Sunday, January 07, 2007

2006: The year that sucked review.. #10

So, it's been some time since I ranted. I've shot a few films in that time, and I go back to school soon so I should get them compressed and up on the site. As for Wake Up, the second shooting date is confirmed; January 13th, and I just got all my actors in gear for it (huzzah for me). But other then that, and mass editing of footage, there's really not much to report on a personal level (at least, not until I get visual content up here). So, what to do to pass this 'downtime'?

The answer is clear: A moody, pointless top ten list! Sure, it's kind of a cop-out, and it's not even 2006, but I actually waited till the end of the year, instead of those sellouts that review the year before it's over. Remember '04? While we were busy reviewing shit, a Tsunami beat the shit out of the east on Boxing Day. Take that, "review" year.

Anyway, my unfocused anger aside, I've decided to embark on my top ten list, entailing actual write-ups of films I saw over the last year. None of this petty three sentence summary crap; you're in for the long haul with me. Now where was I? Oh yes. We'll start with number 10, and countdown to glory.

You'll find this list to be very much the opposite of the typical lists; mostly because I was unbelievably disappointed in the shit-haul of the big films, as well as the endless trawling of sequels of already horrible films. My taste in films tends to stray off the beaten path; although I do watch what the masses puts themselves through, it's definitely not my mainstay of film viewership. So sit back and read on, if you so choose so - but remember, try and keep a somewhat open mind, cause I'm not going to be talking like "oh it looked so cool" and "I loved actor X so the film had to be awesome yak yak yak." Horseshit to that, I say. It's time to deal out the hardware in a critical voice. Let's begin, shall we?

#10: Kokoda

I suspect the vast majority of North Americans hadn't seen, or even heard of this film. This is mostly because it's an Australian film, which evidently didn't get to the American screens. Kokoda surrounds itself in a World War II setting, where the Australians are fighting the Japanese in New Guinea over the Kokoda Trail. This is what initially led me to watch it - for one, I didn't even know Australia was involved in World War II in any kind of armed combat. (Blame that on my Western upbringing, which doesn't seem to care much about the east.) The film revolves around a small platoon of Aussie soldiers trying to defend themselves against a tactically and more heavily armed Japanese battalion, and the difficulties they entail trying to survive.

The images are outstanding throughout the course of the film, which really does make up for some of the language barrier (or accent barrier) I encountered during my watching. Each shot could be framed and hung up on my wall - the colours, although subdued in some scenes, were really saturated (nicely) throughout the forest and combat scenes, which really brought me into a conflict I was otherwise extremely disconnected from on a personal level. When we, the 'western' audience, watch WWII films, we're usually exposed to American or European perspective, and we usually draw an emotional connection because it's understandably a part of our country's past. When we see other films, foreign ones in particular, it just doesn't hold the same kind of impact, mostly because we don't have that kind of connection that someone of that country might.

Anyway, Kokoda did an admirable job in getting me to identify with the situation, although I frankly had an extremely hard time identifying with some of the main characters - mostly because I found it difficult to understand what they were saying through the thick accent and with all the slang I only had an outside understanding of. But all in all, I got what the film was trying to emphasize, which to me, was finding brothership and courage when faced against stronger enemies, and it did it on a level that I as an outsider, could relate to in some form, provided I put myself in the right mindset.

Despite this film's shortcomings, most of which I blame on my lack of understanding, it's a solid film and well shot, edited, and the music does have a sobering effect. It was good; so if you're into World War II films, and are looking to see something new, I would definitely recommend this one. That's why it rates up on my top 10, squeaking past Lady in the Water, and kicks off this countdown in a very alternative light, compared to the rest of the list.

IMDB info on Kokoda

Coming up next: #9 on my countdown of top movies of 2006: The year that sucked.

I swear, I'll update it frequently.


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