Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Boy Erased – *(*)

Posted: September 29, 2019 in 2018, Australia, Drama, LGBT themed, USA, X1/2

Gay conversion programs. They are allowed in several States of the USA. They claim to be able to cure homosexuals and parents spend a lot of money sending their lgbt kids to these organizations. So be it.

Boy Erased tells the true story of one of these kids, who started the program, then quit and then wrote a book about his experience.

It’s a boring movie. Lucas Hedges just isn’t a good actor. He brings zero charisma to the protagonist. Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe act all stereotypical and bland. The soundtrack doesn’t help either. The vocal songs are indie campfire college radio tracks. The instrumental parts seem like they were composed for a horror movie. But it’s the storytelling that just doesn’t touch the nerves, the way this topic should.

What’s up with these kids going to these programs? They have zero personality. And what about the parents? Or the guys running the program. Not one of these characters, not even the main one, is shown as a real person with real feelings or real anxieties. This is superficial bullshit.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7008872 

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Disappointing.

In November 2008, Mumbai experienced a series of terrorist attacks, amongst which one at the famous Taj hotel. This Australian production tells that story.

Somehow it just doesn’t work. If this were fictitious it would be a lousy action thriller. But it’s based on true events, so it’s even worse. It’s really bizarre, because it feels like an action thriller. The kind with Sylvester Stallone or JC Van Damme. Not the kind with Bruce Willis.

There’s a lot of shooting and – spoiler alert – almost everyone dies. So, knowing this, it’s kind of sad to realize that you don’t have time to care about any of these victims. Either the victims are nameless extras. Or they are stereotypical characters like the nasty Russian or the ignorant American. The director decided to create more empathy for the terrorists than for the people stuck in the hotel! How bizarre is that? There’s this one scene where one of the terrorists calls home, hurt because he is shot in the leg and crying. He asks his dad if the leaders of his organization have already donated the money. So, wait a minute, you want us, audience, to feel like money was the reason for the kid to do these horrific killings and we should feel his regret and doubt because he is crying? Ehm. No.

This movie didn’t do well at the box office and wasn’t released in India (yet). Let’s keep it that way.

www.imdb.com/title/tt5461944

Paul Hogan’s famous character in this eighties blockbuster hit is racist, homophobic, sexist, naive and ignorant. But he’s also charming and ‘honest’, so he gets away with his offensive remarks. It’s hard to imagine this movie could still be as popular now as it was back then. The jokes aren’t really funny (anymore). It’s politically incorrect, full of clichés and stereotypes. And the adventurous action feels outdated. However, out of pure nostalgia, this was a fun re-watch. A man from the Australian outback, who’s never been in a city before, arrives in the New York of the eighties. A culture clash awaits. That’s it. A 100 minutes long.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0090555

 

The sequel isn’t any better. Some Columbian gangsters arrive in New York and kidnap Crocodile Dundee’s girlfriend because some evidence against them was sent to her (she’s a reporter). Dundee can rescue her and they leave for the Australian outback. But the gangsters somehow know how to find them there as well. The second part is a jungle chase basically.

More of the same ‘humor’, a lot shooting and some nice shots of the outback. It wasn’t really worth the re-watch. Somehow, these movies were fun to watch as a kid in the eighties, but not as an adult in the 2010s.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0092493

 

Recommended by a friend of mine, it’s a tough sit-through. And the first season only has six episodes. It’s about a young man (more like an old teenager) who discovers that he’s gay. Okay, fine. A good premise maybe. But the guy is very awkward and plain weird at times, so it’s all a lot of bull. This isn’t a series about a guy learning to deal with his coming out. No, it’s a series about an awkward guy living his uninteresting life with his uninteresting friends and uninteresting parents. Not one character in this show is intriguing. And the conversations or monologues or situations neither.

Maybe you need to be an Australian millennial to get the jokes…

www.imdb.com/title/tt2155025

Hacksaw Ridge – **(*)

Posted: March 14, 2017 in 2016, Action, Australia, War, WW2, XX1/2

A member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (some kind of evangelical group) enlists to help out in World War II, but refuses to carry a gun as he refuses to kill anybody. He enlists as a medic as he wants to save lives, but he needs to go through a training in which shooting a riffle is part of the program. It’s a tough training and he nearly doesn’t make it to the battle fields, but when he does, he’s heralded by his bravery. Because it’s possible to help, save and serve in war times without killing.

This Mel Gibson movie starts off slowly, but is quite powerful in the second half, during the actual taking of Hackswaw Ridge on Okinawa Island near Japan. It’s an interesting story regardless if you think it’s extremely silly or incredibly brave to enlist for war and refuse to  use a weapon . It’s based on a true story. But it’s of course a fictionalized version of it. To learn more about the real Desmond Doss, check this history vs hollywood site. But do it after you’ve experienced the movie.

Some critics call it christian propaganda. Just because the main character acts out of faith, prays and carries a bible with him. But Mel Gibson (a notorious catholic) never glorifies the religion conviction. He just shows a man who is very firm in his principles. Which again can be interpreted as silly or brave. But at least it isn’t negative.

The action is hardcore though. Limbs fly around. Some scenes can be considered horror. So it isn’t for the weak at heart. Nor is it for people who think Andrew Garfield is an overrated actor. In fact, the whole cast are just okay performers. There’s not one performance that sticks. But it’s a good war movie. A tad too long maybe.  But worth watching.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2119532

There are quite a lot of things that annoy a bit in this Australian blockbuster. But there are far more elements that make this a great movie experience though.

The best is the performance of the most charming child actor in movie history! Sunny Pawar is the star of the movie even though he’s not really featured in the trailer! He’s the young Indian kid who, for the first half hour steals the show. His character is a petite five year old kid who gets separated from his family after falling asleep in a train that takes him away more than 1500 miles from his village. Months after arriving in the hustle and bustle of Calcutta he ends up in an orphanage and ultimately ends up being adopted by a couple from Tasmania.

Then the second half starts and the young adorable Indian kid has become someone who looks like Dev Patel with long hair. That is because Dev Patel plays the part wearing long hair. That transition is one of the annoying parts. You want to see Farhan Akhtar or so, not the annoying guy from the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 

The adopted kid has become a man who, after a suggestion from a new friend, decides to use Google Earth to locate the train station from where he stepped on the train that took him away from his family. A journey, which is only half as interesting as the first part of the movie.

First half: **** Second half: **

But that Sunny Pawar kid! Amazing! To use a one of Trump’s most favorite words. It’s 2017 after all. The career of that child will be huge/tremendous/terrific.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3741834

Tanna – ***

Posted: August 29, 2016 in 2015, Australia, Drama, Romance, XXX

“Avoid spending 3000 euro to visit Vanuatu and buy yourself a 10 euro cinema ticket!”

It’s great advice from a local movie critic.

Tanna is an island of Vanuatu, an island group in the Pacific Ocean not so far from Fiji. Its people are known as the ‘happiest on earth’, but this movie shows a different aspect. Back in the late eighties there were still some rival tribes killing each other, while on the rest of the island christian villages tried to convert locals and colonizers started to build resorts. The story of Tanna is set in that period.

A young woman, Wawa, is secretly in love with Dain, the grandson of the Yakel Chief. They already plan a future together, but Wawa is promised to a rival tribe in order to remain the peace on the island. Something Dain cannot accept…

The movie is advertised as an exotic romantic drama, but it’s really more of a fictional documentary about the customs of a native tribe that needs to come to terms with a changing world. The cinematography is beautiful. The jungle actually looks like a jungle because it’s filmed on location and not created on a computer. This is a great plus. The acting is done by the local tribe members, who have no experience at all and just act really natural. (Some of the cast have appeared in reality tv shows that bring people from the west to survive in tribal life across the world) But they are a charming bunch of people and their natural beauty and honesty is moving. The big star of the movie is the young Marceline Rofit (who plays Selin, Wawa’s younger sister). Her captivating smile is the kind you find on tourist brochures luring westerners to visit the islands. There’s a little bit of voyeurism though, but it’s not patronizing. There’s some humor as well and it makes you realize that it’s a tough call to adapt to a new world and hold on to the past.

Saving for a plane ticket to Vanuatu though…

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4239726