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Monte Carlo or Bust! (1969)
Great to look at but few laughs
This film is a mystery. It has great scenery, a wonderful cast and visually splendid stunts. For its time it was a a bit of a sleeper, perhaps as it was seen as a kind of imitation of Those Magnificent Men. The film seems to have all the right ingredients including a huge budget. So how come its tedious and frankly boring. It is rather fun looking at the who's who of film. The dashing Walter Chiari, the glorious Tony Curtis and Susan Hampshire and of course Gert Frobe. Pete and Dud come off best but there seems to be nothing much that can save what is unfortunately an over blown mish mash. Its a pity really because a great deal of heart and a even more money went into making it
Carry on Columbus (1992)
what were they thinking?
Some movies can be so bad that they are funny. The trouble with this movie is that it tries desperately to be funny but isn't. Many looked forward to seeing a new Carry on movie but despite a very good and talented cast this movie is very hard to sit through. Its hard to say why it doesn't work but its probably because the genre has out lived its used by date. The old carry on movies had a loyal and faithful audience but they belonged to another time. These days we can watch them and they bring back sweet memories of sitting in an old theatre (like the Grosovenor in Melbourne)and licking on your Dixi ice cream. It is rather nice that the gay characters don't do the silly hinting and that Julian Clary can be quite open. He seems to be the only performer who seems to get a laugh. Thankfully most people support gay rights and same sex relationships are simply a life style choice. "Carry on Columbus" really is a terrible mess and there are no laughs.
You Can't See Round Corners (1967)
a brave series
I would love to see this series again. I wonder how well it holds up. It made a star of Ken Shorter who was a superb television actor. Of course it was brave ground breaking television all about a young man who stood up against the authorities at a time when conscription was introduced. At the time many would have seen Shorter's central character as a coward but today I guess we would all see it differently. It was a brave anti war film. We live in very conservative times today with a huge swing to the right so its hard to really say. The acting was very good although it may look a little rough by todays standards. Still I would like to see it again as I would be very curious to see whether or not it holds up.
Adventures of Superman (1952)
I just purchased the whole series. Some things can look terrible with age and time is not very kind to some TV shows from the 50,s but I am pleased to say that Superman looks wonderful. Certainly some of the production values and effects look a bit stagy by today's standards but the stories and the acting is wonderful. Its true that people must have been really think not to recognize the fact that Kent was Superman but the show cleverly gets us to accept it. Both Phyllis Coates and Noell Neil were wonderful as Lois Lane. Coates was a more sophisticated and sexier Lane but Miss Neill is equally effective as a sweeter more humorous Lois. I loved them both. The real stand out for me is Jack Larson who is simply brilliant as Jimmy Olson. His subtle acting is beautiful today and works superbly. Of course John Hamilton as Perry and Robert Shane as the inspector are perfect in their roles. George Reeves is the definitive Superman. Sexy and noble. He is the best man of steel. I love the supporting performances, all these remarkable support players add so much to the show. I am so happy to find this old friend again.
an untidy mess
I am aware many think its a classic but the film is pretentious and actually quite stupid. The symbolism is heavy handed. I know that many think this is a masterpiece but its a confusing mess. There are some parts that are forgotten and never explained. A woman comes on denying Christ but we never find out why. The sets look beautiful and to be fair there is a certain glamor to the film. The cast do what they can and the fault is not with he actors but with the director who seems to have an over blown ego. This was made at a time when some directors were trying to be very arty, esoteric and too clever by half. Today its a shambles. Some of the interior locations look fine but the dream sequences are just ridiculous. This sadly is almost embarrassing to watch today.
Bran Nue Dae (2009)
its good.. feel good
"Bran Nue Day" was one of the most magical nights I ever had in the theatre. The young Aboriginal cast was a delight and although the young experienced cast may not have had the polish of more seasoned performers it was still a warm engaging production. I had reservations about seeing the movie; I was worried it would become too slick and too polished. Director Rachel Perkins has assembled a cast of slick professionals such as Geoffrey Rush and Ernie Dingo and both give fine over the top performances but she has also gathered some new faces such as Jessica Mauboy and Rocky McKenzie who hold their own really well against the seasoned performers. Dingo carries the film and gives a fabulous performance in what is a purposely corny contrived plot. The contrivances worked superbly with a live audience but I am not sure if a film audience will enjoy it. Wisely the director has kept the film character driven rather getting carried away with location. .The only jarring note is Missy Higgins who seems wooden and uncomfortable. I have always found her to be a mediocre singer but she is an even worse actress. Still there is plenty to enjoy in the feel good musical. I warn you it is contrived but that's its charm and there is plenty of energy in the film. Rocky McKenzie is a real scene stealer and one of the most delightful young actors I have seen
King Corn (2007)
a superb documentary
College buddies return to a place called Greene in Iowa which was their ancestral home. This is a disturbing documentary but handled with intelligence and warmth. Basically it deals with the fact that because we are all demanding cheap food we are prepared to ignore the enormous health and environmental repercussions of over production. The issue is handled brilliantly and it will be easy to see how the film makers will be (wrongly) accused of exaggeration. Just like climate skeptics today these guys will be accused of scare mongering. That's the sad reality. The film makers however have been fair and balanced. What's wrong with corn? Essentially nothing but the corn is being fed to cattle. This is where it gets very disturbing. Its clever how the industry has used the term "grain fed" as a positive. What is disturbing is the corn produced is nothing like the juicy variety we like smothered in butter, indeed it is almost inedible! The corn is fed to cattle. It gets worse. To help the cattle avoid disease there are anti biotics added to the corn.The potential dangers here are too horrible to think about.The humanitarian aspects of modern family are another issue but you will find the film disturbing. I had a look in my pantry and was shocked to see just how much corn syrup is used. We have a right to know what we are eating and King Corn is a revelation but not a very comforting one. I could speak more about the issue itself but others have done that. It is scary and it makes me think of the field of dreams as a field of nightmares and I doubt Elvira Madigan will be running through corn fields in America. The documentary itself is rational without being cloyingly provocative. No preaching and no bad guys. The directors treat the farmers as victims as well. The people in the film are just lovely. They are hard working Americans trapped in an unethical industry. We, the consumers, are the real culprits; our demand to keep food cheap has led us to a diet which causes diabetes and other health scares. The film must be seen and its got the zappiest cleverest little ending. Sadly a limited audience will see this. It wont be on main stream TV, indeed I only saw it as it was recommended by a friend. One thing is for certain is if is shown on television it will not be sponsored by any fast food chains.
Samson and Delilah (2009)
This movie is one that demands something from the movie goer. It needs to grow on you slowly. The pace is slow and if the audience is patient and prepared to give something back to the film it will affect you. I found it repetitive at first but rather than switching off I stayed with it and was glad I did. The acting is excellent. It is not a movie for the feint hearted and it is depressing. It should be. It is a film about hopelessness. Its hard to like Samson yet there are moments he smiles and your heart goes out to him. Della is superb as is the old woman and the drunken man who lets them share his home. Films like this should be made as there is an honesty you rarely see, the film is not dogged by political correctness. There is a danger people will not feel compassion for the characters as they are not glamorous likable people. The more you allow the film to touch you and you open your heart and your mind you will feel great compassion and love.
Critics attacked the movie often saying it is over blown but the more I watch Annie the more I like it. The great thing is that it never becomes stage bound yet at the same time still manages to keep he charm of the live theatre production.The final scenes are actually very exciting and this could never be done on stage so director John Huston opened the story up to include the darker moments of the show. Although I would love to have seen Dorothy Loudon do the Hannigan role Carole Burnett does as creditable job as does Albert Finney. The glorious Bernadette Peters generously underplays as does Tim Curry and they are both fabulous, Easy Street is a real winner. What a pity we never saw more of Anne Reinkin as Grace. This elegant lady nearly steals the film and boosts what could be an annoying role into one of pure charm. The kids are great and Aileen Quinn is a lovely Annie. She does battle in the lower notes as a singer but who cares. Sandy the dog is a real trooper and does indeed get close to stealing the movie but for me Geoffrey Holder as Punjub steals the movie in a small role. A fine movie with the most wonderful songs.
its a long journey
Actually I was rather disappointed seeing it again after so many years. David Niven is perfect and its fun watching and guessing who is who. The end credits are just wonderful. The film looks beautiful and the score is perfect. I love the fact the wide screen DVD has an overture and entracte. The exit music is lovely. The balloon sequence is the highlight of the film with its breath taking arial photography. The plot is confusing and sadly it plods along even though its not without merit. The most annoying aspect of the film is Cantiflas who may well have been famous in his own country simply has little screen presence and clumps along quite incoherently. Cantiflas slows the movie down, you cannot understand what he is saying and the bottom line is that he is just not funny. When you think of the great clown Red Skelton who was also in the cast you cannot help wondering how much better the movie would be with a real talent opposite Niven. It still remains quite lovely to look at.