My sister took me to see Australia last night as a thank you for babysitting Saturday night. And mostly because she really wanted an excuse to see it. Now I have to say, I am a Baz Luhrmann fan, I loved Moulin Rouge and have finally realized I need to own Strictly Ballroom. It is very much a Luhrmann film, he has a very distinctive style and there are elements that I would probably not tolerate from any other director, but here they have an element of familiarity that makes them acceptable. It is basically two movies, an epic adventure of underdog ranchers racing to get a herd of cattle across a particularly nasty stretch of Australia, followed by a war movie with a bit of race relations included as miss Kidman is trying to adopt a 1/2 Aboriginal child who the local whites want sent to the mission to "breed the black out of 'em" (apparently standard operating procedure until the early 70's, he threw a little historical bit in there too). So basically, as I am a Luhrmann fan, I loved his love letter to OZ and tolerated his quirks (and NK's stiff face) because it was a gorgeous film of epic proportions and I didn't mind that it was nearly three hours long because it was DARN good in the end.
Also, I'm glad I saw it on a big screen, and now I want to go to Australia.
Review #2: Flashman, by George MacDOnald Fraser, the first in The Flashman Papers, a humorous retelling of the epic adventures of a total cad in the late 1830's-early 1840's. This was a heck of a read, I finished it in two days because I wanted to know what happened. However, old Flashy is a hell of a character to follow, I probably will end up taking a break before reading another one of these. It is a hell of a story starting with his getting kicked out of school and joining the military, to his being sent to first India and then Afghanistan where he has some pretty spectacular adventures and ends up perpetually profiting (not intentionally) from the misery and/or heroism of others. Basically he gets his ass saved a lot and a lot of acclaim for his nonexistent heroics. This makes for a fantastic story but after a while I got kind of sick of him as a character (although there is a clever little twist at the ending which I loved). Basically, I enjoyed the heck out of it but I need to read some palate cleansers before I start on the next one (and there are several more).