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 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 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 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
Posted on 18 April 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
by James Vinson
Gushing over mainstream foreign martial arts titles such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero, or House of Flying Daggers does not make you a steadfast aficionado of the genre. That’s right people, the game is up, so swallow your Chai Latte down the right way and let me continue.
The truth is, the majority of us have very limited literacy in the realm of martial arts cinema. Why? Because they frighten us. These films relentlessly challenge our feeble Westernised brains via elaborate colour schemes, operatic storylines, and characters with the uncompromising ability to glide through the air and sprint over water as if Jesus Christ himself was taking evasive action against the Romans. Apart from showcasing a widely known fact that Asians are genetically superior in every faculty, martial arts films engender unnerving beauty into a discipline fundamentally concerned with roundhouse kicking a new chest cavity into another human being, and more importantly, it never looks painful.
Then there’s The Raid. Continue Reading
Posted on 05 April 2012 by The Bucket Editorial
by James Vinson
I will admit, I have not read Suzanne Collins’ critically acclaimed teenage fiction entitled The Hunger Games. And I am glad for it. Having observed a frothing sea of jaded fourteen year old girls (and boys) swooning, sobbing, and scowling at the film’s sporadic spurts of fidelity to their cherished novel, I feel privileged that I did not share their anxieties for the future of the series when I left the cinema.