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Here Comes Inception & Welcome To Rotten Tomatoes

  

Here Comes Inception!

 

There’s no full length review attached to this week’s Film Pie e-newsletter.  I’m holding off until I see the media preview on Wednesday night.  The Australian critics have already seen it in Sydney and Melbourne but we’re waiting a little longer up here in Brisbane.

 

I don’t think I’ve been as excited about a film since Avatar.  There’s been a lot of hype (given the reputation of Christopher Nolan) but since most of the early reviews have been sensational, it looks like it’s going to be incredible.

 

Here’s a sampling of some of the comments on Twitter from a few Sydney / Melbourne critics who have already seen the film –

 

INCEPTION is the most awesomely complex & clever film I've watched in a long time. You'll be unpicking it forever...” – Marc Fennell

 

I very rarely give a film 5 stars (that's a classic for the ages rating) but after writing my INCEPTION review I'm leaning towards doing so.” – Thomas Caldwell

 

“Inception: if there's a better blockbuster this year I'll eat my hat in somebody else's dream within a dream within a dream.” – Luke Buckmaster

 

“INCEPTION was quite incredible. Fear not, I shan't spoil. So glad someone's doing intelligent, original work at a blockbuster level.” – Lee Zachariah

 

Even the tough to please Jeffrey Wells from the U.S. gave it an endorsement – “It definitely comes together with a second viewing while the things you enjoyed the first time are agreeably underlined and intensified. My ambiguous feelings about Chris Nolan's epic have now been significantly lessened. I am pretty much in the boat now. Faraci was more right than Scott. Inception is dense and challenging, but a masterpiece of its kind.

 

And of course, the grand master of film criticism, Roger Ebert summed it up as follows – “The movie is a perplexing labyrinth without a simple through-line, and is sure to inspire truly endless analysis on the web.

 

I must close with my friend Sam Dagan in London who posted this on my Facebook wall – “I saw Inception. I guess a B+. I left the cinema thinking it was thought provoking, but I didn't want to think anymore after 2.5+ hours. Perhaps they were trying to plant a seed and then after... F***! I'm still thinking about it.”

 

The film officially opens on Thursday and you’ll be able to see it (multiple times) from then on.

 

Welcome To The World Of Rotten Tomatoes

 

One of my favourite film websites is Rotten Tomatoes.  If you’re not familiar, it collates all the reviews of the world’s leading film critics.  It posts a single quote from their review and links through to the full text if you want to see it.

 

Most importantly, it summarises each critic’s opinion as either “fresh” or “rotten”.  It then expresses this as a percentage.  This tells you what percentage of critics approved of the film.

 

This can be very useful when looking at the general consensus of a film.  You might read a really bad review and then think twice about seeing a certain movie.  But what if that critic is in the minority?  Maybe it’s not his genre or he was having a bad day when he saw it.  Rotten Tomatoes should give you a better answer.

 

Toy Story 3 stands at a phenomenal 99% approval (from 225 reviews).  Inception is at 84% (from 209 reviews) – so I guess there are some who didn’t like it.  Conversely, Sex & The City 2 scored just 16% and The Bounty Hunter managed just 8% (these are my 2 worst films of the year so far).  Nice to see most other critics agree.

 

Anyway, it’s taken a while but I’m finally managed to knock down the wall and get accreditation for Rotten Tomatoes.  From now on, my reviews can be found through that site.  My official page is at http://au.rottentomatoes.com/author/author-13810/

 

I don’t have a photo up yet but will hopefully work on that over the next few weeks.

 

It’s great news for my site as well given the increased traffic through the Rotten Tomatoes link.  If I can keep coming up with some snazzy quotes, it might help get a few more people interested in what the Film Pie has to offer.

 

The main page at Rotten Tomatoes tells you about what’s currently showing in Australia – go to http://au.rottentomatoes.com/ to find all your review info.  But I better not plug it too hard since I still want people to visit my own site. J

 

Well that’s it from me.  See you next week for the winners of the 2010 Toomey Awards!

 

The Waiting City: Marketing On A Shoestring Budget

 

The Waiting City Q&A

 

Last Friday night, I was lucky enough to host a question and answer session with Australian stars Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom) and Radha Mitchell (Finding Neverland) at the Brisbane premiere of their new movie – The Waiting City.

 

I have to confess that it’s pretty cool to get such an opportunity.  I didn’t really know what to expect but I have to say that they were both really nice people.

 

We had about 20 minutes to have a drink before the Q&A and we spoke about everything from Dr. Patel (they hadn’t heard of him before so I thought it an opportune time to enlighten them) to an interesting experience Radha had on the set of recent movie (which is a bit too crude to mention in this blog).

 

I had a quick chat to Joel about Animal Kingdom and whether he knew it would be such a success.  He always thought they were making a good movie but yes, not even he could believe how good it was when he saw it for the first time.  Must be a great feeling as an actor.

 

You can view a picture of the three of us outside the cinema by clicking here.

 

The Q&A was great.  It went for almost an hour and the audience (around 200 people) had some interesting questions to ask.  It’s not my favourite film of the year but it will get people thinking and generate discussion.  The stars then snuck off for an evening of relaxation (I snuck in one more chat with Joel about Acolytes) and then jetted off the next morning.  Joel was heading back to the States and Radha was off to visit some friends at Maroochydore (a favourite holiday destination of mine).

 

What the whole process had me thinking about was the importance of these events for the promotion of small Australian films (well, just about every Australian film is classified as “small” these days).

 

The Waiting City was shot in late 2008 and premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2009.  One of the reasons it has taken so long to reach our own shores was that both Joel and Radha were busy shooting other films.  They were waiting until they both had some free time so they could tour Australia and promote the film prior to its release.  The first week in July 2010 was the best time they could slot in.

 

Some films market themselves (aka Twilight).  Others need all the help they can get.  Brisbane was the last stop on their Australian tour.  They had visited a number of capital cities where they had Q&A sessions and numerous radio interviews.  Here in Brisbane, they had a chat with Kelly Higgins-Devine on 612ABC a few hours before coming to the premiere.  It must be tiring for the stars getting the same questions over and over again but they know the importance of it.  A poster in a handful of cinemas won’t get the job done.  They have to get out and sell the film.

 

If it’s good, then you’d like to hope that all the interviews and Q&A sessions will help spread the word.  That’s the plan anyway.  It doesn’t always work that way.  I recently attended a screening of an Australian film where the director was going to be in attendance to answer questions afterwards.  Just 10 people showed up for the screening and 5 left as the credits started to roll.  I too snuck away.  I wasn’t a big fan of the film and I had another one to catch.  I did feel sorry for the director though – putting your heart and soul into a movie that no one seems to care about.

 

Such is the reality of Australian cinema.  I’ll continue to support it however and do my best to drum up interest.  I’d rather pay to see a mediocre Australian film than a mediocre American one.  It’s crucial that our industry remains healthy and with the more films we make, the more chance there is for actors, directors, writers, cinematographers, editors, etc to find their feet and show what they’re made of.

 

Australian International Movie Convention

 

In other quick news, the Australian International Movie Convention is coming up soon on the Gold Coast.  It kicks off on August 15 and runs for approximately a week.  All the major distributors are there trying to sell their upcoming films to cinema owners.  I went along briefly for the first time last year (for the premiere of Charlie & Boots) and it was fun to see how the system works.

 

It promises to be a big convention this year with Tomorrow When The War Began having its Queensland premiere with a big red carpet bash on August 15.  Many stars will be there and I’ve organised an interview with director Stuart Beattie (who wrote the script for the Pirates Of The Caribbean movies). 

 

Three days later, Will Ferrell and Mark Whalberg will be there to promote their new film called The Other Guys.  I’m not sure who else will be popping by but it should be a pretty big convention this year with these two stars in attendance.

 

That’s it from me for another week.  Inception is out next Thursday (July 22) and the early critic reviews from the States are fantastic.  It’s my most anticipated film of the year and the media preview for folks such as myself is on July 21.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

 

Mid-Year Report Card: Thumbs Up For Foreign & Animated

  

Movie Tixs To Give Away!

 

I thought I’d start off this week by announcing I’ve got some free movie tickets to give away.

 

Thanks to the friendly folk at Icon Films, I’ve got 5 double passes to a preview screening of Creation on Wednesday, July 14.  It’s at the Dendy Portside cinemas for a 7pm kick off.

 

The film stars Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany and Jeremy Northam.  Here’s a quick plot overview from the IMDB – “What happens when a world-renowned scientist, crushed by the loss of his eldest daughter, formulates a theory in conflict with religious dogma? This is the story of Charles Darwin and his master-work "The Origin of Species". It tells of a global revolution played out the confines of a small English village; a passionate marriage torn apart by the most dangerous idea in history; and a theory saved from extinction by the logic of a child.”

 

I’m yet to see the film myself (hoping to see it that same night) but you can see the trailer by clicking here.

 

If you’d like a double pass, shoot me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and put “Creation Tickets” as the subject heading.  The first 5 people to respond will be allocated the tickets. 

 

Twilight Mania

 

Twilight mania has again swept the world with the release of the third film.  It has taken in $161m in its first five days in the United States which is a solid total.  It’s below New Moon but I wouldn’t be complaining if I was an investor.    

 

What surprises me more though is that The Last Airbender (the new film from M. Night Shyamalan) still managed a $57m opening long weekend despite some of the worst reviews ever seen.  It has averaged just 4.5 out of 10 on the IMDB and scored just 8% approval from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.  Perhaps Roger Ebert summed it up best when he described it as “an agonizing experience in every category I can think of and others still waiting to be invented.”  The film is being released in Australia on September 16.

 

We’re now halfway through the year and the box-office leader for the year is still Alice In Wonderland.  Despite lukewarm reviews, the film made $334m in the United States.  It won’t be number 1 for long though.  Toy Story 3 has taken the world by storm.  It’s notched up $289m in just 3 weeks in the U.S.  It may set a target which won’t be beaten in 2010.  Considering that the original Toy Story made $191m and the sequel made $245m, this is one series which continues to grow in popularity.  Incredible.

 

Mid-Season Report Card

 

The school kids are on holidays and so the time has come to release my mid-season report card.  Here then are my thoughts on the first half of 2010…

 

Best Films:  A Single Man, Crazy Heart, Up In The Air, The Stoning Of Soraya M, Food Inc, I Am Love

 

Best Performances:  Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Peter Capaldi (In The Loop), Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Katie Jarvis (Fish Tank)

 

Proof That Foreign Language Films Can Be Successful At The Box-Office:  The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – still in the top 20 in Australia after 14 weeks with $5.4m

 

Proof That Australians Will Support Local Cinema If You Have An Interesting Story:  Animal Kingdom – still in the top 10 in Australia after 4 weeks with $3.4m

 

Proof That Jesus Died In Vain:  Sex & The City 2

 

Another Great Year Foreign Language Films:  The Secret In Their Eyes, I Am Love, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The White Ribbon, The Stoning Of Soraya M

 

Another Dismal Year For Formulaic Romantic Comedies:  The Back Up Plan, When In Rome, I Love You Too, The Bounty Hunter, It’s Complicated

 

Reasons Why I Like Family Films Which Are Animated:  Fantastic Mr. Fox, Toy Story 3, How To Train Your Dragon

 

Reasons Why I Like Family Films Which Are NOT Animated:  Tooth Fairy, Percy Jackson, Nanny McPhee 2, The Spy Next Door

 

Films I Surprisingly Liked:  Remember Me, She’s Out Of My League, Kick-Ass, The Karate Kid

 

Films I Surprisingly Disliked:  Invictus, Alice In Wonderland, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Micmacs

 

Saw It In London At It Was Great:  The Ghost Writer – out in Australia on August 12

 

Saw It In London At It Was Disappointing:  The Killer Inside Me – out in Australia on August 26

 

Films Looking Forward To In The Months Ahead:  Inception, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Wall Street 2

 

Films Not Looking Forward To In The Months Ahead:  Killers, Step Up 3D, Piranha 3D, The Last Airbender

 

Personal Highlight:  Interviewing Mia Wasikovska on 612ABC about her roles in Alice In Wonderland and In Treatment

 

Personal Lowlight:  Paying to see Sex & The City 2

 

Best Movie For Memorable Quotes:  In The Loop – also worthy of an award for its excellent use of profanity

 

Worth The Wait :  Rocket Science – released in Australia more than 3 years after it premiered in the United States

 

It Took 15 Years But I Finally Saw A Decent Sandra Bullock Performance:  The Blind Side

 

Total Films Seen:  100

 

Total Films Seen Worthy Of An A+:  0

Nominations For 11th Annual Toomey Awards Revealed!

 

Greetings for another week.

 

Nothing screams self indulgence than naming an award after yourself.  Well, maybe it’s naming a bunch of awards after yourself.

 

Back in 2000, I started up my own awards as a way of recognising my favourite films and performances of each year.  I tried to recognise those who didn’t always get the love they deserved from the Academy and other major critic groups.  The great news is that since I am the only voting member of the Toomey Awards (it’s has tough membership criteria) then I usually find myself happy when the results are released.

 

This year, I’m decided to remove all the minor technical categories from my list.  I like to mimic the Academy but the time has come to confess that I know nothing when it comes to sound, make up and visual effects.  I have retained best original score though given my love for that craft (and my ever growing soundtrack collection).

 

It wasn’t easy picking some of the categories given I saw 221 films over the past financial year.  Hopefully some of your own favourites are amongst the nominees.  It might inspire you to get out a few DVDs which you’ve been leaving on the shelf for a while.

 

All the winners will be revealed in four weeks time.

 

To view the list of nominees, simply click here.