snapshot: Irresistible (2006)

Australia / 99 minutes / color / Intandem, FFC Australia, Cascade, Take Partnership, Baker Street, Kennedy Mellor, Film Victoria, Palace Dir & Scr: Ann Turner Pr: David Parker, Tatiana Kennedy Cine: Martin McGrath Cast: Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Emily Blunt, Bud Tingwell, William McInnes, Georgie Parker, Terry Norris, Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik, Lauren Mikkor, Heather Mitchell, Alethea McGrath, Eleanor Caspar, Emerald Tanner.

Sophie Hartley (Sarandon) balances life as a highly acclaimed children’s-book illustrator with being mother to ten-year-old Ruby (Mikkor) and seven-year-old Elly (Hunt-Prokhovnik)—not to mention wife to architect Craig Singleton (Neill).

Her editor, Rina (Mitchell), has put her under a tight deadline for her new book, and it’s to the stress of this and the recent death of her beloved mum—and to lack of sleep—that Sophie initially attributes a few odd little moments around the house: Did she forget to Continue reading

List, The (2008)

Australia / 25 minutes / color / Hopscotch, Blue-Tongue, Australian Film Commission Dir & Scr: Joel Edgerton Pr: Nicole O’Donohue, Rachel Okine Cine: Luke Doolan Cast: Anthony Hayes, Justine Clarke, Kieran Darcy-Smith, Justin Rosniak, Paul Pantano, Elliott Weston, Nicole da Silva, Malechai Pantano, Michael Isgro, Nash Edgerton.

The List 2008 - 0 opener

The term “neonoir” is often taken to refer solely to movies with tortuous plots and non-linear plotlines. By contrast, the tale that The List tells is a very simple one, yet there can be little doubt as to this beautifully executed short’s status.

Dale Maclean (Hayes) has been away for years. He’s back in town at the request of criminal Nick (Darcy-Smith). A local hood called Paul Subiaco (Paul Pantano) has commissioned a hit on their mutual friend Vincent; Vincent’s not dead, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever walk again. Nick—or, at least, Nick’s nameless boss (Weston)—wants Dale, the stranger in town, to take Subiaco out.

The List 2008 - 1 Dale (l) being bried by Nick

Dale (Anthony Hayes, left) being briefed by Nick (Kieran Darcy-Smith).

While acting as getaway driver for inept crook Gaff (Rosniak), Dale encounters his high school lover Amy Sinclair (Clarke), now the married and heavily pregnant Amy Samuels. The meeting kindles old memories. He goes to Continue reading

Noirhouse (2013)

Australia / 18 minutes (total) / bw / Sky Machine Dir: Shaun Wilson Pr: Nathan Spencer, Shaun Wilson Scr: Tim Logan Cine: Simon Gray Cast: Nathan Spencer, Melanie Irons, Mick Davies, Sarah Wadsley, Matt Burton, Robert Manion, Rose Kokkoris, Mick Lowenstein.

An entertaining three-episode miniseries of comedy noir shorts published online as streaming videos.

Noirhouse - 'She's dead EXCLAM'

“She’s dead!”

Three misfits share a house: a hardboiled ex-cop PI (Spencer), complete with the omnipresent hat and coat, a beautiful femme fatale, Nadia (Irons), and a hulking Russian (Davies), who may or may not be a communist. For reasons not stated, The Detective wants to kick Nadia out of the house, so, to her great disdain, he and The Russian start interviewing prospective candidates in a sequence reminiscent of its equivalent in SINGLE WHITE FEMALE (1992). One of the candidates, the young woman Alice (Wadsley), insists on Continue reading

Red Hill (2010)

Australia / 98 minutes / color / Arclight, Hughes House, Wildheart, Wolf Creek, McMahon, Screen Australia Dir & Scr: Patrick Hughes Pr: Patrick Hughes, Al Clark Cine: Tim Hudson Cast: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Bisley, Tom E. Lewis, Claire van der Boom, Christopher Davis, Kevin Harrington, Richard Sutherland, Cliff Ellen, John Brumpton, Ken Radley, Jim Daly, Dom Phelan, Eddie Baroo, Jada Alberts, Tim Hughes, Ken Connley, Richard Young.

Convicted murderer Dural “Jimmy” Conway (Lewis) escapes from the Western Bay Maximum Security Prison and, intent on revenge, immediately heads for Red Hill, the remote small town where he lived and was arrested. Starting his first day at the Red Hill PD is Constable Shane Cooper (Kwanten), transferred from the big city on doctor’s advice because wife Alice (van der Boom) lost their first child and is now heavily pregnant once more. As soon as news reaches the town of Jimmy’s escape, the Red Hill PD, headed by Old Bill Butler (Bisley), readies itself for a murderous siege.

Red Hill - Tom E Lewis as Jimmy Conway

Tom E. Lewis, as the vengeful Jimmy Conway, dominates the screen in all his scenes.

Soon enough Jimmy arrives and, wordless (except for the movie’s final seconds), impassive and implacable, his face a mass of burn scars, he starts Continue reading

Bad Karma (2012)

Australia, US / 87 minutes / color / Anchor Bay, Zero Gravity, Limelight International, Odyssey Media Dir: Suri Krishnamma Pr: Grant Bradley, Dale Bradley Scr: Steve Allrich, Alevé Mei Loh Cine: Nino Martinetti Cast: Ray Liotta, Dominic Purcell, Vanessa Gray, Aaron Pedersen, Andy McPhee, Imogen Hopper, Robin Moore (i.e., Robyn Moore).

In Sydney, Australia, booze-ridden US-expatriate junkie Jack Molloy (Liotta) has a heart attack while driving on the way to a drugs heist; the next he knows he’s in hospital, being told by a doctor (Moore) that in point of fact he died briefly, his heart being kick-started when his chest slammed into the steering wheel as his truck crashed. In his absence, his hardbitten partner Yates (Purcell) went ahead with the heist solo and was nabbed by the cops.

Three years later, Jack’s on probation, has cleaned up his act, has a steady job at a sawmill, and is living with jeweler Kelly (Gray), whom he hopes to marry. One night at a convenience store, however, Jack is confronted by Yates, fresh out of jail and by now completely psycho; Yates holds up the store, killing two people, and incriminates Jack. Yates purloins the CCTV disk so the cops are left clueless, but then uses it to try to blackmail Jack into One Last Job; he also invades Jack’s life with Kelly, passing himself off as Jack’s old friend Gary. And, when Jack’s workmate Bear (Pedersen), another ex-con, tries to do something about it, Yates decapitates him and plants the head in Jack and Kelly’s apartment . . .

Even though it doesn’t have much that’s new to say, this minor outing is not bereft of virtues. The pacing’s good (aside from a gratuitous piece of lingering nudity in the middle) and Purcell, Pedersen and Gray are better than good, with Hopper very funny in a small part as Kelly’s airhead assistant Lisa. Yet the overall feel—profanity and nudity aside—is that of a TV movie, and not an especially distinguished one. This is in part because the cinematography is, though adequate, somewhat uninspired, but mainly because of a drab performance at the movie’s core by Liotta; as junkie Jack he’s more a collection of clichés than a character, while for the bulk of the movie, as the reformed and then increasingly desperate version, he seems to be rather woodenly going through the motions rather than attempting to act the part, far less become Jack. Ironically, if the other three principals weren’t so excellent, this central vacuum might be less glaring.

On Amazon.com: Bad Karma