Dan Castle – Newcastle (2008)

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IMDB:
Newcastle’ is a coming-of-age/family drama/surfing movie. 17-year old Jesse lives in the shadow of his older brother Victor’s failure to become surfing’s Next Big Thing. Even when he’s in his natural habitat of magnificent surf breaks, his blue-collar future is brought home by the coal barges that constantly line his horizon. Jesse has the natural skills to surf his way out of this reality and onto the international circuit but can he overcome his equally natural ability to sabotage himself? A momentous weekend away with his mates that includes first love and tragedy leads him to discover what’s really important, and also to the performance of a lifetime. Written by Anonymous Continue reading

Bruce Beresford – ‘Breaker’ Morant [+Extras] (1980)

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Quote:
When they speak of heroes – of villains – of men who look for action, who choose between honor and revenge – they tell the story of Breaker Morant

Quote:
During the Boer War, three Australian lieutenants are on trial for shooting Boer prisoners. Though they acted under orders, they are being used as scapegoats by the General Staff, who hopes to distance themselves from the irregular practices of the war. The trial does not progress as smoothly as expected by the General Staff, as the defence puts up a strong fight in the courtroom. Continue reading

Fred Schepisi – The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)

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This film is a dramatisation of the real-life story of Jimmy Governor, the part-Aboriginal bushranger hanged for multiple murders in 1901. A powerful and confronting story of a black man’s revenge against an unjust and intolerant society, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith was one of the most significant films of the 1970s film renaissance in Australia. Schepisi’s second film (after his highly acclaimed debut with The Devil’s Playground [1976]), reveals a natural filmmaker who tackles this powerful, dramatic, controversial and historically sensitive subject with watertight restraint. Continue reading

Peter Weir – Picnic at Hanging Rock [Director’s Cut] (1975)

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“Criterion” wrote:
Twenty years after it swept Australia into the international film spotlight, Peter Weir’s stunning 1975 masterpiece remains as ineffable as the unanswerable mystery at its core. A Valentine’s Day picnic at an ancient volcanic outcropping turns to disaster for the residents of Mrs. Appleyard’s school when a few young girls inexplicably vanish on Hanging Rock. A lyrical, meditative film charged with suppressed longings, Picnic at Hanging Rock is here available in a pristine widescreen director’s cut with a Dolby digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Continue reading

Colin Eggleston – Long Weekend (1978)

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PLOT SUMMARY :

Attempting to resurrect their failing marriage, Peter (John Hargreaves) and Marcia (Briony Behets) set out on a camping trip to a deserted stretch of the Australian coastline in the hope that a long weekend in the sunshine will help them patch their differences.

They are a careless couple, littering the countryside with garbage, shooting guns and even driving away after wounding a kangaroo with their automobile. Their callous disregard for the environment soon becomes apparent when the animals start to seek vengeance… Continue reading

Ray Lawrence – Lantana (2001)

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Synopsis: The intertwined lives of four couples living in and around Sydney, Australia, form the structure for this drama masquerading as a whodunit. Andrew Bovell freely adapted his play, Speaking in Tongues, opening up the action, as the geography and topography of Sydney and its suburbs become major characters as well. The film opens with a shot of what looks like a corpse entangled in a thick stand of branches — the title plant, which grows in profusion in Australia. Bovell and director Ray Lawrence take their time in explaining whose body that is and then slowly reveal, with no help from a number of red herrings, how it happened to be there. The principal players are Valerie Somers (Barbara Hershey), a psychiatrist with issues over her child, a murder victim; her husband, John Knox (Geoffrey Rush), an aloof professor whom she suspects of infidelity; Leon Zat (Anthony LaPaglia), a police detective cheating on his wife, Sonja (Kerry Armstrong), who is a patient of Valerie’s. Zat’s mistress, Jane O’May (Rachael Blake), is someone he met at a dancing class his wife dragged him to; she is estranged from her husband, Pete (Glenn L. Robbins). Their neighbors, Paula (Daniela Farinacci) and Nik D’Amato (Vince Colosimo), try to stay neutral in the O’Mays’ split; she works days as a nurse and he’s unemployed and minds their children. Suspicion around the disappearance of one character manages to enmesh all of the others. Bovell’s stories are about secrets, real and imagined, and how they can poison relationships. The film virtually swept all the major awards at the Australian Film Institute’s annual ceremony, though its reception in the States was mildly respectful. -Tom Wiener (AMG) Continue reading