Saturday, January 2, 2010

New movies worth seeing

The Lovely Bones is the new movie from Lord of the Ring's director Peter Jackson, and it's definitely worth seeing. It combines an absorbing, all too real world story with a rather tepid supernatural one. This worked in Alice Sebold's novel but it's irritating on film. The visualisation of the mystical, between heaven and earth, state inhabited by the murdered 14 year old girl until her plight is resolved on earth reminded me of those scenes from the Qantas commercial where the white coated kids from the choir go frolicking around beauty spots of the world singing 'I Still Call Australia Home'! Sweeping landscapes of fields, grasses, sand and sea, and nary a bitey nasty in sight. Boring as batshit. See this movie for the earthy story and the performances. Susan Sarandon as the alcoholic grannie is terrific.

With Avatar you're in typical James Cameron blockbuster territory and you'll debate with yourself whether you should really bother seeing it. If you do, go for the 3D version. It showcases the incredible technology underpinning so much modern film making. The storyline is a succession of cliches, frequently bordering on the ridiculous, eg the mineral under the sacred site where the natives live, and which the vulgar earthlings want, is called 'Unobtainable'!! The special effects are all pretty derivative and you've seen them all before,'ll have to admit it's all been superbly well put together into an exciting blockbuster package. Holiday stuff for sure!

Bright Star is Australian director Jane Campion's new one, focussing on the love affair between poet John Keats and his neighbour's daughter Fanny Brawn. The impossibly gorgeous Abbie Cornish plays Fanny. She's obviously, and for some unkown reason, been plumped up a bit for the role - by 5k at least - but the loveliness of her face, her eyes and nose particularly, which the camera adores, is mesmerising. Cornish brings alive the unbearable suffering of love and longing, and finally intense grief. The final scene where she hears the news of Keats' death in Italy, and her expression of profound grief, is rivetting, and the stuff of oscar nominations. Well worth seeing, and another triumph for Campion.

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's obsession with Penelope Cruz is once again obvious in Broken Embraces. But having seen her in 2009 in Woody's Christina, Barcelona, Isabel Coixet's magnificent Elegy, and now this one, I have become an obsessive fan as well. She has to be, in my humble view, perhaps the most stikingly beautiful woman on the planet today! This is an enthralling movie that slowly unravels a complex story of relationships, from the comic to the tragic, and grips you all the way. Lovely in every way.


  1. Wow! I agree with each one of your reviews. Except maybe if Penelpe Cruz is enough to hold me for Broken Embraces. But she is a fabulous and beautiful actress.

  2. Peter I enjoyed your enthusiastic account of current reading in the latest Victorian Writer - which also introduced me to this blog. I’m going buy Dog Boy and The Museum of Innocene today. I also loved Ian McEwan’s Solar.

    I’m always looking for great reading recommendations. So many booksellers don’t know their books and book reviews in papers and mags can so often be a sales pitch. Of course personal taste is a serious factor in giving a book recommendation. I will admit until I read your praise of Dog Boy I wasn’t interested in the storyline, but I'll go with your recommendation. Glenda