*NEW* THE DRESSMAKER REVIEW *NEW*

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Winslet is dressed to impress in this quirky little drama.

A glamorous woman (Kate Winslet) returns to her small town in rural Australia. With her sewing machine and haute couture style, she transforms the women and exacts sweet revenge on those who did her wrong.

This one nearly slipped my radar. If not for a recommendation by a family member, I would have missed out on one of the better films of the year.

Winslet delivers a stellar performance as Myrtle ‘Tilly’ Dunnage. The shunned schoolgirl reformed and ready for revenge. As soon as she stepped onto the station platform, dressed like Mildred Pierce with her sewing machine in tow, you knew you were in for a treat.

I never expected to enjoy this at all BUT it was quirky, funny and engaging. Highly recommend. We join Tilly as she returns home to try and piece together the reasons why she was forced out of the small dust bowl in the first place.

The mystery behind her past helped break up the (surprisingly enjoyable) Desperate Housewives style melodrama in the community. BUT as well as having to deal with the locals, Tilly must also face her mother, Molly (Judy Davis).

Davis played the reclusive and volatile Molly superbly. She was a monster. Abusive and ignorant in one moment. Troubled, neglected and lost, the next. Davis and Winslet were a great pairing. Their fractious relationship certainly spiced things up as you soon realise that maybe Tilly wasn’t the only one traumatized by the incident. The more we delve in their troubled past, the more you feel for them.

Tilly’s dressmaking inevitably makes her the talk of the town as her dresses transform their owners. Changing how they are perceived. It made for interesting and comical viewing, most notably with Gertrude’s (Sarah Snook) transformation. It was unexpected but not surprising. The glamourous women strutting around the town was brilliant. Especially when the town looked like it had been plucked straight out of a Western.

I loved how colourful the characters were in the community. Hugo Weaving was superb as the flamboyant Sergeant Farrat. The man with a passion for fashion. The lecherous hunchback pharmacist Percival Almanac played repulsively by Barry Otto. I could go on.

Liam Hemsworth was very good as Tilly’s inevitable love interest Teddy McSwiney. It was good to see him NOT involved in a Hunger Games love triangle and have the chance to act. He had great chemistry with Winslet and they made a good pair.

I have to agree with Mark Kermode’s review that this film must have contained every genre bar science fiction. In fact, it almost came off like a Western. The little nods were fantastic. Especially when a rival dressmaker is brought into the mix to challenge the ‘gunslinger’.

However, the pace did drag and by the 90 minute marker things were starting to meander along. The unraveling was interesting enough BUT the big reveal was a little disappointing after all the lies and deceit. I expected something a little darker and more dramatic. I also expected Shane Bourne’s Evan Pettyman to be more of a villain. For all the talk from the town about the man, he didn’t live up to the hype. But then again, who does?

Despite being watchable, I did start to wonder where there was all going. BUT thankfully, the film took an unexpected change in direction. Delightfully dark, touching and macabre with everything coming to a head for a thrilling and satisfying finale.

I was pleasantly surprised. The Dressmaker was a breath of fresh air in the drudge of regurgitated rehashes and remakes filling up the film schedules.

It may not have been perfect BUT great characters, a fresh take on an old story, lots of humour and a whole load of quirkiness makes this one to put on the list.

3.5/5

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BIG GAME REVIEW

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BIG, DUMB, LAME?

There’s only one way to find out.

The trailer looked ridiculous. I really had low expectations. BUT yet I came out after those mental 90 minutes with a guilty smile. And all I can say is this film is BIG FUN!

Samuel L (The L stands for Mother F**ker) Jackson takes on the iconic presidential role (About time!) in this 12A hampered action packed tour de force.

So what’s it about? A young teenager (Onni Tommila) camping in the woods helps rescue the President of the United States (Samuel L Jackson) when Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.

If you looked at that premise and shook your head, then this really isn’t for you. It’s silly, OTT but hilarious. For the right reasons? Well, that will be up to you.

Brought to you by the people that made Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale. Now that should give you a picture of what to expect. Ridiculous concepts played straight. A dangerous game but it almost worked.

The opening was a little slow burning. All the ridiculousness bubbling in the background. We are introduced to Tommila’s Oskari as he set on a big game hunt by his father. An ancient tradition among the local village that a young boy must take to achieve the path of manhood. Blah, blah, blah.

Tommila’s deadpan expression and dry delivery really made the film for me. I normally find when teenagers are the lead characters in movies like these; they instantly grate against me. Not this time.

Tommila and SLJ were a great pairing. An unexpected one but a good one, none the same. SLJ has proven before that he can make silly premises watchable. Snakes on a Plane was relentless BUT a typical grade A B movie flick (A B? You know what I mean).

Their introduction was hilarious. The plane crash being mistaken for an alien spaceship by the young hunter was corny but the exchange between the pair was worth it. You could tell SLJ was having a laugh especially when Oskari throws POTUS two cups on a string. “Don’t hang up. Did I really just say that?”

The whole terrorist ploy to kidnap the President in a Finnish forest was hammy. All the elaborate and destructive planning just to take some pictures of POTUS and then kill him anyway? Don’t think into it too much.

Luckily, Mehmet Kurtulus’ (Equilibrium) Hazar is so demented and OTT that he takes the attention away from that little niggle. He’s that reckless that you could almost believe his stupid intentions. His missile testing game may have been a rip off of The Jackal but it was quite dark for a 12A using villagers as target practice.

Director Jalmari Helander has an impressive Hollywood cast at his disposal. It was a shame that not all of them were used to their potential. I mean, the presidential back staff that sat watching the chaos in a secure communications room consisted of the likes of Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Ted Levine (Silence of the Lambs), Victor Garber (Alias) and Jim Broadbent (Harry Potter)!

All of them playing generic stock characters that were highly unmemorable. Well, Broadbent was the exception. He didn’t do a half bad American accent and I really wished his character had more screen time.

Ray Stevenson was actually quite good as the disloyal bodyguard. He has finally mastered the accent after so many poor renditions. *Cough* The Punisher: War Zone *Cough*

For all it’s silliness, it was strange seeing SLJ playing the role quite seriously. Normally in these stupid action movies or iconic classics i.e. Air Force One, the president instantly becomes a badass and disposes all of the baddies while his highly trained security detail are removed in the first act.

SLJ’s presidential character was quite weak. Flailing around and being knocked about. A little more realistic. If you can say that. It made a change. The badass attitude very much on the shoulders of Oskari.

His stand off with Stevenson’s bodyguard was comical. “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I got this”. Pinging a tiny arrow four inches into the ground.

Considering it was a 12A, it was highly violent and very dark. A scene in which SLJ looks up to see a trail of bodyguards sprinkled across the slope was a little graphic BUT the last 30 minutes was mental. More of what I expected from the get go.

OTT, fast, furious and oh so stupid! The freezer sequence had so many mixed emotions for me. Rolling down a ravine. Flying off a cliff. Dodging bullets. Words escape me.

It zipped along. Ended incredibly violently and oh so cornily. BUT I came out with a grin.

Did Jackson get to say his infamous punchline? I hear you ask. “You got to cock it, motherf-” Alas, the dreaded 12A certificate rearing its ugly head.

If you’re up for a laugh and a corny B movie actioner, then look no further. If you’re not, then keep on looking.

3/5