Category Archives: 2000s

Gladiator

Directed by Ridley Scott
Produced by Douglas Wick, David Franzoni & Branko Lustig
Screenplay by David Franzoni, John Logan & William Nicholson
Story by David Franzoni
Starring Russell Crowe
Joaquin Phoenix
Connie Nielsen
Oliver Reed
Derek Jacobi
Djimon Hounsou
Richard Harris
Music by Hans Zimmer, Klaus Badelt & Lisa Gerrard
Cinematography John Mathieson
Editing by Pietro Scalia
Studio Scott Free Productions & Red Wagon Entertainment
Distributed by DreamWorks (USA) & Universal Studios (non-USA)
Release date May 1, 2000 (2000-05-01) (Los Angeles)
May 5, 2000 (2000-05-05) (United States)
May 12, 2000 (2000-05-12) (United Kingdom)
Running time 155 minutes
Country United Kingdom & United States
Language English

The other night I watched Ridley Scott’s Gladiator for the first time in a decade. The version that I watched was the extended cut, with a few scenes added to the cinematic version. Russell Crowe gives a great performance as Maximus, the general who after being left for dead becomes a gladiator and challenges the power of the emperor, whilst Joaquin Phoenix is very eccentric as Commodus.

The fight scenes are very good although they do tend to be a little over the top with the gore. I like the way in which the fights were choreographed.

Gladiator was a bit of a gamble for its creators, as the days of sword and sandals epics had long disappeared. Even since 2000 there really have been no good films from this genre.


Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Cover of "Borat - Cultural Learnings of A...

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Directed by Larry Charles
Produced by Sacha Baron Cohen & Jay Roach
Screenplay by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham & Dan Mazer
Story by Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham & Todd Phillips
Starring
Sacha Baron Cohen
Ken Davitian
Luenell
Pamela Anderson
Music by Erran Baron Cohen
Cinematography Luke Geissbuhler & Anthony Hardwick
Editing by Craig Alpert, Peter Teschner & James Thomas
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date November 3, 2006
Running time 84 minutes
Country United States
Language English, Hebrew & Armenian

Borat is lewd and crude but it is also very funny. Some of the scenes in the picture had me laughing hysterically whilst others had me scratching my head.
I laughed at how Borat could make some really offensive remarks about all sorts of issues and the unsuspecting Americans that he met just agreed and expanded on those views. This was especially when he was at the rodeo, the gun shop and the bus with the frat-boys.

Also funny is the naked wrestling/fight scene between Borat and Azimat which really has to be seen to be believed.


Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!

Directed by Mark Hartley
Produced by Craig Griffin & Michael Lynch
Written by Mark Hartley
Music by Stephen Cummings
Cinematography
Germain McMicking & Karl von Moller
Editing by Jamie Blanks, Sara Edwards & Mark Hartley
Distributed by Madman Entertainment
Release date 28 August 2008
Running time 103 minutes
Country Australia
United States
Language English

This is an interesting documentary that looks at some of the exploitation films made in Australia in the 70s & 80s. It’s really amazing how much crap our film industry made in what was supposed to have been its golden age. It seems that if an Aussie film wasn’t filled with gratuitous nudity it would be filled with gratuitous violence. One thing that is glaringly obvious is that very few of the films mentioned are any good, but it is still a watchable doco.


Destino

The Persistence of Memory is one of the most f...

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Directed by Dominique Monféry
Produced by Baker Bloodworth & Roy E. Disney
Written by Salvador Dalí, John Hench & Donald W. Ernst
Music by Armando Dominguez
Music Adaptation: Michael Starobin
Editing by Jessica Ambinder-Rojas
Studio Disney Studios France
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date USA: December 19, 2003
France:  June 1, 2003

Destino was a collaboration between Disney and Salvador Dali that commenced in 1945/46 but was unfinished. They had storyboarded it but due to financial difficulties and the war the project was cancelled. It was resurrected in 2000 by Roy Disney and finally premiered in 2003.

It has not been released onto DVD yet, although it could be an extra release with the forthcoming Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 release next year. It was supposed to have been a part of the Walt Disney Treasures line but that never came to fruition. It is quite interesting and very Dali-esque. Destino was a part of the National Gallery Of Victoria‘s 2009 Dali exhibition; Liquid Desires.


Talladega Nights – The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby

Directed by Adam McKay
Produced by Adam McKay
Will Ferrell
Judd Apatow
Jimmy Miller
Written by Adam McKay & Will Ferrell
Starring Will Ferrell
John C. Reilly
Leslie Bibb
Sacha Baron Cohen
Michael Clarke Duncan
Amy Adams
Jane Lynch
Gary Cole
Music by Alex Wurman
Cinematography Oliver Wood
Editing by Brent White
Studio The Apatow Company
Relativity Media
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date August 4, 2006
Running time Theatrical cut:108 min.
Unrated cut:122 min.
Country United States
Language English

First I must say that I love motor racing but hate NASCAR. I am more of a Formula 1 fan. I find NASCAR to be too American for me to like. It doesn’t help that NASCAR only turn one way, don’t brake or change gears.

The film is OK if you like Will Farrell. It’s a typical Farrell film and has a few good chuckles but nothing too hilarious. It’s really silly but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


The Wrestler

Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Produced by Darren Aronofsky & Scott Franklin
Written by Robert D. Siegel
Starring Mickey Rourke
Marisa Tomei
Evan Rachel Wood
Ernest Miller
Music by Clint Mansell
Cinematography Maryse Alberti
Editing by Andrew Weisblum
Studio Wild Bunch
Saturn Films
Protozoa Pictures
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures (USA)
Optimum Releasing (UK)
Release date United States: December 17, 2008 (limited)
January 23, 2009 (wide)
Running time 109 min.
Country United States
France
Language English
I’ve been watching professional wrestling ever since the first Wrestlemania back in 1984, so I am familiar with the sport/entertainment and some of the characters in it.
Whilst the movie is pure fiction and that Mickey Rourke’s Randy “The Ram” was never a real wrestler, I could see bits and pieces of other wrestlers in his make-up. There are several older past their prime wrestlers who still compete in school gymnasiums on the indy circuit. For example Abdullah the Butcher is 68 years old and still competes with no thoughts of retiring, while if you were one of the (very few) people who attended the Australian Hulkamania tour early this year you would have seen a main event consisting of 57-year-old Hulk Hogan and 61-year-old Ric Flair.
It is also very easy to believe that even a top wrestler from 20 years ago could now be broke, as evidenced by Ric Flair who rumour has it, never invested his money wisely, lived the lifestyle that he portrayed on TV, and has several ex-wives and children to support. Similarly Hulk Hogan has just been through a messy divorce and has tried to get his daughter into the music industry and has had to pay for his sons mistakes also.
It is easy to belive that a pro-wrestler could suffer from a heart attack despite being relatively (40s) young. Eddie Guerrero was just 38 years old when he died of a heart attack.
The best thing about the film is that the Ram character is believable and that the viewer believes that he could be a real person. We empathise with everything he is going through and we want him to succeed. He is not perfect but he is likable. I suppose that this film is very similar to Rocky.

Epic Movie

Directed by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Produced by Paul Schiff
Written by Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer
Starring Jayma Mays
Jennifer Coolidge
Adam Campbell
Faune A. Chambers
Crispin Glover
Darrell Hammond
Kal Penn
Fred Willard
Tim Lockwood
David Lehre
Music by Edward Shearmur
Cinematography Shawn Maurer
Editing by Peck Prior
Studio Regency Enterprises & New Regency
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date January 26, 2007
Running time85 minutes
Country United States & Canada
Language English

Epic Movie is not the dumbest movie I have ever seen… but it comes pretty close. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if there had of been less commercial breaks. Go! seemed to be more time spent showing commercials than the movie itself. Is there anyone who is really thinking of using their Mastercard debit card to go to New York to see Katy Perry? I guess that sums up just who this movie was made for, people stupid enough to listen to horrible pop music.

Maybe I should further elaborate. This is meant to parody every action/fantasy movie made in the last decade but it is all hit and miss… Actually it’s all miss as the gags aren’t funny at all, just stupid. Unfortunately this movie has made a shitload of money, which means that we will be getting more atrocities like this from Friedberg and Seltzer in the future. Sigh! Why bother watching this crap when there are good parody films out there like Mel Brook’s Young Frankenstein?


Fantastic Mr. Fox

Directed by Wes Anderson
Produced by Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Allison Abbate &
Steven M. Rales
Written by Wes Anderson & Noah Baumbach (screenplay)
Roald Dahl (book)
Starring George Clooney
Meryl Streep
Jason Schwartzman
Bill Murray
Michael Gambon
Jarvis Cocker
Owen Wilson
Willem Dafoe
Helen McCrory
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Tristan Oliver
Editing by Andrew Weisblum
Studio 20th Century Fox Animation
Indian Paintbrush
Regency Enterprises
American Empirical Pictures
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date November 25, 2009
Running time 87 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Language English

It is difficult to watch any film, let alone an animated film, after just seeing a movie as brilliant as Toy Story 3, but as I am so fascinated in stop motion animation and because I have wanted to see this film for quite a while, so I decided to watch Fantastic Mr. Fox.

The film is OK and the stop motion animation is excellent, but it cannot compare to the emotion of the Pixar Toy Story 3. The film is an Americanized version of Road Dahl’s book, which is not as bad as it sounds as there are still some very British elements in the movie. All I can say is that it is a good but not great film.


Toy Story 2

Directed by John Lasseter
Co-Directors:Lee Unkrich & Ash Brannon
Produced by Karen Robert Jackson & Helene Plotkin
Written by Andrew Stanton
Rita Hsiao
Doug Chamberlain
Chris Webb
Story:
John Lasseter
Pete Docter
Ash Brannon
Andrew Stanton
Colin Brady
Jimmy Hayward
Story Supervisors:
Dan Jeup
Joe Ranft
Starring Tom Hanks
Tim Allen
Joan Cusack
Kelsey Grammer
Don Rickles
Jim Varney
Wallace Shawn
John Ratzenberger
Wayne Knight
John Morris
Laurie Metcalf
Estelle Harris
Andrew Stanton
Music by Randy Newman
Cinematography Sharon Calahan
Editing by Lee Unkrich, Edie Bleiman & David Ian Salter
Studio Pixar Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date November 24, 1999
Running time 92 minutes
Country United States
Language English

I enjoyed watching Toy Story 2 even more that the original. Again there is some top notch animation from Pixar and the characters are warm and relatable. A lot of the time you forget that they are not real but are images on a screen.

Woody and Buzz are back and teaching the importance of friendship. I like the inclusion of Jesse the cowgirl, as voiced by Joan Cusack and Stinky Pete the Prospector, voiced by Kelsey Grammar.

Again it is a great film by Pixar with really lovable characters. It is very funny and is suspensful at the same time.


BaadAsssss Cinema

Directed by Isaac Julien
Produced by Paula Jalfon, Colin MacCabe & Caroline Kaplan
Written by Isaac Julien & Adam Finch
Starring Samuel L. Jackson
Pam Grier
Quentin Tarantino
Distributed by Independent Film Channel
Release date August 14, 2002
Running time 60 minutes
Language English

Baadasssss Cinema is a documentary that discusses the blaxploitation movies of the 1970s, and particularly looks at the post popular films such as Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, Shaft, Black Caesar, Superfly and Coffy. People interviewed include Fred Williamson, Mario Van Peebles, Qeuntin Taratino and the lovely Pam Grier, who talk about the impact that the films had on the black community and on popular culture.
Personally I’ve always liked blaxploitation films (those that I have seen anyway). They are very visual, like the film equivalent of a comic book, with their over the top fashion, violence, stereotypes, great music and bad acting. How can you not love a genre of movie that features something as ridiculous as Pam Grier pulling a gun that was hidden in her afro before shooting the bad guys. It is this sort of thing that makes these films so much fun to watch.
BaadAsssss Cinema also briefly goes into detail about the blaxploitation crossovers that happened as well, such as the blaxploitation/horror films like Blacula (Dracula’s black soul brother) and also the blaxploitation/kung fu crossovers. It was very interesting and gave me a hunger to see more of these incredible blaxploitation films.