Garry Mcdonald

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Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Review


Excellent
This inventive horror film plays to our deepest childhood fears. It's like a demented variation on The Borrowers, and first-rate acting and effects work combine to thoroughly creep us out.

Shy, artistic 8-year-old Sally (Madison) moves across the country to live with her architect dad Alex (Pearce) and his designer girlfriend Kim (Holmes) in a massive old Rhode Island mansion. But she soon starts hearing strange noises, and after discovering a boarded-up basement studio, things start getting a bit freaky. But how can she convince her sceptical father and the stepmum she doesn't trust that there's something in the house that wants to tear the family apart? Even after the handyman (Thompson) is attacked, Alex continues his renovations so he can lure a buyer (Dale).

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The Rage in Placid Lake Review


Excellent
Placid Lake (Ben Lee) is a (regrettably named) young man who has just graduated from preparatory school and thoroughly embarrassed his self-seeking hippie parents, Doug (Garry McDonald) and Sylvia Lake (Miranda Richardson), his tyrannical classmates and hypocritical teachers. Convinced that he can only find himself in the wilds of Montana (he lives in Australia), Placid makes a schmaltzy student film (Life is Super Dooper) about the awe-inspiring atmosphere of friendliness at his school and it nets him a coveted $10,000 prize check. With the money, he can now leave the small world he's always known and venture to exciting, foreign locales. Unfortunately, there is a rage inside Placid Lake - a rage that compels him to recreate his award winning film for its debut screening. The Life is Super Dooper shown at the awards ceremony is a B&W expose consisting of hidden camera footage of classmates beating each other up, teachers cursing about their charges, and Placid's parent's internal strife over his mother's lesbian affair. The audience is shocked, and Placid winds up flying off the roof of the school. Lying in a full body cast for months, Placid emerges with a plan for the ultimate act of rebellion: being normal.

The Rage in Placid Lake is writer/director Tony McNamara's debut film and it's both a wildly entertaining and heartfelt film. McNamara comes from a theatre background and we hear it in the clever and witty dialogue. While the film is not fast paced, it moves along congenially and never pauses long enough to become bogged down in the sentimentality that smoothes out its rougher edges -- it's a poignant film with a young, brash attitude.

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Rabbit-Proof Fence Review


OK

An extraordinary true tale of perseverance set against the deplorable backdrop of government-sanctioned racism in 1931 Australia, "Rabbit-Proof Fence" is a stirring film about three kidnapped Aboriginal girls who run away from an indoctrination camp and walk 1,500 miles across the Outback to return to their native village.

The story takes place at a time when it was Aussie government policy to remove "half-caste" children (fathered by white men) from their Aborigine families and re-educate them to be adopted by white families, and director Philip Noyce makes no bones about showing the dismay induced by the enforcement of these laws. In one of the film's first scenes, 14-year-old Molly (Everlyn Sampi), her 8-year-old sister Daisy (Tianna Sansbury) and their 10-year-old cousin Gracie (Laura Monaghan) are ripped from their mothers' arms at a remote trading post near a tribal community called Jigalong, leaving the women sobbing and wailing in the dust kicked up by government cars.

Dragged to the a compound on the other side of the continent where dark-skinned children have the Bible beaten into them and their native languages and customs beaten out by missionaries and nuns, the girls suffer at the hands of the policy that "in spite of himself, the native must be helped."

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