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44 reviews in total 
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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
A waste of talent, 15 November 2014

Someone once said of Frank Sinatra that he would do anything for money. I can only assume that this description applies to the group of mainly excellent actors who performed in this grubby little story.

The rather tenuous connection between the loss of her own child apparently set off the sequence of events that took us back to the grisly happening in Crickley Hall many years ago. Flashbacks were on the whole handled clumsily, the supposed frightening occurrences were mostly ridiculous, rather than frightening (as I assume they were supposed to be) and it became increasingly difficult to understand who was who (in both the past and present). Although I now wish that I had followed my initial instinct and given up on it after the first episode, I stayed to the messy end and not for one moment did I feel scared/frightened (as I suppose the writers intended) - but disgusted that anyone should write such tripe (presumably for entertainment's sake). When it was over I was left with the thought that at least it kept people in work - but I would have very much liked to see their talents deployed elsewhere.

3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A breath of fresh air, 7 June 2014

I stumbled on this program accidentally, had never heard of it - and fascinated by the mis-spelling of the place name as much as anything started watching it. It took a while for me to realise how funny it was - really hilarious in places.

Who cares if most of the characters are flawed, if violence and murder seem to crop up in every episode - that no matter what is thrown at him Johnnie manages to somehow get away with it - and comes out on top. The fact that it was made by Norwegians, starring mainly local actors and taking the Micky out of all things both Norwegian and American makes this a unique series - what is not to love.

I think the mix of Norwegian and English language is well handled - and have had no trouble at all with the subtitles.

I can hardly wait to see the next series - long may it reign!

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Blanchett's movie, 28 January 2014

Among a cast of brilliant performances Cate Blanchett's still overshadows them all. She proves yet again what a superb actress she is - there isn't a wrong step in the whole upsetting movie.

I was surprised to see how derivative it is - not a crime really - for we have become used over the years to accepting derivations of Shakespeare and other great writers - so why not Tennessee Williams? My surprise was because I have always expected something different from Woody Allen. He has obviously run out of ideas and that probably means that he should stop making movies - he was if nothing else a brilliant innovator and to me it is sad that he should have to now depend on other's efforts to get by. The other thing I found disquieting was that there is virtually nothing of Allen's trade mark tongue in cheek humour to temper the drama.

Blanchett deserves an Oscar for her performance - Allen has let us down by just taking someone else's story, made little or no effort to disguise this and done himself a disservice in the process

Lantana (2001)
A let down in several ways, 14 December 2013

The storyline of this movie unfolded more like an episode of a TV cop drama than a serious film. Quite a disappointment to me, as I've heard so much about it over the years.

I can't fault any of the performances, they are all excellent actors and they made the most of what could have been so much better if it hadn't descended to almost melodrama in places. The ending in particular was painful to me - why oh why did they have to tick all the boxes and tie up all the relationship ends? I hate it when movies (particularly this one that appeared to take itself seriously)attempt to give us a warm feeling by showing how well everything turned out for most of the characters.

LaPaglia was good, he doesn't know how to be otherwise - although his Aussie accent slipped in a couple of places. in the end I wasn't sure whether to think of his character as a cop who oversteps the mark way too often and hopefully now he has made up with his wife won't do it any more? And why the heart attack symptoms? Were we supposed to be expecting him to keel over at any point?

So, why all the suspense - it really came to nothing much - there was no murder - everyone we suspected proved to be innocent. The poor lady psychiatrist was in dire need of one herself - her husband, who already had enough to be upset about was left to blame himself forever - and the rest of them (mainly) lived happily ever after.

In effect it was just a fairytale with spooky music.

34 out of 62 people found the following review useful:
A huge disappointment, 28 April 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

So much hype, so much suspense and so many questions unanswered. Like others I was drawn to this show on Jane Campion's name alone. I didn't expect it to be straightforward, certainly not after watching the first episode and the story line was interesting enough to make me stay right up to the end. For what? Certainly not for any real explanations, nor for an answer to the question "What was it really all about?"

The scenery was spectacular and that compensated somewhat, but not enough to turn a rather grubby incoherent story into good television. Performances of the main characters were as shaky as the varying accents - Elizabeth Moss wandered all over the globe vocally, with facial expressions varying from stunned mullet to tortured soul - none of these coming even close to realism.

One can but wonder why they threw in all the flakey women, with the Holly Hunter character topping the list. The only scenes that came across as convincing, unpleasant as they were turned out to be, were those at Matt's compound. Those guys at least looked like the characters they were supposed to be.

So, all we got for hours of viewing turned out to be a nasty taste in the mouth and the feeling that there needed to be yet another episode to explain what it was all about.

Thank heavens the Australian Broadcasting Commission had the sense to pull out of this production...I would hate to think that my taxes went towards such a disappointing and unsatisfactory 350 minutes of wasted time.

8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Could have been so much better, 16 June 2012

I was hesitant at first to watch the new Upstairs Downstairs, knowing that it would be impossible to equal the quality production that was the original series. However, with the paucity of decent shows at present (and the fact that Downton Abbey had finished for the time being) I decided to give it a try with as little prejudice as possible, determined not to make comparisons.

Impossible of course. Although this new series is entertaining TV, pretty on the eye, fast moving (not something all that necessary in a show such as this) and relatively well cast, it just is not in the league of its predecessor, or its current "competition" Downton Abbey.

I found it hard to relate to most of the characters, of which there are way too many for comfort. Although the production falls short of using modern language, it certainly has an unsuitable modern way of depicting an era where royalty was revered, where shortcomings were either hidden or not mentioned. Instead we get a "boots and all" depiction of a class of people who would have never related to their servants the way they are shown to do and of servants who would never have behaved the way we are led to believe they might have done. Maybe if all the drama had been stretched out over a long series it would have been believable, instead of being thrown at us will nilly, one thing after the other in each and every episode.

Taken only for entertainment value, this is a watchable soap opera set a century ago - but, as the quality production it is presented as, it falls down on the job.

Oh for Mr Hudson!

21 out of 42 people found the following review useful:
Pretty but disappointing, 2 March 2012

Of course it would have been impossible to successfully bring Kerry Greenwood's amazing Phryne Fisher to the small screen and this effort, although lovely to look at falls short on several fronts.

Essie Davis (who is maybe a tad too old for the part)looks wonderful in the lead role, helped by the excellent sets and the fabulous clothing. These are spot on for the period - I've no complaints on that front. The casting of the other characters was not as successful, particularly that of Ashleigh Cummings who is way too pretty and way too young to be a convincing Dot, Miss Fisher's maid and companion.

So far only two episodes have been aired and it is disappointing to see the way the plots of the original stories have been changed around - in several cases unnecessarily. It was obvious that some changes must be made to fit a complete novel into a on hour TV show, but the original concept could have been left alone quite easily, without completely changing the outcome of the story. It appears that Kerry Greenwood had little if anything to do with the dramatisation of her stories - I wonder what her feelings are about the outcome.

The greatest disappointment is that the overlying humour of all the Phryne Fisher stories has been lost in this series so far. These unique and light hearted novels have been turned into just another period murder mystery series. I hope the further episodes are as true to the stories as they are to the clothes and buildings of the period.

8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
The Australian cultural cringe in all its glory, 5 January 2007

This movie had fairly good reviews when it hit the cinemas here - and I frankly expected a lot more than it delivered.

Having been around at the time, I wondered then why so much was being made of Sinatra's well known behaviour and his hatred of the press in general. I thought it was a predictable series of events blown up - mainly by Union intervention - into an imagined insult on Australia and all it stood for. A classic example of our cultural cringe. That the aforesaid cringe is still rampant is illustrated by the fact that anyone decided to make this movie.

Itis totally impossible to cast anyone successfully as Frank Sinatra - the man was unique in so many ways. Dennis Hopper was I suppose a reasonable compromise, but his grating voice and total lack of charm spoilt much of the movie for me. Sinatra had a musical speaking voice, as well as his singing one - and his charm (when he chose to turn it on) was inescapable. Anyone unfamiliar with the Man, watching this movie would wonder what all the fuss was about. The ludicrous portrayal of Bob Hawke, a man who excelled in being ludicrous, was another disappointment. Tom Burlinson's delivery of the few songs was, as usual, competent and wooden - Hopper's "on-stage" lip-synching missed everything that was magical in a Sinatra performance. Melanie Griffith was - Melanie Griffith, the rest of the cast was competent and did their best with what in the end was nothing more than a fairytale wound loosely round an actual series of events.

Not a totally bad movie - entertaining in parts - but on the whole a waste of time and money.

5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Much better than I anticipated, 16 November 2006

I ignored the first few episodes of this series - mainly put off by the strange title! When I accidentally clicked on to the pay TV channel it is run on, I started watching out of curiosity - and was hooked. What a motley crew of girls these people have chosen for the show! I have the impression that very few of them have any wish to improve themselves one iota - and are just in it for what they can get. Regardless of this, it is compulsive viewing - I will stay with it to the end in the hope that at least one of them shows some improvement in appearance and behaviour. Having said that, I wouldn't wish to change it - there is a lot of humour and a fair bit of insight into human behaviour in the show. Probably the most interesting is to see the impossible goals set by the ladies who run the "finishing school" - they obviously are living in another era - and seem determined to transform the girls into some sort of throwback to the 1950s. I look forward to finding how it all turned out

Marnie (1964)
7 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Definitely flawed - nonetheless, compelling, 2 September 2006

Had I been asked, I would have said that I had watched Marnie before today - but having just caught it on TV, I think at most I have only seen parts of the movie before.

This is a flawed film, with many inconsistencies and unanswered questions. Tippi Hedren, perfect as the incredibly vulnerable and damaged Marnie, hardly puts a foot wrong. Sean Connery as her husband of inconvenience gravitates between compassion and downright thuggery on occasions....I suppose one cannot blame Mr Connery for this, he was struggling in a role that would have confused any other actor in the part. If anyone in the movie is unbelievable, it is Connery - his Scotish accent was totally out of place, as was that of his father (strictly British)in a film set in the US...Diane Baker was the only one who sounded as if she belonged there. Some of the dialogue is so stilted and ridiculous that I found myself smiling in embarrassment - some of the editing is verging on the amateurish.

And yet...and is compelling viewing in spite of the psychological gobbeldegook, in spite of the fact that it was obvious (to this viewer at least)what had happened in Marnie's childhood, in spite of the fact that the Connery character became less likable as the movie progressed and in spite of the dreadful backdrops and corny dialogue. There still was something of the old Hitchcock magic - he manages to make us care about what happens to these wacky people. That Marnie probably ended up in the nuthouse and Mark more than likely found someone else to manipulate is inconsequential. I am glad that I finally sat and watched Marnie - it was made to entertain - and despite all of the above faults - it achieved its purpose.

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