Urban Cinefile
"I'll keep doing it for a while but I've got other interests and one day I may just say to hell with it. Then again I may not - "  -Clint Eastwood at 70
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Sunday July 12, 2020 

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Letters to the Editor are welcome; they can be on any relevant subject (relevant meaning relevant to this zine) and preferably no more than 350 words. Please include your name and city where you live. The Editor has the right to edit. Wed like to hear your movie related stories, anecdotes and of course your opinions. Drop us a line to editor@urbancinefile.com.au


Any chance of finding out box office on 42up?
Cheers Kim Horton
Manchester, UK

Andrew replies: 42UP stayed in the top 20 for four weeks and took about $390,000


Just in response to Catherine Simpson ("a late 20 something" - See Baby Boomer Backlash, below) of Perth re my opinion on some of the AFI films (I'm "she" not "he" by the way!) - I must dispute her idea that storytelling is a "generational thing". Sure I'm a babyboomer, but I would certainly agree with her that Two Hands, Spank!, Muggers and Siam Sunset were terrific films that people of all ages will enjoy, and that perhaps Passion and In A Savage Land might appeal only to a more selective type of moviegoer, but it is interesting that my daughter (aged 19) saw the films too and, although we definitely disagreed over a couple of them, she said that many of them were unlikely to appeal to anyone in her particular age group! She loved Hugh Jackman in Paperback Hero, but thought Erskineville Kings was the worst film she'd ever seen!
M. Maxwell, Canberra

Jake & David: Regarding two single reviews of Big Daddy. At this time I have yet to see Big Daddy; I saw one bit in the trailer that I found tastless, the spitting game performed by that kiddie. The rest seems harmless but the reviews were from two folks that have no sense of humour. Worse still sound like tight wadds who like those snobby films or pretentious films like from the UK or what have you. Maybe not all of Adam's jokes work but at least he knows how to have a bit of a laugh and does not take himself so damn seriously. For god's sake light the hell up.
Brendan, QLD

Could you please tell me when the animated features IRON GIANT and the POKEMON movie are going to be released in Australia?
Andrew Kieswetter, Adelaide

Louise replies: Iron Giant is slotted for December 23; we have no details for Pokemon.

Can you give me any info on the release status of John Waters' Pecker? I've been waiting for that for months and it hasn't come out. Is it from Roadshow??
Brendan Day, QLD

Louise replies: Yes, Roadshow is the distributor. If my memory serves me correctly, Pecker had a small theatrical release in Melbourne only. Roadshow Home Entertainment has advised that it has not as yet been put on the video schedule.


I'm beginning to wonder whether the backlash against the latest crop of Australian films is a generational thing. Has it got something to do with all those baby boomers no longer being the dominant focus of storytelling in our country? Contrary to M. Maxwell's thoughts expressed in last week's letters, I was totally spun-out and excited by the high quality of filmmaking which comes out of this country on a regular basis and I
enjoyed every minute of the AFI screenings this year: features, docos, shorts and animation alike.
The diversity of these contemporary stories was truly astounding: from the over-the-top hilarity of both Siam Sunset and Spank!, to the palpable fecundity of Soft Fruit, the black sordid urban underworld of the Victorian police force in Redball, the sensitive exploration of female sexuality in Strange Fits of Passion, to the delightfully engaging Mills and Boon's style romantic comedy, Paperback Hero.

And as for those "20-something self-absorbed people living in squalor" Maxwell spoke of, (he's probably referring to Praise, Occasional Coarse Language, Erskinville Kings, Fresh Air & Muggers) what a delight and rarity it is to have a space where other stories, and contemporary ones I might add, can be told. The only film which bore me to tears was Passion, but I could see its potential to be enjoyed by others. Relishing the contemporary cinematic-worlds of the 1999 AFI screenings and looking forward to next year's!
Catherine Simpson, 'a (late) 20-something', Perth.

Who's distributing Yellow Submarine in Australia? Is it getting a theatrical release?

Louise replies: Yellow Submarine is out on video (through Warner Home Video) - available from September 13, 1999; purchase price around $34.95. There will be a theatrical release (first in Melbourne) Sept 23 - 29 at Westgarth Cinema, Northcote.

I am getting more and more frustrated at the frequency that movie release dates are changed here in Australia. For many weeks I had been looking forward to the feature, Dick; however with barely days notice, the feature is pulled from its Sept. 2 release date and shelved indefinitely! Similar case is Brokedown Palace.

I am sick and tired of films living and dying (in terms or release dates and publicity) according to how they fare at the US Box office. Example, a fine film "Fallen" was a failure in the US, relegated to no publicity (or critics screenings) here and of course bombed. It in the end, went on to become an extremely popular video.

The reason that a high quality film like Playing By Heart opens with $38,000 is that the studios are busy putting $4 million in advertising into garbage like Wild Wild West (you'll know what I mean when you see it, trust me), and these niche films get squeezed out of the equation. It's a case of robbing Peter to boost Paul's box office grab.
Andrew Murfett, Mentone, Victoria
PS: It's frustrating that no release has been slated here for The Muse, by Albert Brooks, and just in general how long it takes for these type of films to get released here (ie Celebrity, Playing By Heart)

In your 'What opens when' listing for October, Lulu on the Bridge appears as TBA. This film has opened at The Classic (in Elsternwick, Melbourne). A review for it appears in today's Age newspaper. I was wondering whether Lulu should be updated on the site so that people viewing your site can get up-to-date info about this fabulous film.
Best regards
Bruce, Melbourne

Louise replies: Thanks for the alert, Bruce, we've now updated the listing and added a REVIEW - although our critic Richard Kuipers disagrees with your opinion of the film.


There has been a lot of media comment on the state of the home-grown Aussie film industry recently and, although viewing and voting on the selected AFI feature films is still in progress, I have now seen all the films entered so I feel justified in adding my quid's worth.

Frankly, much of this year's offerings does prove that the local industry is in dire straits, and there are only about six films worth considering, the rest either having depressingly grunge content or self-indulgent ramblings which might win awards at obscure film festivals but no mainstream movie-goer would bother to see.

By the time I had seen all 18 features, several of them were so similar they had fused together in my mind and now I can hardly remember one from the other. They couldn't seem to decide if they were going to be black comedies or gritty urban dramas, were generally plotless, with inane dialogue, and mainly about groups of 20-something self-absorbed people living in squalor (one of whom strangely enough always seems to work in a bookshop!) and overly obsessed with themselves, their sex lives (or lack of), and their inability to form decent relationships ... oh, boring, boring!
Technically, some of these productions were very good, also many young actors gave personal best performances so it is a shame the films themselves were so forgettable.
Australia has a great track record with highly original film scripts, so why have many of these emerging film-makers let themselves be restricted by that old furphy "write [film] what you know"?

Are their navel-gazing horizons so low and unimaginative that they can't, or won't, see that there is a wide range of contemporary Australian stories to tell? Even just ordinary every-day news and current affairs stories offer plenty of inspiration ... the kind of human stories with which audiences everywhere would be able to connect. Please, producers and writers, use the vision and inventiveness for which you are so highly regarded and get
back to making the kind of films Australians and the rest of the world want to see.
M. Maxwell, Canberra ACT

The more praise for Praise the better. John Curran's talents as a director should be acknowledged, as should the performances of both Peter Fenton and Sacha Horler, who plays Cynthia. I saw the film at the Auckland Film Festival and got to meet John at a director's forum afterwards. In my opinion it could be THE best feature ever to come out of Oz. So dosh out the awards! I've read some bad reviews of the film on the net - it's a shame people couldn't see the extreme cinematic beauty of the film that entranced me. I have to go off to my Australian film lecture now!
Abi Pollitt-Jones, Auckland, NZ

I have a suggestion to make to the Australian Film Institute. As 2000 marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the AFI, why not have a 'Best Australian films of the last 30 years' travelling retrospective? Films I suggest should be part of the retrospective are PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK (Peter Weir, 1975), THE DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND (Fred Schepisi, 1976), BREAKER MORANT (Bruce Beresford,1980), GALLIPOLI (Peter Weir, 1981), MAD MAX (George Miller, 1979), THE CHANT OF JIMMIE BLACKSMITH (Fred Schepisi, 1978), DON'S PARTY (Bruce Beresford, 1976), and NEWSFRONT (Philip Noyce, 1978). I suggest the Palace cinema chain would be the ideal circuit for the retrospective. I hope this could happen next year; it would be good to see these films in the cinema again.
Andrew Kieswetter, Adelaide

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