Apocalypse Now (Redux)

apocalypse now 2

Why have I not seen this film before?!! Why did I let it languish on my list for so long?? This has to be one of the best movies I have ever seen (for now anyway – I can’t actually remember what the other ‘best movies I have ever seen’ are… Million Dollar Baby?).

If you haven’t seen Apocalypse Now, stop reading and start watching. Let it wash over you in all it’s goodness and be appalled at the same time because there is no other movie that captures, quite as well, the futility of war and the horror of the Vietnam. Yes, ‘the horror’…

There are so many pop culture references I get now too. Obviously I knew that napalm smells good in the morning but all the other The Simpsons etc moments that will make so much more sense… it’s funny realising these things in reverse.

The movie, however, is not funny. Martin Sheen puts in an amazing effort. That guy can act but I wish he looked less like his boy. Seeing Charlie Sheen’s mug staring out at you certainly takes you out of the moment. Luckily Martin’s hair gets limper throughout and the moments were less and less.

I wish I could write down better how this film made me feel. Every scene played out like a joke. Awful war scenes punctuated by surfing, smoking and guitar playing. Who could do that? But there’s the horror isn’t it? Act crazy or go crazy. I’m pretty sure there are entire theses out there about this movie. The slow trek up the river further from the American safe zones and further into out of control war and further into madness. By the time Martin makes it up the river he is in the heart of crazy and there we meet the king of crazy, Mr Marlon Brando.

Apparently his voice has been cleaned up in this version and he is easier to understand than in the original version. Again, this guy can act. He is the very soul of logical madness. So clever, so clear, so aware of everything that is happening to him, including his heavy dose of the crazies.

I’m kind of left wondering what ‘(redux)’ means but I think it just means really long with sound cleaned up. The bloke watching it with me, otherwise know as my husband, crashed part way through it. I think it went for three hours. There was a whole scene with a French family which apparently wasn’t in it before. I can see why it was cut but it was also a really good scene which actually talked about the futility of the Vietnam War and the pointlessness (in the end) for the Americans to be involved. A fraught topic I understand and one I know little about, so I’ll leave it there.

Also Martin got a little sexy time with a French lady which made me feel a little better about everything he was going through because at least he got some lovin’…

I thought about Apocalypse Now for days afterwards, it was that layered and dripping with meaning. I just kept realising more about what had happened each day. What a film! I think the word is ‘haunting’.




Fortunately, this is not a film about itchy skin disorders. There is a movie that no-one needs to see but to be quite honest probably exists. But ‘Rash’ would be too obvious a title. You’d need something more subtle like ‘Raised and Red’- tag line ‘The true story of one woman’s struggle to fight her natural urges and find the strength to stop scratching…’. Sounds good…

Rash is, in fact, a film about graffiti. That urban art rash that gets scoured away by overzealous local authorities but reappears almost immediately. I think it’s a bit harsh comparing the quality art that these artists are spreading around the streets to a really annoying itch. But then I suppose it depends which side of the brush you are on. It probably is really annoying if you own a nice clean white wall (though really, asking for it more?) or if it’s your job to spend your days removing it from city streetscapes (although without it you wouldn’t have a job. Catch-22 y’all!).

Personally, I love street art although I’m not super fond of the lazy bus stop type tagging. It seems a bit like a dog peeing on a tree to mark its territory. A good piece of art brightening up the street though – woot! I saw an awesome one once opposite my work called “Chew Barrymore” it was a portrait of Drew Barrymore made from chewed gum, which admittedly is gross, but it looked awesome. I reckon I’ve got a photo somewhere.

Ta daaa!

Chew Barrymore  by Hyde and Seek

Chew Barrymore
by Hyde and Seek

Chew Barrymore  by Hyde and Seek Kind of gross and kind of awesome!

Chew Barrymore
by Hyde and Seek
Kind of gross and kind of awesome!

You get it, right? I like street art. And whoever made Rash likes street art too. The movie is based in Melbourne which is definitely the street art mecca of Australia. There are some amazing lane-ways packed with art that could well be displayed in any art gallery. It’s great to see on film some of the amazing artists that I’ve seen on the streets getting some recognition for their work. Unfortunately Rash was released in 2004 and a lot of the political statements made by artists are well out of date. Still, it gives you that insight into graffiti being so much more than just drawing on walls.

The views of the artists are well represented here and it’s interesting to hear how people get into graffiti art and how they deal with the transitory nature of the work. It must be hard to see your art painted over by the authorities, although seeing it fade over time is part of the art too. The luck of seeing a piece before it gets removed (such as me spotting Chew Barrymore) is part of the fun for the art lover too.

It also looks into a few of the less known forms of street art like sticker art, poster art and stencil art as well as the traditional paint on the walls. Artists have really been pushing the boundaries of street art and it’s great to see. Poster art is certainly very hip around my town right now.

I would have liked to see a few more of the naysayers interviewed and see if there really is more argument against graffiti apart from ‘it’s against the law’. Most people argue the personal property argument, which I do get, or confuse all graffiti with tagging not art.

One of the art works that blew me away was a guy who’d spent weeks collecting autumn leaves then writing little affirmations and bits of poetry on them only to spread them onto the streets from the rooftops for people to find. Talk about a transitory art medium but how wonderful it would have been to find a little piece of that art work.

Ruby Sparks

ruby sparks

Here’s another movie I watched on a small screen in the back of the chair in front of me on a long haul flight from the UK. I’m pretty convinced that it’s not the best way for me to watch serious movies (I also watched How to Train your Dragon 2 which I really liked so the small screen and cramped position seems to work for kids films…).

It’s not that I didn’t like Ruby Sparks I just didn’t get into it. Perhaps I needed to concentrate more, perhaps I needed a bigger screen but probably I needed to not be on an aeroplane!

Anyway, quit the whinging woman write about the movie!

I liked the idea behind this movie, it brings up some really interesting issues. What would you change about the person you love if you could? and would you? and should you? I think we all have things about the people we hold dearest that we think we would like to change but would they still be the same person if you did change them? Probably yes if you just stopped them chewing their nails, but maybe not if you tried to change their feelings toward you or basic parts of their personality.

The main character, let’s call him “the writer” played by Paul Dano, brings to life his perfect girl through the magic of typewriter… those things are so friggin’ magical! The problem, of course, with writing your perfect partner is that once they begin experiencing life other than how you wrote it, they begin to change and do you rewrite them if you don’t like the changes?

It really is very clever. What would we do with the power to change those around us if we could? This guy writes his dream manic pixie girl who is adventurous, smart and totally in love with him but as she begins to experience life she begins to change from the person he initially wrote. This is another interesting point about how those around us change and, hopefully, we change with them. Sometimes those changes don’t suit us but I think it’s probably not a good idea to try to rewrite someone, it’s probably better to change yourself.

The writer here starts out a nice enough washed up loser type (those things all go together right?) but by the end it’s hard to feel much sympathy for him as he goes about the business of rewriting his perfect girl over and over again. It’s horrible to watch and my sympathy was all with Ruby.

These rewrites make the movie hard going at times and the writer just got creepier and creepier. I guess that’s the point in the end that this kind of control of someone can end up like a horror film. It’s not normal. It’s cruel.

I also just find Paul Dano a little creepy anyway. I’ve mainly seen him in creepier roles I suppose which doesn’t help.

I really wish I hadn’t watched this on the plane. In future I will stick to kid’s films … and maybe action.