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|42 reviews in total|
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
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.
*** 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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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 yet....it 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.
It sometimes is not wise to view a movie after hearing all the raves
about how great it is, ones expectations are rarely filled.
A great cast, particularly Judi Dench, do their best to lift this confection from every day to gourmet. It often seems that any movie where the story is told largely through voice-over manages somehow to miss the mark. Chocolat is such a movie in my opinion. It is entertaining, but manages to leave a lot of unanswered questions. Maybe I asked too much of what is essentially a fairytale, but even fairy tales don't perform such sudden transformations of characters as occur in this movie. Instead of a feeling good when it was all over, my reaction was mainly that it was too much too sweet.
Charming, picturesque but on the whole just a lot of froth.
What a delight of a movie! So many familiar faces, so many of which we
have seen age over the years, but all willing to accept the passing of
those years and to take on roles that acknowledge that although we may
age, we are still able to make our mark when needed.
Of particular note was the brief but touching appearance of John Alderton as a man dying of leukemia, but facing it with courage and humour. Helen Mirren as a woman determined that her friend should not be forgotten who comes up with a way of raising funds for his memorial, that is at first dismissed by her friends - who later become involved with enthusiasm and dedication. The wonderful Julie Walters, the still lovely Celia Imre and Penelope Wilton (who is forever in my mind as Annie in The Norman Conquests)playing a doting wife who on finding out what a rat her husband is - overcomes all her fears, throws herself into the project and thoroughly enjoys herself in the process.
It is all great fun, but also a marvelous example of what can be done with a bit of imagination tinged with a sense of humour. Only the British can pull off this type of movie - and they really succeeded in this instance.
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