Showing posts from April 15, 2012

Review: Muriel’s Wedding

Muriel (Toni Collette) is unemployed, not very popular, a bit of an ugly duckling (with low self-esteem), and lives in the dead-end town of Porpoise Spit. Oh, and her parents (depressed mum Jeanie Drynan and shonky local politician dad Bill Hunter) are on the verge of separation due mostly to dad’s not very subtle philandering and generally derisive attitude towards his wife and kids. Meanwhile, her siblings (particularly the dopey Dan Wyllie and couch potato Gabby Millgate- who became a popular TV presence for about three seconds after this film) Muriel’s a dreamer, though, and in particular dreams of getting married. To escape her mundane, friendless existence she plays ABBA records constantly, which help tide her over until things pick up. One day, it appears that indeed things are starting to work out for her. Firstly, she grabs the bouquet at an acquaintance’s wedding, much to the bride (Sophie Lee) and bridesmaids’ chagrin. She decides to go on vacation (via dubious funding) to g


Review: Rich and Strange Bored married couple (Henry Kendall and Joan Barry) come into some money and go on a round the world cruise, wherein they both have affairs. Add a disaster-filled finale, and you’ve got a surprisingly boring film. Percy Marmont is the Commander, Barry’s love interest, and the only halfway decent performer in the film. Wow, and I thought I’d seen Hitch’s worst with “The Paradine Case” . At least that film had a bunch of GOOD actors and stars (Gregory Peck, Valli, Ann Todd, Ethel Barrymore, Charles Laughton) having a bad day, and at least one (an underrated Louis Jourdan) having a rather good day. This 1931 Alfred Hitchcock ( “Psycho” , “Strangers on a Train” , “The 39 Steps” , “Shadow of a Doubt” ) stinker was made around that awkward time between Hitch’s silent films and the best of his British talkies like “The 39 Steps” and “The Lady Vanishes” . It’s a real dud, no matter the director and his pedigree. It has truly bad performances from a

Review: Permanent Record

Straight-A student Alan Boyce’s suicide comes totally out of the blue to his friends, family, and even the well-meaning principal (Richard Bradford, playing the authority figure for the umpteenth time), as everyone struggles in their own way in the aftermath. This is especially so of best friend Keanu Reeves, a care-free underachiever who actually was present when Boyce jumped to his death, but too drunk to realise what was going on, and is now tormented. Michelle Meyrink plays Reeves’ girlfriend, Jennifer Rubin plays the leading lady of the school musical Boyce was scoring before his death, and Pamela Gidley plays Boyce’s sometime girlfriend. Barry Corbin and Kathy Baker are Boyce’s despondent parents. Rocker Lou Reed has a pointless cameo as himself. Teen suicide (and issues of depression and other pressures on youngsters) is a very important subject that hopefully one day will be given the treatment it deserves in cinematic form. Unfortunately, this well-meaning, but dramati

Review: Simon Birch

Set in the mid 60s, Ian Michael Smith plays the intelligent pre-teen title character who upsets locals (especially no-nonsense Reverend David Strathairn and mean-spirited Sunday school teacher Jan Hooks) with his constant questioning and unshakable belief that God has a plan for him to be a hero. Given that Simon suffers from a form of Dwarfism, this idea doesn’t go down well with the Reverend and others who see Simon as ‘unfortunate’, not to mention having an irritating disposition. Joseph Mazzello plays his one true friend, who is looking for the father he has never known (Jim Carrey plays the grown-up version of Mazzello and narrates the film). Ashley Judd plays Mazzello’s ‘town hussy’ mother who treats Simon as her own (Simon’s parents are somewhat neglectful, borderline absent), and refuses to give up the identity of Mazzello’s father. Oliver Platt plays Judd’s new suitor, an affable teacher who tries to win over Mazzello. Dana Ivey plays Judd’s humourless mother. I’ve heard