Reader ReviewsReader Reviews from 2000-2001

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last update 31.Mar.01

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dir Kimble Rendall; with Molly Ringwald, Stephen Curry, Jessica Napier, Kylie Minogue, Simon Bossell, Sarah Kants, Tiriel Mora, Geoff Revell 00/Australia

"*** Scream meets an Australian Nightmare on Elm St! A group of film students decide to finish making the film Hot Blooded despite the fact that when it was shot people tended to get murdered. This turns out to be a terrible mistake for most of them. I won't give away the plot but after screening the original film they head off to a country mansion but have trouble distinguishing the real killer from the actor dressed as the killer. Kylie has a small piece and Ringwald is brilliantly cast as the obnoxious American roughing it on an Australian film set. There are a few twist and turns but the film does become pretty predictable two-thirds of the way through. There are plenty of laughs to counter the gore and it is never boring. I personally am not scared by the slasher genre movies but many in the audience were. The scariest bit was when an actor asked 'Who's there?' just at the moment that someone opened an emergency exit door. Maybe it's time cinemas employed a few staff members to play tricks on patrons! The young cast fulfil their fodder well and there are plenty of jokes and a little character development before they pass away. It was nice to see an Australian touch to a genre that we rarely see in this country. This shows up in the slang used, the movies referred to and just the general setting. Napier is bound to catch the attention of US talent scouts and could easily slot into a Dawson's Creek type series. The other actors are also slowly making themselves familiar to local audiences and it will be interesting to see where actors like Curry (The Castle, Wogboy) go from here. Whilst not a brilliant movie it is fun, has all the ingredients of a successful teen horror/slasher movie and should perform well at the box office. A very slick package for the $A5m price tag. Look out for the sequels! --Gawain M,
Filmnet, Melbourne.
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dir Vincent Giarrusso; with Kane McNay, Nell Feeney, Brett Swain 00/Australia

"***1/2 A very convincing snapshot of outer suburban life in Melbourne. It follows one young kid as he hangs out with friends, steals, sniffs glue, evades a social worker and copes with his family and lack of a male role model. There are few emotional highs or lows although there is one amusing rowdy party. It would make a great double screening with The Boys, which is potentially the same household 15 years down the road!" --Gawain M,
Filmnet, Melbourne.
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dir Howard Deutch; with Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Rhys Ifans, Jack Warden, Jon Favreau, Orlando Jones, Brooke Langton 00/US

"This movie looked funny. I am not much of a sports buff, and the only football games where I ever really paid attention were when my son played. One thing that really caught my attention was when the quarterback started whining saying '$5 million dollars is not really THAT much money!' which is why the players are on strike! It brought to mind the baseball players strike not too long ago, and most people could really care less - struggling to survive on much lower salaries, it is hard to imagine getting paid $5 million a year to play a sport. Maybe the professional sports should be paying attention to what people are laughing at? I have read reviews of this movie, most reviewers said the formula was predictable, yet worked. The story centers around football players whining they don't get paid enough, so they go on strike. The owners get together some replacement teams to try and entertain the fans during the strike, probably so they don't have to refund season tickets. One team buys some second string professional players, but the Washington Sentinenals gets some players who need a second chance - they were all pretty good, but never got the one break they needed. There are some totally hilarious slapstick scenes in this movie - and I laughed so hard I was nearly crying - they are stupid, predictable, but still quite funny. The replacement cheerleaders are another sideline laugh. I would not recommend some of this for the younger set, but we really laughed throughout the entire movie. This won't be listed as one of the greats, but it definitely was entertaining. Go see this if you need a laugh!" --Laurie T, Minneapolis.
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dir Boaz Yakin; with Denzel Washington, Scott Miles, Will Patton, Donald Faison 00/US

"It is 1971, the state of Virginia, and the town's black and white high schools have been ordered to become integrated. This was when busing was considered a good idea, to make all schools equal and ensure that all had equal education opportunities. A very scary time. It is decided that they also needed a token black coach, since all the rest of the high school coaches were white - in fact, the majority of the players were white. A very tense time in America. The white coach gets informed he can stay on as an assistant, but he is going to resign because he does not want to work under a black boss. This was a very good movie - I found myself remembering those times, not a bright spot in the history of this country. Washington did a great job portraying his character's determination and toughness - at times he seemed downright mean, but he had to be. This movie is based on actual events, and I read that the real characters helped in the making of this movie. Go see this movie; I am not proud of the America that used to think like that, but it is a great, wonderful story of how people come to look at people based on their souls, not skin color. I really liked this movie!" --Laurie T, Minneapolis.
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dir John Polson; with Linus Roache, Danielle Cormack, Ian Bliss, Roy Billing, Alan Brough, Rebecca Hobbs, Terry Kenwrick, Deidre Rubenstein 99/Australia

"***1/2 Director John Polson shows that there is still life for quirky Australian dramas. Pleasant and professional!" --Gawain M,
Filmnet, Melbourne.
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dir Demian Lichtenstein; with Kevin Costner, Kurt Russell, Christian Slater, Courteney Cox Arquette, Kevin Pollak, Jon Lovitz, David Arquette, Ice-T, Thomas Haden Church 01/US

crime is king "I have to say that Costner would do well to do more of these types of movies, rather than his epics like Waterworld and The Postman. In the opening scene, Russell is driving his 1959 cherry red Cadillac and has just arrived in Vegas. He meets Cox when her son is attempting to steal a part of his car. The rest of the 'gang' arrive, including Costner, Arquette and others. There is an Elvis convention in town and the gang's perfect disguise is as Elvis impersonators. They rob a casino and during the shootout, I noticed two things: This is a loud movie, and Russell was the only one trying NOT to shoot out a guard - given a choice, he shoots something to fall on top of them, rather than at them. The loot is 3.2 million and they have an appointment in Idaho to launder the cash, but things don't go as planned. Like I said, this was a loud movie, lots of action, guns, explosions and shootouts. Ear plugs might have helped with the noise, but then you might miss some of the lines. We learn that Costner's character is a 'possible' illegitimate son of Elvis and he is, literally, bad to the bone. He double-crosses everyone. I thought he played the part well, and it was fun seeing him be a bad guy for a change instead of the hero. A friend commented that Kurt and Kevin were definitely showing their age when sporting the long side-burns. Cox looked pretty sexy in her role. Ice-T plays a short, but interesting part - you know how he is going to end up. Okay, I have to say this was one of those 'fun ride' type movies. I doubt it will ever see an Oscar nomination, but it was fun and I was hooked right up to the end. I would recommend this if you want to see a shoot-em-up action movie with a few twists in the plot to keep it interesting. It is not that great, but it was fun - what else can I say? We have a blizzard going on outside so you gotta go to the movies, right?" --Laurie T, Minneapolis 24.Feb.01.
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2001 by Rich Cline and the readers of Shadows on the Wall