Movie News

AICN-Downunder: Carmen; ThreeDollars; BlueTongue; KillingFloor; You& YourStupid Mate; Jewboy; Book of Revelation; Clara

Published at: Sept. 22, 2006, 5 p.m. CST by staff

Father Geek here with a truely homegrown Downunder Report for this week... Latauro's put together an interesting group of flicks for us... just look at that list of titles... pretty fuk'n esoteric...

Hello, this is Mr. Foreman. If you give my daughter an alcoholic beverage or a joint, I will hunt you down and neuter you.

AICN-DOWNUNDER

It's less than a week until I'll be sitting in a theatre watching THE HITCH-HIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, which is easily the most-anticipated film of my lifetime. I'll go into more detail in next week's review, so for now I'll just dance around a bit in anticipation. And here's some stuff that happened this week...

NEWS

The CHARLOTTE'S WEB shoot, taking place in and around Melbourne, is suffering problem after problem. Here's the email that arrived in the ol' inbox: "Seems that Mr. Animatronic King (Stan-the-Man Winston) who's supplying the ani-animals on this Oz-locale pic has, allegedly, had a little bit of a hiccup with creature design. Allegedly it seems that the animatronic pigs designed and manufactured in the USofA, based on good ol' USofA looking pigs - have arrived Down Under only to look nothing like the local ozzie non-animatronic piggies on set. Allegedly it seems that they have discovered the hard way that pigs ain't pigs the world over." This follows something passed onto me from an extra working during a county fair sequence. Seems that occupational health and safety may be out the window, with cost-cutting measures seeing a group of two hundred or so extras nearly getting electrocuted when a live wire slipped from its socket. Were it not for the quick catching abilities of a crew member, Dakota Fanning would be feasting on BBQed Aussies for the rest of the shoot. And if that doesn't put you off your breakfast, read the next news item.

* Moviehole's Clint dropped me a line to point out a scoop landed by the Australian site. Seems that J-Antony or Jenny From Wherever or whatever the warbler is calling herself these days is teaming with Australian writer Craig Pearce (MOULIN ROUGE!) for an adaptation of famous Bizet opera CARMEN. I've seen "Carmen" on stage a few times, and it's brilliant, catchy, and never anything short of entertaining. I'd love to see a film adaptation, but can Ms Lopez really handle opera? Any opera singers who read this column are welcome to talkback on the years of training you apparently no longer need to land a lead role in an opera.

AICN-D reader A J Murphy was at a public forum in New Zealand with author Lee Child, he of the Jack Reacher novels. Seems somebody asked about the development hell-based adaptation of the first novel, KILLING FLOOR, and who would be the author's dreamcast pick for main character. "New Line are having difficulty committing an actor to a three-picture deal. Apparently one year ago Keanu Reeves came close, but the production company Mutual Film baulked. In January this year Nicholas Cage turned down the deal which would have seen him receive $20M for the first picture. Of the names yelled out by the audience, Sean Bean got a very good reaction from Lee. Seeing how this was a NZ audience, that name got a very good reaction from us too. All in all, he's a very cool guy." Cheers to Muprhy.

* Ana Kokkonis's THE BOOK OF REVELATION has had to postpone its final week of filming. Most of the way into the Melbourne shoot, lead actor Tom Long broke his ankle during an action scene in a nightclub, on Friday April 15th. Shooting will resume mid-August.

AWARDS AND FESTIVALS

ANGRY FILM FESTIVAL

The organisers have passed along a final reminder for this weekend's festival. Thirteen short films will play, followed by the audience cutting up the rug to the tunes of Melbourne's DJ Waxx. "Thirteen short films will be screening on the night. Make sure you write your name down at the door as each paying entry will receive a credit on the next short film from Angry Productions. That's right! The festival is to raise money to make a short film and you will be part of it. Also we are looking for one main actor for our next project so come and make us aware that you exist."

WHEN: April 26th Tuesday

WHERE: First Floor, 393 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy Melbourne

PHONE: 0417 550 537

TIME: 8.30pm doors open Films start 9pm sharp

COST: $10. Tickets will be available at door MORE DETAILS at www.angryproductions.org.

2005 CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

The Cannes Film Festival which will, to answer your question Ms Aguilera, be held in Cannes this year, will feature a whole bunch of local product (by which I mean Australian local, not French local). Short BLUE TONGUE (directed by Justin Kurzel), will play during Critic's Week. Kurzel previously won 2nd place at the 2000 Tropfest. Meanwhile, animated short JEWBOY will play in the Short Competition; YELLOW FELLA will play in Un Certain Regard; and stop-motion animation CLARA will also play in the Short Competition.

BOX OFFICE

THE PACIFIER is at number one. Our country is officially a bunch of idiots. Still, IN GOOD COMPANY has been pulling in the audiences, so my pick is we see that in, at least, number two spot next week. And that would be heartening.

1. THE PACIFIER

2. THE INTERPRETER

3. ROBOTS

4. THE AMITYVILLE HORROR

5. SAHARA

RELEASED THIS WEEK

Jimeoin stops being funny for ninety minutes, Forest Whitaker chuckles knowingly to himself, Paul Weitz does ABOUT A MAN, the latest blockbuster about 19832 seedy Rio de Janeiro precincts gets a multiplex release, Javier Bardem finds his inner ocean, Robert Connolly loudly announces the average budget for an Australian feature film, and Michael Keaton searches for faint echoes of his long-dead career.

THE EXTRA

FAT ALBERT

IN GOOD COMPANY

MADAME SATA

THE SEA INSIDE

THREE DOLLARS

WHITE NOISE

REVIEWS

There's a slew of Australian films on release, or about to be released. YOU AND YOUR STUPID MATE, reviewed below, comes out on May 5. THREE DOLLARS, also reviewed, is out now. One should be seen immediately, the other should be studiously avoided. Also on release is the Jimeoin film THE EXTRA. I've not yet seen that one, but the reviews have been pretty poor, with most of them comparing it unfavourably with his previous big screen effort THE CRAIC, which I didn't like at all. Pity, given how funny Jimeoin's stand-up work is. Read on for word on the other two...

YOU AND YOUR STUPID MATE

If you're sick of hearing myself along with other (possibly more legitimate) critics constantly flaming the Australian film industry for being irrelevant and appallingly awful, can you imagine how sick we are of writing about it? I get no joy from it. Zero. Unfortunately, there's not much that can be done if we keep turning out the tripe that we have been of late.

YOU AND YOUR STUPID MATE is trying very hard to be an Australian version of DUMB AND DUMBER, but it does not reach such dizzying heights. Hell, it barely scrapes the bottom of DUMB AND DUMBERER: WHEN HARRY MET LLOYD. It's one of those tragic misfires that has the distinct whiff of market research about it. Appealing to the lowest possible common denominator, we're introduced to Jeffrey (Anghus Sampson, "Greeks on the Roof") and Philip (Nathan Philips, TAKE AWAY), two incredibly stupid blokes who grew up together and now live together in a caravan park. Their favourite thing is a soapie called "Sons and Surf", which uses Australia's perplexingly popular exports "Home and Away" and "Neighbours" as a template. "Sons and Surf" stars Emma, played by Madeleine West. West is best known for her role on "Neighbours"; a reference that wants to be ironic, but simply ends up pointing out the weaknesses in both.

What is it about? Well, I'm going to have to refer to the press notes. During the film I wondered when the plot was going to kick; checking my watch I realised an hour had elapsed and there was barely thirty minutes left in the running time. There is next-to-no plot. The government is onto Jeffrey and Philip and their rorting of unemployment benefits, and the boys have to get jobs. Meanwhile, "Sons and Surf" is about to get cancelled and Jeffrey is determined to do something about it. Meanwhile, the caravan park is about to be torn down for construction of a big highway. Meanwhile, Philip may end up finally getting the lead in some sort of Scouts stage play thing. Sounds like a lot of material, doesn't it? None of it goes anywhere.

The unemployment shtick is simply an excuse for a series of unfunny skits showing how incompetent the boys are in their various jobs. (Included is an horrifically unfunny scene involving the attempted killing of a dog.) These skits are not funny, nor are they entertaining, nor do they contribute to the plot in any way. The highway construction plotline is mentioned once at the beginning, and then quickly resolved at the end. For the running time in-between, this plotline is forgotten. The thing with Philip and the Scouts play doesn't make much sense, but does have a resolution of sorts. The main story strand - the "Sons and Surf" cancellation - is what's supposed to drive the story forward, but it takes so long to get from one plot point to another, it's just not funny.

While material like this is below Nathan Philips (who has displayed good comic talent in the past), I did admire the fact that his energy and enthusiasm never tapered off. It's so off-putting to see actors embarrassed to be in films, be it THE ITALIAN JOB remake (stand up, Mr Norton), or shite like this. It's also well below the usually-brilliant William McInnes, here relegated to the buttoned-up evil government official suffering Principal Skinner-style flashbacks to when some kids made fun of him. He also has a very "funny" birthmark on his face. Samir Malik also has some awful stuff to work with, but does seem to come out of it with a few scraps of dignity in his role as the boys' neighbour, a Somalian cab driver. Madeleine West doesn't make much of an impression, aside from the scenes in which she's dressed only in a bikini, which, admittedly, occurs in the majority of the film. Rachel Hunter also appears in a confusing (though, in one scene towards the end, briefly amusing) cameo.

I get no joy from trashing an Australian film, but I get even less joy from sitting through crap like this.

THREE DOLLARS

So what do I get joy from? Telling people about a very, very good Australian film that manages to avoid cliché, and gives us a wholly satisfying cinematic experience.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to THREE DOLLARS.

This really is as good as everyone says it is. In particular - and at the risk of demonstrating why it is I don't write for a major broadsheet - David Wenham fucking rules. It's taken me a while to warm to the actor. He's got a particular style of speaking that I found a little disconcerting in films such as THE BANK (also by Robert Connolly). Slowly, however, I've grown used to him, to the point that I loved him in LORD OF THE RINGS. THREE DOLLARS, though, is easily his best performance. He plays it all here; drama, tragedy, comedy, even doing a decent Cary Grant impression in a nicely-handled NORTH BY NORTHWEST homage. If the film wasn't good, I'd probably still recommend it on the strength of Wenham's performance. The film, however, is very good. So you get it both ways.

It's the story of a family man who, during a turbulent time in his professional life, thinks back on his life up until now, focussing mostly on the girl he sees once every nine-and-a-half years. It's a great device, and one that actually manages to use pop culture references to great effect. While I've never enjoyed hearing characters sing the Chicken Tonight theme, the references to Joy Division and the like worked really well. And I'm not just saying that because I got them (a tempting trap to fall into). It's used nicely to set up a time and a feeling, and it's a terrific call back as the film progresses.

Frances O'Connor also gives what could be a career-best, playing a pressured wife also suffering from job woes. She has so many opportunities to become unlikeable, it's a testament to O'Connor that she avoids becoming unsympathetic. Sarah Wynter probably has the least to do, but still creates a memorable and interesting character in her brief moments on screen. The real revelation, though, is Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik, who plays Wenham and O'Connor's young daughter. The chemistry she shares with her on-screen parents is palpable, and every moment she plays is believable without being precocious. (I'm pretty sure she's the girl in the "Don't chop the dinosaur!" ad, for those of you playing at home.)

The only thing that makes this a very, very good film instead of a great film is where it goes in the third act. It's not disappointing, nor goes it even come close to going off the rails. In fact, the third act is quite brilliantly executed and a really interesting turn for Wenham's character. The only qualm I have (and, I stress, it's minor) is that the third act doesn't quite live up to the promise displayed in the first two. Maybe it's just the promise I invented in my mind, but the first act in particular keeps the pace to a maximum, and comes close to perfection. The third act is still very, very good, but didn't go where I felt it would naturally go. Maybe you won't feel the same way. Maybe I won't on my next viewing.

The pessimistic part of me feels there won't be a good Australian film until next year. If we follow the rule from the past few years, the one that states we only get one good Australian film each year, then this is quite obviously The One. It's the exception to the rule, and proves that we can in fact make incredibly good films that don't try to ape what's being done overseas.

This is the quality of film we deserve. It's not unreasonable to have high expectations, particularly if work like THREE DOLLARS can meet them. See this film and hope we get more like it.

NEXT WEEK

- Kevin Smith to follow up PASSION OF THE CLERKS with a look at CHASING AMY's Banky Edwards exploring lesbianism in A FISTFUL OF ALYSSA

- Olay sues Dino De Laurentiis, after it's revealed that the brand new Hannibal Lecter movie HANNIBAL THE SHRINK, which explores the therapy sessions between Lecter and Buffalo Bill, will feature the tagline "Love the Skin You're In"

- Following news that Jennifer Lopez will star in an adaptation of CARMEN, another Bizet opera THE PEARLFISHERS will go into production with Justin Timberlake and Jesse McCartney as two high schoolers who go on a fishing trip

Peace out,

Latauro

AICNDownunder@hotmail.com

Readers Talkback

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  • April 25, 2005, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Frist

    by John-Locke

  • April 25, 2005, 1:33 p.m. CST

    I HOPE YOU CHOKE TO DEATH FOR BEING FIRST

    by Overgod

    DIE YOU WORTHLESS PIG

  • April 25, 2005, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Three Dollars

    by John-Locke

    Sounds good, but using Joy Division to set the tone for a specific time has been done to death as of late.

  • April 25, 2005, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Latauro

    by Shan

    There were some good articles recently in Australian newspapers/websites about how we could look to the Korean film industry turnaround. They went from having mostly US films in their Top 10 for the year to majority local product within a few years. Obviously there are differences between uss and them - there's a quota system of sorts and also, they speak a different language to the US and there was a largely untapped market for good local product in their own language. We may be a bit too similar to the US (language/culture) to differentiate our films as easily but they must be doing something we can learn from, surely?

  • April 25, 2005, 2:40 p.m. CST

    An opera singer does indeed complain...

    by Melian

    that you used to have to have years of training and experience to perform in an opera. Now it seems that you don't even need a decent voice! First Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler and now J-Lo as Carmen ... it's like I've landed in a most unpleasant alternative dimension.

  • April 25, 2005, 2:51 p.m. CST

    every AICN Downunder post has some mention of that godawful dumb

    by vicious_bastard

  • April 25, 2005, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Korean film industry

    by Latauro

    I didn't read those, but they sound interesting. If we were making films at the same quality as Korea, I think our box office would turn around, too. The change has to start at the funding level. Oh, and viscious_bastard, may I respond with a resounding: "Huh?"

  • April 25, 2005, 5:36 p.m. CST

    What the Australian film industry needs

    by prevert

    Is to find its own style. I'm not an expert, but it seems to me Aussie films too often try to emulate American or British styles, such as gangster films and the like. Whenever we in NZ try to do that it fails (like Stickmen), but our successful films are those that are unashamedly Kiwi (like Whalerider). Just a thought.

  • April 25, 2005, 6:09 p.m. CST

    Exactly

    by Latauro

    prevert, you hit the nail on the head. Even though, to its credit, YOU AND YOUR STUPID MATE is very Australian, the majority of local films fail because scripters write for American voices. The NZ industry is about fifty times more interesting than Australia's at the moment.

  • April 25, 2005, 6:38 p.m. CST

    Are you sure about that Latauro?

    by prevert

    Yes, we have an interesting film industry at the moment, but you can thank one man for that: Peter Jackson. And he is often at odds with the NZ Film Commission that oversees local productions. Sure we're interesting, but ask me what my favourite NZ film is, and I'd still stuggle to name one until I remember Bad Taste! My only hope is that with the new filmmakers in this country who have been inspired by PJ (me included), that will change.

  • April 25, 2005, 7:05 p.m. CST

    NZ versus Australia

    by fertilecelluloid

    The New Zealand film industry has always been a more interesting film industry than the Aussie industry. The Aussie industry is mostly an embarrassment. That is because most Aussie producers and directors are very boring people with no love of genre pics. Every successful film industry is dominated by genre pics; these genre pics also help to finance non-genre, "arthouse" fare. The Hong Kong industry rose because of genre pics, as has the mighty Korean industry. New Zeland's greatest filmmaker, Peter Jackson, embraced genre pics from the very beginning with BAD TASTE, MEET THE FEEBLES and BRAIN DEAD. Although horror is not a traditional Kiwi genre, Jackson brought a distinctly Kiwi perspective and humour to his early outings. Australian filmmakers, for the most part, have always taken a superior attitude to genre pics because they have always been more interested in winning film festival trophies for their arthouse calling cards. It's terribly telling that George Miller's brilliant genre pic, MAD MAX, barely generated any similar pics within the Oz industry. No, leave that to Italy where the film inspired a genre of such films. Not only do Aussie funding bodies get it wrong, but Aussie producers drop the ball constantly. If presented with an opportunity, they insist on making a horror film that is "not too scary" or an action film that is "not too violent". They don't understand the appeal of genre material and they are embarassed by it. YOU AND YOUR STUPID MATE, which I have seen, is a pretty woeful exercise, as was the recent THE EXTRA and dozens of Aussie "comedies" that preceded it. Once upon a time, when Australian films were (mostly) privately funded via generous tax concessions, genre pics were made. Once the industry was dominated by government bodies, you had public servants greenlighting politically appropriate projects. Which is why no decent genre pic ever got funded. The very outlaw nature of genre material precludes the support of any conservative body. THAT is the appeal of genre. The desire to tailor an Aussie film to an American audience is short term thinking at its worst, especially considering the fact that the US is heading for a major financial fall within the next two years, a fall that will see Hollywood's international power seriously eroded by Asia and Europe. There are but a handful of Aussie filmmakers making genre pics, and all of those are working in the low to medium budget area and getting virtually (if internet research is reliable) no attention at home. These are Shannon Young (with the terrific RAZER EATERS), the Spierrig Brothers (with UNDEAD, picked up by Lions Gate in North America and given a short release down under) and Mark Savage (director of my favourite horror flick of recent memory, DEFENCELESS). Naturally, James Wan scored high marks for SAW, but he had to go to the States to get SAW financed). As I am Canadian (who lived in Australia for five years), I have seen Canadian films both compromised and assisted by my country's proximety to the States. My writing here is not meant as a criticism of the US, I am merely pointing out the folly of filmmakers who tailor their non-US films to the US audience while ignoring the fact that an independent voice and perspective is what distinguishes any film from any country. If Australia embraced genre pics and made "Australian genre pics" just as Korea makes "Korean genre pics", the tide would turn. Who could ever argue that Korea's OLD BOY is not a great genre pic? And who could agree convincingly that it is not also very much Korean?

  • April 25, 2005, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Great New Zealand films

    by fertilecelluloid

    Prevert, some great NZ films that come to mind immediately... SMASH PALACE ONCE WERE WARRIORS VIGIL UTU THE NAVIGATOR MAP OF THE HUMAN HEART I simply think the NZ strike rate is far higher than the Aussie strike rate. Then again, great Canadian films that spring to mind for me are not plentiful. LEOLO TICKET TO HEAVEN THE BROOD THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE JESUS OF MONTREAL

  • April 25, 2005, 10 p.m. CST

    You're absolutely right fertilecelluloid

    by prevert

    With audiences becoming more and more disenfranchised with Hollywood, and other film markets beginning to shine (particularly in Asia), there is no better time for Australia and NZ to be making true Aussie/Kiwi cinema. I love foreign films, and a big part of that is I get a kick out of watching another culture onscreen. I'm a big fan of Japanese samurai films, because they are uniquely Japanese. I think we need to make films that are less about giving a national spin on Hollywood, and more about our own voice. You name some good examples of NZ film, but with the exception of Once Were Warriors, none of them really found an audience here. And comedy, a genre I am particularly interested in, has been wouefully done in NZ. Most NZ comedies always seem to involve drug-taking, to my great dismay. Jackson's films are the exception, possessing, as you say, a very Kiwi type of humour (self-deprecating, black, sprinkled with hilarious profanity) that I really love. But for every Bad Taste, you have a dozen Toy Loves, a film that tried to emulate a European sex farce, without taking into account that Kiwi's are, by and large, a little conservative in such matters. What is a New Zealand film? I wish I knew. Someday I'd like to make one.

  • April 25, 2005, 10:54 p.m. CST

    by benito

  • April 25, 2005, 11:02 p.m. CST

    Australiana

    by benito

    Aw crap I just wrote a whole big post and it dissapeared into fat air. Damnit. Anyway... what I was saying is that I completely disagree with what you guys are saying about Australian films needing to be more 'Australian'. That's an attitude that's just part of the problem. At the moment you can't make a film in this country without its being distinctly 'Australian'. As a result we have bad film after bad film... each of them forcing their point with a host of bogan characters and insipid plots about quirky Australian interests. American filmmakers don't have to 'Americanise' their product... and yet there is no mistaking an American film when you see one. Same goes for any other country. The 'Autralian-ness' of a film will sort itself out by virtue of the fact that it is made in and about Australia. It needs no prompting - and all we are doing at the moment, for all our good intentions of 'reflecting our culture', is perpetuating mindless cliches and erroding the culture to the extent that there is barely anything left to reflect. Filmmakers should tell good stories first and foremost. A films cultural identity will see to itself - after all it is a part of that culture. Attempts to make Australian films more Austrlian do a lot of harm and should be abandoned.

  • April 25, 2005, 11:03 p.m. CST

    by benito

    And 'You and Your Stupid Mate' is a perfect example of that fact. Utter garbage that films was. The Mount Zion of bad australian filmmaking.

  • April 25, 2005, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Let's not forget...

    by edintransit

    ...Tongan Ninja!

  • April 25, 2005, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Identity

    by Latauro

    All good points. Many films try to ape American/British sensibilities, while the ones that attempt to be "uniquely Australian" end up being crazy outback comedies or droll, depressing outback dramas, none of which the majority of Australians can really relate to. I think one of the reasons I liked THREE DOLLARS so much was the fact that I think I related to it more than most other local films I've seen (certainly more than STUPID MATE). What constitutes a genuine Australian voice to you? Which films, if any, has Australia produced that reflect you?

  • April 25, 2005, 11:59 p.m. CST

    clarification, benito

    by fertilecelluloid

    I wasn't saying that Australian films need to be more Australian. I was saying that Australans ought to embrace genre pics and be less self-conscious about them being "American". This is why I used the OLD BOY example and mentioned Peter Jackson. Jackson's early films are horror films. They are New Zealand horror films because Jackson, a Kiwi, made them in New Zealand. He wasn't nailing a cultural agenda to them. John Woo's THE KILLER, for example, is a Hong Kong genre film. It just is what it is by virtue of its maker and origins. I can not agree with Latauro on THREE DOLLARS, though. I found it lacking in focus, trivial and in dire need of a rewrite. As I am currently holidaying in Australia, I'm trying to catch up on what I can. Australian films/TV I've recently liked very much: SHAME, BLUE MURDER, RAZORRBACK, THE BOYS, THE POSTCARD BANDIT, DANCE ME TO MY SONG, THE TRACKER, RAZOR EATERS and DEFENCELESS.

  • April 26, 2005, 12:07 a.m. CST

    When I say "uniquely Aussie" I don't mean "cliche Aussie"

    by prevert

    American filmmakers don't have to 'Americanise' their product? Any American film is 'Americanised', we've just become so used to them we don't notice it - Anerican culture has become world culture. I know, when you think of Aussie/Kiwi humour you think bogans and sheep, but thats not all of our culture, just the only aspects of our culture that we see on film. But when I think 'Australian film', I like to think 'The Castle', or even 'Strictly Ballroom' (which at least is entertaining in a quirky way). I'd like to think us Kiwi's can make better films than the morose drama's we usually churn out like 'The Piano'. Tongan Ninja at least tried something different (funny!) and ended up mildly entertaining ("Welcome Tongan Ninja - to my patio of death!"). I just think we need to broaden our perceptions of what an "Australian film" or a "New Zealand film" are.

  • April 26, 2005, 12:44 a.m. CST

    And on the subject of comedy

    by prevert

    Might I say you Aussies are doing a better job than us in that area (at least on tv). I really like Kath & Kim, and I enjoyed Frontline, despite the appalling treatment it recieved from NZ tv stations. We have always struggled with comedy because, i believe, we have a hard time laughing at ourselves. Most NZ 'comedies', both big-screen and small, have been colossal cringe-fests. And like I said, most of them are diabolically unimaginative ("Hey - lets do a comedy about dope! Dope is funny, hur hur!). Give me Peter Jackson slipping in cowshit anyday - a skewering of NZ humour if ever I saw one!

  • April 26, 2005, 12:47 a.m. CST

    by benito

    I know that you didn't mean 'cliche Aussie'... but when you try to make something even non cliche Aussie I feel that cliches are unavoidable. Films should reflect a culture merely because they are a product of it... not because they go out of their way to do so. The result is always self parody whether intentional or not, and the best of intentions don't make up for the damage that this sort of thing has caused. You mention the Castle. Well... I consider that to be a cliched, bogan comedy. So owhat's the what? It happens to be a good films, as is oh...two hands for instance which is another bogan comedy. But is it a story I want to hear told again and again. ...No. As for American films. They don't set out to be american. They simply are American. They may set out to be commercial. But that's not the point. Nor is there anything wrong with that. However you may choose to substitute the example of America from my argument with any other nation. It would still make just as much sense. British or Korean flick doesn't need to put the royal family or fried rice in it to be recognisable as a product of its culture... nor should we populate our films with fair dinkum larikans sticking it to the man... cause it just aint the Australia I know. fertilecelluloid: I know you weren't buddy. My rant was not directed at you. Latauro: In answer to your question. Not a one... and that makes me very sad indeed.

  • April 26, 2005, 1:03 a.m. CST

    Problems have multiple causes

    by blair_271

    There are many reasons why the Australian Film Industry has such a low quality to quantity ratio. Pretty much everything mentioned so far are contributing factors, but there's a lot more to it. For example, all major funding comes from the FFC, which is not a studio, but a government funded arts initiative which has as part of its mission statement "promotion and communication of Australian Culture and identity". Even where the film is not funded by the FFC, most screenplays are written with the intention of being submitted to the FFC, which is why they so frequently seem to be trying some contrived notion of Australian culture down the viewer's throat. The point is: Great cinema doesn't reflect values - it challenges them. Films being produced under this system will always be behind the eight ball, and never have anything to say that hasn't already been said.

  • April 26, 2005, 1:08 a.m. CST

    I am sorrry benito - I admit I don't know all that much about Au

    by prevert

    Maybe everything I know is a cliche? I pointed out The Castle because it seemed to me an example of an Aussie film with broad appeal. What is something about Australia that people the world over would appreciate/enjoy as entertainment? Beats me - but slipping in cowshit? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Priceless.

  • April 26, 2005, 1:17 a.m. CST

    It's cool Prevert.

    by benito

    Blair: Exactly! You said it all. Prevert: Don't get me wrong. The Castle is a good film. It is. It's just... that's all it is. And it's been years since that film was made. And all we've seen is retreads of that same formula. I didn't mean to disparage your knowledge of Australia or your taste in films. I just used your example of the Castle as a way of speaking about a film that while kind of okay as a movie, is still technically part of the problem. As for the question of what would make a good Australian film? Well... to be honest I think its the wrong question. One needs to ask first 'what would make a good film'. And then they need to make that film. And if they make it here and they are Australian and their sensibilities inform their work as they inevitably will - well, voila. A good film that reflects Australian culture.

  • April 26, 2005, 1:19 a.m. CST

    PS.

    by benito

    And by reflects I really mean reflects, informs, challenges and contributes to Australian culture. Films aren't just mirrors after all.

  • April 26, 2005, 1:31 a.m. CST

    I agree benito

    by prevert

    Ha ha! Cowshit. Oh man I gotta watch that film again. Thats GOLD!! Anyway, I hope you Aussies figure it out, or else just come over here and work for Peter Jackson! Kia kaha.

  • April 26, 2005, 1:34 a.m. CST

    Cowshit?

    by benito

    I am intrigued to know in what film this cow shit slip thing occurred?

  • April 26, 2005, 1:54 a.m. CST

    Bad Taste of course!

    by prevert

    There's a great scene were Derek (Peter Jackson) pulls out an Uzi and prepares to take on some zombies in a field. He strikes a Ramboesque pose, strides forward - and slips in some cow poo. Very funny, and not just in a "cow poo is funny" way.

  • April 26, 2005, 2:47 a.m. CST

    Braindead

    by edintransit

    My favourite PJ moment was the kung-fu priest in Braindead. "I kick arse...for the LORD!". Also, the lawnmower zombie crowd scene near the end of the movie.

  • April 26, 2005, 3:32 a.m. CST

    Why has nobody commented on the "don't chop the dinoasaur" girl?

    by Monkey Butler

    How can such a great performance come from such an awful, awful ad? Oh, and Lat, thought you might be interested to know that there's an editorial by Steve Cannane (sp?) - the guy from Hack on Trile J - in the SMH today about the Australian Family Association and its attempts to have 9 Songs banned. There's nothing particularly new in he article, but it's good to see people actually caling the AFA on its bullshit.

  • April 26, 2005, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Like I'd pay to see that fat short-lipped fuck Angus Sampson on

    by Cash Bailey

    He's one of those people who always looks like he spits when he talks. The only good thing he's ever done was as 'The Enforcer' on Recovery. And only then it was because he had a balaclava on and never talked. Fuck him and his miserable bogan movie.

  • April 26, 2005, 4 a.m. CST

    Shit, I knew I'd forgotten to ask something

    by prevert

    Does anyone here think NZ and Australia should collaborate more on film productions? Seeing as so many Kiwis piss off to Aussie anyway (to pursue "more opportunities") to questionable success, don't we have a lot to offer each other? I mean, we have the talent, you have the...er....you have.... um..lotsa deserts and shit!

  • April 26, 2005, 4:30 a.m. CST

    ..........my 2 cents worth

    by thanner

    Australian film is always going to be dodgy as long as funding keeps going to scripts that supposedly have "an Australian voice". Genre films are the way forward to profitability here, but unless private funding is found they aren't going to get made, especially with our "generous" tax breaks. Sure, we occasionally get a Chopper or Proof, but more often than not we get a Welcome to Woop Woop. Call me out if I'm wrong, but it seems that the half decent ones all come from Melbourne and all the shite ones come from Sydney.

  • April 26, 2005, 4:34 a.m. CST

    "Derel

    by Wonder Man

  • April 26, 2005, 5:04 a.m. CST

    Damn... what I meant to say was...

    by Wonder Man

    "Derek's gone apeshit!!!" My fave BAD TASTE moment. And all of Uncle Les in BRAINDEAD. Although, I gotta tell ya, FEEBLES was purgatory.

  • April 26, 2005, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Goodbye Pork Pie

    by Hamish

    Probably my favourite NZ film ever, still love it despite its age. Possibly both our industries would be better if our filmmakers didn't all bolt for Hollywood at the first whiff of success...

  • April 26, 2005, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Oh, and Carmen couldn't be worse...

    by Hamish

    ... than the hip-hopera, even with J Lo-ser in it.