Australia

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rolotomasi99
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:15 am

OscarGuy wrote:However, having seen it, the dramatic parts are perfect things for the Academy to lap up. It has a lavish olden days quality that may appeal to older viewers once they get past the modernish opening. We'll see how it does with audiences. But, as it stands now, things don't look good. We'll see, though.

since you have seen the film, oscarguy, what nominations do you think the movie actually deserves? every single deliciously vicious review i have read praised the cinematography by mandy walker. i am assuming nominations for cinematography and set design are very possible no matter how much of a flop it is with critics and audiences.
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Postby Damien » Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:58 am

dws1982 wrote:Australia made a little less than $2.3 million on Wednesday. That comes out to less than $900 per screen.

LMAO!!! Another thing to be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.
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Postby dws1982 » Fri Nov 28, 2008 9:15 am

Australia made a little less than $2.3 million on Wednesday. That comes out to less than $900 per screen.

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Postby OscarGuy » Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:35 am

Mostly mixed reviews and some respectable and some awful, yes. It might push it down. However, the jury is still out on whether or not it will be a box office failure. I haven't seen any Wednesday figures. If it is a box office dud and does poor word of mouth business, then, yeah, it probably will be out. If it's a decent success or gets solid praise from audiences, critics be damned, it could get nominated. But it's not looking good.

However, having seen it, the dramatic parts are perfect things for the Academy to lap up. It has a lavish olden days quality that may appeal to older viewers once they get past the modernish opening. We'll see how it does with audiences. But, as it stands now, things don't look good. We'll see, though.
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Postby Penelope » Fri Nov 28, 2008 12:01 am

The combination of mixed-to-awful reviews and bad box office means the best it can do will be, maybe, nods for Cinematography, Costume Design and the like.
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Postby Zahveed » Thu Nov 27, 2008 11:55 pm

So should we assume Australia is out of the race for at least Best Pic and Director?
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Postby OscarGuy » Thu Nov 27, 2008 8:34 pm

Well, our Thanksgiving movie ended up being Australia. It started off a jumbled mess with wild swooping shots and cheesy effects. However, once it really got settled into the meat of the story, it became fairly good. I enjoyed it more than most of you will and don't expect it to be everyone's cup of tea. The Luhrmann excesses are all over the film, but more defined in the first 30 minutes than in the last two-and-a-half hours. The same color styles and design work characterize all Luhrmann films and this is no exception. It's not Kidman's best performance, but she's solid. Jackman is really quite good, though there are many reasons to watch other than just his performance.

It's got the tearjerking moments that romantic epics like Titanic, Out of Africa, English Patient and Gone With the Wind employ effectively. It's pastiche for sure...I mean the opening scene is a blatant Gone With the Wind rip-off and there are many scenes that are cribbed directly from Out of Africa and quite a few from John Wayne-style westerns. There's a mystical element and there's a general homage to Wizard of Oz that's quite effecting and entrenched in the film's mythos. I won't expect everyone here to like it and I downright expect most of you to hate it. This isn't a film to convert Luhrmann haters. Even Luhrmann fans will find it dissimilar enough to his other products to be wary. It might win a few fence-sitting converts who especially like romantic epics.
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Postby rolotomasi99 » Wed Nov 26, 2008 11:17 am

as the bad reviews for AUSTRALIA pour in, i am sure there will be many choice quotes and zingers attacking the film to choose from.

my favorite so far comes from the slate review:
"But to marvel at the purity of Australia's corniness isn't to imply that the movie functions as so-bad-it's-good camp, or guilty pleasure, or anything else involving aesthetic enjoyment. Audiences without a vast appetite for racial condescension, CGI cattle, and backlit smooches will sit through Australia with all the enthusiasm of the British convicts who were shipped to that continent against their will in the late 18th century."

http://www.slate.com/id/2205436/




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Postby Sabin » Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:11 pm

Nobody's perfect.
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Postby Eric » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:48 pm

And he was a fan of both R+J and Moulin Rouge, fwiw.

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Postby Sabin » Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:45 pm

Mike D'Angelo gives 'Australia' a 23 writing "Make. It. Stop." and that "The best I can say is there's a long middle stretch where it's just tedious rather than unbearable."



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"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

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Postby Eric » Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:50 am

For old times' sake, I went over to what used to be Goldderby to see if Tom O'Neil is tubthumping for this one yet. He must not have seen it, because I'm not seeing much out of him about it yet.

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Postby The Original BJ » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:59 pm

I'm not sure if anyone else has been reading this series ("Best Pictures from the Outside In"), but the most recent blog article, discussing Gone With the Wind and The English Patient, might serve as an interesting sidebar to this epic discussion.

It's the second blog post from the top at this address:

http://blog.nicksflickpicks.com/

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Postby Mister Tee » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:55 pm

Hollywood Reporter.

These three reviews sure feel like consensus.

Film Review: Australia
Bottom Line: In epic style, Baz Luhrmann weaves his wizardry on Oz.

By Megan Lehmann
Nov 18, 2008

Opens: Nov. 26, U.S. and Australia (20th Century Fox)

SYDNEY -- With his audaciously titled epic "Australia," Baz Luhrmann has delivered a shamelessly melodramatic, often eccentric spectacle with true-blue blockbuster potential. The most expensive Australian film ever made is rousing and passionate. Despite some cringe-making Harlequin Romance moments between homegrown Hollywood stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, the 1940s-set "Australia" defies all but the most cynical not to get carried away by the force of its grandiose imagery and storytelling.

And, yes, there are kangaroos.

Tourism Australia may have politely requested their inclusion, with hopes for a tourist revival riding on this $130 million Outback tale, along with what seems like the future of the entire local film industry. If Luhrmann felt the weight of that responsibility, it doesn't show. His "Australia" is much less earnest than the trailer suggests, layered with a thin veneer of camp and a nod and a wink to accompany the requisite Aussie cliches.

Having shunned the recent grinding run of bleak suburban micro-dramas, Australians are primed to embrace his monumental magic-realist vision, which honors the country's heritage and celebrates the invigorating majesty of its landscape.

Even if it does run a butt-numbing 2 hours and 45 minutes, the film has broad appeal for international audiences with plenty of stirring action sequences to make the blokes more comfortable with a particularly blatant shot of bare-chested Jackman lathering up under the shower.

Fashioned in the style of classics such as "Gone With the Wind" and "Lawrence of Arabia," "Australia" follows the fortunes of persnickety Englishwoman Lady Sarah Ashley (Kidman), who inherits a sprawling cattle property in northwestern Australia.

Under threat of a takeover, she reluctantly enlists the help of a Marlboro Man-style stockman known only as the Drover (Jackman) to help drive 1,500 head of cattle across the Top End of Australia to the port of Darwin, ahead of its bombing by the Japanese.

Unlike "Gone With the Wind," which skirted the political context of the Civil War, the controversial issue of the so-called Stolen Generation is more than a mere backdrop for the emotional upheavals experienced by the film's leads. Luhrmann, who makes a habit of upending convention, has plonked the attempted assimilation of mixed-race Aboriginal children into Western culture front and center, making this as much a story of reconciliation between black and white Australia as it is between the untamed local and the aristocratic import.

Enter the film's breakout star: 13-year-old Brandon Walters, playing young mixed-race boy Nullah. By turns cheeky and heartrending, the limpid-eyed newcomer knits the disparate threads of this sweeping epic together, single-handedly lending this showcase of amplified emotions its true heart.

Pin thin and ramrod straight, Kidman gives one of her most engaging performances, occasionally harking back to the comic highs of "To Die For." Meanwhile, Jackman looks good in his Akubra bush hat.

Performances are strong throughout, particularly from David Wenham as Lady Ashley's malevolent rival and David Gulpilil as Nullah's mystical grandfather, King George.

While the "Wizard of Oz" motif is labored and the narrative hits a few speed bumps, all is forgiven when Luhrmann brings out one of his stunning set pieces, like a thrilling cattle stampede along a cliff edge.

Cinematographer Mandy Walker, who collaborated with Luhrmann on his award-winning Chanel No. 5 commercial, creates a sumptuous, painterly look, complemented by impeccable costume and production design from Luhrmann's Oscar-winning wife, Catherine Martin.




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Postby Mister Tee » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:51 pm

Screen Daily.


Australia
Frank Hatherley in Sydney
19 Nov 2008 11:15


Dir: Baz Luhrmann. Aus/US. 2008. 165 mins

With Australia, Baz Luhrmann has fearlessly gone for the biggest, lushest goal he could imagine - a romantic, old-fashioned epic to stand beside Gone With The Wind. Though it fails to reach such Hollywood heyday heights, Australia's combination of high adventure, awesome landscapes and panting passions is sure to bring out romance-starved adult audiences ­- probably skewing female ­­- when the film's international roll-out starts in Australia and the US on November 26.


Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman effortlessly don the mantles of Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable here; the screen is crammed with ravishing images (gorgeous sunsets, limitless horizons, crazed cattle, pounding horses, dive-bombing Japanese warplanes); and top-grade visual effects have been added to more or less everything. If the restless richness becomes somewhat indigestible before the film's considerable length is reached, that's part of the Luhrmann package. Who else would dare such excess?

The most expensive Australian film ever made at $100m-plus with a no-expenses-spared marketing budget, Australia is also the focus of a linked $40m Tourism Australia campaign (also shot by Luhrmann), which should ensure a near-blanket awareness in Australia and pretty high penetration elsewhere by the time this much-anticipated epic opens.

Nicole Kidman's ice-and-fire Lady Sarah Ashley is the centre of the movie. A staccato prologue in rural England establishes that her wandering husband wants to sell Faraway Downs, his Australian cattle farm, for a fraction of its perceived worth. In a swiftly-edited thrice she arrives in 1938 Darwin, Australia's most northern coastal township, and has her posh luggage scattered during a bar brawl involving a rough-hewn rider/cowboy called The Drover. Jackman's introduction here is pure spaghetti western.

The loose, unshaven Drover drives the tutting, overdressed Lady Sarah two days inland to Faraway Downs, a rundown wreck of a property, picturesquely positioned on a vast, drought-hit plain. She meets the mainly aboriginal staff, the drunken accountant (Thompson) who has been taking part in a cattle scam with Fletcher (Wenham), shifty son-in-law of the all-powerful local baron (Brown). Also in the household is Nullah (Walters), a half-caste boy who lives in fear of being taken away from his mother and sent to a government institution, the fate of many such children, now known as 'The Stolen Generation'.

Of course, The Drover and The Lady hate each other on sight. "I mix with dingos, not duchesses," he says. But soon they begin to appreciate each other's good points - for example, his powerful pectorals gleaming during a moonlit wash from a tin bucket. Eventually, during a mighty trek through the outback with a mob of dangerously skittish cattle, they fall swooningly in love. The cattle delivered, the partnership established, Australia sweeps on to Part 2: Attack on Darwin Harbour. Though the dramatic pace never slackens, it's here that the film's too-generous 165 minute length becomes a factor.

Jackman is the epitome of handsome, untamed individualism: Kidman tempers haughty stridency with a delicate comic playfulness, touching in a scene with young Nullah where she teaches him, with no confidence in her own ability, to sing Over The Rainbow. Indeed, the 1939 film Wizard of Oz is a surprising motif in Luhrmann's Australia. The Wizard in this new Oz is Nullah's grandfather, played with trademark gravitas by veteran aboriginal actor David Gulpilil, who climbs mountains, casts spells and throw spears with uncanny accuracy.

Walters, aged 12, is perfect as the beautiful, troubled Nullah; Thompson is appealing as a good-hearted double-dealer; Brown and Wenham are a pair of deepest-dyed nasties, brazenly melodramatic in their villainy. It's a while since we saw a baddie leave us crying "curse you!"

Apart from Luhrmann himself, there are three distinguished writers credited for the screenplay – Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Carribean, Collateral), Ronald Harwood (The Pianist, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), and Australian novelist Richard Flanagan. Similarly, two top film editors worked here - Dody Dorn and Michael McCusker - though the story-telling is trademark Luhrman, fast-paced and relentless.

Technically, this is ravishing, from production and costume designs from Catherine Martin to DoP Mandy Walker's often-majestic footage. Australia is long on digital effects, mostly to good purpose, though some of the wartime Darwin harbour wide shots are wisely held for the briefest of seconds.


The soundtrack is a potpourri of heightened effects and soaring musical themes. Just when you think you have recognised something, off goes the orchestra to something else. The cumulative effect is a little like the editing – restless.


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