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Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010)
Beautifully And Faithfully Adapted!
I was originally apprehensive when going to see this film, because in Australia before there was Harry Potter there was The Tomorrow Series. It was a part of growing up in Aus especially in the 90's, and endless debates over the best character and what would happen, would enrage constantly on the school bus.
So naturally i was worried.
I need not have as Stuart Beattie has written a remarkably faithful and beautiful adaptation. Slick and smart, it is a testament to Beattie's knack for action screenplays (Collateral and Pirates Of The Caribbean come to mind) but is not unfocused on character development either. While there is a couple of clunky moments, perhaps due to the inexperience of his actors, Beattie's film moves at an almost perfect pace throughout keeping the viewer in suspense regardless of whether they have read the novel or not.
Acting wise everyone was great, bar a couple of scenes. Rachel Hurd-Wood as Corrie, again showed why she is known as a major talent in her generation nailing yet another role. Pheobe Tonkin and Licoln Lewis, Fi and Kevin, portray their characters strongly and justify their casting. Andy Ryan, Chris, while his character was perhaps over written at times, was brilliant in a tense scene with Stasey's Ellie and gave great comedic relief as well. Chris Pang, Lee, the most inexperienced of the cast did very well through most of the film, with the one major blunder coming at a critical point for his character. However he brought the spirit of his Lee throughout, again justifying the casting
The Stand Outs
Caitlin Stasey as Ellie - fantastic! Arguably had the toughest assignment of anyone taking on the protagonist Ellie. Whilst a lot of us had reservations over a soap actress taking on Australias literary heroine, she brought Ellie straight off the page and showed a range and strength that i had not believed she was capable of. She was strong, unstoppable and believable in every word and action. Loved her!
Deniz Akdeniz as Homer - a talent of the future, he glides through every scene perfectly not showing an ounce of his inexperience. Akdeniz portrays the change in Homers's character going from a larrakin to a leader so gracefully. A definite talent of the future.
Ashleigh Cummings as Robyn - Robyn was my favourite character in the books, and although had the most changes made, i came out of the cinema with Robyn once again at the top of my list. Cummings shines throughout the film, stealing most of the scenes she was in. The spotlight on her in the climax of the film, i don't think there was a dry eye in the house when Robyn sacrifices all she believes in for her friends. A scene not from the book but added, it is the most powerful scene in the film. Silent and unnerving, Cummings was flawless, the viewers heartstrings being pulled by the brilliant 16 year old. A face i will definitely be looking out for in future.
Overall an incredibly satisfying adaptation of a much loved book series. I certainly hope the sequel/s get green-lit!!
Dead Gorgeous (2010)
Best children's television in a long time.
Not being a child for a long time, its been a while since i've seen a kids show thats noteworthy.
Dead Gorgeous is one of these. A beautiful mix of comedy and drama, add a dash of romance, great actors and a well written script and you have the best ABC show since Silversun (2004).
Even though its quite clearly targeted for the early teen female market, Dead Gorgeous is so well written that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages. It also has an originality thats refreshing in the age of vampires, vampires and more vampires.
While the cast is 99% Australian (which is excellent being an Aussie myself) and all the actors do a fine job, the one Brit in the cast Poppy Lee Friar is a standout. Certainly one to look out for and she has shown some great versatility after seeing her in "Beautiful People". Alexandra Coppinger is a well deserved mention as well, in her TV debut.
Definite one to recommend, and hope to see a DVD release and a season 2!!
Hating Alison Ashley (2005)
Saskia Saskia Saskia
When i walked into the cinema i was worried, very worried. Here i was walking into a film adaptation of a book that i have read literally over 30 times, Klein's classic Hating Alison Ashley. Luckily i had prepared myself. I was prepared for the 11 year old story turned into a 14 year old story played by 19 year-olds. I was prepared for the more than likely over-hyped, overrated and very average performance of Delta Goodrem. And thats exactly what i got. But there was a little ray of sunshine in the true lead actor, Saskia Burmeister. Her and Jean Kittson (absolute legend, brilliant in this film) were the reason that i managed to walk into the cinema in the first place. Seeing Saskia in Wicked Science, The Pact and Thunderstruck, she hit me as someone who had a real talent, and here her talent really shines. She basically single handedly saves this film, every scene with Goodrem is saved by her. Her portrayal of Yuk is so beautifully accurately done, that in the end it really doesn't matter about the changes made from the book to the film. She was the reason i enjoyed this film as much as i did, which is amazing cause i managed to give it a 7/10 which considering the close to butchering of the book and goodrem it could've been a lot worse. Apart from the brilliant burmeister, there are some great little performances as well. Kittson of course is at her usual brilliant best, Craig Mclaughlin was a crack up in the small amount of screen time he was given, and even the beefed up role of Barry Hollis (Anthony Carpanelli) was although different to the book, worked an absolute treat in the film.
So all in all....Delta stick to what your good at..no wait not even that...go away....
Saskia.... get your AFI award speech ready!
The Sleepover Club (2003)
Actually Quite Good!
When i first had a look at this show i was skeptical. However, i found this quite enjoyable. Yes it is not exactly working the brain, however, the quirky plot lines, quick wit and good acting make this show worthwhile.
The characters are typical early teen girls who have the whole one minute hate the next love boys thing going on, they have the normal problems with the parents and teachers and of course within themselves as well. This is what makes the show quite reasonably believable.
The acting is great! Eliza Taylor-Cotter and Ryan Corr are definitely stand-outs, however that is not to say that the others are weak. Quite on the contrary, all produce effortlessly realistic, sensitive dramatic and cleverly funny performances.
The clinch of the show though are the little skits; what happens in the girls imaginations. They are absolutely hilarious. It's quick witty and clever humor all rolled into one.
Overall a quite decent show.