Friday, June 30, 2006

29/6/06 - FACE/OFF #846

Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
Face/Off #846
[DVD] [John Woo]

An FBI agent agrees to have the face of his wounded nemesis transplanted onto his, so he can infiltrate his organisation. However, not everything goes to plan.

An exciting idea with potential to develop into either a scary narrative or meaningful story about true identity. However this film is lost in the director's attempt to glorify and glamourous the concept.
It's hard to comment about Cage's performance, mainly because Woo shoots him in slow motion constant, almost to emphasis the importance of a scene or moment. But that concept runs dry very quickly and only assists in slowing down the narrative.
Travolta on the other hand has a more difficult time. His characterisation of an FBI agent is conventional and uninspiring, and the lack of acting range Travolta has is evident in this film.
The sound quality and sound effects are impressive and do increase some of the action scenes, but this film takes too many standard turns and becomes a typical thriller. Although as viewer you can suspend your disbelief for part of the film, the fact that neither Cage nor Travolta have any physical scars from the face surgery is something that is difficult not to question. 2/5

Film Fact: The name of the floating prison is 'Erewhon', which is 'Nowhere' spelt backwards

Film Title: Face/Off refers to the surgical procedure both Cage and Travolta undertake.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


[FOX Classics] [John Huston 1963]

Synopsis: George C. Scott plays Anthony Gethryn, who is trying to discover the connections between 10 names, on a piece of paper provided to him by Adrian Messenger. Soon he realises, one by one, that each person listed has died a mysterous death, and it is a race against time to find the murder and the motive.

Opinion: This film quite possibly contains the best cast in a film ever. Consider, George C Scott ('Patton') in the main role, Kirk Douglas ('Lust for Life') in many disguises, Burt Lancaster ('BirdMan of Alcatraz') unrecognisable, so too Robert Mitchum ('The Night of the Hunter') and Frank Sinatra ('Manchurian Candidate'). Throw in also Herbert Marshall ('The Little Foxes') and the directorial skills of John Huston ('Maltese Falcon') and it is pretty hard to top.
Because this film has such a fascinating premise, you can't help but be lured into the story. George C Scott cuts a fine figure and is endearing and intelligent, he manages to show alot of warmth in his character. A good run of films for Scott, whose next scree appears was in Doctor Strangelove (1964)
Kirk Douglas is wonderful in a man of many disguises, which is difficut considering his striking look. But it's when he is out of disguise that he is so compelling to watch, harnessing all his star power to deliver a fine performance. Mitchum, Sinatra and Lancaster are all unreocgnisable behind heavy makeup yet reveal themselves at the end in a delightful postscript to the film.
There are many locations used in this film which intesifies the plot, from hunting grounds, to wharfs to alleys, and the overall film is given a dreary England feel.
Highly recommended murder mystery. 4/5

Film Fact: John Huston, the director, appears as Derek Burttenholm in the final fox hunting sequence.

Film Title: Adrian Messenger (played by John Merivale ' A Night to Remember') possess a list of ten names , of which he is one of them. It is this list, which propels the story of the film.

Monday, June 19, 2006

19/6/06 - THE UNKNOWN #844

Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
The Unknown #844
[DVD] [1927 Tod Browning]
A film which runs only 50 minutes long. Lon Chaney, a silent star, plays an armless knife thrower in a travelling circus, where murder and love rules.
Torn between his deadly secret and his circus love (a young Joan Crawford), Chaney takes unprecendented steps to ensure his gets his love, but is unprepared for the sad turn of events that occurs.
Regarded as one of the most fascinating silent films, Lon Chaney's performance is exceptional and utterly convincing, especially his menacing stares. An enjoyable film, albeit some of the TCM score is more obvious than what it should be. 2/5

Film Fact: John George, the midget, who plays Alonzo's assistance (Chaney) would appear exactly 30 years later in 'The Man Of A Thousand Faces' - a film on the life story of Lon Chaney. In that film, he plays an extra in the bullpen.

Film Title: Originally it was called 'Alonzo the Armless' in the draft script. But 'The Unknown' may refer to the mysterious nature of Chaney's character. Interestingly, when this 'long lost' film was discovered in the Cinematheque Francais, because no title card was found it was simply listed as 'unknown'.

18/6/06 - MADAGASCAR #843

Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
Madagascar #843
[FBO] [2005 Eric Darnell / Tom McGrath]
A DreamWorks animation around a group of zoo animals, who escape the confides and end up in Madagascar, where they learn the lessons of the wild.
Some really nice animation here, especially of Alex (the lion), whose distinct style, and impressive voice work could potentially make the character one of animations best. The supporting cast is pretty good too, a hypochondriac giraffe, a hippopotamus who think she is a star, and the out of control zebra. But where this film falls down is the story- the jokes are few, and when they do come, they aren't that funny. Sure the animation is impressive but without a strong story, these characters very slowly become boring. 1.5 /5

Film Facts: Yes, that is a blatant reference to The Wicker Man and then Planet of the Apes right after each other on the Madagascar beach, but damn it's funny.

Film Title: Madagascar is the place where the key animals end up after being thrown overboard.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

17/6/06- COLOUR ME KUBRICK #842

Colour Me Kubrick #842
[Highpoint Cinema] [2005 Brian W Cook]
John Malkovich plays Alan Conway who pretends he is reclusive director Stanley Kubrick. Despite not resembling Kubrick in any way whatsoever, Conway succeeds in siphoning money from innocent gawkers, as well as never ever paying for bills, dinner or even writing cheques. Malkovich's performance is so over the top and flamboyant that it is fascinating and annoying at the same time. He changes not only his appearance each time (obviously Conway assumes Kubrick wears flamboyant clothes and hats) but also his accents, ranging from British to a mixture of other dialects. And all this, in just 86 minutes- which goes to prove what I always believe, that films should ideally run no more than 90 minutes. Some lovely in joke references to Kubrick's film, but ultimately where this films falls down is that after one or two con-jobs by Conway, we basically get more of the same throughout the film. It would have ben better to expand on the subplot of those trying to track him down, to give this film more strength. 3/5

Film Fact: The telephone ringing in Conway's apartment during the film wonderfully forms part of the 2001 Space Odyssey soundtrack

Film Title: Probably a metaphor on the different identifites Conway possess to become Kubrick.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

16/6/06- THE HILLS HAVE EYES #841

Hills Have Eyes
Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
The Hills Have Eyes #841
[DVD] [2006 - Alexandre Aja]
If you like your horror films then this is your cup of tea, if you don't then stay away. It follows the standard Horror genre trademarks- a family go on a journey, meet an odd petrol station attendant and are lured through a dirt road in the middle of nowhere to ultimate death. Because of these trademarks, there isn't much originality in the script or performances, although (spoiler alert), Kathleen Quinlan's performance in her death scene is quite moving. Because of the lack of originality, only the scary soundtrack and violent scenes are any reason to see this film. 1.5 /5

Film fact: The film set in New Mexico was actually filmed in Morocoo (with thanks to Horror and Sci Fan fan Jim P.)

Film Title: A metaphor on the fact that the hills where the family end up spending the night is inhabited by mutated humans watching them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

10/6/2006 - MATCH POINT #840

Match Point
Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
Match Point #840
[Rivoli Cinema] [2005 Woody Allen]
Woody Allen takes a change of pace, and comes out with a dark drama about lust and obsession. Set amongst the backdrop of Jonathan Rhys Meyers (pictured) as a tennis coach falling for Scarlett Johansson, who infact is engaged to Matthew Goode (as Thomas Hewett).
A cast of gorgeous people find it difficult to genuinely express what is written in the script. Some of the phrases and sentences are aimed more at something out of 'Gosford Park' than spoken by these young actors. Infact, sometimes, the film becomes to big for its own boots, however I was surprised by the twist that occurs closer to the film's end. Pretty good to watch. 3 / 5
Film notes: 124 minutes- it is Woody Allen's longest film to date.

Film title: Really just a play on words, with the 'tennis' terminology connected to Jonathan Rhys Meyers' occupation. If you think deeper however, it may refer to the feeling of an impending result, or impending decision, in the mind of the actors.

5/6/2006 POSEIDON - #839

5/6/2006 POSEIDON
Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
Poseidon # 839
[Highpoint Cinema] [2006 Wolfgang Petersen]
A remake of the 1972 film (directed by Ronald Neame) of a luxury ocean liner hit by a gigantic wave and capsized, causing the survivor to make their way through the ship to safety.
The majority of the special effects occur at the beginning (with an impressive wave), and infact the story literally gets going from the first shot. But after that, there is only a certain number of times you can see these survivors wander around the ship, one by one slowly dying. infact, it could be said that there were too many survivors for the film to focus on. Having said that Josh Lucas (as Dylan Johns) is impressive- he reminds me of a young Paul Newman. But overall this big film really doesn't leave you breathless.
Film note: Only one known original member of the 1972 Poseidon appears in this remake, that of Sheila Allen, who played a nurse in the original teaching Ernest Borgnine about suppositories.

Film title: The ship in film is called 'Poseidon' hence the name.


Originally uploaded by rhettrospective.
TransAmerica #838
[DVD] [2005 Duncan Tucker]
Felicity Huffman's performance as a woman playing a man, wanting to become a women is a strong performance through the film. In what is essentially a 'road movie' we follow Bree Osbourne (Felicity) as he travels across America after learning that a son he fathered has become a hustler on the streets. Complimenting this performance is Kevin Zegers who is extremley convincing as the hustler unaware of the family connection with Bree Osbourne. Both warm, funny and at times confronting, this film is certainly one to watch. 2.5 / 5

Film notes: Felicity Huffman was nominated for the 2006 Best Actress Oscar.
Film Title: 'TransAmerica' is a reference to the transgender journey Huffman takes across American states.


Star Trek 3: The Wrath of Khan #837
[1982 Nicholas Meyer] [DVD Special Edition]
Only the second Star Trek movie length film I have seen (other than Star Trek: Insurrection). In this film, Khan (original villian from 1967 episode Space Seed), returns for revenge against Spock and James Kirk. This film loses interest as it moves on, mainly because the performances are very wooden. However, I was extremley impressed by James Kirk's entrance, behind smoke and darkness and the reference to past Star Trek episodes. It was interesting to see Ricarldo Montalban reprise a role from 25 years earlier. 2/5

Film Notes: Kirstie Alley's film debut.
Film Title: 'Wrath of Khan' references the character 'Khan' portrayed by Ricarldo Montalban in a 1967 Star Trek episode called 'Space Seed' and his attempt at revenge on Spock and Kirk (hence his 'wrath').

Monday, June 12, 2006

MAY 2006 MOVIE VIEWING #831 -#836

28 Sunday
Lolita (1962 Stanley Kubrik) #836
[DVD TCM] 2.5/5 *Spoiler*
Not my favourite Kubrik film, but nonetheless, a film which has some intriguing moments. I was surprised the amount of screen time Peter Sellars had and the fact he was cast in a serious role. Of course as always James Mason is the standout (such an underrated actor), and the scene with him and Shelly Winters prior to a screen death is outstanding. The film does travel on for a while, and becomes a bit disjointled along the way. I would have rather it not had been bookend with the same scene, but it certianly is a film which pushes boundaries. Scenes between Mason and a young Sue Lyons for its time is quite risque.

20 Saturday
DaVinci Code (2006 Ron Howard) #835
[Highpoint Cinema] 1.5/5
Disappointing adaption of the world famous book. Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou have little chemistry between each other, and Tatou in particular is dreadfully miscast, with the majority of her screentime being taken up with mindless facial expression of quizzicalness. I guess the highlight of this film is the Last Supper revelation speech by Ian McKellan, but in a film that runs nearly 3 hours, it is not enough.

13 Saturday
World's Fastest Indian (2005 Roger Donaldson) #834
[Highpoint Cinema] 3.5/5
A gem of a film, with Anthony Hopkins playing New Zealander Bert Munro who attempts to break land speed records using his ancient 1920 Indian motorcycle. Hopkins really is such a warm character in this film and it is hard not to be moved in certain scenes. Highly recommended.

12 Friday
Good Night and Good Luck (2005 George Clooney) #833
[DVD] 3.5 /5
Very enjoyable look at broadcast journalism in the 50's and the impact of McCartheyism. David Straithairn is wonderful as broadcaster Edward R Murrow and the black and white look of film is absolutely stunning. All cast are great including George Clooney who directed , wrote and acted. Worth seeing.

10 Wednesday

Mission Impossible 3 (2006 J.J.Abrams) #832
[Highpoint Cinema] 2.5/5
Probably the best of the Mission Impossibles because a majority of the story is told in silence and with actions rather than mindless chatter between villian and hero. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is pretty convincing as a madman, considering his turn earlier in the year as Capote. The less we see of Cruise in this film the better. Worth viewing.

4 Thursday
Tall Target (1951 Anthony Mann) #831
[ABC] 1.5 /5
A man attempts to assassinate Abraham Lincoln as he travels on his way on a train to his inauguration. The policeman who is in charge of the investigation has the unique name of John Kennedy (!). Quite an enjoyable movie, although, for its time there is a lot of scenes involving characters discussing plot points- so would have like to see more action. The ending however is really impressive.

Monday, June 05, 2006

APRIL 2006 MOVIE VIEWING #821-#830

30 Sunday
Perfect Catch (Bobby Farrelly / Peter Farrelly) #830
[DVD] 2.5 / 5
Surprisingly good film around Drew Barrymore falling in love with Jimmy Fallon and having to balance the relationship with Fallon's favourite pastime, Baseball. Filmed ironically the same year the Boston red Sox finally won a World Series, it is a great look at how two people must compromise for a relationship to work. Disappointingly though, Barrymore needs to break away from these kinds of films.

29 Saturday
Final Destination 3 (2006 James Wong) #829
[Highpoint Cinema] 1.5/5
A disappointing follow up to the second film (which was quite good). This film starts of well with a thrilling rollercoaster flash back, and while some of the plot ideas are nice (ie: photographs), the whole concept becomes a bit far fetched and unrewarding.

After the Sunset
(2004 Brett Ratner) #828
[DVD] 2.5/5
Whilst not as good as The Thomas Crown Affair (remake), Pierce Brosnan portrayal of a diamond jewel thief perhaps trying one last heist is still quite credible. The downfall of this fim is Woody Harrelson's character, a bumping detective following the trail of the jewel thief. Disappointing that a potential good film was ruined by poor character development.

21 Friday
The Weather Man (2005 Gore Verbinski)
[DVD] 2/5
The story of Nicholas Cage and his attempt to piece together his relationship with his family while trying to overcome the pitfalls of being a weather presenter. More of a black comedy than anything else, Cage, as always, looks as though he is acting. Michael Caine, as always is the standout, as Cage's dying father. See this film only for Caine's performance.

16 Sunday

A Sound of Thunder (2005 Peter Hyams) #826
[DVD] 1/5
Such a disappointing film considering the book is quite fascinating. When hunters travel back in time to prehistoric times, they accidentally alter the future, but don't realise how. This film went straight to DVD in Australia and it shows, with a B Grade feel to it. So disappointing.

14 Friday
Primer (2004 Shane Carruth) #825
[DVD] 1.5/5
Sparse story about a group of men who discover a way to travel back in time. A film which has the same atmoshphere feel to it like 'Cube', it is a story which becomes quite convaluted if full attention is not paid. Only view if you are in a 'thinking' mood.

13 Thursday
Stranger on the Third Floor (1940 Boris Ingster) #824
[ABC] 2/5
Peter Lorre as always is very good in this black and white mystery about a reporter who'se circumstantial evidence ends up convicting an innocent man. Plagued by an extraordinary dream sequence, (which for its time is very interesting) where he envisions that he is the cause of the murder, this B grade film isnt great but then again it isnt too bad.

9 Sunday
The Inside Man (2006 Spike Lee) #823
[Highpoint] 2/5
Spike Lee's attempt at a heist film is disappointing. Told in flashback, it is the story of a series of bank roobers who attempt to pull of the perfect crime. But it falls down in its confusing narrative and unanswered questions- and to be honest, the twist at the end isn't that amazing.

2 Sunday
Grizzly Man (2005 Werner Herzog 2005) #822
[DVD] 2.5 / 5
The documentary of a man who lived amongst Grizzly Bears for a large part of his life and his attempt to ensure their survival. A moving documentary made even more so by the tragic finale. The song over the closing credits 'Coyote' is powerful, simple and deeply moving. Werner Herzog at his finest.

1 Saturday

The Cinncinati Kid (1965 Norman Jewison) #821
[DVD] 2.5 / 5
Paul Newman challenges Edward G Robinson in this poker game drama. Robinson is great, mainly for the fact that by this time on screen he has aged and behind him are all the screen credit from his gangster films in the 1930's - 1940's.
This film builds to a great crescendo of the final poker game.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

MARCH 2006 MOVIE VIEWING #818 - #820

17 Friday
Saw II (Darren Lyn Bousman 2005) 1.5/5
[DVD] #820
Disappointing sequel to the box office hit Saw 1. This time, Jigsaw has locked his victims in a house, with a deadly gas seaping in through the vents.l All the usual tricks and blood from Saw 1 appear in this film, and whilst there is a twist at the end, it was not as compelling as the original. Some nice ideas in the film, but the final product of very quick edits, loud sound mixing , makes it difficult to really get into this film.

4 Saturday
Capote (Bennett Miller 2006) 4/5
[Rivoli Cinema 1 2.15pm] #819
Very enjoyable study of author Truman Capote's attempt to write his non fiction book 'In Cold Blood'. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's performance is one of the best of the year- his mannerism, speech and movement ideally suited to the portrayal of the eccentric author. All cast members are great, with Catherine Keener as Harper Lee both warm and calculated. Fine story, fine acting.

The Muppets Take Manhattan (Frank Oz 1984) 1/5
[DVD] #818
The Muppets meet Broadway in this disappointing vehicle - where all your favorite Muppets converge on Manhattan. But it really isn't funny, or enjoyable, and with so much potential with cameo stars it re falls flat.


27 Monday
Runaway Train (Andrei Konchalovsky 1985) 3/5
[DVD] #817
Two prisoners escape on an out of control runaway train through the snow mountains- simple story which is actually quite thrilling. The cast of Jon Voight and Eric Roberts work well with each other - considering the majority of the film is on the train. Both received Oscar Nominations which was interesting consider the low budget feel of the film. Worth watching.

23 Thursday
Throw Momma From The Train (Danny DeVito 1987) 1.5/5
[DVD] #816
Disappointing comedy from Danny DeVito- infact Crystal and DeVito really didn't gel well, and the majority of the film is not only unfunny, but a rip from 'Strangers on a Train' (which is actually playing on the movie). Anne Ramsey as the mother received an Oscar Nomination but she was nothing special.

22 Wednesday
Mysterious Skin (Gregg Araki 2004) 3.5 /5
[DVD] #815
Disturbing film about child sexual abuse- told in flashbacks. Great cast, and very confronting images and narrative. Overall and enjoyable film but several moments are difficult to watch and upsetting. Powerful and provocative.

20 Monday
Die Hard (John McTiernan 1988) 1/5
[DVD] #814
Dated film about one man's attempt to thwart a terrorist attack. Run of the mill story where we already know the end result. Whilst Bruce Willis is credible in the role, the whole idea and the execution of it, is far fetched.

16 Thursday
The Day of the Jackal 4/5
[DVD] #813
A fantastic account of the attempted assassination of the Charles DeGaulle. Told from the point of view of both 'The Jackal' and the police is an exciting, rivetting chronological account of the months leading up to the day. Edward Fox is prefect in the role of the Jackal, and the ending is so rewarding, that it is worth waiting two hours to experience.

13 Monday
Leap of Faith
[DVD] #812
Steve Martin as an evangelist who visits a small town and transform its residence into god believing citizen- but is everything as it seems. A nice idea but badly executed with Martin not really fit for this part- his over the top action are too much, and the supporting cast including Liam Neeson can't do much better.

12 Sunday
Walk the Line
[DVD] #811
Joaquin Phoenix is truly stunning as Johnny Cash in this biopic on the 'Man in Black'. Not only does Phoenix looks like Cash without much transformation, he sings with his own voice- a truly great achievement- highlighted particularly when Cash attempts to cut his first record at Sun Records. Although the format of the film - told in flashbacks- it typical for biopics, this one works quite well , but unfortunately finishes just after Cash's performance at Folsom Prison. Reece Witherspoon is not as effective as June Carter Cash, but still sings with her own voice which is a fine achievement.

11 Saturday
Quick Change (Howard Franklin / Bill Murray 1990) 2.5/5
[DVD] #810
This film really starts off well with a thoroughly entertaining and rewarding bank heist conducted by Murray. Once that is over, the film in part becomes quite slapstick, rather than the darker offbeat style which permeates Bill Murray's character. Jason Robards unfortunately portrays a cop who just always seems to be one step behind and can't catch Murray. Murray himself has the best character of the film, and it in several scenes is quite funny- Murray directed his own performance too.

7 Tuesday
Keeping it Mum (Niall Johnson 2005) 1/5
[Highpoint Cinema 2] #809
Odd beat dark comedy about a housekeeper who is a murderer. This film has several Desperate Housewives moments, however it is so slow and plodding that it loses all potential build up, development and humour. Maggie Smith is quite credible in the role as the housekeeper but really only the shining light

JANUARY 2006 MOVIE REVIEW #789 -#808

31 Tuesday
Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee 2005) 2.5/5
[Sun Theatre Grand) #808
Underwhelming story of two straight cowboys who fall in love on Brokeback Mountain. A film built around so much expectations of both the director and actors that ultimately it fails to deliver the emotional impact required. Jack Gyllenhal is the best of the two leads, and there are some startling scenery shots, but without an emotional connection to Ledger, this film fails.

28 Saturday
Rocky (John G. Avildsen 1976) 1/5
[DVD] #807
Quite a disappointing film, considering for its time it inspired alot of people with the 'underdog feel'. But this film has lost much of the last 3 decades, the fight scenes are unconvincing and unmotivational, the performance of Stallone in some scenes is awkward and the sub plot with Talia Shirt and Burgess Meredith is unfulfilled. Disappointing.

27 Friday
Munich (Steven Spielberg 2005) 3.5/5
[Highpoint Cinema 6] #801
Eric Bana is wonderful as Avner, the leader of 5 men employed to track down and eliminate the masterminds of the 1972 Munich Olympics tragedy. Infact all of his assistants are very well portrayed, and although the film is quite long, the look (colour, tint) of the film along with the lighting is really first class. Some very powerful scenes and memorable scenes, including the 'telephone assassination' and the introductory scene of the Munich killings.

26 Thursday
Family Plot (Alfred Hitchcock 1976) 3/5
[DVD] #800
The Master of Suspense's' last ever film, and it still has some exciting Hitchcock touches. The story of a phony psychic whose life intercepts with that of a pair of kidnappers. William Devane is truly wonderful as Arthur Adamson the kidnapper, his delivery in particular is a highlight of the film. Some thrilling touches by Hitchcock especially nearer the end of the film.

25 Wednesday
Hard Rain (Mikael Salomon 1998) 1.5/5
[DVD] #799
Basically a cat and mouse film about a group of men trying to locate $3 million hidden by security guard Christian Slater during a small town flood. Your standard good guy vs bad guy vs good guy who is actually bad story, along with the typical last minute rescue of all main cast from near death. Nothing special about this at all, although they do get right into the story from the start.

24 Tuesday
The Hunt for Red October (John McTiernan 1990) 1.5/5
[DVD} #798
Not a bad film about a Russian submarine captain who may or may not be defecting to the USA. Some nice shots and scenes on here, and Connery is quite convincing, especially when he puts on a russian accent. Sam Neil and Tim Curry are both horribly miscast. Special effects at the end are quite poor considering the high quality during the film.

Napoleon Dynamite (Jared Hess) 1/5
[DVD] #797
Disappointing and unfunny look at an alienated teenager and his dysfunctional family. Enough said.

22 Sunday
Dantes Peak (Roger Donaldson 1997) 1/5
[DVD] #796
Disappointing disaster film, mainly because Pierce Brosnan is terribly miscast, some scenes in the film as so unrealistic it takes away from any suspension of disbelief (ie: paddling through lava with a coat wrapped around the arm), and part of the story of rescuing the grandmother didn't work because we weren't given enough time to care for the grandmother.

21 Saturday
Deep Impact (Mimi Leder 1998) 1.5/5
[DVD] #795
Standard disaster film about a comet hurtling towards earth, on the path to total destruction. But rather focussing on the impact itself, the film is focussed more on the attempts to stop the comet, the relationship of key characters and the decisions people make to continue life. Having said that, the character of Jenny Lerner (Tea Leoni) was lacking an emotional connection with the audience and infact several scene of her as a newsreader were unconvincing. A good cast all round, with Richard Schiff and Vanessa Redgrave the standouts.

King Kong
(Merian C. Cooper / Ernest B. Schoedsack 1933) 3/5
[ABC] #794
A film crew travels to a tropical island where they encounter a giant gorilla who takes a fancy to the female blonde star. A film which still remarkably holds up well today. Several of the stop motion action sequences between Kong and other Dinosaurs are realistic and in some cases brutal. The big improvement this film has over sequels is the speed at which the story is told- in particular the return to New York and scaling of the Empire state Building. In retrospect, this film is mainly a silent film, with little dialogue during key scenes on the island. Quite a good film.
And yes, the pilot and gunner who eventually kill Kong are none other than the directors of the film.

13 Friday
Mr and Mrs Smith (Doug Liman 2005) 2/5
[DVD} #793
A better film than what I expected. this is the film the Pitt and Jolie supposedly fell in love on. It is interesting to watch this film for their chemistry, which is really good amongst some cringe worthy staged conversations. A film that really flows quickly, but, with no real knowledge of the bad guys in the films, we really don't care what happens to our 'heroes' or for that matter anyone else. This is merely a star vehicle to show off Pitt and Jolie. Nothing else.

12 Thursday
Crash (Paul Haggis 2004) 2.5/5
[DVD] #792
Multiple storylines set in Los Angeles around two night culminating for some, in a crash and explosion of belief, taunts and racial issues. This film is quite good at creating the importance of first impressions and how often they are wrong or merely hide further issues under the skin. Whilst there were no standout performances Matt Dillion did have two crucial character scenes as a racist cop. This style of film jhas been down several times before (especially Magnolia), and I felt that all the characters seemed to be weighed down by this racial prejudices for me to really feel anything for them.

9 Monday
Birth (Jonathan Glazier 2004) 3.5/5
[DVD] #791
Nicole Kidman encounters a ten year old boy who claims to be a reincarnation of her former husband. A really fascinating and thought provoking film. What if reincarnation exist ? How would you and your family handle the sudden unexpected appearance of it? Kidman is quite convincing as the desperately confused, broken heart wife who yearns for the past with her husband. Lauren Bacall is quite good as her mother but the standout is Cameron Bright- as the 10 year old Sean- a truly powerful controlled piece of acting. Whether you believe in it or not, this film is worth a look, apart from the last shot of Kidman on a beach (why didn't they stop the movie the shot before!)

3 Monday
GroundHog Day (Harold Ramis 1993) 3/5
[DVD] #790
Bill Murray experiences the identical day each morning, until it teaches him to become a better person and values other peoples lives. A really original idea executed well. Murray is quite good in the role of the cynical weatherman who eventually realises what is needed to court the love of his life Andie MacDowell. The scene where Murray befriends a homeless man, only to have die that evening, and then attempt to alter the man's life is a great cinematic moment.

2 Sunday
Rat Race (Jerry Zucker 2001) 1/5
[DVD] #789
Basically a remake of 'It's A Mad Mad Mad World', guests at a hotel/casino all invited to locate 2 million dollars hidden in a locker in New Mexico. A cast full of many wonderful comedians, but which fails to deliver in all parts. Disappointingly, the majority of the jokes are corny, or simply unfunny, although the ending itself was the best that could be salvaged from the script.


31 Saturday
King of Comedy (Martin Scorsese 1983) 2.5 / 5
[DVD] #788
A change of pace for Scorsese, the very dark comedy about one man's obsession to fit into society and become the comedian he has dreamed of. With Robert De Niro as the self absorbed, unrelenting comedian, stalking, and eventually kidnapping Jerry Lewis.
A nice film indeed, with De Niro able to project both sympathy and anger in his role. Jerry Lewis is very fine as the studio's number 1 comedian maintaining manners whilst De Niro pressures him often. A fine insight into the world of celebrity and infamy.

Miss Congeniality 2
(Joh n Pasquin 2005) 2/5
[DVD] #787
Not as enjoyable as the first film, still this sequel manages to throw up some enjoyable bright scenes and interesting cameos. Whilst Bullock fits into this character extremley well, it is disappointing not seeing more of William Shatner in his role as Beauty Pageant MC.

I felt the film had too many sub plots happening, the relationship between Bullock's character and Regina King's character ( Fuller, the bodyguard), the fact that Bullock's love life is non existent anymore, the relationship with the hierachy at the FBI and the impact she has on females of all ages as a role model. As a result it was difficult to complete all these plots, along with the major kidnapping plot (which was weak), by the film's end.

14 Wednesday
King Kong ( Peter Jackson 2005) 2.5/5
[Highpoint Cinema]#786
Over long remake of the original 1933 horror film by the same name. Peter Jackson has made a King Kong mistake in several aspects of this film. Firstly, the film is far too long, divided into three clear sections, the opening section needs to be tighter to segue into the second acts.

In the second act- Jackson has some nice moments, the appearance of Kong is a great special effect and Naomi Watts is quite convincing, but it is the disappointing special effects with the charging Brontosaurus that left a bad taste in my mouth- this from a man who has provided us with flawless special effects before! There is obvious uses of blue screen and CGI and it does ruin the moment in the second act.

The casting of Jack Black and Adrien Brody are wrong, with Black's slightly humorous take completely out of fashion with the film. Infact the majority of his lines are poorly conceived and several jokes (not needed anyway) fall flat.

I came away from this film underwhelmed, now matter how big that damn monster was.

9 December
Alfie (Charles Shyer 2004) 4/5
[DVD] #785
Enjoyable witty drama comedy about a handsome womaniser who tries to understand and learn from his mistake. Jude Law is absolutely perfect as Alfie, the man who wants to be with every woman he encounters. This film is such a smash, great costume, perfect script and ideal casting all around. Highly recommended

4 Sunday
Brothers Grimm (Terry Gilliam 2005) 2/5
[Highpoint Cinema 5 ] #784
Intelligent idea for a film, following the lives of the Grimm Brothers as they encounter a real life fairytale curse. Matt Damon and Heath Ledger are the Brothers Grimm, with Ledger the standout performer. But the film becomes too confusing, and fairytale characters blend into each other and it all becomes a bit of a mess at the end, which is a shame as the idea and the first half of the film was good.


20 Sunday
Cube 2: Hypercube (Andrzej Sekula 2002) 0/5
[DVD] #783
Disappointing sequel to Cube- although the same premise applies- 8 people trapped inside a series of cube for no apparent rhyme or reason. The reason why this sequel fails to create interest is that there is not enough clues, information or development to maintain interest. And at the end of the film, the result and the outcome is uninspired. Disappointing. Check out the original instead.

19 Saturday
Independence Day (Roland Emmerich 1996) 1/5
[DVD} #782
Far too long blockbuster film about aliens attacking the world. Great idea, and some nice moments, but this film did not know whether to be serious, or light hearted or witty, and as a result there was no sympathy for any of the characters. That and the fact the film goes on for far too long, and that the majority of the dialogue and scenes are simply outrageous and laughable.

18 Friday
The Anderson Tapes (Sidney Lumet 1971) 2.5/5
[DVD] #781
Sidney Lumet always directs fascinating films (see: Fail Safe), and this is quite a taut heist film. Sean Connery (who I rarely enjoy in movies) is the head of a gang wanting to rob a series of wealthy apartments all in the same building. Martin Balsam is really wonderful in the supporting role (as always!) and he brings a sense of enjoyment and sparkle to the film. In the same vein of Oceans 11 (remake), all characters are used quite well and the use of editing between present and future towards the end works well.

15 Tuesday
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Shane Black 2005) 2.5/5
[Highpoint Cinema 6] #780
Original conceived idea of Robert Downey Jnr caught up in murder and mayhem whilst apparently furthering his Hollywood career. Sharp witty dialogue punctuated by a strong performance by Val Kilmer, makes this film quite unique. Yet something is missing, maybe it is the convoluted storyline which now and then takes away from the film. Nice use of voice over and by far the most enjoyable opening credits since 'Catch Me If You Can'.

10 Thursday

FlightPlan (Robert Schwentke 2005) 2/5
[Highpoint Cinema 6 9.30pm] #779
Jodie Foster portraying a bereaved woman, along with her daughter, flying back to America with the body of her husband in the cargo of the plane- but not all is what it seems, especially once her child disappears and there is no record of her boarding the flight. With similarities to Hitchcock's 'ROPE' and Schumacher's 'PHONE BOOTH', the majority of this film is spent on one location. While Foster is good , the storyline unfortunately becomes bad once the revelation occurs. A film which could have been so much more, but wasn't.

5 Saturday

The Woodsman (Nicole Kassell 2004) 3/5
[DVD] #778
Strong performance by Kevin bacon as a child molester trying to start a new life after 12 years in jail. However his past is on the verge of reawakening as he struggles with his demons, being ostracised and hounded. A well directed film, with some interesting plot developments involving Bacon and another character called 'Candy' (Kevin Rice). Worth a look.

3 Thursday
Cellular (David R Ellis 2004) 1/5
[DVD] #777
Nice idea, but really, this film was too far fetched and not only that, had plot developments that were simply ridiculous. A young mother (Kim Basinger) is kidnapped, yet manages to re-work a broken phone using the wires and makes contact with a young man (Chris Evans), in the hope that he can rescue there. A film which wasn't even slightly suspenseful, nor did anyone care for the characters.

OCTOBER 2005 MOVIE VIEWING #766 - #776

30 Sunday
Court Jester (Melvin Frank / Norman Panama 1956) 3.5/5
[FOX Classics 8.30pm] #776
Fast moving colourful story of Danny Kaye attempting to steal a king's key to gain access to a secret tunnel to overthrow him. A brilliant vehicle for Kaye who is simply wonderful as the Court Jester in disguise. With unforgettable lines (the pellet with the poison...), and a wonderful cast including Basil Rathbone, Angela Lansbury, Mildred Natwick and Alan Napier (of Batman TV series fame as Alfred the butler)

28 Friday
Last of Sheila (Herbert Ross 1973) 4/5
[ACMI 10pm Cinema 2] Third Viewing
On the third viewing this film gets better. Aware of all the red herrings and plot twists, one can focus on James Mason truly humorous and intelligent performance, the brilliant dialogue and one liners. Disappointing that the print shown was simply the DVD version of the film, however still worth the price of admission. The premise is simple, 6 people attend a games weekend on a ship, where a murder happens. Stellar cast of Mason, James Coburn, Richard Benjamin, Raquel Welch, Dyan Cannon, with a script by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins.

14 Friday
Silent Running (Douglas Trumball 1972) 1.5 / 5
[DVD] #775
The last forests from earth are held and maintained in Space, by the one main who truly understands their importance. So it is his murdering of his fellow astronauts to continue the forest's life than catapults this story forward. However, once that plot point is established not much else happen. An odd song here and there, some humorous by play with two robots, but this film fails in it's ultimate attempt at humanity and the environment.

13 Thursday

A Night to Remember (Roy Ward Baker 1958 ) 3.5 /5
[DVD] #774
A documentary style retelling of the 1914 Sinking of the Titanic. Really lovely crisp images and well directed. Good use of multi characters to convey the sense of failure, courage, sacrifice and redemption. A film which still remains quite striking nearly 50 years on. Better than James Cameron's Titanic.

12 - Wednesday
Event Horizon
(Paul W.S Anderson 1997) 1/5
[DVD[ #773
Crew members on board a spaceship rendezvous with a missing spacecraft, only to encounter strange activities. A nice idea, but really this film loses itself halfway through and rather than answering questions, raises more than is needed. A really disappointing film.

8 Saturday
The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick 1993) 2 /5
[DVD] #772
Beautifully made stop motion animation about the inhabitants of Halloween Town, who attempt to celebrate Christmas. Some wonderful creations, especially the Mayor of Halloween Town. Some of the songs are difficult to follow and as such make you lose part of the narrative, but on the whole, the story is fresh, and moves along quite well.

7 Friday
The Last Voyage (Andrew L Stone 1960) 1.5 /5
(Movie Extra) #771

Every possible disaster film plot point can be found in this film about a cruise ship on the verge of sinking. The stubborn captain (George Sanders), the trapped innocent mother (Dorothy Malone) and the heroic husband (Robert Stack) who refuses to let his wife die. Sanders performance is quite good until the end when some of his motivations and decision as captain seem far fetched. Some nice thrilling moments at the end, but ultimately nothing great about this film. Andrew Stone even managed to partially sink a real ship- the S.S Ile De France to add to the authenticity.

5 Wednesday
Cube (Vincenzo Natali 1997) 2/5
[Movie Extra] #770
7 strangers are trapped in a series of booby trapped cubes with seemingly no way to escape. Original and fascinating idea by Natali, but ultimate, one would like complete closure on the film. Some very smart plot devices and good creation of characters but ultimately the ending was lacking.

3 Monday
The ABC Murders (TV Movie) (1992) 2 / 5
[Hallmark] #769
David Suchet as Hercule Poirot solving a series a murder seemingly related only by the victims surnames which are running in alphabetical order. This wasn't a bad telemovie, and the majority of Poirot films are good, but it seemed that the ending was slightly lacking (blame the book ?) in resolution. As always everyone performed well, however I would have liked to have seen the Doncaster Race Course utilised better in the story.

Category 6: Day of Destruction (Dick Lowry 2004) 1 / 5
[Hallmark] #768
A hurricane and a tornado converge, creating a Category 6 storm over Chicago. Every potential disaster cliche appears in this Tele-Movie. The pregnant wife stuck in an elevator, the mother and child stuck in a bank fighting for their life, and a father piloting an aeroplane who must navigate the storm's eye to land and rescue his wife. It all comes together in a very B Grade feeling with weak unconvincing acting and poor graphics.

2 Sunday
The Sea Inside (Alejandro Amenbar 2004) 3 / 5
[DVD] #767
Javier Bardem portrays real life quadriplegic Ramon Sampedro who wants to die rather than live the remainder of his life in bed. A very strong film with particular fine performances by Bardem and Tamar Novas (as Javier). Some very nice touches and use of music, in particular Bardem's first 'flying dream' . This film won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Foreign film and some say, Bardem should have been nominated as Best Actor.

1 Saturday
Serenity (Josh Whedon 2005) 2.5 / 5
[Highpoint Cinema 3] #766
Sci Fi fim which has just the right amount of seriousness and light heartedness. Sure, the majority of the film is by the book, but there are several moments which shock. Particular impressive acting by Chiwetel Ejiofor as 'The Operative'. A film that fans of the TV series 'Firefly' will predominately like (apart from one or two plot points), and
that general movie goers can have fun with


25 Sunday
Cinderalla Man (Ron Howard 2005) 3/5
[Rivoli Cinema 6 - Advance Screening] #765
Ron Howard's directorial film about the life story of the Cinderalla Man - boxer James J Braddock. Russell Crowe portrays Braddock with stunning success, displaying poise, anger and courage as he works his way up during the depression to win the Heavyweight Title of the World. Renee Zellweger is quite good as his wife, so too Paul Giamatti as his faithful manager. A better boxing film than Million Dollar Baby, and yes, the neighbour Sara Wilson is played by Rosemarie DeWitt- Braddock's real life grand daughter- a nice touch.

24 Saturday
28 Days Later (Danny Boyle 2002) 1.5/5
[DVD] Film #764
Some say the scariest film since The Exorcist. A virus is unleashed and London is devastated 28 days later when everyone is turned into raging murderous. For a horror film it contains some gorgeous music and cinematography which often feels out of place in the whole scheme of the movie. Standard paint by numbers kind of film, with some truly awful scenes and sounds.

23 Friday
The Interpreter (Sydney Pollack 2005) 1.5 / 5
[DVD] Film #763
Difficult, muddy film involving Nicole Kidman, as an interpreter, overhearing an assassination plot on a U.N Head of State. Kidman's accent is too distracting, and whilst Sean Penn is quite convincing as the Secret Service agent, his acting seems contrived in parts. The story is very formulistic with several typical stereotypes (cop with coffee all the time). Again, as with a lot of films, we don't feel any empathy towards certain characters that we are supposed too- so we don't care what happens to them.

22 Thursday
Empire of the Air: The Men Who Made Radio (Ken Burns 1991) 3/5
[DVD] Film #762
Interesting story about the three men who each in their own way, created AM and FM radio. As per Ken Burn documentaries there are some terrific insights from 'talking heads' and the footage from 'This is Your Life' is especially touching.
Burns really does have a tight, brilliant control over all subjects he films- and this is no exception.

21 Wednesday
Red Eye (Wes Craven 2005) 1.5 / 5
[Hoyts Highpoint Cinema 2. 9.00pm] Film #761
Predictable edge of the seat thriller set predominantly on an airplane. Fails however because we don't care enough about the 'heroes' of the film, in particular Brian Cox. Because of this, we don't care what happens for them, nor feel any empathy towards them.
Granted there are some nice plot devices in her which keeps the story going, but with the generic characters, and predictable finish, this film is nothing new.

18 Friday
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit ( Nick Park 2005 ) 3/5
[Victoria Gardens Cinema 8 8.50pm] Film #760
The first full length feature film involving the animation of Wallace and Gromit. This film was just the perfect length, and the script was predominately strong. There were some flat points , however you can't help but marvellous at the meticulous work required to get this kind of animation on the screen. Some lovely movie in jokes (Harvey), and nice vocal turn by Ralph Fiennes.

11 Sunday
Sapphire ( Basil Dearden 1959 ) 2.5/5
[ABC] Film #759
A black girl, passing herself off as white is found murdered in a park. Interesting film about racial tensions and bigotry in Britain. Nigel Patrick as SuperIntendent is quite convincing. Some parts of the film feel abstract and seem to lose connection at some point. Some intruging ideas and fascinating characters.

10 Saturday
I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang ( Mervyn LeRoy 1932 ) 3.5/5
[TCM] Film #758
Paul Muni is stunning as a fugitive who escapes from a chain gang, only to return voluntarily for 90 days in exchange for being pardoned for his crime. However, his pardon never eventuates and he must escape again to survive. Some genuine heartstopping moments with Muni's performance emotional and compelling. Fast moving narrative and nicely photographed, with an ending that is cinema at its best

Seance on a Wet Afternoon ( Bryan Forbes 1964 ) 3.5/5
[ABC] Film #757
Fine haunting film about a couple who plan to kidnap a child, then advise the parents that they know the child's whereabouts after hosting a séance. Kim Stanley is frighteningly wonderful as the mother and psychic holding together their plan whilst her weak-minded husband (Richard Attenborough) realises the sadness of their motives. Strikingly beautiful in black and white, with wonderful narrative structures.

5 Monday
Little Caesar (Mervyn LeRoy 1931 ) 2/5
[DVD] Film #756
The film which made Edward G Robinson a star. A gangster who climbs up that underworld ladder to become the underworld crime boss. Robinson's delivery is so unique that he is compelling to watch- he is almost a caricature of himself. The story itself is difficult to follow and feels stilted. Famous last line is cinema history.

2 Friday
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Tim Burton 2005 115mins ) 2/5
[Rivoli Cinema 1 7.00pm] Film #755
Colourful remake of the Roald Dahl children book by the same name. Johnny Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka is a cross between reclusive Howard Hughes, and scary Michael Jackson- but it doesn't quite come off.
There are several disappointing aspects of this film - the Oompa Loompa's are played by one actor, and as a result, the computer effects of that are pretty poor. The storyline between Willy Wonka and Charlie's Grandfather (Grandpa Joe- played by David Kelly) showed a lot of promise, considering Grandpa Joe worked in the Wonka factory all those years ago- but the potential for a moving subplot never eventuate. Odd, considering Burton is a master at 'mending' relationships (aka Big Fish).
On the plus side, the cast of all children was wonderful, and the look of the film was impressive , although I felt under whelmed by the look of the Chocolate Factory inside.

AUGUST 2005 MOVIE VIEWING #745 - #754

28 Sunday
Muppet Christmas Carol (Brian Henson 1992 85 mins) 2.5/ 5
[DVD] Film #754
First Muppet film seen. Short and enjoyable telling of the Charles Dicken novel. Michael Caine is great as Scrooge who detest Christmas until he is visited by 3 ghosts of christmas. Highlights - Beaker and Bunsen and the Swedish Chef- and Michael Caine's strong convincing performance. Maybe one song too many in the film but kept my interest all the way through.

Skeleton Key
(Iain Softley 2005 104 mins) 1.5/ 5
[Coburg Drive-In 1 9.20pm] Film #753
The first ever film I have seen in a drive-in. A thriller about a girl (Kate Hudson) who tends to a stroke victim (John Hurt) in a house owned by Gena Rowlands. Some strong visuals and editing , but ultimately the film is let down by unfinished plot points- the bad casting of Kate Hudson, and the lack of interest in the narrative. Strong points include the performance of Gena Rowlands and John Hurt.

24 Wednesday
Land of the Dead (George A Romero 2005 93 mins) 1.5/ 5
[Highpoint Cinema 1 9.15pm] Film #752
Horror film director George Romero's slightly comical zombie film. While this film has only a handful of scary moments, the majority of the film is taken up with exposition, comical moments- and really doesn't know what direction to take. The open sequence braces us for a gruesome film- but then the film turns comical right away and loses that scary connection. Dennis Hopper has one scene in particular where he is very good - and the nice touch of the old Universal Logo at the start of the film made me smile.

21 Sunday
Barefoot in the Park (Gene Saks 1967 104 mins) 3/ 5
[DVD] Film #751
A really enjoyable film about newly weds trying to live in an apartment at the top of 6 flight of stairs. Jane Fonda and Robert Redford make a very enjoyable couple, with Fonda outstanding with her bubbly, happy-go lucky personality, and Redford with his suave demeanour. But, it is Mildred Natwick as the mother who is wonderful - a really genuinely funny performance with unequal delivery and movement. A surprisingly fresh movie which still stands the test of time.

21 Sunday
Wages of Fear (Henri - Georges Clouzot 1953 156 mins) 2.5/ 5
[DVD] Film #750
4 men are hired to transport an urgent Nitro-glycerine shipment by two trucks- without the necessary safety equipment. A film which starts off slow- before the main narrative kicks in a quarter of the way thorough and builds to a shattering crescendo.
Yves Montand is great as the driver of one van, and the leader of them all. Some very striking moments in this film- the destruction of one truck , the oil pit scene and the last scene of the film- the astounding piece of direction and editing involving the music of The Blue Danube and the way it connects the triumphs and tragedies.

13 Saturday
Bad Education (Pedro Almodovar 2005 104 mins) 2/ 5
[DVD] Film #749
Pedro always directs odd films- in this film, told with flashbacks within flashbacks, a movie script is being directed about the lives of two young boys and priest. The subject matter is not for the faint hearted, and Gael Bernal performance is , as always, strong. But I found the narrative to be confusing at time, and that some of the characters motives did not match the character themselves.

6 Saturday
The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy 1973 99 mins) 1/ 5
[DVD] Film #748
The strangest film I have seen since Querelle (Number 693). A cult classic amongst film buff, a policeman travels to an island to investigate the disappearance of a girl and is caught up in bizarre rituals from the island folk. Certainly worth watching for the sheer bizarreness of the story and Christopher Lee's over the top performance. Some nice images.

Brooklyn Bridge (Ken Burns 1981 58 mins) 3/ 5
[DVD] Film #747
Ken Burn's first ever documentary- a short 58 minute look at the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. It is fascinating to compare this documentary to later Burns documentary in respect to style and length of chapters. This dvd is quite short and contains 2-3 minute mini chapters whereas more recent documentaries have lengthy chapters. Still has the same Burns style to it, and I found this story to be quite informative and interesting.

3 Monday
Open Water (Chris Kentis 2003 79 mins) 2.5/ 5
[DVD] Film #746
Strong film of a couple left in shark infested ocean after a scuba diving expedition. some moments of the film are truly terrifying and in particular the remaining 15 minutes of the film is quite brilliant. in some situations early in the film the dialogue sounds a bit corny- but the majority of the film keeps your interest and builds suspense.

1 Monday
Saw (James Wan 2004 102 mins) 3/ 5
[DVD] Film #745
Great idea for a story- two guys wake up chained to a bathroom, and there is a dead body in between them. The flashbacks and characters and plot twists are very well handled, apart from the overall twist- which I picked in the early part of the film. Other than that, a real tour-deforce for first time director. Maybe slightly long and drawn out, but all the markings of a true genuine thriller.

JULY 2005 MOVIE VIEWING #734 - #744

31 Sunday
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson ( Ken Burns 2004 214 mins) 3.5/ 5
[ACMII] Film #744
Ken Burn's three and a half hour documentary of the first ever black heavyweight champion. Viewed as part of the Melbourne Film Festival a thoroughly enjoyable documentary, punctuated by extraordinary footage and analysis of early Johnson fights. If anything, the film is slightly too long , but the footage almost makes up for it. Ken Burns is a brilliant film maker, and whilst his 20 hour documentary on Baseball is his apex, this film is still of the high quality.

30 Saturday
Thing from another Planet ( Christian Nyby 1951 87 mins) 1.5/ 5
[ABC] Film #743
B Grade Sci Fi film famous for the ending 'Watch the Skies'. Some nice moments , in particular shots of the alien backlit and plot points including 'Dogs' and a 'Greenhouse'. Other than that, a very talky film- with an emphasis on scientific aspects of extra-terrestrial life. This film seemed to lack
a credible scary monster and should have focussed more on heightening tension.

23 Wednesday
I Walk with a Zombie (Jacques Tourner 1943 69 mins) 1.5/ 5
[SBS] Film #742
My second Jacques Tourner film, and certainly not as superior as 'The Cat People' . This film revolves around voodoo, and whilst the atmosphere is moody and dark, the storyline itself was really weak. The acting overall was quite good and cinematography striking in many scenes- but in 69 minutes it did not hold my attention.

20 Wednesday
Sommersturm (Marco Kreuzpaintner 2004 98 mins) 2/ 5
[SBS] Film #741
Two childhood friends go on a rowing competition trip, where love blossoms for Achim, while his childhood friend Tobi experience his sexually awakening. Not a bad film- the acting was very strong and the story was engaging. Kostja Ullman's performance as Achim is smouldering and mesmerising - a stunning actor who is engaging in everyway on the screen.

19 Tuesday
The Last Gangster (Edward Ludwig 1937 81 mins) 1.5/ 5
[TCM] Film #740
Edward G Robinson is sent to Alcatraz and spends ten years there before his release- and then tries to track down his wife and kid. A film I didn't really enjoy, sure Robinson had some nice scenes and the Gangster character suits him perfectly, but the film itself did not seem to capture me with any interest.

17 Sunday
The Hulk (Ang Lee 2003 102 mins) 0/ 5
[DVD] Film #739
Poor comic book film - where the Hulk is an extremely badly generated computer image. Because of that it is impossible to care about this character. Also- there is no bad guy, or reason for his destruction other than his rage. A comic book hero needs an enemy. Stay away from this film.

16 Saturday
Sin City (Frank Miller / Robert Rodriguez 2005 124 mins) 2/ 5
[Rivoli Cinema 6) 3.50pm. Film #738
A very difficult film to connect to- possibly the most violent film I have seen. Shot entirely with CGI, it is impossible to feel compassion for any character. The good ole 'double cross' storyline is played out several times, that you find that you almost can predict what is going to happen next. The film certainly moves at a fast pace and has all the looks and feel of a comic book- but was it worth it ?

12 Tuesday
Bewitched (Nora Ephron 2005 102 mins) 3/ 5
[Highpoint Cinema) 7.15pm. Film #737
This was a very enjoyable film- far above the expectation I had. Farrell and Kidman really worked well, and Farrell himself shone through. however the movie was stolen by Shirley MacLaine's turn as Endora. A really enjoyable cinema experience, the only draw back is the length of the film.

Paths of Glory
(Stanley Kubrik 1957) 3.5/ 5
[Astor Cinema] 7.30pm. 2nd viewing
The first film on the Kubrick Double Bill including 'The Killing'. When I first watched Paths of Glory I found the narrative to be extraordinary. On the second viewing, I discovered that there is little time spent actually on the main point of the story- that is the order to bomb their own soldiers to get them out of the trenches and into battle. I guess, then my expectation was too high- but still, Kubrick's camera movements are great, and Douglas and Adolphe Menjou are outstanding and in some circles of cinema- the last scene is claimed to be one of cinema's most moving. Downgraded from 4.5 to 3.5 on second viewing.

9 Saturday
Fantastic Four (Tim Story 2005 106 mins) 1/ 5
[Jam Factory] Cinema 9. 9.10pm. Film #736
Very lame attempt at a comic book movie. The only redeeming features were that the casting was spot on, which the right actors playing the right characters- in particular those of The Thing and Johnny Storm. Haven't we had enough of these Marvel Comic book movies now ? Yes.

4 Monday
City of Lost Children (Marc Caro / Jean-Pierre Jeunet 1995 112 mins) 1/ 5
[DVD] First viewing. Film #735
Visually striking film - but , what was the plot ? A film that gets very confusing and difficult to follow.

2 Saturday
War of the Worlds (Steven Spielberg 2005 116 mins) 4.5/ 5
[Highpoint Cinema 6] Film #734
Genuinely thrilling film, of Martians attacking earth. The one thing that stands out in this film is the Sound. Exciting, Scary, overpowering. Wonderful acting, and the film just goes along at a great pace. Some may not like the ending, however, in Spielberg fashion it falls within his trademark. Some very ironic moments and stand out shots- bodies floating down a river, train on fire, noises in the difference. A truly exhilarating film. Highly recommended.