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Film | Paranormal Activity (2009)

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Paranormal Activity movie poster“It’s not a ghost. What is it?”

Oren Peli’s first stab at film-making is a fun, truly frightening experience in the style of The Blair Witch Project.

Meet Micah and Katie. They’re your normal (if not, annoying) young couple, living together and “engaged to be engaged”. But something paranormal is happening to them – they’re being haunted by a malevolent spirit. Intent to capture said spirit on film, Micah purchases a hand-held camera to record movements in the house.

It’s this camera that tells the story. Each night they sleep, Micah sets up the camera in the bedroom, positioned (teasingly) to overlook the hallway. In their waking hours, it’s following their movements. Much of the non-still filming is done by Micah.

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Written by Darren Smith

28 November 2009 at 2:38 pm

Film | 2012 (2009)

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2012 movie posterThe Ancient Greek pantheon of gods was rife with tussles for preeminence between the immortals. And quite often the mere mortals were Sim-like pawns in these wars of might.

After watching 2012, I can’t help but think that God and Roland Emmerich are two such immortals pitched in a battle over who can play out the best disaster on the world stage. Emmerich’s thrown everything at it for his latest pitch.

For those who’ve escaped the epic promos, 2012 is a movie about the end of the world. It is the final year of the Mesoamerican calendar and, as legend has it, the final year of existence too. And this is the basic premise of the movie — surviving apocalypse.

In 2009, a group of scientists discover the world will indeed end in 2012. World leaders listen and act, collaboratively setting in motion plans for nothing less than the survival of the human species (remember, this is fiction). Of course, the citizenry are not informed, else anarchy break loose.

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Written by Darren Smith

14 November 2009 at 3:56 pm

Web | Promoting the End of the World Online

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2012 is the new movie from Roland Emmerich about the end of the world. It’s due for release in Australia on 12 November 2009. You can read about the movie and watch the trailer here.

But in this post I’m going to talk about the movie’s online presence, because one of the really fascinating things about 2012 is its online promotion. This movie has not one but eight websites, and with some really fun interactive content, as well as an interesting use of social media.

A lot of work has gone into “spilling” the film’s narrative into real life through the web. Of course, the film has an official movie site, but the remaining sites are for organisations and characters. You might recall the promotion for The Blair Witch Project, a groundbreaking campaign that unfolded the story on the internet before the release to give the impression that this mockumentary was actually based on real events.

The use of the web to promote 2012 is very similar, though less about creating an impression of reality and more about extending the experience of the movie to the net.

Anyway, without further ado, let’s take a look at the campaign.

Online promotion of 2012 movie

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Written by Darren Smith

14 October 2009 at 11:19 pm

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Film | 2012 (or, Three Years’ Away From Doom)

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2012_movie_posterForget Copenhagen and climate change, people, because the world is going to end in 2012. At least according to upcoming disaster flick 2012 from apocalypse obsessed director Roland Emmerich — who also brought us Independence Day, Godzilla and The Day After Tomorrow.

The year 2012 is eschatologically significant — it’s the end of the Mesoamerican, or Mayan, calendar. More precisely, 21/23 December 2012 of our Gregorian calendar. Legend has it that 2012 is not just the end of the calendar, but of the world as well. And this is the basic premise of the movie — surviving apocalypse.

In the eye of the storm is a broken Curtis family – science-fiction writer Jackson Curtis (John Cusack), his ex-wife Kate (Amanda Peet) and their kids. Disaster movies classically involve a broken family that’s restored through the natural disaster (what else would get you back together with Tom Cruise other than human eating plants?). It’s the usually subtext in these movies.

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Written by Darren Smith

14 October 2009 at 11:16 pm

Film | Moon (2009)

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Ground Control to Major Tom … or in this case, Sam Bell. Moon is the Space Odyssey 2001 meets Philip K Dick film from director (and Bowie son) Duncan Jones.

It’s the not-too-distant future of a post-climate changed planet Earth. Us humans have discovered a new and seemingly sustainable source of energy — fusion power from the Moon. Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell; Frost/Nixon) is stationed at a base that harvests the energy on the moon. For the duration of his 3-year contract, he’s pretty much alone. Well, all except for GERTY, an artificially intelligent computer modelled on Space Odyssey’s HAL9000 and with a penchant for using emoticons for expression. GERTY is voiced by Kevin Spacey.

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Written by Darren Smith

11 October 2009 at 2:08 pm

Music | Doin’ It For The Thrill (Concert Review)

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I’m just back from seeing UK electro-pop outfit La Roux perform their Sydney gig at the Enmore Theatre. And here’s my verdict.

Let me be upfront and honest. It was not an impressive concert. The punters were there to hear the hits, the band itself was peripheral. I felt the same endearing feeling I’d feel if my 11-year-old nephew was on stage doing his thing … for the thrill. I’d be supportive, proud and encouraging. And that’s how I felt.
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Written by Darren Smith

30 September 2009 at 1:18 am

Film | Elegy

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Elegy is a brooding, poetic look into a man coming to terms with his autumn years and about to discover the fragility beneath his virility. The plot’s a little insubstantial, but the movie is redeemed by stellar performances from its leads — Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz.

David Kapeesh (Kingsley) is a 50-something cultural critic and academic who’s starting to reckon with getting old. He emancipated himself from marriage early on to lead an independent, epicurean life in a stunning New York apartment. Everything is as he wants; he’s playing it all very cool. That is until he catches the eye of his student, Conseula Castillo (Cruz).
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Written by Darren Smith

17 May 2009 at 7:20 pm