BOOK TITLE: The Australia Times - Film magazine. Volume 3, issue 6

Vol. 3 No. 6
June 2015
Independent Media Inspiring Minds
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The Australia Times Film is compiled
by a dedicated team of lm enthusiasts
who are passionate about everything
related to cinema. The aim of the page
is to increase the amount of information
and knowledge about old and new
types of cinema. All kinds of lms are
valuable to us, including mainstream
Hollywood lms, to foreign features
and local productions. Our interest
in the medium is expressed monthly
through lm reviews of new releases,
retrospective ashbacks to old lms
and feature articles analysing the
broad concepts of cinema itself. The
diversity of this content is reective of
the varying and universal effects the
medium has on people.
Gokul Gnaneswaran | Jade Manly
Patricia Terace | Emily Komiyama
Damien Straker
Damien Straker
Welcome Note
We aim to inform, entertain, teach, encourage, educate and support the community at large
by facilitating communication between all Australians. By providing the opportunity for all
opinions to be shared on a single website.
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Editor’s Note ................................................................................................ 5
Ex Machina (2015) ..................................................................................... 6
Spy (2015) ..................................................................................................... 8
Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) ............................................................................. 12
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) ................................................................. 14
Woman in Gold (2015) .......................................................................... 18
Pretty Good Friends (2015) .................................................................. 20
Double Feature: Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980) .... 22
The Passing of a Legend: Sir Christopher Lee (1922-2015) ..... 26
zero Gravity: Why Kyle Smith is Wrong about George Clooney 30
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The majority of the content in the June edition of TAT Film is
comprised of lm reviews. Gokul Gnaneswaran has delivered
four reviews of lms currently in release. They include the strong
science ction drama
Ex Machina
, which marks the directorial
debut of Alex Garland, the comedy spoof of secret agent
, the apocalyptic thrill ride
Mad Max: Fury Road
, and
Pitch Perfect 2
, the anticipated musical sequel to the original
smash. Patricia Terace has given her view on
Woman in Gold,
which features a strong performance by Helen Mirren playing
Maria Altmann. Emily Komiyama has reviewed the Australian
indie mumblecore lm
Pretty Good Friends
and it has made
a sizable impression on her. It is about a young woman who
moves to Melbourne and her various bonds and friendships with people. Jade Manly has written the
retro reviews this month, looking back at both the
lms from the late 1970s and early 1980s,
with the rst lm coming out well on top. Additionally, she’s included a tribute piece on veteran actor
Christopher Lee, who recently passed away. Lastly, I’ve written an article responding to the author and
lm critic Kyle Smith who believes George Clooney is not a genuine movie star. If you have a lm review
or feature article like this we are now taking submissions for the July edition of TAT Film.
Damien Straker.
Editors Note
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By Gokul Gnaneswaran
Universal Pictures presents a lm by Alex Garland
Produced by Andrew McDonald and Allon Reich
Screenplay by Alex Garland
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander
Edited by Mark Day
Cinematography: Rob Hardy
Music by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury
Running Time: 108 minutes
Released: May 7th, 2015
Rating: M
Score: 4.5/5 Stars
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The story centres on Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), an exceptional programmer working for
Bluebook (the movie’s version of Google), who wins a competition to spend a week with
Nathan (Oscar Isaac), Bluebook’s eccentric and reclusive CEO. Once Caleb arrives at Nathan’s
Alaskan subterranean abode, he soon nds that he has been selected to take part in a Turing
Test that pits Caleb against the billionaire’s pièce de résistance, Ava, a robot housing the
world’s rst true articial intelligence. Adding another level of complication to the test is the
fact that Ava exudes an aura of sensuality with her beautiful face and body that exposes much
of her inner machinery and yet manages to convey the very essence of femininity.
The entire movie is a slow build, with layer upon layer being added to the story. The audience,
much like Caleb, are in the dark about the true motivations of Nathan and even Ava. There
is something sinister about Isaac’s character as he shifts in personality, almost exhibiting a
Jekyll and Hyde persona. Isaac brings a great performance to the role, one minute making the
character likable, yet narcissistic and a bit off-centre. He’s got a dance sequence in the movie
that comes out of nowhere that you have to see to believe. However, at the ip of a switch
Isaac also portrays Nathan with very dark and brooding undertones, making you worry for
Caleb’s well-being.
Caleb’s question and answer sessions with Ava make up a big part of the movie, letting us see
the relationship build between the two characters, developing into a type of cat and mouse
game, with the participants not sure who’s testing who. Ava initially seems very childlike and
almost scared of Caleb, but she too has an intensity to her that makes you wonder whether
her behaviour is merely a facade for something more sinister.
The lm is very minimalist, with Nathan’s dwelling very sparse and modern in its decor, the
austere white accentuated with pops of colour here and there, which is quite in contrast with
the surrounding Alaskan countryside, which is vibrant and just abundant in natural beauty. A
great juxtaposition of nature vs. man in his attempt to create life in the form of AI. Speaking
of which, the design of Ava herself is a work of art amalgamating nature with technology, the
natural curves of her form giving her an organic feel mixed with the high-tech circuitry and
hydraulics visible through the mesh that makes up much of her body.
In my opinion, the lm’s greatest strength is slow ratcheting up of the tension, the tone
changing from a simple sci- story into a tale of horror, where we don’t know who is
manipulating who and frankly whether anyone is worth rooting for. It is a refreshing change
of pace in time where most other movies feel like a million explosions a minute is the only
way to drive the story ahead.
That being said, the pace of the lm may be a turn off for some, as this is more of a psychological
thriller, delving into questions about what really makes us human rather than a fast-paced
action ick. I found the movie quite an enjoyable experience and if you would like to see
something a little more thought-provoking than the usual fare, I recommend you check it out.
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SPY (2015)
By Gokul Gnaneswaran
Fox presents a lm by Paul Feig
Produced by Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson, Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping
Written by Paul Feig
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale,
Allison Janney and Jude Law
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Cinematography Robert Yeoman
Edited by Dean Zimmerman and Don Zimmerman
Running Time: 120 minutes
Rating: MA15+
Release Date: May 21
, 2015
Score: 3.5/5
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The latest comedy from writer/director Paul Feig, stars Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law and Jason
Statham, mixing the spy genre with the trademark humour for which Feig has come to be
Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a CIA agent whose marks were off the charts during
her training as a cadet. Now, due to a lack faith in her skills, Cooper nds herself providing
remote support and guidance to Bradley Fine (Jude Law), a eld agent for the CIA. Law as Fine
plays to all the stereotypes of a 1960’s gentleman spy. Smooth, suave, sophisticated and very
chauvinistic. In reality though, it’s Cooper advising Fine through an ear-piece that gets him
through most of the tough situations in which he nds himself.
A series of events ends up with Cooper having to go into the eld in place of Fine and this
is where the meat of the story lies. Instead being tted out with the cool box of tricks that
are normally bestowed to spies of this ilk, Cooper’s gadgets consist of weapons disguised as
haemorrhoid wipes, stool softener and a rape whistle. Supposedly this is to aid the believability
of Cooper’s secret identity of a frumpy, middle-aged cat lady.
As mentioned before, the third protagonist in the lm is Jason Statham, playing Richard Ford,
another CIA agent. Ford is the typical tough guy that Statham plays in all his movies but
here Statham is having a wonderful time sending up his own character, with Ford being a
dumb jock who is puffed up with his own self-importance, when in truth he is a fairly average
spy. Ford despises the idea that Cooper would make a good spy and does his utmost best
to ridicule her at every given opportunity. Laughs were guaranteed whenever Ford was on-
screen delivering more and more ludicrous stories of his own aptitude as a spy.
But the real scene-stealer was the Bulgarian arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne). You
can tell that Byrne had enormous fun playing the villainous Boyanov. Equal parts spoilt, cruel
and naive, Boyanov’s disgust at Cooper was plain to see and evident in many of her quotable
Spy had some surprisingly good action sequences for a comedy, with the ght choreography
tight and well shot, and not leaving the audience confused as to what was happening onscreen.
The humour too was fast, and almost non-stop, however the jokes didn’t always land and
there were many times when there were large pauses in the laughter.
At the end of the day, Spy was an enjoyable lm but didn’t really elevate itself from any other
action comedy. I would have been perfectly happy watching this at home on DVD rather than
seeing it at the cinema.
I give Spy 3.5 out of 5
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By Gokul Gnaneswaran
Universal Pictures presents a lm by Elizabeth Banks
Produced by Elizabeth Banks, Paul Brooks, Max Handelman and Jason Moore
Screenplay by Kay Cannon
Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam DeVine, Skylar
Astin, Katey Segal, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Ben Platt
Music by Mark Mothersbaugh
Cinematography: Jim Denault
Edited by Craig Alpert
Running Time: 115 minutes
Rating: M
Release Date: May 7th, 2015
Score: 3/5
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Back in 2012, a little movie called Pitch Perfect popped into the scene. The lm focused on
college a-Capella groups and introduced this world to the audience through the eyes of Beca
Mitchell (Anna Kendrick), a rebellious freshman who joins an all-female sorority, the Barden
Bellas, and infuses their songs with fresh new ideas that propels the group to win the national
a-Capella competition. The lm was a surprise hit with just the right mixture of toe-tapping
songs, fun dance sequences and a healthy dose of humour that had audiences laughing in
their seats.
Earning over USD$115 million worldwide, and becoming the second highest grossing music
comedy lm of all time, it was a shoe-in that a sequel would be on the cards, and now cinema-
goers once again have the chance to see the exploits of the Barden Bellas.
The movie opens with the Bellas performing at the Lincoln Centre. After a humiliating wardrobe
malfunction involving Fat Amy, the group is suspended from the a-Capella performing circuit.
The girls then hatch a plan to regain their reputation by winning the international competition,
a feat that no American team has ever done.
In addition to the returning cast of the rst movie, we are also introduced to Das Sound
Machine, a German a-Capella group that serve as the main competition to the Bellas, and
perform intricate a-Capella sequences with machine-like efciency (and slight German
If I hadn’t seen the rst Pitch Perfect, the sequel would have been a great little movie that
offered catchy songs, funny jokes and a fun insight into the world of competitive a-Capella (a
sentence I never thought I would see myself writing). As it is, most of the movie is a re-hash
of the rst one. It’s like the writers and director thought, “They liked the rst movie so much,
let’s give them more of the same. Just dial it up to 11”.
So we get more Fat Amy, more Beca going against the group, a riff-off that is so contrived
that it’s fairly obvious that it’s only in the story because the scene was a great hit in the rst
movie. While the songs are still as catchy as they were in the rst lm, the movie fails to have
the same spark that made its predecessor so much fun to watch, and ultimately falls at.
However the movie has already made more money in its rst ve days of release than the rst
movie in its entire run, so we will denitely be getting a Pitch Perfect 3. Hopefully they nd a
way to inject some new ideas into that sequel.
In the meantime, I give Pitch Perfect 2 a 3 out of 5.
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FURY ROAD (2015)
By Gokul Gnaneswaran
Roadshow presents a lm by George Miller
Produced by Doug Mitchell, George Miller and P. J. Voeten
Written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris
Starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Rosie Huntington-
Whiteley, Riley Keough, Zoë Kravitz, Abbey Lee and Courtney Eaton
Music by Junkie XL
Cinematography John Seale
Edited by Margaret Sixel
Running Time: 120 minutes
Rating: MA15+
Release Date: May 14th, 2015
Score: 4.5/5
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FURY ROAD (2015)
Insane. In your face. Balls to the wall action. Amazing. All these words perfectly sum up Mad
Max, and you know what? I loved it every bit of it. In a world where movies are now bleak,
desaturated and brimming with CG effects, Mad Max is a refreshing break from the norm,
that hits you at a 100 miles an hour with its bright colour palette, eccentric characters, wild
costumes, and practical effects that make you think “Oh my god, did they really do that?”
It’s been a while since movie-goers have seen Mad Max. 30 years in fact. In that time a whole
generation of the audience has grown up, not knowing who Max is, and some have not even
seen the rst three movies. However while this latest installment does have Easter eggs
pointing to its predecessors, you can easily watch this lm without any knowledge of what has
happened previously. It is made to be just another tale in the legend of Mad Max.
Max is a drifter in a post-apocalyptic Australia. It’s a harsh place, full of danger, where its
inhabitants have taken the law into their own hands and where civilization as we know it has
crumbled into small pockets of humanity trying to survive in a world with little water, oil or
hope. The lm opens with a car chase that ends with Max taken prisoner to one of these
pockets, controlled by Immortan Joe, a diseased leader of a people consisting of the poor
downtrodden common folk, and chalk-skinned War Boys, a fanatical group of scarred soldiers
that are willing to die for Joe to get a chance to live forever in their version of Valhalla.
It is little things like this that really esh out this world. With the lack of gasoline and fuel,
an entire religion has risen around vehicles, where the steering wheel is an object to be
worshipped, where there is nothing greater than dying in the chase. But where the War Boys
are devout to Immortan Joe without question, the rest of the populace only bows to Joe
out of fear and because Joe controls another precious resource, water extracted from deep
Rounding out Joe’s community are The Wives. These are women who are pretty much forced
to be Joe’s sex slaves, in his attempt to breed a perfect son. And The Wives play an integral
part to the story as the main part of the movie begins when Impertor Furiosa (played by
Charlize Theron) helps The Wives escape from Immortan Joe, driving away in a modied war
truck to try and nd the Green Lands, a place where water is abundant and the land is fertile
and lush, away from Joe’s tyranny. This act sets the ball rolling, spurring Joe and his pack of
War Boys to chase and hunt down Furiosa and to get his Wives back.
It is incredible that without falling to the clichéd tropes of exposition, George Miller manages
to convey the back story of Furiosa, Max, The Wives and even create a whole character arc
for Nux, one of the War Boys, while keeping the action going, the music blaring and all the
while having multiple cars, bikes and trucks racing across the screen with explosions being let
off left, right and centre. This movie is ultimately a two hour car-chase across a barren, yet
beautiful, wasteland and when we do get to a quiet moment, it feels earned, the characters
ghting with every essence of their being to get that brief reprieve from their pursuers.
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As mentioned before, this is a very gorgeous movie. Where most post-apocalyptic lms are
devoid of colour, Fury Road is vibrant and just pops of the screen. From sand storms that
are just awe inspiring with their swirling red and orange hues, with the occasional bolts of
lightning to dazzling ares lighting up the sky, there is always something to capture the eye.
Coupled with breathtaking stunts and crazy ght sequences, I would recommend this movie
just for the visual aspect alone. But it’s not just the visual sense that is catered for. The score
is pulsating and gets your heart-pounding, a perfect match for the events taking place on
screen. In fact one of the characters in the lm exists solely to thrash an electric guitar while
tied to one of the vehicles chasing Max. A twisted, futuristic version of the bag-pipers that
used to accompany soldiers into battle. If that isn’t awesome, I don’t know what is. This has
easily become the best movie of the year so far. With a simple story, great action and a fully
realised world, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Max.
I give Mad Max: Fury Road 4.5 out of 5
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By Patricia Terace
Roadshow presents a lm by: Simon Curtis
Produced by: David M. Thompson and Kris Thykier
Written by: Alexi Kaye Campbell
Starring: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes and Jonathan Pryce
Edited by: Peter Lambert
Cinematography by: Ross Emery
Music by: Martin Phipps and Hans Zimmer
Running time: 109 minutes
Released: April 10th, 2015
Rating: PG
Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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The title of the lm
Woman in Gold
has a dual meaning for Academy Award winner Helen
Mirren with her awless performance as Maria Altmann by making her a serious best actress
contender for the 2016 Academy Award nominations.
Mirren never falters with her strong performance as Jewish immigrant Maria Altmann. Based
on a true story, Maria Altmann is desperate to reclaim a family portrait of her Aunt Adele
Bloch-Bauer titled,
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer
painted by Gustave Klimt which is considered
to be an Austrian masterpiece. The masterpiece which was stolen during the violent Nazi
occupation of Austria in WW2 was renamed
The Lady in Gold
by the Nazis. The dilemma
arises for Maria Altmann, when the Austrian government refuses to return the painting to its
rightful owner, as they claim it is a national treasure and should remain in Austria. Altmann
launches a legal battle with her young lawyer Randy Schoeberg played by Ryan Reynolds to
retrieve the portrait.
Reynolds is convincing as the initially reluctant lawyer and his portrayal is strengthened by
Mirren’s superior acting skills and their snappy dialogue which highlights their wonderful
onscreen chemistry. It is this which enthrals the audience elevating the lm to a more
compelling drama than what would otherwise be an ordinary and lacklustre lm.
Directed by Simon Curtis who is best known for his drama piece,
My Week with Marilyn
the lm fails to emotionally engage the viewer and the backstory of the portrait is far more
interesting than what is interpreted by Curtis on screen.
Curtis intercuts the story between the past and the present by employing the ashback
technique. These interspersed scenes are effective for narrative pacing and contribute to the
storytelling, although the ashback scenes would have been more powerful if they had been
lmed in black and white rather than colour, as this would have heightened the authenticity
and the suspense of the lm which it lacks.
Woman in Gold lacks the emotional rawness and intense desperation which drove the 2013
lm, Philomena, directed by Stephen Frears. Woman in Gold in its entirety fails to engage the
viewer of the haunting loss in one of the most memorable events in history-not merely the
theft of possessions but the theft of identity.
Overall score three and a half out of ve because of the strength of the leads.
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By Emily Komiyama
Directed by Sophia Townsend
Produced by Nathan Barillaro, Rain Fuller, Tom Swinburn and Sophia Townsend
Written by Nathan Barillaro and Sophia Townsend
Starring: Rain Fuller, Michael Edward Williams, Nathan Barillaro, Glenn Luck and Jenni
Cinematography: Tom Swinburn
Score: 4.5/5
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Mumblecore; the term that every aspiring lmmaker should appreciate. The lm industry
comes with the misconception that every production will cost you an arm, a leg and a
mortgage. But with the rise of digital technology in the past 15 years, every man and his dog
can now shoot on digital format. The Mumblecore movement was born back in 2002 with
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Andrew Bujalski’s indie lm
Funny Ha Ha
, that focused on the post-university lives of people
in their twenties. Praised for it’s realism, it spawned a decade of low-budget independent
lms that depicted life as it really was. And local Melbourne director Sophie Townsend has
just released Australia’s rst contribution to the movement.
Her directorial debut
Pretty Good Friends
focuses on Jules (Jenni Townsend), a woman who
moves to Melbourne to get in touch with herself before turning 25. After moving in with her
best friend Sam (Rain Fuller) and her partner Alex (Nathan Barillaro), both bonds and rifts
begin to emerge in all the wrong places.
Jenni Townsend (no relation to Sophie) is delicious as Jules. Awkwardly hilarious and down
right relatable, she brings warmth to a well eshed out character who is experiencing the
quarter-life crisis that we’ve all encountered or are yet to encounter. Fuller is fantastic as Sam,
whose bubbly persona is slowly eaten away by bitterness and jealousy. Barillaro is great as her
partner Alex, but the show really belongs to Townsend and Fuller, whose chemistry is electric
- both in their friendship and it’s demise.
Committing to Mumblecore, Townsend shot
Pretty Good Friends
locally around Melbourne
with just two cameras, natural lighting, a small cast and crew and a exible screenplay (penned
both by S. Townsend and Barillaro) that left the actors to their own devices. It is impossible
to tell what is scripted and what is improvised here as the actors bounce off each other so
well. Tom Swinburn’s cinematography is luminous and will make Melbournians extremely
sentimental. Being from Perth, even I was impressed with how he captured this beautiful city,
especially at nighttime.
Townsend’s exploration of the ‘emotional affair’, where a connection is undeniable but not
acted upon, is uncomfortably real. Despite our best efforts, chemistry is something that
words cannot hide. This is covered in such an unpretentious way that you almost forget
you’re watching actors. And that is thanks to Townsend’s awless directing and the chemistry
between all three actors. Unlike many productions that try to mimic naturalism with bigger
budgets, Townsend creates realism with realism. With no funding, the lm is so natural and
well crafted that it leaves you looking at your own life from a different angle. As a 25 year
old aspiring screenwriter, also new to Melbourne, this lm affected me in so many different
ways. As a woman nding her way, as a writer, as a friend and as a girlfriend. I may have been
the most appreciative audience member at this screening, as Townsend and her actors were
present for a Q&A session afterwards.
This is the kind of lm you need to see if you’re an aspiring lmmaker. For both the story
and the production values. This was shot with no funding and yet is now winning awards in
numerous international lm festivals around the world. If you’re an artist, there is no excuse.
Get writing, get directing and get cracking. Sophie Townsend should be proud that she may
have just given birth to a brighter future for the Australian lm industry.
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A lm by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by: Richard Donner
Written by: Mario Puzo, David Newman,
Leslie Newman and Robert Benton
Produced by: Alexander Salkind, Ilya
Salkind and Pierre Spengler
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Margot
Kidder, Gene Hackman and Marlon
Edited by: Stuart Baird and Michael Ellis
Cinematography: Geoffrey Unsworth
Music by: John Williams
Released: 10 December 1978
Running time: 146 Minutes
Rating: PG
Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to bend steel with his bare hands…
Based on the character created by DC comics, Richard Donner’s
became the benchmark upon
which all superhero lms would be measured.
The lm begins with the destruction of Krypton as Superman’s parents Lara and Jor-El decide to send
their infant son, Kal-El to planet Earth to save his life. The child is found in a town called Smallville and is
raised by a childless couple named Jonathan and Martha Kent.
After discovering his alien heritage and donning the red and blue suit, Clark Kent moves to the city of
Metropolis. Kent is hired as a reporter for The Daily Planet newspaper alongside Perry White, Jimmy
Olsen and Lois Lane. As the story unfolds Superman is pitted against Lex Luthor, a criminal mastermind
who is bent on world domination.
features an ensemble cast including Marlon Brando as Jor-El and Gene Hackman as the
nefarious Lex Luthor. Christopher Reeve epitomises optimism and goodness in his portrayal of Clark
Kent/Superman and Margot Kidder is particularly endearing as the inquisitive reporter Lois Lane.
Created before the invention of CGI and digital effects, the techniques used to make
‘y’ were
By Jade Manly
Retro Film Reviews
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ground breaking for the time. The look and feel of the lm was achieved through the use of
matte paintings, miniatures and lming techniques.
received a Special Achievement Academy Award for Visual Effects. The lm was also
nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Film Editing, Best Original Score and Best
Sound Mixing.
was an instant success, grossing over $300 million at the box ofce and spawning
three sequels:
Superman II
Superman III
(1983) and
Superman IV
The Quest for Peace
A lm by Warner Bros. Pictures
Directed by: Richard Lester
Written by: Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newmanand Tom Mankiewicz
Produced by: Alexander Salkind, Ilya Salkind and Pierre Spengler
Cast: Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder, Gene Hackman, Sarah Douglas, Jack O’Halloran and
Terrance Stamp
Edited by: John Victor-Smith and Stuart Baird
Cinematography: Robert Paynter and Geoffrey Unsworth
Music by: Ken Thorne with original theme by John Williams
Released: 4 December 1980
Running time: 127 Minutes
Rating: PG
Score: 3 out of 5 stars
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Whilst the previous lm explored Superman’s origin story Superman II sees the triumphant hero battle
against General Zod, Ursa and Non, criminals from Krypton who were banished to the Phantom Zone
at the beginning of the previous lm.
During this lm Lois discovers that Clark Kent and Superman are one and the same and becomes
romantically involved with Superman. Not realising the dangers currently faced by the people of planet
Earth, Superman relinquishes his powers to live a mortal life with Lois.
Terrance Stamp stars as the evil General Zod with Sarah Douglas and Jack O’Halloran as Ursa and Non,
respectively. Gene Hackman returns as Lex Luthor, albeit serving a more of a humorous role than in the
original lm.
Despite the success of Superman, during the production of Superman II, Richard Donner was replaced
as director by Richard Lester at request of the producers, Alexander and Ilya Salkind. It is obvious that
creative differences had a signicant impact on this lm. Although Superman II is fun and enjoyable, it
lacks the heart and cohesion of the rst lm.
Interesting Facts:
(1978) and
Superman II
(1980) were lmed simultaneously over a 19
month period.
Superman’s suit is actually turquoise not blue, to stop it blending in with the blue
screen during special effect sequences.
In the US,
(1978) was number one at the box ofce for 13 consecutive
Other actors to portray Superman on lm and television include: George Reeves
The Adventures of Superman
(1952), Tom Welling in the television series
(2001) and most recently, Henry Cavill in the 2013 lm
Man of Steel
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When the media reported the death of Sir Christopher Lee, fans took to social media with
an outpouring of tributes for the screen legend. Starring in over 250 lm and television
productions Lee had an active career until his death. This November, Lee was slated to star in a
new lm The 11th about the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Centre alongside Uma Thurman,
but due to Lee’s death his role will now be recast.
The prolic actor was best known for his portrayal of villains and made a name for himself
starring in Hammer Horror lms. Lee’s rst Hammer lm was The Curse of Frankenstein
(1957), playing Frankenstein’s creature alongside life-long friend, Peter Cushing as Doctor
Frankenstein. Lee’s most famous Hammer character was Dracula featuring in seven lms:
Dracula (1958), Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1965), Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968),
Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969), Scars of Dracula (1970), Dracula A.D. 1972 and The Satanic
Rites of Dracula (1973).
During his career Lee brought an assortment of iconic characters to life including: The Mummy,
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Sherlock Holmes and Rasputin. In 1974 Lee played the main villain,
Francisco Scaramanga in the James Bond lm The Man with the Golden Gun alongside Roger
Christopher Lee has inspired numerous lmmakers including: Tim Burton, George Lucas and
Peter Jackson. Lee worked with Burton on ve different lms: Sleepy Hollow (1999), Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2010) and Dark
Shadows (2012).
With his towering height and sonorous voice Lee was arguably the best thing about the Star
Wars prequels Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005) starring as the evil
Count Dooku. Remarkably, Lee did a lot of his own stunts for these lms even though he was
80 years old at the time.
by Jade Manly
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Although he auditioned for the role of Gandalf, Lee was cast as Saruman in Peter Jackson’s
Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001 - 2003) a role which he later reprised in The Hobbit
Trilogy (2012 - 2014). The original novels were close to Lee’s heart and interestingly, he
was the only cast member to have met J.R.R. Tolkien in person.
Sir Christopher Lee died of heart failure and respiratory problems on 7th June 2015, at
the grand age of 93 and is survived by his wife and daughter. Lee will be remembered as
a talented actor with an impressive lmography spanning across 70 years.
Interesting Facts:
Lee was an avid fan of heavy and symphonic metal music and recorded an album
with the Italian band, Rhapsody of Fire.
Lee served in the British Royal Air Force (or RAF) during World War II.
Lee is distantly related to James Bond author Ian Fleming.
Christopher Lee was knighted in 2009 for his contributions to drama and charity.
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by Damien Straker
Featuring in the New York Post last month,
Kyle Smith’s slander piece on George Clooney
is crass, misinformed and poorly researched.
Bluntly titled “Face it, George Clooney sucks”,
the piece is about the failure of
(2015), the George Clooney science ction
movie, which has performed poorly at the box
ofce. Smith is using the lm to launch a tirade
on Clooney and how the poor box ofce of
several of his lms means he is, in his eyes, not
a star: “The failure of this supposed tent pole
release is yet another sign that Clooney, who
has been headlining movies for 19 years, just
doesn’t sell tickets”, Kyle states. He compares
Clooney box ofce failings to Dwayne ‘The
Rock’ Johnson, who by Smith’s comparison,
is innitely more successful as a movie star
because of the big dollars his lms earn and
how his fans are more excitable. This is despite
the recent success and popularity of Alfonso
(2013), which Clooney co-
starred in and helped the lm earn over $700
million dollars.
Kyle Smith is not one for soft peddling words.
He is a lm critic who fearlessly attacks populist
and critically lauded lms, like
of the Galaxy
(2014). He was once named
by the website The Wire as America’s Most
Cantakerous Film Critic: “Smith blew away
the competition. Between 2009 and 2011, he
disliked 13 of the 90 best-reviewed movies and
liked nine of the 90 worst-reviewed ones.” His
take-no-prisoners approach is commendable
at a time when lms are generally overpraised
and under analysed. However, his attack on
Clooney though is unsurprising and overly
personal. Kyle Smith is politically conservative.
He was a soldier in the Gulf War between
between 1990 and 1991. These conservative
values have ltered into his written work.
A recent example is his praise for the lm
American Sniper
(2014), saying it shows
the soldiers as the heroes that they are and
calling it the year’s most extraordinary lm.
By contrast, Clooney is well-documented as
an American liberal and once compared the
Bush administration prior to the War in Iraq as
mobsters and the equivalent of the Sopranos.
A number of his lms like
The Men Who Stare
at Goats
(2009) are liberal in their viewpoints.
What this article is about is not Clooney’s star
power but an opportunity to pitch right-wing
political superiority over what Smith would
deem to be Hollywood’s fading liberalism,
while merely posturing as being concerned
with popularity and stardom.
A major fault with this article is Smith’s
tendency to underplay the success of two
of Clooney’s best lms by stating: “A couple
of his Oscar-bait movies, “Up in the Air” and
“The Descendants,” maybe broke even. It’s
hard to say. Running a simultaneous Oscar
campaign and general publicity campaign
is so expensive that it might have eaten up
most or all of the apparent prot on these
seemingly modestly budgeted lms.” Jason
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Reitman political, economic and social satire
Up in the Air
(2009) was made for merely $25
million dollars. It earned $166 million in return,
meaning a prot of $141 million, which is an
enormous hit for a relatively small scale movie
without blockbuster ambitions. Similarly,
Alexander Payne’s comedy-drama
(2011) cost $20 million dollars. It
clawed back $177 million at the box ofce for
a prot of $157 million dollars. Together these
two small, low budget lms earned nearly
$300 million dollars at the expense of $55
million. Smith has downplayed their success
by arguing it costs so much to run an Oscar
campaign for these types of lms, which eats
into the prots. Stephen Follows blog on “How
much does a Hollywood Oscar campaign cost”
provides a detailed analysis of the individual
costs. The most important gure is that he
says it only costs $10 million dollars, loose
change in Hollywood, to fulll a Best Picture
Oscar campaign. Both
Up in the Air
were nominated for Best Picture
but neither lm won, which means Smith is
clutching at thin air if he thinks their Oscar
hopes spoiled their box ofce triumphs. He
has failed to research the takings properly and
overstates the Oscar costs to downplay how
successful these two lms were with audiences.
Another error he makes is placing Johnson
over Clooney because his lms excel at the
box ofce. This popularity contest is merely
hiding his political feud. Johnson’s lms harp
back to the 1980s style of action heroes of
the Reagan era, like Chuck Norris and Arnold
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Schwarzenegger, who saved the world all
on their own. Like the latter star, Johnson
has played Hercules, one of the lms Smith
triumphs as being a box ofce success. But
is anyone today fooled into believing a star’s
value is in their box ofce takings alone? If
this were the case, Michael Bay would be
a champion auteur of modern cinema. His
lms like the
series have earned
billion of dollars and have an established fan
base. Truthfully, not all of Clooney’s lms
have worked. His recent directorial effort
Monuments Men
(2014) was a colossal failure
both critically and commercially. Clooney’s
strength and what makes him a star though
is that artistically he has taken chances
throughout his career. Some of these have
worked signicantly like the aforementioned
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comedy-dramas and others have failed. But
regardless, he’s used his star power and his
reputation to support smaller lms which
aren’t always likely to attract the big numbers
of summer blockbusters, which are easy to
market and twice as easy to throwaway. One
of Clooney’s less celebrated features is
(2010), a very tense thriller which
Smith doesn’t mention in his piece. It cost
$20 million dollars and earned $67 million
in return. It’s not comparable to Johnson’s
gures but it shows there’s still an audience
for more obscure, smaller features if they have
a name like Clooney’s attached to them. Smith
also failed to mention Burn After Reading
(2008), which featured Clooney and earned
$166 million from just $37 million dollars.
© Image
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The stats and the truth about what makes a star
won’t matter to Smith. His article ends with a
comical graph comparing Clooney vs. Johnson,
labelled “Box Ofce Brawl”. It almost tries
to make it a physical comparison by having
Clooney in his Batsuit and Johnson shirtless. Silly
comparisons are made such as comparing their
athletic career, books authored and college
degrees. Who cares that Clooney unked out
in his tryouts? Today, he’s taking far more
artistic risks than Johnson and has shown he
can stretch his acting range much further than
someone only eleven years younger than him.
Despite a resurgence in older action heroes
recently, a younger generation including
some female stars like Jennifer Lawrence, are
dominating the action genre and box ofce
which puts a time limit on actors like Johnson.
In terms of taking risks and testing himself in
the deep uncertain waters of Hollywood and
smaller lms, Clooney is well ahead of many
other actors. It is also much more of a challenge
to test people politically in lms when they can
be subjected to all kinds of slanderous criticism,
especially from those like Kyle Smith, who with
a boombox on one shoulder, still want to keep
rockin’ in the 1980s.