Category Archives: Film Reviews

True Lies (1994) Film Review

Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a super spy, travelling the globe, shooting the bad guys and getting the intel – until he gets home to his bored wife, Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) and wayward daughter, Dana (Eliza Dushku). But when he discovers a sleaze ball (Bill Paxton) preying on Helen, he decides to teach the guy a lesson, and accidentally drags his family into his secret life.

I was obsessed with this film when it came out. Funny, great action, Jamie Lee Curtis being fabulous, just generally awesome. And watching it back, it’s still great. This will always be a favourite of mine. And I totally forgot about Bill Paxton in it – oh, he’s great!

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Van Diemen’s Land (2009) Film Review

In 1822, a group of convicts escape captivity and try to battle Tasmania’s wilderness for freedom. Things go badly.

It’s based on a true story, and I loved the gothic feel of this. The darkness and cold and terror of the men. But I felt that some parts just got skipped over – I missed a few deaths and disappearances, and found that I had to keep rewinding (I was watching on DVD) to figure out what happened. I don’t think it was my concentration, but perhaps it was because it was so hopeless and dark and slow. Regardless, it’s one of those films that I really liked, although I’m not sure that liked is quite the right word. I appreciated.

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Dave Chapelle’s Block Party (2005) – Film Review

Comedian Dave Chapelle decided to throw a block party in Brooklyn, New York. This is Brooklyn pre-hipsters and he’s making it free with a whole heap of big names – Kanye West, Erykah Badu, the Fugees, the Roots, Common and so many more. He brings people from across the country including a college marching band from Ohio and they get to have a fabulous party. It’s so ace. The documentary covers the setup, Dave’s planning, meeting with the eccentric couple with the amazing house on the street, backstage, the music. It’s so fun and so ace.

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Coraline (2009) Film Review

Neil Gaiman writes amazing horror for kids – I once read a great article where he talks about the fact that his child wanted horror and he was surprised to discover that little existed, so he created it himself. Coraline is about a girl who moves to a small town with her parents who are so wrapped up in themselves that they barely notice she’s there. She discovers an alternative world where things are magical and fantastic, but she can only stay is she lets her eyes be replaced with buttons. How does that make sense? And yet, it totally does. Fabulous story, beautiful animation. Overall, this is just totally wonderful.

Coraline was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature film of the year.

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Cold Case Hammarskjold (2019) – MIFF Review

Mads Brugger worked with Swedish Private Investigator Goran Bjorkdale investigate the death of the 1961 Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag Hammerskjold, who died in a plane accident in the Congo. But was it simply a plane crash, or was it a conspiracy involving a secret army?

It’s hard to know. It appears that there is a lot of compelling evidence pointing to a massive conspiracy, but is any of it authentic? The documentary is so funny, with Brugger dressing up to get into character of one of the key players, consulting secretaries, getting interviews with mysterious characters and doing strange investigations. I walked out feeling like it was all legit, but then talking about it, it couldn’t be. Could it? But really, could it, though?

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Broadcast News (1987) Film Review

Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks) is a reporter for a Washington news show and Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) is the producer who, unbeknownst to her, has his heart. Along comes pretty boy Tom Grunick (William Hurt) who has no experience but eventually shows some natural talent and there is a love triangle.

I don’t know why, but I always thought this was a drama about serious news things rather than being a love story. It’s great, very much of its time, though Holly Hunter gets to play a pretty awesome woman, and so it was a little frustrating that it ended up having a main plot around her love life. Still, definitely worth a watch.

Broadcast News was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (William Hurt), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Holly Hunter), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Albert Brooks), Best Writing – Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (James L. Brooks), Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.

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An Autumn Afternoon (1962) Film Review

 

Shuher Hirayama (Chishu Ryu) is an widower who is cared for my his daughter, Michiko (Shima Iwashita). He doesn’t want things to change, but starts to realise that if he doesn’t let his daughter marry, she may be stuck alone forever. He comes to these realisations through interactions with some old school mates and an old teacher.

It’s very much a film of its time. I loved seeing Japan as it was in the 60s, just the general day-to-day of the place. However, it really could have used a bit of editing… it goes for nearly two hours, but could easily have been told in half that time. However, I think this is partly because most film storytelling is far faster now, and it’s easy for me to become impatient with a slow story.

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