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The Age

Thursday December 24, 2009


BaliboM, MadmanRating: 4/5ROBERT Connolly's passionate revisiting of the story of the Balibo Five is a film about past and present, history and responsibility. It has the verve and rush of a thriller as well as the focused engagement of a political drama. At its centre is an historical event: the 1975 murder of five journalists who were working for Australian television and reporting on the Indonesian invasion of East Timor. The movie also explores the fate of a less well-known figure, veteran Australian journalist Roger East (Anthony LaPaglia). The DVD comes with a swag of features, including a director's commentary, behind-the-scenes material, 1975 reportage from East Timor, background documentary shorts and a study guide.Inglourious BasterdsMA, UniversalRating: 3.5/5QUENTIN Tarantino's World War II action-fantasy subtitled "Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied France" was an undeniable return to form at the box office. Its performance even surpassed that of Pulp Fiction. It's not, however, Tarantino at his best. It's entertaining in many ways but there are a few too many longueurs and clunky moments, even though he's devoting himself to two subjects that absorb and stimulate him: revenge and the movies. One of the most memorable aspects of the film is the scene-stealing role Tarantino gives to Austrian actor Christoph Waltz and it's an opportunity Waltz seizes with relish.Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceM, WarnerRating: 4/5VARIOUS directors have had their chances with the Harry Potter franchise and until this movie, the standout was Alfonso Cuaron's The Prisoner of Azkaban. But David Yates, directing his second Potter film, puts himself in the same league with this slow-moving, quietly engrossing version of the increasingly bleak goings-on at Hogwarts. In a film with a strong, almost expressionist, visual style, Jim Broadbent gives a well-judged performance as teacher Horace Slughorn, who assiduously cultivates the best and brightest of his students while repressing a terrible secret. The only disappointment comes towards the end, when Yates' handling of one of the most dramatic developments in the whole series seems a little clumsy.

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