FARAWAY DOWNS – Review by Susan Granger

Do you recall a 2008 Baz Luhrmann film called Australia? Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, I found it an exciting, epic adventure but – at the box-office – it went nowhere, perhaps because it touched too superficially on that country’s notorious Aboriginal race issue. So resourceful Luhrmann recently re-edited it into a six-episode limited series called Faraway Downs, telling a compelling tale as viewed through the eyes of Nullah (Brandon Walters), an enchanting half-Aboriginal outcast child – and adding nearly an hour of never-before-seen footage.

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ELVIS – Review by Susan Kamyab

You know his songs, but how well do you the man behind the music? Elvis Presley changed the world of rock and roll, and in Baz Luhrman’s new film, Elvis we get a deeper look at what inspired his sound and moves. Visually, Elvis is breathtaking and with bedazzling effects, but story wise, the film drags. the film is way too long, there were many unnecessary scenes that could have easily been cut to pick up the pace.

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SPOTLIGHT January 2023: Catherine Martin, Australia’s iconic Costume, Production and Set designer

As collaborative as she is multi-talented, Catherine Martin has made an indelible mark on cinema. Her flair for design, her dedication to research and her passion for authenticity have allowed the movies she’s worked on to transport us to Parisian cabaret in the 1890s, to a New York mansion during the Roaring 1920s and to a Las Vegas stage with The King himself.

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ELVIS – Review by Susan Granger

Don’t for a minute think this is a bio-pic. It isn’t. Luhrmann discarded historical accuracy in favor of a grotesque carnival of fictionalized glitz and glamour, tracing how Black singers B.B. King (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), Little Richard (Alton Mason), Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Yola Quartey), Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup (Gary Clark Jr.), Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton (Shonka Dukureh) and Mahalia Jackson (Cle Morgan) inspired Elvis.
The deliriously melodramatic story is told by promoter Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who first spotted Elvis (Austin Butler) in 1954 at the Louisiana Hayride, where the naïve, nervous singer with locomotive hips electrified the audience.

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ELVIS – Review by T.J. Callahan

Elvis is a sensational spectacle meant for the big screen. Even with a runtime of 2 1/2 hours, Luhrmann flashes Presley’s life before our eyes. He keeps things moving as fast as Elvis’ pelvis. Elvis Aaron Presley was unique and irreplaceable and this film shows us why, warts and all. It’s not always good to be The King.

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ELVIS – Review by Diane Carson

We Elvis fans know the story, so the challenge becomes how to avoid merely following this Tupelo native to Memphis and on to iconic status with his early death in 1977 at 42. Wisely, Baz Luhrmann anchors the story in Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ clever, entrepreneurial manager whose voiceover narration guides and comments on their relationship and Elvis’ affect on audiences, telling their story in flashbacks. In opening scenes, Parker asserts, “Without me, there would be no Elvis Presley” and “Some people make me out to be the villain.” Indeed, ample evidence for both claims accumulates.

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