Wednesday, February 20, 2008

We Can't Wait #3 Australia

Directed by the spectacular spectacular Baz Luhrmann (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!)
Starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and David Wenham
Images in this post mostly from Australia's fansite
Photos in this post from an Australia fansite and from various image searches
I'll just quote this one direct from IMDB "Luhrmann's film is set in northern Australia prior to World War II and centers on an English aristocrat (Kidman) who inherits a cattle station the size of Maryland. When English cattle barons plot to take her land, she reluctantly joins forces with a rough-hewn stock-man (Jackman) to drive 2,000 head of cattle across hundreds of miles of the country's most unforgiving land, only to still face the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by the Japanese forces that had attacked Pearl Harbor only months earlier.
Brought to you by Bazmark and 20th Century Fox
Expected Release Date November 14th, 2008


I can't talk about Australia lest I stop breathing... so perhaps I should let y'all do the talking. go

Nicole Kidman as Lady Sarah Ashley. Hugh Jackman as The Drover.

Gabriel: I can't talk either. I'm hyperventilating into a paper bag.

Glenn: I... I... umm... er... I... Nope, sorry. It's impossible to approach the subject of Australia and not go a little crazy, isn't it? This was my #1 anticipated title of 2008, just FYI. Just the mere thought of how incredibly extraordinarily brilliantly fantasmagorically, orgasmically, stunningly amazing Baz's Australian epic could be makes me speechless. To quote the immortal Elaine Benes - "I'm speechless. I am without speech."

Nathaniel: I'm recovering my senses just long enough to throw out this question to all of you but particular the two (Joe & MaryAnn) who are perhaps "with speech" --maybe they wonder what the fuss is about?-- but how do you think Baz Luhrmann's style might differ now that he is done with his Red Curtain trilogy (Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!) ... I know he has said it was concluded but will he really give up the "L'Amour" sign we've seen in all his movies, the intense theatricality, the eye popping color... or will he just subdue the urge a little?

Glenn: As the only Australian in this motley crue I must say I don't think there were any L'Amour signs in either the Australian outback or Darwin circa WWII. Although I'd love for Baz to prove me wrong! And while I'm sure he's done with the theatricality of the Red Curtain trilogy, I'm also sure he's still going to make movies that are as beautiful as can possibly be. It's not his nature to make anything less than beautiful.

I must say just quickly that I am looking forward to the supporting players almost as much as the combo of Kidman and Jackman. Actors like David Wenham, Jack Thompson, David and Jamie Gulpilil, Bryan Brown, Ben Mendelsohn, Bruce Spence, John Jarratt, Bill Hunter, Essie Davis, Barry Otto, Kerry Walker, Ray Barrett, Jacek Koman, David Ngoombujarra... they may not all be "names" to you guys, but that is one of the most absurdly overflowing big name casts I've seen in a long time. If you ask me it even bests the cast of #14 on the countdown The Women. That's a massive slice of Australian film history right there in the cast!

And now I'm back to being speechless.

Joe: Yeah, don't think I'm a detractor -- this ended up somewhere on my list, I know that -- but I have retained my ability to form words in this film's presence. I like Baz Luhrman a lot, I think it's been far too long since he's graced the film landscape with his particular brand of artistic tackiness, but I really have to wonder about how this whole project is going to work out. Either, as Nathaniel suggests, he sets aside the gaudy tendencies of the Red Curtain films that made them at once divisive but distinctive and risks making a film that feels comparatively dull, or else he tries to bend the historical epic genre into the big Baz style, which I think could be a total mess. Or brain-breakingly amazing. It's tough to tell.

Gabriel: While I'm happy to part with the overblown theatricality of Luhrmann's previous work, I hope we don't lose the entire romantic sweep of his style. When I look at the pictures of Australia, I immediately see the echoes of Giant. There's a grandeur to the romantic Western, and I'm hoping Baz makes fair and frequent use of it.

Glenn: Let's just hope it's more like the first half of Giant and less like the second when they start throwing thick aging make-up on the stars and give them really bad wigs. Yikes.

MaryAnn: Oh, I'm perhaps not totally speechless, but I am panting pretty hard over this one. Baz doesn't just make movies, he makes love to them. And the thought of him making love to Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman (and David Wenham, oh my)... well, I trust him to get it exactly right, whether he goes wild and florid or sweeping and romantic.

Nathaniel: but can't he do both? pretty please.
............~signed, Nathaniel... who may never get over the "red curtain" trilogy.

MaryAnn: Of course!


Nathaniel: OK, now on to the readers. Are you hungry for another Bazmark production? If Australia --or rather, your anticipation for and dreams of Australia --leaves you speechless this post might not be full of comments. But for those of you who haven't fainted [um, why is this not #1. I'm shocked myself], do you think this will be another triumph, a midlevel success, or a pretty failure.

And what's with the sudden resurgence of Giant in the collective subconcious of filmmakers?

<-- Sister Aloysius prays for your wicked soul if you haven't been reading the "we can't wait" countdown #1 Synecdoche, New York / #2 Burn After Reading / #3 Australia / #4 Milk / #5 Blindness / # 6 Doubt / #7 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button / #8 Revolutionary Road / #9 The Dark Knight / #10 Sex & The City: The Movie / #11 The Lovely Bones / #12 Wall-E / #13 Stop-Loss / #14 The Women / #15 Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince / Introduction / Orphans


Y Kant Goran Rite said...

I tend to love-hate-but-really-love Luhrmann's films, but I'm a bit scared of this one. Why would you call a film 'Australia'? You may as well title it "I Will Masturbate Across the Screen Three Hours Straight and You Shall Bow Before Me".

I do still feel quite warmly towards the best musical that ever revolved around exclusively bad - and badly sung - music. But that was a fine balance of inspired kitsch and hollowness. In every interview I've seen since, Luhrmann screams hollowness and hubris. He seems to have convinced himself his films have substance. It scares me.

Anonymous said...


That is all.

Glenn Dunks said...

Baz is on the record as saying why he titled it Australia. I was a bit iffy towards the title originally, but have warmed to it. My major worry is that if it's isn't the greatest movie of all time that the grandness of the title will feel a bit hollow.

Alas, too early!

Anonymous said...

Hugh Jackam looks...


Anonymous said...

Kind of surprised to see this one at #3, honestly. I was expecting it to top the list.

Catherine said...

I love Kidman's trousers.

ANYWAY. I'm a bit iffy on Lurhman. Thought Strictly Ballroom was alright, Romeo & Julliet "quite good" and lovelovelove Moulin Rouge!. I came to MR! quite late, saw it for the first time two years ago in a friend's house. Bought the dvd the next day and a group of us watched it, pretty much non-stop, for that entire summer. We even did our own version of Spectacular, Spectacular, which I think is still up on Youtube. This is all to say that if Australia hits me half as hard as MR! did, I'm gonna be there in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

I agree--the title is just a tad grandiose. I remember when it was Eucalyptus with Kidman and Crowe, which I thought was lame but endearing. It conjured up images of koala bears, etc. etc.

I get so nervous looking at these pictures that the cinematography will be bland. It doesn't have that riotous color or verve of the RCT. But that's part of the fun, isn't it? However, that shot of Kidman in the burned out house gives me hope that stylization will indeed rule.

Sam said...

Rough-hewn stockman meets English lady? I'm swooning already! What a classic story - rugged, gorgeous scenery, rugged, gorgeous man, dramatic character arcs, cattle drives, scheming land barons, and a World War II bombing raid! If only it was a musical! If Jackman bursts into song I'll faint!

Michael Parsons said...

With great excitement and anticipation also comes with the fear that he may stumble.

It always happens with films like these...the ones you wait for with breath that is baited. There is no advance word, so lets hope it will be wonderful and bring yet another challenge to the fearless Kidman.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being completely banned from even READING The Film Experience, I must admit that I don't like Baz Luhrmann.

At all.

However, for some reason I'm REALLY looking forward to this?


derek i would never ban you ;) unless you changed your name to "anonymous" and started insulting me or other commenters

but then... i don't even ban them... so you're safe -- diversity of opinion is more than welcome!

but if i can be a smidgeon Baz fanboyish to wrap up.

why are you looking forward to this? MAYBE YOU'VE FINALLY SEEN THE LIGHT ! ;)

Sid said...

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAA???? I was so sure that this was gonna take the #1 spot. I'm curious as to what the most anticipated film is (I only hope it's not Mamma Mia!)

Anonymous said...

I really like Baz Luhrmann, but I'm kida worried about how his style is gonna work out of his fantastic world. If you're going to throw some excess, I don't think WWII is the ideal to material to do it. You know, MR R+J and SB are brilliant movies, but they are so out of this world... I fear Luhrmann style on such a theme may turn into something very very cheesy, like Memoirs of a Geisha.

-cal roth

Anonymous said...

Anyway, it is already in Geisha position, Oscar-wise. The big eye-candy chick flick thay could flop? Let's hope Baz can pull it off and make something better.

-cal roth

Alex F. said...

What am I missing? Why do I read that IMDB synopsis and immediately get drowsy?

-another alex

adam k. said...

I really fear for this being another Cold Mountain. Nicole Kidman's role in this just SCREAMS Cold Mountain again. But then Baz has a record of directing her to some of her best work, and I think he knows just what to do with her. So we'll see.

Hugh Jackman DOES look hot. But still I worry.

It just looks SO much like Cold Mountain.

And what is left now to clinch the last two spots? I've totally lost track. It seems like everything's already made the list. Breathlessly awaiting #2 and #1.


alex i KNOW. i think it's the phrase "cattle ranch" but then GIANT and RED RIVER are both awesome movies and their synopsis probably sound boring, too ;)

adam i was totally surprised at what #2 and #1 were myself even though I voted. it's a matter of being on all lists and towards the top part... ;)

Anonymous said...

kidman needs to stop with the lip and face plumping i could not get over how different she looks she cannot move her face how margot at the wedding was a good performance is beyond me GUYS!!!! the face never moved !!!!!!

Marshall said...

Need I remind all of you that LONESOME DOVE is also about a cattle drive, and that turned out fairly well. And to be clear, this is not EUCALYPTUS, correct? Completely seperate project I believe.

ryansumera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ryansumera said...

i wonder why "giant" is mentioned instead of "out of africa"

Anonymous said...

Kidman deserves an Oscar for pulling off these trousers without looking ridiculous

Anonymous said...

I have a bad expectation for this.. like Adam k I fear it's too much Cold Mountain. not that it's a bad thing, i thought Cold Mountain is rather good if too hollywood-ised (especially Kidman whose performance is good nothing special but couldn't they make her a bit less flawless ? It looked like she was shooting a Vogue advert in the middle of the war). But I'm somewhat confident in Lurhrmann, and I hope Kidman and Jackman will deliver

Anonymous said...

anonymous 12:19, I have the same worry. nicole's botox is going to look mighty strange in the middle of wwII.

Anonymous said...

Kidman / Jackman
The two most incredible bodies of today'cinema

Slayton said...

Bill Hunter is in this? OMFG good stuff.

Anonymous said...

I will try to watch this one but to me Nicole Kidman just reeks of insincerity it isn't even funny to me.

MichaelMcl said...

I don't often wish failure on an auteur, but I believe AUSTRALIA marks the rare occasion where I want to see a bellyflop. It would be like getting Shekar Kapur to do a historical drama on Elizabeth's Golden Age... and look how well that worked.

Looking forward to a generation of foreign impressions being shaped by this film as much as by CROC DUNDEE and THE THORN BIRDS. ;)

- The Opinionated Australian

Anonymous said...

Yes! I love Hugh Jackman. And I think "Australia" will be more of a Titanic success than Coldly Mountainly received. And maybe Kidman's immobile face will give her a kind of John Wayne stalwart Western presence.

I always thought with "Moulin Rouge" that since Kidman was kind of chilly and McGregor kind of empty, they creted the perfect duo to hollow out a cool space in an overheated movie. In "Australia". perhaps Kidman will provide restraint in the midst of spectacle and Jackman will provide the film's heart.

I think the surprise in "Australia" to non-Australian audiences will be the extent of the feeling that Australians have for the political events of the past. Like "Gallipoli" in WWI - they're still mad about that one. And the Japanese presence in WWII was atrocity ridden. So some of what is part of Australian culture might be a bit of an eyeopener for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I like Kidman and all but I think this has 'flop' written all over it...

Anonymous said...

This is going to be BRILLIANT. I honestly don't think it can go either way - it'll be Luhrmann doing Luhrmann so he's bound to be successful. I CANNOT WAIT.

(Also I thought Cold Mountain was actually a very good film. As did many many critics. Why are so many keen to rewrite it's critical reception now?)

Anonymous said...

This looks like a bloated wreck waiting to belly flop.

I've liked Kidman in a few films, really liked her in a few more, Jackman makes me want to rip my eyes out, and I'd rather see Luhrmann direct almost anything other than this.

No interest at all. Wish that was one of the options in the poll.

I love you Nathaniel, but you've lost me on this one.

Glenn Dunks said...

" you've lost me on this one."

Of course he has. And if so-and-so wins the Oscar you'll lose all respect for the Academy and never watch them ever again, right?


Anonymous said...

I love the title Australia and think it is prefect for this film. Australia is a beautiful place and will have no trouble making people fall in love with it. Same is true of Kidman and Jackman!

Anonymous said...

Baz, Nic, Hugh and almost every Australian Movie biz name are going out on a limb for with this one. It is my no.1 for this year but I feel so nervous. It's just like when my little girls get up on stage at Eisteddfods I get such butterflys. If they win as sometimes happens I feel so proud but when they lose I'm mad because I just don't understand how others can't appreciate their genius (sorry to sound so scary stage mum).

Oddly enough I feel the same way about this film. I just know I'm going to love it and will feel personaly affronted if it gets blasted by the critics.

Julienne said...

David Wenham!!!!!!


I'm not sure why this meme took such hold that Kidman can't move her face. She can. Sure her forehead is a little tight but it's not like she's some plastic surgery nightmare. My only gripe with her not looking like herself is that her hair is never red anymore.

and the botox thing. Though I personally don't like the way plastic surgery alters classic faces I guess I don't really care that much about a little wrinkle erasing. A friend of mine tried to convince me that Pfeiffer couldn't move her face during White Oleander and I was just like, 'are you crazy. that's one of her best performances of all time.'

so yeah, botox can make people look waxy but i think the real problem is that people just like disliking Nicole Kidman.

their loss.

she's a great actress. I'm so pleased that she turned that page in her career and keeps doing interesting projects. They don't all turn out OK but which movie star has a perfect track record --point me their way.

oh and aracir WENHAM! indeed he has one really yummy moment with Patty Clarkson in Married Life, too. yum yum

goran and others who are concerned...

yeah, it might be pretentious. There's always that risk but Luhrmann is three for three so far to me so why not four for four?

Anonymous said...

I saw Margot At The Wedding, and anyone who thinks Kidman can't move her face in that film is a moron. There's no way she could have given that performance without proper facial mobility. Margot is a character of constantly changing moods, and it's always captured on her face. She switches between anger, confusion, contempt, distress and smugness, and it's always readble in her expressions. Sometimes, she went from one extreme mood to another in a second, and it's always accompanied by the right facial movements. Oh, and she has wrinkles in her forhead. I know, because I saw them move. The only time Kidman's face actually looks immobile is in still photos or posters, which is to be expected.

Margot just proved to me that people simply have it out for Kidman. They aren't concerned about her face moving, because her face moved fine in that film. Maybe her skin is a little too flawless and maybe she's had some minor work done, but it's simply not affected her ability to emote onscreen. She shows a much wider range of emotions in her face in Margot, than many actresses manage in their entire careers.

The botox thing has now become a smokescreen to hit her with. And asarguably the finest performance last year by any actor (Kidman in Margot At The Wedding), got ignored, because she attracts a spiteful cadre of critics. These people need to stop reading the National Enquirer and Perez Hilton's blog, and pay attention to the actual work. Kidman move her face just fine.


Anonymous said...

I love Baz Luhrmann, and Hugh Jackman, but I have an irrational dislike of Nicole Kidman. It might be because I'm jealous that she gets thrice the love of my Ewan...including on this site.

Anonymous said...

I really miss Kidman's untampered with face. I do wish at the least she would fix her lips.


jessica totally funny you should mention that because i was thinking just the other day --where did EWAN go?

i mean i know he's in Cassandra's Dream but it's like suddenly he's not the big star he was.


i miss him a little

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about this one. I love Baz Luhrmann's work, but this is so different that I don't know what to expect. I think like a lot of other posters that it could possible come off as another Cold Mountain especially since there's bound to be so much hype around it, that it's going to be hard to live up to. So I'm not sure whether this or Revolution Road or perhaps something else will be what everyone has in their Oscar predictions, but then it does much worse than expected.

Or I could see it going the opposite way of being a hit with the Oscars, and sweeping next year since they generally love the epic films. I tend to think that it will be closer to Cold Mountain though because Hugh Jackman has never been an Academy favorite, and somehow I don't think he's going to be with this film either. Plus, I could see them snubbing Luhrmann again if he couldn't get in with his usual trademark ardor.

Anonymous said...

I'm sooo excited for this movie!
I'm sure it will be totally different from Cold Mountain, and Nicole looks very sexy in this role.
Please don't start this stupid story about botox, it's false and terribly boring. She can move her face perfectly, see her in Margot At The Wedding, she's great! Her best performance in years, and seh was ignored because people now are more intrested in gossip.
But with Luhrmann and this movie, she'll return the queen!
I like the title "Australia", it has many meanings, it's intresting. It's like a metaphor, a story of a country and a story about people. It's sooo beautiful!
I can't wait to see this movie, I trust totally Luhrmann, I hope people will not be stupid and will love this movie for what it is, not because there is Nicole Kidman in it.

Anonymous said...

And I hope people will not be stupid and will love this movie for what it is, and not blae it because there is Nicole Kidman in it.

Anonymous said...

Chill out John.

I think this movie may do Okay outside of the US box office wise. Kidman does not do well here & with regard to Jackman, his movies, other than the X-Men stuff, have not done well. And with Lurhman, you either love him or hate him.

To me though, this story sounds old and certainly isn't original: Lady falls for rough & tumble guy. Boring. It would be nice if they concentrated more on the history aspect and not how many times we'll see Kidman & Jackman making out on camera.

Anonymous said...

Same shit that we've all seen somewhere before but different country. Looks trite and boring - nothing to get excited about. Nicole Kidman? Bad choice. Hope it doesn't turn into another one of her spectacular flops - just her name alone is going to keep people away from seeing this. Too bad - the cinematography looks breathtaking!