Showing posts from April 1, 2012

Review: The Black Balloon

The semi-autobiographical story of a Sydney family (including heavily pregnant mum Toni Collette), who have just relocated yet again due to dad’s (Erik Thomsen) job as an army officer, which particularly takes its toll on pensive teen son Rhys Wakefield, who has to start all over again in a new school. He feels like he has enough to deal with given his brother Luke Ford is severely autistic (to the point of not speaking, only signing), and with mum ‘up the duff’ and dad often absent, it puts even further responsibility on the teenager at a time in his life where all he wants to do is get to know the pretty girl in school (Aussie model Gemma Ward). All of this causes the well-meaning but angsty Wakefield to start to resent his brother (who, by the way, is fond of visiting strangers’ bathrooms, running around the street in his undies and other such social embarrassments).

Although I’m a fan of Barry Levinson’s 1988 big audience pleaser “Rain Man”, this 2008 Aussie drama from debutant di…

Review: Contagion

Gwyneth Paltrow comes back from a HK business trip with an illness that rapidly turns serious, and then just as rapidly, fatal. Her young son also subsequently dies, yet her husband Matt Damon and his teen daughter (Anna Jacoby-Heron) from a previous relationship, appear to be immune. Before long, the virus has spread worldwide, with the CDC and World Health Organisation both working to understand the contagion and deal with the increasingly dire situation. The CDC are represented by the Deputy Director Ellis Cheever (Laurence Fishburne), a dedicated research scientist played by Jennifer Ehle, and Kate Winslet as Cheever’s expert reporting out in the field. Marion Cotillard plays a WHO investigator who travels to HK. Jude Law plays a noise-making blogger who spouts of theories about the government being in bed with drug companies. In smaller roles we have Elliott Gould as an independent researcher, Sanaa Lathan as Fishburne’s wife, and John Hawkes plays a janitor at the CDC who become…