​An Australian Creative Director and Strategist fumbles through life in America. Live from New York.

An Australian Creative Director and Strategist fumbles through life New York City.

Filtering by Tag: film

Entertaining Myself (Part Seven)

It’s been a while between drinks for everyone’s favourite DonkeyFire review section, ‘Entertaining Myself’, and strictly speaking, this edition involved the entertainment of myself AND Tom ‘Big Cat’ Cusbert. And in a way, the word ‘entertainment’ in this instance is a bit of a misnomer: the film we watched was more like having your brain and nervous system frayed, then split open, then flayed. But in a good way.

The film in question was ‘Drive’, from director Nicolas Winding Refn and staring everyone’s favourite baby goose/butterscotch surprise, Ryan Gosling. Straight up, let me say this: I enjoyed this film immensely, and the more I reflect on it, the more I like it. It had so many elements that were perfect (in my humble, bloggy opinion): incredibly stylized, gorgeous cinematography (reminicent of Heat, which seemed to be a bit of an influence), excellent casting, perfect soundtrack, not to mention the pacing of the film.

But it was also quite possibly the most tense two hours of my entire life. Refn uses plot, sparse dialogue, long shots and a pulsating, synth driven score to tie the audience in knots: Tom and I were literally rolling around the couch and hugging our legs from the tension. And when the tension breaks, it usually involves MEGA, FUCK OFF VIOLENCE. Seriously, this could be the most violent film I’ve ever seen: think A History of Violence being raped by a muscle car on meth. That doesn’t make sense, but I’m sticking with it.

I really cannot recommend this film more highly. If you can stomach the hectic violence, then get your hands on it.

5 out of 5 crushed skulls.

Entertaining Myself (Part Five).

Once again we depart from the usual drivel of me writing about Beijing (and fondling statues), and instead turn to meek, poorly worded film reviews for a little section I call Entertaining Myself. And this week, ladies and gentleman, we have a barnburner – Peter Berg’s Friday Night Lights.

I first saw this film when it came out about a decade ago, and time has not hurt it one little bit – but it is interesting to catch up with the non-fiction Mojo Panthers of Odessa, Texas after becoming addicted to the fictitious Dillon Panthers from the TV series of the same name.

The film focuses on the true story of the 1988 Odessa Panthers, a high school American football team full of talented young men in a Texas town dangerously obsessed with the sport. We watch the pressure these high school kids face from a town that demands nothing but the best (a state championship): the coach who’s entire livelihood changes on a week-to-week basis, the crazed former champion who lives his (alcoholic, violent) life through his son (an at times underperforming Panther), and the super talented Bubbie Miles, whose overconfidence masks a deeper concern: by putting all your eggs in the sporting basket, what happens if you get broken?

I loved this film when I saw it the first time, and nothing has changed. The acting is excellent (although I like the coach in the TV series far more that Billy Bob Thornton); the cinematography is truly spectacular, perfectly complimented by the soundtrack from musical geniuses Explosions in the Sky (who feature prominently in the TV series as well). The Pulitzer Prize book by H.G. Bissinger is well worth a read, the TV show (though different) is equally entertaining and moving, and the whole thing just crackles with energy.

5 Snapped ACL Ligaments out of a possible 5.

Almost didn't make it.

I woke up this morning (a wee bit hungover). I stumbled out to the living room, and put the TV on (expecting CNN) while the shower warmed up.

But it wasn’t CNN. It was HBO…and THEY WERE SHOWING TEAM AMERICA. It was like being electrocuted: I immediately felt great, and strongly considered not coming to work.

The film was up to the bit where the actors lure two of the TA guys into a trap with Kim Jung Il’s panthers: except they’re just black domestic cats.

Ha. Great way to start the day.