Saturday, October 20, 2012


Year: 2012
Director: John Hillcoat
Cast: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Guy Pearce

Before I begin my review….

 As an Aussie, I still get a kick out of seeing Guy Pearce in Hollywood.

Of course, it is always exciting someone of the same nationality as you make it in Hollywood and there is a good acting brigade of Australians in Los Angeles at the moment. Yet, Guy Pearce is one of those actors that, if you are a child of the 1980’s like myself, it is just that tad more exciting.

Pearce was the heartthrob back in the 80’s and early 90’s. He appeared in both Home & Away and Neighbours, which so many Australian actors who have made their break in Hollywood have done. You may recognise some of the names of Home & Away alumni….Heath Ledger, Melissa George, Isla Fisher, Ryan Kwanten, Chris Hemsworth and the list goes on.

Pearce is one of the most versatile actors there is out there. He’s appeared in so many movies, that you always read through the list of films he has made and forget how many of his you have seen.  He appeared in two consecutive Academy Award Best Picture winners in The Hurt Locker and The King’s Speech and is never afraid to take risks, such as in Bedtime Stories and as Andy Warhol in Factory Girl.

Versatility is what makes good actors great, and Pearce has that. I was so happy for him when he won the Emmy last year for Best Supporting Actor in A Mini-Series for Mildred Pierce. I would just love to see an Academy Award nomination added to his list of achievements one day in the future!


With a knock-out cast, you would expect Lawless to blow you away. However, it is doesn’t quite reach those heights.

A true story like this has so much potential, yet there always feels like there is something missing. Not a complete bomb by any means, but one of those films where you can’t see where it is headed. A surprise in a film is never a bad thing, but as they say, it is about the journey rather than the destination.

 In 1930’s Virginia, Bondurant brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy), Howard (Jason Clarke) and Jack (Shia LaBeouf) run an illegal moonshine trade. Legend has it that the brothers are invincible, a legend which Special Deputy Charlie Rakes (Guy Pearce) is willing to test to bring their operations to a halt. Rakes isn’t the only one the brothers have to watch their back for, as Franklin County erupts in violence that could compete with Chicago’s gangster culture.

The story of the Bondurant brothers is a particularly interesting one, and it is no surprise why musician, Nick Cave wanted to adapt Jack Bondurant’s grandson, Matt’s novel into a screenplay. It is a well written screenplay as the dialogue doesn’t lack at all, but played out on screen isn’t quite as thrilling as what it should be. The last 15 minutes are by far that best in the film so it is worth waiting for. Yet, the film is very slow to get going and even though it has some shocking moments, just doesn’t pack the punch to feel like the film completely consumes you as an audience member. You have some sort of an idea where the film is headed, but it seems in no rush to get there and can just be downright frustrating at times.

In saying that though, there is plenty to keep the film going. The soundtrack is great and very fitting for the time period. The time period itself is represented beautifully with some stunning images on the screen of Franklin County. It has the right elements in the visuals for the time period such as the separation of white and coloured and the beautiful vintage automobiles. The costume design is also commendable. The costumes are symbolic as to which part of the country the characters are from and the personalities.

Tom Hardy is very good as Forrest Bondurant. Although there is no real stretch of emotions in his role, he does give a solid performance and does all he has to do to bring his role to life. Taking in the knowledge the Hardy is British as well, makes you also want to commend him on his convincing southern accent.

Shia LaBeouf is playing a typical Shia LaBeouf role. He has become the actor in Hollywood to be cast as the underdog in action and thriller films who isn’t your stereotypical action star, but the one who represents a “normal” guy who does extraordinary things.  It’s a role someone has to have to that every guy out there can believe they can also be a hero. So this role isn’t too hard for him to play, but he does what he has to do to make it work.

Guy Pearce is very good, as he does really come across as the arrogant and dangerous deputy who can really do anything he likes.

Both Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska are also good. Chastain plays the damaged Maggie Beauford well and Wasikowska plays the sweet preachers daughter, Bertha Minnix well.

Gary Oldman does well for the smallish role as gangster Floyd Banner well, but what happens to his character? His role in the film is left unspoken of. Maybe in the extended version we will find out.

Lawless is visually a very good film, but besides what the eye see’s, there’s nothing overly thrilling about it.


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Friday, October 19, 2012

The Top 5 Films That Have Influenced Fashion

Culture is created. Fashion is an aspect of culture. So…can a film be a culture creator and set fashion trends from its time of release?

Absolutely!Not every film is able to do this, but once in a while a film and a particular film character will come along which will trigger something in society for people to want to dress like and aspire to be them.
How does this happen? Well, for one, the character and actor playing the character need to be likable so that people feel like they can relate to them and want to strive to be like them. The closest a regular member of society can come to being like this character is to dress like them. All you need is a few dollars and a clothing store.

This will also happen when there is a need for a new fashion for a particular group of people in society. However, the people are not aware that there is a need for a new trend. Only the creators know this and it is for them to prove to the public that they really need it!

So let’s have a look at the top five films which have influenced fashion over the years. We’ll start at five and work our way to one!

5. Flashdance (1983)

So when you think of the 1980’s, what type of fashion do you think of?

Chances are you have thought of big hair with scrunchies, fluoro clothing, over-sized sweatshirts and leggings. It was all about combining the look of going out with looking like you are going to go to the gym. Flashdance did a lot to influence this fashion statement.

Although we may think that this look is totally daggy now and is only appropriate at retro discos, dressing as though you were Jennifer Beals was the way to be back in the early 80’s. The look was fresh and represented that of the healthy and athletic. Beals played a girl working two jobs to try and get into ballet school and was the type of character girls could relate to. She was striving to make her dreams a reality, and everybody loves a feel good film involving music and dancing.

The look was one which wasn’t unusual if you were a dancer, but suddenly this fashion was for every girl who was hip and cool. It’s hard to understand now why this look was so popular back in 1983, but fashion comes full circle so I am sure this will all happen again.

4. It Happened One Night (1934)

If you ask me, not enough people these days even really know who Clark Gable was. He wasn’t known as The King during his career for nothing. Men wanted to be him and women wanted to be with him. He had a stellar career and this film, It Happened One Night, was the film that won him his one and only Academy Award.

So being such an incredible Hollywood star, it is not a surprise that one of his characters had the ability to influence fashion.  In one scene in It Happened One Night, Gable’s character, Peter and Claudette Colbert’s Ellie are sharing a room when Peter proceeds to show Ellie how a man undresses. To everyone’s shock, Peter was not wearing an undershirt, which was an absolute shock to every man.

Therefore, undershirt sales dropped dramatically as Clark Gable was seen on screen not wearing an undershirt and was no longer seen as fashionable.  The power of The King.

However, the truth is that Gable and the film makers never meant to make a fashion statement by not including an undershirt. There were just too many layers for Gable to script while getting the timing of his lines in sync with his actions.

3. Annie Hall (1977)

Woody Allen may not be the most fashionable person out there, but Diane Keaton’s wardrobe in his film Annie Hall, earns the film third place in our list of films that have been most fashionably influential.

The fashion in Annie Hall broke down the barriers between male and female clothing that had previously stood. Instead of sticking to the usual protocol of the female being chased after in a film as being feminine and dressing in skirts and dresses, Diane Keaton’s wardrobe consisted largely of men’s clothing such as slacks, suspenders, ties and business shirts.

The concept of women wearing pant suits instead of dresses and skirts in the 1970’s wasn’t a new one, as Katharine Hepburn preferred her “power” suits in the 1930’s and 40’s than the dresses her fellow female actors wore. What Annie Hall did for this look was show that a woman can still be seen as desirable and sexy in clothes other than those traditionally used to attract the opposite sex, as Annie Hall is the female lead and in a romantic relationship.

It broke down the barriers of what clothes are seen are masculine and feminine and made men’s clothes fashionable also for women.

2. Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

Here’s an easy one. What does the name James Dean bring to mind?

He was the Hollywood heart throb with the bad boy look who died young. That bad boy look of his was made famous by Rebel Without A Cause. His leather jacket over a white t-shirt and jeans made a huge fashion statement for teenagers and the look gave the impression of looking like a rebel, but not having to be one.

In all fairness, Marlon Brando was actually the first actor to wear such an ensemble as a motorcyclist in the film The Wild One, which was made two years before Rebel Without A Cause. However, it was Dean who made this look popular amongst young adults. In the film, Dean’s Jim Stark is the rebel and the outcast in his new high school. His look sets him apart from his fellow students who are wearing football jackets or suits, as Sal Mineo’s John wears.

Dean continued to wear this fashion outside his breakthrough film role and his untimely death in a motor accident added to his image of the rebel who lived dangerously. Being a rebel suddenly became cool and the fashion of the jacket, t-shirt and jeans became a symbol of what you were or were trying to be.

1.       Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Finally, the film which takes out our number one spot is Breakfast At Tiffanys.

So much about this film influenced fashion. It also helped that the lead role was played  byperhaps the most fashionable film star of all time, Audrey Hepburn. The image of her as Holly Golightly in the little black dress is a universal symbol of fashion and woman everywhere strive to match the classiness of this legendary character.

The main part of Breakfast At Tiffany’s that influenced fashion was the it enforced the idea that every woman must have a little black dress. This is still in play today. You can never go wrong with a little black dress. In the film, Holly Golightly is a nobody country girl until she comes to the city and becomes a highly sought after woman on the A list. This gives you the impression that the clothes she wears changes her whole persona. This is what every girl wants, to put on clothes that make her into a different woman. The little black dress is for every occasion and always looks good.

Holly’s accessories of the big sunglasses and pearls, plus the slick, high bun in her hair all became fashionable accessories to have after Breakfast At Tiffany’s. And as if the brand name of Tiffany’s wasn’t already prestigious enough, the name will forever be associated with this film and fashion itself.

So there you have it. The top five films which have influenced fashion over the years. The recurring theme we can see is that all these trends are set by characters and actors which the general public look up to and admire, but also can relate to. Fashion is a part of culture and movies are a great influencer of this culture.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Looper (2012)

Year: 2012
Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano, Jeff Daniels, Piper Perabo

Before I begin my review….

                For those of you who don’t know me personally, I recently became a mum for the first time.
My baby boy was born nearly five months ago and just as everyone warned me, many things have changed. I have completely changed in the way which I see a lot of things in life and I actually believe for the better. One thing I was not prepared for was that the way I watch certain films has also changed.

                Not all films, but those films that have anything to do with children strike a chord with me now. I guess that is to be expected when you are a mother, but it wasn’t one of the things I contemplated in the nine months leading up to my little man’s birth when I was more concerned with picking out nursery furniture and trying to store sleep (as so many people love to tell you how little sleep you will receive when the baby comes….true fact, but you don’t need complete strangers telling you that all the time).

                In particular, Looper is one movie that probably wouldn’t have affected me on an emotional level as much if I wasn’t a mother. I found the relationship between mother, Sara and son, Cid completely heartbreaking at times. Looper can be categorized as an action/ thriller, and I never thought a film in one of these genres would make me feel when leaving as though I had just watched a drama. I am pretty sure that director, Rian Johnson was trying to evoke an emotional response from his audience, but I think as a perhaps it would make the parents more emotional. If I am anything to go by anyway.

                I think I should be getting ready for a lot more of these unprecedented responses in the future from the films I will be watching and reviewing.


                Looper is one of the most original films you will see this year. Not a perfect film, but very clever, entertaining and original nevertheless.

                Rian Johnson has tackled a completely new genre in Looper and has approached this action/thriller film with the same originality he approached his earlier films such as Brick and The Brothers Bloom with. This combination has created something we haven’t seen before and is a well-made and entertaining original.

                The year is 2044 and time travel is made possible in 30 years time. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works as a looper, which are hit-men who are hired to take care of those sent back to the current year. The worst part about being a looper is when your future self is sent back for you to kill which is known as closing the loop. When Joe’s future self (Bruce Willis) is sent back, he is sent on a chase to save his life, but meet the death of his self in 30 years time.

                   The story and screenplay of Looper is extremely interesting. The script is effective as although the concept may seem like a complex one, it makes it easy for the audience to grasp early on in the film what everything and everyone is so no one is left confused. It is an entrancing concept which draws everyone in and the visuals on the screen compliment the screenplay to make the film very slick and presentable.

          Johnson’s direction is very good in the way in which the film is shown visually. The editing provides a clever way of linking both Joe’s present and future self, which can come across as confusing at first, but all lose ends are sewn up by the end of the film.

           There is no doubt that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a very good actor, he does a very good Bruce Willis. He has obviously studied the way that Willis holds himself and his facial expressions. However, although he sat in the make-up chair for at least two and a half hours each day before filming began, it can be a little distracting. It can sometimes look as though Gordon-Levitt is struggling to move his face under the make-up. The make-up artists did give it a good go considering Gordon-Levitt and Willis don’t really look a thing alike.

             Bruce Willis is just Bruce Willis. There is nothing in this film that he does that hasn’t been done before. It is just another action role with some anger moments.  Unlike Gordon-Levitt, he doesn’t meet in the middle to compliment Gordon-Levitt.

            Emily Blunt is splendid. She is completely believable as Sara, the doting mother of Cid (Pierce Gagnon). Gagnon is also wonderful. You immediately feel sorry for the little boy and the chemistry between him and Blunt is perfect.  For the brief moment there is supposed to be chemistry between Gordon-Levitt and Blunt, it falls flat.

             Pure originality is not something that is popular in film today so Looper is completely refreshing. Rian Johnson must be congratulated and doing such a good job with a brand new and entertaining concept.


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