Reviews written by registered user
TrevorJD

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22 reviews in total 
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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
A more personal story than the original, 26 December 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This prequel to Red Dog is a more personal story than the original hit film. While it is not as humorous as Red Dog, it is still an entertaining family film and well worth seeing. The movie primarily follows the story of a young boy named Mick in 1969, who is sent to a remote homestead in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia to stay with his Grandfather, while his mother is recovering in a facility. Mick, while dealing with the remoteness of the region; and the remoteness of his grandfather (wonderfully played by Bryan Brown), stumbles across a red puppy, initially covered in blue slime , after a major storm. The film charts their journey, often humorously, in becoming best friends. Being set primarily in 1969 the film is filled with wonderful characters that often reflect the changing times - A young recently returned Vietnam soldier, who sings and plays guitar except when the dog howls with him which, much to his disdain, is often! A pretty female teacher who wants to go to San Francisco and be part of 'The Summer of Love' , and there is a wonderful Chinese cook who always walks around with an umbrella! More interesting are the characters reflecting the changing times within the region and Australia in general - particularly an Aboriginal Jackaroo who sees a future for his people in Aboriginal land rights; And a scene where Lang Hangcock , a friend of Mick's Grandad, stops in and tells a young Mick how there is a future in Iron Ore in the region! For it is not only in the Australian landscape and lingo that the film reflects Australia, but also in the social changes that were happening within the country at the time that would have impacts on the Australian economy, Aboriginal people, women, and the changing landscape of Australian politics and the land. The film may pack too much in its short running time but it's worth seeing.

Downriver (2015)
12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:
Tense film mystery, 27 February 2016
8/10

If Stephen King wrote a novella set in Australia this would be its love child! However we are not in the state of Maine, but in a river town in Australia. Young James has served his time for allegedly drowning a boy when he was only a child and is being released; the body of the boy however was never found. James, having little memory of what occurred on the day, goes in search of answers and hence back to the river town where the incident occurred. This tense film mystery is at times quite macabre and often brutal, but through it's wonderful lead actor Reef Ireland it also has emotional depth. This is an auspicious feature debut for director Grant Scicluna, who also wrote the screenplay; his sense in creating such a dark and intense mood throughout the film is quite an achievement. Kudos must also be given to Tom Green who plays James' mysterious and troubled childhood friend, and of course the great Kerry Fox who plays James' mother. I saw the film recently at a film festival in Sydney to a packed audience, where it was warmly received. It deserves a much wider audience.

10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
A disarming film well worth your time..., 27 February 2016
8/10

I saw this at the Sydney Mardi Gras film festival 2016 to a packed audience who seemed to appreciate this disarming film - judging by the closing applause, and comments I heard while the audience was walking out of the cinema. Set over one night in an urban city it follows the movement of a few gay men of different age ranges, and ethnically diverse, yet all with backgrounds in art or literature; and all looking to connect emotionally (and often physically). It is a beautiful film with good performances and one that keeps you entranced and emotionally connected with the characters – hence a very disarming film. Well worth your time.

1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Those who love the 'Golden Years of Hollywood' are going to love this movie, 27 February 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Joel and Ethan Coen have made both a reverent and irreverent look at the Hollywood Studios in the 50's, an era that was going through a huge change for the film industry. Those who love the 'Golden years of Hollywood' are going to LOVE this film, others are going to be bored! The Hollywood system at the time would go to any lengths to protect their stars, and the hypocrisy within that system is laid bare in this movie. There are references to the Hollywood 10, characters who have similarities to Esther Williams, Loretta Young, Gene Kelly and Hedda Hopper; and even the film Ben Hur (the title of the movie refers to a film they are making called 'Hail Caesar – A Tale of the Christ'!). There is an hilarious scene where Channing Tatum (playing a Gene Kelly character) and a chorus of sailors sing and dance to a musical number about missing their 'dames', despite the fact the men are joyously camping it up and dancing with their male companions. It is not a laugh out loud movie but one I was grinning from ear to ear throughout!

3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Western and the conventions of Cinema, 25 January 2016
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tarantino's the 'Hateful Eight' maybe a western but it constantly draws our attention to the conventions or mechanics of cinema. Why else would Tarantino film a movie in Ultra Panavision 70mm and comprise most of the shots indoors, a question that a lot of reviewers seem to be asking. The stunning music score by Ennio Morricone, apparently the first music score for a 'western' he has done in 35 years, makes us aware of the use of music in cinema from its dramatic opening score. Title cards that separate the film into chapters, make us aware of the conventions of the screenplay; and at one point a voice-over appears describing a characters motives. There is also the staginess of the film set within one area that makes us aware of the use of mise en scene (Tarantino may turn the Hateful 8 into a stage play); along with a couple of surprises in the latter part of the film that also draw our attention to the stage and the use of mise en scene. Most evidently though, Tarantino seems to have separated the 'plot' from the 'story', by making the first two thirds of the movie the 'story', and the last third the 'plot', creating a whodunit western! The Hateful Eight is an intriguing piece of cinema.

28 out of 40 people found the following review useful:
Powerful and moving film of Tim Conigrave's well loved memoir, 12 August 2015
9/10

Director Neil Armfield, who was at the charity screening of 'Holding the Man' I went to tonight, took a huge undertaking when he decided to direct the film of Tim Conigrave's autobiographical novel (A memoir that was an ode to Conigrave's lover and partner John Caleo). As Conigrave's book became such a well loved novel, and later a successful and highly regarded stage play. And now I am proud to say a very powerful and moving film.

The film 'Holding the Man' is filled with scenes that have such a strong emotional truth to them. Particularly for a gay man like myself, who experienced those years in the 80's and early 90's when AIDS took the lives of many friends and acquaintances; and when fear and ignorance of AIDS, and towards gay men, was the norm rather than the exception. However the centre of Conigrave's memoir was a love story that lasted 15+ years, and Ryan Corr (The Water Diviner, Banished, Love Child, ) and Craig Stott bare all in brilliant performances. Corr as the loud and opinionated Tim, and Stott as amiable and quiet John create an amazing chemistry on screen, and one that will earn them universal praise. However the great performances also extend to a roll call of top Australian acting talent that includes Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Anthony Lapaglia, Kerry Fox and Marcus Graham among many others. With a film spanning the 70's, 80's and 90's, it also has a great soundtrack of hits from the era.

Tim Conigrave died 10 days after writing 'Holding the Man', He probably had no understanding what a huge impact his book would have had on so many people across the world.

Read the book and go see this great Aussie movie.

16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Intense and moving film - Recommended., 9 June 2014
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this at the Sydney Film Festival 2014. The film is engrossing, funny, moving and often very intense. The story concerns an older man, Daniel, who picks up a young male prostitute from Eastern Europe at a train station in France. The young male prostitute, Marek, is there illegally; living with a gang of other illegal Eastern Europeans, mainly young men, who survive through criminal activities, particularly stealing. They of course steal from Daniel at his home, when he gives Marek his address to hook up. The opening half hour that introduces us to the characters at the train station and the scene where Daniel has his property stolen while he is in the house is mesmerizing. As the film progresses, Daniel develops, extraordinarily, a relationship with the young Marek. Through this relationship we develop an understanding of Marek's background and the problems faced with illegal migrants; particularly in regard to being manipulated and susceptible to criminal activity in order to survive, as seen through Marek's relationship with his gang of young men. The performances are very good, particularly from Daniil Vorobyov, who plays 'Boss', the leader of the gang - he makes you believe the magnetism he holds over this group of young men. Recommended.

Footloose (2011)
4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Cut loose and see Footloose 2011!, 3 October 2011
7/10

Preview screening on Monday 3 October 2011: I saw the original version of Footloose as a teenager and quite enjoyed it, particularly the music. As a result the film and its soundtrack will forever remind me of my adolescence. I would not have thought 27 years later that I would be sitting in a cinema watching a remake of it but hence I did and thoroughly enjoyed it. Quite a few of the songs from the original movie are still in this version, and while the story is still basically the same the film contains more racially diverse characters (something that was sadly lacking from the original) and a fairly snappy script. The original of course made a big star out of Kevin Bacon in the main role of Ren McCormack, and Kenny Wormald fills those shoes very well. His pretty boy looks and great dance moves will only get him so far but thankfully he can also act. Julianne Hough as the rebellious preacher's daughter looks beautiful and does an admirable job as Ariel. However it is Miles Teller as Willard, Ren's friend who cannot dance, that almost steals the movie. Willard's self deprecating hick southern character is played with much style by Teller. Dennis Quaid as Reverend Shaw Moore is suitably morose as the preacher / father in support of the ban on dancing in the little town of Boton, though I thought John Lithgow encapsulated the character better in the original. Craig Brewer who wrote and directed 2005's acclaimed Hustle and Flow has done a very good job with this remake of Footloose and the audience I saw it with seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. So cut loose and see Footloose 2011 as it is a very enjoyable and entertaining movie.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A complex story worthy of a Greek Tragedy!, 7 August 2010
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a very good film though not for everybody (particularly as it is peopled with predominantly unlikeable characters). However the characters are very well constructed and the performances amazing . Ben Mendlesohn as the alpha male of the family, is menacing and disturbing as Uncle 'Pope'; his casual use of violence and the persuasive way he utilizes family members to inflict murder is horrifying when seen within the Aussie suburban milieu. Jacki Weaver is astonishing as the passive/aggressive mother, particularly when she sees her family pack being threatened from outside and within, her coldly calculating behavior becomes menacingly clear in the second half. What is astonishing about this film is how they managed to transform a tale about a little family of suburban criminals into a complex story worthy of a Greek tragedy, it is a masterstroke.

Sa raison d'être (2008) (TV)
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Fascinating, engrossing and crammed with incident - RECOMMENDED!, 1 March 2009
9/10

I just saw this film as part of the 2009 Mardi Gras Film Festival here in Sydney. It was an engrossing movie / television drama that went for over 3 hours and was presented in two parts. The movie, for the most part, charts the AIDS epidemic in France from 1980 – present through the microcosm of a family, but particularly through their gay son Nicolas, who narrates the story. There are many characters and story lines in the course of this historical drama, and the film is crammed with incident and covers many issues associated with HIV / AIDS and aligning it with political and social changes that were happening in France and the world. Part one of the movie was rather polemical, however the second part was heartbreaking and moving. All the performances were excellent, with a great soundtrack of the changing times. The only reservation I had was the ending. This movie was utterly fascinating and engrossing from start to finish. Recommended.


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