The ones to see:
None this week
The ones to avoid:
Only one title this week, so the extended review is below…
This was a big disappointment for me. I’d had great interest in seeing this movie before it was even in the theater, but I didn’t get around to seeing it until now. I’m thankful for that – if I’d been stuck in the theater watching this movie, I might’ve lost my mind… or fallen asleep, whichever came first. Why is the movie bad? I can only blame one person: Baz Luhrmann.
I absolutely love Luhrmann’s first movie, Strictly Ballroom. It’s quirky, hilarious, touching, beautiful… it’s wonderful. Luhrmann’s next picture was Romeo & Juliet. I’m not a Shakespeare fan, but the bizarre touch the director took with that movie was kind of fun. Paul Thomas Anderson is another quirky director (Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love), yet when he made There Will Be Blood, he really stepped up into a new field and brought a great period epic to the screen. Luhrmann would’ve been wise to follow that example. Instead what we get is a mess. I’m not exaggerating – I thought the whole thing was a bloody mess… mate.
The story was decent, and in the right hands, it could’ve been great. Hugh Jackman is a cool guy, he brings a natural likability to whoever he plays. The rest of the cast, especially Nicole Kidman, I believe suffered immensely from poor direction. Luhrmann’s choice of wacky and often over the top performances robbed what little chance this movie had of being good. The other problem was through the lens of the camera itself.
Nearly the entire movie appears to have been shot on a studio with green screen effects. It wasn’t, but the saturation levels are pushed to such unrealistic levels that it gives the appearance of mostly being computer generated. Likewise, the frequent use of slow motion always felt silly and over dramatic, and at times the shot angles felt like they had been chosen by a student director. From top to bottom, this entire movie was stylized – and while I know that should be expected with a Baz Luhrmann movie, I was certainly hoping he’d make a better choice and tone things down for this epic tale about his home country.
This, though, is the worst part of all. The stinkin’ movie is named Australia! If I was an Aussie and this cheesy snore-fest is the movie that bore my country’s name, I’d be horrified. Just as is the case with Tim Burton’s Batman. That is by NO means the definitive Batman movie, but instead it is a stylized version very fitting of the man who directed it. It is Tim Burton’s version of Batman. Australia wouldn’t sound so darned pompous if it were at least prefaced with the director’s name: Baz Luhrmann’s Australia. By this point, however, the argument is starting to sound a bit silly, because when it comes down to it, Australia is just a really crappy movie.
Oh, and a little P.S. regarding the kid. This little Aborigine boy was supposedly adorable and heart-breaking. That’s what I had heard, yet I was kind of hoping he’d get killed off. No fault of the actor, but I just thought it was just an annoying character. I guess it was true to the Aborigine code of- WHY THE HELL WERE HIS TEETH SO FREAKING WHITE???
Stupid movie… 🙂