Dean McKenna (deano)Victoria, Australia
Dean's Recent Reviews
Totally entertaining! James Bond and Indiana Jones work together to battle against aliens in Western.
Directed by Jon Favreau - as much harking back to his overlooked Zathura (2005) as Iron Man (2009) - Cowboys & Aliens put its not-too-many human characters front and centre. A straightforward, linear plot is also offered; lean, rather than bloated and, while skipping over a few gaping holes, it largely makes sense.
Along the way is delivered pleasing action sequences, during which you can actually make out what's going on. The visual effects assist rather than burden the storytelling adding to the atmosphere (instead of sucking it out). Favreau's genre mash-up is not groundbreaking or perfect, but it is traditional and charming - and that counts for a lot.
Cowboys & Aliens also feels refreshingly unsterilised. The lead character smokes. There is a scene in which a child is given a knife as a gift and, later, uses it to stab an alien to death. The whole production has a gritty, sweaty, blood-smeared look, recalling the revisionist "oaters" of the late '60s onwards, as opposed to the crisper offerings of the genre's golden age. This ain't aliens versus Shane; it's aliens versus The Man With No Name and The Wild Bunch.
Bullets, arrows, spears, teeth and claws puncture flesh, with gouts of blood flowing. Wounds need sewing up and spent gun-barrels sear skin. One action beat even sees an alien being messily offed by dynamite... tethered to a dagger.
As the Clint-esque, amnesiac bad-hat Jake Lonergan, Daniel Craig is an intense presence; laconic, simmering and brutal, a creature of bone-snapping action rather than whip-smart wit.
Along him we have Harrison Ford's town-bullying ranch-man who shifts gears from leathery grump mode (at the outset) to something with a glimmer of his Dr. Jones twinkle. Ford's occasional interjections prove welcome, including one which viewers will be tempted to imagine was the actor's own reaction to the script. At a campfire conflab, it is revealed that the green, bug-eyed interlopers are on Earth because there's gold in that planet.
Even so, Lonergan and Dolarhyde make for a dour pairing, both characters defined by loss, tragedy and inky-dark pasts. There's none of the Iron Man films' sense of irreverence - just grim people dealing with a grim situation. There's little lightness from the supporting cast, either. Olivia Wilde is a shimmering, otherworldly presence in a multi-layered yet underwritten romantic-interest role, Sam Rockwell jitters and whines as a rattled barkeep and Adam Beach pines for a father-figure as one of Ford's stooges.
Sentimental Australian family film and great emotional based-on-a-true-story tale of adventure, love and lasting friendship with a wandering, dust-covered Kelpie. It is familiar to Lassie, Benji and true Hachti as Red Dog is a dog for the soul.
Based on a short story penned by Louis de Bernieres, who was inspired by actual events in Australia, director Kriv Stenders has risen to the challenge. Red Dog is a stunningly shot fable that captures the beauty of the Outback while never losing sight of the human - and canine - spirit needed to exist in the often harsh environs.
Koko the dog plays as title role has expressions that would make some actors look wooden. He steals your heart. The landscapes of the northwest show the expanse of the area, whilst capturing the spirit of the 'settlers' of Dampier, which is a real town. It's a wild country and the stubby shorts the blokes are wearing are so 1970's.
As for star power, Josh Lucas stars as the wanderer turned bus driver John who becomes the one and only de-facto owner of Red Dog as they form a loyal master-dog relationship, with Rachael Taylor playing Nancy his love interest whom he met while serving the community, and she getting into a tussle with Red Dog on his bus. Their romance will form the crux which the story will revolve around briefly, although there are other stories which I enjoyed such as how Red Dog got into assisting an Italian miner Vanno (Arthur Angel) go after a nurse (Keisha Castle-Hughes), and a heart-wrenching moment involving the themes of loyalty and longing. And I was surprised to see two supporting actors, Noah Taylor and Loene Carmen played as married couple, reunited again since 1987's The Year My Voice Broke - almost 25 years.
Dean's Favorite Movies
I really love this action-thriller film adapted on the 1963-1967 TV series starring my No. 1 idol, Harrison Ford, because it gave me excitement by seeing Ford go on the run to trace an one-armed killer who committed the murder of his wife after he was accused. Ford was fit as the part of Dr. Richard Kimble perfectly. With this role, the last thing required is a melodramatic actor that sticks out like a sore thumb. Ford casually settles into the role of the man on the run, bringing intelligence and style to a less ostentatious character. The result is an interesting cat-and-mouse game between Dr. Richard Kimble and the police that never allows your attention to fade away. Excellent directing and acting and the constant action and tension, this movie really delivers everything that you can expect from it. I keep watching that movie on DVD several times when I make my chance.
This is one of my all-the-time favourite Marvel Comics superheroes when I was a kid. While the movie started in the production, I was really exciting to look forward watching the amazing scenes of Spider-Man's action more better than late 1970's TV series. I finally watched it at the cinema on the late night in the first session released. This is absolute masterpiece as well as fascinating mix of spectacular action and powerful drama. These scenes are mostly familiar to Marvel superhero comic book series I last read - very impressive. Director Sam Raimi's excellent at showing us the hero's pain, as well as the one he causes to others, and he gets terrific performances from the entire cast, particularly Tobey Maguire (as Peter Parker/Spider-Man) and Willem Dafoe (as the evil-looking Norman Osborn/Green Goblin).