Title: Oz: The Great and Powerful
Director: Sam Raimi
DISNEY ventures onto sacred cinema turf with Oz: The Great and Powerful. The film is a sort of prequel to the absolutely iconic The Wizard of Oz (1939), which was based on the popular stories of L. Frank Baum.
As an overblown and overlong Disney fantasy, the $200m budget certainly helps in turning out a visually spectacular film, but in trying to emulate the popularity of the beloved Judy Garland classic it pales, even with the wonders of 3D.
The movie is directed by Sam Raimi, best known for his Spider-Man trilogy and TV's Xena: Warrior Princess. And while the cinematography and effects are stunning, the script is anything but.
As family entertainment this is an okay outing but it could have been much more.
Critically as Oz, the small-time travelling circus magician, James Franco is sadly miscast. The three witches (Rachel Weisz, Mila Kunis and Michelle Williams) fare better, but it takes too long before one inevitably turns famously green and the overdrawn climax brings a magical finale.
China Girl steals the show, which is neither great nor powerful.
Oz: The Great and Powerful is currently screening at Birch Carroll & Coyle Cinemas, Lismore.
Director: Mark Lamprell
FOR an Australian film, Goddess is a daring and ambitious endeavour in that it is a surprising rom-com/musical.
But somehow it manages to succeed, thanks especially to the wonderful central performance of English stage musical star Laura Michelle Kelly.
The film is the second feature by Mark Lamprell, and it is based on a one-woman show titled Sink Songs by South African cabaret performer Joanna Weinberg, who co-wrote the screenplay with Lamprell.
Elspeth (Kelly) and her husband James (Ronan Keating) have recently moved to Tasmania with their young twin sons. But with James away tracking whales in the Southern Ocean, Elspeth is going batty tending to her difficult kids until she begins to communicate with hubby using a webcam set up in the kitchen.
Soon her choreographed "sink songs" go viral and a savvy Sydney advertising guru, Cassandra (Magda Szubanski), sees Elspeth as the next big thing.
While the script is a tad clunky and there are certainly some corny scenarios, the musical numbers are funny and appealing, the choreography by Kelley Abbey works well and Laura Michelle Kelly is a fine songstress in this feelgood fantasy.
Goddess is currently screening at Birch Carroll & Coyle Cinemas, Lismore.
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