The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

Twi­light ( M): An el­e­gantly made film of the best-sell­ing novel by Stephe­nie Meyer in which a teenager, well played by Kris­ten Ste­wart, falls pas­sion­ately in love with a hand­some young vam­pire ( Robert Pat­tin­son). This im­prob­a­ble sce­nario plays out in a com­pellingly real set­ting, and di­rec­tor Cather­ine Hard­wicke ex­tracts max­i­mum im­pact from the story and its strongly ro­man­tic over­tones. — David Stratton

An­i­mals in Love ( G): French wildlife pho­tog­ra­pher Lau­rent Char­bon­nier spent two years film­ing in 14 coun­tries, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia, to pro­duce this en­gag­ing doc­u­men­tary about the mat­ing habits of an­i­mals in the wild. Crammed with charm­ing im­ages and in­formed by a poet’s rev­er­ence for the nat­u­ral world, it avoids ex­ces­sive cute­ness and fea­tures a lyri­cal score by Philip Glass. — Evan Wil­liams

Wild pas­sion: The ap­peal­ing An­i­mals in Love

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

( 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. — E. W.

( 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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