September 2008 movies

September 1st, 2008 Film, Film Reviews, Penthouse

Not Quite Hollywood

Writer/Director: Mark Hartley

Stars: Quentin Tarantino, Brian Trenchard-Smith, Phillips Adams, Barry Humphries, Jamie-Lee Curtis, Dennis Hopper, George Miller, Leigh Whannell, James Wan, Greg McLean, Sigrid Thornton, John Jarratt, Sandy Harbutt, Russell Mulcahy, Steve Bisley, Jack Thompson

Part sales pitch, part loving homage, part museum piece. You’ll soon realise you can’t call yourself a film fan without knowing who Stone, Bazza McKenzie and The Man From Hong Kong are.

Presented by a host of directors, stars and commentators (including the crown prince of cult, Tarantino himself) director Hartley has collected clips and comment on the genre Australia forgot in this fascinating, ballsy and wry doco.

Many of the films depicted were made with the same passion as today’s maverick auteurs but in an era when cult cinema just wasn’t cool they sank without a trace. Many are already on DVD and Not Quite Hollywood will generate big demand for those that aren’t, so it’s essential viewing for your Must See list before your next social engagement full of alternative film cineastes.

Funny Games

Writer/Director: Michael Haneke

Stars: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbett

Ten years on, German enfant terrible Haneke remakes his own movie shot for shot and word for word. Asking why would need it’s own review, but if you’ve seen the original, the only reason to revisit it is to see how accomplished performers like Watts, Pitt and Roth handle this brutal but ironically elegant home invasion story.

While it’s never pleasant, you’ll see fewer more effective films this year as Haneke expertly tightens the tension and sense of doom around your throat. It’s not until after such nihilistic tragedy you realise how little of the violence was on screen — terror has been his weapon of choice.

But even that’s not the whole story. Funny Games isn’t just a thriller — the villain (Pitt) occasionally talks straight to the audience. When things don’t go his way he searches frantically for the TV remote to put them right. It’s clearly not the universe we know, and what Haneke’s saying about the role of violence in media and vice versa could fill a thesis.

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