new categories!!!

hey casual gold star readers out there!!!

I’ve put up a bunch of new categories on the right that let you browse by gold star rating as well as genre. 

hope this is helpful!!!

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SUPERHERO “MOVIE”

“Movies” that aren’t real movies don’t deserve a review. 

And its not because its a “spoof”, my 9 year-old dog could write a better narrative for a spoof movie. 

THE PAINTED VEIL

Coming out in just a few hours in Australia (FINALLY!!), I was fortunate enough to make it to an advanced screening last weekend. And having waited a long time for this film, it came out in the US Boxing Day 2006, I was expecting good things…. and I wasn’t disappointed.

THE SET UP? (NB: Possible spoiler alerts – but nothing more than is in the trailer.) Twenty-something Kitty still lives at home determined to not be persuaded into marriage by her family, before eventually she is. Kitty marries Walter, a bacteriologist who is head-over-heels in lurve with her. She just wants to get away from her family. The couple move to Shang-hi (as all newly wed bacteriologists do) and it isn’t long before Kitty gets distracted and has an affair. When Walter finds out he volunteers his services to a cholera-infested remote town deep in China. Kitty is dragged along. Do they forgive each other? Do either of them die? But the most important question, do they grow to love each other?

 

CAST? 

Naomi Watts plays Kitty. I have come to expect a lot from this gifted actor and she is great in this. However she didn’t really ‘hit the nail on the head’. But a fine performance. 

Edward Norton plays Walter. I’ve always kinda liked Norton’s work but now I have a new appreciation for his amazing acting abilities. He is splendid in this. The audience totally gets Walter, his personality, his character and why he’s doing what he’s doing. Just like Margaret, I never thought of Norton as a romantic lead but he pulls it off with excellence. 

I’d like to give next billing to Toby Jones, who plays Waddington, a fellow-Englishman stationed at the remote cholera-ridden village. This guy is a fine actor, who’s acting range is only limited by his physical stature. I really liked him in this. Hopefully he’ll get some more meaty roles!

Liev Schreiber plays the distraction (Charlie). I’m so immature, it makes me giggle to think that Naomi Watts and Schreiber play characters having an extramarital affair in this film and in real life they’ve been together since filming this and have a kid together! He he. Schreiber does the suave playboy thing well. Check out his directorial debut if you haven’t seen it already, Everything is Illuminated (3.5 GOLD STARS). 


WHY YOU SHOULD SEE THIS FILM?
Breathtaking cinematography. Well-spun dialogue. A beautiful, classic, old-fashioned narrative. And without giving terribly too much away – one of the best love stories I’ve seen in a film, ever. (Okay, that kind of gives everything away – but in my defence, no more than the distribution propaganda.)

 

WHO SHOULD YOU SEE IT WITH? Anyone really. I saw it with one of my best mates. Probably not your twenty-year old brother. But anyone else. Suggestions …. friends, partners, mothers. 

ANY BITS TO BE WORRIED ABOUT? From memory, I think some Chinese drugs and alcohol are involved, but, phhf! Oh, and the mild sexual activity usually involved.

THIS FILM GETS 4.25 GOLD STARS.  

TOMBSTONE

At our weekly movie night this week one of our party suggested we watch a western called Tombstone, I was like: never heard of it. Its kind of in that era from 1970-1995 where I was either not born, or not old enough to watch mature movies and then they kind of just disappear off into the abyss. Well we revived one of ’em last night! – To the great enjoyment of us all.

 

THE SET UP?  The Earp brothers – Law men and peace makers retire and head to the silver-mining town of Tombstone to seek fortune and a more relaxed period of life. Along with TB-suffering friend Doc Holliday, the brothers (along with their wives) prosper in the new town but gradually feel compelled to protect the town’s citizens from the cowboys who are the unofficial and violent powers of Tombstone. The results made the Earp brothers, especially Wyatt a legend. The main plot is buoyed by great one liners from Doc and a r(ather annoyingly realised) romance between Wyatt and Josephine Marcus.

 

THE CAST?  

A powerhouse ensemble with too many biggies to mention, but notably:

Kurt Russell as Wyatt – average performance (kinda the same character as Executive Decision)

Val Kilmer as Doc – brilliant! If I was ever in doubt as to Kilmer’s acting abilities this totally trashes that.

Sam Elliott and Bill Paxton as the other Earp brothers – both pretty good players in this piece (both receive considerably less screen time than Russell and Kilmer).

Dana Delany as Marcus – average, not helped by Russell. 

Check out IMDB for full cast. 

 

WHY YOU SHOULD SEE THIS FILM? Kilmer’s first-rate performance. The one liners. To have another western in your viewing resume – never a bad thing. The only real negative aspect is the woeful state of the soundtrack (not the music but the SOUNDS – voice, sound effects, etc etc.) but that shouldn’t stop you from seeking out this early 90’s western gem.

 

ANY BITS? Apart from subtle debauchery, reasonably excessive violence (but not gruesome – the state of the sound effects is likely to grosse you out more), and some addictive substance related behaviour, there’s nothing to worry about. Oh, come on! Its a western! -We all expect a bit of rough-and-tumble-type stuff – its all in context and true to the time.

 

THIS FILM GETS 3.5 GOLD STARS

LARS AND THE REAL GIRL

Once again this was as film that I had been looking forward to after seeing the trailer on apple months ago. The idea of this young, spunky, blockbuster gold-written-all-over-him male actor continuing to take on various art house roles makes me very happy!!!

 

THE SET UP?  Lars is a shy and reclusive young man who lives in the garage at his brother (Gus) and sister-in-law (Caron)’s  house in a small town somewhere in middle america. He pulls away from social interaction where it can be avoided. But a few months later all this changes when Lars brings over a lady-friend (Bianca) he met online to his brother’s house for dinner – oh yes she doesn’t speak much English (only Spanish), she is relatively wheelchair bound and all her luggage got stolen at the airport so she’ll need to borrow some of Caron’s clothes. Gus and Caron are very supportive and excited until it is revealed that Bianca is a lifesize doll – a sex doll. 

But sex is the furtherest thing from Lars’ mind – he even insists she stays in the spare room at Gus and Caron’s – Lars just wants a friend. What follows is a delightful exploration of how Lars’ family and community come to terms with his “delusion” and how to (as Gus puts it) “fix him”. 

THE CAST?

Ryan Gosling – embodies Lars. Gosling is SUCH a talented young actor. He is beautiful as Lars, fleshing out all the complexities and eccentricities we discover about Lars as his story unfolds. I’d even go as far to say oscar worthy (or at least nomination-worthy) but the best Gosling got was a Golden Globe nom. 

(I want to put Bianca next, but she’s not given a credit)

Emily Mortimer – Caron. Mortimer continues on her acting journey of “sweet” in this role. I do like her, and its nice to see a different kind of beauty on the screen in this capacity. But I’m yet to see her change her character. 

Paul Schneider – Gus. I’ve had a little crush on this actor ever since the little indie film All the Real Girls (check it out!) so its great to see him continuing to pop up in more films approaching the mainstream. His performance is rather perfect as the concerned brother but also as the male who just wants to “fix” the situation and not spend time exploring why Lars has done this (I hope no males take offense at this comment!).

The ever-lovely Patricia Clarkson is Dr. Dagmar, the family’s GP. Ahhh…. she’s just great.

I will also mention Kelli Garner   who plays one of Lars’ work colleagues, Margo. Its evident from the start she’s got a bit of a thing for Lars so its interesting to see how things evolve when Bianca shows up in town.

 

WHY SHOULD YOU SEE IT? For a vastly different film experience and one that will make you feel good and marvel at brilliant acting and loving community. The script by Nancy Oliver is a treat, with its twists and turns unexpected and beautifully realised by Aussie ex-pat Craig Gillespie

 

ANY BITS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT? I must PLEAD with you not to let the fact that this story is primary about a young man’s obsession with a sex doll stop you from seeing this film! (I didn’t help myself just there.) This film always stays above the myriad of connotations that would normally be associated with such a subject – the film’s only rated PG here for goodness sake! 

THIS FILM GETS 4 GOLD STARS.

 

recapping on all the movies I saw and forgot* to review

*Forgot more refers to a lack of time for such activities as writing on goldstars, or a lack of motivation, or a …. wanting to do other things (I’ve kind of hit that wall I usually hit after doing something for a while – the new and exciting thing [goldstars] is losing its shininess and I’m getting a bit bored with it). 

ANYWAY – Here for you are some goldstar mini reviews, I’ll give you the title and one or two noteworthy points, and the gold star rating:

RUN FATBOY RUN (Comedy)Plots along like a typical mid-90’s romantic comedy with the charming and very british humour of Simon Pegg and Dylan Moran. 

THIS FILM GETS 3.25 GOLD STARS.

 Feel free to ask for more… on this or any of the following “mini reviews”

 

 LEONARD COHEN: I’M YOUR MAN  (doco)

A well crafted documentary on one of the greatest song writers of the 20th century.  Though the vision switching in the concert scenes was very amateurish.

THIS FILM GETS 3 GOLD STARS.

 

DEFINITELY, MAYBE (rom-com) 

Adam Brooks tries to do a new take on a well-worn story we all know by heart – he kinda succeeds – at a pinch. A great movie to see to learn how NOT to focus pull (in one scene the focus is pulled correctly to the CHEST area of the female actor framed in a mid shot while her face is left somewhat fuzzy – Marita and I couldn’t stop laughing).

THIS FILM GETS 2.5 GOLD STARS. 

 

DEATH DEFYING ACTS (romance/drama)

I was fortunate enough to see this film with an introduction by its Australian director, Gillian Armstrong.  And I hope I am not tainted by that when I suggest that this film was well acted – Pearce is exceptional – and the narrative is warmly engaging and is nicely reminiscent of Armstrong’s other work.

THIS FILM GETS 3.75 GOLD STARS

 

Science des reves, La (or less fancily) SCIENCE OF SLEEP  (niche comedy)

My favourite director pulls another one out of his hat (of weirdness). Needs a few viewings, but if you’re a fan of Gondry’s other work, especially Eternal Sunshine (…) you’ll fall in love with this vision of obscurity and absurdity in the vein of a classic dream-like trance, as realised as only Gondry could.   

THIS FILM GETS 4.25 GOLD STARS

 

THE BUCKET LIST (comedy)

Hmm… Nicholson shows he’s still got the stuff. But using Freeman as narrator, surely this format is getting a bit weary. Oddly a feel good film despite (spoiler alert!) the death of both characters by the time the credits roll. Though I haven’t done any research to substantiate this claim I would assume that this film will be praised by Christian groups for its moral/family message. 

THIS FILMS GETS 2.25 GOLD STARS

 

VANTAGE POINT (comedy/action)

 I feel director, Pete Travis would be horrified at my classification of his first feature film as comedy but laughter was the predominant reaction in the audience I saw this film with. Certainly a very different cinema experience – and therefore I am reluctant to bag it out – Vantage Point should help you appreciate coverage and the choices of directors, editors and DOPs (director of photography/cinematographer) more. 

THIS FILM GETS 2.75 GOLD STARS.

 

THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL (period drama)A departure from history for the historically illiterate. Too harsh? Fine acting and a compelling script are this film’s strong points. Bana was slightly disappointing and the framing choices of director Justin Chadwick left me wondering (however they were imaginative). 

THIS FILM GETS 3.75 GOLD STARS. 

 

BE KIND REWIND (comedy)

Gondry’s latest offering was anticipated by yours truly for a good 8 or so months so its final revelation (on my birthday I might add!) was a bit disappointing, however it was rather brilliant. You always expect more from the best. Possibly too much Jack Black but the creativity of Gondry continues to blow me away.  

THIS FILM GETS 4.25 GOLD STARS

 

HORTON HEARS A WHO!(children’s/comedy) 

A highly enjoyable cartoon with great voice talents. The comedy is drawn out of the original story by the Dr. creatively and smartly. The coupling of Carrey and Carell was swell casting. The homage to Japanese anime was a treat!

THIS FILM GETS 3.5 GOLD STARS.  

 

SEMI-PRO (comedy – Ferrell comedy) The highly anticipated (and publicised) next comedy from Will Ferrell & co was a disappointment, with the trailer showing its better parts. Not that I’m a swearing-nazi but there was a dramatic increase in the number of “curse words” used in this Ferrell film, and it therefore seemed to lack the creative writing and “wordsmithery” (if you will) of the likes of Anchorman or Talledega Nights 

THIS FILM GETS 2.75 GOLD STARS. 

 

Phew!!! Now I think I’m all up to date. From now on I’ll try and post a more substantial review (without going overboard). If you want additional info on any of the films listed PLEASE ask me.