The Lego Movie is terrible. (Review)

I’ll cut to the chase.  The Lego Movie is terrible.

I’m aware that it’s universally praised and that that love is from both younger and older audiences.
I had no preconception going into the film, had not watched any trailer, knew nothing about the plot.tlm-actorinterview-02

And the film just begins.  A cold opening that seems jarring and catches myself and the audience by surprise.
It feels like our brains are already trying to catch up despite only being a few minutes in.   What’s this thing they are looking for ?  Is this still a preview?  Is this actually the start to the film ?  Surely this is some pre-film filler.

The audience of kids and parents seemed to take a while to get into the film, but never really ever laughed outrageously out loud at any particular scene.
By the one hour mark, many were restless.  However by the film’s end, they applauded.   And I gather they will tell their parents the movie was good, and that that character was funny, and then start singing that annoying song.

But The Lego Movie isn’t funny.  It is paced so quickly that any joke that does land is because everything literally stops, and we find ourselves giggling at the silence.  The filmmakers knew that recipe and overuse it throughout the film.
But the one-liners and the visual gags just aren’t funny.   The film becomes boring very quickly.

I accept that the CGI is impressive and just the concept of a movie of lego characters tickles the nostalgia, but directors/screenwriters Chris Miller and Phil Lord  deliver dull dopey scenes that become exhausting after a few minutes.    I’ve rarely been bored by a film so quickly.  There is a world out there of great Lego characters they could introduce, but we are left with a handful of characters with their one running gag told over and over again.

The Lego Movie is woeful, forgettable and one of the great film disappointments of this decade.

Doris Day on returning to the film industry? TCM interview.

In a very recent phone interview just posted on the TCM website – Doris Day reveals some interesting thoughts when asked by Robert Osborne about returning to the film industry.

‘I’m not doing much of anything these days, that’s difficult for me to answer, but you never know, I may start working again. Well maybe I will.  I loved it all so much that it was just ridiculous not to continue. Maybe I will. I may think about it.’ 

The full interview is located at http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/966042/Robert-Osborne-Interviews-Doris-Day-TCM-Original-.html  (with the above quotes around the 23min mark)

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James Rebhorn, famous character actor, has died.

Actor James Rebhorn,  famous character actor who was the headmaster in ‘Scent of a Woman’ , and the secretary of defence in ‘Independence Day’, has died aged 65.

His agent confirmed to me his passing.
”He died Friday afternoon, at home.  He was a wonderful man and he will be greatly missed”. 

Rebhorn was most recently seen in ‘Homeland’ where he played Frank Mathison.
Readers would also recognise him as the prosecutor in Seinfeld’s finale.

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Aim High in Creation. Anna Broinowski interview.

Anna Broinowski is the first western film maker to be given unlimited access to Pyongyang’s film industry.

She wished to gather an understanding on how propaganda films are made, using Kim Jong II’s cinema manifesto.
Then with that information, she was going to create her own film, designed to stop gas mining near her Sydney home.

I spoke with Anna on 20 March 2014 over the phone, about North Korea’s film industry,  how this documentary fits into her film canon, the beauty of North Korean films and how her international acting career began and ended with one scene in a propaganda film


 (18 mins)

Film released at Cinema Nova on March 27th 2014
Website: http://aimhighincreation.com/
Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JxwJTAy-Jo
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The Romanticists (2014) – a review.

The Romanticists is the first Armenian film I’ve ever viewed.
My misguided expectation of films from that area of the world are very slow-paced across a barren landscape. But The Romanticists is more concentrated and with a pace that gains speed in conjunction with the narrative.

A group of friends have a farewell party for one of their own who is off to Hollywood to break into the big time.   But at the party, as the night goes on and the welcomed and unwelcomed guests interact, political beliefs rise to the surface.
The farewell , it seems, was the beginning of an uncontrollable night.

The final 20 minutes of the film contrast sharply to the earlier scenes.
I was particularly taken by the film’s finale which cleverly exhausts the characters but still breathes life into the story.  My understanding of Armenia history and politics is non-existent, but despite not fully identifying with the issues affecting the characters,  I could still empathise with their frustrations and motivations.

The Romanticists premiered at the Goteberg International Film Festival in January 2014.
It is the first feature film of director/writer Areg Azatayan and Shoghik Tadevosyan and there is something there to suggest a visit to future films they create.
I suspect this film about a farewell, is for them, the beginning of a strong voice in Armenian cinema.

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- Rhett Bartlett.

The scarring of Solomon Northup

I noticed a recurring motif during ’12 Years a Slave’.

It begins with the scarring on Solomon Northup’s back after his lashing.
The Keloid scarring forms repetitive bumps/ridges on his back.

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On the slave ship, he throws a dead body over the side and into the water.
The wake left by the boat forms waves which have the bumps/ridges repetitive motif.

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In this image below, his scarring is covered by his clothing, but the cross-lacing on the back of his shirt repeats the bump motif

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This scene below begins with his back to the ranch steps, which cascade down to his back, again in the ridged, bump formation

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When invited to sit at the table for refreshment, the conversation begins with house shutters behind him, which have a ridged surface

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Solomon again is framed by a staircase cascading down to where he lays on the floor.

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In this scene, he has his back turned to the wall which he is building.  The wood form the waves and ridges that can represent his scarring on his back

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And of note, in his conversation with Pitt, who agrees to write correspondence to his friends in the north, that could potentially help in his freedom. Pitt asks him to hand the wood shavings which were piled up behind Solomon during the conversation.  The shavings are stacked in a way which form ridges.

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- Rhett Bartlett