My Movie Critics

09 September 2006

A tribute for Steve Irwin

VALE - Steve Irwin 22nd February 1962 to 4th September 2006
Steve Irwin -- [Click to Enlarge]Steve Irwin was larger than life, I remember sitting in a movie theatre listening to him speak about his up coming film, “The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course” (2002) and he was just the same as he was on the screen. With Steve it was pretty much what you see is what you get. He joked that the film makers paid he obscene amount’s of money to do something he loved. But he didn’t mind because he could take that money and buy up all of the bush land that he could, to preserve it for our future generations to enjoy. That is what Steve was always like…..and now his family is grieving his loss.

Steve Irwin was born in 1962 to parents Lyn and Bob Irwin, who were animal naturalists. He has shared the love for animals all his life, stemming from being raised at the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park. There, he partook in daily duties of animal feeding and care. He quickly established himself with the Queensland's government on the process of the country's Crocodile Relocation Program, in which the reptiles could be transferred and relocated to proper localties in the most absolute humane, non-tranquilizing manner. Steve Irwin & Jim Nesci -- [Click to Enlarge]Steve can claim that he was never been bitten by a venomous snake, despite his bare-hand handling of some of the most deadliest snakes in the world. Steve has been married to fellow naturalist, Terri Irwin (Raines) since 1992. She joins him in his adventures and efforts in almost every episode of his show.

Steve Irwin & his wife Terri Irwin -- [Click to Enlarge]Steve Irwin was the owner and director of the Australia Zoo in Queensland, Australia, and host of Animal Planet's series. Steve was the most passionate man I have ever heard speak on issues on the environment and animal rights. Loved animals and became very upset in recent times when a turtle was killed.

Australia and the world has lost a great man today he will be sorely missed. Our sincere condolences go out to the family , wife Terri, daughter Bindi and baby Bob. We know you will be devastated by his passing.

by Narf

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30 August 2006

Beyond The Sea (2004)

Click to enlarge the picture.Brilliant, simply brilliant!! In the true tradition of the old style musicals this film unfolded. The film started off with Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey) singing one of his most well known and loved hits. As we were enjoying the song all of a sudden it came to an abrupt halt, as Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey) spies a child lurking about in the backstage curtains. It becomes clear that this is the young Bobby and that we are on a film set, watching a film of the singer being made.

The young Bobby played very well by William Ullrich then takes Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey) on a journey as to how he thinks the film should be made.

It was then revealed that Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey) had rheumatic fever as a child and was not expected to live past the age of 10 years. But Bobby’s mother had other ideas. Polly Cassotto brilliantly played by (Brenda Blethyn) encouraged the boy to learn piano and teach him all the old tricks from her vaudeville days

Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey) is making his own bio pic and staring as himself, and a reporter turned up to ask him, are you not too old to play your self. Some critics had said that Spacey was too old to play the role of Bobby Darin. I don’t think that is the case at all. Spacey did a wonderful job doing his own singing for the movie.

A solid supporting cast in the form of John Goodman, Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn, Greta Scacchi, Caroline Aaron and Kate Bosworth as wife Sandra Dee.

This film was well done and well sung! All the standard Darin songs were there. Mack the knife, Splish Splash, Dream Lover, Beyond the Sea, Lazy River, Artifical Flowers.

Kate Bosworth as wife Sandra Dee played her part very well. As did Brenda Blethyn as mother Polly Cassotto.

A truly magical moment of movie history that I am so glad I finally got to see. I am a great fan of biopic’s and have seen a great many over the years. I hope that film makers continue to make films like this which are entertaining and informative at the same time as I was not aware of the rheumatic fever that Bobby Darin suffered from and weakened his heart, which lead to his ultimate demise.

by Narf

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27 August 2006

Malcolm X (1992)

Click to enlarge the picture.There are some films which worth seeing at least for twice. Some films that affect our way of thinking and give us a better point of view. "Malcolm X" is surely one of those films.

You see, Malcolm X, a.k.a. Malcolm Little, a.k.a. "Red", a.k.a. El-Hajj Malik al-Shabazz (and in this film, Denzel Washington), was much more than a militant Muslim hell-bent on empowering the oppressed African-American society of the mid-20th century. He wasn't always like this, though. He was an intellectual and a father as well.

The movie begins in his youthful days in Boston as Malcolm Little "Red", he slicked his hair back like the popular style of the time, he was a party animal, he was on the wild side. You see him as a vain hustler who gets involved with gangs, drugs, rackets, burglary and white women. Finally he was hauled off to prison.

While in prison he became friends with Baines (Albert Hall) who made brainwashed with racism under the name of Islam and an organisation so called "Nation of Islam" headed by Elijah Muhammad (Al Freeman Jr.). So Malcolm begins studying and accepting it. He spent his time behind bars reading, learning, and gradually converting to Islam. Thinking that this religion tells him that white man is the devil, a black nation should be established, and it should be segregated from the malevolent whites.

As soon as he is released from jail he rises to power within Elijah Muhammad's Nation of Islam. In this role he lectures people and gains more publicity. When President Kennedy is shot dead he declares that "his chickens had come home to roost" and that he has no sympathy for him. Most of his ideas are misogynistic, racist, right-wing and inflammatory which he totally believes that these were all told in Islam. His eyes are so tied to see the real truth about neither the Elijah Muhammad's organisation nor the Islam.

At this point, he meets an avid supporter of the NOI, Betty (Angela Bassett). They marry and raise a family as Malcolm gains more power in the organization through organizing demonstrations against the police and "The Man" in general.

Malcolm decides to do what any good Muslim does at some point in his life and travels to Saudi Arabia for a pilgrimage to Mecca. There his eyes are opened, as he sees people of all colors and races united to give praise to Allah and meets the real Islam. Back in America, he starts to preach a more enlightened, more unified message of empowerment and faith. This ultimately rubs Elijah and his supporters the wrong way and sets the stage for Malcolm's final fate.

Spike Lee, in his first epic-scale directing effort, does a magnificent job in chronicling the charismatic leader's life, as well as displaying his influence on modern society. Denzel Washington embodies Malcolm X flawlessly, right down to his gestures and manner of speech.

If you're one of those who believes Malcolm X was nothing but a hateful troublemaker, you should see this film. You'll see how the real Malik Shabazz ultimately evolved, and regret his abrupt demise, thinking about what could have become of him had he lived on and spread his new message even further.

edited by Elvis_TR

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Trust The Man (2005)

Click to enlarge the picture.This is a story about 2 couples and their final realisation that after cheating and separation the guys realise that they really do love their women and do almost anything to get them back.

The story opens with Tom (David Duchovny) and Rebecca (Julianne Moore) a married couple making their yearly trip to the marriage councilor, and as usual not getting any where. Because as the councilor points out maybe you need to come along here a bit more often for this to have any effect on your relationship.

As it happens Rebecca’s (Julianne Moore) friend, Elaine (Maggie Gylenhaal) lives with Rebecca’s (Julianne Moore) brother, Tobey (Billy Crudup).

Elaine ( Maggie Gylenhaal) desperately wants a baby, but of course after 7 years of living together she realises that Tobey (Billy Crudup), is too afraid of commitment so Elaine (Maggie Gylenhaal) decides it is time to find a new man, someone that will give her what she so desperately wants.

Mean time Tom (David Duchovny) and Rebecca (Julianne Moore, who are suffering from sexual drive incompatibility , are having some problems of their own. Tom’s (David Duchovny) eyes start to wonder in the direction of other Mom’s at the school where his children attend.

There are some funny moments in this film that were well done, the dinner party scene was very funny!

If you like films in the style of 4 Wedding’s and a Funeral, Love Actually, Two Weeks Notice.

The cast consisting of Billy Crudup , David Duchovny , Ellen Barkin , Eva Mendes , Julianne Moore , Justin Bartha and Maggie Gyllenhaal , was well put together.

Well worth a look if you are looking for some light entertainment.

by Narf

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26 August 2006

The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006)

Click to enlarge the picture.This is a very dark film in two ways; the film is dark to view as this was a sign of the times it was set I guess. Also the nature of the story line and the plot if the film is a very dark subject.

Set in the 1920’s and seen in the worst times of the civil war in Ireland. Suppressed by the British, for what reason other than being different and speaking differently, I don’t know. I must say that this film makes me feel ashamed of my British ancestors. Not that I think any of my direct descendents (I would sincerely hope not anyway) had any direct link with what went on there, but just being British.

The story starts off innocently enough with the young lads playing a game, something like hockey. Then soon turns ugly as the British Soldiers follow the lads home and start to do what the British Soldiers of that time did best. Terrorise these young men for no other reason than because they could do it, and get away with it.

An innocent game soon turned into a murder scene and the start of the fight back was being planned.
This was the time of the forming of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and the subsequently the civil war that followed.

The acting was suburb Cillian Murphy as Damien and his brother Teddy played by Padraic Delaney was well cast in their roles. Both quietly spoken with a haunting quality about them. Other cast members also doing outstanding work in their roles.

The worst thing about this movie is that most of the things depicted in it could well have happened, and I am sure did happen to real people of that time. This was the start of a very dark time in history and we all need to be reminded of this sometimes so that we can make sure that these times never happen again.

Although the film was a little depressing I feel it is worth while to have a look at for the scenery and the historical aspect of the film also.

by Narf

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21 August 2006

Sneakers (1992)

Click to enlarge the picture.Take out sci-fi equipment from "Mission Impossible" and add some "Ocean's Eleven" humour to the crew. Bingo! You have "Sneakers".
But hey, here comes the big surprise. "Sneakers" team is older than Tom Cruise's MI series as well as Clooney's Eleven. You can still see some pretty cool stuff for a 14 year old movie.

The story begins with a quick flashback to Martin "Marty" Bishop's (played by Robert Redford) college years. He and his best friend "Cosmo" (Ben Kingsley) get a big trouble by hacking into things they weren't supposed to with their computer skills and Robin Hood manners.

Then the story pops forward to present time. Marty, running away for over 20 years from the authorities, has a team which is formed by group of guys that are well skilled in different professions, in security breakthrough! They seem like doing a good job by providing security expertise service to companies that need high-security such as banks and looking for the security holes to report. Then Marty's bad record catches him up again. Finally the team find itself somewhere in between National Security Agency, FBI and CIA. Then the struggling chase begins...

I should say that the story is balanced very well between funny and serious issues. The humour doesn't decrease the importance of the serious scenes but puts a smile on the audience’s face. It is very joyful to see the successful actors such as Robert Redford (the leader of the team), Sidney Poitier (an ex-CIA agent who's expelled for having bad temper), Dan Aykroyd (a potential 24/7 conspiracy theoretic member called "Mother"), River Phoenix and David Strathairn (one of my favorite characters called "Whistler") having funny arguments with each other.

The movie travels around many genres such as comedy, action, drama and even a bit of romance. Let me just say, "Sneakers" is an excellent comic thriller that I recommend to everyone.

by Elvis_TR

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BoyTown (2006)

Click to enlarge the picture.I was lucky enough to view this movie last week at the annual Australian Movie Convention, the latest offering from Mick Molloy and Brother Richard.

The story line is about an 80’s boy band that decides they might like to re capture the “magic” of the old days. Well that is what the aim of Benny G (Glenn Robbins), when he starts to reminisce about the “good old days”. Benny (Glenn Robbins) starts to visit the other members one by one to try and convince them to give it a go. Carl (Wayne Hope), Bobby Mac (Bob Franklin) and Corey (Gary Eck) are quite easy to convince, compared to Tommy Boy (Mick Molloy).

Tommy Boy (Mick Molloy), doesn’t really want to give away “all of this”, sitting in front of the telly at Gran’s (Lois Ramsey) place.
But even Tommy Boy (Mick Molloy), can’t resist in the end, just wanted to give his “pendulum” dance move one more go.

They re approach their former record company to release a single, which the head of the company does so, reluctantly. Of course the record bombs out, and as the guys sit and sip their light beers at the bar, a former fan approaches them for a photo together. This is when the guys realise that they were trying to target the wrong market. They need to target their old fans that were now older to.

This leads to some very interesting song titles indeed, “Special Time of the Month”, “Dish Pan Hands” to name a few. Just remember this is just a film sending up a corny boy band people!

Also throw in a doco (documentary) crew headed by Kenny Larkin (Tony Martin) to film the whole process to the big come back.

All I can say is this is a very, very funny film, that sends up the boy band phenomenon. The Australian brand of comedy is maybe an acquired taste; however I am sure that this film has enough universal appeal for international audiences to understand this particular kind of humour.

Well worth a look if you want to have a good laugh, as Australians if there is one thing we do well, that is laugh at ourselves.

Just do me one favour and see this film for what it is, a funny look at a group of stand up comedians that have the great ability to laugh at themselves.

Enjoy !!!

by Narf

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20 August 2006

Scary Movie 4 (2006)

Click to enlarge the picture.Here's one of the recent movies I saw. The forth and the latest movie from the "Scary Movie" series. The plot consists of parodies about pop culture, political/entertainment icons, recent sci-fi and horror films. This film bounces around in parallels and storylines taken from such movies as The Saw, The Grudge, War Of The Worlds, The Village, Brokeback Mountain and Million Dollar Baby.

Although I enjoyed 50% of this film, I don’t feel the need to sit through it again. There were other Scary Movie installments which I found much more comical and entertaining but I think this movie will not disappoint the "Scary Movie" fans which also had offensive content (mostly about US Government), strong language (almost all of the dialogues) and sexual humor (such as sex toys & adult/porn magazines).

As the director of the film, David Zucker seems like he'd used his basic elements again such as in "Airplane !" , "Top Secret !" and "Naked Gun Series". For some reasons you can feel that you are watching one those films and if you like them, you'll probably enjoy "Scary Movie 4" too. A news flash: They announced the production of "Scary Movie 5" for the year 2008.

Anna Faris and Regina Hall are back as the loveable Cindy Campbell and her sex-crazed pal, Brenda. They join this time around by Craig Bierko as the cute, clueless Tom Ryan. Together, they battle to save the world from a ruthless alien invasion.

In true Scary Movie tradition, the outrageous celebrity cameos are non-stop. Those featured include: Carmen Electra, Shaquille O’Neal, Phil McGraw (Dr. Phil), Bill Pullman, Chris Elliott, Molly Shannon, Michael Madsen, rappers Chingy and Lil' John, Leslie Nielsen returning as our fearless Commander in Chief, plus many, many more surprises. In Scary Movie 4, nothing is off limits!

by Elvis_TR

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19 August 2006

Walk The Line (2005)

Click to enlarge the picture.Starring:
Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash
Reese Witherspoon as June Carter Cash

What can I say... I have just viewed this movie for the 3rd time! Twice in cinema and now on the brand new release on DVD. The true story of Johnny Cash played perfectly by Joaquin Phoenix, who does his own singing in the film.

The story starts off with the dirt poor family and an angry father and loving mother that shaped the young life of Johnny, until a tragic accident struck the family. An accident that would haunt Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) for many years to come. And all for one lousy dollar! The angry father turned even more angry towards his family in order to punish them and himself.

Time marched on and a grown Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) leaves for the forces and his national service in Germany. It was here his love of music came into it’s own. And started writing his own songs.

On returning to State side he marries his sweetheart and they soon have a family, while he is trying his hand at door to door salesman, his heart really does live elsewhere.
He soon happens along and finds the Sun Record studio where none other than Elvis (Tyler Hilton) is recording. Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) soon gets his band together and fronts up to Sam Phillips (Dallas Roberts) for an audition. Sam is unimpressed with the gospel songs that John sings at that audition, and tell him in no uncertain terms that he is not in the market for anymore gospel singers.

Phillips (Dallas Roberts) asks Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) if you were laying in the gutter dying and you just had one chance to sign a song that would define him, what would that one song be? This is where Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix) finds his sound. They cut a record and soon the band starts to tour, and the path of destruction soon follows.

June Carter is brilliantly played by Reese Witherspoon, who also does her own singing in the film.
A truly epic story of a great man and his music, his love for a woman that saved him from himself and a legacy of music that the world enjoys to this day. Music lovers will enjoy this, even if you are not a fan of the man at the start of the film you will be by the end.

by Narf

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Guardian (2006)

Click to enlarge the picture.Starring:
Kevin Costner...Ben Randall
Ashton Kutcher...Jake Fischer

This story about the men and women of the American Coast Guard’s is a touching tale that has a very strong message.

The film opens with Randall (Kevin Costner), the legend of the Coast Guard service, on yet another rescue mission to save people stranded at sea after their boat capsized. As always Randall tried to save the first person that he reached, as a swimmer in the Coast Guard this was always his motto. Unfortunately the guy that was left to be saved had other ideas…

On his return to base and home, finds his wife, Helen (Sela Ward) in the middle of packing up the family home. She had had enough of sitting around while Ben (Costner) rescued other people, it was now time to saver her own life, before it was to late. And as usual they get interrupted by a call back to base.

Next we see our hero in another situation that needed some quick thinking, this time. The chopper was low on fuel and they had to be out of there in 5 minutes. And of course, when you try to rush a job, this is when accidents happen. An accident that was to change the course of Randall’s career and ultimately his life.

Now serving as the lead instructor at “A” school, the elite training grounds for the Coast Guard Service. This is where young cocky swim star Jake Fischer (Ashton Kutcher) enters the scene.

The two struggle with each other at first, until Ben (Costner) works out Jakes (Kutcher) secrets. This is the turning point of the film and they begin to work as a team from here on in.

After graduation the pair return to Kodiak, Alaska. And the life lessons really begin in earnest.

This is a must see film that has Drama, Action and Adventure and a touching story of 2 men that will impact both their lives.

by Narf

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18 August 2006

Grease (1978)

Click to enlarge the picture.
How can a movie be popular for at least 3 generations ?
How can a movie tune can be catchy for at least 30 years ?
How can a summer love story be that colorful ?

Well, I should say that i'm still asking these questions to myself from time to time but my answers differ each time surprisingly. Here are the basic reasons for me which leads this movie to a worldwide success :

* The energetic & creative performance of the cast
* The great songs such as "Summer Nights" , "You're The One That I Want" , "Hopelessly Devoted To You"
* Colorful scenes (especially those which were taken at an original high school gym or an amusement park )
* Nice transitions from stage play to a movie scenario and some smooth changes

Those are the major factors for me but are they enough to produce a movie which might get a huge success or is there an invisible factor ?
I guess some movies have a magical ingredient. It can be called as the unseen set atmosphere maybe which can't be noticed directly. I don't know which definition suits the best but Grease is definitely from those kind of movies.

Finally I wanted to start a personal quest. I was wondering who are still interested in this movie. About 2 years ago I decided to share my archive on the internet and built a web site. (

I should confess that I was not expecting much traffic but my personal website received great interest from the movie fans. According to my statistics, there are lots of people visiting the website today. It was too hard for me to classify the visitor profiles because they are browsing the website from Brazil to Japan. The age profile is also as wide as the locations. The website is being visited by people from 10 to 70 years old who are browsing the lyrics, pictures and etc. They are also commenting on the guestbook, voting for the polls and the most important thing, they are communicating with each other.

As a website owner and a Grease lover, it became a very interesting quest for me in the search for answers to my questions above. In my opinion this is a "must see at least once" movie to understand what I am trying to tell in this article.

As my conclusion, it is so very nice to see that Grease is still the word for lots of people from all over the world.

by Elvis_TR

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