Film

Review: Milk

By Gerald Aaron, January 22, 2009

Director Gus Van Sant’s well-made biopic of Harvey Milk, who became the first overtly gay elected public official in the USA, boasts an award-worthy portrait of Milk by Sean Penn.

He compels attention as the Jewish campaigner who was elected in 1977 to the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, only to be assassinated a year later.

Van Sant concentrates on illuminating Milk’s progress from camera-shop owner to fighting for acceptance of homosexuals.

James Brolin, as his colleague on the board and eventual killer, offers fine support, but this is Penn’s film.

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Review: Frost/Nixon

By Gerald Aaron, January 22, 2009

I carried out an (admittedly un-scientific) straw poll and found that many people around 30 appear unfamiliar with Sir David Frost, whose television heyday was some three decades ago.

Sensibly, screenwriter Peter Morgan’s adaptation of his own successful stage play takes time to (re)introduce movie audiences to Frost, who is described as “a man of no political convictions whatsoever” but one who “understood TV”.

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Review: My Bloody Valentine 3D

By Gerald Aaron, January 15, 2009

When inspiration falters, remakes follow!

This excessive shocker bloodies up a 1981 B-film, adding state-of-the-art 3-D effects which project gushes of gore into the audience’s faces.
The shock sequences are in effective enough to compensate for over-familiar plotting, clichéd characters and almost-adequate acting.
Sadly, it is all too nasty for anyone but horror-film completists.

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Review: Beverly Hills Chihuahua

By Gerald Aaron, January 15, 2009

Disney’s latest family fantasy features a collection of canine characters who (Jamie Lee Curtis’s witty take on a wealthy Beverly Hills airhead excepted), enthusiastically out-perform their two-legged co-stars. They are considerably helped, it has to be said, by the actors voicing them, led by Drew Barrymore speaking for Chloe, Curtis’s pampered pooch.

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Review: The Wrestler

By Gerald Aaron, January 15, 2009

Who would have thought it? After his once-thriving movie career collapsed, Mickey Rourke became a professional boxer and his screen star appeared to have set permanently.

Now, however, in the best tradition of Hollywood biopics, Rourke returns to the celluloid ring in triumph. Thanks to Darren Aronofsky’s exemplary direction and a powerful screenplay by Robert Siegel, he gives a detailed, affecting, surprisingly funny performance that has earned him a Golden Globe, should guarantee an Academy Award nomination and probably the best-actor Oscar itself.

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Bashir waltzes off with a Globe

January 14, 2009

Israel’s Waltz with Bashir won the Golden Globe for best foreign-language film on Sunday night and immediately strengthened its status as favourite to take home Israel’s first Oscar at next month’s Academy Awards.

The edgy, animated film about a traumatised veteran trying to recover his memories of the 1982 Lebanon war, beat entries from Germany, France, Italy and Sweden at the ceremony at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles.

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Review: Bride Wars

By Gerald Aaron, January 8, 2009

Lifetime best friends and brides-to-be Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) fall out horrendously when a clerical error results in their upcoming weddings at a posh New York hotel clashing. The ladies become best enemies and set out to make each other’s life a misery and certainly succeeded in making mine eminently miserable. If there is a worse film this year, I can only pray that I will miss it.

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Review: Slumdog Millionaire

By Gerald Aaron, January 8, 2009

At this time of freezing cold, with the downturn biting harder than the frost, what we need is a warm-hearted and endearing feel-good film.

And, thanks to director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Simon The Full Monty Beaufoy, we have just that. Slumdog Millionaire is the most entertaining celluloid tonic you could ask.

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Review: Defiance

By Gerald Aaron, January 8, 2009

The most chilling, affecting moment in this “true story” comes right at the start.

Defiance chronicles the real-life exploits of three Jewish brothers who created a viciously effective resistance movement against the Nazis in Belorussia and managed a forest community of Jews saved from the camps and ghettos.

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Review: The Reader

By Gerald Aaron, December 30, 2008

How professional award-givers select their nominees is often difficult to fathom.

Kate Winslet, who gives a truly magnificent performance as thirtysomething German Hannah Schmitz in director Stephen Daldry’s powerful, provocative and mesmerising drama, has bizarrely been nominated by the Screen Actors’ Guild and for a Golden Globe as best supporting actress.

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