61 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Running Home (1999)
intuition & empathy outweighing limited circumstances
13 November 2008
This was a surprisingly good movie!

It has drama. It has a plot. It is intriguing in its development into something more!

It tells the story of a street-wise kid who has a precision touch for the world that surrounds him!!!

... He cares about the downtrodden & oppressed!!!

... He notices details others do not care to consider! ... He is rightly suspicious of 'authorities' of presumed 'wisdom' in JUDGEMENTAL perspectives that they surround themselves with!!! ... Into likeminded submission without substance to allegations unfounded!!!

... Meanwhile, he investigates & discovers his own potential for greater solutions!!!

... While disturbed & warning against the agenda he senses is building up behind him!!!

... As others too, accumulate for various agendas!!! ... Helpful & otherwise!!!

"Running Home" has other attributes working for it!!!

... An empathetic artist whose paintings express her secret pain!!!

... A street-kid daring to be himself!!! ... With MUCH creativity revealed!!!

... But with echoes to his earlier dimensions he does not shrink from!!! … Or apologise for!!!

Meanwhile, truer bonds of MUCH substance gradually emerge!!!

All in all, it gives an insight into street kids!!! … Not to forget earlier dimensions of such dilemmas!!! … TOO often forgotten!!!

… Also lost bonds of family & MUCH goodwill!!! … That bureaucracies of police or church & state!!! … Can effectively diminish into nothingness!!! … Or DARE to care about!!! … At their personal whim!!!

… But rarely realised, it seems!!!

In the meanwhile, this movie is a good mix!!!

It does not stifle the free-spirited soul in this young guy who dares to be creative!!! … Amidst a closed store rich with symbolism!!! … As he sets birds free from their cages!!!

It's not phony … just creatively thoughtful in its unique perspectives!!!

It hints at something worth contemplating in broader journeys of life … that somehow, whether near or far, loved ones tend to be close at hand, and so often intuitively attuned to what we care about & are growing into!!!

"Running Home" conveys such concepts well.
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Livvakterna (2001)
a great thriller I chanced upon, called "Executive Protection" in Australia
16 October 2008
Well! What a pleasant surprise I chanced on when I crossed the dial to find this Swedish movie on channel SBS! A quality production for a QUALITY channel!!

This is a GREAT thriller! It has much drama but with solid plot underlying it! Several scenes in this are riveting & thoughtfully provoking! The background setting & human foibles & flawed decisions make for a gripping finale!

There is violence & bloodshed, but it is not lacking in reality in such depictions or desperate situations! ... Well portraying the confused emotions of those who are victims! ... As well as those who ruthlessly attack without fairness or compassion or intent other than self-advantage!!!

This is compelling viewing! I had intended to split my viewing between 2 other programs FAR less enthralling!! ... I found this instead!
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programmed as "hercules", in Australia
8 October 2008
I thought this would be a pathetic sub-titled movie, but it wasn't!!!

It is typically low-budget, & on the low budget-TV channel, which struggles to survive for a FRAGMENT of what the big-networks have access to!

This movie is understandably of limited talent & basic in props & plots! ... Especially compared with the likes of 21st century "The War of The Worlds"! ... That I viewed last weekend!

... But I saw Tom Cruise character there, playing a disagreeable character! ... Irritated repeatedly by his family who understandably didn't want to listen to him! ... With a pathetic plot I thought anyway would have seen MASSIVE holes in! ... But it was supposed to be a Spielberg production!

... By contrast, here, I watched a scenic, dramatic attempt at quality cinema! ... A serious attempt made at a credible plot! ... In a fantasy-type scenario many people would like to find themselves lost in! ... That was not surely out of its context, for time & place!!

... But of course, it doesn't have 21st century side-effects! ... That seem to often be substituted for plot!!!

... I didn't expect much! ... But got much more!!

Well worth a viewing!!!
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on wings of earth & sky it runs
10 September 2008
Well this was a surprise to me!!!

I knew nothing of this "Kite-Runner" movie, but it told many tales neatly woven!

The young boy & his more worthy & faithful servant's son!!! ... A father of each, respectively being of MUCH principle & integrity in their decisions for themselves & their sons!!! ... !!! ... A boy who had a gift! ... Another, an appreciation of that gift! ... That gift initially denied to the one! ... But echoing to so many!!!

That's apart from a romantic interest who likes books ... another father who is bigoted & self-righteous ... a mother who is over-zealous in traditional matters ... border-post guards ... & those who hover oppressively nearby ... overshadowing hapless peasants ... and those flogged & hung as if incidental chattels in swirls of shifts of dust on infertile sands ... those in powerful positions of authority who don't like being eyed ... or even questioned, exploding into furies of impulsive FALSE promises spontaneously & ruthlessly exemplified ... those that may be of solace caught as meat in sandwiches ... be they orphaned child ... or a rational man who must thoughtfully chose his loyalties & who he must defend & who must hate him in his subservience!!!

This was a movie of intrigue! ... Suspense! ... Amidst unwarranted hierarchies of authorities that proved hollow!!!

This QUALITY movie showed that dreams may be CRUSHED by others!!! ... But the TRUER messages of LOVE, COURAGE, INTEGRITY, HONESTY, FAIRNESS & TRUTH cannot be dismissed, without loss to those depriving such OPPORTUNITIES that are part of free will!!!

Only the slingshot scene appeared GROSSLY far-fetched to me in the circumstances!!! ... But I was glad to have it nonetheless.

I felt like I knew much more of rugged landscapes & gentle oppressed people mostly of Afghanistan & Pakistan, too, a little more of the DANGERS of religious & political fundamentalism in the hated oppressive rituals of "the Taliban" & their feared-affiliates!!!

... But wondered if it was that easy for a bashed man with a child who was not his own, to enter America!!!

... Where a famous "Peace Train" song-writer named 'Cat', was turned on his heels, among others, like one who was subject of an episode of "Australian Story" within the last fortnight! ... Deported without opportunity to question bureaucratic decisionmakers!!! ... But still, even this makes the scene of wrestling kites, very interesting!!!

So we have a slightly phoney situation at the passport stage that alone is hampering the integrity of this GREAT movie of immense application!!! ... But still, more than once, it brought a tear of goodwill to my eye!
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If Tomorrow Comes (1971 TV Movie)
a thoughtful & well-made movie
9 September 2008
This movie is very impressive in depicting the racism inflicted on many unjustly following the Pearl Harbour attack.

It is not just a thoughtful insight into the realities of oppression faced by Japanese living in America, in World War 2, as the world war escalated! But it is a contemporary insight into the kind of mob mentality that overtakes whole communities with apparent ease but LACKING justice!!! ... Often fired up by UNJUST media sensationalism or AUTHORITIES of oppression without due concern for the rights of victims they marginalise & make in outcasts!!!

I note one other comment referred to this "Romeo & Juliet" type "West Side Story" situation portrayed!!! It is powerfully brought to the screen passionately by the pair of unlikely, even reluctant lovers, in initial encounters! Aware that they are treading on unsure territory & unsteady ground, and intuitively sensing a greater tragedy may be looming!!!

The situation is well conveyed by the main actors! They play their parts well ... the humble Romeo ... the white girl who dares to reluctantly cross a line FOR LOVE she cannot deny ... the local cop who is trying to be sympathetic to the oppressed ... the families of disharmony & divided loyalties ... the dangerous atmosphere that may be only a corner away!!! That's apart from the POWERFUL stories & messages incidentally presented subtly!!! ... But with precision in each occasional impact!!!

Consider the young lover who doesn't want to inflame hostilities & watches his dad's sudden dilemma outpouring with good reason... and that of a young hard-working farmer set upon ... and perhaps the most telling scene of the hapless HARMLESS men piled into the back of a truck, of mostly aging Japanese, who were SINGING their loyalties to America!!! ... Much to the annoyance of authorities who had corralled them & reduced them to numbers!!! ... While being portrayed as if they were terrorists!!!

Justice proclaimed without trial!!! ... As if in the case of those held in a Cuban detention facility beyond 2000!!!

... !!! The same scenario is there in the stories of Australian "The 10 Canoes" & aftermath!!! ... And echoes back to the "rivers of blood" that flowed in Australian history texts over a stolen sheep, after Aboriginals, deprived of their ancestral lands were hounded & hunted like beasts, without respect!!! ... !!! ... !!!

The uneasy & unsteady position of the girl's father amidst it all is very interesting to observe!!! /// ... As is his response to his daughter's love shortlived!!! ... As is his son's action forgotten so easily!!! ... Despite aftermaths of little semblance to truth!!!

All in all, we have a great movie here that deserves great respect & consideration!!! ... For those who have eyes to see & eyes to hear!!!

In the meanwhile, we have an honest & thought-provoking movie!!! ... Of much worthiness!!! ... Of much insight, wisdom & ongoing effect!!!
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August Rush (2007)
an orchestra of intuition awaits you
13 August 2008
I headed off to see a movie last night & it turned out to be this "August Rush" I had never heard of!

It turned out to be to watch a masterpiece of intuition that would appeal to the sensibilities of a truly romantic heart & soulful spirit! I thought it was going to be an "Oliver" updated story early ... and it does have similarities to "Mr Holland's Opus" at times ... and it does jump around ... but it comes together like a jigsaw puzzle!

As to be expected, it's a bit predictable at times, but it is a movie with a beautiful heart it dips into at times, with magnificent musical blending that weave into the philosophy & wisdom & lives of its emerging characters! ... And their heartful unspoken wishes of heart & soul! ... As I have noted to be found as particularly significant times in life! ... like moments of romantic bliss ... like moments of immense & heart-breaking grief ... like moments of searching for something you cannot easily express ... or don't fully understand ... that may be dream or hope or foolishness in the eyes some others cannot understand!

It's all here to enrich your heart & spirit!!! ... !!!

A little contrived & unlikely in how it emerges but in so doing, it encourages the viewer into a sense & hope of intuition!!!

In my own case, I found further proof of such experiences I have occasionally been enriched & privileged to receive at key moments in my life!!! ... even when a song came on the radio as I began to drive home afterwards, it seemed PERFECTLY appropriate that the song was one I liked better instantly ... with lyrics "when you get caught between the moon and New York city, best that you can do, is fall in love!"

... I think I'll always like this song better for this coincidence in the eyes of some!

... As for the movie I rate it ... !!!!!!!!!!+
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Monkeybone (2001)
surely the product of a brilliant mind daring to be on the edge
7 August 2008
I was flicking across the dial & found this potential indication of creative genius!

It isn't as brilliant as it might have been! ... But it has its genuinely funny moments where the sense of what's going on inside each person, each character, is spelt out in adventurous pursuits that most production teams wouldn't have dared to produce!!!

... I'd rather have a team of actors & movie-makers like this, who DARE to push the edges!!! ... And succeed 3 out of 4-5 times!!! ... Than those who work a conservative line of forgettable rubbish that too many prefer to mark with financially-motivated clones of other movies! ... For instance, consider what the "Flying High" & "Rocky" crews did to make more money & mileage out of their subsequent dubious propositions!

... Yet the originals of "Flying High" & "Rocky" were worthy of being regarded as classics of their respective genres!

... It's jumpy & unpredictable & thought-provoking!!! ... But every now & then, it hits the spot!!! ... And when it does, makes the bewilderment & confusion worth enduring!

I share the dismay & frustration other reviewers supportive of this movie have expressed, that some critics have belittled this QUALITY effort without justice or respect of its considerable merits!!!

... The critics won't inspire a future masterpiece.

... But this movie "Monkeybone" madness just might!
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scenic but without plot, but for much navigation! ... an introduction to Neptune's kingdom!
6 June 2008
I loved the impressive coastal settings from the opening shots of a setting sun glowing red low in the sky!

To me, the movie itself wasn't remarkable in any way though I noticed it had well known actors and it would have been thought that "Beneath The 12-Mile Reef" was probably very expensive for its day & age!

It would have been spectacular to watch on a huge old movie screen they don't indulge in anymore! As it was, even on a TV screen the underwater photography brought to life the magnificence of the marine kingdom of the reef!

Such beauty was clearly intended to carry the plot which was disappointing. It should & could have been so much more. Instead, best enjoyed by tolerating the human dramas portrayed, allowing your attention to be drawn away to the relaxing lull of the tides and off to the horizons of delight of nature portrayed.

... And what could have been!!!
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spagetti western with sharks
21 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
What's to like about this movie???

It is in colour!

It has some impressive underwater photography!

It has a rhythmic musical score in the background that works well at times!

So 3 out of 10!

Sometimes the music is speeded up! Especially when the shark or the baddies are about to move in!

Sometimes it is slowed! As if to convey to the audience it's about to be time for sympathy!

As another one bites the dust! As if in a "spagetti Western" this has much similarity to!

It's not that the Italians can't produce quality productions! There was a series of TV movies with a heading like "Octopus" numbered about 1 to 7, screened on SBS TV in Australia in the 1990s about mafia-type conflicts! And they were excellent! But alas, you won't find it here!!!

I assumed it was made about 1960s! Sadly it was 20 years out of date, as evidenced by a funeral scene near the end!

Then there was the razor-sharp bite of the speedy shark that makes for a red dust repeatedly emerging in the bluish waters!

Amidst it all, either in bar-room brawl or in observing the latest sea-side bloody demolition by the relentlessly hungry shark, the mate of the hero looks on through his glasses of little concern, as if he too was bored in his relentless role amidst a lack of much evidence of plot or anyone's character development!

At least the hero indicates a fleeting concern belatedly, for his ex-wife!

But of course, even if the music fails to awaken our realisation, we have the sinister sound in the baddies' voices, as if to nudge us that another dark deed is about to emerge!

And near the end, someone thought of a twist! Just when we thought it was all totally predictable! But stay tuned, folks, for you may find another twist! If you are watching closely! To, more or less, warm your heart!

Follow the advice of the hero, and have a few beers along the way! It'll make your viewing of "Night of the Sharks" more enjoyable!

Then you'll be ready for something like a "007" movie to ease your way back into reality when this is over!!!
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an enjoyable & intriguing drama!
21 April 2008
I have to say I was disappointed to see only criticism of this movie!

I only came upon it by chance but this short movie was intriguing to me!

I disagree that the plot was "subpar" & thought the acting was adequate & the plot reasonably well constructed!

This is after all, over 70 years old!!!

How could it hope to compete with multi-million dollar modern productions???

But it presents the evolution of the clever but unprincipled lawyer who switches allegiances without justice!

It asks ethical questions ahead of its times!!!

Until the lawyer finds in his cleverness, his own demise is imminent!

Then swings the attack for a riveting conclusion!

It doesn't answer all the questions it prompts!

But I don't think that was its purpose!

I was impressed by "Criminal Lawyer" & I believe it has aged well!

If only I could say that for some who consider themselves wise because they are old in years!!!
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Wow!!! What a great surprise!
25 March 2008
I sat down to watch much anything on TV, but flicking across the dial, I found a classic!

A young man sets out on his "journey"!!! He tries to be fair & just & of integrity, in his innocence, in ALL of his dealings!!!

He shows compassion to those who think themselves his superiors!!! And anyone like him!!! He attempts to be fair to those who mistreat him!!!

Despite noting, even questioning, the irrational responses without logic, that his situations demand, unless he is willing to submit!!!

For his trouble, he finds himself a victim, even of his pastor & their followers, all claiming affiliation to this God he loves & is inspired by!!! He is honourable in his dealings! Reluctant in his defences! Heavenly in his inherent beauty of heart & mind & soul!!!

How much we should all be reminded of the integrity & substance of comment Jesus echoed across 2000 years & beyond, in "The Beatitudes", in his Sermon on the Mount!!!

Yet check out the contradictions posed for a genuine & loving, caring & compassionate servant, that Jesus would surely have had in mind as He spoke 60-100 generations prior, of the "downtrodden", the "heartbroken" & marginalised "outcast" "lepers" disrespected in their own integrity & commitment of faith!!!

So a young man, a modern day "Abraham" in his faith, ventures on despite misgivings & condemnation & "longsuffering" as was described as one of the 12 "spiritual gifts" of "The Holy Spirit"!!!

We should only NOT be surprised by how the hallowed hymns of his surrounding faithful flock in cheery scenarios, are manifest in a young man struggling with his despair yet exhilaration, in his ultimate journey into his beloved Jerusalem!!!

Thoughts here of the words of Jesus!!! Along the lines of "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How I have wanted to thrust my arms around you & embrace you!" One man foresaw these things!

Thoughts here of the words of Jesus!!! Along the lines of "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How I have wanted to thrust my arms around you & embrace you!" One man foresaw these things! Another man dares to impart such wisdom into those be they friends, in front of his TV set, or enemies, who sought to act as only 'shrewd managers' of cleverness & slyness, without integrity, love, compassion & substance in their hard work or ongoing dealings!!!

So we find a TV set mid-film, as scenario for what is portrayed, that Jesus was up against!!! As a young man seeks to extend his TRULY Christian generosity of heart & mind & soul!!! Be it to his "family" or chance encounters or enemies!!!

Heartful generosity profoundly played out mid-film, in front of a hard-worked for TV set for him & his friends, in a neighbourhood of "white" justice where a "black" man throwing a double 6 by chance, on dice at backgammon, may be grounds for condemnation & lack of justice by the self-serving, NOT to be questioned!
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Emerald Falls (2008 TV Movie)
emerald maybe, but it's no "Blue murder" or Ch 9 "Underbelly"!
25 March 2008
I liked the viewer comment contrasting this to the drama of the "Underbelly" series that a rival TV network in Australia has sought to make into mountain of propaganda for its ratings-driven network!

Even though it's a good production, it's an imitation of the shadow of the quality of ABC Productions like the "Blue Murder" mini-series, based on NSW police corruption! Likewise trivial by comparison to the "Underbelly" multi-series, based on Victorian police corruption & murders, that Channel 9 seems to be milking for all the ratings they can get - same week replays - then monthly 4-hour straight replays! Both based on reality! That's apart from the "Wildside" over-dramatic production of over-action & over-noise in virtually every episode of hype but interesting none the less!

But to return to "Emerald Falls", we have an interesting plot based on an encouraging mother & a son who reminds me of one of those 1950s kids portrayed in American movies, who is somehow always right, no matter how phoney the plot! It's entertaining but I felt I'd seen it all before in Agatha Christie type 'whodunnit' productions!

If you are choosing between this & "Jindabyne", choose "Jindabyne"! But "Emerald Falls" is okay & worth a viewing.
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Backbeat (1994)
highly recommended, especially for Beatles' fans!
18 March 2008
Well, what a great surprise this midday movie turned out to be! I'd never heard of it & didn't surprise its title had anything to do with lyrics of the Chuck Berry "Rock & Roll Music" hit that the Beatles subsequently had a hit with. As a Beatles fan from my childhood days when they were thrust into the world spotlight virtually overnight, this gives an invaluable insight into the days of Beatles' youth, when they were unheralded imports to Hamburg nightclubs where they worked long hours for little rewards, along with others of the "Merseybeat" "British invasion" about to conquer the pop charts all over Britain, Australia and the United States.

I notice some comments suggesting historical inaccuracies but "Backbeat" has plenty going for it. The drama between Stu (who was destined to be a 'forgotten Beatle' and John Lennon was intriguing, so too Stu and their photographer friend Astrid.

As far as the comment about it not being as good as "Hard Day's Night" I would agree with. Nothing could compare with the raw energy of these euphoric real-life Beatles skits of exuberance & mischievous innocent frivolity that complemented their insightful and often profound lyrics and catchy tunes. Though I would suggest "Backbeat" would run rings around the Beatles' subsequent movie "Help" which was pathetically ridiculous when recently viewed, but for their musical hits.

Don't let harsh critics turn you off this! "Backbeat" offers much more than any criticism that might be leveled at it!
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Pioneer Woman (1973 TV Movie)
a good insight into the tough life of how the west was won
18 March 2008
I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would.

It presents well the vulnerability of the individual in settling the pioneering lands of vastness. Especially for a woman who has children to care for where survival is rough & tough & against the odds! I thought these insights were effectively described in the diaries of the woman attempting to farm the harsh lands amidst con-men, the well-meaning and hillsides of buffalo. But every time, it's a case of a struggle to make more steps forward, against the obstacles forcing the determined back, through natural and man-made catastrophes.

Along the way, the vastness of the raw scenery is impressive in creating a sense of the difficulties of this "pioneer woman" and those around her. Well worth a look!
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Fracture (2007)
potentially great but severely flawed!
14 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This movie had potential to be a great movie!

It set up an intriguing conflict that appeared to be heading towards a quality insight into even greater suspense & thoughtful input!

Instead it became a melodrama that despite fine acting from Anthony Hopkins, reduced itself into a predictable struggle that had nowhere to go but the obvious!

I thought I had it figured out at the one third mark! I was right! It was so obvious that everything that seemed to be, was not somehow to work out! Everything pointed that way!

Otherwise, there would have been no second half!

It has other flaws but one of my companions rated it 10/10! As much as I love her, that I could never endorse! I respect such & other optional views that could only be diversely extreme from mine!!!

But consider too the prosecuting lawyer, who surely would have wound up in jail himself for some of his actions!!! Logic justice & fairness are replaced by blindness, passionate opinion without foundation(that was sure to be challenged & fail) & a pathetic attempt at desperate acts that other than in a movie would surely NEVER succeed in convincing most anyone!!!

That's apart from an uncharacteristic courtroom scene, at a crucial moment where the prosecution is lost for words!!! When was the last time you saw a lawyer, or salesman as this guy was acted, with passionate intent, desperate & SPEECHLESS? Time & again & denied? Being presented in such a way???

My case rests!!! 6/10.

(But no way 6/10 for the prosecution case or its lawyer! 1/10 would be more appropriate & for their affiliated! People I would hate to have defending me in court! I suppose that's why they were the prosecution!)

Severely fractured!
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Hunt Angels (2006)
Don't miss this gem about pioneers of the modern cinema!
9 February 2008
Well what a wonderful surprise this interesting & informative collection of biographies has produced!

I was looking for a time-passing program as I flicked across the dial & on came this unheralded docu-movie about a couple of legends of the Australian film industry on "Your ABC"! What followed was an absolutely superb insight into a couple of visionary if amateur film-makers & how they struggled in an era mostly unsupportive of their cinematic endeavours! Of course, they tampered with the facts in some of their primitive productions, at times casting multiple characters in the one role, as well as showing elements of being racketeers in some of their desperate financial woes under considerable trials.

But what was found here was simplistic dream-making & an intriguing drive to produce media presentations & news coverage in current affairs or historical events, depicted in a way that would appeal to the interests & titilating scandals that brought cinema-lovers in Australia flocking to Hollywood productions in the 1930s & 1940s.

Along the way, we have a little romance & some insight into the protagonists' private lives, as well as into some of the broader community. So we have the likes of characters such as the Police Commissioner of that time. He selectively suppresses stories, like those about bushrangers, because such were viewed by him as likely to add to anti-establishment hero sentimentality he personally opposed. But on the media-crazed case of the more recent "pyjama girl" murder, he eventually found his hands were tied, so sought to manipulate facts to get outcomes that would have him & his police force, perceived in a positive light, regardless of justice or fairness! No worries about the truth or misleading evidence getting in the way of his preferred outcomes!

By contrast, the amateurish film-makers struggle with their need to produce movies on shoestring budgets & are never far in front of those pursuing them over promises not kept. For all that they achieved in their seemingly critically-condemned spectacles, their impressive persistent but flawed efforts to produce quality cinema, are probably most admirably found here in this intriguing adventure that the viewer could hardly be other than sympathetic to their unlikely & increasingly desperate efforts to produce a quality & profit-making cinema. They were up against the giant-killers from Hollywood who could easily outdo with professionalism anything these wide-eyed visionaries could hope to produce.

But surely this pair & their ilk must be sitting up above on the clouds looking down now & marvelling at this cinematic masterpiece, as surely as they would have likely flourished in the 1970s under a more benevolent era of film-making that evolved in Australia under the broad-thinking of the Whitlam government that sought to bring welfare, tertiary education & multiculturalism to expand our country into a part of the global village, not an isolated island only of international significance for swimming, cricket & tennis & subservient war efforts in the eyes of others!

Beyond this, I could think of so many of the 1970s Australian movies as being seeds that duly flourished in the aftermath of the likes of "Hunt Angels"! Surely, such as these gave some insight into the evolving genius of such as "Newsfront", "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith", "Devil's Playground", "Caddie" & "Picnic at Hanging Rock" not to forget less well-known but EXCELLENT offerings like "The Last Wave" "Summerfield" "The Mango Tree" "The Getting of Wisdom" & even to the antics of the likes of "Alvin Purple"!

Please do not let the opportunity pass to spend 90 minutes of your life on such a gem as "Hunt Angels"! You owe it to yourself to get ALL of the above & so much MORE too within 90 minutes for your precious minutes enjoying your popcorn & drumstick! Don't miss it!
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Psycho-Circus (1966)
an amateur job
8 January 2008
I tried to find favour in movies but this one tempted my commitment to do so!

The investigation of the crack-force police was pathetic! Imagine a girl seeking to speak with a detective, who'd first presented himself to this circus as an uninvited 'journalist'. He's actually a policeman deciding to go in undercover in search of missing treasure! Then he announces himself without the slightest opposition to the circus boss! But the one who'd approached him minutes earlier, was then abandoned with his assurance of protection & at a whim of spontaneous urgency from one of his officers, he headed elsewhere without hesitation! For her to be left to die, within minutes, without protection!

That's just ONE of the examples of plot that makes this into an amateurish excuse that most any fictional character, as if Sherlock Holmes or "007", would have countlessly torn to pieces with ease! Even countless mere mortals would see through its traps of irrelevance & pathetic acting & plot!

I thought the best parts of the movie were the opening & the occasional music score that wafted in & out of the lack of genuine intensity of plot or passion in this doubtful production! But I am mindful of other comments that 15 minutes of its length was wiped out of one version & that alternate titles were adding to the confusion!

It's not good beyond the first few minutes, the music & incidental activity that is dramatic & appropriate when occasionally used, mostly early!
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Prison Break (1938)
an old movie with an important story to tell
2 January 2008
I found this movie well made considering the era it was made in, probably on a shoestring budget. It does a very good job of conveying the difficulties anyone with a criminal record or down on their luck, justly or otherwise has, in staying out of trouble.

The lead character is portrayed with credibility & it is easy to understand the complex situations he becomes involved in, encouraging empathy from unbiased viewers observing his plight. In fact, he has a greater integrity surely, than a great many who always steer the favourable side of shady deals. And amongst it all, he finds himself up against other inmates, prison officers & prospective employers, to mention just a few. He is supported & consoled only by his sympathetic romantic interest. The settings & bureaucratic nightmare he finds himself in, in & outside of prison, are sadly all too applicable to the more modern world scenarios about us, as back in the era of this movie made in the aftermath of the tough realities of the Depression years.

But this "Prison Break" succeeds in being entertaining as well as informative & insightful. It is well worth a view!
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a very disturbing disappointing movie of a fairytale
29 December 2007
I found this an awfully disappointing experience! But I have appended a better option of similar style at the foot of this entry.

This "Felicia's Journey" is intriguing. It has drama. But it is full of stereo-types!

So it ONLY serves judgemental temperaments without concern for truer justice & fairness & truth, beyond black 'n' white judgements that fit 30-second ads of "NEWS" that dot our multimedia experiences everyday, especially news bulletins, true or misleading in such depictions!

It is SO EXAGGERATED, it reminds me of the fairytale of "Little Red Ridinghood"! Consider the innocent young girl with no identification crossing borders questioned by a guard but freed without any evidence to venture on in search of her 'Romeo' who didn't give her an address VERSUS the pathetically inept lack of substance in the raspy voice of the 'helping hand' befriending her with his unlikely story fabricated by the layer!

It seems to suit the directors & management team that no-one has faith or prays to God, even in their times of desperation!

So in these early settings, it orchestrates & tells much of what is to come! A nightmare journey that betrays the essence of substance without fairytale resolution, without truth or integrity or credibility! ...Then one twist & it's all over. What a disappointment! If you want to see a MUCH superior movie that investigates similar themes with MUCH more credibility, with much more powerful insight, watch the 1983 Paul Cox/Norman Kaye "Man of Flowers" movie!!!

Unlike here, you will NOT be disappointed!
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the perfume & beauty of a masterpiece
29 December 2007
This is a classy movie!!!

I saw it by chance nearly 20 years ago & it remains one of my great memories of the cinema!

Back then, I thought this loner was intriguing but nothing more. In this world's terms, he was a loser, a grief-stricken man sending letters to his deceased mother, friend of the postman, lover of fine art! In his eccentric kingdom that the palatial few are privileged to find!

But his complex nature is balanced by the puritanical historical background he is enlivened by, privileged by, but too, imprisoned by! So he sits at his lonely piano in a deserted church of grandeur! Playing his heart out!!!

A perfect Catholic solution by the reckoning of some … without hope of any resolution!!!

It reminds me of a pair of REAL priests! One who liked to use his Sunday sermons for derision & cynical responses! Another who used pillars of the church to distribute confessions of trusting practitioners! When I was a little boy, hearing for the first time of the "Good Samaritan", I couldn't believed that a priest would walk by on the opposite side of the road, to the injured & beaten collapsed man who was cared for by the rich young man & the innkeeper the hero paid for the keep of the downtrodden one!

But there's chambers of music & gardens of intrigue wafting with or without audience here!

The settings & the musical background are most impressive, from the fineries of the outside garden, to the gardens that are revealed to us layer by layer in the relationships of the protagonist to the beautiful female model who undresses for the man of mystery, on appointment, to the crass judgemental nature of her accomplice & lover in his satire of derision. Or even in the art classes where this trio mingles in a volatile atmosphere within seconds! The chemical reaction is furious!

This is NOT a good movie! It is a CLASSIC!!!

Personally, I rate this with "Cinema Paridiso", as one of the finest films ever made!!!

Do NOT miss it!
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Castaway (1986)
for the free-spirited & those who like islands of deserted beauty
29 December 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this movie again!

It has a beautiful sea-side setting, that has been explored from "Robinson Crusoe" to "The Black Stallion" to "Summerfield". That's apart from reading "Coral Island" & "Lord of the Flies" as a school-boy & such as TV-series as diverse as "The Count of Monte Christo" to "Gillian's Island". Since I enjoyed all of these, I fell into the familiar surrounds with abandon!

Supposedly, it's based on a true story, but I would think some of what's presented is unlikely, like the willingness of the beautiful young woman to embark on such a reckless voyage of discovery, & having been caused to enter into a contract involving marriage in the process. These are merely introductions into the nature of the potential partners evolving, but they attempt to serve each other & at times, seem quite close.

But they are in an Adam 'n' Eve-type scenario of ambivalence. So the hostilities between them do not take long to surface! And they dare to reflect remarkable similarities to the difficulties & modern complexities we are all part of, in our respective worlds, as islands, within islands, of government religion & media domains, almost always beyond our control, operate.

So we have a movie here, a little over 20 years old as I write this, which invites the viewer to see a microcosm of the world that surrounds us everyday as we live & watch TV & visit the cinema! A bit ahead of its time, I would suggest!

So, in the process of preparing this, I have upgraded my rating of it from 8 to 9 out of 10. Relationships are complex & its ending is rather sudden, but I felt I'd been on a good journey overall in watching this & didn't regret having re-visited this idyllic wilderness of natural beauty! Easy on the eye & yet not failing to note the turbulence all around!
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Dante's Peak (1997)
all action without credibility - same old disaster-movie plot
22 December 2007
I like Pierce Brosnan as an actor but this is just a film for the natural fury, without any redeeming features but for its superficial roller-coaster ride with fate! I would suggest even "007" & these companions in this one, would have surely been immersed into the wreckage several times in reality! I note comments on this site from scientific experts supporting the accuracy of its information about volcanoes. All well & good, but note no comment from them on the chances of a vehicles on fire with its tyres burning & still driving on regardless, occupants safely inside, insightful dog waiting to be rescued at high speed & just happening to be in the path of their escape, let alone a sinking motor boat with motor seized up in boiling waters, but just enough momentum to make the shore, where the heat is somehow not overwhelming. But there's so much more in close escapes, not to mention the trusty government subordinate being right, while his boss belittles his contributions in public, earlier on. True enough. There's a lot of blind bosses out there, but you could see it all coming, so predictably, in this lame offering! But yes, it will appeal to lovers of disaster movie dramas. It's just that this was made close to 30 years after "The Poseidon Adventure" & little imagination of progress is anywhere evident.

I enjoyed watching it, once but that's all. If you want action with incredulous escapes, go & watch any of the "OO7" movies with Brosnan or others, or maybe the Indiana Jones adventures, or the likes of "The Eye of the Needle" & "Three Days of The Condor" & you'll be far better served than here! I also saw a movie I'd never heard of till today, named "The Blue Butterfly", & it was far better than this ordinary re-production of other disaster movies.
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A pleasant surprise
22 December 2007
I had never heard of this movie until I was flicking across the dial looking for something to watch. I wasn't expecting much, but found "The Blue Butterfly" pleasantly engaging & appealing.

The cornerstone of its success lays in the amazing landscapes "The Blue Butterfly" is mostly shot in. It is a vividly colourful production & tells an intense story of a young boy dying of cancer, needing & seeking inspiration in his struggles for life, embarking on a journey that puts his illness into perspective. It is insightful, interesting & realistic in its depictions of interpersonal relationships - mother & son, boy & the man he looks up to, flawed but invaluable expert on insects whose knowledge of nature is only a tip of the iceberg into his deeper self & how he got to this place where he finds himself, where he can help & inspire the young boy in his adversity.

Contrary to other opinions expressed, as an adult, I didn't find this a kid's movie, to be dismissed by some other's opinions that this movie is 'boring'. I did think it was far-fetched in one of the latter scenes, but note the comments indicating it was a true story. Only in this one incident, would I still question that. Personally, I consider it compared favourably with the other movie I watched tonight in "Dante's Peak", which I consider this unknown movie ran rings around! "Dante's Peak" is full of drama & action but so predictable & lacking plot! It was at best, ordinary.

By contrast, I can understand that "The Blue Butterfly" would be especially helpful to children with cancer or other struggles with illnesses. It could encourage & inspire them in their unenviable situation most are privileged to be spared! But beyond that, "The Blue Butterfly" is an enjoyable family movie, with something in it for child & adult alike!
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an outstanding mini-series about a great man & his dream
12 December 2007
I chanced upon this mini-series soon after my parents died & I was enthralled by it!

My father was a sailor & his love of the sea, the wild blue yonder beyond & man's curiosities were most impressive to someone who prefers having his feet on the ground but loves being near the water! So this "Christopher Columbus" mini-series was the more appealing to me at the time!

Having signed on as a 19-year-old so long ago, he could not expected his youthful idealism to be a contract unrelenting, until he was 31-years-old. As was the case at the time. And often forced to encounter tolerance & undisciplined natures & contributions from his sons, MUCH beyond what he was forced to tolerate! Surely, no youth of today, in the modern world of contemporary mass-media, would accept such binding obligations of blindness to commands of superior-ranked but often dictatorial officers!

While his family were raised to speak their mind in his absence! Surely this must have infuriated him! He was ship-shape but he came to expect such questioning to tempered by humility & obedience, but found it was not reciprocated much by the family he also sought to serve! As such, in many ways, he was a double loser in this world's terms, always the servant, but it was on such as his humility & self-control that lands were conquered by the likes of Christopher Columbus & Captain James Cook.

His consolations of life as many a sea-man of good heart, was to bury a few quiet ales whenever the opportunity arose & burrowed his head into the Sunday papers, for comic light-hearted relief & look for a naval or cowboy movie of simplicity on TV viewed from the armchair comfort he had worked hard for in many voyages. Surely still seeking a tilt of the prevailing tide, in his favour, that the world did not otherwise allow!

The magnificence of Christopher Columbus' immense & unlikely undertaking, was far from his patient & mostly unanswered appeals for his journey that was to open the dimensions of the Northern Hemisphere beyond imaginings. While Spain was persecuting anyone who dared to think differently among their own, in an era of inquisitions & persecution of those on a whim accused of heresy. But so this foreigner, eventually by much patience & personal hardship, was given an opportunity to lead an expedition that would yield remarkable treasures for the Spanish, yet just as remarkably came to conversely have his role diminished in the eyes of many to the tune of bigoted religiousness!

For me, this fine mini-series, strongly built on a major article I chanced upon in a "National Geographic" magazine of maybe 20 years ago, that I don't have access to now. But what I read of the epic encounter of great patience & faith by Columbus in finding even an opportunity to land on hostile coastlines of furious seas, was fleshed out all the more in this fine dramatic production, seemingly faithful to historical fact.

"Christopher Columbus", the mini-series will remain close to my heart as long as I am privileged to have it so, no matter how stark & ambivalent the memories! EVERYTHING about this production is TOP CLASS!!!

I would liken it & similarly recommend Keith Michell's version of the adventures of Captain James Cook!!!

They are remarkably similar in vision, grandeur of their accomplishments heralded, yet ABSURDLY, in the eyes of many, mostly taken for granted in their brave & selfless journeys of immense sacrifice & danger, to themselves & their crews & those they sought to bring towards the modern day reality where we are able to communicate across the planet in seconds, without leaving the firm ground we mostly live on.

This mini-series on "Christopher Columbus" also features the fine acting of stars like Gabrielle Byrne & Faye Dunaway. The settings are magnificent & the whole thing is put to together like an artistic masterpiece carefully & accurately restored, with clear research & fore-thought in its production.

Highly recommended!
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a superb thriller
6 December 2007
This is absolutely superb drama! Quality acting from Donald Sutherland & Kate Nelligan! Their personal & combined passion, curiosity, ambivalence & intrigue, an adventure in itself! True sympathy too for the war hero husband, who cannot find his feet without the war-time adventures that made him a hero, then forgotten! So he is limited to his inner searches, his intuition & his misgivings with inadequacies & insecurities revealed layer by layer, to the satisfaction of those who would limit him all the more! But the intrigue grows, far from the apparent innocent desperation of the initial plays, into a heart-driven finale of loyalty & love, playing out its apparently coincidental & flick of the dice, with loyalty & love trembled over & analysed, layer by layer, scene by scene! Riveting! From start to finish!
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