HOT­SHOTS

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

Aus­tralia ( M): Baz Luhrmann’s sprawl­ing out­back epic is a magic pud­ding of a film: an in­ex­haustible sup­ply of kitsch and corn, sumptuous land­scapes, stir­ring ro­mance and war­time spec­ta­cle wrapped in a soft-hearted story about the Stolen Gen­er­a­tions. It’s too much, too silly and too long, but Nicole Kid­man has rarely looked love­lier and there’s a pas­sion and grandeur in the film that is hard to re­sist. — Evan Wil­liams

Epic: Kid­man and Bran­don Wal­ters in Aus­tralia

( M): This se­quel to is the short­est of the 22 James Bond films but suf­fers from sketchy plot­ting and char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion com­bined with se­ri­ously over-edited, al­though un­ques­tion­ably well-staged, action se­quences. Daniel Craig is stee­l­ier than ever and Judi Dench’s M has all the best lines, but every­one else gets short shrift. — David Stratton

( M): This ex­traor­di­nary film — a kind of re-en­acted doc­u­men­tary us­ing a cast of real teenagers — ex­plores the lives of a hand­ful of un­happy youngsters at a high school in In­di­ana. Writ­ten and di­rected by Nanette Burstein, it spares us noth­ing of ado­les­cent pho­bias, ri­val­ries and frus­trated am­bi­tions but the fi­nal mes­sage is hope­ful and re­as­sur­ing. — E. W.

( MA15+): A nobud­get Aus­tralian film about a group of men who meet reg­u­larly for ther­apy is dis­tin­guished by fine act­ing but se­ri­ously com­pro­mised by the point­lessly ag­i­tated cam­er­a­work. De­spite its con­sid­er­able short­com­ings, it suc­ceeds be­cause it is mov­ing and the prob­lems of th­ese men are ad­dressed with clar­ity and un­der­stand­ing. — D. S.

( M): Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola’s first film in 11 years is the mother ( or god­fa­ther) of epic ro­man­tic fan­tasies: an over-egged pud­ding star­ring Tim Roth as an age­ing lin­guis­tics pro­fes­sor mirac­u­lously re­ju­ve­nated by a bolt of light­ning while search­ing for the ori­gins of lan­guage. De­spite mo­ments of great vis­ual beauty, this me­an­der­ing and pre­ten­tious film will do lit­tle for Cop­pola’s late-ca­reer rep­u­ta­tion. — E. W.

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