Showing posts from August 5, 2012

Review: Ground Zero

Colin Friels plays a cameraman on crappy TV commercials (Do we even have Chili Dogs here in Australia? Sounds a little Yankee Doodle Dandy, to me), whose father might have died seeing too much of the goings on during the nuclear tests in Australia during the 50s (which were on Aboriginal land, angering the Human Rights activists), though not enough proof has arisen to hold the Australian Federal Government accountable for any wrongdoing. Friels starts to nose around looking for the truth perhaps to his own peril, and finds an ally in crusty old Donald Pleasence, a hermit-like survivor of the tests. Jack Thompson plays an imposing spook, very interested in Friels’ activities. Natalie Bate is Friels’ on-and-off again wife (they have a kid together), a journo. Directed by Bruce Myles and Michael Pattinson, this 1987 Aussie political conspiracy thriller (based to some degree, on factual information) has some fine moments and performances, but never quite hits the bullseye. Friels m

Review: Paparazzi

Rising action-star Cole Hauser is targeted by a quartet of sleazy paparazzos (Tom Sizemore, Daniel Baldwin, Kevin Gage, and token British prat Tom Hollander) whose constant interference causes great distress and eventually physical harm to Hauser’s young family (wife Robin Tunney and a cute but vanilla kid). As a result, Hauser (attending Anger Management after punching Sizemore for taking snaps of his kid after being asked quite reasonably and nicely by Hauser to cease and desist) snaps and gets all righteous on their asses. Dennis Farina plays the sympathetic but quietly alarmed detective who does his best to help out Hauser and family.   Watered-down exploitation (a lot of the violence is implied or off-screen!) from producer Mel Gibson and hair stylist-turned filmmaker (!) Paul Abascal, this 2004 revenge thriller seems to be Gibson’s big ‘Fuck You!’ to the (understandably) much hated paparazzi, the bottom-feeders of the entertainment industry (and possibly the human race). U

Review: Red Dog

Based on a novel by Louis De Bernières ( “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” ), this true story concerns the title kelpie who won the hearts of the mining community in Dampier, in the Top End of Australia (Western Australia) in the 70s and 80s. Red Dog (played by the now retired Koko) was supposedly a friend to all but had no one master, until an American bus driver named John (Josh Lucas) takes a shine to the dog, and vice versa. John, meanwhile, takes a fancy to Nancy (Rachael Taylor), a secretary to the mining company. But one day, John fails to come home, with Red Dog patiently waiting and waiting. In a wraparound story, Luke Ford plays a truckie who wanders into Noah Taylor’s bar as the townsfolk are lamenting the sad decline in Red Dog’s health. He, like the audience itself, sits and listens to the tale of this beloved canine. John Batchelor and an Italian-accented Arthur Angel play a couple of the blokey miners, whilst Keisha Castle-Hughes plays a veterinarian’s assistant. A bi

Review: Jarhead

Set in the early 90s, Anthony Swofford (Jake Gyllenhaal) enlists in the marines like his father before him (and his father’s father before him) and is sent to fight in the Gulf War as a trained sniper. The film shows us his experience there, having been trained hard he and his comrades feel the frustration and boredom of waiting around to get into the action they have been trained for. Jamie Foxx (in fine character acting form, after his Oscar win for portraying Ray Charles not long before this film) is the tough Staff Sergeant who trains the men to become, it seems, identical killing machines (yup, Foxx gets to be R. Lee Ermey for a while and dehumanise the troops). Peter Sarsgaard plays Gyllenhaal’s pal and also his spotter. Chris Cooper plays the commanding officer, and Dennis Haysbert has a funny supporting role as a major Gyllenhaal is unfortunate enough to encounter whilst on latrine duty. Rock-solid 2005 mixture of “Full Metal Jacket” and “Three Kings” from Sam Mendes (