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10 reviews in total 
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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
plot a little thin, 16 January 2008

Enjoyed this movie very much. Superb acting by Russell Crowe who creates and then IS Richie Roberts in all his complexity. Not the same for Denzel who swings between suave and Psycho and lacks the nuances that would have made this character more interesting. The story is one of historical character development.

The ultimate fall of Lucas hinges on one minor plot development. Hence, the movie as a whole is not the ripping yarn of The Godfather or The Departed. Still very enjoyable.But why all the noms for Denzel? Politics have gone crazy in H-Wood!

Ridley Scott has done well but at 152min, Ifeel the whole thing is a little long. Support cast are generally excellent. It's good. Just a 7 though and definitely not an 8.3 in my book!

Jindabyne (2006)
2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Racist rubbish, 31 December 2006

Jindabyne is a frankly boring tale about the murder of a young aboriginal woman and the subsequent discovery of her body by a group of fairly normal, nice white men on a fishing trip. Their subsequent decision to continue fishing for a further day and a half before returning to alert the authorities continues this tale as they deal with the repercussions of their families,community and the Aboriginal community involved. Now let me preempt this with some thoughts. I do not deny in any way the deliberate and ill-conceived atrocities that have befallen our indigenous people in the last 220 years or so. Nor do I deny that they continue to suffer from racism,misunderstanding and severe,entrenched disadvantage in many areas of our society,especially in health,education and opportunity.

But to paint the picture in this movie of four seemingly normal white men, though with normal family and world weary problems;then their subsequent naturally shocked reaction at finding a dead body,only to make the most appalling decision imaginable simply defies belief.

Surely the most obvious thing to do would be to pull the body from the water;cover it with dignity; whilst two men hightailed it back for help as two watched. This,I can assure you would have been the reaction of 99.9% of Australians(White or Black). The rest of the film defies credibility as they would have been dealt with harshly under our laws.Yes, I can see the film was trying to make points about Black-White relations,misunderstood women;misunderstood men and far too many other things as well. In the end it is just a mish-mash of pretentious,racist(and I mean RACIST)nonsense.

This film is an appalling piece of cinema that discredits all those associated with it; but also Australians in general; and especially Indigenous Australians as yet another piece of apologetic rubbish.

Syriana (2005)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Maze of deceit, 1 December 2006

Some films are more difficult to watch than others and this certainly fits high on that list.America's insatiable need for oil driving a complex maze of wheeling and dealing,corruption, assassinations,politics and religious fanaticism is the crux of this film which becomes clearer in the final scenes but still leads you to say, "I'll need to watch that again." A very satisfying film which shows how the Economic war is played out in all its facets in the Middle East and the interconnectedness between oil,politics,greed,madness and the trade of weapons in a process that has obviously become very dirty.The inevitable connection between terrorism and people who feel disenfranchised and marginalised is very well done and humanises these people in a way I have not seen before.

A stellar cast do a great job and the piecemeal direction technique we have seen in many recent movies suits well in the end, though difficult to read at times.

My only criticism stems from the total lack of redeeming features in this film.Bar the murdered Prince, no character is likable though we can still identify with many.Some aspects of the web are poorly explained.For instance, I cannot see how Middle Eastern countries whose Sheiks spend their money on Castles, yachts and racehorses instead of infrastructure thereby disaffecting their people in such a way as to embrace extremism is in Americas' best interests. Indeed, the American political/economic/CIA alliance even recognises the benefits of a Committee to free Iran as in their long term interests.

Hence this contradiction was passed over for the benefit of the most sinister motives. It would follow that the writers' would have us believe that present attempts to free Iraq are motivated purely by self interest rather than mutual interest which I believe many in power sincerely believe,even if strategically a disaster.

This aside,Syriana is a powerful film for thoughtful people which well demonstrates a complex but crucial topic for the whole world in these critical times. Add to this a little global warming and.....

140 out of 159 people found the following review useful:
Better than the critics say, 12 November 2006

Like the reviews overseas,Australian critics have generally snubbed this film as bland and contrived with some nasties regarding Russell's accent and wooden comedy delivery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this intoxicating film which I agree has its faults, however it succeeded in its core themes of love,friendship and beauty as being central to a well lived life.

I feel Crowe does a good job as Max, an arrogant and ruthless bonds dealer who inherits a château from his Uncle Henry(Finney). Initially interested in how much money this can make, circumstances necessitate a longer stay whereby Max begins to recall his many enjoyable Summers spent with his Uncle at the Provençal château.

Marion Cotillard provides the love interest as the beautiful and tempestuous Dark French girl and young Aussie star Abbie Cornish contrasts as the fair blond Californian beauty who is Henry's illegitimate daughter. Both perform well though I know Cornish is much more capable than this role requires.

The movie is a little uneven at times as Max learns his lesson on what is truly important in life.Sometimes the comedy is light, sometimes slapstick, and all this juxtaposed with some sentimentality and more serious moments. Most of the characters are contrived from Max through to the peasant French verniers. However in spite of this the story unfolds in a believable way and the photography is stunning as you would expect of the Province and Scott.The women are gorgeous, the wine looks delicious and the food makes you salivate. It succeeds in its attempt to seduce and makes one a little sad to return to suburbia as I did.

Finally,on Crowe.I feel there are many critics who love to pan Crowe. It has become the fashion.How he missed out on a nomination for Cinderella Man is beyond me.(Though he would not have beaten Hoffman or Phoenix). He is obviously still anathema in Hollywood and to many critics a man they love to hate because he is simply not liked.One critic criticised him in this film because he was unlikeable but surely that was the point! At least he is an actor who acts. I mean Hugh Grant plays Hugh Grant and Tom Cruise plays Tom Cruise.But with Crowe, he always plays his character.And a good job he does once more.

All in all 7 1/2 out of 10.And definitely more delicious on the big screen.

2 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
can't agree, 24 October 2006

Sorry. I can't agree with all the kudos for this film. I found it really quite trite, inane and boring.

Direction is shoddy, the characters are too disparate to make any connection and the dialogue isn't funny.The basic motif regarding life being like a beauty contest/competition and all you have to really do is simply what you love is worthy enough but overplayed and corny in the end.

Some bits were nice enough but in the end I thought wow, that was silly. Maybe its an American movie. (I'm an Aussie). Then again,I thought American Beauty was crap. Leave these movies to the Euros and the Aussies who do them much better.

Candy (2006)
69 out of 77 people found the following review useful:
Gritty life drama of love and drugs., 6 June 2006

"Candy" is one of those films where you walk away feeling a little bit stunned by the awful reality it exposes. It is not a pretty film nor a pretty subject, but as another "drug" film, at least we can feel an empathy for the main characters,whilst the horror of heroin addiction is still depicted.

It is this balance that sets "Candy" apart from many other druggie pics.The love between Candy and Dan is very real. Affectionate, painful,hopeful and hopeless, it transcends the heroin story to the extent where we really hope everything will work out for them; though we're taken on the ride of rapid decline so familiar with this drug.

Much credit for this balance lies with an excellent story and direction from Neil Armfeld (more familiar with theatre in Australia), and some superb acting from Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish in the leads.Geoffrey Rush has a delicious support role as Dan's friend Casper,a "mentor" whom we suspect is a little tormented by his own influences.Tony Martin and Noni Hazelhurst round out the main supports as Candy's suffering parents,loving but helpless as they observe their daughter's descent into a world they never knew.

Like drug problems in real life, all the characters enmeshed in the mess are frail, vulnerable,emotional and ill. They are good and bad.They blame each other and themselves. They look everywhere for solutions that might work,yet we suspect the ultimate solution is too difficult.

I suspect that in years to come,this will become one of the ultimate drug pics to show to teenagers. Not hopeless like Trainspotting,nor in anyway melodramatic like so many others(Clean and sober,28 days etc..), it shows the horrors of drug addiction whilst maintaining its humanity.The ending may be disappointing for some, but it remains true to the love, hope and uncertainty central to this film and to anyone who lives with recovery.

Somersault (2004)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Beautiful Australian film, 28 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I've just watched this as a suggested prelude to Candy from a friend who recommended I get acquainted with Abbie Cornish.

This is a beautiful film in so many ways. Essentially simple in plot, it tells the story of a beautiful young girl(Cornish), who feels she has to leave home after a terrible transgression against her single mum. Her journey of life and love unfolds over a short time in her new home in the alpine town of Jindabyne in Southern NSW.

The character of Heidi is beautifully developed as the film unfolds.This is the tale of a true innocent (in spite of her sexual escapades), whose character is sensitive, fascinated with the day to day beauty of life,yet emotionally fragile and gullible. Unselfconsiously beautiful,and sexually promiscuous, she is perceived as more than strange by her new townspeople and, despite his best efforts, her new quasi-boyfriend Joe (Sam Worthington)comes to care for her in spite of his own problems.

As an Australian, I loved this film on so many levels. The characters are very real for me.The character of Heidi shows how vulnerable a beautiful young girl with no real male role model can be and at the end of the movie we're relieved she emerges "Ok".Essentially her journey has been to learn the harsh practical realities of her sexuality and it is Joe who painfully helps her realise this.

In contrast, Joe is like so many young(and old) Aussie men, who see their own vulnerability as weakness which must be kept hidden, and it is Heidi who finally manages to make some inroads here, though only subtly as evidenced by his own pain and his continued fascination with her.

In the end however,the differences are far too great and it is Heidi who realises this (though he also understands). This is beautifully underplayed by Ms Shortland, as are many other of the character developments in this remarkable film.

Add to this some wonderful visual touches, a soft visual tone, terrific acting(especially Cornish) and a beautifully nuanced score and the final result is a wonderful, delicate, sexy and poetic piece that is more artistic than tale.

Are you kidding?, 16 May 2006

Has everyone gone mad? Is everybody on this site simply pandering to a generally cool view of Bill Murray and his "wonderful minimalism".

Broken Flowers tells the very boring tale of a burnt out bachelor and his quest to find a previously unknown son born to an ex girlfriend of some 20 odd years. Well,that narrows it to about four! Of course, we meet the let it all hang out ex, the upwardly mobile and now bored out of her brain ex, the recently enlightened newly lesbian ex(who also talks to animals), and the drug crazed psychopathic ex(+similar male entourage).

Meanwhile Bill Murray saunters through without moving a facial muscle in his quest to find his son. What happens next? well not much but you'll have to see the movie till the end.

Four points for Sharon Stone and her sexy daughter! Please! You can't be serious!

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Who is the real Roy Tremaine?, 11 May 2006

I have always been a fan of Natalie Wood ever since I first saw Inside Daisy Clover and I was entranced by her big brown eyes and effortless joy in what was a sad movie. This is an interesting bioflic which tries to tackle her whole life and a littany of people,friends and lovers plus a good half hour devoted to a reasonable speculation of what may have occurred in her final moments. It is neither an in depth study nor is it big budget drama but it held my interest throughout in spite of being aware of most of the events that unfolded. However,at the end of the film (like some of your other commentators), I was more interested in working out who is "Roy Tremaine"?,the HUGE star who raped Natalie in 1955 or 1956.Hence, I have done some research and I think I know who.The film implies he was a reward recipient at the 1957 golden globes, and at the 1962 Academy award after-party we know Natalie firmly indicates she wouldn't be working with him again in this lifetime. The unwillingness of the film to more strongly imply his identity probably means he is still alive.Can you guess? As far as I know there was only one actor Natalie refused to work with for "personal" reasons .Are they one and the same? Anyway, I enjoyed the detective work.Justine Waddell;Well done!

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Good film could have been great!, 7 April 2006

Match Point is a wonderful story that is expertly filmed and told but is marred somewhat by some corny dialogue and a central passionate affair that fails to truly convince.

I am a huge fan of Scarlett Johansson ever since her wonderful understated performance in Lost in Translation.She gave similar very good performances in Love song for Bobby Long and In Good Company.However,this role called for a much larger emotional range(Obsession,lust,anger etc..) and I feel she comes up short. Similarly, Jonathan Rhys Meyers fails to convey the emotional nuances of his character.As such the fire of their affair is not convincing. Indeed, I had the feeling they didn't really get along.Adding to this were some awfully mundane interchanges(the table tennis scene made me cringe).

Overall though, this is a wonderful story and a masterful plot with great twists and turns.The support cast is excellent and the locations and photography are stunning.In the end however, I was left feeling that with a more inspired casting of the leads(say Naomi Watts and Jude Law)who could exhibit more emotional range, as well as some minor writing changes,could have turned a good film into a a great psychodrama/thriller of Double Indemnity proportions.