16 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Resurrection (2014–2015)
Just not good
24 April 2014
This show has similar themes to the French series The Returned. It's not the same show and there is meant to be an English version of the Returned being released. I'm not sure if this is that version or not. Having said that, both series feature dead people returning to a small town. The French series is dark, disturbing and sexy. The acting is amazing and every scene is tense with emotion. The US series is not so good. The biggest issue is that it's boring and apart from Francis Fisher, the acting is poor. The main child who returns over enunciates every word and speaks... as... though. .. there. .. are... ellipses. .. between... Each. .. word... It's just annoying.

The plot is thin and the scripting leaves a lot to be desired. As others have pointed out, there are many bizarre things in the structure that don't make sense. No one seems disturbed that the dead are returning. In the French series, the characters suffered a range of realistic reactions to the dead returning including disbelief and fear. And that's just how the dead reacted!

This show is more like Haven as it's really a police procedural in a town where quirky things are happening.

I'm hanging in, hoping that it will get better. But I'm 5 episodes in and there's been no real improvement yet.
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Robin Hood (2010)
Yikes! A merry ol' disaster
4 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Okay, here is he awful truth:

1. Apparently a Stone Mason wrote the Magna Carter (Robin's Father) 2. Although a humble archer, Robin within a matter of weeks becomes the King's right hand man in battle 3. Apparently in 13th century England, the French had 20th Century warefare technology 4. Apparently French soldiers can row their way across the channel in canoes and then jump out and fight(although earlier in the film the channel is so perilous that a big English boat barely makes it across and it took overnight to cross) 5. King John never signed the Magna Carter 6. Russell Crowe can do a number of English accents - unfortunately, he just couldn't choose one 7. Cate Blanchett is very good at channelling Katherine Hepburn 8. Apparently Marion is psychic because she recognises the man who killed her father-in-law in battle without having ever laid eyes on her 9. Marion although having worked on a farm in Nottingham for 10 years is a skilled soldier and killed wield an axe better than most of the French and British soldiers 10. Everyone in the town of Nottingham is so stupid that they don't realise that Robin is impersonating Robert of Loxley who is about 20 years his senior, blonde and looks nothing like Russell Crowe.

Don't see it - it's not worth your coin. I'm so disappointed because I love Cate Blanchett and Crowe is usually very good. But this is just bad story telling.
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Les rois maudits (2005– )
Camp, over the top, fabulous!
12 April 2010
When this screened on SBS, I caught the last half-hour of the first episode by accident. I was hooked! The series itself it so over the top and camp but it's an interesting and fascinating way to bring the story to life.

In Ausralia, when it first screened it was shown on Sunday nights and Monday mornings at work resulted in the kinda of intense water-cooler discussions not repeated until Masterchef! It was recently replayed and it was as fabulous as the first time round. The sets and costumes are amazing - it's really avant garde theatre done for TV. Possibly the first time that has actually worked.

And of course, then there's Jeanne Moreau - impossibly beautiful, vulgar and scheming all at once. I'd love to read the book - I'm yet to find an English translation.

It's definitely not for everyone - but if you don't mind your history with a bit camp, this is just great fun and it's exquisite to look at.
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Don't bother unless you're a fan
12 April 2010
Well, this is 2 more than I gave the first movie.

I haven't read the book - of the comments that I've read, if you've read the books you seem to give it a higher rating.

I found the storyline incredibly hard to follow. Most of the special effects were really bad and were akin to the d-grade movies of the 50s.

The scene where Jake turns into the wolf above Bella was great - except that all the wolves, which weren't meant to be scary, looked disneyesque. They all looked so cute and cuddly that they weren't remotely scary. When Jake turns into the wolf to threaten Robert Pattinson, it looked like it was a dog wanting to be patted.

It got more interesting when it moved to Italy - the Voltari bit was the only bit in the movie that had any real tension. But how they got there was weird. One minute she's in Forkes, the next she's in a car in Italy with no explanation of how she got there.

Despite it being done by a different director, it still has the same bad makeup. The vampires' faces are painted white,but their necks are normal colour. But the funniest is that they'd painted stripes on Robert Pattison's body to make him look more muscular (a common Hollywood trick) but instead of making him look muscular, it made him look like a skinny guy with stripes painted on his body.
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Precious (II) (2009)
7 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I've read the reviews on the IMDb database and was shocked to find that many US reviewers found this racist and stereotypical. As an Australian, it never occurred to me that the depiction was stereotypical or that it was degrading to African-Americans.

Instead, I found it depicted an individual's story - she could have been portrayed as a poor Hispanic, Irish, Italian etc.

The movie is flawed - but unlike other films in this genre, it actually ends on a positive note.

The story centres on Clarice - better known as 'Precious'. Her name of course being a slap you over the head with irony name. Precious has been the subject of sexual abuse by her father since she was 3 - the film does not shy away from this - and physical and mental abuse from her mother.

When we first meet Precious, she is pregnant with her second child to her father and is promptly suspended from school (though it was never clearly explained why). She ends up at a school for illiterate children where she meets an assorted group of teenagers in similar situations to her. After giving birth to her second child, Precious returns from the hospital only for her mother to physically abuse her child and Precious. Precious leaves with her child and later discovers that she is HIV positive.

However, Precious is portrayed with dignity and this is where the movie really comes into it's own. Mariah Carey as the councellor is particularly good. She's quietly empathetic as is Miss Rain - Precious' teacher. Neither play the sympathy card or wallow in excess grief at Precious' story. Instead they actively encourage Precious to take what little action she can.

Overall, the performances were excellent. Mariah Carey was excellent and Monique was outstanding. The last scene, with Precious walking down the street with her two children will perhaps be regarded as one of the most powerful endings in film history.

This is not a film for the fainthearted - it is challenging, but it's worth the effort. Is it worthy of an Oscar for Best Picture - probably not.
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Nine (2009)
A 30 Rock in-joke
25 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Nine is a 30 Rock in-joke - it's a film based on a musical based on a film. I kept expecting Jenna Marone to pop up somewhere! This film is a mess. It really has no storyline other than Guido (and just in case you forget the protagonist's name every song has the following line: Guido, Guido, Guido.... Guido, Guido, Guido... Ugh!) is a film writer / director who has a nasty case of writer's block.

Guido, played by Daniel Day-Lewis is a miserable misogynist who illicits very little sympathy. And this is the problem with the movie. It's hard not to compare it to 'All that Jazz' - given that the story lines are almost identical - but there is something lovable and redeemable about our hero in that film. Guido is thoroughly unlikeable.

All of the actors are good - that's not the problem. The problem is that the film is boring, Guido is not likable and most of the other characters have little to do.

Most of the musical numbers are too long and are really boring - the Kate Hudson and Fergie numbers are the only exceptions.

Nicole Kidman and Marion Cotilliard are also good but they have so little to do.

And then there is the way they dressed Nicole Kidman - what is it with the really bad padding (since when did the women of the 60s wear square shaped padding for their behinds? Weird). Judi Dench seem to lack purpose and then Sofia Loren who is absolutely beautiful is absolutely wasted. The only two characters of interest were Cruz's Carla and Fergie's Seraghina. But Seraghina went nowhere. Why bother? It felt as though there was no purpose for this character or for the Kate Hudson character.

Nine totally misses the point of a musical. Every musical number is supposed to drive the story along - not Nine. It's 2 hours I'll never get back. I can't help but compare Nine to Bran Nue Dae - which was full of exuberance and every number had purpose. Go see that instead.
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Bran Nue Dae (2009)
Kooky Feel Good Musical
17 January 2010
I didn't know the story of this movie - but was completely sucked in by the previews. What a fabulous movie. It's incredibly funny and odd and there is just some amazing cinematography.

It's a musical and the premise is that Rocky is studying to be a priest - we know from the outset that he's in love with Rosie (Jess Mauboy who is just going to be a superstar after this). After standing up to the head priest, Rocky takes off and heads home to Broome.

On the way he meets his 'Uncle Tadpole', and two hippies touring WA, a drunken prostitute who all end up on his journey home - all whilst the head priest is chasing him down.

There is one scene in particular which just blew my mind, jumps on the back of truck with a bunch of Aboriginal Footballers. Zorba the Greek starts playing and the footy team begin doing an amazing traditional dance which had the audience whooping with delight. Amazing! It's the little things in this movie that work so well and are so touching. And one point our hapless road gang are arrested after Uncle Tadpole steals from a Roadshop. Whilst the whites and the inexperienced Rocy fight the cops - Roxy and Uncle Tadpole walk to the cells without fight or comment.

Whilst the ending is ridiculous, who cares - at my screening the audience burst into applause. Everyone walked out on a high. If you're a Muriel's Wedding fan and you like your movies kinda kooky - then you'll enjoy this. This is feel good stuff.

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Nowhere Boy (2009)
Beautiful and moving story of a nowhere boy
2 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
You don't have to be a fan of the Beatles to enjoy this film. I'm a huge fan and already knew the story, but my friend didn't and we both found it extraordinary. I've disliked almost every film about the Beatles - mostly because they're so clichéd and focus on them finding fame. This is not about the Bealtes - it is a movie about a young man reuniting with his mother. The young boy just happens to be John Lennon.

Aaron Johnson is perfectly cast as John Lennon - he may not like like Lennon, but who cares. His performance is near perfect, playing Lennon as brittle, lost, crass, sweet, caring and charismatic - much like the man himself. Kristen Scott-Thomas portrays Aunt Mimi with such aplomb that it's hard not to love Mimi despite her cool exterior and inability to openly show her emotions. Ann Maree Duff plays Lennon's mother with a complexity of spirit and if you know the lyrical references in Lennon's songs to Julia, then you will love her performance all the more.

And those is minor roles also excel. Thomas Sangster as Paul McCartney (again he doesn't look remotely like Paul - again who cares) is simply excellent. The film portrays the early relationship between Paul and John. John teaching Paul not to be such a sop and Paul teaching John to be more controlled. One of the most moving scenes is when the two men embrace at Julia's funeral - a bond between two boys who both lost their mothers. The film implies that although the two deeply respected each other - it was never a truly easy relationship. Sangster lights up the screen whenever he appears.

If you are expecting a movie about the Beatles - this is not it. This is a film about relationships between mothers and sons, sisters and friends. If you like your movies complex and intricately written - then this is for you.
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Too funny - great girls' weekend DVD
12 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Well, the back of the DVD says it all. One goes home, one commits suicide and the other ends up a drunk addicted to pills. And that's about it. Barbara Perkins is gorgeous, but uninspiring as Anne. Patty Duke is amazingly awful. YOu have to watch it just for her over-the-top performance. I don't think she actually speaks one word - everything is screeched out. Hideous, but truly funny. The more empathetic she tries to be, the funnier she is. Susan Haywoods is truly great. And gives one of the films few but true moments of pathos after her wig is thrown in the toilet revealing her grey hair (although, it looked pretty blonde to all of us - and she looked better without the wig!).

But it is Sharon Tate that is the one to watch. She's not a particularly good actress, but she is luminous and impossibly beautiful. Her character descends into hardcore porn (but of course, there are lace curtains to hide everything). The film is all very twee. It's meant to be a tragedy, but it's best to view it as a comedy. Patty Duke's last scene in the alleyway had us in stitches. Watch on a girls' weekend with lots of booze. You'll be quoting lines for weeks!
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17 Again (2009)
Somebody hasn't done their maths
12 April 2009
Okay, the plot goes something like this: 37 year man thinks he was tops when he was 17 and magically goes back to being 17. I don't mind suspending disbelief but boy somebody can't do maths. When Mike was 17, he gets his girlfriend pregnant. But when he goes back to being 17, his daughter is in the same class? Huh? That would make her 19 or 20 - not 17!! And all the so-called 37 year-olds look like they are 47. I'm actually 37 and none of my friends the same age as me look as old as those people. And Mike keeps complaining about feeling really old and moving slowly when he is 37. What? You're only 37! Not 47 or 57! What the? And Matthew Perry and Zac Ephron look like they are from significantly different genetic backgrounds and they look nothing alike! And Matthew Perry is about 10ft taller than Zac Ephron. So the whole movie is just weird. Perry was just weird and creepy. They should have just cast someone who actually looked something like Zac as they did with other characters who are portrayed as their younger selves.

And then there is Michelle Tractenberg who is always worth watching and pretty much out acts everybody else as Mike's daughter. Uh, hello, Michelle clearly hasn't been 17 for quite some time. And at one point, her younger brother ends up in the same class as Mike.

This movie is more boring than fun. However, Thomas Lennon as the sidekick is truly hilarious and steals every seen. My 4 stars are all for him.

As for Zac Ephron, well, he's playing the same character again. I liked him in High School Musical and Hairspray - but he sucked in this movie. As his wife says to him in one seen - you are a weird 'man-boy'. Yup, just about sums up this movie. And women in their 40s kissing boys in their teens is just as creepy as the other way around. Shudder! Leslie Mann, what were you thinking?

This is worth getting out on DVD for Thomas Lennon alone. If you're into Zac, it's not going to make you love him more. If you're into Matthew Perry - my guess is that you won't be after this. All in all, a very ordinary film.
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