Sunday, October 29, 2006

Memoirs of a Geisha

This movie really irritated me. I was quite intrigued for the first half of the film and then it went rapidly downhill in my estimation. Perhaps my expectations had been set too high. I was expecting a sweeping saga of a young girl, sold by her family and transformed into a geisha. Instead, the movie seemed to focus on all the usual suspects - bitching with the local rival and unrequited love and all the while the central character never seems to get over her constant naivety. The final third of the movie was utterly predictable and I was glad when it was finally finished!

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

I started reading this book knowing that I was going to see the film but gave up halfway through and thought the time invested in finishing was probably not worth it. And I am so glad I did. The movie, and the book for that matter, are great examples of pure escapism which can be just what you need sometimes. It is an easy film to watch and an easy book to read which no doubts accounts for its popularity. The only trouble I had with the transition from book to film is that Meryl Streeps character in the film shows some even tiny signs of humanity under all those designer clothes. That aspect is lacking in the book and so I do think the film sold out a little to make the "Devil's" character a little more palatable. All in all, worth seeing but not worth queuing in line for!

Monday, September 18, 2006


This truly is one of those films that is so dreadfully bad that it becomes utterly watchable. The acting is atrocious, the lines defy belief and the storyline is shallow at best. But despite that, this camp, trashy cult classic is well worth watching. So many movies have bad acting, bad lines and a bad storyline but do not achieve the status of this film. What sets it apart is hard to define but the completely gratuitous shots of naked women pole dancing and lap dancing have no doubt made it a favourite amongst young guys. And good luck to them. It is a movie that is certainly good for a laugh.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Failure to Launch

I started watching this film expecting it to be stupid and I was not disappointed. In fact I was actually a little surprised at how stupid it was. The plot was utterly ridiculous, the acting dreadful and the on-screen chemistry between McConaughey and Parker completely unconvincing. Despite all that, there were a couple of laughs to be had, but they were spread fairly thinly. I can not recommend this film in any way really and suggest you give it a wide berth.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

United 93

This is a remarkably good movie. Considering everyone going to see it knows the outcome, the film does a great job building a sense of dread throughout and particularly for allowing viewers the irrational hope that the final outcome may be different. I was also pleasantly surprised by the restraint shown by the director - there was none of the pro-American, anti-Muslim sentiment that I feared would occur. The film shows the passengers reacting to save their own lives, not as the result of any particular patriotic fervour. This is a far more realistic approach given the paucity of information the passengers had at hand as to what was occurring in the US on that fateful day. I thoroughly recommend this film but prepared to be on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Head in the Clouds

I had not heard of this movie before which is a little surprising given who is in it - Charlize Theron, her 'real life' boyfriend Stuart Townsend and Penelope Cruz. The movie itself is simply OK - an epic love story based in Europe between the wars - but it is by no means brilliant. It never quite takes off and the movies credibility wanes somewhat in the WW2 scenes. However, it is worth watching on DVD, if only to see Charlize and Penelope together.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


I was really disappointed with this movie. I had been expecting really good things given the positive reviews it had received when it was first released. However, I found that it was simply a road movie held together by the members of a dysfunctional family. Felicty Huffman does do an incredible job as a woman playing a man playing a woman - however she is a standout and other than some mildly humourous moments, the movie is dull and predictable. Such a shame.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Girls Like You

Paul Sheehan (2006), Pan Macmillan, 388 pages

This book is engrossing from start to finish - I think it took me only about 4 hours to read. It tells the story surrounding a group of Muslim brothers in Sydney and their various court trials, convictions and brushes with the police over a 2-3 year period. All six brothers would be considered by even the most generous members of the community as serious criminals. Add to the mix their claims that a cultural timebomb caused them to rape and you have a fascinating story set within multicultural Sydney. Four of the brothers are now serving lengthy prison sentences for a number of gang rapes of young girls. The other two were involved in a road rage incident during their brothers' trial which left one of the younger brothers dead after the road rage victim fought back. I did not think it was a particularly well written book but it is an excellent expose of the legal system at work and how it often serves to further humiliate, punish and even re-abuse the victims in sexual attacks. The young women in these particular cases varied in age from 14 - 17 when raped, but they showed considerable courage in coming forward. It is horrifying to think that some of the convicted brothers will be out of jail while they are still in their 20s. Their disregard for women, of any race (including their own family) tends to indicate they have little chance of rehabilitation. I certainly recommend this book but it is not for the fainthearted.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Stage Beauty

This is a very unusual but yet strangely enjoyable film. Essentially this is another 'Shakespeare in Love' - but without the wonderful dialogue, storyline or acting. Despite having the cream of the British acting profession in the cast, this film suffers from stilted scenes, convulted plotlines and Billy Crudup. However, all that criticism aside, it is nevertheless enjoyable and the final scene of Othello when we finally get to see the two main characters onstage is spellbinding. I recommend this film for a quiet night in but be prepared to hang on through so very slow moments in an otherwise great movie.

The Woodsman

Given the subject matter, it is not all that surprising that this is an uncomfortable, creepy and difficult film to watch. Kevin Bacon stars as a recently released paedophile who is trying to readjust to society having just spent 12 years in jail. I found it very difficult to enjoy this film due to the moral issues it raised throughout. Whilst at times it is possible to feel some sympathy for the main character, I don't think the viewer is ever truly convinced he has reformed his ways (or will ever reform his ways) and so the connection is never bridged. I really did not enjoy this film but it was interesting to see a movie deal with such a difficult issue.

Friday, July 28, 2006


I had read bits and pieces about this film over the years but I had never really known what it was about. The movie is essentially a 3 act play with only two speaking parts - that of the Professor and his student. As the film progresses and various accusations are made you really need to work hard to think through your own interpretation of events. It is certainly a thought provoking and at times confronting movie. However even as the tension builds, nothing had prepared me for the final 5 minutes of the film as the rational characters unravel. I don't want to spoil this for anyone by saying what happens but I do thoroughly recommend this movie - just be prepared for something a little different.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I had really been looking forward to seeing this movie since it had such good reviews and George Clooney had won the Best Supporting Oscar. As much as I love George, I don't think he deserved the Oscar for this role. I liked the movie but, and it is a big but, I found it very hard to follow. I just accepted about a quarter of the way through that I did not know who all the various key players were going to be or how they fitted in to the film in any great depth, and went with it anyway. Perhaps that is the reality - the international oil trade is messy with lots of people involved and noone really understands the whole picture. I do recommend this movie but be prepared to work while watching it.


What a stupid film - so utterly predictable from the opening scene although it tried to maintain suspense and surprise throughout. Almost every decision the Clive Owen character made seemed unlikely which really undermined all aspects of the movie. Jennifer Aniston was nothing near her best and all in all, it was very disappointing. I kept thinking throughout that my review would end up being similiar to what I thought of Flightplan (see review below) - what were these terrific actors thinking?!?

Monday, July 10, 2006


I am not particularly a fan of animated childrens films but I really enjoyed this movie. It has a great story and enough jokes thrown in for the adults to get you through. I am also constantly amazed at the amazing graphics of animated films - the 4 year old I watched this with asked me if it was a true story! This is a totally suitable movie for kids of all sizes which I can totally recommend during the school holidays.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


This is a classic thinking person's chick flick. I really, really loved it. There were many times in the film that I could not predict what was going to happen in the next scene, let alone how it would end. Steve Martin is brilliantly creepy and somewhat unpredictable in this dramatic role with not a shred of slapstick to be seen. Claire Danes is also divine. The ending was as it should have been, but that did not stop me having a tear or two. Well worth seeing.

Lord of War

I was not too sure what to expect when I started watching this film. I only vaguely knew that it had something to do with guns and Africa. I love Nicolas Cage though and in this film he does not disappoint. Lord of War is a really brilliant film. It is fairly harrowing in detailing the small arms trade around the world yet you find yourself somehow, unbelievably even, sympathising with the main character even though he is completely amoral and responsible for the murder of so many innocent victims. It is a very, very clever film and I thoroughly recommend it.

All the Presidents Men

I had wanted to see this film for some time and I was not disappointed. This 1970s classic has stood the test of time and is a fantastic film. I am not old enough to remember the Watergate scandal and did not really know much about what happened prior to seeing this. This movie is really helpful in understanding how the two journalists, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, ended up bringing down President Nixon. It is also good to see Robert Redford looking his best! I thoroughly recommend this classic.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Aristocrats

All I knew about this film was that it was the re-telling of a classic comedians injoke - The Aristocrats. I knew vaguely what the joke was about and that was it. I definetly expected something different than what was shown in this film. I was not really shocked by the vulgarity of the various jokes but the repetition of the same joke - even with different versions - got very boring. Unfortunately I only made it half way through the movie before turning it off. It was interesting enough to see how the world of comedians seems to operate but it was too much to hope for that hearing the same joke 100 times could be interesting.

9 Songs

I did not make it all the way through this film. It was not that I was being a prude (since the R rating is not there for nothing) but it is was just boring. In fact I watched this film with a guy (who you would have thought would have appreciated the sex scenes!) and he fell asleep!!The film shows the ultimate decline of a relationship - warts and all - but it is very slow in places and I think the music (and sex scenes) dominated the film far too much. I don't really recommend this film unless there is nothing else at the video shop to rent.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Audrey Hepburn Story

This film is a typical made-for-TV biopic. It is not bad, but it is very long (almost 3 hours) and incredibly, it does not portray Audrey Hepburn's life story as all that interesting. Jennifer Love Hewitt does seem to have a good resemblance to Hepburn which helps, but all in all it is fairly mundane. Worth watching if there is absolutely nothing else on TV.

Good night, and good luck

This is an incredibly good movie. It is one of the few films you watch that actually makes you think and work hard - not just lounge on the sofa and switch off. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and recommend it to everyone. My only complaint was that sometimes I found it a little hard to keep up with who everyone was - but then it did not really matter because the message was clear. I watched the Daily Show with Jon Stewart straight after seeing this and while Stewart does not have McCarthy type individuals to deal with, his lambasting of the Bush government and the fear they are instilling in the US regarding terrorist activities certainly had some similiar themes.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Napoleon Dynamite

I know this is a cult classic but I just could not get into it (and in fact did not finish the movie). I thought there were some hilarious moments and the characters are just sooooo incredibly daggy it is wonderful, but there was just no plot - in fact nothing seems to happen at all. I was waiting for the hook to keep me interested but it was not forthcoming. In the end there is only so much of Napoleon's bizarre personality that you can cope with. I just can't agree with all the fans of this strange film and other than a quick look to see how odd Napoleon is, don't bother watching.

My Architect : A Son's Journey

This is a relatively interesting documentary about a son determined to find out about his famous, but absent, father. The most interesting part of the film is the fact that the famous architect in question had three families running at once - in the same town - but noone seems to have known about it or questioned it too much later. The movie tends to spend too much time on his buildings rather than his fascinating dysfunctional family life. Nevertheless, it is interesting and also sad since the son of the film never really knew his father. Worth a quick look.

Friday, June 30, 2006

America's Next Top Model - Cycle 6

I have been holding out on reviewing TV shows but I can do so no longer. I am going to 'out' myself as a real lover of reality TV. It is just so easy and mindless to watch.

Anyway, I have just finished watching the final episode of America's Next Top Model - Cycle 6. I have a strange addition to this show. I have seen all the previous series as well - sad, but true.

In the final episode, Danielle is crowned America's Next Top Model. I was floored - I was utterly convinced it was going to be Joanie and I still think it should have been. I think if Joanie had not been a carbon copy of last years winner she may have had more of a chance. Was anyone else out there surprised that Danielle won?

Cycle 6 also saw Jade crash onto our TV screens. I am still trying to work out what she is on. Regardless, at least she was one of the more entertaining model wanna-be's they have had on the show. I am looking forward to watching Cycle 7 but they seem to show the series in Australia at least a year later than in the US so I am sure it will be all finished by the time I comment again.

The Dukes of Hazzard

I can not emphasize enough how bad this movie is. In fact, I am writing this blog with the movie still running in the background since I can not finish it. Bad acting, bad script, bad storyline. Jessica Simpson is awful, followed closely behind by Johnny Knoxville and Willie Nelson. I suspected that the movie was going to be lame but I had no idea it would be as bad as this. I am impressed by anyone who is able to sit through this entire film. This movie is not worth any stars. Dreadful.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Over the Hedge

I was very nicely surprised by this kids animated movie. I am not a fan of animation at all, but this movie was pretty good. There were lots of messages for kids about the need to conserve the environment as well as evils of junk food but those messages were certainly lost on the two kids I took to see the film. The plot of this movie is vastly improved on the one in Ice Age 2 (see review below) and there are plenty of funny moments for the adults. All in all, for an animated movie, it wasn't too bad.