch (Seven Samurai, Sanjiro, Yojimbo for starters), this was his last film with his star actor Mifune but I'm slowly coming to grasp that Kurosawa has many masterpieces (not just a couple like most greats do) & one of the true greats of cinema...

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
a modern surrealist / existential masterpiece from Glazer - there's hope for cinema still!, 10 July 2014

9/10 - the best film I've seen in 2014... a surrealist / existential film by Jonathan Glazer, I aspire to write a feature similar to this and other recent film, Refn's "Only God Forgives" which encourages the idea of writing a surrealist film in these times more promising... a stripped back version of Michel Faber's 2000 novel, sci-fi of sorts but set in Scotland in modern times. id rather not give too much away cause it's better for the viewer to go in cold & experience it without any preconceptions, then decide how they feel, as this has divided audiences, just like how Kubrick's 2001 Space Odyssey did back in 68, same with Only God Forgives more recently... one thing can be said is there's not many films like this being made nowadays, i give Glazer serious props for doing so, and Scarlett for bringing such a strong performance, her best to date by a mile, Mica Levi's soundtrack is perfect to create the haunting mood of the film... this is not a 1 sitting film, it urges you to watch and re-watch it to discover more about it's ambiguities, abstractions & symbolism... and i cant wait to lock into this once again, this time at night with no distractions :)

9 out of 64 people found the following review useful:
compelling & analytical tale of sexual obsession, 3 April 2014

have to say that i was pleasantly surprised how compelling Lars von Trier's 4hr film on nymphomania was the other night... the film explores the topic of sex / lust / love in an analytical way, while keeping the actual acts of sex to an intensity level lower than Antichrist, tho there are some brutal moments of course... if anything this is a film that supports feminism by close, with female sexual liberty & how Charlotte Gainsbourg shares her addictive nature to Stellan Skarsgård throughout... Stellen's commentary on comparisons to sex and other topics is very effective to give the film a deeper look into how human behavior has many companions... this is LVT's most thought out / researched film as far as the content discussed goes, which makes this an educational experience as well as an erotic journey of sexual obsession - 8/10

the issue of aids medication in America, 4 March 2014

amazing performances and well deserved for Matthew McConaughey with Best Actor as Ron Woodroof - the rodeo sex / drug fueled charged cowboy with aids & Jared Leto with Best Supporting Actor as Rayon - the transvestite who teams up with Ron to start a drug supply for aids sufferers... also great performance from Jennifer Garner, first film I've seen her in considering her previous choices aren't to my taste...

well executed story showing how problematic the issue of aids suppressant drugs in the states. on a shoestring budget of $5.5M & shot in 25 days, this is a great feat of film making in these modern times where blockbusters dominate - 8/10

6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
a brutal approach from Jia yet pertaining that meditative & reflective tone, 25 February 2014

after finally watching A Touch Of Sin this evening at ACMI with some friends, it's left me stuck in 2 worlds - missing Jia Zhang-Ke's meditative & lyrical work of the past & liking the new approach to these social wrongs in a more brutal / violent / cynical manner...

first thoughts were quite similar to when i watched another master film maker Kim Ki-Duk's "Pieta" which after further digestion, thought & reading became my fave film of 2013 - both films show violence in a heavy way but still portray it in a meditative & profound manner, using symbolic moments to remind the audience about these issues...

in hindsight i really like this film and where Jia is going with his approach... considering this is a narrative driven film over his powerful and thought provoking documentaries, all the killings were based on real events the director read in blogs... the film is a vessel to show these separate events as one about alienation, the varying classes in china & corruption / political flaws...

here's a good article from Slant which covers a lot of how i feel towards the films - 8/10

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
engrossing realism of youth, 22 February 2014

fantastic film about love and being young, realistic and raw at times yet subtly handled... performances are as potent with life's emotions as you'd hope for, superb flowing camera work... this is definitely not hipster orientated or romcom like many youth films are nowadays, the key characters aren't trying to be cool and hip or be funny. they are themselves, esp the lead who is still discovering who she is along the complex road called life...

8/10 but could go higher... if i was going to compare it to similar films I've seen recently, still like Her more but prefer this over Before Midnight and LOL (french version)

2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
harrowing realistic tale of slavery in the 1800s, 31 January 2014

This film really hits like a brick, a harrowing realistic tale of slavery in the 1800s. films like this remind us of the past, where this kind of black prejudice reined supreme, up till the 70s when the KKK were still kicking... if you're going to tell a story of slavery, what better way than to base it on actual events from the book by the slave himself - Solomon Northup - over a 12 year period...

These were dark times, where racial hatred was the norm, most well off white people in America had black people as slaves or servants. they were looked down upon purely by the colour of their skin... this is why slavery was abominated & Martin Luther King had a dream of equality. the film tackles these issues with brutal realism, often hard to absorb, these reoccurring events of racial injustice really affect you to the point where you feel so sorry for every single person affected in it's destructive path - separating families, physical & psychological torture, a constant fear forced into their helpless faces...

A blunt reminder of how things used to be, harrowing & heart breaking, like you are there witnessing it first hand... powerful & gripping film that left me in tears at points... more films should be made like this, to shake up our sugar coated images that are filtered via the media. take a mouthful of harsh truths, so you reflect on these moral issues well after the film has finished

Steve McQueen delivers another jewel in his developing crown which has already spawned 2 masterpieces before this - Shame (2011) and Hunger (2008). breathtaking performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor which should win him a Best Actor Oscar, plus solid performances from Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch & of course Michael Fassbender, with a cheeky appearance by Brad Pitt... im also putting my money on Steve McQueen to clean up Best Picture & Best Director if the academy wakes up and realises the genius at hand here...

9/10 and at the top of my 2014 list thus far

the brutal truth of mass genocide that must be witnessed, 6 January 2014

one of my highly anticipated films for 2013 & boy did it deliver... a rare look at mass genocide from the killer's perspective, a re-telling of events from 1965 in Indonesia where the Pancasila were formed to rid the country of communist since the government wasn't doing enough... over 2.5 million people were killed over time, 1 million in just a year...

one of the leading executioners from that time recounts these times along with other Pancasila members who are considered heroes today & are still in power with over 3 million members... throughout the documentary, you are exposed to the egos of these evil men, who re-tell the stories with pride & passion, how they imitated Hollywood stars with their killings & invented their own methods.

there are key scenes that are re-created with the actual Pancasila members themselves, who even in a filmed / acting environment create a very scary and vicious scenario at how these gangsters were so brutal... some of the leaders show no guilt yet the main focused executioner who personally executed over 1000 "communists" talks about re-occurring nightmares, and eventually remorse, which gives the film some redemption for it's portrayal of these terrible events.

this is a film that every adult should see, an insight that is rare cause it's told by the killers themselves, not by some biased 3rd party... it's the closest you'll get to war crimes of this scale and how dark the human can go with absolute power, in such a fascist & sadistic manner... - 9/10 & currently #3 in my 2013 winners list

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
brilliant surrealist film from master Nicolas Winding Refn - a long way away from Drive..., 8 December 2013

"Drive" is a masterpiece genre film where Refn played with the conventions a fair bit, especially a film outta Hollywood... "God Only Forgives" is a surreal film, where the director is exploring uncharted realms... if u have seen the films of Alejandro Jodorowsky - who the film is dedicated to, you should know not to take everything u see at face value - look within, reflect, read up on others interpretations & watch again... i cant wait to see it again cause there's still so much to experience in it, and this is the first step into a new direction for Nicolas Winding Refn, cause his next film is an adaptation of a Jororowsky graphic novel - so try to get comfortable with the directors new approach, cause i predict you wont see another "Drive" for a while - 8/10

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