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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
What a unique, wonderful movie!, 13 June 2004

I saw this movie at Cinema Paris at Fox Studios when I was in Sydney, Australia. Although the story has been done several times before, it is set amid a community of Italian immigrants in 1950's Australia, which makes it really unique.

Giovanni Ribisi (Angelo) is the only actor I was familiar with before this movie, but I have to say Adam Garcia (Gino) and Amelia Warner (Rosetta) steal the show. And they are both DROP DEAD gorgeous! Performance wise, I liked Sylvia de Santis (Connie) the best!

I loved how the characters evolve during the movie. Angelo seems to be weak and troubled emotionally, but turns out to be surprisingly robust. On the other hand, Gino, the more self-assured brother turns out to be quite vulnerable emotionally.

The music from Stephen Warbeck is wonderful. I especially liked the background music when Rosetta first sees the mural of Italy in the cafe. Andrew Lesnie's cinematography captures the beauty of both Italy and the Australian wilderness. And if these are the types of movies Jan Sardi continues to make, I want to see more.

You have to be a curmudgeon not to like this movie - it is so gentle and warm-hearted.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
An unfamiliar India, 13 August 2002

I was really entertained and touched by this film. The performances are great, and the music is "foot-tapping" terrific. But that was the second time I saw it.

The first time I saw this film I was so shocked by its depiction of an Indian family that I could not really enjoy it. This movie showed a high percentage of women drinking and Pimmi smoking. Both drinking and smoking are socially taboo in India. Ria uses several English expletives, which didn't seem right. The English to Hindi/Punjabi ratio seemed to be on the higher side. Finally, how much dysfunction can a single family have? - a gay son, a cheating daughter, an abused niece, an abusive uncle, a loveless couple, a father in debt etc.

The only realistic character is Aditi, unfortunately we never get to understand where she comes from.

But what do I know about wealthy Punjabi families? So I will just sit back and enjoy the film.

Signs (2002)
3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
The ending worked for me, 6 August 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

********** SPOILERS ***********

I read a couple of bad reviews of this movie and decided to see it without any expectations. I was amazed at how much I ended up enjoying it. I was impressed by The Sixth Sense but didn't really enjoy it that much.

I saw this movie on opening night, along with the rest of a sold-out audience. It elicited laughs and screams and sighs. The air was really thick with tension in the suspenseful moments and not a sound could be heard. I was sitting at the edge of my seat.

The Acting: Absolutely top notch. Mel Gibson moved me to tears in the scenes outside the vet's house, and at the dinner table. I hated Joaquin Phoenix in The Gladiator, but loved him in this movie. Both the kids are terrific. Abigail Breslin steals every scene she is in (she is so cute, and when she was crying I wanted to go and hold her and console her), but Rory Culkin's performance gives an extremely sensitive, nuanced performance {the anti McCaulay Culkin performance}.

Sound and sound editing: Perfect. The Brazilian birthday scene is made more frightening by the perfect use of sound.

Visual effects: Minimal and Perfectly used. This movie is not visual eye candy like Attack of the Clones. This allows you to be absorbed in the *story*.

Direction and Cinematography were excellent, especially in heightening the suspense. The scary scenes work so well because of the brilliant camera angles.

The Ending: Some of the audience members were clapping with delight in the final scenes, while others were disappointed. Personally, the ending worked for me in the context of the movie, especially in the way it tied up all the ends together (yes, the water does not make much sense scientifically but I will not let that get in the way of enjoying this movie).

It has also been a long while since a movie has absorbed me so much. Because this is a quiet, minimalist movie, I emerged from the theatre without a headache (as in Pearl Harbor) and without my eyes watering.