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AICN-D: Serial killer flick TENDERNESS, Ang Lee's BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and more!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here to introduce our man from the land downunder, Latauro. He's go the skinny for you folks on the goings on in his neck of the woods. Enjoy!

You don't go up there to fish.


A few weeks ago, there was a report about the failed proposal by local distributors to get a giant ad for KING KONG placed upon St Paul's cathedral in Melbourne.

The church, which sits on the corner of Flinders and Swanston in the very heart of the city, has been under renovations for some time, and is still yet to raise the remaining funds needed to complete the work. Alas, the ad -- which would have seen a picture of the giant monkey sitting upon the spire -- was rejected.

Now, as much as I like impressive advertising, I wanted this to go through for other reasons. Can you imagine how amusingly this would have symbolised the whole Intelligent Design vs Evolution argument? Sure, it wouldn't have solved anything, but it would have brought a smile to my face.

And that's really all that's important.


John Polson (SWIMF@N, HIDE AND SEEK -- also, played the "Australian" in M:I-2; never forget that) will return to Australia to direct an adaptation of Robert Cormier's teenage serial killer novel. The film, TENDERNESS, will begin shooting in early 2006.

Um, that's all.



Critically-acclaimed Australian film LOOK BOTH WAYS is up for the Best Non-European Film at this year's ceremony. It's competing against GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK, THE CONSTANT GARDENER, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, and CRASH.


The stuffy, latte-drinking, black skivvy-wearing, hygiene-free, unattractive, couldn't-get-a-job-making-so-they-got-a-job-criticising film snobs of Australia (who, on a completely unrelated note, haven't invited me to join), voted Sarah Watt's LOOK BOTH WAYS Best Film. Watts also picked up Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, with Best Actor in a Lead Role going to William McInnes and Best Editor to Denise Haratzis for their work on the same film. LITTLE FISH got the other acting awards, with Best Actress in a Leading Role going to Cate Blanchett, Best Supporting Actor to Hugo Weaving, and Best Supporting Actress to Noni Hazlehurst. THE PROPOSITION collected Best Score for Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, and Best Cinematography for Benoit Delhomme. Best Adapted Screenplay went to Robert Connolly and Elliot Perlman for THREE DOLLARS.


Gotta say, the box office is not looking nearly as bad as it usually does. Sure, there's a derivative Hollywood thriller and an unnecessary Jane Austin adaptation, but WOLF CREEK is still number two, KISS KISS is on the list (even if it deserves to be higher), and ELIZABETHTOWN -- which, despite the occasional misstep, is really good -- sits pretty in the middle.



"Gerbil" -- G-E-R-B-I-L -- "Gerbil", Ralph Fiennes finds some work for his younger brother, Helena Bonham-Carter is subject to the most elaborate spousal practical joke ever ("Helena Bonham-Carter IS Tim Burton's Corpse Bride!"), the mathematical sequel to Aronofski's PI goes colour, and Leigh Whannell disposes of the subtitle "HACKSAW" just to avoid paying me royalties.




Mr Eric Cartmen of South Park, Colorado, you were so close. When you said that independent movies were boring because they just featured gay cowboys eating pudding, you only got it a little wrong. If this movie had featured scenes where pudding was eaten, I might have been able to sit through it a little more comfortably.

This is going to be a tough review to write. I was furious during the movie for reasons I'll go into soon, but I've softened somewhat in the days since the screening. Tell you what: I'll first review the film as I saw it last Wednesday.

Last week I accused Francois Ozon's 5X2 of being the most sinfully boring film of the year. Sitting through BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN made me feel like Ozon was McG. At first I loved the slow pace. I like a film that makes the audience work a little bit. I also love Ang Lee films; THE ICE STORM is a work of art, and I'm even one of the few who adored HULK. He's a brilliant director who paints portraits of his characters with the smallest brush strokes, chipping away at their facades, and blowing away online film critics to such an extent that they're quite happy to mix metaphors.

I thought BROKEBACK was going to be like this; a slow burn film that reached a climax that Eastwood could only dream of. The thing is, to have a slow burn you need some substance TO burn. You can't have an entire film built on subtext. SUBtext lives underneath the story; if there's no story, then all you have is a series of ponderous scenes and some closing titles.

I may have trashed 5X2, but at least it was ninety minutes long. In BROKEBACK, I started looking at my watch at the seventy minute mark. At ninety minutes, I couldn't believe we were still in there. At two hours, I was ready to walk out. If it hadn't been for the fact that I was up the front and was afraid of being judged by the theatre full of critics behind me, I'd have been out of there, no question. No, I stayed for the entire two hours and ten minutes, praying that we'd eventually reach a point. I rarely get furious in movies. If something's really that bad, I usually just get bored. It takes a lot for a film to make me angry, and this one did. I was seething at how unnecessarily ponderous the film was, and aghast at how Ang Lee -- a master filmmaker -- could not have realised this.

After BROTHERS GRIMM last week, I have to ask: is Heath Ledger a bad luck charm? I hope not. The best thing about BROKEBACK is his performance. He finally shows the talent I'd suspected he'd always had, and, like compatriot Hugh Jackman, gives a great performance in an unworthy film.

Jake Gyllenhaal makes an effort, but is fairly miscast. He doesn't quite sell himself as the outdoors bloke who grew up around rodeos. There's something so fragile and delicate about him, and I don't mean the fragility and delicateness in the scenes where he's supposed to display these characteristics. He maintains these traits throughout scenes he clearly wasn't supposed to. You can see him acting.

The big central issues -- the attraction these two have for one another -- seems a little thrown away. Perhaps this film needed to be directed by a woman... or a gay man, for that matter. At no point did I believe the mutual attraction. I certainly bought Gyllenhaal's attraction to Ledger, but it's a one way street. Ledger's transformation seems to be as simple as flicking a switch, and just didn't fit in with the character at all. I don't buy the argument that as a straight male, I wouldn't "get" the attraction either. I can see a romantic comedy and completely understand why the girl is attracted to the guy. I get why David and Keith are attracted to each other in SIX FEET UNDER. It's all in the chemistry and the direction. If you're going to hire someone to sell that attraction, you get Ang Lee. So why did he drop the ball?

I don't know. And, after an hour, I didn't care.

In the closing credits, we discover this was adapted from a "Short story" by Annie Proulx. I think "short" is the important word here. I haven't read her story, but it's clear that Proulx didn't feel the need to ramble on for an infinite number of pages. Why stretch the film out so long? Why have so many unnecessary characters and subplots? Why do we need to see one of the most phenomenally cliched scenes in history (Gyllenhaal teaches his father in law a "lesson", while the audience is expected to cheer) inserted randomly into the film?

As I said, I've softened on the film somewhat. Hearing others talk it up has certainly made me feel like I've missed something, but my instincts tell me otherwise. I do feel like I should go with my initial feelings on the film. It's a rambling, plotless film that believes itself to be a solemn treatise on the pitfalls of forbidden love. Even the brief-but-worth-the-wait nudity of Anne Hathaway and Michelle Williams can't sway me from my recommendations: avoid this film.


- James Cameron once again combines his love of big action spectaculars with soppy romances, with BRIEF ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND

- Ben Affleck kicks off his comeback by signing on to Robert Ludlum's THE CHARACTER NAME ABSTRACT NOUN

- Never ones to miss a bandwagon, Fox signs DJ Qualls to play a strange young boy living in small town America in Peter Segal's GENGHIS GUNPOWDER

Go the Socceroos!


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