Tuesday 12 July 2022

Elvis (2022) - Movie Review

Baz Luhrmann. The Aussie king of camp. The Man from Showy River.

I don’t like Baz Luhrmann’s films.

His woeful adaptation of The Great Gatsby marks the first time I ever left a cinema actually angry at having wasted my time and money on a particular film. Romeo + Juliet was the first time a specific adaptation choice (the whole ‘Sword-branded guns’ thing) actively annoyed me. Australia was the first time I discovered how much test screenings can interfere with the creative process in rather peculiar ways (i.e. The Drover was originally meant to die, but test audiences didn’t want to see that happen to Hugh Jackman, so… that changed).

Yeah, he’s responsible for a lot of personal milestones, and none of them positive. The man’s insistence on absolute bombast constantly gets between him and whatever the hell point he thinks he’s making in his films, and even as someone who enjoys the patently ridiculous, Baz keeps testing my patience in just how loud he plays every aspect of his films.

But even with all of that in mind, one thing I have always maintained, alongside my utter contempt for the bulk of the man’s filmography (Australia and The Great Gatsby are easily on the shortlist for worst films I’ve ever seen, period), is that he is talented. He knows how to put a film together, he’s a properly unique voice in Australian cinema, and for as much as I personally can’t stand his work, I can at least understand why others would. Hell, I’ll even give him credit for Strictly Ballroom, which is a genuinely good film and something of a mission statement for Baz’s entire career to follow: Play to the crowds, don’t worry about the committees. It’s just that, with everything since Strictly Ballroom, that talent has been squandered on increasingly misguided and frequently exasperating storytelling decisions.

Suffice to say, I wasn’t really looking forward to his latest release. I may be growing more and more comfortable with lengthier films, but considering how much I just can’t with this guy to begin with, sitting down for a near-three hour presentation is one of those moments when this job of mine actually feels like work. Or, at least, that’s what I was expecting. In what is raring to be the biggest surprise of 2022 (pleasant ones, at least), this is the first Baz Luhrmann film I’ve genuinely enjoyed since Strictly Ballroom.

Sunday 10 July 2022

Minions: The Rise Of Gru (2022) - Movie Review

Illumination might be in trouble. While they’ve certainly found their lane with a mixture of old-school animated slapstick and embracing the popularity of villains, their most recent features have been the epitome of diminishing returns. Their take on The Grinch was okay, but not exactly going to replace Jim Carrey anytime soon, the Secret Life Of Pets sequel was closer to a pilot for a TV show than its own film, and Sing 2 showed a noticeable drop from the rousing effect of the original. At this point, it’s easy to argue that the studio should stick with their prime cash cow (the Minions), since their ability to deliver with other franchises isn’t working out… but as their latest has shown, even that is in question.

Saturday 2 July 2022

Men (2022) - Movie Review

I love fucked-up movies. To me, there are few feelings I love more than when I’ve just finished watching a movie, and my first instinct is to scream “What the fuck did I just watch?!” while sporting a massive grin on my face. I’ve looked at quite a few films on this blog that have genuinely gotten that reaction out of me, like The Greasy Strangler, Malignant, Where The Dead Go To Die, and Titane, and the experiences I had watching them for the first time are memories I hold onto quite closely. But when the latest film by Alex Garland, whose last two films were certified sci-fi king hits, popped up in a cinema close(ish) to me, I can’t say I was expecting it to join that illustrious collection. But sure enough, here we are.