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Showing posts from March 10, 2019

Review: Troy

Hollywood version of the Trojan War saga (set in 1193 BC) has wimpy but love-struck Paris of Troy (a well-cast Orlando Bloom) carrying on a romance with Helen of Sparta (Diane Kruger), the daughter of Zeus, and said to be the most beautiful mortal woman alive. Helen’s husband Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) is a bit miffed at this (well, that’s a gross understatement, but anyway...) and along with his blustery and scheming brother King Agamemnon (Brian Cox) sets about waging a war between all of Greece and the city of Troy. Each side is manned with one supremely skilled warrior; The city of Troy have Paris’ level-headed and principled older brother Hector (Eric Bana), and on the Greek side there is moody, self-absorbed Achilles (a far too contemporary Brad Pitt), the most skilled hero of all, who fights seemingly for infamy rather than out of loyalty. Achilles hates his King, but reluctantly does his duty for his country nonetheless so that his name will live on. Peter O’Toole plays the ag…

Review: Bridge at Remagen

WWII film has Hitler ordering that the Germans destroy all bridges across the Rhine, as the Allies advance rapidly, but General Peter Van Eyck wants the title bridge to stand for as long as possible, as destroying it would trap thousands of German soldiers heading towards the bridge. He calls in Major Robert Vaughn to lead an unfortunately small group in holding the fort for as long as they can. Meanwhile, the approaching Americans are originally intent on blowing the bridge, but General E.G. Marshall and his snooty foot soldier Bradford Dillman decide to take it instead. George Segal is the weary and bitter platoon leader who has just about had enough, while Ben Gazzara is the seemingly heartless, thieving Sergeant, and other soldiers are played by fine character actors like Matt Clark and Bo Hopkins, and everyone’s favourite portrayer of Nazis, Gunter Meisner turns up as an SS man at the end.


Solidly made 1969 John Guillermin (“The Towering Inferno”, “The Blue Max”) war film offers …

Review: Dark Age

Does a killer croc movie really need a plot synopsis? Oh well, if I must. Northern Australia is plagued by a killer croc, and local indigenous elders persuade ranger John Jarratt that the croc is some kind of sacred species to them and shouldn’t be killed. This puts Jarratt at odds with the local mayor (Ray Meagher) and poacher Max Phipps. Nikki Coghill plays Jarratt’s love interest.


This 1987 Ozploitation flick from director Arch Nicholson (the genuinely terrifying Aussie TV movie “Fortress”) is a bit of a cult item overseas with Quentin Tarantino among its admirers. Yet, it remained unreleased in Australia until 2011 due to distributor issues. Having seen the film, I have to say it sadly wasn’t the wonderfully cheesy hidden gem I was hoping for nor expecting. Being produced by the schlocky Anthony I. Ginnane (producer of just about every Ozploitation film of the 70s and 80s you’ve ever seen), I must admit I thought this would be some kind of stupid fun at least. Sadly, it’s pretty b…

Review: The Final Winter

Mostly authentic, earthy 2007 Aussie sports drama directed by Brian Andrews and Jane Forrest tells the story of Australian Rugby League in the early 80s in NSW, as the era of ‘bringing the biff’, ‘hard men’ of the game, and the somewhat legendary Newtown Jets football club, was all about to make way for progress, and a new era of big business (and players leaving club loyalty behind for the almighty dollar), represented by heartless former real estate agent turned club CEO John Jarratt (spot-on). Having to deal with this transition is veteran ‘hard man’ Grub (Matt Nable, a former semi-professional player of the game himself, and the film’s screenwriter), a good player, and well-meaning but troubled man. Grub’s brawling on-field antics (often fighting with his estranged, and more talented, younger brother, played by Nathaniel Dean) and constant trips to the judiciary, are not in Jarratt’s grand plans for the club’s future and the feeling of hatred is mutual. Basically, the CEO stands f…

Review: I, Tonya

The story of figure skater Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) who comes from a trailer trash existence with her pushy and cold-hearted mother (an Oscar-winning Allison Janney), and eventually gets herself into a violent marriage with a thug named Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan). The film paints these influences as black-hatted villains, and shows Tonya as a well-meaning, physically abused young woman who had little to no knowledge of the conspiracy to take out rival skater Nancy Kerrigan.


One of the most disappointing and wrong-headed films of 2017, this recounting of a frankly disgraceful and trashy (yet riveting) moment in sports history was never going to be my friend. Aussie director Craig Gillespie (“Lars and the Real Girl”) and mediocre screenwriter Steven Rogers (“Stepmom”, “Hope Floats”) completely foul up a sure thing here by taking it too easy on its title character, as well as adopting a completely wrong tone that leaves a talented cast mostly hung out to dry. In theory, I can un…