Monday, December 29, 2008


A very Happy Week-in-between-Christmas-and-New Year's to You All!

Hope you are all enjoying cheer and relaxation over this festive season.

I am working my way through, but having two days off plus a weekend was just heavenly. Spent it at my parents house, eating, sleeping, shopping, gaming and watching various dvd's. Extremely unproductive and extremely bad for the waistline, but a perfect way to see in the new year!

Looking forward to seeing some of you on NYE, and the rest of you in the new year. Meanwhile, here are some reviews for some movies from some big heavy weight directors:

Movie Reviews

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 4/5

Cast: Brad Pitt (Fight Club, Thelma & Louise), Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth, Little Fish)

In a nutshell: Delightful and touching with a little dash of weird

Brief Synopsis: Follows the life of a boy who is born an old man but grows younger as the years go by.

David Fincher certainly has talent. With a long list of brilliant and versatile movies such as Seven, Fight Club, Zodiac, Panic Room, he can add this one to the list. Most will probably disagree, but it reminded me a bit of Forrest Gump... without the annoying voice. Follows the life of someone with a disability who manages to make the most of it and encounter both challenges and triumphs on their way. Both Blanchett and Pitt are beautiful in the movie, both in their demeanour and their physicality. There are points at which you can only stare and admire. A touching tale with some lovely characters. I'm not all that sure that Brad Pitt deserves an Oscar for this role, his turn in Burn after Reading was more impressive, but then playing a character with a disability or a quirk is always a good start.

Australia 3.25/5

Cast: Hugh Jackman (X-Men, ), Nicole Kidman (The Hours, Dead Calm) and an healthy supply some of Australian's best actors

In a nutshell: Disappointing and a little lost, but still worth a watch

Brief Synopsis: Pre World War II, a proper English Lady inherits a cattle farming property in the NT and with the help of a very handsome Drover must drive 2,000 head of cattle up to Darwin in order beat the bad guys.

With such high expectations of the new Baz Luhrmann movie, there was bound to be disappointment. How could you go wrong with a heady combination of Baz, Nic and Hugh, joined by Australian stalwarts such as Bryan Brown, David Wenham, Jack Thompson?

Unfortunately there is a lot of show, but not so much substance. Baz's signature surrealism is a mismatch for the great sweeping epic that this movie tries to be. It is beautiful in parts but tacky in others. Trying to fit so much into two and a half hours the actors and the story suffer. There is a disjoint in the middle and it feels like two movies have been stuck together.

The characters are stereotypical and superficial. Brown and Wenham could have been so good, but are wasted as token bad guys. Jackman and Kidman seem to have no chemistry, but that is no surprise given their relationship goes from antagonism to full blown love in a matter of seconds. There is talk of how bad Nicole was, in fact she was rather annoying, but I tend to blame this on the bad script and poor plot development for her character.

Having said all this, it is still a very pretty movie, and certainly shows off the beauty of the Australian Outback. Brandon Walters is a standout as Nullah, the Aboriginal boy who follows the two main characters on their journey across the Top End.

Burn after Reading 4.25/5

Cast: Frances McDormand (Fargo), Brad Pitt (Mr & Mrs Smith), George Clooney (O Brother, Where art thou?) , John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich), Tilda Swinton (The curious case of Benjamin Button)

In a nutshell: Quirkily excellent

Brief Synopsis: Two gym employees find a disk containing the memoirs of an ex CIA agent and attempt to sell it.

Quirk done well is my favourite type of movie, and the Cohen Brothers do it so right. Not for everyone, it is not over the top funny, and it is not overly dramatic, rather it is very very very amusing. McDormand and Pitt are brilliant in their roles, and the rest of the cast is fab. Put in a bit of thought, revel in the glory of this tangled web of stupidity, and you will be truly rewarded.