ABC Film Reviews

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    "Colour me Kubrick" directed by Brian Cook [review]
    (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2006-06-08) Prescott, Nick
    For both film aficionados and the public at large, Stanley Kubrick has long been a figure of fascination. Interest in Kubrick as an artistic figure has continued in leaps and bounds since the great director’s untimely death in 1999. As the visionary creator of many of the twentieth century’s landmark films, works like 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Dr Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick was a figure of intense acclaim and interest during his lifetime; a significant percentage of the world’s artistic community followed the filmmaker’s projects with obsessive interest. In his latter years, Kubrick’s refusal to travel outside England and his tendency toward reclusiveness increased his attraction for other parts of the popular press, as well as for gossip-mongers and mythographers. During the last decade of his life, however (and in large part because of the aura of mystery that had come to surround him) Kubrick attracted one of the most bizarre forms of attention possible: he was impersonated by a trickster, a con-man who passed himself off as the famous director in order to take advantage of the goodwill of individuals who were, it would seem, all too willing to believe they had encountered the great man in person.
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    "Talk to Me" directed by Kasi Lemmons [review]
    (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2008-02-21) Prescott, Nick
    A fitting film to review on radio, this: Talk to Me tells the quite fascinating story of Ralph Waldo “Petey” Green, an African-American ex-convict who, in the mid-late 1960s, became a sensation, a radio personality the likes of whom Washington DC had never heard. Don Cheadle, the brilliant actor who has done so much great work with Steven Soderbergh (most people think of him as the fun-loving Basher Tarr from the Ocean’s films, but he’s also done great work in Traffic and Out of Sight) here plays the real-life (and larger-than-life) figure of Green, who, without any real training in either public speaking or radio work, talked his way onto the American airwaves in 1966 and changed them forever.
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    "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End" [review]
    (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2007-05-24) Prescott, Nick
    Sadly, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End proves that the “third time lucky” adage doesn’t hold true when Hollywood producers are trying to make lightning strike the same spot once again. Lightning certainly struck in 2003, when the original Pirates of the Caribbean film was released. Despite the fact that many cinemagoers were dubious about a film based on a Disneyland ride, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl hit the spot, and then some. A stellar cast (led by the astonishing Johnny Depp playing his pirate captain Jack Sparrow as Keith Richards) swashed and buckled its way through a wonderfully entertaining plot, while the best CGI wizards money could buy contributed eye-popping visual effects that managed to help tell the story without overwhelming it. I for one could not believe that such a gleefully entertaining and witty film could have been concocted from a fun-ride, and I left the cinema, as so many punters did, on that bubble-gum high that only great big Hollywood experiences can provide.
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    ''La Vie en Rose'' directed by Olivier Dahan [review]
    (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2007-07-13) Prescott, Nick
    Given that it’s Harry Potter time again (the fifth film in the series has rolled out this week) it’s also that part of the cinematic year during which any number of smaller, quieter, even – dare one say it – potentially more interesting films can come and go almost undetected in the wake of the box-office juggernauts. Not that there’s anything wrong with young Harry; it’s just that enormous franchises like his can so easily obscure worthy smaller films that dare to open at around the same time. La Vie en Rose is precisely such an offering: a carefully made and beautifully performed bio-pic of legendary French songstress Edith Piaf. The film has been a big deal in its native country, and rightly so; here though it’s a minor art-house release, and in my opinion it’s absolutely worthy of discussion.
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    "True Blood" directed by Alan Ball et al. [review]
    (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2009-05-28) Prescott, Nick
    The obsession with Vampires continues here, in the shape of this enormously popular HBO production, which has just hit our shelves on DVD. With the Twilight phenomenon by no means over, and with the second and third films for that series already in production, the 21st-Century vampiric cycle, it would seem, is going to be running strong for some time. HBO has joined the league of studios busily resurrecting this genre (if you’ll excuse the pun) and it seems like just the right kind of television studio to make a vampire series, as it’s a cable-based enterprise, and is not bound by the kinds of censorship restrictions that govern free-to-air shows. This fact explains that the first thing viewers will discover about True Blood: it is very, very confronting indeed.
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    "Jumper" directed by Doug Liman [review]
    (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2008-02-14) Prescott, Nick
    Jumper continues the worrying Hollywood trend of spending 150 million dollars on a movie and forgetting to buy a decent script. This wannabe-blockbuster, this sci-fi mishmash, wants to thrill us and awe us with its mile-a-minute pace and its cutting-edge special effects, but what it really achieves, after a decent opening, is battering its audience into submission with one scarcely comprehensible action set-piece after another, with almost no character development or suspense to hold it together in any meaningful way at all.