Tag Archives: “Australia”

Oprah in Australia!

Underwater marriage proposals, Gayle and Oprah cuddling with Koala bears, soaring helicopter rides over the heart of the Great Barrier Reef? Whew…what’s not to love about Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventures this week?

Seriously, even dyed-in-the-wool Oprah haters like my wife would have to agree that this is damn fine daytime TV. Need further proof? Well, all the stuff listed above happened in the first half of the first episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show on Tuesday. Yep, and there are still three more days of shrimp-on-the-barbie Australian awesomeness to air! Yee-haw!

So, even if you missed the first couple of episodes, set your Tivo’s now. Because this week on Oprah is gonna rock so hard that I don’t even care if I sound like a total girl gushing about it. Go, Oprah!

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2009 Golden Globe Nominees

Barring any last-minute drama by the fractured Screen Actors Guild — who just announced that they are presenting a strike authorization vote to their membership on January 2nd — this year’s Golden Globe Awards should play out a little better than last year’s lame, strike-addled affair.

Seriously, ask anyone who sat through last year’s Golden Globe “press conference” and they’ll you that that thing was a total disaster. If I never have to sit through Mary Hart and the rest of those old leathery gasbags reading names off a list again, I’ll die a very happy man indeed. Yikes…

"Rachel Getting Married" #1

"Rachel Getting Married" #2

But…I digress. This year’s crop of nominees are a pretty cool bunch. Sure, there are way too many nods for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Burn After Reading” (which we both kinda loathed), but I was seriously stoked to see “Slumdog Millionaire”, “Frost/Nixon” and “Milk” sneak in there in some pretty major categories. Those movies rocked hard, so, congrats to everyone involved.

Was really bummed to see Rosemarie DeWitt overlooked for her heartbreaking turn as Globe-nominee Anne Hathaway’s sister in “Rachel Getting Married”. Sure, Hathaway had all the big, “crazy girl makes a scene” moments in the movie, but DeWitt, playing the good, normal sister, stole every scene she was in. So, this is a huge oversight in my book.

I was stoked to see James Franco nominated for “Pineapple Express”. We haven’t seen the movie yet, but he kicked ass in “Milk”, so I’m rooting for him! And to have practically the entire cast of “Vicki Cristina Barcelona” score acting nominations is kind of awesome too. Especially that dreamy Rebecca Hall, who is almost supernaturally hot in both “Vicki Cristina” and “Frost/Nixon”. Yowza!

Penelope Cruz in "Vicki Cristina Barcelona"

Javier Bardem and Rebecca Hall in "Vicki Cristina Barcelona"

Seth Rogen and James Franco in "Pineapple Express"

But I think the thing I’m most upset about today is Anna Faris being totally shut out for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for  “The House Bunny”. Laugh if you must, but Faris was hilarious in the kind of role that category was made for! For shame, Hollywood Foreign Press, for shame…

And finally, speaking of “The House Bunny”, I’m also very glad to know that poor, beleaguered Rumer Willis will finally get to fulfill her long-delayed role as Miss Golden Globes at this year’s show. You go, Rumer!

To see a complete list of all this year’s nominees click here.

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“Australia”

OK, let me start by saying that Christine and I were huge fans of Baz Luhrmann’s last movie “Moulin Rouge!”. The music, that crazy dramatic story, Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman singing in a giant elephant, what’s not to love? Almost any way you look at it, the movie kicked ass.

AUSTRALIA #1

So, when we went to a WGA screening of Luhrmann’s latest widescreen epic, “Australia”, on Friday night, we had pretty high hopes. Unfortunately, the movie did not deliver on many of them. It’s not that “Australia” is bad, because it’s not, in fact there are some really cool things in it, but overall the movie is a bit too bloated for it’s own good.

The biggest problem for me was that in trying to recreate his favorite sweeping epics from the past — “Out of Africa”, “Gone With The Wind”, “Giant”, etc. — Luhrmann lost sight of the things he does best. And though he infuses the film with plenty of crazy camera angles and editing, and his patented love-it-or-hate-it slapstick humor is all over the place, the movie as a whole is shockingly conventional. And for someone with Luhrmann’s unique talents, that is very disappointing indeed.

And though much of the dialog is extremely cheesy and almost painfully corny in spots — the first half hour of the movie is so obnoxious that we almost walked out, seriously, it’s mind-numbingly lame! — the movie has some very cool scenes, and stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman have never looked better.

AUSTRALIA #2

AUSTRALIA #3

In fact, they look so good that it’s kind of distracting. Kidman is at her shiny, china doll prettiest in this movie, which is cool, but a bit hard to swallow when she’s supposedly out there wrangling cattle in the outback. And Jackman’s costumes are so fetishized in some scenes that it’s almost laughable.

I mean, really, what self-respecting Aussie drover would be caught dead in those tight-ass, low rise jeans? And in 1939? Please! I get it, I mean, Jackman is hot and rugged and all that, but wow, there are so many shots of his enormous package and bounce-a-quarter off it ass that you’d think Tom of Finland was Luhrmann’s co-director. It was kind of crazy…

But all that said, the cattle drive portion in the middle of the movie is really cool and totally unique and the Aboriginal child actor who plays Nullah, newcomer Brandon Walters, was also pretty fantastic. And his narration, though difficult to understand in spots, definitely ads to the impact of the movie.

So, overall, not a great film, but definitely not the worst movie you could see this Thanksgiving weekend. And if you like your movies big, loud, and packed with Aussie stereotypes — seriously, Jackman says “crikey” so many times it’s like he’s channeling Steve Irwin or something — “Australia” is the movie for you.

AUSTRALIA #4

AUSTRALIA #5

After the movie, we stayed for a brief Q & A with Luhrmann and one of his co-writers, Stuart Beattie (“Collateral”) which was interesting, but totally dominated by Luhrmann’s strange ramblings. He was cool, but, wow, kind of a nutter if you ask me. Let’s just say I can see why he burned through three co-writers on this movie…yikes.

That said, I was a bit bummed that they cut the Q & A short because I wanted to ask about the rumor that they shot seven different endings for the movie (yep, you heard me, seven!) but seeing as the film itself was over two and a half hours long, I understood the moderator’s need to move things along.

Plus, after sitting in that theatre with a bunch of sweaty screenwriters for over three hours, crikey, even I was ready to go home! Whew…

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