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FILMS BY MARY O'DONOVAN ★★★★★ so good ★★★★ really good ★★★ pretty good ★★ not so good ★ no good
Schneider) move into lodgings next door
to the Brawnes. It's obvious that Fanny
and Keats have little in common and he
teases her mercilessly about her addiction
to fashion. She, in turn, insults his poetry.
But as the two are thrown more and
more into each other's company, and
when Fanny realises that Keats is nursing
a dying younger brother, they fall in love.
It's a chaste affair, given the times, but
Bright Star is a beautiful film to look
at and reminiscent of Campion's Portrait
of a Lady starring Nicole Kidman, (which
for my money is her best performance)
in style and execution, but it lacks the
striking central performances. There is
no doubt that Wishaw and Schneider are
up to the task of 19th century men, and
Schneider brings a robust masculinity
which contrasts effectively with Wishaw's
waning feyness. But Cornish seems an
odd choice for Fanny -- she has the stride
and mannerisms of a modern woman and
her face lacks a volatility to evince the
muddled emotional state of Fanny.
Kerry Fox as Fanny's mother proves
again that she is one of Australia's (surely
we can claim her as we claim Russell
Crowe?) finest actors with an extensive
range and reach. She and Schneider
are actors who you know you've seen
before, but who inhabit their characters so
entirely that even though you have a
sense of familiarity, their performances are
so solidly in character, you're convinced
that they're a newly discovered talent.
Along with its visual beauty, Bright
Star is gorgeous to look at with some
delightful touches, not the least of these
being the set design, costuming and
cinematography. In the end, though -- and
this is something rare for a Campion film
-- it's just a bit dull.
WRITING HAS to be one of the most
boring endeavours to watch, but that
has never stopped people trying to
make movies about people who do it.
Filmmakers seem intent on trying to prove
that writers are somehow as interesting as
what they write.
Some probably are -- I've always
thought George Eliot's life was at least as
engaging as her books -- but there aren't
too many swashbuckling authors out
there to excite gestures of cinematic
extravagance. Yet that hasn't stopped
the plethora of films about authors and
writing from filling up our screens over the
If anyone was going to make a film
about a writer that would engage you,
then Jane Campion would be that person.
But really the most eye-popping thing
about Bright Star is the clothing that the
character of Fanny Brawne (Abbe Cornish)
is frocked up in. Her dresses and coats are
positively exquisite. The rest of the film,
albeit about the sublime poet John Keats,
is a run of the mill love story.
John Keats (Ben Wishaw) and his
friend Charles Armitage Brown (Paul
THE FRENCH KISSERS
ONE OF the tag lines on posters for
this film reads "A breakout comedy". By
the end of The French Kissers, you're
wondering if the "breakout" refers less
to the film's success at film festivals and
more to the faces of most of the cast.
There's no getting away from the
pimples, the blackheads and the greasy
skin of these would-be Lotharios, and
you end up asking yourself if director
Riad Sattouf really needed to go in quite
so close for the inexpert kisses of
teenagers. For those of us who've left
these difficult years behind, and probably
even for those currently going through
them, the constant reminder of pimple
prone skin is a bit gross. But maybe
that's the point.
Hollywood has been ripping off
successful French films for years, and
rarely are they improved upon. With The
French Kissers, you get the feeling that
Sattouf is inspired by the teenage gross-
out movies which the Americans have
had so much success with over the last
couple of years. If so, he hasn't quite hit
the mark. He also doesn't have the talents
of Michael Cera (Arrested Development,
Juno, Superbad) at his disposal, so his
teenagers inspire little empathy.
Herve (Vincent Lacoste) and Camel
(Anthony Sonigo) are 14 year old best
mates each desperate for a girlfriend, or
at least the opportunity to kiss a girl,
willingly. The main problem is their
shyness, their spottiness and their inability
to strike up a conversation. The fact that
they spend their afternoons after school
masturbating over underwear catalogues
or perving at the neighbours is a measure
of their desperation.
The most interesting thing about
The French Kissers is not the tracking
of these two lads through the perils of
adolescence, but the strange additions
to the story that Sattouf and fellow writer
Marc Syrigas have included. There is
the desperate teacher who lives in the
same apartment block as Herve -- his
dissatisfaction obvious in the classroom
and which turns to desperation outside
it, and the clandestine love affair of two
teachers at the school. At least these can
be seen as the changing face of love, or
lack of it, over the course of a life. But
other additions, such as the washing on
the balcony which keeps getting covered
in soot, seem far less relevant.
These kids are as self involved as
any teenager and this is the kind of story
that will appeal to their contemporaries.
But for the rest of us, it's difficult to
become involved with them or to have
much empathy for their challenges.
NOVA MAGAZINE & MOVIES BY BURSWOOD are giving away TEN DOUBLE PASSES to
THE 2009/2010 SEASON. Relax in the beautiful gardens at Burswood and watch your favourite
movies under the stars while enjoying a lovely picnic and a glass of wine. Movies by Burswood
screens the latest release, contemporary and classic films in beautiful parks and gardens. For an
entertaining night out pack a picnic, gather a group of friends and join us on the lawns.
NOVA MAGAZINE & LUNA ON SX are giving away 10 DOUBLE PASSES to IN THE LOOP
(TBA). The US President and UK Prime Minister fancy a war. But the US General Miller and
British Secretary of State, Simon Foster don't want war. After Simon accidentally backs military
action on TV, he suddenly has a lot of friends in Washington, DC.
NOVA MAGAZINE & WINDSOR CINEMA are giving away 10 DOUBLE PASSES to BRIGHT
STAR (PG). Based on a true story, Bright Star reveals the relationship between Fannie Brawne
and poet John Keats. Brawne, a headstrong young woman becomes interested in Keats as his
first book of poetry is published, but poorly received. Seeing something special in his writings,
she comes to inspire Keats despite the interference of Keats' fellow writer, the boorish Mr Brown.
NOVA MAGAZINE & CINEMA PARADISO are giving away 10 DOUBLE PASSES to
FANTASTIC MR FOX (PG). Based on the beloved book by Roald Dahl, Mr. and Mrs. Fox live
in an idyllic foxhole home with their son Ash and young nephew Kristopherson. But 12 years of
countrified existence proves too much for Mr. Fox's wild-animal instincts, causing him to slip
back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief.
NOVA MAGAZINE & CAMELOT OUTDOOR CINEMA are giving away 10 DOUBLE PASSES
to THE SUMMER 2010 SEASON. Enjoy a gourmet pizza or picnic with a refreshing drink
before kicking back after the sunset in your own deckchair or sit on the balcony for a cabaret-
style evening and enjoy a selection of the best films of the season.
To be in the draw for these great freebies write the tickets of your choice and
your daytime phone number on the back of an envelope and send with a s.s.a.e. to:
NOVA MAGAZINE FILM COMPETITION, Suite 2, 544 William Street, Mt Lawley WA 6050
DEADLINE: JANUARY 25
Answer the question on our homepage this month to be eligible for the draw.
NOVA GIVEAWAYS AND FREE TICKETS ONLINE
To help us be more environmentally friendly, you can now respond to
Nova Giveaways and Free Tickets online. Strictly one response per giveaway.
Visit www.novamagazine.com.au and click on the links.
PRESENTING THE BEST IN CONTEMPORARY AUSTRALIAN AND WORLD CINEMA.
COMMENCES JANUARY 14 at
LUNA OUTDOOR and LUNA LEEDERVILLE
For session details and more information check The West or go online to: www.lunapalace.com.au
NOVA GIVEAWAYS Suite 2, 544 William Street, Mt Lawley WA 6050
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