Release Date: November 26, 2008

Movie of the Day for Monday, November 17, 2008
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It's funny because he doesn't like women.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
37/52 Sean Collier Dude, Baz....what the hell was that. Seriously.
76/196 Max Braden It's beautifully shot, but the music and direction make this feel like a straight to Disney Channel project. Romancing the Stone and othes are better.

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Baz Luhrmann is one of a handful of directors who can be counted on to produce something compelling, original, or surprising with each of his outings. His first film, Strictly Ballroom, is set in the world of ballroom dancing and sets its romance around that atmosphere. The cast is full of unknowns, but it's fondly remembered as a surprise Golden Globe nominee for Best Comedy or Musical.

Luhrmann continued his unique career trajectory with his second film, an updated adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy, Romeo and Juliet (Luhrmann's film is titled Romeo + Juliet). Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, the movie drew lots of attention for its set design and art direction, and Luhrmann even won a BAFTA for directing. He kept the original dialogue, but set it against a modern Verona Beach location, and set off a trend of "modernizing" the bard.

Next came Moulin Rouge!, the multi-Academy Award nominated musical that sets its tragic love story against modern-day music that has been co-opted to perfectly fit the tone of the movie. As with Luhrmann's previous films, Moulin Rouge! is not for everyone, but it has a devoted cadre of followers (myself among them).

Seven years after the release of Moulin Rouge!, Luhrmann has returned to the director's seat for a film titled Australia. The trailers would seem to indicate that the project is a departure from Luhrmann's trademark over-stylized cinema, but we're confident there will be some surprises in store.

The movie is a sweeping epic romance set in pre-World War II Australia. which features Moulin Rouge! headliner Nicole Kidman as an English aristocrat who travels to the faraway continent when she inherits some land there. She meets a local (Hugh Jackman) who is very rough around the edges, but he's reluctantly willing to help her in saving her land. As they journey across the lush countryside, they must also contend with the potential of bombings by the same Japanese forces that attacked Pearl Harbor.

Will the seven-year wait have been worth it for Luhrmann fans? Australia is certainly being mentioned as a potential Oscar buzz film, but we've seen similar movies fall flat despite their pedigrees. This one had a $120 million budget, so it's certainly going to have its work cut out for it with regards to finding any kind of profitability. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Australia
Main Cast Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, David Wenham
Supporting Cast Jack Thompson, Bryan Brown
Director Baz Luhrmann
Screenwriter Baz Luhrmann, Stuart Beattie
Distributor 20th Century Fox
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Awards Awards page for Australia
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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