- Birdman winner: Vibe was fantastic
- Jim’s cheat sheet, March 7
- Moomba royalty graces the airwaves!
- One woman’s frightening affair with pokies
- All Is Lost: Interview with director JC Chandor
- Handbag wonder from down under
- New release movie reviews – March 6
- Paula Abdul talks success with Denis Walter
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What we're talking about
- Martin on Model sacked, told her bum's too big Ms Nicole is perfect, when will these designers realise men want meat not sticks. more
- Tracy Johnson on Austin Powers joins Friday Lunch Mark Andrew is one of a kind.With all is characters is best known for Elvis,in my views he is the best. more
- ian on Austin Powers joins Friday Lunch I had seen Mark on several occasions and to tell you he is great more
- Robert Rich on Back to the future for Moomba This is a joke !!!!!!! more
- Heather on Back to the future for Moomba Oh so wrong!!! Am sick of Bert being treated like a demi god. He's had his turn and would have thought he would do decent ... more
- CHRIS WATTS on Back to the future for Moomba once was enough,BUT not twice....why do we need to pamper this old tv worker.......Abbott is going back to the Howard days, ... more
- Jane on Back to the future for Moomba Oh spare me. Newton again. "Clown" hall does it again. How about honouring the CFA instead or someone like Moira Kelly for ... more
- ian on Back to the future for Moomba This would have the worst decision since the people voted Gillard in a P/M. more
- Jill on Back to the future for Moomba I would rather applaud our CFA during the Moomba Parade, than Bert Newton. Maybe we can applaud Bert Newton come Logie time. more
- Christine on Back to the future for Moomba You've got to be kidding ! more
- Alison Horner on Around the home with Shannon Lush Hi Shannon could you please advise washing microfibre cleaning cloths indicate no softness or bleach products to be used. ... more
- Craig on Chuck Berry takes a dive Ummmm.. Looks like he had a parachute on too... Nothing to see here. more
- ian on Mum furious: A stranger smacked my child Any witnesses. more
- Grant O'Connor on Mum furious: A stranger smacked my child Do you seriously need to ask that question?What do you think Dennis? Anyone who slaps a strangers child deserves to slapped ... more
- David on Have young people lost their manners? Yes.. Especially younger women. If you open a door for them or give them a compliment these days they automatically assume ... more
- Gloss on Weatherman's approaching low front Bloody Beautiful, should be more of it. more
- Garry on Have young people lost their manners? People are not only losing their manners,with the libs in government their also losing their jobs,wages and conditions...... more
- biggles on Aussies worried about their ... if you took Alcohol out of Australia ,,it would collapse more
- Aria Judilla on Weatherman's approaching low front Great work Cameron. The "journalist" is standing in a public area and he physically attacks somebody just for standing next ... more
- Steve on Weatherman's approaching low front I remember that one with Cameron and the idiot didn't come back for another one either >. more
New release movie reviews - 8 March
OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL **** (130 minutes) PG
In one of the more inventive, visually rhapsodic examples of franchise filmmaking, director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man; Evil Dead) gives us the backstory of the titular character from the iconic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. And what a delight for the eyes it is.
James Franco plays a low-rent magician transported to Oz via tornado (as with Dorothy in the original). There he is tasked by the colourful locals to face down the Emerald City's wicked sister witches.
Disney's rich tradition of making evil women sexy continues here with the casting of Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz as Theodora and Evanora respectively, while a miscast Michelle Williams largely blands out as the Good Witch.
Harnessing his $200 million budget with great precision - the film was obviously story-boarded in exacting detail - Raimi fills every square centimetre of the frame with aggressively attractive images, dialling up the appeal of primary colours and photo-realistic digital dazzle to bring this lusciously surreal joyride to life.
Simply put, Oz is simply beautiful to behold.
Best of all, they haven't neglected to put heart in the midst of all the movement; Raimi's delicate realisation of the fragile China Girl, who accompanies the Wizard on his quest, proves that directorial finesse still has a place in big films.
Fun Fact: Due to the legalities over Warner Bros' ownership of imagery from the original film, Raimi could not reproduce certain key elements. So the Yellow Brick Road couldn't be shown in a swirl; even the shade of green on the witch's skin had to be sufficiently different!
BROKEN CITY *** (109 minutes) MA
An angry Mark Wahlberg and a smarmy Russell Crowe face off in this satisfying, by-the-numbers big-city detective story. Wahlberg plays an cop-turned-private investigator hired by Rusty's New York City mayor to investigate the mysterious movements of his wife, played by shifty-looking, and apparently ageless, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
As per formula, things are not as they first appear, and the deeper the investigation gets, the muddier and bloodier things become.
It is predictable procedural fodder - you can see the "twists" coming a mile away - but done with enough conviction to paper over the plot holes and cliches.
Crowe is very good as an ambitious, super-confident politician and director Allen Hughes knows how to stage a car chase at night, God bless him.
Fun Fact: This is the first solo directing gig for Allen Hughes. With brother Albert, he made: Menace II Society (1993); Dead Presidents (1995); From Hell (2001); and The Book of Eli (2010).
GREAT EXPECTATIONS ***1/2 (130 minutes) M
The classic tale by Charles Dickens comes in for a sumptuous, heartfelt, vibrantly performed remake courtesy of veteran British director Mike Newell (Donnie Brasco; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and writer David Nicholls (And When Did You Last See Your Father?).
As Pip, the orphan whose life changes when an anonymous benefactor makes him rich, Jeremy Irvine (Warhorse) is a study in confused manhood; Holliday Grainger (The Borgias) is an emotionally fierce Estella; while Helena Bonham Carter does something with Miss Havisham that Martita Hunt couldn't quite manage in the brilliant 1946 David Lean film; namely, make it feel as though she never changed out of that damned wedding dress since being stood up at the altar.
Dickens fans will love the care and conviction put into this film, with Ralph Fiennes making a great Magwitch. (See our special interviews with Holliday Grainger and Mike Newell.)
BLINDER ** (119 minutes) M
Here's a prime example of a potentially good Aussie film that feels as if it went into production while the makers were still several drafts away from a finished screenplay.
The long-term repercussions of one bad night prompt former Aussie Rules player Tom (Oliver Ackland) to return to his provincial home to try and set things straight, both with his former mates and with local woman Rose (Anna Hutchison).
Ten years earlier he had a drunken dalliance with her. She was 15. Big mistake. The subsequent scandal derailed many lives, including hers, and crippled several promising careers. Great, meaty basis for a terrific sports film, surely. Yet it doesn't come off.
Clumsily flashbacking between 2013 and 2003, director Richard Gray (Summer Coda) has his hands full trying to do justice to the story's moral minefield while putting in enough slo-mo footy action to qualify as a sports film.
Regrettably, this results in a well-meaning muddle of a film that tries hard to untangle and resolve the complex issues it bravely raises. In other words, it fails to deliver on the promise it sets up in its strong opening half hour.
This could be a function of its length and jumbled structure; the narrative discipline that would have been required to make the film 30 minutes shorter would no doubt have sharpened the film's points about bad behaviour, culpability, regret and friendship. It also would have shortened (or shed) many of the film's blokey digressions. (As implied by Blaise Pascal's famous 1657 quote - "I have made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter" - being succinct is demanding!)
Jack Thompson, essentially reprising his famous role from 1980's The Club, is good here as the guts-or-glory coach. And to its credit, the film also shows the huge importance sport can have in a small town, something many fine American sports film have done.
Fun Fact: Bizarrely, Blinder has been slammed for being "misogynist" for its portrayal of Anne, proving that the term has now become so over-used of late it is now being invoked without recourse to a dictionary.
I GIVE IT A YEAR *** (97 minutes) M
Very good British rom com with Rose Byrne and Rafe Spall about a troubled marriage that hits the S-bend after only nine months. A dowdy Anna Faris and a suited up Simon Baker have fun with their supporting roles as romantic alternatives. As with Bridesmaids, Byrne proves herself to be naturally funny, and the film is definitely cliche-averse: there is no way the story's well-mounted final act would have survived the American test screening process.
Seriously "very good"? I thought this was the lamest piece of work I've seen in years - it lurched from one contrived scene to the next. Good actors; poor material. The final act was the saddest example of predictable lameness I've seen in years. A real dog of a film. A quality-free zone.Elizabeth M Friday 29 March, 2013 - 6:35 PM