Everything is back on track following my return from wet and windy Melbourne.  I’ve been able to see 12 films over the past 10 days and we’re back on schedule.


Creative Film Advertising


As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the Italian Film Festival is now underway at the Palace Barracks and Palace Centro cinemas.


I was there last Wednesday night at the Barracks for the gala opening night celebrations and screening of Vincere.  I have to say that I was very pleased with the goody bags – a nice touch.


However, what I will remember most from the event was perhaps the most creative cinema advertisement that I’ve seen.  It’s hard to take in cinema advertising sometimes (given that there’s often so much of it) but there are some very creative people out there making these ads.  You have a little more flexibility in the theatres as well – you’re not limited to a mere 30 seconds like you are on television.  It’s often the car or alcohol ads which leave me going “hey, that’s pretty cool”.


But it was actually pasta which grabbed my attention in this instance.  The ad started with a guy on the screen sitting alone at an Italian café with a bowl of pasta in front of him.  He then picked up his phone and started dialling.  I wasn’t paying much attention at the time but suddenly, a guy’s mobile phone starting ringing in the middle of the theatre.  He stood up and then started talking loudly to the guy on the other end.


My first reaction was how rude he was.  I couldn’t believe someone had the audacity to speak so loudly on their phone during the movie.  People were murmuring.  Then, I realised.  He was talking to the guy on the screen!  The man in the audience would say something and then the man on the screen would respond.  It was all scripted with perfect timing.  This went on for about a minute (quite a funny conversation), they both hung up and the guy in the theatre left to a huge applause.  How often do you see that?  An ad getting a round of applause?


I have to give credit where credit is due and my hat goes off to Zafarelli pasta.  I can remember the name as there was a free pack of spaghetti in my goody bag.  I have to admit I didn’t remember the name first off – despite how much I was taken in by the advertisement.  How odd.


Anyway, it was another movie-going experience to remember.


Toronto Film Festival


The Toronto Film Festival wrapped up two weeks ago and I haven’t had a chance to mention the winners.  It’s always great to do well in Toronto since it’s the launch pad for so many Oscar hopefuls.  Slumdog Millionaire won the audience award in Toronto last year and it went on to win the coveted Oscar for best film.


This year’s audience winners were:


1st – Precious: Based on The Novel “Push” by Sapphire.  Yes, that is the full title.  There’s been substantial buzz for this film for a while and the IMDB describes it as being about “an overweight, illiterate teen who is pregnant with her second child and is invited to enrol in an alternative school in hopes that her life can head in a new direction.”  Sounds like a tough sell but I’ll believe the audience.


2nd – Mao’s Last Dancer.  This has now been released in Australia and my mini review is above.  I didn’t care much for it and am surprised to see it included here.


3rd – Micmacs.  A French film from Jean-Pierre Jeunet, director of Amelie and A Very Long Engagement.  The IMDB says – “A man and his friends come up with an intricate and original plan to destroy two big weapons manufacturers.”  That looks like a very interesting movie to me.


The best documentary was won by The Topp Twins which will be out in Australia next month.


Now You See It


A couple of quick things before I finish up this week.  In 1990, I appeared as a 13-year-old on a television show called Now You See It.  I’ve finally gotten around to uploading the clips on Youtube and you can view them at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ro22t7I2ERc and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD2L1pCr8eI.


Those who know me well will get a kick out of them I’m sure.  At least I got the one movie question right.  I can’t believe I’d even heard of Ben Hur at that age.


Roman Polanski


I had a good friend ask me for what stance I’m taking on Roman Polanski and as this is a political hot potato, my comment is not to comment at this point in time.  A lot of big name Hollywood stars are rallying behind Polanski and it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of him in the near future.