Film

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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Review: Australia

By Gerald Aaron, December 23, 2008

Baz Luhrmann’s extravagant epic can reasonably be called bloated, over-the-top and camp as a row of candy-striped tents.

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Review: Bedtime Stories

By Gerald Aaron, December 23, 2008

Adam Sandler’s infectiously comic style has made him popular with audiences and he can be a fine dramatic actor, too, as Punch-Drunk Love proved. But, inevitably, his public popularity does not extend to critics for whom noteworthy screen humour needs subtitles to be significant.

Here, Sandler is at his comic best playing hotel handyman Skeeter Bronson whose life changes when the bedtime stories he invents for his young niece and nephew (attractively played by Laura Ann Kesling and Jonathan Morgan Heit) filter into his own real life.

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Review: The Tale of Despereaux

By Gerald Aaron, December 18, 2008

The eponymous little big-eared rodent hero of this pleasing cartoon adventure saves, mousketeer-style, a lonely princess from rotten rats and casts out grief from her kingdom.

Also involved in this attractive, computer generated animation are a rat, perfectly voiced by Dustin Hoffman, various animals and a cheerful collection of humans who, naturally, take second place to their animal co-stars.

Apt vocal casting — Matthew Broderick as the titular mouse hero, Emma Watson as the princess and Sigourney Weaver, excellent as the narrator - adds to the family fun.

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Review: Twilight

By Gerald Aaron, December 18, 2008

When teenager Bella (Kristen Stewart) moves from Arizona to live with her father in the small Washington town of Fork (population 3,120) she has to adapt to her new all-American high school. There she meets brooding, Byronic and stunningly handsome Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). Their initially cool relationship changes when he mysteriously saves her from a crashing car. But the path to romance is pitted with boulders — Edward turns out to be a vampire (“I’m the world’s most dangerous predator”), now fighting to curb his bloodlust in favour of true love…

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Review: The Lemon Tree

By Gerald Aaron, December 11, 2008

Eran Riklis’s Jewish Film Festival hit gets a well-deserved release — the second Israeli film after Waltz With Bashir to do so in the past few weeks.

His compelling Hebrew-language drama takes off when Israeli Defence Minister Navon (Doron Tavory) moves into his new house on the Green Line between Israel and the West Bank. The house overlooks a lemon grove owned by Palestinian widow Salma (Hiam Abbass), which the security forces decide could harbour potential attackers and must be cut down.

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Review: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

By Gerald Aaron, December 4, 2008

Sequels are often more miss than hit, but parents being pestered by their children to take them to the follow up of 2005’s successful Madagascar need not worry. This colourful Spielberg-Katzenberg-Geffen-produced compendium of cartoon slapstick and surreal humour does not disappoint, providing perfectly acceptable entertainment for youngsters.

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