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2 stars

Ned Kelly

dir: Gregor Jordan
[img_assist|nid=1026|title=So now they've created a giant golem version of Ned Kelly to get revenge for the Irish|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=450|height=600]
Australia has a long and varied history of making movies its own citizens hate. Most countries obviously have their own film industries, none which match the economies of scale available to US production, or the rapid fire super cheap production levels of countries like India or Hong Kong. Australia makes comparatively less films than most industrialised countries, but is at least to my mind unique in that the main hurdle its films have to first traverse and generally stumble over is the idea of ‘cultural cringe’ and the antipathy of the local audience. Antipathy means more than just not giving a fat rat’s arsehole: it’s active dislike.

There’s a better and more expansive explanation out there for everything that cultural cringe entails. Essentially, it refers to the concept that representations of Australia and Australians are uniquely unpalatable to domestic audiences, and generally found to be embarrassing or, more obviously, cringeworthy. Some say it has to do with the explicit anti-intellectualism of mainstream Australian society, others point to the perception that, apart from being generally badly made, the way Australians are portrayed in our own films is hokey, parochial and distorted, rendering characters into nothing more than risible caricatures.

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Bulletproof Monk

dir: Paul Hunter
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People have different definitions of what a B movie is. People have different definitions of what a decent Friday night is as well, but that's another story. I've always known what a B movie is, but I had difficulty articulating it clearly. The IMDB defines the B Movie thusly:

"a low-budget, second tier movie, frequently the 2nd movie in a double-feature billing. B-films were cheaper for studios because they did not involve the most highly paid actors or costly sets, and were popular with theatre owners because they were less expensive to bring into their theatres while still able to draw revenue"

But the phrase 'B movie' has altogether different connotations for me as well. B movies can be cool, there's the odd B movie cult classic out there, but generally I like to think of generic B movies as being, as we used to say at the orphanage in between coughing up blood from consumption and fighting over rat meat, "shitehouse". As most films are mediocre at best, and downright awful at worst, you have to wonder how it's possible to have an entire other stratum of film which is worse than the vast majority of product that's out there simply by budget and definition.

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Mummy Returns, The

dir: Stephen Sommers
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Yes. You must think I am kidding. I am not. I sat through this piece of shite, and now it's your turn to suffer.

Some films are unintentionally stupid, because they're made by stupid people (Tomcats, Battlefield Earth, Armaggedon, Music from Another Room), other films are stupid because they're made by intelligent people who continue to try to underestimate the intelligence of the lowest common denominator, and never succeed (Godzilla, Independance Day, Look Who's Talking 15). Some films look dumb, but are actually very smart (Scream, Men in Black). Then there's those "tongue in cheek" films which are a bit dumb, which you're just supposed to laugh at and forgive them for because of the twinkle in their eye and their mischievous grin.

Why I watched this is still a mystery to me, since I thought the first film was a piece of shit as well. Perhaps there was some subliminal imagery in the advertising that planted the idea in my subconscious that I'd willingly suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy the ride. However it may have happened, it did, and here are the fruits of my painful labours.

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Hannibal

dir: Ridley Scott
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I'm here to tell you that there is a new contender for shittest film of the new year all ready, if not the decade. Hannibal is simply the dumbest film I've seen since primary school. The horror flick Fright Night on Channel 10 last night had a more coherent, intelligent plot. Hell, I've seen pornos that had better character development, plot machinations and more credibility than this load of old cobblers.

Many people don't actually know this, but Hannibal is a special effects heavy film, like Ridley Scott's last film, Gladiator. Except in this film, instead of using CGI for images of the Colosseum, Rome at the peak of its glory, or nasty tigers on chains, the CGI is used to depict Anthony Hopkins, because that can't be the same actor I've seem in other great performances for the longest time. He looked and acted as fake as the mechanical shark in the Jaws films.

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