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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
Got this as a free loan from my local library. Despite being a movie from 1947 the DVD version was remarkably clear despite being black and white. Sound was also very good - an perfect transfer to bring the movie into the digital age.
The story you all know well and all the cast perform admirably.
I loved Rex Harrison as Dr Dolittle and he is great in this movie too. His sinister laugh is brilliant!
Never be afraid of Ghosts. Serious! You can even (sadly?) fall in love with them.
This movie is a gem and I heartily recommend it especially if you enjoyed the later colour TV series with the brilliant Edward Mulhare.
Les rois maudits (2005)
An entertaining telling of an interesting period of history
Firstly I must state I have only seen part 1 of an apparent 5 part series.
And I am glad I did. I have great interest in this period of history and - told by the French - in French - made it all the more enjoyable.
The production is sublime with modern ... improvements like the lighting in castles sometimes obviously artificial (ie: not mere torches) and some racy female costumes (for the period).
The acting was excellent and includes long time favorites like Gerard - and the actress that plays Queen Isabelle is so pretty.
Generally this story is based on fact.
Unless part 2 is awful (doubtful) I am hooked already.
"Scorched" is an Australian drama that premiered on free-to-air TV on Sunday, August 31, 2008.
Directed by Tony Tilse (Underbelly) it tells the story of Australia's largest city, Sydney, not coping at all well without rain for more than 250 consecutive days.
It is Christmas time, our summer, and the start of a long period where the potential of major bushfires is very real. I know. I've experienced a few myself, most recently the recent fires that devastated Canberra (the nations capital) 250klm to Sydney's south in 2003. With the temperature soaring to over 38o Celcius (100.4o F) and very low humidity lightning strikes from storms create "armageddon".
Many popular and well-known actors feature in this telemovie - many of whom have worked together in other productions (Vince Colosimo/Les Hill - Underbelly... Georgie Parker/Libby Tanner - All Saints) and true to form they do a great job.
Personally I thought it was a bit too short with rumour of a DVD to be released in November featuring over 2 hours of footage deemed not suitable for free-to-air TV. The TV version has a couple of gruesome seems but...
Overall scary, 'cos I've been in this situation for real, but a little too light on content.
La marche de l'empereur (2005)
A remarkable and informative look at a remarkable creature!
I love animals - most of us do - and penguins for me rank right up there with my cat (Mel Gibson) and giraffes.
The version I just watched was narrated by Morgan Freeman - an actor I have enormous respect and affection for - filmed in perhaps the harshest place on earth to live - Antartica.
What really amazed me about the titular Emperor Penguins in this documentary is how amazingly "human" they behave - in the good ways not the bad. They show signs of affection for each other I am not aware of in many other species - let alone a flightless bird - and their children remind me a lot of human kids.
They are also - at least as adults - quite a beautiful bird. True they are seemingly ungainly on terra-firma but once they hit the H2O they are like angels of the sea.
This documentary is beautifully filmed with sublime audio and music. It must have been an extremely tough shoot for the crew. The narration is expertly written and entertaining to David Attenborough degree.
A remarkable film about a unique creature and highly recommended - especially if you love animals and documentaries about them. It is for animals like the Emperor Penguin we all need to more to protect the environment so the magic of these amazing birds is not forever lost.
K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)
Extraordinary courage in a nightmare situation
The really scary thing about K-19 - aka the widow maker - is that it is based on fact.
In the years before I was born this Soviet hotel class submarine came close to nuclear meltdown after the failure of a major coolant system. With no backup the crew had themselves to perform a repair to avoid disaster.
Sadly most of these crew perished very soon after due to massive irradiation.
K-19 tells the story of these amazing men in a very serious situation. The meltdown of a nuclear reactor is a bad thing (remember Chernobyl?). The sub itself might have been "cursed" but you really have to admire the courage of the crew.
Unusual casting for a movie about Russian submariners but it mostly works. I can watch Harrison Ford or Liam Neeson in anything - the supporting cast is also great - Joss Ackland makes an appearance too.
Highly recommended as a movie about brave souls that died to avert a major nuclear incident - and possibly another world war.
Much better than the "kill time" before The Dark Knight I was expecting
I went to see The Dark Knight today and would have had to wait more than 2 hours for the next session - then I spotted "Hancock" starting in 15 minutes and would end 10-15 minutes before TDK started. As it was $10 Tuesdays it was an easy decision - see TWO movies instead of one! A mini marathon if you will! Hancock was actually a heck of a lot more entertaining than I expected. It has some moderately to very funny moments, awesome special effects (who wouldn't love to fly even if it is worse than "The Greatest American Hero" (William Katt)?) and a plot twist I never expected.
As a Will Smith fan I thought it wasn't his best work but still rate his performance as... good. Hot babe Charlize was un-recognisable (ie she still looks gorgeous) and played a great role - just don't get her angry. I haven't seen Jason Bateman for ages but his performance in this film was an impressive re-introduction. Daeg Faerch (young Michael in the Halloween remake) has certainly grown up too - not sure if it his normal accent or he was just awesome in Halloween). And most of the supporting staff are well suited too.
Generally production is of a high quality. If you are stuck for a movie after seeing the others doing the rounds you could do a lot worse than Hancock.
Better than I expected but not as good as it could have been
I am, as many of is here at IMDb likely are, a big fan of the Indiana Jones adventures. I would have been about 12-13 years old when I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark and it remains a favourite to this day. This was also the last movie that my whole family saw together (Mum, Dad and two brothers) and none of us knew what to expect. Needless to say we all loved it.
It is hard to believe 27 years have passed since that seminal introduction to one of the highest grossing trilogies in cinema history. Technology has come a LONG way since 1981 and yet the makers of the fourth installment in the series decided - to varying levels of success - to try and mimic the look of the first three films.
Story wise Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is almost non-sensical. I'm more likely to believe in the Ark of the Covenant (which apparently is real), Indian cults and the Holy Grail than what is concocted in this release.
Yeah I know it is set in 1957 at the height of the Cold War but seriously the story is seriously far-fetched. Like the previous movies there is humour - just not enough of it to be really laugh-out-loud. There is one sequence with Shia LaBeouf that is pretty cool in an acknowledgement to another famous character.
Plenty of action sequences - some amazing - some awkward - some a wee bit too long - some non-sensical (Marion - Karen Allen bless her) disappears for a good portion of one action sequence for no real apparent reason).
Sean Connery and Denholm Elliot make cameos as photograps (Sean declined a role, enjoying "retirement" too much - sadly Denholm passed away in 1992). This is a nice tribute to two great actors that helped build on the success of the series.
Soundtrack wise it is brilliant but I do not feel that John Williams soundtrack has the same Oomph! as the previous films - a few themes from the earlier titles are included in snippets however.
Acting wise it is a mixed bag. Harrison Ford (Indy obviously) is showing his age but it would have been criminal not to cast him as he IS Henry "Indiana" Jones, JR. Shia LaBeouf (Mutt) was better than I expected and really seemed to enjoy the role. Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood) still looks great and hasn't lost the fire she had in Raiders. Cate Blanchett was merely OK - she does a poor Russian accent and ... well you will see what happens in the end.
The special effects when used are impressive - even the CGI - and includes a really awesome explosion (without spoiling it for you). There is probably a bit more blood and violence than seen in earlier iterations so keep the rating in mind if you take your kids along.
All in all I really enjoyed the two hour break from reality. A good film that could have been better. Here's hoping for a fifth installment (yes Harrison did really good!). Rating: 8/10
'Breaker' Morant (1980)
War is never right
You are unlikely to ever see a film, essentially about a military tribunal/court martial, like this one.
The main characters, based on a factual story, are Australian. However there are many great performances from multiple cultures - and all add to the uniqueness, quality and colour of this film.
The war was essentially all about gold and diamonds despite what the British say. The "kangaroo court" case itself was basically convicting soldiers of war crimes despite being under orders by Lord Kitchener himself.
Many great Aussie actors appear in this movie (Jack Thompson is a highlight) and Edward Woodward is a fine choice as the "Breaker".
Picture "The Practice" in 1880ish South Africa - during a war (the Boer War) - and the pretty much sums up Breaker Morant. War sucks - even when "under orders" and the consequences are as real now as they were then.
Highly recommended. Not recommended for children however.
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
Offensive and - even to this day - a sad indictment
10/10. The young girls Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury and Laura Monaghan are brilliant in a very difficult role. They should be proud as I certainly am. Sampi in particular is a very proud young lady - as she should be - and I hope in years to come she can bring herself back to the screen.
I am a "white fella" but was distressed (a lot) when the girls were removed from their mother (was not myself born back then - in fact I don't think my own Mum/Dad were either).
They girls are great despite such a distressing role and I am very proud of them.
Indeed they walked over 1,000 kilometres such was their mettle. So to Molly, Gracie and Daisy - beautiful names - enormous spirit these girls had and the "actors" no less courage.
I am sorry this ever happened and pray it will not happen ever again.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Innocence can indeed survive in hell
Along with The Green Mile, another excellent Frank Darabont adaptation of a Stephen King story, Shawshank is a masterful and thought provoking film.
Everyone in Shawshank is innocent you see - except Red (Morgan Freeman). The casting for this film, like Green Mile, is nigh on perfect and helps to create a fully believable tale about one man's fight to prove his innocence against a system that doesn't even care.
Morgan Freeman is masterful in his role as Red, one of his best ever, and despite originally intended to be an Irishman (you would expect Caucasian) is brilliant. See Driving Miss Daisy to re-affirm his acting skills.
Tim Robbins, as Andy Dufresne, is excellently cast in the role of an innocent man, a successful banker, jailed for two life terms (in 1948) for the murder of his wife and her lover. Being innocent doesn't count and Andy is locked up in the hell-hole Shawshank prison. But his innocence is a driving force. Like a bird - Andy wants to be free.
To say the sets are impressive is a major understatement. While the exterior shots are of a renovated Gothic prison, the interiors are nearly entirely built on a sound-stage. The production design is top-notch. You never want to go to a prison like Shawshank.
The Warden (Bob Gunton) is a real peace of work - a corrupt official hiding behind The Bible. Clancy Brown (Captain Hadley) is a nice bloke in real life - you would not think it for he is very sinister in this role.
Veteran actor James Whitmore as Brooks Hatlen delivers one of his finest performance in his long career - "institunalised" after spending most of his life behind bars - 50 at Shawshank. The world all these years later is a shock to Brooks that has sad, no tragic, consequences.
Overall this rather long film reeks of quality. Great cast, story, acting, production design, direction.
Highly recommended - must see really - and one of my favourite "serious" films of all time. After I finish this I will put The Green Mile on to make the evening perfect.
The Sundowners (1960)
The Aussie accents are over the top
We don't really talk like that in Australia so the over the top accents are actually amusing! A good movie despite this however!
The Sundowners is a 1960 film that tells the story of an Australian outback family torn between the father's desires to continue his nomadic sheep-herding ways and the wife's and son's desire to settle down in one place. It stars Deborah Kerr, Robert Mitchum, Peter Ustinov, Glynis Johns, Dina Merrill, Michael Anderson, Jr. and Chips Rafferty.
The movie was adapted by Isobel Lennart from the novel by Jon Cleary. It was directed by Fred Zinnemann.
It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Deborah Kerr), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Glynis Johns), Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
The movie was filmed mainly on location in New South Wales, including towns like Nimmitabel.
DOA: Dead or Alive (2006)
An entertaining action flick - especially for blokes
Some great fight sequences - many of which took more than a week to film. Excellent stunts. Gorgeous costumes and scenery. A Cock rock soundtrack. What is not to love about DOA? Based on the popular Dead Or Alive video game series (last seen as DOA 4 on the XBox 360) this movie is a lot better than the previous attempts like Street Fighter. Many of the on screen stars resemble their in-game persona's in an uncannily realistic way too.
The girls are all gorgeous yet could really kick your butt. The strenuous training they need to "seem real" never seems to show too much. The beach volleyball scene is an added bonus for fans of the series. No wobbly boobs from what I could tell although they were always exaggerated were they not? Great Saturday arvo entertainment for blokes - but girls check it out as you can really kick arse with the best of them.
An extremely thought provoking movie
Like most Vietnam veterans, my father would probably NOT want to see this movie. All these years later he still won't talk about his experiences there.
This movie is violent and confronting - particularly with how it depicts the treatment of the Vietnamese civilians. Some truly disturbing scenes are included that will bring tears to your eyes. You wish that none of it ever happened but sadly that is not the case.
All of the actors are perfectly cast and perform admirably in what must have been similar conditions to what the real soldiers would have experienced during the war.
The soundtrack is surprisingly good - particularly the extensive use of the classical Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings". A similar affect was gained with the use of Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni's Adagio which is used right at the end of Peter Weir's "Galipoli" (1981) and includes some great classics of the era like "Hello - I love you", "Dock of the Bay" and "Respect". Gotta love 60's music! You might cringe at the behaviour displayed by some of the US troops - sadly this is not altogether unfactual. It is a violent film also so definitely not for the squeamish.
Any good movie is one that makes you think "what would I have done in that situation?". For me this includes the treatment of the Vietnamese people and the battles. This is one of those movies.
Recommended! Confronting but Ultimately a superior war movie about a war that should never have occurred.
Helen Slater is so cute!
Have had a crush on her since seeing this (and is only a bit older than me).
Very corny but still better than the appalling Superman III and Superman IV efforts (I barely survived Superman II).
My "Super" collection is now complete - at least until the sequel to Superman Returns.
The special effects are not bad and Supergirls costume is flattering. Faye Dunnaway is a great nemesis (never liked her much since Mommy Dearest to be honest - too scary an actress). Peter O'Toole appears briefly - just the other night I watched a movie with him in it - Joan of Arc - and he was especially good.
Good fun especially for kids (and kids trapped in the body of an adult like me).
So bad it hurts...
I hired eighteen (18) movies for one week for eighteen dollars (Australian).
This was the only movie I couldn't watch in its entirety it is that bad - not even worth the $1.00 rental.
The acting is appalling. I had better respect for Kristanna Loken until this movie.
And what was Ben Kingsley thinking? He was awesome in Ghandi - sad to see him degraded to this degree. Billy Zane and Michael Madsen must have been offered a lot of money (Billy was OK but Mikes role was a travesty).
There is nothing to recommend about this film at all. Blood and gore - meh - give me a decent story any time. A huge miss. Haven't played the full version of the game (just a demo) but this turned me off doing even that.
Just watched Shawshank Redemption - now THAT is a movie. Worse than Dungeons and Dragons! How is that remotely possible?
Not a bad rental - you could do worse
I found Stealth to be not too bad to watch on Saturday with nothing on telly. The story is a little silly - but as "unmanned aircraft" exist today who knows what could be possible in the future? The aircraft look sexy and very futuristic - putting the humble FA/-18's to shame. The EDI stealth craft is particularly awesome and a cool golden alloy colour.
The best thing about Stealth would have to be the effects and meaty explosions. Digital Domain (Flight of the Pheonix, Day After Tomorrow, Star Trek: Nemesis, The Time Machine, We Were Soldiers, Red Planet, X-Men, etc) have created some of the best flying sequences ever for a motion picture.
Not worth a cinema ticket perhaps - but a good one to pick-up with the weekly DVD rentals.
In the Line of Fire (1993)
Another great Wolfgang Petersen film
Seriously any film with John Malkovich is usually very good. And this includes Clint Eastwood, Rene Russo, John Mahoney (Frasier), Dylan McDermott (The Practice), and many more great actors.
Clint is getting old now but thanks he is also an awesome director (in his own right).
We are used to Wolfgang "water films" like Das Boot, Poseidon and Perfect Storm - this was really different but just as sublimely directed.
The premise of the assassin is as serious as it comes, the film is well paced, some of the violence is a bit... But altogether recommended (but not for kids).
Many years ago (I turn 38 tomorrow!, 4 December 2006) I had the soundtrack on LP (you know those black vinyl things). Tried searching for it on Google with no luck. Had some awesome tracks and songs on it...
I remember one like "Hey, isn't it time",
Sad and poignant - something my own awful voice could sing even.
Of course the orchestral score was equally powerful - very reminiscent of a feared animal like a fully grown male Lion (but let's face it - as with most things in life it is the girls that do all the work).
I might have the LP tucked away somewhere but after all these years...
Rocky IV (1985)
Dolph is the highlight
The sheer effort Dolph (Ivan Drago), Sylvester (Rocky Balboa) and Carl (Apollo Creed) must have gone into training for this film must have been truly awesome. They all look amazingly fit and sculptured. I think more so than any current modern day boxer.
Kudos to Dolph who in almost his first major feature film (his first was View to a Kill) made, at least for me, a major impact. Despite his lack of dialog "I must break you" is right up there with Schwarzenegger's "I'll be back". He looked amazingly strong - a freak almost - just as the plot intended. Scary. He looked even taller than the 6 inch difference between him and Stallone (Lundgren 6'4", Stallone 5'10").
I would think that difference in height/reach would make him nigh on impossible to defeat if this were REAL. Of course it is a movie. Dolph is the highlight and was sad to see Apollo's demise (but at least it shut him up). The writers must have based Apollo's character on Muhammed Ali surely! Am currently watching Rocky V and is interesting so far!
Too much singing
Compared to Rocky, especially IV and V, it was not as dramatic. And I am certain that Ali was much bigger than Will Smith. There is also too much long segments of music backed pointedless. And sex scenes are also pointless.
I certainly admire Muhammed Ali, and if you do too, you will be disappointed by this. Kudos to Will Smith for giving it a go - but there can be only one real Ali. I give it 5 out of 10 because of Will himself - the 5 point loss is due to the annoyingly long musical bits, love scenes, and Ali Bundeye (or something like that - translates to "Ali Kill him").
Boxing is supposed to be a sport?
Superman Returns (2006)
Christopher would be pleased!
"You'll be different. Sometimes, you will feel like an outcast. But you'll never be alone. You will make my strength your own. You will see my life through your eyes - as your life will be seen through mine.
The son becomes the father, and the father becomes the son."
Can Superman really die? Yes! But like us all he can be saved too.
Brandon Routh makes an admirable Superman - I really liked him over all the other characters. Frank Langella is a great Perry White but Lois is a bit meh.
And Lex Luthor - Kevin Spacey was always going to struggle against Gene Hackman's performance in the original Superman films - a few lines are even ripped from the earlier scripts.
Special effects are impressive - especially the opening credits which takes the groundbreaking style of the original movie and really runs with it. It must have been one of the hardest sequences to make for the film.
I really hope a new Routh as Superman movie is made as he was the best thing about the film, which is admirably dedicated to the memory of Christopher and Dana Reeve.
Nice to know Superman will "always be around".
The Muppet Movie (1979)
Great fun for young and old!
I would have been about 11 years old when this movie was first released. All these years later at 37 and I had no qualms hiring it on DVD. Great entertainment for all ages. And what about the song The Rainbow Connection? See:
Why are there so many songs about rainbows And what's on the other side? Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, And rainbows have nothing to hide. So we've been told and some choose to believe it I know they're wrong, wait and see. Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, The lovers, the dreamers and me.
Who said that every wish would be heard and answered When wished on the morning star? Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it, And look what it's done so far. What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing And what do we think we might see? Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, The lovers, the dreamers, and me.
All of us under its spell, We know that it's probably magic...
... Have you been half asleep? And have you heard voices? I've heard them calling my name. ... Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors? The voice might be one and the same I've heard it too many times to ignore it It's something that I'm s'posed to be... Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection, The lovers, the dreamers, and me.
Laa, da daa dee da daa daa, La laa la la laa dee daa doo...
Margery and Gladys (2003)
Haven't seen Penelope Keith on TV in ages. It was either this or Groundhog Day. Am glad I watched this one. You will enjoy this on TV or DVD if is available. Basically the plot is:
Wealthy housewife Margery and her rough-diamond cleaner, Gladys, disturb a burglar, knock him unconscious in self-protection, then panic and leave him for dead. But, unknown to them, he survives and escapes. Believing themselves unintentional killers, the two flee in Gladys's old wreck of a car, commencing a journey of comedic misunderstandings in which these two very different ladies embark on a shared voyage of self-discovery. The two take to the open road and a fugitive lifestyle like ducks to water. However, with money short and Gladys needing medication, the duo is forced into a surprisingly full-blown crime spree, proving more than a match for an unlikely pair of policemen, Detective Inspector Woolley and Detective Sergeant Stringer.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
Very enjoyable especially if you missed the theatre production
I was lucky enough to see the theatre version at Sydney's (Australia) Royal Theatre starring Rob Guest as The Phantom.
And it was brilliant. From the initial pitch black darkness where you can't see your hand in front of your face (I mean it was DARK) to the next bit which I won't spoil if they ever bring the stage version back. Awesome!
Of course this is a movie but it shares many qualities of the play that made it so popular.
Set design is amazing and the vocal performances are also very good.
An entertaining movie that brings back fond memories of a family outing to the theater.
Gerard Butler (who I last saw in a Tomb Raider movie) is a great Phantom, Rob Guest in Australia was awesome too.
Hard to believe this is an "independant" movie as it reeks of quality.
If you enjoy the music or miss the stage production you will enjoy this movie.
Grey Knight (1993)
Much better than I expected!
I missed the immediate start but too late to see Martin Sheen (The West Wing) in the role of a Union General (Holsworth?), he must have walked straight off the set of Gettysburg (with Jeff Daniels).
Martin is favourite for me and Adrian Pasdar I had never heard of. In fact I thought Adrian was Jeff Fahey (Lawnmower Man) because of the distinct voice and beard. And Corbin Bernsen whom I haven't seen on screen for ages plays his role very, very well.
For a very different horror movie with the Union and Confederate army both being on the same team this is an enjoyable movie. You could do a lot worse than The Killing Box (some sort of tactical field manouver).