msolga
 
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 06:56 am
I'm on holiday right now & catching up with lots of films! At theatres & also on DVD. This is just great! Very Happy

Anyway, today I saw an Australian film that I really, really, really (!) loved!: Look Both Ways.

It's a wonderful film, about attitudes to life, death & just carrying on.... One sad event triggers a number of different folk to examine their own lives: like how death (or the very real possibility impending death, in one case) affects them. This may sound morbid or ponderous, but surprise! ... It's quite the opposite! Very Happy I loved how animation was used to convey the thoughts of the characters. Very clever & it worked so well.
I'm a rather picky film viewer & normally find a flaw or two to detract from the film, but in this case everything seemed to work & mesh beautifully: the cast, the animations, the script, the music ... Just very good!

If it comes your way, check it out I doubt you'll be disappointed. Very Happy

http://www.lookbothways.com.au/main.html
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 07:06 am
I thought it might be a good idea to have a new Oz film thread here. There seem to have been quite a few new ones released recently. So, as I see them I'll post my responses. And I hope other Oz A2Kers will do the same! We might even disagree about the pros & cons of particular films. Oh, & it would be good to receive feedback from A2Kers other countries, too. Anyway, we'll see what happens. Very Happy
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Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 07:07 am
Oh dear me...I don't speak Australian...is it subtitled?
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 07:16 am
Sturgis, Sturgis .... Trust me, you won't need subtitles! Really! & and the animations are an added aid to the Oz (language) challenged! :wink:
Seriously, it's really very good.
0 Replies
 
Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 07:20 am
I look forward to its arrival here then.
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 07:23 am
I promise you won't be disappointed!
And if you feel "language challenged" you can always post here & we'll enlighten you! Very Happy
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Sturgis
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 07:29 am
What exactly is "another shrimp on the Barbie"? Is this a derogatory remark about Barbie's sometimes beau, Ken? (I really need to get out more) and is this truly even an Australian expression or is it just a rumor?
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 07:43 am
The other Oz film I saw recently was Little Fish. Released with much fanfare & good reviews, I was really looking forward to it. Here's a Triple J review :

Little Fish
director: Rowan Woods
country: Australia
Porchlight Films
official website
rated: 4.5/5
review date: 09/09/2005

cast: Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Lisa McCune, Noni Hazlehurst, Martin Henderson

Little Fish is Australian director Rowan Woods' much-anticipated second feature after his electrifying debut with The Boys (1998). Like The Boys, Little Fish also explores family life in a poorer suburban environment. This time it is Cabramatta in Sydney's South West.

Cate Blanchett (Heaven, The Aviator) gives a nuanced, grounded performance as Tracy Heart, an ex-heroin addict trying to stay clean and realise her dreams of owning a small business as a way of starting again and putting the past behind her. She lives with Janelle, Noni Hazelhurst (Fran, Monkey Grip) Tracy's fiercely protective mum. Because they live at such close quarters they keep few secrets from each other. But things start to go pear-shaped again for Tracy when Jonny (VIP's Dustin Ngyuen) resurfaces, an old flame she has tried to forget. The only other secret Tracy is keeping from her is that she is also helping out Janelle's old boyfriend Lionel, (Hugo Weaving, amazing again), who was once a local hero but now a full-blown junkie.

The scenes shared by Weaving and Hazelhurst are breathtaking - they carry such hurt and heart. But so do the rest in Little Fish such is the integrity of the script, performances and direction. Little Fish is very much the sum of its parts, quite a beautiful film to look at and listen to, a quietly powerful piece even with some suspense thrown in for good measure.

Little Fish is an intimate, compelling film where confronting subject matter and social realism is elevated to a higher, more poetic plane through the deft use of an atmospheric, artistic style. It worked for Gregg Araki with the excellent Mysterious Skin and it does also for Woods with his equally confident Little Fish.

4 ½ stars


Sadly, I have to disagree with that rating. I really wanted to like this one but felt the casting of the film was faulty. It was impossible (for me) to imagine the Cate Blanchett character could succumb to heroine addiction again. In fact, she seemed too cool & collected by far to have done so before. I like Cate's work a lot, but in this case she just seemed wrong for the role. Hugo Weaving, on the other hand, was amazing. Weak, pathetic, corruptible & a user of others in support of his own habit. I've never seen him in a role like this one before & he was totally convincing. He is such an excellent actor! Noni Hazelhurst was very convincing too, as the mother.
If it sounds like this film is a bomb, that's not quite right. There are many intriguing aspects to it: Like the sights, sounds & atmosphere of Cabramatta & the drug culture there. The Vietnamese community in Cabramatta: the contrasts between the hard working old migrant & those caught up in drug culture. Little Fish has quite a lot going for it, but the casting flaws were big ones. A shame.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 07:48 am
Sturgis wrote:
What exactly is "another shrimp on the Barbie"? Is this a derogatory remark about Barbie's sometimes beau, Ken? (I really need to get out more) and is this truly even an Australian expression or is it just a rumor?


It means something like: relax, enjoy & throw some more food on the barbeque, silly! Absolutely nothing to do with Ken, I assure you! Cool
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 07:57 am
Look Both Ways - A review:

http://www.infilm.com.au/reviews/images/lookbothways.jpg

...Look Both Ways is a gritty drama set over a scorchingly hot weekend where a group of folks dealing with unexpected events find their lives intersecting. Ace photographer Nick (the brooding and charismatic William McInness) visits his doctor for a routine check up and receives a devastating diagnosis and is told he must endure the weekend until he finds out his treatment details and ultimate prognosis. His path crosses with Meryl (Justine Clarke) who returning from a funeral literally sees death everywhere when she unintentionally witnesses a railway accident and then there is the surly and cynical journalist Andy (Anthony Hayes) who is confronted by his girlfriend's untimely news. As a result of this turmoil and the fact that this drama concerns itself with one's mortality some audiences may find this extremely heavy going (a little heavy handed) and depressing while it is bound to strike a chord with like-minded and sympathetic 40 somethings.

Writer and director Sarah Watt (and life partner of leading man McInness) makes a most distinguished feature film debut and though her terrific ensemble piece will inevitably draw comparisons to Lantana and most Robert Altman films, because of its intertwining narrative structure, her audacious and innovative use of self-generated animation (which is both comical and devastating) to link the stories is highly effective and certainly sets it apart from other films. The exquisite cast all ably and sympathetically portray a perfectly realized group of scarred individuals and as a result Look Both Ways proves to be a moving, thought provoking and eventually uplifting viewing experience and is an early odds on to scoop the AFI awards as the best Aussie flick of 2005!


http://www.infilm.com.au/reviews/lookbothways.htm
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 08:10 am
If that review makes the film sound heavy going, I'd like to add that it had some funny moments, too. And some very touching ones. And one caused me to have a bit of a weep. I just found it thoroughly credible. The best Oz film I've seen since Lantana. (Though not quite Lantana's standard. Now THAT was a great film!)
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 08:23 am
SMH review of Little Fish:

Sink or swim
By Paul Byrnes
September 10, 2005


http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2005/09/09/littlefish_wideweb__430x305.jpg
Tied to the past ... Cate Blanchett and Dustin Nguyen play former lovers.

The struggle to get ahead in the suburbs makes for a memorable Australian movie.

Little Fish
Directed by Rowan Woods
Written by Jacqueline Perske
Rated MA 15+ Cinemas Everywhere

The suburbs in Sydney's west were sometimes named with an optimism that may now seem ironic - Fairfield, Green Valley, Prospect. How green was that valley, you wonder, how fair that field?

In the few Australian movies set in places such as these, the aim was usually to escape. Almost no one has shown them as places where roots might be going down and communities building, or re-establishing themselves, although that has been happening in many for at least 60 years, partly through migrant settlement.

With a few exceptions (such as Clara Law's Floating Life) the rich stories of migrant life remain untapped by our movies, to our loss. The suburbs are where people come from to buy the tickets, not where filmmakers go to find stories.

Rowan Woods is another exception and Little Fish gives us a sense of what we've been missing, even though it's not really about migrants - more like battlers, of any colour or creed. The script is based on his initial ideas, but it was written and developed over eight years by scriptwriter Jacqueline Perske (his wife). The film is exciting for several reasons, not least that it takes us to places we've rarely seen and inverts what we may have heard about them. It's the best Australian film for a couple of years, and not just because of Cate Blanchett's shining performance.

Woods has a gift for evoking a place. That was evident from his first feature, The Boys, which treated the suburban house as an incubator of evil, a serpent's nest. Little Fish is set in Cabramatta - a place most associate with only one thing, heroin - but it offers a story of hope and redemption.

Don't misunderstand me: the film is achingly sad, even heartbreaking, and it has a clear eye about the grubby politics of heroin, but it's not about that. It has bigger fish to catch and kiss. It's about characters trying to find their true natures, their good or bad angels. You know that old line of Oscar Wilde's, that "we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars". Well, Little Fish is about a couple of people still in the gutter, others trying to get in, some who make a living off those who are in, and one trying to keep herself from falling back in.

Tracy Heart (Blanchett) has been off heroin for four years. She's 32, lives with her mum, Janelle (Noni Hazlehurst, in great form), and works in a Cabramatta video shop. She wants to buy a half-share in the business, but no bank will talk to her. Each morning, Janelle takes her to the pool to do laps. Janelle is like the coach of her daughter's rehab.

Swimming is Tracy's escape and solace, part of what keeps her steady. Her route to work is through the indoor market where she smiles at the Vietnamese women selling fish. Tracy is so much a local that she speaks a fair bit of Vietnamese. The fish references continue with the amphetamines her brother Ray (Martin Henderson) sells - they come in little plastic fish containers, the kind used for soy sauce. He's cooking up a big deal with her former boyfriend Jonny (Dustin Nguyen), who left abruptly for Vancouver five years earlier. Jonny's return unsettles Tracy - they were junkies together and now he's a stockbroker?

The fish metaphor extends to the other characters as well. Brad "The Jockey" Thompson (Sam Neill) is a big fish in the heroin trade who has just retired. His sidekick, Stephen Moss (Joel Tobeck), sees this as his chance to swim into a bigger school. Hugo Weaving, as Lionel Dawson, former rugby league legend, sees his supply of free smack evaporating.

Weaving is the film's secret surprise. He is almost unrecognisable in his beard, with working-class accent clouded by the ravages of heroin. Neill looks pretty different, too, in yellow silk jacket and the teased and toned hair of an ageing queen. When Lionel planted a passionate kiss on him, I was even more surprised. A bisexual, heroin-addicted league legend? A character further from anything Weaving has played would be hard to imagine, but this is one of the best performances he has given. Lionel is a mess, a wreck of a man, but he loves with a beating heart - not just Brad, but Tracy. He was once her mother's boyfriend, until he gave Tracy heroin. Janelle will never forgive him but Tracy loves him like a father. Their relationship is the film's core.

One of the things Little Fish does so well is to show the small margins of safety for the recovering addict and the small betrayals of the user. "Don't get on while I'm still here, Lionel. Wait till I'm gone!" Another is to find parallel lines of struggle between Anglo and Vietnamese families: they are both losing children to the drug.

Blanchett is matchless, but in a completely new way. Tracy is almost plain. She has been beaten down flat before we meet her. Blanchett suggests both the physical toll of the bad years and the guts needed to recover. That brittle grit is what makes her such a moving actor.

Little Fish arrives in the nick of time. With Look Both Ways it reminds us that Australian cinema is not a luxury, nor a game. We need these stories to live, to keep hold of a sense of ourselves and, in the process, redefine it.

[email protected]

http://www.smh.com.au/news/film/sink-or-swim/2005/09/08/1125772625927.html
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Sep, 2005 09:37 am
MsOlga - this is great! Thanks for the tips, I like Aussie films, generally. I just saw Danny Armchair, dunno if it was from Oz or NZ.

Oops, Danny DECKchair, it is Aussie....

http://i.imdb.com/mptv1.gif
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Sep, 2005 12:24 am
littlek wrote:
MsOlga - this is great! Thanks for the tips, I like Aussie films, generally. I just saw Danny Armchair, dunno if it was from Oz or NZ.

Oops, Danny DECKchair, it is Aussie....

http://i.imdb.com/mptv1.gif


Hello, k!

Wanna know something? I know nothing about Danny Armchair! Embarrassed But then, I'm no expert on Oz films. I just know what I like! And I like to pass on the message about good Oz films to "the world". Very Happy I think we have a terrific little film industry here, which sometimes does wonderful things on the smell of an oily rag! (Is that Oz talk? I'll explain, if need be ...)

But do see Look Both Ways (if it comes your way) k. It really is an exceptionally satisfying film experience. (And that's from Ms Fussy, so it's gotta be true! Laughing )

Now I'm on a quest to learn more about Danny Armchair. Thanks, k!
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Sep, 2005 05:42 pm
MsOlga, I corrected my mis-titling of the movie. It's actually Danny Deckchair! You won't find anything under Danny Armchair (I tried).

I'll see if I can find the OZ films you mention here at my new video store.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2005 02:54 am
OK, I'd look under the new title then, k!

The two film I've mentioned have only just been released, so it may be a wee bit early to find them on video yet. But look later, definitely!
0 Replies
 
Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2005 03:09 am
The last movie I saw was "Oyster Farmer". As it involved the area that I visited as a child and was passing through on a daily basis I found it visually enjoyable.

The main characters manage to simulate sex in the nuddy with all the grunts and moans and animal thrashings involved (I guess that is still the case, I haven't had much practice lately).


However, it didn't:

a. add anything to the plot or character development
b. made for an incredible 'cringe' factor, because I had actually suggested this movie as a date
c. feature nice, big breasts - in fact the leading lady was a bit lacking in the 'norgs' region - Kerrie Armstrong who WAS in the film AND has a stack of real note DOES not give the movie-goer the smallest peek at her funbags.....

I will overcome my disappointment and give it 4 stars and hope that there is a Director's Cut with more titty action.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2005 03:11 am
Really looking forward to seeing them both.



Mebbe this weekend?
0 Replies
 
Mr Stillwater
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2005 03:14 am
dlowan wrote:
Really looking forward to seeing them both.



So was I.......
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 Sep, 2005 03:18 am
Mr Stillwater wrote:
The last movie I saw was "Oyster Farmer". As it involved the area that I visited as a child and was passing through on a daily basis I found it visually enjoyable.


Hmm, I was planning to see that one soon. But if the sex is not up to scratch, well .....? :wink:

I've read interesting reviews of The Magician. Anyone seen it?
0 Replies
 
 

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