Category: Popcorn Taxi

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is out in Australian cinemas today.

Australia. It’s a tough country to nail down, because so many of us hate the image that we project. It’s called the “cultural cringe”. No one in Australia goes to see Australian films; if you talk about a movie and then say that it’s Australian, your audience quickly loses interest.

There is something utterly uncompelling about the promotion of our films that a lot of people don’t get through the door to find out if something is worth watching. Of course, it was not always like this. And it doesn’t always have to be like this.

Animal Kingdom is a magnetic movie. From its first trailer, featuring a home invasion set to Air Supply’s “All Out of Love”, I knew that I had to see it. A more conventional trailer only cemented that thought. The fact that it won at Sundance didn’t hurt, either.

Suddenly Animal Kingdom had done what Beneath Hill 60 with its appeal to jingoism and I Love You, Too, with its appeal to the Peter Dinklage fanbase, had resolutely failed to do: it got me excited to see an Australian movie.

In an industry where apathy is the killer, where it’s easier to go to Transformers than it is to make an informed decision, where they let Robin Hood open Cannes, to set off someone’s radar means something.

Through no fault of Animal Kingdom, I had come to expect it as some sort of Holy Grail of Australian cinema. It’s pretty good, but it’s not close to sacramental.

Kick-Ass

Kick-Ass is going to cause a lot of controversy. It’s about vigilante justice. It’s about revenge. It’s about a twelve-year-old girl swearing and stabbing people and shooting them in the head and cutting off their limbs.

The strangest thing is that people are shocked most of all by the girl saying “the c word”, rather than the brutal murders she commits. The unstrange thing is that a lot of people – chiefly the denizens of this faceless morass we call the internet – are going to love it.

I didn’t quite love Kick-Ass, and part of that was the audience, and part of that was a not very subtle undertone of homophobia, but it’s a worthy enough movie that I hope achieves enough success for Matthew Vaughn to keep making movies.

Wall-e: Popcorn Taxi

What you have to understand is that the idea of seeing a Pixar movie and then having a director Q&A afterwards – along with legendary sound designer Ben Burtt – is one of my ideas of Heaven. If I thought about it, Heaven would probably be an interconnecting series of cinema screens.
Wall-e, screening on August 25th, with special guests Andrew Stanton and Ben Burtt, reduced the pain of the three month release delay by a large margin. I just feel sorry for the poor saps who have to wait for the September 18 wide release.

Wall-e is a special movie: almost no dialogue, a pervading sense of duty in the face of loneliness, and characters who actually surprise us. It’s like I Am Legend if that movie had remained consistently good and was predominantly a love story. It’s also nice to know that the theme of “last robot on Earth” was a Science-Fiction conceit, rather than a damning indictment of humanity’s commitment to anti-environmentalism. This is not a movie about nature, but about human nature – and also the ways that it manifests in the limited AI of cute, beat up looking robots.

Not really spoilers within, but definite discussion of the “flavours of Wall-e“.

Popcorn Taxi: December Boys

“Adopt me, damnit.”

To bankroll a movie, particularly in Australia, one needs stars. That’s how you end up with something like Irresistible, starring Susan Sarandon, and Jindabyne, starring Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney. Of course, you also need promotion and distribution, which is why Jindabyne was the only one of those two that anyone had ever heard of.

December Boys has received a star: Daniel Radcliffe. He warrants a sort of blitz all of his own, so let’s see if December Boys has legs. To my mind it’s an enjoyable film, but not an easy sell. Australian cinema is weird like that.

Popcorn Taxi: Sunshine

In space, nothing good ever happens. Really, I don’t know why you’d bother.

Science fiction from Danny Boyle, the director of Trainspotting and 28 Days Later. That simple description of Sunshine may be enough to sell it to quite a few people.

Some wonder why more SF doesn’t get made and, beyond the fact of the high budgets expected to make them look good, there is a simple explanation: space is bleak. Sunshine gives hope, but ultimately all is an endless vacuum.

Trailer Warning: Don’t watch the trailer for this movie, as it apparently spoils many of the pertinent plot elements.


Popcorn Taxi: The Last King of Scotland

“But you should have persuaded me!”

I would love to be the most trusted advisor of a mad dictator. I can imagine the trajectory that this would take, in stream of consciousness:

What a nice man! Check out these sheets! Ooh! A fast car, for me? How kind! Dear lord! Who is shooting at me?! Dear lord, why are we shooting at them?! OH GOD MY NIPPLES NOOOOOOO

… Nope. Still don’t want to go to Africa. The British are killing your tourism industry, Africa!

The Last King of Scotland is the first feature film from renowned director of such documentaries as One Day in September (about the Berlin hostage situation that inspired Munich), Roger Macdonald. For a first time director making a film in one of those countries without a film industry, having to train much of his crew on the job, he’s done pretty well for himself.

Popcorn Taxi: Catch a Fire

The Third and Final Act of Australia Week

An excellent film presented by an excellent interviewer, and ably assisted by an excellent actor and director.

To cement the legendariness of this occasion in the eyes of the audience, one member said to Tim Robbins “I’ve been reading about you, and you seem quite liberal and committed to egalitarian causes. Why then do you always play dark bastards?”
Robbins, upon less than a moment’s reflection, responded: “The sanctimonious liberal isn’t a very interesting part.”

There you have it.