400 And Counting: Week Nine (The Wild Rose)

It’s been a long week. It should surprise no one that I didn’t immediately go out and watch a heap of SBS On Demand movies after the Japanese Film Festival. One of the bigger factors is how uncinematic working movies on my computer is. It feels less engaging than TV, which is far less engaging than an actual cinema. It also doesn’t help that most of the movies I was excited to watch expired before I got around to seeing them. I did however, see a couple of very good films this week, so that’s something.

Onwards!


Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
Director: Ridley Scott
2:34:00 (Completed)

This film got a heap of bad reviews, and I can understand why. In saying that, I liked it.

It’s a retelling of the story of Moses. It’s a “bible epic,” which means it’s basically Gladiator with hardly any action. It features Ben Kingsley as the Pharaoh Seti, Joel Edgerton as the rightful son and heir who, you guessed it, isn’t really fit to rule. The adopted son Moses, played by Christian Bale, is basically Maximus. There’s even a untimely death, an exile and the rise of a corrupt leader. So yes, the story is basically a less exciting Gladiator.

But I find religion interesting, even if I don’t believe in it. This is a slow building swords and sandals period drama piece with some great actors in it. Ben Mendelsohn stole every scene — no easy task considering the cast list. On the other side of the coin, Sigourney Weaver was completely wasted.

Yes, this film was really long, but despite it’s flaws, I enjoyed the film quite a bit.


Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream (2005)
Director: Stuart Samuels
1:25:30 (Completed)

It’s a doco about movies, so of course I’m interested!

This one is about the ‘midnight movies’, six movies that were huge cult hits and played at midnight for years all around the world. Of the six, I’ve seen three: Night of the Living Dead, The Harder They Come and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The three I haven’t seen are El Topo, Pink Flamingos and Eraserhead.

Midnight Movies explores these films, the people who made them and the whole following behind these movies. You don’t have to have seen them to enjoy this doco; it’s suitable for anyone interested in movies and, I guess, counterculture.


Horrible Bosses 2 (2014)
Director: Sean Anders
1:48:00 (Completed)

This is a forgettable Hollywood sequel, following on from a forgettable Hollywood comedy. It had some funny moments but it wasn’t great. I don’t want to waste any more words on this movie.


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012) [Extended Edition]
Director: Peter Jackson
3:02:00 (Completed)

I’m preparing for the final film and my trip to Auckland by rewatching The Hobbit films. It’s also my first time watching the extended edition, despite watching all the behind the scenes features (the ‘Making Of’ features on the DVDs are incredible and far more interesting than the movie itself).

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey reintroduces us to Tolkien’s Middle-earth, some 60 years before the events of The Lord of Rings.The Extended Edition is over 3 hours long and it’s a bit of a slog to get through. I didn’t really notice any new footage, but I may of zoned out a little.

Yes, it shouldn’t have been three movies, but it’s still been an enjoyable trip and one I’ve liked revisiting.


Nightcrawler (2014)
Director: Dan Gilroy
1:57:00 (Completed)

I don’t want to talk too much about this film. For completely different reasons than Horrible Bosses 2. Nightcrawler is easily Jake Gyllenhaal’s best film (and this is coming from a Donnie Darko and Zodiac fan).

Gyllenhaal plays a very strange and driven man who begins to films accidents and crimes for the news. The film is a great character study and really lets Gyllenhaal prove he has some serious acting chops.

This movie really stuck with me, and I think you should watch it. One of the best movies of the year.


I saw Nick Cave perform this week, and was very annoyed with myself for not having a copy of The Proposition, a western he wrote which is, for my money, the best Australian film ever made.

I really need to track down The Proposition, and I should just suck it up and watch more SBS movies. In other media, The Newsroom just finished and the final episode was a fitting sendoff.

Film of the week: Nightcrawler
Movies watched this week: 5
Did Not Finish (DNF) this week: 0
Time spent this week: 10:48:30
Total movies watched: 49/400
Total DNF: 2
Total time: 87:04:32