November is the month where I clearly paced myself so that I could go all out at the very end for maximum overdrive at the Japanese Film Festival.
A Good Year
November 1, 6:30, Greater Union Campbelltown (Cinema 1) – no ticket issued
I still don’t quite understand why this movie was made, as it doesn’t fit with either Ridley Scott or Russell Crowe’s world order. Due to Russell Crowe’s “evil” image, this film did not do good business because no one could buy him as a money-grubbing tyrant who learns to appreciate the slow life. Still, it’s one of those nice if bland projects that you can’t regret seeing but won’t necessarily remember having seen thereafter.
November 13, 6:30, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 4)
I had high hopes for Boytown being the next big thing in Australian film, but with its $5,000,000 budget and its louse of an ending, this was not to be. If you can make a movie funny, then this is a good thing. If you have to make it pass the stupidity and satisfactory conclusion barrier for the sake of a cheap laugh, you have failed. “Seasons in the Sun” my eye. You could have been so much better.
Catch a Fire
November 15, 7:30, Greater Union Bondi Junction (Popcorn Taxi) – no ticket issued
I like Philip Noyce. His The Quiet American featured Michael Caine in a role performed so well that it almost brought tears to my eyes. Catch a Fire isn’t a film about a trouble friendship and the way that women come between people; instead it’s a film about becoming so full of rage and injustice that you have to do something about it, and finally about letting go and moving on.
Derek Luke and Tim Robbins got the most out of their roles, which suggests that Noyce is indeed an accomplished director and, according to the Popcorn Taxi session (one of the best yet), his editor is amazing.
While this would have been a good movie anyway, Noyce and Robbins’ insight into the truth of the situation represented on the screen greatly enhanced it. This is the first movie I’ve been to where the audience hissed “Yesss!” when a character got away with bombing an oil rig. We were feeling it indeed.
November 21, 5:30, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 10) – ticket mutilated in vicious washing machine assault
Michael Caine is one of my favourite actors ever. David Bowie is one of my favourite singers ever. If you feature these two luminaries in one film, you’re liable to either destroy the universe or to create the single greatest motion picture ever committed to celluloid. This was not quite the case with The Prestige, but it was pretty freaking awesome.
This tale of the pursuit of magic above all else – epitomised in the line “I don’t care about my wife, I care about how he does his tricks!” – was so expertly made that it managed to provide a twist to the story every few minutes and still keep me guessing until quite a long way into the film. Comrade Ajay figured out one of the major twists well before any normal person could have, but this certainly could not dim the appeal of such an excellent movie. When I have no idea who is supposed to be the good guy in a movie but never once feel confused, some sort of salute is in order … and so: Brothers Nolan, I salute you.
November 24, 7:25, Greater Union George Street (Cinema 11)
The night I saw Borat for the first time, I was in torturous pain the likes of which I occasionally see. Still, the quality of Borat was such that I could not escape to comfort. Unfortunately the audience was a bit less than classy, and they laughed too loud for me to see it. Borat would live to be seen another day!
Japanese Film Festival
See the main section on the JFF – it was an excellent way to end November and start December.
Pick of November 2006: The Prestige