November 28, 2008
Worked on El Kid coming up out of the frozen creek, a la "The Terminal." Not done. Got some good steam. Trick is to know when to stop. I keep laying in washes, trying not to go too far. So far, so good.
Speaking of going too far, met Deena at Harkins' on Bell Road at 3:30 to see Australia, the new film by Baz Luhrmann. It's basically two films, one a great, big, sweeping Western (Red River) and the other a WWII flick (Tora, Tora, Tora!) mashed together, along with The Wizard of Oz (literally a movie within a movie) thrown on top. And in between is every cliche in the book (Oh, no! The cattle are stampeding and they're heading for a cliff!). Still, most of it works. The first movie I loved (it didn't hurt that Hugh Jackman looks like a young Clint Eastwood, right down to the same hat Clint wore in The Outlaw Josie Wales,) and I would have given it an 8.5 (think Quigly Down Under). It had a very clean wrap up with a nice bow and everything. But then they started over! I remember at the end, or, what I thought was the end, of the first movie, thinking, "Gee, I wonder when the Japanese Zeroes dive bomb the harbor like I saw in the previews? Maybe during the credits? An epilogue?" No, the movie starts over, after the happy ending and then we get the dive bombers. He had me at "The Drover" but then, it went on and on. Ultimately, too much for me and I actually came off my 8.5 rating, back to a seven, or maybe an 8.5 for the Western and a 6 for the WWII flick.
Meanwhile, Kathy gave it a 9.5 and Deena agreed with her mama. Hugh Jackman was ripped for the part (he allegedly worked out every day) and the romance was way over the top (Baz knows how to capture women). I also read somewhere that Nicole Kidman's pregnant tummy ruined some of the scenes and parts had to be re filmed after she gave birth. She was great though. Very sexy and likeable.
Favorite scenes were of a large horse herd running around the ranch house (it's a recurring scene). Fantastic tracking shots, with thunderous hooves and dust. The blocking and the camera movement throughout the film are stunning. Okay, I admit I liked it more than I'm letting on, but it does get silly at points and it's way too long. Perhaps Shakespeare can put an end cap on all of this?
"Things won are done; joy's soul lies in the doing."
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