Movie News

AICN Downunder: PUBLIC ENEMIES, LAKE MUNGO And That Jeff Goldblum Thing!

Published at: July 3, 2009, 2:32 p.m. CST

There is absolutely nothing I want to do in Indiana.

AICN-DOWNUNDER

Every year when I sit down with friends (occasionally, I stand with contemporaries or squat with antagonists) to watch the Oscar telecast, we're always forced to watch the pre-show red carpet nonsense. Painful though it is for us, I always -- always -- feel the desire to apologise to any actors or directors or unfortunate passers-by who are assaulted on the carpet by Australian "entertainment reporter" Richard Wilkins. I was, if nothing else, consoled by the fact that his idiotic questions and banal comments were only broadcast here in Australia. At least the rest of the world wouldn't know we'd produced him.

Well, so much for that consolation. That Jeff Goldblum fake death story may not have originated from Wilkins, but he picked up on it and broadcast it live on national television. I immediately received a text message from my brother informing me that Goldblum had died -- his follow up message, incidentally, read "Oh, and Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett".

A quick check on the net made it clear that this was a completely unfounded rumour. Goldblum was filming in New Zealand? Wasn't he on "The Colbert Report" recently, in this hilarious response to Obama swatting a fly, and again a few episodes later in this brilliant follow-up? And three days later he was apparently in New Zealand making a film and falling off mountains? It was possible, but highly implausible. The lack of back-up evidence suggested this was almost certainly rubbish. It took me about fifteen seconds to find this on Google. I wonder how long it might have taken Wilkins? Especially, as the enormously entertaining press watchdog show "Media Watch" pointed out, he had time to edit together a clip reel of Goldblum moments.

This is the sort of crap I expect on the internet. I'm not bemoaning all of the net, of course. I've been both impressed and inspired by the contingent of web film reporters who go out of their way to cite sources, triple check facts, and call out fakery. The net has a bad reputation, and given how much dodgy reporting is out there (and will always be out there due to its lack of self-regulation) such a reputation is well-earned. Particularly as that whole Goldblum hoax begun on the net in the first place. For a professional -- and I'm at loathe to use the word -- journalist like Richard Wilkins to broadcast it without doing any sort of check, and to then, upon finding out it was a hoax, stumble over an ad-lib in which he claims that in the quest to produce the truth in a professional manner sometimes mistakes are made... well, I'm astonished he still has a job. Truly astonished.

Still, good and bad tends to emerge from every situation. In this case, the bad was that Stephen Colbert then broadcast the clip to the world, revealing one of Australia's greatest shames for everyone to see. The good that emerged was that same exact segment, in which Colbert and Goldblum produced what will likely be my favourite moment of television in 2009.

To Jeff Goldblum, I'm exceptionally glad you're still alive. To everybody who isn't Richard Wilkins, I sincerely apologise for Richard Wilkins. We'll try not to let him happen again.

NEWS

And now to an Australian I'm quite happy for the world to know about: Guy Pearce, as was widely reported, will appear in DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK for producer Guillermo Del Toro. The movie is about to start filming in Melbourne, and a significant amount of local media attention is focused on the fact that co-star Katie Holmes is now here with Tom Cruise. Director Troy Nixey makes his feature debut on the film which, so far, looks like that ever-so-rare beast: a horror film I'm really looking forward to.

Screen Australia, the Voltron-esque entity constructed from leftover parts of the Australian Film Commission and the Film Finance Commission, recently capped its feature film investment from a maximum of AU$5 million to AU$3 million. If you're wondering what that sound is, it's US film executives trying to count down to three million. Welcome to the Australian film industry. (Fingers crossed this doesn't affect WOG BOY 2: KINGS OF MYKONOS.) According to Inside Film, this would have meant MARY AND MAX (AU$4.98 million) would have either not been made, or be forced to seek the rest of its budget elsewhere. Given the story is a sepia-toned claymation about an Australian girl swapping pen pal letters with an overweight New York man with Asperger syndrome, I can't see a lot of commercial outlets jumping at that one. And so, as MARY AND MAX is easily one of the best films of the year (Australian or otherwise), this makes me a tad nervous about the future, but also serves to remind me that, for all the mockery it tends to receive, Government film financing does have a very important role to play.

A guy I know was recently served a cease and desist letter for a comment he posted on someone's MySpace page. I think we're going to see a lot more of that in the future, as both plebs and big corporations try to figure out where the line between private discussion and public broadcasting lies. Case in point: Australian indie filmmaker Jonathan Nolan (no, not the DARK KNIGHT one) was putting together a documentary called MERCHANT OF DEATH. Following the announcement of the project in April of this year, posts began appearing on the sites Filmnet and ZGeek completely discrediting Nolan's company (Pisces All Media) and suggesting that the finances had not, as was claimed, been raised. The doco was about Viktor Bout, a Russian arms trafficker, and the money had, according to finance broker Greg Smith, come from Russian and Ukrainian business sources. The comments posted on the sites, claimed Nolan, had spread and cost him the film's budget. He and Smith are now suing Filmnet and ZGeek for AU$2.5 million. Says Nolan: "I'm $2.5 million out. I want that 2.5 million from someone responsible." All of the above, plus the statements from Nolan and Smith, were originated on ScreenHub, which did the heavy lifting on this story. Very interested to see how this whole thing progresses.

H2>AWARDS, FESTIVALS AND SCREENINGS

2009 Melbourne International Animation Festival

Dammit, I was going to go to this. Anyway, the winners of this year's MIAF included THE SPINE by Chris Landreth (Canada) which won Best of the Fest, THE BRONZE MIRROR by Susan Danta which won Best Australian Film, and THE LAST WARHORSE by Susan McMinn which won Best Australian Student Film. The full list of winners can be found on the MIAF website.

DigiSPAA Digital Filmmaking Competition

If you're a filmmaker who desperately needs $15 000 and $20 000 of post-production, then-- Hang on, I'll rephrase: If you're an Australian filmmaker, you'll definitely want to enter DigiSPAA's competition. If you've made a feature film that is at least 70 minutes long, is independently funded, and will be finished by August 31, then you're probably eligible! To enter, I mean. I wasn't casting aspersions on your personal life. Go to the DigiSPAA website for more info.

BOX OFFICE

Amongst the many amusing talkbackers who took issue with me not liking TRANSFORMERS 2 was one crackpot who tried to convince me my review wouldn't stop the film making money. My jaw dropped when I read that! I curled up into the foetal position and rocked myself to sleep that night. You're saying I don't have that sort of influence? Wow. Shocking. But, hey, apparently that brilliant prediction was borne out, with Michael Bay's shitfest taking in over AU$13 million in its first week. Is that a record of some kind? It may well be. Well, can't say I didn't warn you.

1.TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN
2. THE PROPOSAL
3. THE HANGOVER
4. HANNAH MONTANA
5. YEAR ONE

RELEASED THIS PAST FORTNIGHT

Aboriginal elder-cum-actor-cum-heroin addict-cum-cat burgler Jack Charles is revealed in this fascinating-looking Australian doco, Audrey Tautou stars in the sequel to YVES LAURENT APRES SAINTETÉ, the audition process for A CHORUS LINE is released to the big screen (and, likely, the filmed version of A CHORUS LINE will wind up as a DVD extra!), the loose ends left hanging at the end of the TV series DEADWOOD are finally tied up, I really haven't seen this movie, I'm now actually curious to see these ICE AGE films given the positive reviews of the third one, Hugo Weaving escapes angry cops, Hugo Weaving escapes angry filmgoers, and a classic Australian movie (does it qualify as Ozploitation?) gets a digital restoration and re-release.

BASTARDY
COCO AVANT CHANEL
EVERY LITTLE STEP
HANNAH MONTANA
I REALLY HATE MY JOB
ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS
LAST RIDE
TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN
WAKE IN FRIGHT

REVIEWS

LAKE MUNGO

Australian release: July 30 (limited)

New Zealand release: yet to be announced

I don't know why I was so reluctant to watch this. Maybe it's because I have less luck with screeners than I do with films in the cinema. It's a silly distinction to make, but for whatever reason, my expectations were low. It played on a screen beside my computer, where I had a whole bunch of work-in-progress that would hopefully serve to distract me when the film proved to be dull, bad, or both.

It's not my proudest moment as a film critics and yes, I should probably be ashamed of myself, although you'd probably do the same if you'd seen as much well-intentioned dreck as I had. I'm telling you this because it's important to know just how well the film worked to suck me in, not just as a viewer, but as a disinterested viewer who was actually looking at something else.

See, it's one thing to be scared in a cinema with the lights down and nowhere else to look. But to be scared when it's daytime, the lights are on, and you're surrounded by a myriad of distractions... well, that's a pretty impressive feat.

It didn't take along until my attention was exclusively commanded, and I began to wonder: who the hell is Joel Anderson, and how did he get so fucking good?

Joel Anderson is the writer and director of LAKE MUNGO, a horror made in documentary style (I don't want to call it a mockumentary due to the unfavourable images that word sometimes conjures for non-comedies, but I may have to as this review wears on and I run out of euphemisms). So often, the fake doco style is used as a crutch. Ever since THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, a lot of filmmakers have employed a faux documentary style to cover up (a) a lack of budget, and (b) a lack of talent. So many low budget mockumentaries are rambling, discordant, and completely missing the point of real documentaries. They forget that documentaries actually have strong narratives and little, if any, filler. Documentary makers work extremely hard to craft footage into a compelling story, a fact that did not go unnoticed in the construction of LAKE MUNGO.

The pacing and structure of MUNGO is spot-on. The scares come at the perfect moments, the revelations are flawlessly timed, and the use of interviews, reconstructions, and found footage is neither overdone nor under-utlised. For the most part, the actors are incredibly naturalistic, and actually feel like people giving interviews, rather than actors reciting lines and unsuccessfully attempting to appear spontaneous.

I shall refrain from saying anything else about the film itself, as it should be seen with as little fore-knowledge as possible. When the film finished, I did a search on the net to read up on the movie and see if it had made any sort of splash that had passed me by. Apparently it had: a week ago, the news came out that Paramount Vantage had bought the remake rights, and now plan to remove the mockumentary elements to make it a straight narrative. I see. How subtly can I put this? THIS IS THE WRONG THING TO DO. Unless, of course, your plan is to end up with something akin to BLAIR WITCH 2: BOOK OF SECRETS. The smart thing to do is to allow LAKE MUNGO -- which is so perfectly suited to its style and budget that changing it or throwing more money at it would do anything but improve it -- to exist on its own, and to hand the money you were going to waste on it over to Joel Anderson. Give him a cheque and let him make something new, because LAKE MUNGO is a film made by someone who really knows what they're doing.

PUBLIC ENEMIES

Australian/NZ release: July 30

There are so many Hollywood pairings I don't understand. I'm not talking about celebrity gossip (I have a useful filter in my brain allowing me not absorb about 94% of that nonsense), but more professional coupling involving directors I admire that usually does the director no favours at all.

I'm talking Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe. I'm talking Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman. I'm talking Michael Mann and digital cinematography.

The biggest, most overt letdown of PUBLIC ENEMIES is how truly awful it looks. Now, I'm not against digital cinematography. I think in the right hands, it can be used well. I adore the Earthy grittiness of Steven Soderbergh's BUBBLE, and I love how rich and -- dare I say it -- filmic David Fincher's THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON looks. I have no particular bias towards the various digital formats, yet I can't escape the fact that Michael Mann's films have looked uniformly ugly since he switched. PUBLIC ENEMIES is no exception.

Once I got past the flat visuals, I found a fairly flat film underneath it. Now, I'm not going to completely pan the film, because I can't specifically name anything (outside of the photography) that I disliked. But nor can I name anything I particularly liked.

It's weird, because all of the elements get a big tick. Johnny Depp? Tick. Christian Bale? Tick. Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, David Wenham, and the entire rest of the cast? Check. A film about John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson and J. Edgar Hoover? Big check. Michael Mann? Check.

See, I actually do really like Michael Mann. Ever since the crime operatics of HEAT (one of my favourite examples of beautiful cinematography, actually), I've been eagre to see everything the man makes. Looking over his filmography, I think it's HEAT that gives him a free pass in my memory, the same way DAS BOOT blinded me for years to the fact that Wolfgang Peterson hasn't made a good film since DAS BOOT. (Okay, I love NEVERENDING STORY, but to include it would ruin the rhythm of the previous sentence.) And I keep going into Mann films with a sense of excitement, knowing that this will be the film that puts him back on top. Except COLLATERAL did absolutely nothing for me. And MIAMI VICE was truly flat, with no highs or lows to speak of.

PUBLIC ENEMIES is much the same. All of those amazing elements Mann brought together do not add up to anything of note. Depp, Bale, and Cotillard do their best with character who go through the motions, but never connect. You have the scene where John Dillinger seduces Cotillard's Billie Frechette, but you never feel any emotional connection. You never feel like Dillinger experiences the elation he says his lifestyle gives him. You never feel Bale is particularly driven to catch Dillinger, nor that he is, say, doing so because of pressure from above. There's no real investment in any character motivations.

There's one scene in particular towards the end that is supposed to be Cotillard's big emotional moment, but it feels like it's been directed by Lev Kuleshov. Aside from a couple of tears that stream down her face (as if someone squirted saline solution into her eyes before the cut), her face is completely motionless. Not in the stoic way that suggests she's holding back a river of emotion, but in a bored way that suggests she's looking at a beige wall. I don't mean to pick on Cotillard -- I was one of the few who correctly predicted her 2008 Oscar win for LA VIE EN ROSE, largely because I thought she was so damned brilliant -- but this scene is perfectly indicative of the entire film: there is a large blank space where there should be emotion, both from the characters and from myself as an audience member.

It's not specifically bad -- it's just a big straight line without any peaks or toughs that fails to engage me in any way at any point.

DVD REVIEWS

LEMON TREE (Region 4)

The film: I'm absolutely positive you can remember my 2008 review of this film. You've probably got it memorised word-for-word, but for the sake of going through the motions, I'll refresh your memory. This was one of the films I walked into during the 2008 Melbourne International Film Festival without any prior knowledge, and it turned out to be one of the festival's most pleasant surprises. I was eagre to revisit on DVD, and I'm pleased to say it's just as good on a second viewing, perhaps even better. The film follows a Palestinian woman whose new neighbours are the Israeli Defence Minister and his wife. Selma (the Palestinian widow played by THE VISITOR's brilliant Hiam Abbass) owns a lemon grove, which the Defence Minister's security team insist must be destroyed because it could easily conceal terrorists. As Selma tries to protect her lemon grove, the Minister's wife watches from the window with what appears to be a growing sense of sympathy. So, think you've got this film figured out? Think you know all of its twists and turns and can pick all the clichés it will inevitably resort to? Yeah, so did I. LEMON TREE knows exactly what clichés films such as these dip into, and it navigates around them, presenting a beautiful character piece that avoids cheap sentimentality in favour of a terrific and engaging story.

The extras: Nada. Zip. In the region four edition, all we get is trailers for other movies. (I'd like to mock them, but IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON looks truly amazing.) Nicely designed menu, but it's disappointing there's no commentary.

Should you buy it: In a yes/no contest, I'd lean towards yes, but I know this film won't be for everyone. I'd suggest renting it first to see what you think, but as I can't really see Blockbuster stocking up on this title, you probably should pick it up. It really is very good, and its purchase will remind retailers that we are actually interested in seeing intelligent, well-crafted foreign films, regardless of where they come from. And in case your wondering, nothing in the film is as heavy-handed as my previous sentence.

NEXT WEEK

- Megan Fox to star in Diablo Cody's sequel about a possessed cheerleader who is now obsessed with killing large-nosed Oscar-winning actors, JENNIFER'S BRODY

- Joseph Gordon-Levitt a surprise addition to HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, playing new slacker teacher Professor Mumblecore

- Ed Zwick reunites Daniel Craig, Liev Shreiber, and Jamie Bell for a film about Jewish brothers hiding in the forest to escape the 2008 economic meltdown, in quasi-sequel DEFINANCE

RIP Karl Malden,

Latauro
AICNDownunder@hotmail.com



Readers Talkback

comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • July 3, 2009, 2:45 p.m. CST

    FIRST!!

    by lockesbrokenleg

    hahahh suckers!

  • July 3, 2009, 3:34 p.m. CST

    Public Enemies is frustratingly flat

    by Rocklover79

    The review is bang on. The parts are better than the sum in regards to that flick.

  • I'm not sure if it was our theatre...but the sound seemed a bit off, with voices sometimes too quiet in contrast to music. My wife and I both missed some dialogue. <P>Visually, yes, it was flat. Some night video looked as if the lighting wasn't strong enough, as if seeing the slight "snow" on a tube television. Maybe that was also due to our theatre, I'm not sure. Maybe we weren't seeing "digital" projection. --Not a clue, here. <P>If this exact same movie was captured on film in the classic Mann style, it would have been more enjoyable, I feel. If Depp had given his character more vigor, especially in line delivery, I wonder what might have been. <P>As is, it was.....okay.

  • July 3, 2009, 5:31 p.m. CST

    COLLATERAL was great. --How can you knock it?

    by JDanielP

    Now,...being that I have not yet seen TRANSFORMERS 2,...should I resist temptation?

  • July 3, 2009, 5:35 p.m. CST

    just got back from seeing Public Enemies

    by digital_soul

    Personally I thought visually it looked fine, but I felt that if someone had just turned it off at any point I really wouldn't have cared. I knew very little about Dillinger going into it and I wanted it to make me want to get home and fire up wikipedia and find out more about him, the era, the other characters, but after watching the film I just don't care.

  • July 3, 2009, 6:01 p.m. CST

    Damn, Public Enemies bombed hard

    by lockesbrokenleg

    3rd place. Ouch.

  • July 3, 2009, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Richard Wilkens *shudder*

    by holden_oz

    I know the big drawing point for this article is the Public Enemies review... but I lost confidence from the trailer... (Think I was the only one from my group of mates to think the cinematography was noticably terrible even then.)<p> However, Latauro, I need to thank you for apologising for the walking train wreck that Wilkens is. How he can continue to be Australia's spokesperson in L.A. is beyond me.

  • July 3, 2009, 7:42 p.m. CST

    I remember back when that first trailer came out I

    by lockesbrokenleg

    said the movie looked really cold, and everyone here shot me down. Now who's laughing fuckers!!

  • July 3, 2009, 9:21 p.m. CST

    Richard Wilkins isn't Australian

    by TripleB

    He's from New Zealand. Don't claim him as Australian when you don't have to!

  • July 3, 2009, 9:28 p.m. CST

    TripleB

    by Latauro

    That's the best news I've heard in a long time. THANK YOU.

  • July 3, 2009, 9:33 p.m. CST

    Collateral Rules!

    by The Wrong Guy

    Basic fact.

  • July 3, 2009, 9:50 p.m. CST

    Public Enemies is fucking PERFECT.

    by UndeadRabbitZombieJim

    The digital aspect is so crisp, so clear, you feel like you are there. I frigging love this movie. So much. Seeing it again this weekend.

  • July 3, 2009, 10:11 p.m. CST

    Public Enemies was very very clumsily directed

    by DoctorZoidberg

    I hate to say it, but it is true. A second rate film from a first rate director. I didn't hate it, but I won't recommend it to anybody.

  • July 3, 2009, 11:13 p.m. CST

    Agreed, Zoidberg

    by cookepuss

    The movie was very forgettable. <p> <p> - At 143 minutes, I'd say that it ran 1/2 hour too long. Better editing could have increased both the pace and the tension.<p> - Actors like Ribisi & Sobieski were wasted in do nothing 3rd tier roles.<p> - The casting for the other gangsters, as well as their characterization, was uninspired.<p> - The dramatic mood could have been improved with some more/better scoring. The score was minimal at best. What little there was felt like a letdown.<p> - J Edgar Hoover's character felt tacked on, as if most of his good scenes were left on the cutting room floor.<p> - Small changes, like having the "lady in red" wear a white top & orange skirt, seemed off putting.<p> - The dialog seemed tired & just as forgettable as the movie itself.<p> - Both the performances of Depp & Bale felt phoned in. Both men's careers have seen better days and far, FAR better roles. At times, even, Bale's accent kept popping in and out, as if he didn't care too much to remain consistent. The rest of the actors just seemed bored.<p> - A couple of the action scenes, especially near the end, hit the right notes, but most of them didn't. They simply felt glossed over and rushed in creative/directorial execution. <p> <p><p> - If you're a Depp/Bale fan, I might give this a B.<p> - If a gangster movie fan, a C+/B-, as there have been MANY better gangster movies.<p> - If you're a Dillinger fan, straight up C. Drop that to a D if you're a hardcore Dillinger fan, as this is the worst of the numerous Dillinger pics. - If you're not a gangster fan OR a Depp/Bale fan, C- at best since the movie plods along. It hits some notes in a satisfying manner, but most of the movie feels like forgettable summer filler. Best suited for a less competitive season. It doesn't, by any stretch of the imagination, deserve to be with either the other summer blockbusters OR the top tier Bale/Depp movies.<p> <p> <p> Personally, I'm a Depp/Bale fan, but NOT a 30s gangster movie fan. I was bored to tears, as was most of the audience here in NY. I've seen better movies this summer and better gangster/crook movies before. <p> <p> For me, Public Enemies was a C- effort. I'll forget about it come Sunday.

  • July 3, 2009, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Anybody else find it weird that

    by cookepuss

    they killed Baby Face Nelson BEFORE Dillinger? I mean, Nelson died months after. This is a movie, but really... c'mon. This is playing with history and historical figures. Changing something as critical as their deaths has got to be a major oversight.

  • July 3, 2009, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Looking it now... They did it with

    by cookepuss

    Homer too. He died the month AFTER Dillinger. Jeez!?! Didn't anybody proof this script? This movie, as it contains very real figures, is just a joke... even by Hollywood standards. <p> <p> Shit.... Amping up the body count with no reason other than shock value. Bad writer. No cookie for you.

  • July 4, 2009, 12:15 a.m. CST

    Wilkins amendment

    by Latauro

    I shouldn't have been so happy about the news that he's from NZ and not Australia. On AICN, I'm the representative of both countries, and so I need to be disgusted on BOTH our behalfs (behalves?). Sadly, my embarrassment must return to its original state.

  • It can't have been all his doing, someone else would have been behind the scenes. That being said, he's a twat and I'm glad his attempt to gain an 'exclusive' or whatever blew up spectacularly in his face.

  • July 4, 2009, 12:56 a.m. CST

    Seen better documentaries

    by thot

    Public Enemies was dull. Plain and simple. They failed to make the pursuit of John Dillinger entertaining. How does one manage that? Especially with star power like Depp and Bale? Nearly two and one half hours most boring hours I was glad to see end. Quite disappointing.

  • July 4, 2009, 1:06 a.m. CST

    how dare richard wilcons make a mistake!

    by Potatino

    honest to fuck he's just a plebby entertainment reporter, it not like his mistake caused something majorly terrible to happen. He embaressed himself and now a lot of smug tools can make fun of him and feel better about themselves. Wow!

  • July 4, 2009, 1:25 a.m. CST

    Potatino

    by Latauro

    Here's a good example of a mistake that doesn't really matter: Richard Wilkins falling for an April Fool's Gag on Triple J breakfast radio in 2000 announced that Sydney had lost the Olympic Games. That one we can laugh about because all it did was make him look like a twat. Announcing somebody's death on live television without first verifying it is a lot more serious, and a lot more dangerous. If you don't get why Wilkins is being chastised for this mistake, then you don't fully understand what happened.

  • July 4, 2009, 1:33 a.m. CST

    He likes the Colbert Report?

    by lockesbrokenleg

    Credibility shot.

  • July 4, 2009, 1:48 a.m. CST

    "eagre"

    by catlettuce4

    what is this word, "eagre", you speak of?

  • July 4, 2009, 3:07 a.m. CST

    Latauro, you're right about Public Enemies

    by BadMrWonka

    I just saw it tonight, and boy did it look like shit. the day scenes weren't too bad, but everything at night looked like a camcorder. where are my black and whites?!?! and the few little slow-motion shots looked HORRIBLE. with film, you could speed up the film, and slow it down so that it would still be at 24fps and look good. here, it looks like a poorly edited home video on youtube. terrible.<p>and the hand camera work, I don't mind usually, when it's used in a fast paced sequence. but there were some shots that were so terribly done in this. just pathetic. if 2 people are in a shot, and one exits, and the camera adjusts to a new frame, it looks fine as a nice little glide/zoom on a tripod. but when it's handheld, it's so jarring. it sucks me RIGHT out of the film to imagine some guy crouching and maneuvering trying to reframe. I immediately picture the cameraman, the focus puller, the whole nine yards. it's a terrible choice. fine for car chases and shooting scenes, but in a courtroom? in a hallway? just put it on a goddamn tripod. jesus christ.<p>I think the reason the movie felt kinda soulless was that it seemed like it was a full movie made with just half a story. it seemed to want to be about Dillinger's role as sort of the first rock star, and the cult of his celebrity. but you can't really tell that story with long close ups and people's eyes darting around. if you want to do that, you just make it a tragic love story, and stop giving overwrought hints as to Dillinger's place in the public eye. <p>I just think it was a misfire. and it wouldn't be too bad if it wasn't so awkwardly shot. and I would care about that too much if the story were engaging. but when you tell half a story, and bad camerawork takes the place of the other half, it just feels like a big letdown.<p>I still love Last of the Mohicans, though. and talk about night and day in terms of the cinematography. jeebus.

  • July 4, 2009, 3:56 a.m. CST

    Goldblum

    by kafka07

    I thought the guy died like ten years ago. If he's on Law & Order now he might as well be dead.

  • July 4, 2009, 4:30 a.m. CST

    richard wilkins is new zealand's fault.

    by ironic_name

  • July 4, 2009, 4:32 a.m. CST

    by ironic_name

    I refuse to acknowledge his presence on my tv screen.

  • July 4, 2009, 5:49 a.m. CST

    Yup

    by CHRISTIAN_BALE_TRASHED_MY_LIGHTS

    That's what she said.

  • July 4, 2009, 8:42 a.m. CST

    Wilkins is actually a pretty amazing guy

    by Paulseta

    And being supposedly an entertainment reporter yourself, you should know that. <P> Frankly, we all agree that Richard isn't the best entertainment personality on free-to-air TV, but the fact is that the guy does an enormous amount of free unpublicised charity work... and still cops the "unworthy human being" tag from people who's idea of being kind is to chuck a spare $2 in coins to the Salvos on collection day.<P> You're a second rate asshole having a go a second rate journalist who happens to be a first rate human being. How do I know? Well, I guess not everyone is as on the outer as you. AICN Downunder? Get back to us when you have a scoop - and I mean a real one (like, for example, the Baz story, or the FFC real story etc.This industry is FULL of amazing stories and corruption that would be front page if someone actually dared publish it - or even look into it...) <P> Pathetic.

  • July 4, 2009, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Paulseta

    by TripleB

    I'm not bagging him as a human being, just as a crap reporter.

  • July 4, 2009, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Paulseta, you're right, he's just a dude.

    by ironic_name

  • July 4, 2009, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Latauro

    by Potatino

    Nothing Richard Wilcons says matters. He can't by definition make a serious mistake. Hes an entertainment reporter. Its not like hes poor reporting is going to start a war or something!... While I'm I'm at it nothing you write in your column and nothing I write in these Talkbacks matters either. Relax. ...

  • July 4, 2009, 10:07 a.m. CST

    bla

    by Potatino

    its not that I don't get it I dont care ..

  • July 4, 2009, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Wilkins is a fuckin' douche.

    by MaxTheSilent

    God alone knows how he's scored so much to-shelf ass over the years.

  • July 4, 2009, 2:38 p.m. CST

    I can't believe all the Public Enemies hate.

    by flickchick85

    I mean I can, because it really wasn't a summer blockbuster at all, and was marketed as a completely different type of movie, but it was a great film! It kinda reminded me of the Assassination of Jesse James, but with a totally different shooting style (which absolutely worked for this film btw) and no spoon-feeding narration. But it had that same dreamlike, "snapshot in time" quality to it. I loved it, and I'll be seeing it again tomorrow.

  • July 4, 2009, 3:42 p.m. CST

    does australia not have spell check?

    by animas

    wtf is JENNIFER's BRODY? and DEFINANCE?

  • July 4, 2009, 6:10 p.m. CST

    Paulseta

    by fabiodeniro

    Would love to hear some of those amazing stories for a project i'm working on.. email me.. i'm easy to find if you google nothing but the struth

  • July 4, 2009, 7:08 p.m. CST

    Silly question for Latauro

    by Shad0wfax

    How did you get to see Public Enemies? In the States?

  • July 4, 2009, 8:12 p.m. CST

    Wow, ironic! Richard Wilkin RIP

    by Womb2dooM

    Here's the link to his confirmed death: http://www.aintitcool.com/talkback_display/41606#comment_2758488

  • July 4, 2009, 8:15 p.m. CST

    animas - how's the fishing today?

    by Womb2dooM

    Enough bait?

  • July 4, 2009, 9:32 p.m. CST

    ..looking at a beige wall

    by frank cotton

    good line

  • July 4, 2009, 10:26 p.m. CST

    I just saw Thief for the first time recently

    by seppukudkurosawa

    And I think it's my favourite Mann movie (notice I didn't use the word "best" just now). It's all about the details and the scenes which aren't expedient to the plot but essential the characters and mood of the piece- things like Jimmy Cann meeting up with the old black guy and looking out over the river, and the scene in the diner between him and Tuesday Weld. The trouble with movies these days is that they're all about the business. Don't be afraid to let the plot float around a bit before you get straight to the action.<p> Anyway, I got the impression from the outset that this might be a little flawed. I'll still see it, though. We're kinda starved for good movies this year, so this'll probably seem like one of the best Hollywood films released in 2009 by default. Plus, I love that era of Pretty Boy Floyd & Co, when it seemed like the world was up for grabs for anyone with the chutzpah to take it.

  • July 4, 2009, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Reviews

    by Hamish

    Lat, I love your work, really, but compare your PE review with Capones on this very site, and you'll know why people ignore reviews. Your views are so diammetrically opposed that its like you guys got together beforehand to make sure of it.

  • July 5, 2009, 4:55 a.m. CST

    Animas ... Animas ... Animas!

    by alpha

    Sorry to hear you broke the humerous bone in your arm.

  • July 5, 2009, 8 a.m. CST

    Try re reading it Animas

    by barnaby jones

    Its a fucking joke !

  • July 5, 2009, 8:07 a.m. CST

    Latauro responds!

    by Latauro

    Potatino: Fair enough! I take your point. <BR><BR> Shadowfax: I saw Public Enemies at a media screening. It's how I see all the films I review on this site. <BR> <BR> hamo455: Honestly, I haven't read Capone's review yet (although I am a big fan of his writing). I don't read anyone else's review until I've written my own thoughts down, for fear of repetition or influence or similar. But it's great that he and I feel differently about these films! That's what film criticism is all about! If you read both of our reviews and feel that the points that Capone makes are more in tune with your opinions than the points I made, then you've got a good idea about whether you should see the film or not. It's why I never read reviews from random people who got into a test screening. I like to know the person who's doing the reviewing. (Btw, if anyone finds they disagree with me on practically every film I review, then I heartily recommend they do the opposite of what I suggest in my critiques.) <BR> <BR> animas: Dammit, you're right. I gotta spellcheck these things more often! Boy, is my face red! <BR> <BR> Paulsetta: Very good point. Richard Wilkins gives to charity, and therefore is not beholden to any journalistic standard. Tell me, how much do I need to give to Amnesty before I can proclaim the deaths of random movie stars? Just gimme a round figure.

  • July 5, 2009, 4:54 p.m. CST

    Public Enemies is also a dog at the box office

    by lockesbrokenleg

    It made less than Terminator.

  • July 6, 2009, 1:19 a.m. CST

    Good review of Public Enemies

    by Youngdog

    I saw it yesterday and agree with most of those points - only thing I would disagree on would be Marion Cotillard who I thought was great.<P>(SPOILERS) The sound thing was annoying but seemed to improve after the opening prison break.<Br>I liked watching Crudup's Hoover and would have enjoyed seeing more of Giovanni Ribisi's Alvin Karpis who was one of the more interesting figures from the book.<P>My biggest problem with the film was one of expectation - I believed all the crap about historical accuracy. It was authentic sure but what's the point of shooting in the actual Little Bohemia if you are going to change the events completely?<P>Enjoyed watching it though - this film may well be considered a classic in years to come.