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Do We Have A Fetish For World War II Movies?

 

Natasha Richardson

 

You would have all heard the news by now but I was very saddened to learn of the death of Natasha Richardson last week. She was a classy actress who always spoke beautifully with her English accent. I remember her clearly in roles such as Evening (2007), The White Countess (2005) and The Parent Trap (1998). Other roles of note included Wild Child (2008), Maid In Manhattan (2002), Nell (1994), The Comfort Of Strangers (1990), Patty Hearst (1988) and Gothic (1986).

 

She didn’t appear in a lot of movies but Richardson made her mark on stage. In 1998, she won a Tony Award for best lead actress in a musical for her role as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She also appeared in The Seagull, Anna Christie and Closer.

 

She will be well and truly missed.

 

Do We Have A Fetish For World War II Movies?

 

This is a question I’ve been asking myself over the past few days. There have been so many interesting periods of history and yet we make so many movies which focus on World War II? Why is this? Is it because the people making the movies and telling the stories knew people directly linked to the time? Is it easier to make a World War II flick than say, one set in the 18th Century?

 

Already this year, we’ve seen Valkyrie (the awful Tom Cruise movie) and The Reader. Now I know The Reader was directly about the holocaust but there was a connection.

Here’s a look at some of the films being released in April…

 

Good (out Apr 9) - A movie exploring the life of a normal German citizen (Viggo Mortensen) who is embroiled in the Nazi scheme without really understanding the consequences

 

The Boy In Striped Pyjamas (out Apr 23) - Set during World War II, a story seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and unexpected consequences

 

Defiance (out Apr 30) - Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavour to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants.

 

Now that’s 5 World War II movies being released in the first 4 months of 2009.

 

I’m not complaining because these movies are bad but just that I’d like to see something a little different. We’ll see what the rest of 2009 has to offer…

 

See you next week.

Matt's Favourite Movie Trailers: Part 2

 

March is turning out to be a busy month for movies. There will be 19 films released in all and I’m struggling to keep up. Not a lot of great films amongst them but I do like Duplicity (see my full length review) which is out this week.

 

Continuing on from last week’s Film Pie newsletter, I’m going through my favourite movie trailers of the past 10 years.

 

Let’s just to the chase and here then, are the other 10 trailers which I think are super dooper cool (in no particular order)…

 

Ghost World (2001)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rq6AOc0ATnU

 

Hearts In Atlantis (2001)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_WUdCpjOeA

 

Triplets Of Belleville (2004)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fwM4hnsdSA

 

Evening (2007)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_mrZiFbglI

 

Atonement (2007)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkVQwwPrr4c

 

Adaptation (2002)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HtZ2M4e_AM

 

Fog Of War (2003)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgA98V1Ubk8

 

The Green Mile (1999)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDybmxbKf4Y

 

The Talented Mr Ripley (1999)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPaEkqHlDSA

 

Sin City (2005)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKFLrTYKIXk

 

See you next week.

Matt's Favourite Movie Trailers: Part 1

 

Over the next two weeks, I’m going to list through some of my favourite movie trailers of the past 10 or so years.

 

I do like a good trailer for two reasons – (1) it created my initial interest in the film, and (2) it provides a neat summary of the film which I can go back and watch after I’ve seen the movie.

 

I regularly download trailers but only keep the ones I really like. On my hard drive are about 100 or so. When I look through them, the one thing that strikes me most is the choice of music. For a trailer to be effective, and generate interest (at least with me), it needs to find the right music to match the film’s overall tone. What many people won’t realise is that the music used in a trailer often comes from another movie.

 

Other qualities of a good trailer include creative editing and some decent catch-words (whether they be spoken by the narrator or written on the screen).

Having gone through my trailer collection, I was able to narrow it down to 20 that I think are the best. I’ll list 10 this week and 10 next week. I’ve listed the Youtube link so you can watch them for yourself (if you’d like to do so). If you haven’t seen the film already, this might be just the impetus to get you to do so.

 

Here we go (in no particular order)…

 

Blow (2001)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6_B63TfWwE

 

Garden State (2004)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=la53nY41c9M

 

Requiem For A Dream (2000)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6Ay3m4ntxQ

 

Seabiscuit (2003)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fnYdEGeXbM

 

Magnolia (1999)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1nYjKphdSk

 

Night Watch (2004)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMHQsjgQDrA

 

Kill Bill Volume 1 (2003)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-czwy-aVbbU

 

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZIiG3Xjn6E

 

Unfaithful (2002)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvKKuiwkKrc

 

Moulin Rouge (2001)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82vL1KQDCyQ

 

Until next time.

Film Festival Update & Thoughts On The Combination

 

I’ve been talking about nothing but the Oscars over the past two months so it’s time to get back to clean up some of the admin things I had lying around…

 

French Film Festival

 

The 2009 Alliance Francaise Film Festival is being held at the Palace Centro and Palace Barracks cinemas from March 19 to 29. There are 32 films in total and I’m sure it’ll grab the attention of those who love French cinema.

 

French actor Gerard Jugnot (who I remember as the start of The Chorus – the 2005 Academy Award nominated foreign language film) will be here to launch the festival this Friday at a special screening. He’ll be promoting one of his new films, Paris 36. It’s described as “an enchanting tale about a group of performers who are determined to keep their beloved theatre from closing during the increasingly turbulent days of Paris circa 1936.” For more information on the festival, you can check out http://www.frenchfilmfestival.org/home/brisbane.aspx.

 

The Horror, The Horror!

 

If you consider yourself more of a thriller lover, the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) is currently hosting a retrospective of North American horror films from the 1940s and onwards. It kicked off last Friday and runs through until March 22. Some of the films include Psycho (1960), The Exorcist (1973), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Halloween (1978), The Silence Of The Lambs (1992), Seven (1995), Scream (1996) and American Psycho (2000). Tickets are only $8 per person and there are plenty of films there worth seeing. More details can be found at: http://qag.qld.gov.au/cinematheque/current_programs/be_afraid.

 

Human Rights

 

If I still haven’t found your genre yet, you might be keen to check out the Human Rights Arts & Film Festival being held at the Brisbane Powerhouse this weekend (March 6 and 7). One film which caught my eye was Kicking It. It’s a documentary which looks at the Homeless World Cup – an international recognised sporting event which in 2006, had over 500 homeless players competing from 48 nations. Find out more at http://www.hraff.org.au/brisbane.html.

 

Eric Bana In Brisbane

 

If you’re a fan of Eric Bana, you can catch him in Brisbane this Wednesday night (March 4) at a screening of his new Australian film, Love The Beast. It’s being held at the Palace Barracks at 6:30pm. It’s the story of one man’s 25-year love affair with his car and includes commentary from such celebrities as Jay Leno, Jeremy Clarkson and Dr Phil. You can find out more through the Palace website at http://www.palace.net.au/.

 

The Combination

 

Last week on my ABC radio program, I reviewed The Combination, a new Aussie film that’s worth a look. I was interested to read in the news today that Greater Union have banned the film from four major cinemas after violence flared amongst audience members in Parramatta over the weekend. I love movies that generate a response but this isn’t quite the response that I refer to. The film looks at a Lebanese family living in Sydney and the racial issues that they have to deal with.

 

Director David Field said that he is “devastated” by the decision but I see it as a potential positive. The extra media attention is sure to grab the attention of those who like a little controversy and it might boost business in other cinemas as a result. We’ll see.

 

That’s all for me. I’ll see you next week!