11 items from 2014
The deeply unsettling Australian New Wave classic Wake in Fright makes a long-awaited and welcoming return to cinemas this weekend. We recently spoke to the film’s director Ted Kotcheff about his experiences whilst making the movie in the sweltering and barren Aussie outback. The veteran filmmaker (who has worked on a number of varied and well-loved features in his career, including First Blood and Weekend at Bernie’s) talked candidly about the initial challenges faced in bring this weird, booze-drenched tale to the screen.
HeyUGuys: What drew you to the material originally? It’s not the most obvious of choices for a Us-based filmmaker.
Ted Kotcheff: I’d just done a project in the UK with a writer friend of mine named Evan Jones and we were hired by a film company over there. Evan told me of this wonderful Australian book which he thought would be right up my alley. »
- Adam Lowes
Glendyn Ivin is a huge fan of Peter Weir.s Gallipoli but he has resisted the temptation to revisit Weir.s seminal 1981 movie since he was hired to direct the Nine Network miniseries Gallipoli. .I love that film; it.s one of the reasons I became a filmmaker,. Ivin told If on Monday during a recce for the eight-hour production which starts shooting in and near Melbourne on March 17. .But I have avoided watching it again because we are doing a very different story..
In keeping with this fresh take on the saga of the young Aussies who fought in the legendary WW1 campaign, Ivin said he and his DoP Germain McMicking will shoot the film in a style which is far from a traditional drama.
- Don Groves
A schoolteacher's stopover in an outback town turns into an alcoholic bender in this infamous movie
Once in a while, a long-lost movie will resurface and completely realign one's understanding of an entire national cinema. Such a film is Canadian Ted Kotcheff's 1971 Australian outback-set Wake In Fright, a box-office flop, mauled by a critical establishment in thrall to the cultural cringe, then almost entirely forgotten and thought lost for 40 years. And no wonder: Wake In Fright is among the most excoriating demolitions of the cult of masculinity ever put on film – its Australian variant in particular – and it must have been troubling indeed to gaze into that mirror.
John Grant (Gary Bond), a cultured schoolteacher travelling from his isolated bush schoolhouse to Sydney, gets trapped on a stopover that turns into a never-ending alcoholic bender in a wild outback mining town populated entirely by drunken ockers who gamble, guzzle tinnies, »
- John Patterson
It started so well; two of Hollywood’s hottest properties making self-deprecating jokes about how they were the perfect age to snare a younger demographic of viewer for a ceremony which had been shedding ratings faster than it added minutes to its running time. For Anne Hathaway and James Franco, that would be as good as it got, the remainder of their hosting duties for the 83rd Academy Awards was made up of unintelligible ramblings and a Western’s worth of tumbleweeds.
They weren’t really to blame, well Hathaway anyway, because this had been one of the few times that the Academy had opted for a non-comedian occupying the Kodak Theatre stage. There was 2009’s soft-focus Hugh Jackman sing-along, and in 1995 David Letterman gave us the cringe-worthy “Oprah. Uma. Uma. Oprah” moment of infamy. Both examples underline that the appeal of the host, and by proxy their laugh quota, »
- Matt Rodgers
Harrison Ford has never been better than as big city cop John Book, who is assigned to protect an eight-year old Amish boy, the sole witness to a murder. Boasting an Oscar-winning script and intelligently directed by Peter Weir, this also boasts a flawless performance from Kelly McGillis as the Amish widow Book falls for. A first class thriller that also gives telling insights into the closed world of the devoutly religious Pennsylvania Dutch community. »
It is the responsibility of the working film critic to not only offer opinion and context for the newest releases, but also to constantly champion and curate the films that matter, especially if they were misunderstood or poorly released or somehow handled badly the first time around. Critics should take it upon themselves to rehabilitate the under-loved, to defend the wrongly-maligned, and rehab the films that need it; it is the only way film as a whole can be healthy. It does not escape me that many of Peter Weir's best films were adapted from novels. In the case of "The »
- Drew McWeeny
The actress joins the ranks of previous Longford honourees including directors George Miller, Fred Schepisi and Peter Weir, actors Jack Thompson, Geoffrey Rush and Ray Barrett and producers Tony Buckley, Al Clark, Jan Chapman, Patricia Lovell and Sue Milliken.
Weaver will receive the award, named after cinema pioneer Raymond Longford to recognise individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Australia.s screen culture, at the 3rd Aacta Awards ceremony on Thursday in Sydney.
Her career spans five decades. Her first major acting role was a stage production of Cinderella in 1964, when she was 15. A leading light of the Australian film renaissance, her credits include Stork (1971), Alvin Purple (1973) Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) and Caddie (1976).
In her international breakthrough, she »
- Don Groves
In the 38 years since Peter Weir's Picnic At Hanging Rock was released, thousands of people have visited its location and searched for its missing schoolgirls. Many have found there something of the atmosphere of mystery central to the film. Now, though, Hanging Rock faces possible transformation by developers, and local people are up in arms.
The rock, which forms part of the Macedon Ranges in the Australian state of Victoria, has been used as a place for ritual and worship over many centuries and is also an important wildlife corridor. The local council claims that it is now in a state of disrepair and cots to much to look after, but over 5,000 people have signed a petition demanding that it be left alone. The campaigners argue that existing facilities at the site, including a café and a stage where the Rolling Stones are due to perform later this. »
- Jennie Kermode
With the news that the African Queen has become a tourist boat on the Nile, we look at other screen boats that have captured film fans' imaginations
Boats and films go together like the seaside and scampi. There's the 320-tonne steamboat in Fitzcarraldo that Werner Herzog famously had the film's extras cart over a hill to get it from one tributary of the Amazon to another. Then there's Kevin Costner's trusty trimaran in Waterworld, the U-96 of Wolfgang Petersen's Das Boot, Forrest Gump's shrimping vessel, and Jenny and One-Eyed Willy's ship, The Inferno, which the truffle-shuffling gang come across in The Goonies. This year, we'll be popping our life-jackets on again in readiness for another boat film, Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic Noah.
With the original African Queen now reincarnated as a tourist boat on the river Nile, we decided to take a look at what other »
- Ellie Violet Bramley
Best Supporting Actor Oscar Predictions 2014 (photo: Jared Leto in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’) As explained in our previous Oscar 2014 predictions post, this year’s Academy Award nominations in the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories initially looked impossible to predict. For Best Supporting Actor, Jared Leto was the front-runner for his performance as a transsexual with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, and Michael Fassbender was another strong possibility for his evil planter in 12 Years a Slave — but who else? (See also: "Oscar Predictions 2014 Best Actress: Meryl Streep Possibly to Break Another Record," "Oscar Predictions 2014 Best Actor: Robert Redford Possible Near-Record," "Best Supporting Actress 2014 Oscar Predictions: Jennifer Lawrence and/or Scarlett Johansson to Make Oscar History?" and "Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Picture, Best Director.") A couple of weeks ago, the SAG Award nominations helped to clarify things some, but, just as in the Best Supporting Actress category, there remains quite »
- Steve Montgomery
Criterion has released their annual New Year teaser image hinting at titles we can expect from the boutique distributor over the course of the new year and the most easily recognizable titles include David Cronenberg's Scanners, an upgraded version of Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock, Howard Hawks' Red River and a box set celebrating Jacques Tati's Monsieur Hulot, which would seem to suggest Blu-ray editions of Mr. Hulot's Holiday and Mon Oncle. I'd say we may be able to expect Daniel Petrie's A Raisin in the Sun and I can't tell if the deer in the bushes suggest The Deer Hunter or not. The beatles in the grass could suggest Richard Lester's A Hard Day's Night and the girl with the long black hair at the picnic could mean Hideo Nakata's Ringu. The red sun seems almost obviously Terence Young's Red Sun »
- Brad Brevet
11 items from 2014
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