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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Feb 2000_1

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

24/2/2000

RE: AMERICAN BEAUTY
My wife and I have just returned from Hoyts Chadstone where we saw the outstanding American Beauty. I won the tickets through your weekly newsletter and I thank you very much. What a movie! It took me on an emotional roller-coaster ride of epic proportions. There was so much to this movie that it felt like it ran for 5 hours, and I don't mean that in a bad way. I think I identified a little too closely with Lester, and my wife seems a lot like Carolyn (to me). After the movie finished I said 'f**k, what an amazing movie'. All she could say was 'there was so much swearing'. Oh, and I love Front Up the SBS TV series [hosted by Andrew L. Urban].
Regards
Peter Balstrup
please visit my websites;
http://OzRacing.HomePage.com/ (Australian Horse Racing)
http://Drongo.HomePage.com/ (Drongo's Melbourne)
http://NelsonCat.HomePage.com/ (My cat's home-page)
http://SkateOz.HomePage.com/ (Australian Figure Skating)

RE: THE OSCAR NOMINATIONS
Hi. I have just discovered your site and think it is great. I am a devoted film attendee and am always curious to see who and what films are nominated for Academy awards each year. I have a few comments about the current nominations:

I was very disappointed that Being John Malkovich did not get the recognition it deserved. I feel that it has an edge over "American Beauty" as it is so original and the acting was amazing. If you have seen the film then you would know what I mean, in particular when John Malkovich's body has been taken over fully by John Cusack's character - absolutely flawless acting. The themes of obsession and lust are quite dark but alleviated by some quirky humour. An absolutely brilliant film where we get to see the actors explore non-typical roles.

American Beauty is a great film but is based upon that typical, easily digested by the masses, slick satire that the Amercians are so good at producing. It is a movie made by Americans for Americans. Kevin Spacey and Annette Benning are fabulous but then I wouldn't expect anything less from them. I think Toni Collette's nomination is well deserved but not so with Russell Crowe. "The Insider" is a very good film and it starts with Al Pacino, ends with Al Pacino and is held together by Al Pacino. Al is a seasoned professional and a joy to watch. There was so much hype about Russell Crowe's portrayal that when I was watching the film I didn't see his character but Russell Crowe doing a really good job at playing a character. He was brilliant in LA Confidential and he should stick to playing really strong characters who are a bit on the violent side.

I find that I am always a bit disappointed with the Academys eg. Gwenyth Paltrow's Best Actress award over Cate Blanchett last year. Money always seems to win out over raw talent in the end which is so sad in an industry where skill and entertainment should come first.
Georgina Hyde, Sydney

BRINGING OUT THE DEAD

I was wondering if you have a release date for Martin Scorsese's latest film Bringing Out the Dead starring Nicolas Cage and Bridget Fonda. It started in the USA in September 99 and UK in January. Do you know if it will get a cinema release here in Australia? Thanks
Robert Dal Mas

Louise replies: Bringing Out the Dead is scheduled for release June 2000

CHILDREN OF HEAVEN
Do you know if the Iranian movie 'Children of Heaven' has shown or is going to show in Sydney? I'd like to see it but only saw it in the SMH last week as coming soon, then no reference to it again. I'd appreciate you emailing if you know. Thanks,
Mariana

Louise replies: Children of Heaven will be released in Sydney (at one Paddington location) on March 23). It was released in Melbourne on August 19, 1999.

17/2/2000

RE: THE NEW CINEMA
I think Steve Kulak's article last week is very interesting and I do agree that the films he cited do contain the genesis of some sort of 'new cinema'. Especially American Beauty which as he says contains material that you would not think a film so heavily back by a large studio and starring A list actors would be, as he says, so popular. But I think he is wrong to think this a new thing.
Hollywood has always produced 'new cinema' hidden within the subtext of their most successful product. Steve Kulak cites 70s new-waves like Altman & Peckinpah as being similar. They are. In fact Hollywood has always brought in new blood (or new blood naturally is attracted by money) when things get a bit boring in US cinema. The new films are being made by new talent just like Chaplin and the first people who went to Hollywood with dreams of doing something better. New Cinema is nothing new. There'll always be new ideas, new technology and new waves of new people who create new good product. Spielberg and Lucas were new kids on the block a few years back. Hopefully more Australians will go that way in the future. Australian Beauty may be a new idea that the public of America may be ready for.
Adrian Fitzgerald

RE: THE WOG BOY
I am writing regarding The Wog Boy. Whether it is a hit remains to be seen, although I feel that 'wog' humor is not as popular now as it was 10 years ago. Another thing about The Wog Boy is that it is aimed squarely at an Australian audience like The Castle and The Craic. While it is nice to see Australian films that have an Australian identity and are not tailor-made for an international audience, I feel that this will make it hard to market overseas. Remember when they dubbed The Castle for American audiences, with the cast speaking in American accents? I feel the same thing will happen with The Wog Boy. I wouldn't mind seeing the cast comment as to whether or not The Wog Boy would be too Australian for overseas (particularly U.S.) audiences.

On the subject of Australian comedies, I hope that both Bruce Beresford's Barry McKenzie Holds His Own and Tim Burstall's Stork will finally make it to video. I noticed that the Adventures of Barry McKenzie was re-released on video last year. Isn't it about time the second Bazza movie got a video release? I have never seen the second one, but I have always wanted to.
Kindest regards,
Andrew Kieswetter, Adelaide

10/2/2000

Re: AFFLICTION & BLAIR WITCH & CENSORSHIP
I have three points to make, Affliction starring Nick Nolte, due to be released onto video around the middle of last year, for some reason was re-released onto the cinema circuit. Movies such as Matrix which I would have thought more successful at the box office, was released onto video in what seemed like less than six months. When will Affliction be released onto video?

My next point is in regard to the Blair Witch Project, I know it was well publicised as being made by students, but some critics gave it four stars, I think they need to have their positions reviewed. This movie was poor quality in every respect, and even though the use of blank black screens was for an effect, it just came over as a lack of good ideas from my viewpoint. However this movie, if placed in an amateur competition, won first prize I'd think deservedly so, but that's a long way short of getting four out of five stars in the league of professional movies. Having said this, I enjoyed Clerks which I think was made for a similar budget and those 'Tribe' releases of Australian efforts were entertaining, all of which went straight to video. I believe every effort should be made to encourage new film makers as long as their efforts aren't released at cinemas as full priced blockbusters.

My last point in regard to the banning of 'Romance', I was under the impression it was banned due to graphic sex scenes. Personally I don't care what is shown in a movie, but if you're going to have a censorship board to ensure that nothing too bad is shown, then sooner or later they're going to stop something being shown, so the argument is whether or not you need a censor. Having said I don't care what's shown in a movie, I think you need a censor to ensure that certain things such as snuff movies don't turn up at the cinema. I believe in freedom of speech but not to the extent of real life murders or executions being used for someone's morbid entertainment. By the way I thought the decision to ban Romance had been overturned.
Andrew White, Melbourne

Ed: Yes, the Review Board has given Romance an R rating. And you'll be pleased to know Affliction will be in your video store from March 7, 2000. It had a brief cinema re-issue after Nick Nolte's 1999 Oscar win for his role in it.

JOAN FIASCO

Dear Editor
Saw Yankee Joan of Arc Rides Again at the Excite open air cinema at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Thought you might be interested, we queued for seats and they let us stand for 2 hours, before sending someone to tell us there were only 200 seats left for the 400 in the queue wanting tickets. Nice touch shining strong light in eyes of people sitting above viewing area who could not get tickets and putting up more hessian barriers so you could not see. Maybe they should remember that it is still a public park. Look forward to your news, Thanks
Audrei Kearn, Sydney

LETTERS 3/2/2000

Re: BANNING ROMANCE
Please do all in your power to stop the banning of Romance. Censorship, in any shape or form, of any media, is a repression of the basic rights of freedom of choice and speech. If we allow people like Pauline Hanson to make offensive and defamatory comments about the original settlers of our land, under the banner of freedom of speech, how can we even consider the banning of a film that explores nothing more dangerous or threatening than female sexuality? This is a measure of our society, that a thought-provoking film is tagged as something immoral and undesirable because of its discussion about women.
Leah Ashley

Re: WHERE'S SCORSESE? AND DONT BAN FILMS
G'day! Congratulations on a great site. I don't usually write letters but some times things just mount up that I want to say. Firstly, Where is Scorsese? Bringing Out The Dead, opened in the US in October, I believe we were going to get it around Feb/March. Now it looks like it is pencilled in for May/June. The distributors wait thinking that a Scorsese film is going to be up for a pile of Oscars, then when the US critics pan the film, they dump it. What about the fans?

Now there was an article in the Sun Herald last week, about people buying movies on DVD before they are at the cinema here. So what! If they can't get the movies out, people want to buy them beforehand, good on them. I personally prefer to see films at the cinema. I, like many, find Scorsese movies brilliant. I have to wait, then wait more. The next thing you know, they can't make money, so it's on video in the pathetic pan & scan. I understand the need to make money on these films for release, but please, Scorsese, Nic Cage, Ving Rhames, Patricia Arquette. They would get people in. Even if it's not a wide release.
I will leave it there on this matter, but I would like to know other people's opinion on buying DVD before it hits our screens.

The other thing I wanted to mention was the censor issue. I personally do not believe in censorship. I believe that things should be more carefully looked at within the board and the cinemas releasing the films. I went and saw End of Days and there were dozens of 4-6 year old kids in the cinema; this is not a movie for them to see, they were ok to be there with adults. Lolita caused heaps of controversy, then a month or so later it's on video for anybody to get. Anyway, keep up the good work on the site. Thanks.
Ronnie Borg

RE: FILM CRITICS AWARDS
Hello, My name is Alex and I'm writing from Italy. First I have to say that I really like your site because I love cinema in general, but I adore Australian cinema in particular. Anyway, I'm a big awards fan, too, but for me it's difficult to collect foreign awards. I wanted to ask you if you have a complete list of nominees of the 2000 Film Critics Circle of Australia. I don't know if they have already been given, but I don't think so. I'd really appreciate your help because I like collecting these awards. Thank you very much. My best regards
Alessandro Cantoni

Andrew replies: The nominees are announced on Urban Cinefile in this week's edition (Thursday, Sydney time). If you register as a Movie Club member (it's free) you will receive an email when the new edition is live. You can join from HERE

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