Posted on 19 September 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
Ever had a primary school crush you never acted on, but wished you had because now they’re a whore/dentist/in prison/goat? Nor me. And yet, I often wonder what might’ve happened if any of us were man enough to pursue our prepubescent infatuations in those formative years spent eating tanbark. Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom investigates such a tension, following the journey of twelve-year-old Sam Shakusky as he evades the clutches of the Khaki scouts, the law, and the weather in order to elope with Suzy Bishop: the (almost) woman of his dreams. Whilst this premise may sound like a paedophile’s bookmarked pornography link, rest assured Anderson firmly prioritises romance and whimsical circumstance over potentially uncomfortable themes of “sexual awakening”. This is not Bill Henson photography at twenty-four frames a second; it is a childhood fairytale for grownups…please don’t misinterpret that.
Devout fans of the aforementioned Wes Hipsterson will immediately know what they’re in for. An eclectic soundtrack, heightened dialogue, 1960s production design, pastel colours, strafing tracking shots, and Bill Murray. Faithful to his standard, Anderson weaves these elements together with the precision and fastidiousness of a true auteur. Now I tend to avoid drooling over any director, but so perfectly symmetrical is each composition, so immaculately timed are the edits to the score, so intricate are the choreographed long takes, I can only deduce the man possesses severe autism. And cinema needs more autism. Without it, the industry would become lazy and before you know it, Rihanna will be a household name at Cannes and Lars von Trier will be begged to return for his filmmaking “insights”: neo-Nazi or no neo-Nazi.
Posted on 29 August 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
If you went to see this film presuming the title referred to Jason Bourne’s adorable offspring, dolling out infant-sized karate chops in a top secret Treadstone playpen, well, you’d probably be less disappointed by this movie than the actual fans who know what they’re talking about.
If ever a sequel were to utilize this premise to great effect, it may as well have been this one, since it was, by a clean mile, the most unnecessary film of the franchise. And whilst we’re on the word “franchise”, can somebody please remind me; at what stage did Bourne become a “franchise”? To me, “franchise” means cereal collectables, comic strip spinoffs featuring Sonic the Hedgehog (sometimes Knuckles the Echidna, sometimes), and action figures with sharp edges that prick the eyeballs of children and adults alike. And yet, perhaps “franchise” is now an apt title for this series. After seeing The Bourne Legacy, I feel as though it is only a matter of time before one or all of these things are bestowed upon this once beloved adaptation trilogy. Who knows, they may even release an App Store game that coerces you into thinking the government wants to murder you no matter how much collateral damage they cause.
Posted on 21 August 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
Seems like everyone’s talking about the inevitable downfall of the newspaper business, no one more so than the papers themselves, who probably see it as a golden opportunity to do some quality reporting without leaving the office. But I for one hope they endure, and not only because without them my local fish and chip shop will have to find another way of packaging its wares.
My fears for a world without papers are simple: without the vast reporting apparatus that most major print media businesses can bring to bear to scrutinise governments and businesses there will be less oversight, and this will lead to more corruption and collusion, which will foster organised crime, and eventually Batman. It really is that simple. In a world where papers are no longer able to keep the system in check, its only a matter of time before a billionaire dressed up like a flying rodent is beating the crap out of a genius-bodybuilder-mercenary with a speech impediment.
While it’s true that there are other news networks both in Australia and abroad that uncover corruption and keep government honest, none of them have the man-power or the time to do the legwork that is almost always required to perform the media’s most important role. Newspaper companies, by virtue of their unchallenged reign as the single source of news for several hundred years almost always have the ability, if not the inclination to do this work, and keep Batman at bay.
Posted on 16 August 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
The Melbourne International Film Festival has swung round again, so I thought it fitting to write a retrospective piece on the shorts produced by our cultural identity confused nation. Did the line-up feature fireworks, romantic snogging in the rain, flipping trucks, or period piece sets? Of course not. Australia doesn’t do it that way. Apparently we’re too indie.
When that unmistakably “Aussie” tongue slackening larrikin-esque accent fills the theatre, I’ll admit I find it difficult to sit comfortably. Much like the sound of Gran’s grinding teeth when we share a sleeping bag on family camping trips, the depiction of rural heritage in Australian cinema is both invasive, and out-dated. Not that I think we should ditch our lamingtons and boomerangs in favour of apple pie and tomahawks, but there must be filmmakers in this great country who have much broader interests than what was showcased at MIFF. Or perhaps our filmmaking culture has been so thoroughly bludgeoned over the head with success stories following award winning films exploring repressed sexuality, and racial guilt, that they’ve simply slipped into a state of complacency and merely attempt to ‘play along’.
But there is still hope.
Posted on 06 August 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
I was perusing the opinion section of the Herald Sun’s website, as I often do, and I came across this article by Australia’s Most Read Columnist, Mr. Andrew Bolt. He was writing about the latest Batman movie, which depicted a free-market Batman saving the west from the oppressive yoke of Bain’s socialism. To be honest reading Bolt makes my vision a little blurry so I’m a little vague on the details but the thrust of it was that Christopher Nolan had shown how the destructive mob would inevitably be the downfall of socialism, and this had outraged the left-wing reviewers and vindicated Bolt’s opposition of the Occupy movement, and people generally. This interested me greatly, because not only was I unaware that mob violence was a problem peculiar to socialism, but having seen The Dark Knight Rises, I was keen to learn more about this other Nolan Batman movie that Bolt had apparently been shown.
Yes, Bruce Wayne is an old-school capitalist who runs a very private company and makes what is described in the industry as a butt-tonne of money doing his own thing, away from the prying eyes of the government and in this way is every conservative commentators’ dream hero. Before we go any further I’d like to point out that this apparent complete lack of regulation results in his company building a power plant that can be turned into a nuclear device the size of the Nagasaki bomb by a Russian pensioner in about 15 seconds, but that’s by the by. The point about Wayne is that, unlike any real world capitalist, he uses a sizeable portion of his profits building a system that provides all of Gotham with utilities and free public transport, but makes him no money. Without this self-destructive humanitarian instinct he would be just another successful businessman and no more a super hero than I am, but with it he is entirely unlike any human businessman I am yet to encounter or here tell of.
Posted on 01 August 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
Yeah, I’ve seen The Dark Knight Rises, but why should you pretend to care about what I think? Yes, Christian Bale wails pain upon thugs rather than defenceless women. No, Anne Hathaway doesn’t get her kit off. Yes, Michael Caine stares into your very soul and breaks your heart. No, Batman doesn’t use his trusty shark repellent spray. But let’s face it, you’ve already made up your mind on whether you’re going to see it or not.
So, you’re stranded in the central CBD: $15 in your wallet. An innately primal desire to optically consume a moving image takes possession over your sensory faculties. Club X is closed, ACMI is too cultured and pretentious this time of year, and the Nova is screening nothing worth viewing…or is it? A stranger with a fluorescent green bowler hat slaps you across the cheek for thinking such insolent and unfounded thoughts.
“Why don’t you see The Cabin in the Woods,” he barks with the writhing authority of a lioness after the death of her alpha male. You oblige him.
I apologise for this piece of hypothetical fiction, but often there’s so little to write when you have to criticise a film you genuinely liked, especially when selling the premise actually spoils the fun. My advice is, just see it. Did you ever wonder why every B-Grade thriller features an over-compensating jock, a virginal protagonist, and a cheerleading slut who almost always dies in the first act? The Cabin in the Woods investigates answers to these ancient questions, and amazingly makes amends for any disappointing horror film you’ve ever seen.
Posted on 06 July 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
‘Gritty’ has a become an all too familiar buzzword within the contemporary filmmaking scene; growing frighteningly synonymous with the word ‘reboot’, made possible in no small part to Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins in 2005, and Martin Campbell’s re-envisioning of Bond in Casino Royale the following year. That was seven years ago. Gritty is no longer the fresh new fad – it’s a standard. It somehow gives credibility to a once incredible franchise, or does it?
Since Steve Ditko put ink to paper in 1962, the Spider-Man universe has been illustrated in hues of vibrant blue, red, and orange. When Peter Parker’s surrogate father was killed, his first thought was not to flee into the mountains in order to become a wraith-like ninja of the night, instilling fear into the criminal underworld of a rain-drenched city reminiscent of hell on earth. Instead, Spidey opts for red and blue spandex, fights crime in broad daylight, and rather than becoming an icon of fear, reminds residents of the Big Apple that he’s merely part of the “friendly neighbourhood”. Is Spider-Man conducive to the contemporary atmosphere of darkness and grit? In an alternate universe where Selena Gomez is a Playboy model and Toy Story 3 concluded with Buzz and Woody melting in a garbage disposal furnace, then yes perhaps he is. But in our world, Spider-Man is first and foremost a fantasy genre, so why pretend it’s anything else?
Posted on 27 June 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
by James Vinson
If the Chinese calendar featured a ‘Year of the Blockbuster’, this would be it. But they don’t, because movies aren’t animals. Prometheus is one of many motion picture events riddled throughout 2012, and has unfortunately become the first high profile film to ignite the fury of scorned consumer hype.
As this review has been written in a somewhat belated fashion, you’ve no doubt become aware that – according to our finest critics – Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated return to the twin disciplines of science and fiction was…well…lacklustre. A “solid 7/10”, so they say. Now I surely hope these less than stellar reviews haven’t sent Ridley to the darkest recesses of his cellar to simultaneously drink, cry, and masturbate towards nightmarish slumber…because I thought Prometheus was excellent, as long as you take it with a pinch of salt.
Let me outline the salt in question. Prometheus is not “Alien 0.5”. Yes it takes place one century before the events of Alien, but to classify the film as a prequel implies a certain dependence on trans-narrative knowledge, and a neat bridging tie-in at the end. There is none. Put simply, Ridley Scott got lucky with Alien. He took the B-Grade Horror formula of an insidious ghoul chasing mortal humans through dark claustrophobic corridors, and dressed it up with A-Grade Science-Fiction production values, resulting in a groundbreaking cross-genre phenomenon that has remained unparalleled to this day. Prometheus – nor any other film – could ever hope to match the presence Alien had thirty years ago: and Ridley knows this.
Posted on 22 May 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
by James Vinson
Dark Shadows is essentially every Burton-cynic’s sneering wet dream: “well if it isn’t another franchise rehash with Depp as the lead, Helena Bonham Carter supporting, Danny Elfman writing the score, gothic architecture, and gallons and gallons of white makeup.”
All of this is true. So if these generic taunting words resemble your own, then there’s no reason you should be reading this, unless you seek to inflate the ego of your inner film critic. Wanker. Continue Reading
Posted on 02 May 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
by James Vinson
Whether you profess to be an art-house elitist or a chick flick fanatic, you cannot deny that The Avengers is Hollywood’s most ambitious cross-franchise project to date. Much like Nick Fury, Marvel Studios made a daring gamble when deciding to assemble The Avengers Initiative on the big screen – except they weren’t black. Whilst the film itself cost a modest sum of $220 million, when you add together the combined budgets of Marvel’s independently produced ‘set up movies’, The Avengers basically cost 860 million American dollars. Yeah, suck it James Cameron. Continue Reading