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Autograph collector/Dealer and Interviewer.
Happily married to a lady who also loves the dark side of films even if she doesn't love the classics like I do we do get to share a lot of great movies and series together.
The Water Diviner (2014)
A great piece of story telling... possibly contains spoilers
I've read various comments about this movie being just another chance to show Aussies at war; being something of a flag waving opportunity. These comments have emanated mainly from Americans who haven't even see the film. Yet it pales in comparison to many American war films, which also have traded on jingoistic fervour for the last 80 years. Modern war movies like Saving Private Ryan, Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket blow their Nationalistic horns very loudly. You would be mistaken for believing that only Americans died in WW1, WWII and Vietnam. America didn't even join WWI until it was half finished in 1917, took a year longer to join WWII and also fought alongside Kiwis & Aussies in Vietnam. Just as Aussies fought with Canadians, Kiwis and Brits in WWI & the Allies in WWII. The best example of a great war film is Paths of Glory. A war film and anti-war film in the same breath. However, it is jingoism and national identity which dies in that extraordinary film, dark and dirty and deep in the trenches, where such notions belong when they bring death for no good reason and for no real cause.
The fact is, the writers and Russell give a balanced and even-handed approach to the Turkish side of the story, and rightly points out that the Turks lost about 7 times as many people as the Allies. Russell also gives viewers a peek at what happened to the Ottoman Empire after the war, when other countries were carving it up for themselves. Especially by the British, in much the same way they acted later on, in their appalling handling of Palestine. And the rest of the world has been paying for it ever since. Just as the rest of the world also paid for the creation the Weimar Republic.
I once read that the Aussie population today would be more like 55 million people instead of 22 million if we hadn't entered this foreign war at the behest of the British, although the great immigration schemes of the 50s, populate or perish would have probably changed and maybe not to the good, given the many cultures new Australians continually bring to our shores.
To me, WWI was more about big business making a buck out of political good fortune than any true ideology except for the cannon fodder we call soldiers, and the poor civilians in those various war-torn lands.
I also want to point out that I have lots of cool American friends (and relatives including my lovely wife) and they are great people, but many of them tell me how insular and inward looking many of their citizens can be. That they are less likely to watch subtitled films or learn about foreign lands. And yet they embrace our actors. How many American TV shows have had Aussies (and Brits) in their casts lists. Like in The Originals, Vampire Diaries, The Mentalist, The Secret Circle, Moonlight, Defiance, True Blood, Hostages, United States of Tara, nip/tuck (A Prime Minister's son at that) Fringe, Unforgettable, Without a Trace, Spartacus and Longmire, to name a few.
This movie is awesome. I hope it is a hit, but I will be content for those people who see it, to enjoy it and take it for what it is, an entertainment. I think Olga is wonderful and all that actors are wonderful although Dan Wylie appears miscast. Megan Gale is in the film as Fatma, and does a good job although I must say I barely recognised her. It might have been a nice touch to have hired Turkish actors in the female leads, but I do think Olga is developing into a multi-faceted actress. The two Turkish leads are brillian and bring a lot to the film as a whole.
A special mention too, for young Melbourne actor, Dylan Georgiades who plays Olga's son. Dylan is great in his first major film role and brings much humour to the film, and steals most of his scenes. His relationship with Russell seems very real. It is also utterly ironical that a boy of Greek descent is playing a Turkish lad!!! For those of you that may not realise this, Robert Mammone, who plays the Greek officer later in the film, made his theatrical movie debut with Russell Crowe in 1990 in The Crossing. The lead actress in that film, Danielle Spencer is also married (although currently separated) to Russell. And for our overseas friends who like Russell's movies then I urge you to get these movies on DVD if you can, Proof (Hugo Weaving 1991), Romper Stomper (his lead actress in that film is his wife in The Water Diviner - do you spot a trend here?) The Sum of Us (where he works with Jack Thompson (and Russell is almost Jack Thompson incarnate in this film) You may want to check out some of Jack's early films if you can find them, like Sunday Too Far Away, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith and Caddie.
This isn't really an Aussie film, but a film for everyone, set mainly in Turkey, and which could have happened to any family living in Britain, USA, Canada, NZ etc but just happened to be written here. If you wish to be entertained at the movies this year then this is one of the best films to see. I saw The Hobbit on the same day as it was my Birthday, and both cinemas were packed. At the end of the Water Diviner most people clapped and quite a few women, like my wife cried. The Hobbit was also terrific, but no one clapped at the end. :) :) :)
The Devil Within (2010)
Some Bloody Good Fun for all
Let me admit from the first that I am a fan of the lovely Miss Liz Di Prinzio and that I see a great future for her and that she is definitely one of the best things about this movie and I can see more better and better films coming Liz's way as she masters her craft. She is both talented and a very hard worker and very honest and passionate about her work and that shows through in this film.
The movie has lots of good points and like any budget teen flick also has all the negative points like stereotyping and mixed degrees of skills from both in front and behind the camera.
In the end the good points outweigh the bad and this flick has enough fun and gore and teen sexiness to entertain.
The opening scenes are edited really well although the alley scene, while critical to the story could have been handled better. The second half of the film flows better than the first part and the director needs to show more pace when establishing his actors or give them some tighter dialogue. The highlight was the dumb and dumber actors and of course the two female leads, Liz Di Prinzio and Sarah Harrison with good support from the vampy teen *itch played by Liz Bell. All three bring something to their roles and the beefcake school jock is exactly what you would expect, but he is outshone in all his scenes opposite Liz and Liz!!! The murder scenes were pretty well executed with some nice touches, which I won't reveal here, and the denouement is well done too and better than a lot of similar films in this genre.
Overall this film gets a 6 from me, but for movie lovers who like to see actors who are going places then see this one and enjoy Liz Di Prinzio and her two fellow female leads because I can see good things in the coming years. I love watching actors develop and change and grow and despite this film's budget restrictions it's still well worth checking out and has some excellent moments and nice touches.
Interesting homage to film noir
When I saw this on Aussie TV (ABC) one Sunday night I was surprised to see it had not appeared on this site and it took me a while to get the details to post it here, but it is well worthwhile because it is a fine little TV vignette to film Noir and a great chance to see some fine old actors and Cyd Charisse in her final screen appearance, along with Kirk Douglas in a strong non-speaking role and the rest of these Hollywood legends. It has echoes of Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid but without the humour. Well worth seeing as a curiosity piece and to enjoy some grand old film clips from the golden years of yore!!!
I would give this an 8 out of 10
Los sin nombre (1999)
Could have been and should have been
I thoroughly enjoyed much of this movie, but it is the careless of the directing that left me feeling short-changed. The characters are good and atmosphere excellent, however the director was very poor when he did his story boards and the reporter should have been introduced earlier in the film instead of appearing out of nowhere as a major player. Even if it had been a couple of very short scenes he participated in, it would have added to the flow and texture of the film.
The director fails to paint his picture fully at times and substitutes convolution for story telling. And the denouement while effective is slightly illogical and ill-conceived. The final five minutes are inconsistent and lack cohesion, making the final scene lose any power. The director has created distrust with the viewer, and I for one went away feeling slightly robbed. A great build up let down by a lazy and ill-conceived climax.
I give it good marks for the first three quarters of the film and for the great camera-work and moodiness. The film should have been slightly longer and much more better handled. If there is different version or director's cut of this film then I would like to see what it could have been!!!!
13 Demon Street (1959)
An enjoyable curiosity
There are two preceding critiques here of this series and my opinion falls between their two extremes. I have all the episodes on DVD in English but with subtitles. The picture quality isn't the best but I have enjoyed the episodes I have seen so far. Some of the ideas are good and I did not find them all the convoluted or hard to follow, but I was aware that they were produced on a shoestring budget, which means many scenes are shot in near darkness in the manner of the old Poverty Row productions. If one bears in mind the period that these shows were made and that poor Lon Chaney Jr was struggling to survive when he took on the job of introducing these shows.
If one doesn't take them too seriously then you can enjoy them for what they are... and for me (with several exceptions) the 1955-1975 period of TV and movie making is now the most dated and pedestrian of any period, and yet often quite compulsive when you watch shows like Peter Gunn and Wanted: Dead or Alive. But with this one, watch and you be the judge...
A very fine series
Along with Octopus (La Piovre) Derrick, Inspector Montalbano, Unit One, The Eagle and to a lesser extent Komissar Rex, this is one of the most unique European Crime series ever made.
Australia is spoiled because we get the best crime shows from the UK, USA, Canada and Europe on free-to-air. And I love being able to enjoy all the styles and story telling. It is fun being able to watch shows like Homicide Life on the Street, Wire in the Blood etc and then be able to see shows like this one.
I just wish I could get it subtitled on DVD rather than having to wait for it to be rerun on SBS our foreign TV channel.
Well worth a look if you see it in order.
Johnny Midnight (1960)
A great little series
I enjoyed the comments of the previous writer, but had seen 90% of O'Brien's films before getting this series on DVD. Although not nearly in the class of the great Peter Gunn, it is still an excellent drama that I rate alongside the equally cool M Squad with Lee Marvin. I will definitely try and track down O'Brien's later series as well. It would be great to see these old series released on single Blu-Ray disks in the future although I doubt it will happen. It would be worthwhile re-releasing all the great 40-60s series on Blu-Ray with the ease of shipping single disk series around the world. And I hope this is one of them as the DVD set I have is only about 6/10 quality.
All in all well worth anyone's time. The series also has some excellent actors in guest roles....
What the Brits do best
A minor cast has probably stopped many people sitting down to watch this 1949 thriller....
Well it shouldn't ... this is one of the classic thrillers of all time. Like most noir films, the story is simple yet complex, and the actors build the tension as the dialogue crackles with that pent up passion the British nurtured under Victoria and perfected with the stiff upper lip. Robert Newton does his role almost as his personal raison d'etre. Without his brilliance this may have been a "B" movie. This is a "A" film because it achieves everything it sets out to do.
Murder is best served cold. You will have to find out for yourself whether this one is served with ice...
Wings is a highly under rated British series
I remember watching this at about 2 am in the morning on Channel 7 in Sydney after episodes of the Inspector Dalgleish series and The Duches of Dukestreet and The Onedin Line. Probably the finest night time viewing in history.
This was a terrific "little" series with fine acting and storyline and a sincere attempt to recreate WWI from the viewpoint of a young English bloke trying to become a fighter pilot. This glam job was usually reserved for the "toffs" who had money so we see the class war in action. Although not overly dramatic or meaty in content, the series does get you in and is worth enjoying until the end.
I am surprised that no one has ever commented on this little gem and I for one will grab it if I can on DVD.
Décalage horaire (2002)
A Tryst Without Tears
A simple film done simply superbly. I like a film that doesn't waste words, doesn't waste pouts and does exactly what it is meant to do without fuss. I like a film that adds a little magic and leaves the spirit happier than before. Not all the time, but it makes a change.
It also makes a change from the empty hopeless modern romances that litter the screen trying to be charming, trying to be sincere, and falling flat on their collective scripts...
This film has charm, intelligence, humour, pathos and a fine romance.
Jean Reno gets better with every year and shows a range that few directors have had the courage to exploit. His only moment of madness was choosing to take part in the Da Vinci Code...he should give his salary to the American Writers Guild in the hope that they may start finding the next Preston Sturges...
Juliette Binoche could act underwater and always brings something new to her roles. I would love to be her English Patient...
The great actresses and films of the 30s may have long since disappeared, but surely someone can provide fine romantic/comedy scriptwriting...at least before we get to Bridget Jones 12...