Alex Proyas

Alex Proyas

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Knowing Review


Excellent
In the list of filmmakers packed with wasted potential, Alex Proyas has to be near the top. While Dark City sparkled with a kind of surreal sci-fi magic, his other efforts -- including the gloppy Will Smith epic I, Robot -- have felt strained and unrewarding. So when you see his name attached to the lasted Nicolas Cage effort (said actor himself a perfect example of the law of continued diminishing returns), one fears a flop coming on. But as luck would have it, Knowing is actually very good. It proves that Proyas is perhaps one mainstream mega-hit away from finally fulfilling his so far unrealized possibilities.

Fifty years ago, the students of a small Massachusetts school buried a time capsule filled with their drawings of the future. In 2009, it's opened, and what's inside will change the fate of MIT Professor John Koestler (Cage), his son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury), and the actual world as we know it. Seems the boy gets a weird list of numbers, scribbled by a troubled child five decades ago. Now, Koestler sees a pattern in the randomness -- they appear to be predicting cataclysmic events, providing the date and the actual number of casualties. Luckily, most of the tragedies have already occurred. Unfortunately, there are three remaining. With the help of Diana Wayland (Rose Byrne) and her daughter Abby (Lara Robinson), our hero will try to understand the omens before life as we "know" it no longer exists.

Continue reading: Knowing Review

Picture - Director, Alex Proyas New York City, USA, Monday 9th March 2009

Director and Alex Proyas - Director, Alex Proyas New York City, USA - Screening of 'Knowing' at AMC Loews Lincoln Square Monday 9th March 2009

Dark City Review


Extraordinary
For all of the acclaim Dark City received after its initial, disastrous theatrical release in 1998 -- movie-of-the-year and DVD commentary honors from Roger Ebert; cult adoration; an eventual director's cut -- it probably still hasn't reached anywhere close to the number of people who saw, say, The Matrix (released just about a year later). Perhaps this has to do with the way the film shrouds its ideas in noir mystery rather than cyberpunk fashion; if The Matrix turned a broad audience into geeks who wanted to know kung fu, Dark City seemed ready-made for those whose geekery was established, though the film is broad enough to welcome nerds of the film, sci-fi, and perhaps even architecture varieties.

The Matrix is not a random comparison, mind you; the two films toy with similar ideas about the meaning of humanity, memory, and self-perception (they also share a second-unit director, though unless he is a brilliant stealth screenwriter, it is probably a coincidence). Dark City, directed by Alex Proyas, is less thrilling and sleek than its cousin, but equally imaginative, full of twisty images and clever synthesis of the movies that inspired it. It gives geeks a good name.

Continue reading: Dark City Review

Dark City Review


Extraordinary
For all of the acclaim Dark City received after its initial, disastrous theatrical release in 1998 -- movie-of-the-year and DVD commentary honors from Roger Ebert; cult adoration; an eventual director's cut -- it probably still hasn't reached anywhere close to the number of people who saw, say, The Matrix (released just about a year later). Perhaps this has to do with the way the film shrouds its ideas in noir mystery rather than cyberpunk fashion; if The Matrix turned a broad audience into geeks who wanted to know kung fu, Dark City seemed ready-made for those whose geekery was established, though the film is broad enough to welcome nerds of the film, sci-fi, and perhaps even architecture varieties.

The Matrix is not a random comparison, mind you; the two films toy with similar ideas about the meaning of humanity, memory, and self-perception (they also share a second-unit director, though unless he is a brilliant stealth screenwriter, it is probably a coincidence). Dark City, directed by Alex Proyas, is less thrilling and sleek than its cousin, but equally imaginative, full of twisty images and clever synthesis of the movies that inspired it. It gives geeks a good name.

Continue reading: Dark City Review

Garage Days Review


Good
To borrow a phrase from Tolstoy, all pop music success stories are the same; every pop music failure is different. That's the genius behind VH1's Behind the Music (Why spend time listening to a good album when you can spend an hour learning about Styx's hubris?), and it also explains why most movies about the glamour of hitting it big in rock and roll are usually so disappointing. Stuck with an obvious story, the results are either campy (Help!), earnestly boilerplate (Almost Famous), or pretentiously awful (The Doors). But director Alex Proyas has the right idea with Garage Days, his likeable comedy about a hopelessly mediocre Australian rock band that can't get a decent gig.

Still, every rock movie good or bad needs a young kid with good looks and ambition, which here takes the form of Freddy (Kick Gurry), a sandy-haired singer with a vendetta against gambling machines and tendency to lose to his girlfriend's vibrator in the sexual sweepstakes. Worse, the girlfriend happens to be Tanya (Pia Miranda), the bassist in his go-nowhere Sydney band, which is filled with neurotic lead guitarist Joe (Brett Stiller) and drummer Lucy (Chris Sadrinna), an amateur pharmacist whose concoctions tend to produce more vomit than highs. Add to this Bruno (Russell Dykstra), a manager with no schmoozing skills to speak of, and Proyas winds up having great fun bouncing his characters against one another, revealing both their ineptitude and their charms.

Continue reading: Garage Days Review

Alex Proyas

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