Tag Archives: Arts

Heaven’s Gate Minute by Minute: 190 of 209

26 May

190 of 209

For a thrown together rabble of townsfolk, they seem to have some organised battle tactics. Sure, their strategy consists solely of pushing a hut towards well armed mercenaries, but they’ve put some thought into it.

You can bet there was brain storming on butchers paper the night before. They broke into workgroups, then reported back to each other with a power point presentation.

There were outcomes planed and actions actioned. And so we have a battle plan by committee. But let’s not be cynical. Yes, the workgroups developed a battle plan where farmers push a shack at hardened, violent assassins, but the team bonding forged by the exercise was invaluable.

Hang on, if corporations write on butchers paper at retreats, what do butchers write on when they have conferences? Money, I suspect.

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Heaven’s Gate Minute by Minute: 180 of 209

7 May

180 of 209

SPOILER ALERT – my milk is out of date. Also, BANG! Billy is shot in the throat. Such relief. I thought nothing would shut that idiot up. No more mindless, quizzical quips from the class orator. Now, all the comic relief is going to have to come from Toby the 2ft tall, loveable CGI dragon.

The vintage aesthetic works very well for this scene. It’s very flattering on Toby. Sorry, I want to continue talking about the dusty, gritty look of this sequence but I’m just so happy the Billy character is dead. It’s so cathartic. I found myself fisting the air as he fell to the ground. But now I’m being sued by Nitrogen, oxygen and argon molecules.

Stop what you’re doing and enjoy the relief! Let’s all go out and buy a whole bunch of milk and pour it over ourselves. It’ll be so freeing. We need to live this moment together. Come on! Now! Go! Down to the milkbar. We’ll be milky, wet and free. Please, don’t use soy though – that’d just be weird.

Heaven’s Gate Minute by Minute: 177 of 209

27 Feb

177 of 209

The people of Johnson County have chosen an interesting battle strategy. The Stock Growers Association kneels, arms at the ready. Their guns are also poised. The angry mob of JC ride past them, circle and ride past again as the Association army picks them off. It’s kind of like that carnival game where you shoot rows of metal ducks as they bobble along.

I’m no military expert, well, I lecture in military strategy at West Point, but HR screwed up my last paycheque and I guess if I’m not being paid then I’m technically an amateur, but lining up to be shot doesn’t seem the most effective method to defeat your enemy.

Though, the other day I was a guest at a symposium on battle tactics and the organiser gave me a bottle of red to say thanks, so I guess I am sort of professional. Actually, it might be more accurate to call myself semi-professional. Yes, that seems appropriate. I am a semi-professional military strategist. So, if you’re planning a skirmish, give me a call on a telephone.

Heaven’s Gate Minute by Minute: 132 of 229

3 Nov

132 of 229

What we got ourselves here is an old fashion town meetin’. None of this civilised rake seating, put your hand-up and wait your turn nonsense. At this gathering, shouting and waving pieces of paper around is how you have your say. Jeff Bridges attempts to quiet the crowd so James can speak, but he’s not having much luck. The meeting is taking place in the same hall where they all roller-skated together. My how far we’ve come in 52 minutes…

There’s a kid sweeping. Why? Sometimes what makes a film great is the small details, but the room is filled with dirt-covered shouting people, why not sweep after everyone has left? Is he being paid to sweep? Is it a part-time job? Is it a full-time job? Or has he taken it upon himself to create a space with a clean floor in the hope it will promote robust discussion?

I wonder what the meeting is about? The armed thugs on their way to obliterate everyone? Could be. It could also be that everyone in the room is also in love with Ella. The pieces of paper being waved are romantic letters and Jim has called the town together to sort out this out of control love polygon.

Heaven’s Gate Minute by Minute: 126 of 229

28 Oct

126 of 229

I think the stationmaster might be in a spot of bother. Generally speaking, gun-carrying mercenaries in long flowing coats standing over you is a bad omen. Continue reading

Heaven’s Gate Minute by Minute: 125 of 229

27 Oct

125 of 229

Fade in and the intermission is over. Thank goodness! I don’t know what I would have done if I was forced to review a period where nothing happens. Though, I’ve managed thus far. Continue reading

Heaven’s Gate Minute by Minute: Part 49 of 229

21 Feb

49 of 229

O-oh! It’s confrontation time! James is ordered out of the clubhouse and there is a lot of macho posturing until the guy from Law and Order slaps him across the face with his gloves. James open palm slaps him back and it becomes a little awkward. This is a western, shouldn’t they spit in a spittoon and draw pistols? At least use a fist, for goodness sake. They look as though they’re performing a German folk dance. There is no piano or piani player, no card gamblers and the villain isn’t even wearing a black hat. And if they are staging a German slap dance, there is a severe lack of accordion! John Ford would be turning in his grave, unless he was cremated, in which case he’d be churning in his urn, or viewing the scene with indifference. Everything seems less important once you’ve been turned to ash. But if you’re trapped in a box you spend your days being outraged at trivial things. The main reason is you need the exercise and an excuse to roll around. If it weren’t for the worms, you’d get so flabby just lying there. To clarify, I am suggesting that John Ford would take issue with a German slap dance devoid of accordion. He’s a purist.

Melbourne Cinematheque: Tropical Maladies: The Cinema of Lucrecia Martel

21 Sep

The Holy Girl

A retrospective of Lucrecia Martel? Yes please!

Martel is a self-taught filmmaker (plus producer, screenwriter etc.) from Argentina who has been labelled one of the key figures of the ‘Argentinean New Wave’. Whilst she has only made three feature films all have garnered international success and recognition with both critics and audiences. Whilst the theme of each of her films is different Martel’s approach to them is not with her use of sound andspace being hailed as inventive and imaginative. And Melbourne Cinematheque has all of them for you to enjoy.

This Wednesday we start the viewing with Martel’s second feature, The Holy Girl (2004). As best friends Amalia (Maria Alche) and Josefina (Julieta Zylberberg) begin to experience both sexual and religious desire throughout their lives the two compulsions slowly begin to intertwine. A medical conference taking place at the Hotel Termas, which is owned by Amalia’s mother Helena (Mercedes Moran), gives Amalia the chance to use her new sexual and religious abilities to ‘save’ the sexually immoral Dr. Jano (Carlos Belloso). Based somewhat on Martel’s own memories and including few establishing shot but littered with textured close-ups, The Holy Girl was executive produced by Pedro Almodovar and played the international film festival circuit.

As with The Holy Girl, Martel’s debut feature The Swamp (2001) is based on memories of her childhood and her family. Over the summer Mecha (Graciela Borges), her husband Gregorio (Martin Adjemian) , and their teenage children escape the heat and go to their summer house. Mecha takes to drinking and accusing the servants of stealing as a way to get through the days whilst Gregorio is determined to look youthful and attractive by the pool. Yet in a near-by city is Mecha’s cousin Tali (Mercedes Moran), her husband and their young children and as the two families begin to spend more time together old tensions and repressed memories begin to rise with no end of summer in site. Winner of the Alfred Bauer Prize at the BIFF, Martel has commented that she wanted to make the viewer feel uncomfortable with both the images and the subject on the screen.

Melbourne Cinematheque 14/9/11: Luis Bunuel

14 Sep

By Eleanor Colla

Another one week retrospective at Cinematheque, and another one not to miss.

On Wednesday [Today -Ed!] three films by Luis Bunuel are being screened: Viridiana (1961), Un Chien Andalou (1929) and Nazarin (1959). Bunuel is perhaps most famed for his co-directing (with Salvador Dali) of Un Chien Andalou, hailed as one of the key films to emerge from the surrealist movement. Whilst Viridiana and Nazarin do not contain such strong surrealist elements as Un Chien Andalou both are filled with Bunuel’s take on religion, another major theme throughout his work.

Viridiana is a young, soon-to-be nun (played by Silvia Pinal) who is given leave from her convent to visit her uncle Don Jamie (Fernando Ray) at his dilapidated estate. Viridiana’s looks remind her uncle of his deceased wife and whilst he is unable to convince her to stay and marry him events unfold that force Viridiana to give up her future at the convent and instead run the estate with her cousin Jorge, Jamie’s son. Through this situation Bunuel is able to comment on the teachings of the church in the real world, using Virdiana’s ‘rescuing’ of the poor around the estate and their eventual inability to conform to her teachings as an attack of the teachings of the church. Upon release, the film was deemed blasphemous by the Vatican, the ending was changed by the Spanish board of censors because of its illusion to a ménage a trios, and it went on to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes despite the Franco regime trying to have the film banned.

Nazarin has the same similar religious themes at Virdiana, following the life of the extremely pious Padre Nazario (Francisco Rabal) who unwittingly wreaks havoc in his attempt to do God’s work. Giving away nearly all of his material possessions and not passing judgement, but rather helping a prostitute being accused of murder, merely drives Nazario from his village where he takes to roaming the countryside for work and food. Despite still continuing to live by the church, Nazario finds himself imprisoned and for the first time questioning the intervention of God in his life. Filmed with just enough ambiguity to be endorsed by the Catholic Church (and going on to win the International Catholic Cinema Office award), Nazarin actually serves to highlight the hypocrisy of the church’s teachings.

Melbourne Cinematheque: Pre-Code Hollywood

7 Sep

AFR

The Story of Temple Drake

By Eleanor

A one-off at Cinematheque this week looking at three pre-code Hollywood films.

‘Pre-code’ of course is in reference to the films made before the introduction of the Motion Picture Production Code (aka the Hays Code) in the 1930s. Whilst this code was introduced in 1930, it was generally not upheld until 1934 for movie content, classification and censorship was largely worked out between the studios and local distributers. Many of the early sound films included elements of sexual promiscuity, glorified gangsters, anti-religious sentiments and not the happy Hollywood ending that came to be expected after 1934. After the introduction of the Code many of these films were banned or heavily censored and it was not until the 1970s, after the Code was replaced in 1968, that many of these films were rediscovered.

To begin the evening is The Public Enemy (1931) which follows the rise of Tom Powers (James Cagney) and his friend Matt Doyle (Edward Woods) in the prohibition-era crime world as they graduated from stealing watches as children to gangland murder. The film also manages to juxtapose the material wealth that Tom has acquired whilst his war-veteran, straight-laced older brother has seemingly nothing to offer from his ‘wholesome’ life.

In 1941 the film was re-released with three scenes cut- the victims being an effeminate tailor, a couple on a bed and a seduction scene- having been deemed ‘unsuitable’. In 1954 the film was re-released yet again with a written prologue advising the audience not to glorify the actions of gangsters or criminals.

Next is The Story of Temple Drake (1933), a film that has been labelled one of the main reasons for the Code crackdown for both its display of immorality within the plot and that a major Hollywood studio (Paramount) would make such a film. Based on the equally scandalous novel by William Faukner, Stephen Roberts’ film follows Temple Blake (Miriam Hopkins), an upper-class and sexually adventurous girl whose grandfather is a judge and who finds herself in the midst of a gang of bootleggers whose leader lusts after her, determined to make her his at any cost.

And finally, to end the night, is Hell’s Highway (1932) which looks at prison chain-gangs and life behind bars. When ‘Duke’ Ellis’ (Richard Dix) younger brother is brought into prison Duke must change his plans of escape, thus presenting the viewer with a raw, dirty and most likely accurate look at the life of inmates and chain-gang workers at the time.