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Arts 342

Published on March 29th, 2009 | by Greg

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Australia: Pretty but Vacant

It’s beautiful… but long. It ends… several times. And though we’ve been fans of director Baz Luhrman for some time (see Strictly Ballroom immediately if you have not already), our faith was put to the test. Even the good cast of Australia, with strong performances from Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, didn’t work- sparks didn’t fly, the chemistry felt off.

Aborigines, some poor music choices, and generally over-the-top corniness play poorly in an attempt to make what seems like a serious, even epic, movie. Older audiences will find stuff to like- sentimental, perhaps, but nice nonetheless, and suitable for families without being aimed at kids.

The Blu-ray transfer is excellent- we were impressed by the picture and sound clarity (all movies are tested on both a 24-inch computer monitor and a 42-inch 120hz 1080p LCD television). This movie looks great, as good as any other BD we’ve tried, and the music and audio is balanced quite well, with a DTS-HD 5.1 track. There is no audio commentary however, but plenty of featurettes, all of which are in hi-def (if a little boring). Skip the one on “Australia”, and take a look at Cinematography or Production Design.

Overall, it’s a pretty good package for a bit of a disappointing movie. $30 or so, available now, and worth the extra for the Blu-ray version (providing, of course, that you own both a BD player/PS3 and a suitably high-definition screen).


About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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