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Sirens (1994) Review


Very Good
Interesting study of British social mores and their views on pornography, when Grant goes to visit a painter whose work is deemed obscene. Oh, and he's got tons of naked babes. Yeah!

The Dish Review


OK
Another "quirky" Australian comedy is poised to be consumed by the ignorant American masses. The Dish (one of the most popular films in Australia!!) has been hailed as "an inspired human comedy" complete with quirky characters, a heartwarming story, nostalgic images of past glories, and enough sheep jokes to make my grandmother chuckle. The only thing they forgot to include is a reason to care about this fluff of a film.

Based on a true story, The Dish chronicles a giant satellite dish located in a sheep paddock in Parkes, Australia that assisted in transmitting communications and television signal broadcasts between Apollo 11 and NASA in the summer of 1969. The dish is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere and was the only dish in 1969 powerful enough to capture the live camera broadcasts from the historic landing on the moon on July 20, 1969. Running the dish are four quirky characters: Cliff Burton (Sam Neill), the dish's supervisor who smokes too much and pines over his dead wife; Mitch (Kevin Harrington), the nerdy dish technician in love with the local town girl; Glen (Tom Long), the "chip-on-his-shoulder" dish operator who spends most of the film whining; and Al Burnett (Patrick Warburton), the stuffy NASA agent who wears thick glasses and carries the nurturing tone of Barbara Walters. These four knuckleheads, during Apollo's flight, overcome such obstacles as political ass-kissing, power outages, puppy love, gale force winds, and ridiculous moment-of-purpose speeches in order to not look like a bunch of Australian outback hicks working in the middle of a sheep paddock.

Continue reading: The Dish Review

Children Of The Revolution Review


Good
A true oddity, in keeping with Australian cinema. What with F. Murray Abraham as Stalin (yes, the Stalin), who fathers a lovechild in the 1950s with a visiting Australian radical played by Judy Davis, how can you expect anything but weirdness? With early-career appearances by Rachel Griffiths and Geoffrey Rush, Children of the Revolution is remarkable for its sheer ballsiness, but the story is likely a bit too circuitous, self-referential, and unbelievable for most tastes. Ostensibly based on a true story, the sarcasm eventually gets so thick you find you need a mint.

Snow White: A Tale Of Terror Review


Very Good
This live-action update of Snow White isn't your mommy's fairy tale. If the title didn't give it away, this is a more Grimm-like version of the story with the evil queen (Sigourney Weaver) playing jealous stepmom to Lilliana (aka Snow, Monica Keena), who goes into hiding with a gang of ruffians (only one of whom is a dwarf) when the going gets tough. Very likeable, and probably the only R-rated version of Snow you'll ever see.

Jurassic Park Review


Good

When John Hammond, the rich billionaire who creates Jurassic Park, says he "spared no expense," we might as well be listening to Steven Spielberg, the film's prolific director. Jurassic Park cost somewhere in the vicinity of $63 million to make but that seems like nothing compared to the return, which was only a hair under $400 million. This is when we really knew what Spielberg could do: He could make a blockbuster better than anyone in the world. Jurassic Park isn't his best film by a long shot, but its mesmerizing entertainment and proof that the man is the go-to guy for action and adventure.

The beginning sets the pace perfectly: While transporting a cloned dinosaur into the titular theme park, a worker is pulled into its cage and ravaged while the other workers prod the beast to no avail. It's the following lawsuit that makes the park's owner, John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), want to bring in married paleontologists Alan and Ellie (Sam Neill and Laura Dern), theorist Ian (Jeff Goldblum), and his lawyer Mr. Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) to consult and give the park their seal of approval. When they first arrive, they are amazed by the dinosaurs and charmed by Hammond, his money and his technology. They are also charmed by his grandchildren, Tim and Lex (Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards), who come right before the security breaks down. Soon enough, the dinosaurs are loose, eating humans (and each other) with rampant glee.

The main attractions, obviously, are the dinosaurs and the wizards at Stan Winston Studios and Industrial Light and Magic, who did the special and visual effects for the film. For the raptors, specifically, they give the creatures such a fluid range of motion that the carnality of their attacks gives off a vibrant feeling. Spielberg has a knack for mixing visual fireworks with a solid storyline, but he still has trouble with his characters and making them deeper than mere sketches of people. It's easy: Hammond is the rich guy who learns his lesson, Alan is the logical, surprisingly adept hero, Ellie is his equal but understands more emotional things, Ian is the comic relief, Lex and Tim are the innocents, and the lawyer is a meal. But none of these characters really go beyond these archetypes, although the actors try their hardest to give the lines depth (special kudos to Dern and Neill). David Koepp, assisted by Michael Crichton, has crafted a great story in his screenplay, but he never gives enough care to the details of the characters.

It's been argued by a lot of people that Spielberg is a hack; that he treats his controversial films (Schindler's List, Amistad) with the same do-anything rush of his action/adventure films (Minority Report, the Indiana Jones trilogy). Maybe they have a point, but there is no arguing that Spielberg is an important director and a potent storyteller. Jurassic Park serves as an example of his control of story and imagery but also shows off his lack of character development, which has only really been cured in Jaws, indisputably his best film. His next film, Munich, was written by Tony Kushner, the famed author of Angels in America, which might make for a deeper drama from Spielberg. Either way, I guarantee that the producers spared no expense.

Continue reading: Jurassic Park Review

Bicentennial Man Review


Good
Robin Williams wants -- and needs -- nothing more than to have his own The Truman Show -- a Hail Mary to ward off permanent stereotyping. Typecast as a goofy loudmouth in throwaway films ranging from Mrs. Doubtfire to Fathers' Day to Flubber, you have to look back all the way to The Fisher King in 1991 for his last great starring role.

Bicentennial Man aims to turn that all around by making Williams something we can relate to once again. Ironically, that's not as a human: It's as a robot.

Continue reading: Bicentennial Man Review

Victory Review


Weak
Fairly pedantic and plodding, this period piece, set in 1913 in the Dutch East Indies (ah, I remember the Dutch East Indies...), this film has all the makings of a sultry romance (think The Piano) but never amounts to much more than a watery day-trip.

The convoluted story has a female violinist (Irène Jacob) shanghaied from her indentured servitude by a semi-wealthy island-dweller (Willem Dafoe). Naturally, the woman's owner becomes a bit miffed and sends some goons (including Rufus Sewell and Sam Neill in a rare bad-guy role) after them. Imagine the hijinks!

Continue reading: Victory Review

The Hunt For Red October Review


Extraordinary
If any film in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan series stands out as the best (or even a truly great movie), it's The Hunt for Red October. It was Clancy's first book starring the unlikely hero and the only film to star Alec Baldwin as Ryan. Baldwin does a great job here -- portraying Ryan not as a gung-ho commando, as Harrison Ford would interpret the role, or as a know-it-all brat, as Ben Affleck would shamefully turn in down the line.

Baldwin is perfect, but his sparring partner, Sean Connery, is even better. As a Russian sub captain defecting to the U.S. -- and bringing his titular, silent sub with him -- Connery turns in yet another memorable performance, full of ballsy gusto and cocksureness. Supporting players run the gamut from Sam Neill to James Earl Jones (the only real fixture in the Jack Ryan cycle) to Tim Curry.

Continue reading: The Hunt For Red October Review

The Horse Whisperer Review


Weak
An atrocity in the grand history of films like The Bridges of Madison County. This is yet another grown-up romance, overblown, sappy, sentimental, and just plain stupid -- featuring Redford as a guy who is strangely in tune with horsies. Yee haw! Turn off your brain before you watch it.

In The Mouth Of Madness Review


Good
Curious recursive horror movie, in which mild-mannered Sam Neill is sent to investigate the disappearance of a massively famous horror author (Jürgen Prochnow). Turns out Prochnow's Sutter Cane is living in his own horrific imagination, and anyone that visits his town finds himself living there too. And Cane's world of hell is set to move on out to the rest of the world when his latest book (and movie) come out. Neill is effective but sidekick Julie Carmen (who?) comes off as the poor man's Talia Shire. Overall this is a relatively original riff on the genre, and worth checking out for horror fans looking for a bit of a new spin.

The Piano Review


Essential
"We can't leave the piano!" Anna Paquin's precociousness and grating voice may have turned a lot of people away from The Piano, but her Oscar a few months later redeemed her somewhat. Paquin has since grown up, but her debut film is unforgettable: The haunting tragedy-with-happy-ending of an 1800s-era mute woman essentially exiled to New Zealand with her emotionally dead husband. Jane Campion does her best directing ever, working a miracle out of the bizarre Harvey Keitel, with whom Holly Hunter's Ada falls in love. Forbidden romance on a deserted, cold, and rainy island? Sign me up.

Wimbledon Review


Very Good
Unless you play the sport, tennis ranks right up there with golf as one of the most boring sports to watch on television. And with a few minor exceptions, the same can be said about these sports' big screen counterparts. Anticipating that Wimbledon would serve up little more than a predictable romantic comedy, I hoped the film's setting would provide a few more aces than foot faults to compensate. Much to my surprise, Wimbledon exceeds meager expectations.

As the world's 119th ranked player, a tired Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) has long been the doormat for the younger, flashier players on the professional tennis circuit. But when Peter gets an unexpected wild-card invite to play at Wimbledon, few give him any chance of making it out of the first round - including himself and his brother who wagers against him with a local bookie.

Continue reading: Wimbledon Review

My Brilliant Career Review


Good
Gillian Armstrong recruits a young Judy Davis, Sam Neill, and beloved Scottish book for this odd little cult favorite, a story about a woman who has to choose between her "brilliant" career and the various men in her life. Davis is charmingly cynical in the film, and Neill's a winner, but ultimately this period piece gets so caught up in its own cleverness and wannabe shock that it comes off as trite.

Wimbledon Review


OK

More moderately charming than a romantic comedy should be with stars as charismatic and irresistible as Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany -- but charming nonetheless -- "Wimbledon" is a cute mutt of cross-breeding between sports movie formula and chick-flick producers.

A product of the team behind "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill" and "Love Actually," it's a rousing athletic-underdog story about low-ranked, self-stymied pro tennis player Peter Colt (Bettany, from "A Knight's Tale," "A Beautiful Mind" and "Master and Commander") who finds his groove by falling in love with Lizzie Bradbury (Dunst), the rising-star queen troublemaker of women's tennis.

Full of confidence and flirtatious sass, very soon after their meet-cute (he's accidentally given the key to her hotel suite and walks in on her showering) she says to him, "Where do you come down on the fooling-around-before-a-match issue?" But she barely gives him time to answer, in the process giving a miraculous boost to his game at the world's most important tennis tournament -- and turning hers to mush.

Continue reading: Wimbledon Review

Bicentennial Man Review


Bad

Warning: This is not going to be an unbiased movie review. I think you should know right now that I've had it up to my eyeballs with Robin Williams' superficial brand of sentimentality.

For the last several years he's been making mostly movies like "Jack," "Patch Adams" and "Jakob the Liar," in which he does a little contractually obligated schtick then bat his eyes madly, trying his darndest to make us cry.

"Bicentennial Man" is more of the same, the only significant difference being in this picture his eyelids make a motorized hum every time he bats, because in "Bicentennial Man" Williams plays a robot. A robot who wants to be human.

Continue reading: Bicentennial Man Review

The Dish Review


Good

The small-town-of-eccentrics genre is usually hit-or-miss -- or more frequently both hit and miss in the same picture. But just as frequently these movies are such a gas it's easy to forgive their foibles.

Such is the case with "The Dish," a tongue-in-cheek Aussie comedy about a real-life hamlet called Parkes and how it was put on the map in 1969 when the giant satellite dish located in a sheep pasture just outside of town became the Southern Hemisphere's relay station for the Apollo 11 moon landing.

The whole town is, of course, abuzz with excitement and nervous about putting its best foot forward when they hear that the prime minister and the American ambassador will be paying a visit. But most of the action takes place out at the dish, where a micromanaging NASA wonk (Patrick Warburton) with a narrow view of horseplay and an even narrower tie is hovering over the scientific trio that run the joint: the recently widowed and quietly reflective project director (Sam Neill), the smart-aleck technician (Kevin Harrington) and the sarcasm-impaired, nervous nerd mathematician (Tom Long).

Continue reading: The Dish Review

Sam Neill

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Sam Neill

Date of birth

14th September, 1947

Occupation

Actor

Sex

Male

Height

1.82




Sam Neill Movies

The Commuter Trailer

The Commuter Trailer

Every working day for the last ten years, insurance salesman Michael MacCauley has gotten the...

Thor: Ragnarok Trailer

Thor: Ragnarok Trailer

With his friends and his hammer, Thor is virtually unbeatable by any creature in the...

MindGamers: One Thousand Minds Connected (Live) Trailer Trailer

MindGamers: One Thousand Minds Connected (Live) Trailer Trailer

Just how far can human scientific advancements go? That's the question in this intense story...

Tommy's Honour Trailer

Tommy's Honour Trailer

Tommy Morris is an expert golfer who learned the sport from his father; the greens-keeper...

A Long Way Down Movie Review

A Long Way Down Movie Review

With a darkly serious theme and a corny rom-com filmmaking approach, this film never quite...

A Long Way Down Trailer

A Long Way Down Trailer

Martin Sharp is a disgraced TV presenter whose ambitions and family have been destroyed by...

Escape Plan Movie Review

Escape Plan Movie Review

You know not to expect something deep and meaningful when a movie stars Stallone and...

Peaky Blinders  Trailer

Peaky Blinders Trailer

Tommy Shelby is the ruthless and dangerous leader of Birmingham's Peaky Blinders gang; a group...

Escape Plan Trailer

Escape Plan Trailer

Ray Breslin is an expert in structural-security and has been able to break out of...

Jurassic Park 3D Trailer

Jurassic Park 3D Trailer

When John Hammond of genetic engineering company InGen manages to clone dinosaurs from prehistoric DNA...

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