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Posts tagged Movies
The Look Of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2012 documentary, The Act Of Killing, had a profound impact on modern Indonesia. By having perpetrators re-enact their killings, the film shed light on the national perception of the 1965-66 communist genocide, in which nearly one million innocent Indonesians were brutally murdered. The film revealed a modern climate that celebrated these killers, who have faced no retribution whatsoever. The Look Of Silence is Oppenheimer’s companion piece to The Act Of Killing, the other side of the coin. It’s a devastating look at the continued suppression of the victims’ families and a country unwilling to take ownership for their past atrocities.

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The Witch: Goddamned Pilgrims

It’s not often that a supernatural horror movie leaves the “based on true events” claim for the end credits, but this is exactly the kind of no-frills, no-gimmicks approach that elevates The Witch to a place amongst the genre’s finest. First-time director Robert Eggers’s stripped back approach actually echoes the precision of The Shining, proving that the most effective horrors get under your skin by leaving the more grisly details to your imagination.

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Godzilla - Jurassic Park, Not Gojira

There is so much to gawk at in Godzilla, both in what you see onscreen and how it’s being displayed. Director Gareth Edwards hasn’t taken just a single leaf out of Steven Spielberg’s handbook, but the structure, tone and idiosyncratic touches of his entire blockbuster catalogue. For those who were weaned onto big-budget cinema with Jurassic Park or Jaws, Godzilla boasts all the essential touchstones. Walking a fine line between foreshadowing and straight-up tease, Edwards drip feeds the audience spectacle, doling out snippets of his gloriously rendered beasts like a disgruntled prison lunch lady. 

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A Hijacking

Passing on any overwrought attempts at drama, Danish director Tobias Lindholm instead relies on superb technicality and his watertight script for the high seas and high stakes thriller, A Hijacking. Detailing the turbulent negotiations between Somali pirates and the CEO of the titular hijacked vessel, the film carefully avoids any semblance of a dramatic approach to the subject material. A Hijacking is the perfect embodiment of 'show don't tell' storytelling. 

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Mistaken For Strangers

Like the Banksy-themed Exit Through The Gift Shop, Mistaken for Strangers puts an affable layabout behind a camera and has him film a notable proponent of pop culture. In this case, the proponent, Tom Berninger, just happens to be the layabout's older brother, lead singer of The National, Matt Berninger. Tom doesn't class himself in the same creative league as his brother - his only endeavours being a couple of homemade horror films - and their dynamic proves a refreshingly fun focal point for a music documentary.

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Blackfish

Wholly biased and visually drab, what Blackfish lacks in technical appeal, it makes up for in tenacity. The film is, in more than one way, akin to a piece on A Current Affair - complete with amateurish animated interjections and a selection of interviewees with as biased a viewpoint as could be found. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite lays out the life story of 5,400 kilogram orca, Tilikum, whose continued captivity has cost 3 people their lives, including star SeaWorld trainer, Dawn Brancheau. 

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You're Next

More a parody than the barebones horror its trailer suggests, You're Next has been marketed pretty poorly. The trailer was heavy on seriousness - lumping together extreme slow motion with menacing animal masks - and would have you believe that the movie would be a no-nonsense home invasion thriller. In a sense, You're Next is the complete opposite of that - it's all about the nonsense, bearing more than a slight resemblance to the original Scream. 

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The Act Of Killing

Following a military coup in 1965, the Sumatran government undertook a horrific communist purge, slaughtering scores of men, women and children. The government utilised gangsters, constantly referred to as ‘free men’, to carry out the killings in whichever way they saw fit.

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New Star Wars, A New Hope?

As fanboys/girls around the world have experienced repeatedly since 1983, a loving relationship with George Lucas is a heartbreaking experience. The Star Wars magnate had instigated, in spite of his most loyal fans, a tumultuous and violent affair with money and, like a beautiful lover with self-esteem issues, alienated those genuinely interested in him.

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The Master vs. The Animal

Less an exploration of cultism and more of the animalism in human nature, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master tackles such unanswerable questions beautifully, but incompletely. Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell, the instinctual, basest war veteran who meets Philip Seymour Hoffman's Lancaster Dodd, spiritual leader of The Cause and all-round egotistical maniac.

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You're Older. Jurassic Park Isn't

Jurassic Park has hit cinemas again, bringing with it an eerie sense of déjà vu for 90’s kids around the country. Breaking box-office records in 1993, Jurassic Park is currently sitting snugly in fourth place in this week’s takings, beating out the likes of the puzzlingly popular Oz: The Great and Powerful. It’s evident Steven Spielberg still holds the throne in the kingdom of Hollywood, with his trident of Oscars and impressive beard, beating back younger competitors like the perpetually irritating Michael Bay. The film’s original audiences are now adults with dangerous levels of movie-cynicism in their blood, who scoff at the thought of a fourth Transformers film or another Die Hard.

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Zero Dark Thirty and the Post 9/11 Self-Evaluation

The final shot lingers on Jessica Chastain's face as she sits alone in a military aircraft. The pilot asks her, "Where do you want to go?" She starts to cry, her face listless. She doesn't know. And either do we, suggests Kathryn Bigelow. With our elusive public enemy number one murdered, after more than a decade of hunting, what gives our tortured and violent post-9/11 lives meaning now? Interestingly, Bigelow and her Hurt Locker writer, Mark Boal, have used Zero Dark Thirty not only as the exploration of the hunt for bin Laden, but also to pose a potent question about life after his defeat. It has been crafted as a vehicle to perfectly encapsulate the post-9/11 psyche, but the extent to which it succeeds is questionable.

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