I must have taken a break after the hecticness of August, but September was not without its charms. It was also not without its silliness. In fact, one (being me) might say that it was a month of genetically engineered stupidity.
Thank You For Smoking
September 8, 7:00, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 1)
The second time around, Thank You For Smoking seemed more gimmicky and sometimes even annoying. It was still a good movie but, armed with Jason Reitman information, I came to feel that the father-son storyline was a bit too cloying for comfort and that the narration was too inconsistent.
Still, an undeniably good time.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley
September 11, 6:30, Palace Verona – no ticket issued
Maybe I’m a bad person, but a lot of these politically charged films that are controversial, I can’t understand the controversy.* I thought that the message of The Wind That Shakes The Barley was a worthy one that deserved screen time and seemed to suggest that there are no real easy solutions to the problems of a country torn by internal strife. Cillian Murphy led a cast of largely local talent in this thoroughly depressing but ultimately stoic film. I would have liked it more had it gone a little easier on the torture, but hey, that’s civil war for you.
*That said, I love that Ken Loach has become a straw man despite the fact that he sometimes makes the arguments that are in line with his detractors, who clearly have no sense of irony.
September 21, 4:15, Greater Union Hurstville – ticket missing
Seriously the best movie of 2006. No other contenders necessary. I should have just stopped going to the cinema right then and there. This was not my first choice on the day; I can’t remember what I had intended to see, but the times had been changed ever so cruelly.
I don’t regret having seen D.O.A., because it transcended its own stupidity to become ridiculously fun. I won’t say it’s not challenging – the suspension of disbelief involved is a huge task – but it’s certainly not insulting like other movies that demand to be taken seriously.
“Wearing these glasses means I know kung fu!” How can you fight that?
Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
September 21, 6:30, Greater Union Hurstville (Cinema 2)
A different brand of stupidity, it takes a very carefully calculating mind to get precisely as foolish as Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby was. It pretends to be lowest common denominator, but it operates at a higher level than that: it operates at the level of inspired lunacy, of the variety that gratifies those who don’t just go to the movies to see something stupid.
My favourite joke in the movie is something that my friends didn’t seem to notice, but that’s no surprise in something so chock-full of non sequiturs. Also it featured Mos Def and Elvis Costello for absolutely no reason. You may hate Will Ferrell, but sometimes he knows what he’s doing. I have to admire the amount of work that went into making Talladega Nights look so effortless, and the fact that I have no idea what Sacha Baron Cohen actually looks like. An unlikely winner.
September 22, 7:20, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 11)
Ridiculously, insanely, transcendently good. Nacho Libre is excellence distilled onto celluloid. I personally love Jack Black and, with Nacho Libre, that love was rewarded. Jared Hess has managed to make two films now that have made me leave the cinema with a huge smile on my face. It’s easy to make me laugh, but it’s not as easy to make me smile. It may have been a let down to people who were expecting Napoleon Dynamite II, but not everyone can make the same movie over and over again (others have no trouble). Personally, I am glad that this tale of poor Mexicans making good made it to my screen.
Snakes on a Plane
September 26, 7:10, Greater Union Hurstville (Cinema 3)
I saw this film out of duty to the flag. People were right: the internet did all of the work for us. I don’t mind having seen Snakes on a Plane, but I didn’t need to: were it not Snakes on a Plane, I would never have touched it. I can’t stand movies where people die in horrible ways, and people here die in horrible ways.
Little Miss Sunshine
September 27, 7:00, Greater Union Campbelltown (Cinema … 6?) – ticket missing
One of my favourite movies of 2006, if not ever, Little Miss Sunshine was an excellent road movie and examination of a family. I love Toni Collette, and Steve Carell continues to impress me at every turn. Could a film about a group of people with their own foibles coming to appreciate each other through close proximity and adversity get any better? It clearly could not.
Pick of September 2006: Little Miss Sunshine
I unashamedly love movies that are both comedic and dramatic, sometimes simultaneously so. Little Miss Sunshine was, in my estimation, masterful.