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Diary: November 2004

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory poster

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory poster

Oh man, could I be any more excited? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), directed by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp. Please let me know if you've invented a time machine which I may make use of.

by pearly on Thu 11 Nov 2004 at 14:46 PM — permalink / add a comment / view the 2 comments

2004 Lexus IF Awards wrap-up

Last night's televised 2004 IF Awards were a barrel of laughs. There were technical difficulties, a drunken or very close to Bill Hunter, and some delicious rants by co-host John Safran. It was, as Marc Fennell, aka That Weird Looking Guy From The Movie Show, described it, the shortest, least wanky awards night around (least wanky yes, wank-free no).

Hosts for the evening were Safran and Sarah Wynter, the latter being a a rather odd choice, who regardless did well with her material, which contained a few jokes that didn't quite come off, even though they weren't woeful. Safran's "hosting" role consisted of four or so pre-recorded segments during which he mainly ranted, as is his wont. This ranting began with his introduction, in which he described the night as The 6th Annual Let's Gloss Over The Fact That No One Actually Sees Australian Films IF Film Awards. This unfortunately began an annoying trend of cracks about the state of the industry. I can understand people's concern, but, yawn, enough already.

One of the things I liked about the awards was the little spoken bits while each winner walked on stage to accept their red and white plastic "IF". Instead of the usual boring crap, there were little factoids related specifically to the winner and the award, such as the fact that after working on her script for Somersault (2004) for five or so years, Cate Shortland threw it out and started from scratch, leaving only six lines from the original intact.

The night was going smoothly until Lynette Curran and Bill Hunter walked on stage to present Best Production Design. After the nominees were read out, Curran got confused, thinking she had the wrong envelope, and motioned for another one. She then read out the contents of this new envelope, which was the winner of the Best Cinematography award. Nice one. All the while, Hunter had no idea what was going on, and just ad-libbed, telling the bemused winner for cinematography that it was "about bloody time" he made it up on stage when he arrived. Classic.

Happily (as I like a bit of variety), Somersault didn't win all the awards on the night - though they did get the majority. Best Sound was won by One Perfect Day (2004), Best Editing went to The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (2001) (an odd choice, I think), Love's Brother (2004) got Best Production Design, and Best Actor was given to Colin Friels for Tom White (2004). The Box Office Achievement Award went to Strange Bedfellows (2004), which just goes to show that even if the Australian public are going to see Australian films, they're just going to see the average ones.

There was a cross to Cate Blanchett who presented the Living Legend award to John Clarke, interesting mainly because they noted that she was on the set of Rowan Woods' newie Little Fish (2005), and how good is that going to be?!

Disturbingly, Andrew Günsberg, aka Andrew G, was in the audience, and they cut to his reaction to things far too often for my liking (i.e. three times or so when once is too many).

For more information and videos of the winners, you can go to the SBS site, where they manage to consistently spell Somersault incorrectly throughout. And now, cos everyone loves him, here in all its glory is a transcript of my favourite Safran rant for the evening. Bless his little cotton socks for making the awards fun to watch.

You can't make a film without a screen writer. Interestingly, you can barely make a film with one, because they are the laziest bastards in the world - trying to pass off their procrastination as the "creative process". Bump into one of these slobs at a party, and they'll tell you about a screenplay they've been working on for eight years, as if taking that long to type up 90 double-spaced pages is something to be proud of. So, how do these three-toed sloths of the film industry manage to stretch out the process over eight years, or one tenth of their lives? Well, it's not as difficult as you'd think. First, dawdle around the stationery shop endlessly, like everything's going to come together when you find that perfect paper and pen. A good writer can make this last about three years. Then when you finally find the perfect notebook and pen, you have a revelation. It wasn't the lack of the right notebook and pen that was holding back your creative genius, it's because of your old crappy laptop, and you simply can't type a word until you get a brand new Apple iBook. Armed with your new iBook, you now realise there's nothing on a practical level that's stopping you from writing. So it's time to blame someone else. State film funding bodies, federal film funding bodies, or best of all, the Howard Government. Sure mate, because the Liberal party's coming over to your house and forcing you to lie on the couch all day, and watch Doctor Phil. Then after seven years and three hundred and sixty four days of pretty much just fucking around, you bang out some shit in one four hour session. Six months later, it opens on 212 screens nationally, where it's seen by eight people. You then tell IF magazine that the problem with the Australian film industry is that writers aren't given enough time to write screenplays.

by pearly on Thu 11 Nov 2004 at 12:11 PM — permalink / add a comment

IMDb: Background Checks for Hollywood Root-Rats

At least according to The Guardian, every movie buff's favourite website, the IMDb, is the preferred tool of Hollywood hotties wanting to check up on potential bedmates.

Is there anything it can't do?

by mino on Mon 8 Nov 2004 at 14:14 PM — permalink / add a comment

2004 AFI Awards wrap-up

A week after the AFI Awards and I'm finally weighing in. I figure this is my duty as I was one of the only people in the world who got to see it - it not being screened on free-to-air television this year, but instead being picked up by Foxtel's "arts" channel Ovation.

Firstly, I'm not even going to bother talking about the awards won by Somersault (2004) (i.e. every one it was nominated for), because everyone cares enough to read this knows that stuff already. However, I will say that it must have sucked to be Nathaniel Dean or Hollie Andrew, as they were both up against other supporting actors from the same film (Hollie Andrew and Lynette Curran, respectively), and were the only ones associated with the film to not win in their category (having lost to their colleagues).

So, the evening began with the first award being given to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) for Best Foreign Film, and there was a supposedly hilarious bit where the person accepting the award kept talking for longer than the 30 second speech allocation, and was eventually pulled off stage by a giant hook. This set the scene for the level of comedy attained for the rest of the evening.

Another indication of the quality of the night came when Best Supporting Actor winner Thomson said in his speech "I would say it's a surprise, but I saw it flash up on the screen a few minutes ago." - nicely done, AFI Awards production team!

In terms of the non-feature film awards (the other categories that I voted in), Best Short Fiction Film went to Lennie Cahill Shoots Through (2003) (they won my praise by thanking all the members who went to the screenings and voted - i.e. me!), Best Documentary was won by Lennie Cahill Shoots Through (2003), and Best Short Animation was taken by Birthday Boy. These winners were the closest to my ratings in the three years that I've been voting for the awards, so I was quite happy with the outcome (I had rated So Close to Home (2003) higher in the Short Fiction category, but close enough!).

In terms of entertainment, Paul Kelly performed an interesting a cappella version of Meet me in the middle of the air from the nominated feature film Tom White (2004). They then had the "AFI Solid Gold Dancers", a group of old ducks who performed a cabaret style dance number. Apparently they had performed at an earlier AFI Awards ceremony. Next, for some unknown reason, Kate Ceberano performed her latest single Wanted: Lover. No Experience Necessary. This annoyed me, as I couldn't see what it had to do with film, and it was time that could have been used for the AFI Award winning Decoder Ring to perform something from the Somersault soundtrack. Oh well.

As the night drew to a close, a young people's choir sung I still call Australia home, just to prove that these were Australian awards, and the song over the credits was It's a long way to the top, performed by Matt Hetherington, and present due to the nominated film Thunderstruck (2004).

Overall, a fairly dull night - having the same film win virtually all of the awards doesn't make for a very fascinating event, as far as I'm concerned (the television program Marking Time won most of the television awards too, so no variety there either). Here's hoping the IF Awards, screening on regular television next Wednesday the 10th of November (SBS, 8:30) will be a little more enthralling.

by pearly on Fri 5 Nov 2004 at 17:57 PM — permalink / add a comment

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