I walked out of this film feeling lighter than the soufflés served at Buckingham Palace.
No surprises in this biopic - it tells the story of the early years of the longest reigning English monarchy so far. While lacking the treachery and intrigue of other periods (Tudors for example!), Victoria does have many claims to fame including nurturing of the Arts and Sciences without which film may never have happened!
While I admit to being a huge Austen fan, it was lovely to immerse myself in a story that isn’t another variation of Darcy but rather a period film based on a very real story of great love.
The plot ticks along nicely however the aforementioned lack of intrigue does leave one wondering where it could possibly be leading. That said, I could easily have watched another hour. It’s almost reminiscent of the feeling you get at some weddings, that voyeuristic pleasure of being close to a happy couple and completely lacking in cynicism (for once).
However, the film is let down by odd camera angles and the impression of hasty editing. Although the art direction is a little sparse and safe, the film is nonetheless visually beautiful with exquisite costume design.
The cast is delightful with a few old favourites – mine being Jim Broadbent as Victoria’s uncle and predecessor who so obviously adored her. Emily Blunt in the title role strikes a remarkable resemblance to Victoria and her naiveté but determination bleed through the screen. While I’ve often accused Rupert Friend of being a studio substitute for Orlando Bloom, I confess he’s wonderful in the role of Albert... unassuming but with a quiet intelligence and strength.
All up, a genuine love story, not overdone – a deliciously pleasant hiatus from the pressures of modern life and love.
I encourage you all to donate to the cause I was supporting at the event – Ovarian Cancer Research.
Victoria initiated the white wedding dress trend.
Keep an eye out in the coronation scene for current real Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York!
Having sat through more than my fair share of crappy films of late, and in a market awash with unimaginative sequels or remakes, I found myself pining for the days when comedies were charming and, dare I say it, funny. So I thought about some of those classic comedies that have stayed with me over the years and one of the standout films is this month’s recommendation...
Shooting Fish was released in 1997, pitting it against the likes of The Full Monty, Austin Powers and Oscar winning comedy As Good As It Gets, so it’s of little surprise that it passed many people by. Although it lacks big box-office success to recommend it, this little off-the-wall, popcorn comedy is a delightfully entertaining 109 minutes. It’s clever and original, the characters are thoroughly likeable and the performances are very fine especially Futterman as charismatic, fast talking Dylan and Townsend, the quieter genius Jez. I really enjoy the inventive ploys the boys come up with not only to retaliate against an adversary or fleece the rich and undeserving, but even to evade phone bills!
I recommend a bowl of popcorn, good company and spending a night in with this one.
So what should you get?
DIRECTOR: Stefan Schwartz (The Best Man)
CAST: Dan Futterman (A Mighty Heart, Judging Amy), Stuart Townsend (Queen of the Damned, About Adam), Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Serendipity)
PLOT: Two orphans, Dylan and Jez, are successful con artists hoping to finance a home for themselves. They enlist the help of temp, Georgie, who immediately cottons onto their scam and is intrigued enough to agree to assist them again. But Georgie has her own agenda and it could spell the ruin of the modern day Robin Hoods.
LOCATED IN: Comedy
Note: Shooting Fish is currently only in limited release in Australia.
For more slightly askew comedies see:
- Death at a Funeral
- American Beauty
- Grosse Point Blank
During filming, animal rights activists showed up, not realising that the title is not literal but an idiom referring to a guaranteed enterprise i.e. ‘shooting fish in a barrel’. They left somewhat embarrassed.
While Dan Futterman may be best known for his roles in "Judging Amy" or as Charlotte's effeminate pastry chef boyfriend candidate in "Sex and the City", he also wrote the screenplay for Academy Award winning film Capote!
Now, I confess I was reluctantly introduced to the series and, despite its poor spelling and narrative construction, have become one of many older fans of this pulp fiction. They are engaging and highly entertaining, the epitome of trashy, easy to read romance.
Setting aside any familiarity with the books, the biggest problem with the movie is that while it has captured Edward’s obsessive tendencies and Bella’s weakness around him, they neglected the romance. Edward comes off as a frightening stalker, moody and unstable rather than fiercely protective. Ironically, this has been the foremost criticism of the literary character also, from those not engaged by the romance.
Much of this censure should be laid at the door of the screenwriter. Many scenes have been consolidated and in doing so they have bled the soul out of the story (pardon the pun). Key moments have been merged or simply sacrificed altogether. Gone are the subtle intimations of a mystery brewing, replaced with a mere exposition. Rather than Bella discovering Edward’s secret, it feels plainly revealed. The result is that the foreshadowing is lost, as is the momentum which leads you with the couple towards the culmination of their relationship – the very essence of the book’s appeal.
Hardwicke too must bear some blame with her fantasy lighting and 180o camera sequence. While creativity of technique can be marvellously incorporated they fail in execution here. Once again a film is injured by SFX through lack of camera skill. The superiority of Twilight’s predecessors is their simplicity. While Hardwicke had the benefit of LucasArts SFX, it’s overdone and out of place. Less would be more: the suggestion of speed rather than showing slipstream, silence over score. And yet, this philosophy was used is demonstrating the many voices Edward hears. Unfortunately, in this matter a more literal illustration (e.g. Frodo wearing the ring in LOTR) would have served better than this subtle approach which, on an audience having other things spelled out for them, became lost in the clutter.
In other words the film lacked consistency, inspiration and most importantly, intimacy.
While I hear nothing but praise for Kristen Stewart, I must confess that I see nothing of this personality and flair reflected in the character. Though Bella’s awkwardness is clear, she seems meek and afraid, quivering in Edward’s presence not from an exquisite tension but in fear. While you should be burning for the antagonists to get it on, instead you rather wonder why she doesn’t run the other way if he’s so very frightening. How can you relate to a girl so courageous when confronted by four men in a dark alley who then appears fearful in her supposed-lover’s presence. As a result Bella comes off as a silly, lovesick girl instead of a strongly opinionated young woman boldly pursuing her desired. And don’t even get me started on the orgasmic writhing on the floor in agony... melodramatic muchly... though I will allow that this scene is written from Bella’s blacked out POV in the book and so Kristen didn’t have much frame of reference.
In stark comparison, Robert Pattinson is, simply put, the best thing about this - and that's not saying much at all. However, his portrayal of Edward is reminiscent of Buffy’s Angel (before he got syndicated) – pensive, mysterious and damned sexy. Now, I concede that next to other weaker cast, it was not hard to shine. I was impressed though with how he captured the character’s constant internal struggle with the smallest of gestures and expressions throughout the entire film. Through Rob, the film gained credence with me. Sadly, this was not sufficient for many others.
As an aside you’ve gotta feel for a guy who has portrayed two of modern literature’s “hottest” young men, he constantly finds himself the subject of belligerent teenage girls claiming he isn’t hot enough... While a fan of his, independent to this film (watch some interviews on youtube – his apathy with Hollywood glamour is refreshing!), Twilight simply cemented my regard.
The supporting cast is generally good, and as a tween from the 90s I was stoked to see Peter Facinelli once again grace the silver screen. His elegance as Carslile is something other cast should aspire to. Jackson Rathbone as Jasper was beautiful and his very deliberate but infrequent blinking was inspired.
Scene – Bella is harassed by four drunken men in an alley and Edward comes out of nowhere to the rescue, screeching to a halt into the group. Without even a sideways glance at Bella he commands her to get in the car and then (wait for it) growls menacingly at the posse.
Moment of hilarity – same scene: I laughed my head off when the great roar of an engine turns out to be a Volvo careening around the corner.
Moments – Edward gently lifts injured Bella from the floor with a tender apology and vulnerable look – finally an outward sign of intimacy! Or Edward’s grimace in the final kiss – still struggling. Or Jasper elegantly dancing with the bat in the baseball sequence.
PS – Despite a clear description of Edward’s skin sparkling like diamonds, I confess I felt taking a bit of licence here to make him glow aka Yvaine in Stardust may have worked better.
Gone With the Wind has had almost 70 years kudos to earn that esteem. Because your audience shrieks when you ask them to indicate if they loved it simply isn't enough for the rest of us.
From my limited experience of your programme, your average audience needs very little encouragement to shriek at even the smallest thing.Also, suggesting that a film about the land down under is perfect for that all American holiday Thanksgiving.
Had you intended irony it would have been quite clever but I strongly suspect you were not...
Nxx The Flick Chick.
So we have another 007instalment.
Well, let me start by putting a number out there – 2 out of 5
All in all they’ve simply tried too hard and fallen flat. The film is a meagre 106mins, a featherweight compared to its predecessor and yet they clearly struggle to fill even this minimal time. Perhaps I expected too much of Casino Royale’s sequel but I cannot even say it was just your average action flick because clearly it wasn’t made in this spirit.
Many action sequences, Bond bread and butter, seem to be an afterthought and, having dissed traditional techniques in favour of recent overused practices scenes are reminiscent of the Bourne trilogy but lacking their seamlessness. These broken edits have been so overly cut, they’ve edited the soul from of the scene. Now I admit that Casino Royale set the bar high. The opening sequence remains a very enjoyable and well executed scene.
I thoroughly enjoyed the return to a couple of classic Bond staples. Firstly, the aptly named taken female (this time around we have Strawberry Fields) and secondly, her unfortunate demise. **SPOILER** I really loved the dichotomy of her crude-oil slicked form laid out across the crispness of white silk sheets. A beautiful shot!
And yet, the lead female leaves much to be desired (given that James doesn’t shag this one he clearly agreed). Where Casino Royale’s Vesper Lynd was a sassy ice maiden in need of a good thaw, QoS’s Camille, having suffered genuine abuse, is less the damsel in distress and more a young woman psychologically damaged. And the many (many!) unsolicited and unnecessary references to Vesper and the way she felt about Bond begin to grate early in the film. As the tally built up (along with the body count) my opinion exactly mirrored James’ terse expression with each reference i.e. would you stop bloody mentioning her?
Indeed for every good thing in this film, there are twice as many faults. Some are glaringly obvious – plot anyone? But my biggest criticism is that while the film attempts to tie up the loose ends left at Casino Royale’s conclusion, it never actually does so. We are still left in the dark on many issues. This is typified by the numerous red herrings the writers mistook for clever plot twists.
Bond pursues environmentalist Dominic Greene, whom we are lead to believe is in fact an eco-terrorist though it seems his worse crime is damming a small Bolivian’s town’s water supply. He’s elevating dictators only to fleece them but his scam lacks the desire for anarchy displayed by Elliott. Greene’s apathetic approach to his business affairs dilutes his claim to villainy.
He’s so indifferent you can’t really be intimidated by him. Bad as the Brosnan years were, at least 2morrow Never Dies’ Elliot Carver inspired chaos.
I must agree with Pajiba’s example of Bond as a blunt instrument. As a cold, methodical killer his dispatch of the ‘dead end’ on the balcony while calmly looking around to make sure he hasn’t been seen embodies this trait in our hero. Indeed the only saving grace in the film is Daniel Craig stellar second turn as 007. Branded with battle scars, determination burned into his expression, he gives an unforgiving performance which far outstrips others.
Though you may hope to enjoy a few hours suspended from reality you will in fact find dissatisfaction and more questions. Head to the dvd store and hire something else instead!
PS - When a Baz Luhrman flick (and starring the darling curse herself, Kidman) steals the thunder from an established franchise like Bond, you know something's not right.
Which begs two questions:
1) what was he thinking given the shite that was 3; and
2) what is anyone thinking making fourth given the shite that was 3.
Now granted, the bat has had a comeback after some poor, well insipid really, instalments but come on, Terminator? And without Cameron at the helm we can pretty much anticipate what we're getting.... let's simply trust in Mr Bale's integrity and superb choice of scripts in the past....
This continued for the full first half hour of the film. Eventually it got to be so loud and giggly that one of three mid-thirties guys sitting directly behind us simply had enough of the macaque-like chatter, stood up and bellowed, “For God’s sake, will you SHUT UP!”. This would have been amusing in itself but the really funny thing was that the dead silence that followed his outburst was broken by enthusiastic applause and whooping from all the rest of the audience!! The four girls were of course shell-shocked by receiving such a direct command from an authoritative voice and were quiet for almost the whole film.
The genre has become a lot more sophisticated over the past decade. Vintage teen romcoms such as Pretty in Pink were basically just romances in a high school setting. They now tend to include a lot more comedy and are no longer ‘just a chick flick’.
So what should you get?
WHATEVER IT TAKES
One of my personal favourites is Whatever It Takes and I’m often surprised how few people have seen it. You not only get the ‘boy/girl’ scenario but some wonderfully executed comedic mayhem – What could possibly go wrong at a Titanic-themed prom?
PLOT: Nice guy Ryan likes the most popular girl in school, Ashley. Ashley’s cousin Chris, the most popular guy, likes Maggie, Ryan’s best friend and literally the girl next door. The two guys combine forces and coach each other in how to be their respective girl’s perfect guy. But is the grass always greener? As he tutors Chris in exactly what it is Maggie wants in a guy, Ryan comes to realise that she’s the girl he’s really after. Who will get the girl?
CAST: Shane West (ER, A Walk to Remember), Marla Sokoloff (The Practice), James Franco (Flyboys, Tristan & Isolde), Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (She’s All That).
LOCATED IN: Comedy section
For more teen romcoms see:
- 10 Things I Hate About You
- John Tucker Must Die
- Bring It On
- Can’t Hardly Wait
- Never Been Kissed
- Drive Me Crazy
- Get Over It
- Pretty In Pink
- 16 Candles
- Breakfast Club
- American Graffiti
In the course of this delightful responsibility, I’ve come up against an array of excuses including “I stayed in contact with the only people I care to see again” along with the classic dichotomy “I don’t want a bunch of [married people/career driven women] making me feel bad about not having a [relationship /career].”
What is it about the high school reunion that has normal, happily satisfied people questioning what they’ve been doing all this time? Then when we get there, why do we insist on playing the one-upmanship game, overselling our achievements instead of just being ourselves...? It’s like a first date and job interview rolled into one night; you want to look sensational and sound really impressive - all without looking like you’re trying too hard! Why do we give so much credence to the opinion of people whom last week we didn’t give a rat’s?
As ever, I turned to movies for inspiration. The soundtracks in reunion flicks alone are often well worth the watch. For the classic reunion flick, you can’t go past Romy & MichelleI’s High School Reunion; the premise is inherent in the title! There’s the nerd, the overachiever, the rebel, the jock, the A group... what happens to all the cliques of high school after school’s out forever? The film focuses on what the girls hope will happen when they see them again, what might actually happen and how it all really goes down.
But by far my favourite reunion film would have to be Grosse Point Blank. After skipping town before graduation, Martin Blank “freaked out, joined the army: now I’m a professional killer”. He’s received an assignment back in his home town on the same weekend as the ten year reunion he was trying to avoid. Throw in the Feds, the former best mate, the high school sweetheart he stood up on prom night, an overly enthusiastic union advocate and Martin’s newly developing conscience – and this hit becomes far more complicated than expected.
I particularly love the little sarcastic responses Martin gets when he tells people his profession: “Does that come with dental?”
So what should you get?
GROSSE POINT BLANK
DIRECTOR: George Armitage (Hitman)
CAST: John Cusack (High Fidelity, Identity), Jeremy Piven (entourage), Minnie Driver (Good Will Hunting), Dan Ackroyd (Ghostbusters, Evolution), Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, Get Smart)
LOCATED IN: Comedy
For more reunions on film see:
- Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion
- Peggy Sue Got Married
- The Deep End of the Ocean (Note: drama not a comedy)
- Since You’ve Been Gone AKA Ten Years Later
Siblings John and Joan Cusack have done 10 films together. Two of their other siblings, Ann and Bill, also appear in this movie
The mark of the truly great actors are those who can not only change their gate and let the character envelope them (see Heath Ledger’s The Joker) but also change their voice… not just an accent, but a new vernacular, intonation and sentence structure. The really special performers’ accents are not just your standard English, Irish, Scottish, Southern American or Aussie (though I have yet to see any actor not of our shores master the latter!). They can add a regional inflection to the accent. Christian Bale in particular is exceptionally talented in this way. Despite what you may think, Adam Sandler’s Little Nicky in no way qualifies.
But for those of you who crave a more generic definition of vocal talent, here is my list of sexiest voices in the biz. For phwoar factor, I would happily listen to these people reading the phone book….
Sean Connery - it’s a given really
Gerard ButlerAaron Eckhart
Liam Neeson - only once has a lion been sexier, and that was…
Dan Radcliffe – will come into his own
(yes, the united kingdom has a certain appeal)
Comedically speaking: Nathan Lane, Hank Azaria
Musically speaking: Jon Stevens in Jesus Christ Superstar
Charlotte must be dumbed down in order to make the happy marriage scenario survive - oh, and she's flatulent now too.
Samantha... There's a big todo about her weight gain when she returns to NYC with a gut instead of Gucci. Most women will still kill for her figure sans gut or no.
Carrie... it's actually a pretty powerful performance by SJP - no, wait, failing to wear makeup on screen in order to look haggard is not a substitute for acting.
Miranda... oh, Miranda. Let's just get it over with.... Steve is the most real character on the show and yet the writers have decided to destroy what they spent 4 seasons carefully constructing just to tie Miranda's plotline to Carrie's.
Overall, die hard fans stick it out simply because they know and love the characters... Were this any other RomCom and less hyped people would've walked out in droves....xx
True, but simply because I dislike Australian films under the pretence that to make it big you have to make it abroad – especially as they inevitably flop. The kind of Australian films I genuinely love are made because they are tight scripts and well executed productions. They also bring something original to the table.
Rogue. I absolutely adore Greg McLean’s work. They’re the kind of films I wish I’d thought of. In just two films, this one guy has done more for attracting (or maybe deterring!) tourists to the Top End than Darryl Somers did in a decade.
Wolf Creek remains to this day the most disturbing film I have ever sat through (granted with a much needed tea break in the middle!). McLean ’s latest offering is sensational viewing.Starring one of my fave Aussie gals, Radha Mitchell, and Alias veteran, Michael Vartan, Rogue tells the narrative of an unfortunate NT tourist troupe trapped on a sandy island in a tidal estuary smack dab in the territory of a highly aggressive saltwater croc.Vartan is the quiet Chicago travel writer, Pete; Mitchell, the rough around the edges tour operator, Kate. Throw in an arrogant American couple, a cancer riddled woman, her hubby and tween daughter, a pretentious photographer, an easygoing Irish chick, and a grieving man and the dynamics of the tour itself would’ve been interesting enough. Especially given the superior Aussie talent cast in the roles. Sam Worthington in particular is terrific as a Territory roughneck keen on our Kate - watch out for him when courage and sense are called upon in equal measure.
And the script is excellent with the narrative and dialogue moving fluidly. McLean’s screenplay has captured completely the broad spectrum of Australia’s personality; the laconic conversational style, ‘bush time’, local techniques. The cinematography illustrates the breathtaking beauty and, simultaneously, the isolation that is the Territory. As much is said with a single shot as an entire scene (eg the slow but escalating lapping of the water).The croc itself is unrelenting, the real terror of the film stemming from the complete lack of predictability of this invisible threat. It is shadows, a mere rumble in the black night. My favourite moment is when a member of the troupe simply disappears from the shoreline, a small ripple the only evidence of his demise, along with a fleeting glimpse of a knobbled tail slinking away.
The film is unlike any other croc flick out there – more reminiscent of the original Jaws than anything reptilian. The SFX creators haven’t cheapened the film with an overly digitised creature, nor do you ever really see the monster in all its glory, making it so much scarier. McLean ’s script remains firmly engrained in the premise that a rustle in the dark is infinitely more terrifying than that which is tangible.This is what I loved about the film. It never falls into the trap of obvious device. It relies on tension rather than gore to sell the scare.
And scared you will be – all 92min of it – indeed the first fright occurs within two minutes of the opening credits! Although many of the incidents may set themselves up predictably (climbing across the water on a rope strung up with a knot in the middle, anyone?) how they conclude will astound you. Plus, you really will be so far on the edge of your seat that you won’t have headspace to notice…
Check it out.... flickchick out.
I want to take a moment to lament the sad passing of Sydney Pollack – a legend and a great talent –and the ever so slow, yet progressive decline of Emma Watson’s acting ability.
Emma’s portrayal of Hermione in the first Harry Potter film was sharp and right on the mark. She embodied the character described so lovingly by JKR, a remarkable achievement for one so young. But perhaps, we gave credit to her too soon. As the film heptology progresses, Hermione’s speech becomes proportionally more clipped, breathy, even rushed. She takes these seemingly enormous pauses before delivery and it makes the whole scene stilted.
It’s acting by numbers and it really shits me.Frankly, she’s been overcoached and you can see it in every line, particularly in the latest instalment, Order of the Phoenix. She isn’t so much over-acting as over-thinking how to deliver her lines. In action sequences, she’s back on form, clearly having little need to over plan her performance.
Emma, you’ve got the gift. We’ve seen what you can be capable of. Simply have the confidence in your own ability and ignore what your dramatic tutor has drummed into you – they do you a disservice!!
The Dark Knight has had a sensational viral marketing campaign www.whysoserious.com whereas SATC has taken the more flash bulb approach with Oprah specials and fashion mag spreads.
Frankly, SATC already strikes me as the kind of film that has the funniest parts in the promos whereas The Dark Knight has kept much of its secrets exactly that.
And that's despite a great big spotlight on the film following the death of one of its stars.\
Which one will you be seeing??
To make the first two, they have to have an XFactor and really knock my socks off on more than one occasion!
Top Actors (per Talent)
- Christian Bale
- Edward Norton
- Gary Oldman
- Clive Owen
- Viggo Mortensen
- Johnny Depp
- John Cusack
- Chris Cooper
- Ed Harris
- Kevin Bacon
- Tom Hanks
- Cate Blanchett
- Allison Janney
- Frances McDormand
- Charlize Theron
- Michelle Pfeiffer
- Ashley Judd
- Laura Linney
- Maggie Gyllenhaal
- Jake Gyllenhaal
- Gerard Butler
- Aaron Eckhart
- Orlando Bloom
28 Weeks Later
Casablanca (yep, never seen it, can you believe it?!)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Notes on a Scandal
Out of Africa
The Painted Veil
Sleeping with the Enemy
The Black Dahlia
The Last King of Scotland
Who is Cletis Tout
And I wonder why the dishes never get done...
As the majority of cinema releases are produced by the US , the rest of the world is subjugated to films devoted to the American political system and those within it. Especially here in Australia we have such an overexposure to American material, it is commonplace for us to know more American Presidents than Australian Prime Ministers…
Which is why I really love it when Australians produce material of their own. I particularly enjoyed the ABC series “Curtin” when it screened last year. I was also pleased to see it take out the 2008 Logie for Most Outstanding Drama series, especially with crime shows becoming a bit dime a dozen on our screens – exactly how many versions of “Law and Order” or “CSI” do we really need?
It was also wonderful to see an Australian take on local politics in the ABC’s series “Grass Roots”. Its satirical look at the plotting and scheming behind the scenes of a local council was delicious viewing. I love the clueless mayor, the ambitious councillor and the independent councillor just looking to make a difference. There’s even a dodgy property developer to boot!
Though politics may remain a taboo topic at dinner parties, it continues to be compelling subject for many a TV series or film. “The West Wing” made politics accessible to people other than just Political Science majors and remains, in my opinion, one of the most intellectual and enjoyable programs ever made. The show’s creator, Aaron Sorkin, also helmed The American President, a delightful Rom/Com set in the White House.
With the next American Presidential Election in our near future, and invading our current news, take the time for a more serious look at the process itself.
What should you get?
I loved this month’s film from the very beginning. It is a gritty political thriller and an interesting commentary on the public’s hunger for a scandal as well as what we consider important when choosing our leaders. It stars several of my favourite actors including Gary Oldman, Joan Allen and William Petersen and all give powerful performances. I also love the way it shines a light on the dichotomy between the methods used against a woman versus a man when vying for the same position.
PLOT: When the US Vice President dies in office, the President decides he wants the legacy of the first woman in the office of VP. Senator Laine Hanson is nominated to fill the vacancy but during the confirmation process, the opposition launches a vicious attack on her personal life in which rumours regarding sexual deviancy take centre stage. Though pushed by colleagues to fight back, she refuses to comment on the allegations, determined that the confirmation should be based on her political merits alone.
DIRECTOR: Rod Lurie (The Last Castle)
CAST: Joan Allen (The Bourne Supremacy, The Notebook), Gary Oldman (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix , Air Force One), Christian Slater (Interview with a Vampire), Jeff Bridges (Seabiscuit).
LOCATED IN: Drama section
FOR MORE POLITICAL FILMS SEE:
- “The West Wing”
- The American President
- Primary Colours
- “Grass Roots”
- Thirteen Days
- All the President’s Men
- Charlie Wilson’s War
- All the King’s Men
For this performance Joan Allen received a well deserved Oscar Nomination but lost out to Julia Roberts in Erin Brokovich.
I particularly enjoy films about the WWI and WWII as they often explore the chess-like battle plans rather than the blood and guts of recent guerrilla warfare. But as poignant as I find war films, and as much as I enjoy guns and explosions (not to mention men in uniform), I have a soft spot for the films that focus on characters, rather than overall theming – patriotism, camaraderie – or that show a different side of more modern war – the women back home, the code breakers, the spies.
The ABC mini series “Changi” was one of the tightest screenplays and well executed productions set in wartime I’ve ever seen. It juxtaposed the prison camp experiences of the men against their pre-war lives and explored how these experiences affected the men as they aged. It was gripping, beautiful and devastating. And I was stoked to hear they’d commenced filming the sequel to “Band of Brothers”, another brilliant exploration of World War II.
So what should you get?
One of my favourite films is Paradise Road, an adaptation of Arthur Miller's play “Playing For Time”. It tells the story of female English, Australian and Dutch prisoners of war in Singapore and I love that the primary cast members are almost all female and the performances are all stellar. It’s rare to have so many women in one production – just look at the list of recommended films below – just a handful have more than 4 or 5 female characters.
But aside from the brilliant cast, Oscar winning director and terrific narrative, this is a story different from any other WW movie. Paradise Road explores the stories of women interned in camps with abhorrent conditions unique to female camps. It explores how women suffered abuse both physically and sexually. It shows how some women were forced to choose between living in squalor or a life of comparable luxury but which would reduce them to a soldiers’ whore. But it also shows how they raised their spirits and fought back in their own unique way. This is a powerful film that every woman should see.
PLOT: 1942, World War II ravages the South Pacific. A transport ship filled with Australian and English officers’ wives, children, nurses and nuns is bombed by the Japanese. Survivors wade to the shores of Singapore , through the mangroves and across wetlands, only to be interned in prison camps. Their lives constantly in peril and in the face of starvation, disease and the brutal methods of their captors, these women of differing nationalities and backgrounds will turn to each other. Just as hope begins to fade, two women will drive them through a vocal orchestra to lift their spirits and keep hope alive.
DIRECTOR: Bruce Beresford (Double Jeopardy, Driving Miss Daisy)
CAST: Glenn Close (Air Force One, Fatal Attraction), Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, The Aviator), Frances McDormand (North Country, Fargo ), Jennifer Ehle (Possession, BBC’s Pride & Prejudice)
LOCATED IN: Drama
FOR MORE WAR FILMS SEE:
- Charlotte Gray
- Tea with Mussolini
- “Band of Brothers”
- Saving Private Ryan
- The Bridge on the River Kwai
- The Great Escape
- All Quiet On The Western Front
- A Bridge Too Far
- The Thin Red Line
- We Were Warriors
- TORA TORA TORA
- The Dirty Dozen
- The Longest Day
- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
- A League of Their Own
- Flags Of Our Fathers
- Letters From Iwo Jima
- Joeux Noel
Now I’ve gone on about the Katharine Hepburns and Deborah Kerrs of the classics, but you don’t have to go that far back to find great examples of strong women. And you don’t have to look at remakes of classic novels either - though these are a cheap and easy solution. There are strong women all around us, every day; ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It might be an act that has pioneered something for the rest of us. Or their extraordinary act may be something that the rest of us do every day without a second thought. These are inspiring characters and they make film that much more watchable.
I have a couple of staple movies that I always keep on hand because of the women in them. If I find my motivation to exercise beginning to wane, a bit of GI Jane gets me in the spirit. Bad day at work? Throw on North Country to put things in perspective. One of my favourite films is Paradise Road, the story of female English, Australian and Dutch prisoners of war in Sumatra . But more about this one next month!
What should you get?
If you regularly read this column, you’ll know that I like to recommend films located in the weekly section. This month I am recommending a new release, a bit unknown but a real gem, Waitress.
I picked up this film simply due to the great cast but was won over completely by its quirky charm and, at times, laughed out loud. Shelly has a unique directorial style and it takes a little while to get into the groove. But once you’re there, this is a small-town tale told in a delightful new way.
PLOT: Jenna makes unusual but phenomenal pies at the local diner. She’s trapped in a miserable marriage to the controlling, immature Earl, and has just discovered, most unhappily, that she’s pregnant (“It must’ve been the night he got me drunk”). Her only hope of leaving is to win the prize money in an upcoming pie contest. Then she meets the new, handsome, married gynaecologist. The resulting affair injects her with confidence and gives her a shot at happiness.
DIRECTOR: Adrienne Shelly
CAST: Keri Russell (Felicity; Mission Impossible 3), Nathan Fillion (Serenity; 2 Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place)
LOCATED IN: Comedy section
FOR MORE STRONG WOMEN IN FILM SEE:
- The Contender
- The Constant Gardener
- North Country
- Paradise Road
- Courage Under Fire
- Brokedown Palace
- GI Jane
- The Missing
- Me Myself I
- The Gift
- Veronica Guerin
- Charlotte Gray
- What Lies Beneath
- “The Buccaneers” miniseries
- Erin Brockovich
- Sliding Doors
- Jane Eyre
- Pride & Prejudice
- Sense and Sensibility
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Raising Helen
- No Reservations
The director also plays Dawn in the film. The film is especially poignant given her understated but brilliant performance and the fact that it was her last. She was brutally murdered before the film was released.Pick your favourite pie: I love the names Jenna comes up with for her creations e.g. “baby-screaming-its-head-off-in-the-middle-of-the-night-and-ruining-my-life pie”.
Many a new film adaptation from classic novels has been released in the past decade. There have been four new versions of Pride and Prejudice alone! We’ve had CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare… And those are just the literary adaptations. Lately there’s also been an influx of remakes on our screens – Casino Royale, King Kong, The Italian Job, Ocean’s 11, Alfie, Thomas Crown Affair, Sabrina, The Longest Yard, Mission Impossible, Charlie’s Angels, Miami Vice, Starsky and Hutch, Transformers, and, most recently, I Am Legend.
With so many remakes and adaptations bounding into the cinematic fray, I thought it might be worth revisiting the original classics upon which many of these are based.
I have found that many of my friends are reluctant when it comes to the classics. They whoosh past this section in favour of finding a ‘guaranteed’ gem in more recent dramas, actions, thrillers or comedies. But don’t be so quick to dismiss the classics.
Classic isn’t code for boring or slow. They became classics because they were the finest films of their time. Many of them won just as many Oscars as Titantic.
But the thing I love most about the classics are the women. And when it came to babes, this was the era. There are basically two kinds of women in classics, the strong, independent female and the bombshell, with little to recommend her but her looks. (This is of course thanks to the majority of writers in classic Hollywood being male and with the emotional range of stucco!). For a great (albeit brief) description of how great classic film females can be, check out the Kate Winslet storyline of ‘The Holiday’. Now, personally, I much prefer the former, the best example being Katharine Hepburn. I particularly love the screwball comedies, pitting our heroine against Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart – sometimes both! You can probably already guess that I’m not especially an Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe fan, however I do enjoy many of their films despite the characters they were often pigeonholed into playing.
So pick up a screwball comedy, spaghetti western or a grand sweeping love-story next time you’re at the DVD store. After all, they are considered classics for good reason.
So which classic should I start with??
CALAMITY JANE (1953)
For my part, it has always escaped me why some characters in film instead of getting to the point and stating their intentions, spontaneously break into song. Why sing what you could say? Perhaps if I had Randy Newman or John Williams in my pocket I’d feel differently? For many, Doris Day is the epitome of the classic movie babe. I like this film in particular because she breaks the mould a little and, despite random musical interludes this is a terrific Pygmalion tale.PLOT: Calamity Jane is a hard-riding, loudmouthed, gunslingin’ Indian scout. But her inclination to boast and yell, rather than impress her handsome army lieutenant crush attracts much taunting from her oldest friend and adversary, Wild Bill Hickok. One particularly grand boast takes Calam to Chicago to persuade an actress to return with her to the frontier. But in doing so Calam has produced a more feminine rival for the affections of the two men in her life.
DIRECTOR: David Butler (Tea for Two, High Society Blues)
CAST: Doris Day (The Man Who Knew Too Much, Love Me or Leave Me), Howard Keel (Showboat, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)
LOCATED IN: Classics
FOR MORE CLASSICS SEE:
- North by Northwest
- The Great Escape
- To Catch A Thief
- The Birds
- 7 Brides for 7 Brothers
- The King and I
- Born Free
- Rear Window
- Bringing up Baby
- Some Like It Hot
- Lawrence of Arabia
- Philadelphia Story
- My Fair Lady
- Gone with the Wind
- Roman Holiday
- Funny Face
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- Dirty Harry
- African Queen
- Stand By Me
- The Way We Were
- An Affair to Remember
- The Seven Year Itch
- The Apartment
- All About Eve
Did you know that Grace Kelly’s films are not allowed to be screened in Monaco ?
As ever, enjoy!
I wanted to take a moment to say that our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of the talented, late Heath Ledger at this tragic time. Please take the time to check out some of my favourite of his performances:
- The Four Feathers
- Brokeback Mountain
- The Patriot
- Ten Things I Hate About You
- A Knight’s Tale
I’m not about to tell you to “use the force” or “live long and prosper”. Scotty will not be beaming anyone up. Sci-fi gets a bad rap a lot of the time simply because a lot of it is made on a feeble
budget with an obscure cast still waiting tables in LA diners. The screenplays are written by the stereotypical guys who sit out on the highway waiting for their close encounter of the third kind.
These are not the kind of films you will hear me endorse… more likely you’ll catch me ranting about the incredible amount of celluloid wasted on half-baked ideas and neophytic, predictable writing. Especially when so many terrific scripts sit in a drawer.
Really good sci-fi should follow all the rules that other films are obligated to follow: strong narrative, strong writing, strong cast (though not necessarily a famous cast). As clichéd as they have become, I still really love the original Star Wars trilogy.
Given the ridiculous amount of hype surrounding the most recent three films (prequels to the original 3) and with the originals re-released with unnecessary digital enhancements it’s not surprising that many people have been put off.
That said, the original Star Wars films were excellent and, to this day, remain on my Top 20 list. They have terrific narrative, are appropriate for kids and adults alike, and the special effects are believable, even in this era of excessive digital effects... They’re just cool movies. (Okay, I realise the oxymoron there – cool and sci-fi!)
That some people have not seen the originals is a shame. I recently discovered that my other half is one of them… as someone who contemplated registering my religion as Jedi Knight on the last census, I found this a disturbing revelation.
My favourite thing about sci-fi films in general, aside from their irreverent wit, is how each director crafts original visions of the future. BladeRunner is celebrated for the depth of detail in its metropolis. I loved the series “Firefly” for its ‘frontier’ depiction and strong Asian influence.
As I conceded earlier, not all science fiction is good. I have had to sit through my fair share of bad sci-fi. One example that really sticks out in my mind is 2001: A Space Odyssey. Although one of the most artistic, ground breaking and influential films of its time, it’s just SO boring. I love a concise narrative but I’ve seen 2001 at least 4 times and still can’t tell you what it’s meant to be about! The imagery is incredible and it’s a very important film – but neither guarantees you’ll enjoy sitting through the three hours of footage. The only guarantee I can make about 2001 is a numb derrière and a Blue Danube Waltz earworm. But you get doozies in every genre.
Thematically, sci-fi is split in two and both are pretty self evident. The first is based more on science: SETI programs, first man on the moon. Think Tom Hanks getting Apollo 13 back to Earth. The other focuses on the fiction side, usually with a loose plot and more action oriented: getting lost in space, people going nuts in space or scary aliens trying to kill everyone in space.
So what is good science fiction??
The two films I suggest you check out are Contact and The Astronaut’s Wife. Each represents one of the above themes and hopefully you’ll agree they’re examples of good science fiction!
CONTACT (Science Related)
PLOT: Dr Ellie Arroway has dedicated her life to SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Palmer Joss has spent his life searching for truth through faith in God. Ellie has been laughed out of room after room but just as her team is informed of their project’s cancellation, they receive a signal from deep space, on a massive scale. Exploring the social, political, religious and scientific ramifications of first contact, the world will question science, belief and the very meaning of our being here.
DIRECTOR: Robert Zemeckis (Castaway, Forrest Gump)
CAST: Jodie Foster (Flight Plan, Silence of the Lambs), Matthew McConaughey ( Sahara , The Wedding Planner), William Fichtner, Tom Skerritt, David Morse.
THE ASTRONAUT’S WIFE (Fiction related)
Charlize Theron is brilliant (as always) and Johnny Depp’s performance, simply chilling. You will not look at him the same way again.
PLOT: While undertaking repairs on a satellite, astronaut Spencer Armacoust loses contact with NASA for just 2 minutes. His friends celebrate his safe return home to Earth but his wife recognises something is amiss. She falls pregnant not long after and notices more and more oddities in his behaviour and begins to feel that lives she is carrying are not of this world.
DIRECTOR: Rand Ravich
CAST: Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean , Chocolat), Charlize Theron (Monster, The Italian Job)
LOCATED IN: Sci-Fi section
FOR MORE SCIENCE FICTION SEE:
- The Abyss
- The Fifth Element
- Apollo 13
- The Faculty
- The Matrix
- Alien and Aliens
- The Terminator and Terminator 2
- Pitch Black
- E.T: The Extra Terrestrial
- Close Encounters of the Third Kind
- Alien Hunter
- Event Horizon
Although once an expensive optional extra, I strongly recommend investing in surround sound speaker technology. Even used with a smaller, older television set up, the superior sound will vastly improve your home movie experience. There are lots of economical stereo options readily available these days. Also invest in decent cables – this will avoid crackle sounds. And read the manual so you can set up the Dolby features of your DVD player.
As popular as sitcoms and dramas are, they are far outstripped by the popularity of science fiction series. In fact when the TV series Roswell was initially cancelled after one season, fans sent so many bottles of Tabasco sauce to the studio in protest, it was reinstated!!
As ever, enjoy!
For those of you without children - don’t dismiss this article as just for those with kiddlywinks. Take a stroll down memory lane and re-immerse yourself in your childhood faves – The Never-Ending Story, Willow or The Boy Who Could Fly. I still find that when I’ve had a really rough day, the charm of a G or PG film can really lift my spirits – happy endings are guaranteed!
The inspiration for this month’s recommendation came from last school holidays when I visited my aunt and cousins who are nine and eleven years old. They really wanted to get out a DVD but my aunt was completely at a loss as to what they should get. As I do with anyone who asks me to recommend something, I asked the boys for their favourite movies. A problem quickly announced itself. My aunt and uncle are divorced and it became apparent that they strongly disagree on what is appropriate viewing for the boys. Both their mother and I were appalled to learn that their father had let them watch Blood Diamond, Gladiator and Master and Commander, three films with fairly graphic battle scenes. A fight inevitably ensued that their mum was out of touch and they watch that kind of thing all the time.
Eventually, the fight was resolved with a compromise; we came up with some movies that their mother considered appropriate for their age but with a bit of the themes they were accustomed to and expected thrown in.So, the summer hols are coming but you’ve been through every Disney film available - to the point that you know the difference between a “fork” and a “dinglehopper”. You also can’t bear to sit through a Harry Potter for the umpteenth time. And you certainly don’t want to dip into the adult movies and risk the aforementioned violence, language etc (and the inevitable uncomfortable conversations likely to arise from other ‘adult’ themes!) But you want the kids to watch something with substance, something that they can learn from without knowing it.
You may be surprised how many great DVDs you can get for the kids from your local store where you wouldn’t think to look. Don’t fall into the trap of just walking into the Children or even Family section. Though there are many terrific choices here (including this month’s recommendation), you can also browse through the Westerns, Dramas, even Sci-Fi. Use the classifications as a guide – remember, G and PG rated films are located right across the store.
What should you get?
A FAR OFF PLACE
PLOT: Noni is the precocious daughter of a gamekeeper in Africa . Stuck-up city kid Harry is visiting with his Dad when tragedy strikes. As the only witnesses to their respective parent’s slaughter and pursued by the poachers who killed them, Noni and Harry must escape to the nearest town by the only available means – walk the two thousand kilometre distance across the Kalahari Desert. With the help of Noni’s friend, African bushman, Xhabbo, on this treacherous journey they will become firm friends and learn to appreciate the strengths in their differences.
DIRECTOR: Mikael Salomon (Band of Brothers, Alias)
CAST: Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line, Legally Blonde), Ethan Randall (Can’t Hardly Wait, Empire Records), Maximilian Schell (Deep Impact), Jack Thompson (The Some of Us).
LOCATED IN: Children section PS – A Far Off Place is only in limited DVD release internationally so may be difficult to find (check the VHS section too).
FOR MORE KIDS FILM SEE:
- Drive Me Crazy (also known as Dutch)
- Bushfire Moon
- The World’s Fastest Indian
- Storm Boy
- Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
- Honey I Shrunk the Kids
- Treasure Island
- First Kid
- Cats and Dogs
- The Dark Crystal
- Storm Boy
- Born Free
- Two Brothers
- Indiana Jones
- The Great Escape
- Mighty Joe Young
- Robin Hood Men In Tights
- The God’s Must be Crazy
Sometimes the greatest resource for entertaining the kids can be the Classics, especially the Screwball Comedies and Westerns of the 30s – 50s. Think John Wayne, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Doris Day. You won’t have to worry about violence, language or adult themes in the content as classification laws were much stricter in the past. And just think of how many films have been made since the 30s – there’s no shortage of choice!
In celebration of the impending pumpkins, skeletons and ghosts and the brilliant new film Black Sheep I am devoting this month to HORROR.
As a teen I too was, not surprisingly, swept onto the bandwagon of watching horror flicks late into the night. It saddens me that the genre has lapsed over the past few years. The Ring and Wolf Creek are probably the best horror films I’ve seen of late… But the overall quality and quantity of horror has severely waned.
Okay, so horror isn’t everyone’s thing. It’s formulaic, gory and more often than not haunts you for days afterwards. At least, that’s what good horror should do. A genuine horror movie should scare the living daylights out of you. A common criticism of horror used to be that it was too gory with blood literally flooding the screen. But with everyone desensitised to gore, regularly exposed to forensic visuals on CSI type programs, blood and guts has long since taken a back seat. Lately, the formula has moved towards clichéd twists, to the point that you are expecting some twist which inevitably spoils the twist. These might be relegated to the thriller section were it not for the perfunctory ‘creatures’ thrown in. That said, some recent films have returned to supernatural or science fiction themes – curses, demonic possession, zombies, vampires, lichens, aliens.
The latter has always been a popular medium and I still count Alien and Aliens amongst my favourite films of all time. They continue to instil fear in new audiences even though they were made over 2 decades ago. The anticipation fear factor is the key in Alien. I’ll always remember a story my parents told me about one of their first dates. They went to see Alien and after an hour glued to the edge of their seats and at the crucial moment, the guy sitting three rows in front of them suffered an epileptic fit – mirroring the horrific scene occurring on screen. This poor man emptied the theatre in record time!To get a really good scare out of a horror there needs to be considerable tension, gore and that eerie accompanying music. You can always rely on the classic horrors for a good scare such as:
- The Shining
- Nightmare on Elm Street
- The Candyman
- The Exorcist
However, all that ended recently when I came across a real stunner, relatively new to the weekly shelves.What should you get??
- I Know What You Did Last Summer
I strongly recommend taking a wander through the thriller section of your local DVD store. There are scores of nail-biting, multi-twist, edge-of-your seat experiences waiting to go home with you. And thrillers tend to have something for boys and babes alike.The genre tends to fall into a number of sub-categories, the most popular of which are the ‘Whodunnit’ and Protagonist/Antagonist plots. Classic thrillers included Silence of the Lambs, and, of course, the master, Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, Psycho, Rear Window, North By Northwest etc. Because this has been such a popular genre since film’s inception, many movies over the past decade have simply skipped cinemas and passed into obscurity. Sadly, some of these are terrific and deserve a look. I have stumbled across a number of absolute gems over the years. And as this is my favourite genre and TV has been pretty ordinary of late, this month I’m giving you two recommendations.
What should you get??
PLOT: Emma hasn’t seen since she was 8, blinded by her mother in a violent rage. Finally, after 20 years on the donor list and thanks to corneal implants installed by her kindly eye surgeon, Emma’s vision, though blurry, returns. But she begins to suffer a side effect, ‘seeing’ things hours, even days, after they have occured. Then, just days after her surgery, her neighbour is brutally murdered. As the only witness, Emma tries to assist with the investigation but is rebuffed by Detective John Hallstrom until the murder matches the MO of a series of killings he’s already investigating. Emma’s delayed vision reeks havoc on her life as the killer begins to stalk her. Will Emma be able to identify her pursuer before he finds her? And will Hallstrom get there in time to save her?
DIRECTOR: Michael Apted (Amazing Grace, The World Is Not Enough)CAST: Madeline Stowe (The General’s Daughter, 12 Monkeys), Aiden Quinn (Legends of the Fall, Benny and Joon)
This is another of my favourite thrillers. It boasts a stellar cast and stars real life couple Charlize Theron and Stuart Townsend. Terrific performances all round but worth mentioning Pruitt Taylor Vance’s deliberate, almost lovable portrayal of Marvin and Kevin Bacon’s sinister villain will make your skin crawl. Watch for the scene with the seaplane - it has me riveted and breathless every time! PLOT: Will and Karen Jennings are the perfect couple. Karen put Will through med school and now they are reaping the rewards of Will’s successful medical research project. But while Will is at a medical conference their daughter, Abby, is snatched from within their home by a professional kidnapper. Joe’s plan is perfect: an accomplice kidnaps the child of rich parents and holds them overnight, he keeps the mother under control, while another accomplice collects the ransom from the father. But this time things go very wrong. Abby is severely asthmatic and Will and Karen will do anything to ensure their daughter’s safety, including turning the tables on their assailants.
DIRECTOR: Luis Mandoki (When a Man Loves a Woman)CAST: Charlize Theron (Monster, The Italian Job), Stuart Townsend (Queen of the Damned, About Adam), Kevin Bacon ( Mystic River , The River Wild, Wild Things), Courtney Love (Man on the Moon), Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, Man on Fire).PS – With Charlize to perve on it shouldn’t be hard to convince the boys to join you for this one!
BOTH LOCATED IN: Thriller section
FOR MORE THRILLERS SEE:
- Wild Things
- The River Wild
- The General’s Daughter
- Murder by Numbers
- The Devil’s Advocate
Clean the DVD with a soft cloth before you put it in the machine (the one from a glasses case is perfect). Hired DVDs are notorious for fingerprints that will affect the quality of the image (i.e. pixilation). Doing this before will prevent you having to stop at a crucial plot moment to clean the disk.
But now comes the ultimate quandary…What should I get and where the hell is it?? The number of times I’ve observed people blindly wandering the aisles of my local video store with (now cold) takeaway, so bewildered by the many options they simply grab a new release and walk out with something they aren’t going to enjoy or have already seen. Even if you do have time to wander, this dilemma is made doubly frustrating when you need to get one both babe and boy will enjoy (especially if, like me, your boy won’t even consider something without 007 on the spine!) Now you could look to the DVD store promo material for a guide. This would be fine except that they tend to hammer the latest overnight releases in a bid to get you to spend more. And unless you’re looking for the latest disc of The OC or until a plot summary is available in the search option on the computer system, you’ve got Buckley’s of getting a decent recommendation from the pubescent clerks. I remember once asking a clerk, after a particularly heinous day at work, for a romantic, period drama and having her click her keyboard like an airline booking agent only to come up with, “Titanic?” as if I was the only person on the planet that hadn’t seen it yet!
There are some real gems waiting for you in the weekly sections that both babe and boy alike will enjoy. I can recommend a number of these to you. Now I could try and earn back my film degree and go off on some tangent about the artistic merit of a film but there are about a thousand internet sites and newspapers with reviews of that ilk. It’s par for the course to provide a cinematic review as advice on a movie. You know, the ones that rattle off terms like “sweeping cinematography”, “this is a self indulgent project from director [whomever]”; sometimes they’ll even cite a director you’ve heard of. But these do not indicate whether you will enjoy the film. Just because you enjoyed Titanic does not mean James Cameron’s Aliens will be the same experience for you. In fact, it’s probably highly unlikely!
As such instead of ‘reviewing’ a film, I prefer to liken a movie to other films it reminds me of. One of the best reviews I have ever read (although meant as a criticism) stated that Master and Commander was simply “Gladiator on water”. Having loved the latter, this constituted a rave review for my father who promptly went out and saw it twice!
So what should you get??
LAST OF THE MOHICANS
About ten years ago there was a spate of period dramas saturating the cinemas. One of the best of these which slipped under many people’s radar was Last of the Mohicans. While it is a beautifully constructed film what you need to know is the following:
PLOT: As English and French soldiers battle for control of the North American colonies in the 18th century, the settlers and Native Americans are forced to take sides. Cora and her sister Alice are almost unwitting victims of this violent war until rescued by Nathaniel, an orphaned settler adopted by the last of the Mohican tribe. As Nathaniel, and his native father and brother attempt to protect the women romance develops.The film has plenty of great battle scenes with enough strategic combat, betrayal and blood to satisfy the boys and the romantic subplot will keep you enthralled too without the guys wandering off mumbling ‘chick flick’.DIRECTOR: Michael Mann ( Miami Vice, Ali, Collateral, The Insider)CAST: Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York , The Age of Innocence), Madeline Stowe (The General’s Daughter, Twelve Monkeys)
LOCATED IN: Drama Weekly sectionFOR MORE BATTLE/ROMANCE MOVIES SEE:
- Dances with Wolves
- The Patriot (Mel Gibson version, not Steven Segal!)
Ask the clerk for a reminder tag to be slipped under the plastic cover. It reduces the risk of “What day was that due back?” syndrome. Remember, the advantage of a weekly is that you have 7 whole days to avoid being stung by late fees (or as my significant other complains, “What it would’ve cost if you’d just bought the damn thing!”)
The inaugural FlickChick blog. Okay, so I'm going to cheat. I intend for this in future to be an outlet for my frustration at having the ability to rattle off as much film information as possible and no job prospects in which to do it. As such I will continue to pay the bills through gainful (though boring) employment but fulfil my every filmic desire here.So the cheating comes in with my first post. I am going to upload all my columns for the Babes in Business network in Brisbane so you can get a feel for what I'm about. Any questions? Post them.