Sunday, May 9, 2010

Review - Moon (2009)

"Sam, get some sleep. You're very tired."

Director: Duncan Jones
Starring: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey
Screenplay: Nathan Parker

Plot: Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is a miner on the moon on a three year contract. Except for a robot named GERTY he is all alone. Closing in on the end of his contract an accident occurs that will throw everything Sam understands up in the air.

Last year I really wanted to catch this movie at the cinemas, from the buzz it was being made out to be a thoughtful science fiction movie that worked around it's minimal budget. However alas the Australian release schedule is fickle and we never got it around where I live. Finally thanks to Blu Ray release I've managed to watch the movie. Now to talk to much about this movie would be to give it away, it's not that it revolves around on a twist but it's much better to discover what it is about than to have everything told. So the review might be a little short but I really do have to talk about this movie as much as I can.

Well first of all a huge round of applause must go to Sam Rockwell who is the whole damn show, well you can count Kevin Spacey as the voice of GERTY who turns out to be more emotional than I thought, but in the end it's Sam Rockwell who owns this movie. I've been a fan of his for sometime in fact I gave him some thumbs up just recently in my Iron Man 2 review, he can play the weasel, the idiot and a good man and is very diverse with his talent. Being the only real character in this movie it's all on his shoulders and Rockwell turns in a performance that truly shows what a great actor he is. I hate using the cliche but the turn is Oscar worthy.

Visually the movie is stunning and considering that the budget for this movie was $5 million my jaw hit the floor. A lot of films could take a lesson from this movie in regards to how to make the most of the money. Truly some of the shots real captured the loneliness of the situation, and the set real does look futuristic yet at the same time small touches make it human. Duncan Jones has captured my attention and I'm looking out for any more of his work.

It was great to watch a science fiction film that tried to impress with its central theme and not trying to blow the audience away with meaningless special effects. If people are into science fiction I would highly recommend seeing this movie. Moon is just a brilliant movie that deserves all the attention it gets.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Disgruntled Monkey's Top 30 Songs

A long time ago in a country far away three people came together to do a podcast on their top ten songs. Excited by the idea I sent my top ten in. The podcast episode turned out to be awesome and lit a fire under my butt. So before I begin I would like to thank Bill, Chris and Mel for getting me to do this post. Your work on OTC always brightens my day and in this case inspired me to write.

Now the warm fuzzies are over onto the harsh horrid reality of the world. Well not really but time to get to the list. I've expanded the list from the show and made it my top 30, not only that I've made sure I've written a bit on the top ten and ordered them. So without further ado here is the list.

30 - Escape, Craig Armstrong, Plunkett & Macleane Soundtrack
29 - Ashes to Ashes, Faith No More, Album of the Year
28 - Together, Samael, Eternal
27 - Hey Man Nice Shot, Filter, Short Bus
26 - Almost Again, Strapping Young Lad, The New Black
25 - Come to Daddy (Pappy Mix), Aphex Twin, Come to Daddy
24 - Halcyon, Orbital, Halcyon
23 - Burn the Witch, Queens of the Stone Age, Lullabies to Paralyze
22 - Journey to the Line, Hans Zimmer, The Thin Red Line Soundtrack
21 - The Surface of the Sun, John Murphy, Sunshine Soundtrack
20 - 3 Steps, Moby, Southland Tales Soundtrack
19 - Mad World, Roland Orzabal, Donnie Darko Soundtrack
18 - Who You Were, Jamin Winans, Ink Soundtrack
17 - Teardrop, Massive Attack, Mezzanine
16 - Wicked Games, Chris Isaak, Heart Shaped World
15 - Aeons, The Presets, Apocalypso
14 - Do the Evolution, Pearl Jam, Yield
13 - Push It, Static X, Wisconsin Death Trip
12 - Knights of Cydonia, Muse, Black Holes & Revelations
11 - Empty Walls, Serj Tankian, Elect the Dead

10 - Half Light, Low, The Mothman Prophecies Soundtrack

Well it's a depressing song which I do like but it's also rather catchy which is weird. I first heard the song on the Mothman DVD where they had the film clip as an extra. It took me 4 years to actually get the song but I would put the disc in just to listen to the song.

09 - In the House - In a Heartbeat, John Murphy, 28 Days Later OST

This movie is a pretty haunting and tense piece of work, and like the movie the soundtrack mirrors both. We have lonely dreamscapes followed by nerve racking crescendos. This song however stands out for me. It has a slow build that highlights the tension of the scene it's from and yet there is an underlining beat that is the culmination of a relationship from the movie. I always find it smart when the story is told through the music.

08 - Hotta, Sky, Sky Anthology

Sky was a British instrumental group that specialised in fusing a variety of musical styles including light rock, progressive rock, classical and jazz. This song in particular has a lot of sentimental attachment. I can remember drives with my parents especially my mother and always asking if we can put Sky on. Every member has perfected their instrument individually and has come together to be able to play around with the music they love. Personally I think Hotta is their best song and truly emphasises what the band is all about.

07 - Hurt, Johnny Cash, The Man Comes Around

Johnny Cash is just awesome. I have nothing but time for his work but this cover just moves me to tears. In his hands the songs takes on a different meaning and a very sad one at that.

06 - Silent Hill, Akira Yamaoka, Silent Hill OST

This song is all about atmosphere. When the first few chords are played you know that you're in for a spooky ride. There is reason why the music of Silent Hill is strongly remembered along with the game.

05 - Atlas, Battles, Mirrored

When it comes to singing I'm very very picky. And probably from the list you've noticed that I prefer soundtracks to standard songs especially in my top 30. However Battles is unique, there are no lyrics but there is vocal which is used to create noise to blend in with the instruments. It's hard to explain so just try and find this song and listen.

04 - Death is the Road to the Awe, Clint Mansell, The Fountain OST

The reason the movie got under my skin was really due to the soundtrack, without it I doubt the movie would have hit me as hard. This particular song is the done for the crescendo of the movie and it's all build up. It even has several false ends and just gets larger. Truly an awesome song.

03 - Where is My Mind?, The Pixies, Surfer Rosa

For a song that was supposed to be based on a scuba diving experience it sure kicks a lot of ass. I was introduced to the song thanks to Fight Club but still it quickly became a favourite of mine and was a song that I would constantly sing to myself while I attended university. It's also a question I ask myself all the time.

02 - Mercy Seat, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Tender Prey

I liked Nick Cave but this is the song that blew me away. I'm a fan of dark, depressing songs and a song about a man heading to the electric chair fits that pretty well. I've yet to hear the Johnny Cash version but I don't think it will beat this. There is something about Nick Cave's voice that just draws me in every time.

01 - Kara Remembers, Bear McCreary, Battlestar Galcatica S4 OST

Hearing Chris from OTC talk about this song was rather funny but true. It's hard cause it is so instrumental to the scene that uses this song. However take it away from the show and you're left with a song that tells a story without the need of words. It's very layered and really builds to a huge finish. It's a song that has stuck with me after one listen, it's one where I can close my eyes and imagine a scene from a movie and most importantly it's a song I can listen to over and over again without getting bored.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Review - Iron Man 2 (2010)

“I have successfully privatized world peace.”

Director: Jon Favreau
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke
Screenplay: Justin Theroux

Plot: The world now knows that Tony Stark is Iron Man and as such is facing pressure from both the government who wants his technology, the press who is holding him to the ideals of what is a super hero, and himself who wants to leave a legacy. It is at the height of this pressure Ivan Vanko enters the fray, a man intent on destroying Tony Stark and his family name.

The first Iron Man was just awesome with Robert Downey Jr turning in a performance that embodied Tony Stark. Without Downey the movie would have probably failed as I can’t imagine Stark being played by anyone else. It was of course an origin movie so the central character was important, but in the sequel there is some room to let other characters flex themselves and it is with joy that this is exactly what this movie did.

Everyone in this movie is bringing their A game. Mickey Rourke is just awesome as Ivan Vanko. Every scene he is in just oozes with presence. Maybe the one problem would be there doesn’t seem to be enough Ivan Vanko but it’s a very minor complaint. Don Cheadle takes up the role of James Rhodes from Terrence Howard and while I dug Howard in the first film Cheadle just rocks. It was nice to see the relationship of Rhodes and Stark developed further and also of course War Machine. Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts really brings not only some class but a great counter point to Tony Stark. The two really share a great chemistry that reminds me of some of the older romantic comedies Hollywood use to produce. And one final shout out to Sam Rockwell as Justin Hammer. Justin Hammer is the sleazy opposite of Tony Stark, in the hands of Rockwell a memorable character is developed that I hope to see in later films. There are other great actors here but that is what is impressive with this comic book movie, it’s done a Dark Knight and stuffed the entire movie with wall to wall good actors.

When Jon Favreau isn’t playing Starks chauffeur Happy Hogan he’s behind the camera and boy does he know what he’s doing. You would think that after the first movie the studio would trust Jon, but as the movie was starting to get made it wasn’t clear if Jon was coming back. Thankfully he got the nod and if there is any message that Marvel needs to understand is for the love of god just let Jon keep making Iron Man movies. It would be safe to say that Batman is currently Nolan’s baby; well this is Favreau’s. He’s got a great eye for what needs to be shown; Jon can joke around with the audience and at the same time get serious for the more intense scenes. From beginning to end he had me by the balls. I would also like to add that a lot of maturity was shown by not just going bigger action wise but allowing for time to develop character. The fact that Happy Hogan got more screen time and a little character development shows a man who is having fun but at the same time cares about what he is creating.

I can remember Iron Man being on my top ten of the year when it came out. I wouldn’t be surprised if this also manages to get onto my top ten. What we have here is the lighter side of comic books but just done in a way that proves the comics aren’t just for kids. People have been going on about Kick Ass but damn it for my money this is the best comic book adaptation this year. See it or Tony Stark will cry.