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40th Anniversary Of Talkback Radio In Australia Luncheon

John Howard - Australian Prime Minister John Howard and John Laws Westin Hotel 40th anniversary of talkback radio in Australia luncheon Saturday 28th July 2007

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John Howard
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John Howard

Jindabyne Review


Excellent
Although the odor of buried sin and some vast, encroaching punishment hangs over most every frame of Jindabyne, this is hardly a religious film in the traditional manner. After a disturbing crime, church and an old family Christian tradition hold no succor. There seems to be only the wild vastness of Australia's New South Wales, a landscape more comfortable with the rawer, less enfeebled spirituality of the few, benighted aborigines still living in the area. Given the ardor with which some of the characters pursue a form of redemption, one can only hope that there's a god of sorts out there in the land's soaring endlessness paying attention -- and maybe even granting absolution.

Intelligently adapted by screenwriter Beatrix Christian from Raymond Carver's short story "So Much Water So Close to Home," Jindabyne is about the things people do to remember that they're alive, and the things they want to forget that make them feel dead. Set in the titular small village (a sign on the road identifies it as "a tidy town") Laura Linney and Gabriel Byrne play Claire and Stewart Kane, a couple with troubles surrounded by friends and coworkers with plenty of their own. Everyone works the small-time kind of jobs you can find in a town the size of Jindabyne, Claire clerking at a drugstore and Stewart (a former auto racing star) running a gas station. There's darkness in the Kanes' past, like the year and a half when Claire lived elsewhere after the birth of their son Tom (played with heartbreaking sincerity by Sean Rees-Wemyss), never explained. A couple they're friends with has troubles, too: a dead daughter and now the unexpected stewardship of their goddaughter, Caylin-Calandria (Eva Lazzaro), a haunted and troublemaking 10-year-old who seems to have a death wish.

Continue reading: Jindabyne Review

Lost Horizon Review


Extraordinary
The weirdest film by Frank Capra, this epic was adapted from James Hilton's bestselling novel about a plane full of passengers stranded in Tibet who are brought to the imaginary utopia Shangri-la. (Hilton's sensational fantasy was inspired by mountaineering trips to the Himalayas -- pretty much unknown then -- and it probably still influences how people in the West think about Tibet.)

Lost Horizon is a strange but haunting mixture of drama, long expository passages, and romance, with lavish, Xanadu-like sets set against stock footage of icy mountains -- but the performance of Ronald Colman carries the movie. Colman's character is a Brit who decides he doesn't mind hanging with the Buddhists and enjoying the quiet life, but some of his companions are unhappy in the worker's paradise and debate whether to try to escape. Sensuality is provided by the young Jane Wyatt, later the matron on TV's Father Knows Best (Wyatt's character is even shown in a distant frontal nude scene, a wink at the Hays Code).

Continue reading: Lost Horizon Review

The Philadelphia Story Review


Extraordinary
No self-respecting film snob would speak ill of George Cukor's classic romantic comedy The Philadelphia Story, with its three major stars (plus the overlooked Ruth Hussey), rat-a-tat dialogue, hairpin plotting, and delightful humor. And so it's my turn -- what have I got to say for myself?

Not much that hasn't already been said. I fall in line with the conventional wisdom that Philadelphia is one of the smartest comedies you'll find. At the film's opening, C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) and Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn) are seen in the midst of their breakup. Fast-forward a few years and Tracy's engaged again, and Dexter shows up with two Spy magazine reporters (James Stewart and Hussey), determined to throw a wrench into things.

Continue reading: The Philadelphia Story Review

Lost Horizon Review


Good
A classic book and a classic film -- make sure you look for the full-length (132 minute) restored version, which features still photographs where there was no known print to match up to the audio. Bizarre methodology, yet strangely, it works.

Young Einstein Review


Weak
By 1988, America's fascination with all thing's Australian had reached a fever pitch, fueled by Crocodile Dundee, Men at Work, Foster's beer, and, presumably, that guy Jocko who did commercials for Duracell and shouted "Oy!"

Not only did this phenomenon give us Crocodile Dundee II, it somehow convinced Warner Brothers to give an unknown Australian documentary filmmaker and "experimental comedian" with a silly haircut the chance to write, produce, direct, and star in his very own feature film.

Continue reading: Young Einstein Review

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