The Fate of the Furious (2017)

I quite like alliteration. The relentless pattern-sthe_fate_of_the_furious_theatrical_postereeking device that is the human brain happily ascribes some sort of significance to any deliberate repetition it happens to spot; mine usually ascribes playful whimsy. I like alliteration so much that I’m generally happy to ignore blatant use of it to try and hide clunky writing.

And I was fairly pleased when the fourth film in the The Fast and the Furious franchise forwent the definite articles, becoming simply Fast & Furious. This is because when all the nominalised adjectives[1] in a series are prefaced with ‘the’, it implies distinct, non-overlapping categories. The Long and the Short and the Tall refers to three different groups of people, not one group of people to whom all three descriptors apply. The same goes for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.[2]

Compare this to [Lifestyles of] the Rich and Famous,[3] or even The Royal and Ancient [Golf Club of St Andrews]. In each example, both adjectives describe the same noun.[4] Which brings us to The Fast and the Furious, the original film, where both nominalised adjectives[5] were proudly prefaced with definite articles. Which therefore implied that ‘the fast’ and ‘the furious’ were distinct groups. They might as well have called it The Fast vs the Furious. But of course they didn’t, because in the film, all parties to the conflict could be said to possess both fastness speed and fury.

Which is why I was satisfied when what could’ve been titled The Fast and the Furious Four[6] was instead named Fast and Furious. No implied juxtaposition of disparate groups, just two adjectives. Clean and succinct, but no less descriptive.

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David Stratton: A Cinematic Life (2017)

Calling all cinephiles: this one’s for you.

I grew up watching Margaret & David: At the Movies on ABC every week, and even before the advent of ABC iView, I’d beg my parents to record the show for me. Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton fuelled my love of film and exposed me to the wonders of world cinema. Needless to say, the new documentary directed by Sally Aitken about the charmingly grumpy film critic and champion of Australian cinema, David Stratton, filled me with a simultaneous sense of immense nostalgia and tremendous glee upon discovering that David’s obsessive behaviour with regard to film, pretty much mirrored my own.

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Silence (2016)

Silence, an adaptation of the Japanese novel of the same name and the latest effort from Martin Scorsese, is nearly three hours long. Scorsese is known for the long length of his films so this wasn’t a surprise, but it remained a focal point in my mind as I was going into the cinema. Three hours in a packed and stuffy cinema watching a film about the spiritual journey of two Jesuit priests who have travelled to 17th century Japan during the persecution of Christians to seek out their lost mentor. It’s a challenge which requires preparation, so I stocked up with a packet of chips, M&Ms, and a large Pepsi. As you can imagine, finding loud moments in a film called Silence to take a bite of your crunchy chips is a slow endeavour. Perhaps this is an apt analogy for the film itself.

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Review: Dr Strange (2016)

Ah the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where all of Hollywood’s brightest stars come out to shine. Two or three times a year, every remotely marketable Movie Star from Chris Pratt to Chris Evans to Chris Penn strut their stuff in their finest Halloween apparel, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Marvel’s latest confection is Dr Strange, featuring Sherlock Holmes as Dr Stephen Strange, the mercurially talented neurosurgeon with the touch of gold (his touch is cold). A tumble off a cliff edge in his Lamborghini leaves Strange miraculously, and ungratefully alive. His hands are mangled beyond the help of conventional Western medicine, and his life is in tatters! Much angst! Such sadness! Read More

Review: The Legend of Tarzan (2016)

Full disclosure, readers: I can, and will, swoon with the best of them at the mere sight of a bare-chested Alexander Skarsgaard. But I’d prefer you try to read this review without the type of cynicism that involves raising one of your eyebrows to such an extent that it disappears into your hairline.

Right. Good. Let’s begin, shall we?

Against all odds – including a pretty stinking percentage on the ol’ Tomatometer, the ominous and potentially inescapable thematic spectre of white supremacy, and the likelihood of having to endure cringe-worthy damsel-in-distress situations – I actually thoroughly enjoyed this film. Read More

Review: Hail, Caesar! (2016)

Hail, Caesar! Teaser poster - Wikipedia

Dir: Joel and Ethan Coen

This review opens with a confession: I haven’t seen Barton Fink, the Coen brothers’ tale of the inherent seediness of 1940s Hollywood. This confession, however, is almost entirely unrelated to the rest of this review of Hail, Caesar!, the Coens’ latest look into of Tinseltown, this time set in the early 1950s.

Josh Brolin is Eddie Mannix, Head of Physical Production at Capitol Pictures, and the man who makes the studio’s problems go away. The film follows the many problems, in the form of other human beings, that tug on planet Eddie like a series of satellites. They mess with his tides, but none of them seriously threaten his orbit. Eddie Mannix is steadfastly effective. Read More