Phar Lap (1983) - News Poster

(1983)

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Phar Lap rewatched – the mystery demise of Australia's finest race horse

Free Willy director Simon Wincer and writer David Williamson produced a captivating if cynical drama that one critic called ‘Rocky with hoofs’

Like so many great Australian traditions, Melbourne Cup week fuses a number of recreations dear to the national psyche – namely sport, gambling and the consumption of prodigious amounts of alcohol. Every year news stories report garbage-splattered carnage involving dolled-up men and women collapsing on each other and racehorse owners and trainers pocketing serious coinage from their four-legged investments.

Punters lap it up while the sport’s naysayers think of the Cup more along the lines of a profound national shame. The very line “a day of profound national shame” is delivered by a racing official in director Simon Wincer’s 1983 drama tracing the career of Australia’s legendary thoroughbred, Phar Lap, a national icon as beloved as jars of Vegemite or Sir Donald Bradman.

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See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Sound recordist Paul 'Clackers' Clark and SFX guru Conrad Rothmann pass away

Conrad Rothmann..

The film business was saddened to receive the news of the passing of SFX impresario and creator of illusions, Conrad Rothman on 21 June 2013 - the winter solstice. Conrad died of a heart attack on his way to a hospital in Sydney. An American import into our film industry in the 1970.s, Conrad was perhaps one of the first SFX men to hit our shores, and he was most welcome. .He was thought of as the .stunt-glass-kid. of Australia..no one did glass like Conrad., ex-wife and dear friend Natalie Hammond said of him. Conrad went to film school with Steven Spielberg and Richard Franklin. He worked often with the latter and wished he had with the former!

His final years were spent working out of Fox in Sydney in an office and workroom with Aet, where he was known as Corny. Conrad was the genuine eccentric and much loved by everyone.
See full article at IF.com.au »

DVD Review: "The Day After Halloween" (1980) From Scorpion Releasing

  • CinemaRetro
By Todd Garbarini

Rarely has distributor exploitation been as blatant as in the case of Simon Wincer’s The Day After Halloween (1980), a ludicrously-named Australian outing originally optioned under the name of Centerfold, then changed to Snapshot after the producers were unable to secure that title, and was eventually released as One More Minute. It appeared on video shelves here in the U.S. on VHS both in 1983 from Catalina Home Video under the title of The Day After Halloween and in 1985 as The Night After Halloween on Magnum Home Entertainment. The film came on the heels of the John Carpenter-scripted Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) which was set against the milieu of the fashion industry. Filmed in 1978 and released in Australia the following year, The Day After Halloween has absolutely nothing to do with John Carpenter’s seminal holiday suspense yarn, and isn’t even a slasher film. It isn’t even a thriller.
See full article at CinemaRetro »

The Notable Films of 2011: Part Three

Catch .44

Opens: 2011

Cast: Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Malin Akerman, Nikki Reed, Deborah Ann Woll

Director: Aaron Harvey

Summary: The story focuses on three women being thrust into an extraordinary situation involving a psychopathic hitman, a grizzled trucker and a delusional line cook.

Analysis: Oddly little is known about this indie crime comedy aside from the three lead female roles have gone through more than a couple of rounds of casting musical chairs. The likes of Maggie Grace, Kate Mara, Laura Ramsey, Sarah Roemer, Lizzy Caplan and Lauren German were all attached at one point or another before the final trio of Malin Akerman ("Watchmen"), Nikki Reed ("Twilight") and Deborah Ann Woll ("True Blood") were settled on.

Bruce Willis, Forest Whitaker, Michael Rosenbaum and Brad Dourif also star with Willis as a crime boss behind everything that happens and Whitaker as a dangerously unstable assassin. Aaron Harvey, who last directed
See full article at Dark Horizons »

The Notable Films of 2011: Part Three

Catch .44

Opens: 2011

Cast: Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Malin Akerman, Nikki Reed, Deborah Ann Woll

Director: Aaron Harvey

Summary: The story focuses on three women being thrust into an extraordinary situation involving a psychopathic hitman, a grizzled trucker and a delusional line cook.

Analysis: Oddly little is known about this indie crime comedy aside from the three lead female roles have gone through more than a couple of rounds of casting musical chairs. The likes of Maggie Grace, Kate Mara, Laura Ramsey, Sarah Roemer, Lizzy Caplan and Lauren German were all attached at one point or another before the final trio of Malin Akerman ("Watchmen"), Nikki Reed ("Twilight") and Deborah Ann Woll ("True Blood") were settled on.

Bruce Willis, Forest Whitaker, Michael Rosenbaum and Brad Dourif also star with Willis as a crime boss behind everything that happens and Whitaker as a dangerously unstable assassin. Aaron Harvey, who last directed
See full article at Dark Horizons »

The Cup: the movie that will stop a nation?

Encore visited the Geelong set of Simon Wincer’s new project The Cup which, although shot on a tight schedule, he hopes will be ‘the movie that stops a nation’ when it’s released in 2011.

The Cup tells the story of Damien Oliver (played by Stephen Curry), winner of the 2002 Melbourne Cup with the horse Media Puzzle and the support of Irish trainer Dermot Weld (Brendan Gleeson). Oliver’s brother (Daniel MacPherson) was killed one week before the event in a horse racing accident in Perth – which also reflects the way their father died 27 years ago.

Us journalist Eric O’Keefe heard of Oliver’s story and contacted Wincer, trying to get more information from his Australian friend to write a magazine article. Wincer looked into it and rang him back saying “This is a movie!”

Wincer is, of course, no stranger to horse-themed projects, from 1983’s Phar Lap to the 2008 CBS miniseries Comanche Moon.
See full article at Encore Magazine »

Nocturnal Admissions: Review of Not Quite Hollywood

  • Quick Stop
There are two essential books that celebrate region-specific horror films both well-known and obscure. One is Stephen Thrower’s Nightmare USA (with a companion volume planned). The other is They Came From Within, Caelum Vatnsdal’s history of Canadian horror movies. What these two books suggest is that the best of the cinema’s independent horror films are really regional works. Three of the most famous horror films of all time, Night of the Living Dead, Carnival of Souls, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are really regional films, independently financed and shot far from Hollywood with local actors and crew members. Thus they have a flavor not found in mainstream genre movies, spices of quirkiness, unpredictability, and rigorous bleakness that mainstream movies can’t or won’t allow themselves.

As far as I know there isn’t a book about Australian genre cinema yet, but now there is a film:
See full article at Quick Stop »

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