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  • Published : March 23, 2009
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Examples of Film Reviews

1.

Changeling

Sandra Hall SMH
January 31, 2009
CHANGELING is a lurid tabloid tale that happens to be true - apart from one or two Hollywood embellishments. On all available evidence, for instance, its real-life heroine, Christine Collins, bore absolutely no resemblance to Angelina Jolie. Jolie's Christine - with her scarlet pout, her cloche hat pulled low over the brow and her dark eyes gleaming with unshed tears, is a cartoonist's delight. But I'm not carping. The overall effect is far from being a caricature. Christine Collins was a single parent whose nine-year-old son went missing in Los Angeles in 1928 and for all her glamour, Jolie is a good fit. As she proved with her performance as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart, she's at her best when bereft. The enamelled armour she wears as her half of the Brangelina brand is stripped away and you become acquainted yet again with the fact that she can act. Collins's case uncovered a corruption scandal that involved Los Angeles' most powerful figures, among them the mayor and the police chief, and its story is so rich in gothic touches that you wonder why James Ellroy didn't get to it first. Instead, the story was disinterred by J. Michael Straczynski, a journalist who's also worked in television. These days, he writes Marvel comic books, none of them, I'm guessing, any more bizarre than the events that unfold here. Clint Eastwood directed the film, another remarkable fact since he has two films in release at the moment, having completed both this and Gran Torino in more or less the same amount of time that it took Baz Luhrmann to do post-production on Australia. This achievement is even more impressive when you consider the diligence that he and his design team have shown in digging up exotically obscure bits of period detail to furnish their 1920s Los Angeles. Along with the more obvious items, like the streetcars and the cloche hats, is the pair of roller skates that Christine Collins wears at work at the city's telephone exchange. After strapping the skates on over her shoes, she spends much of her day gliding back and forth along rows of telephonists in her daily job as an office supervisor. Things start going tragically wrong for her one quiet Saturday. Planning to take her nine-year-old son, Walter (Gattlin Griffith), to the movies, she has to disappoint him at the last minute when she's called in to work. Forced to leave him alone, she returns at the end of the day to find he's disappeared. CHANGELING is a lurid tabloid tale that happens to be true - apart from one or two Hollywood embellishments. On all available evidence, for instance, its real-life heroine, Christine Collins, bore absolutely no resemblance to Angelina Jolie. Jolie's Christine - with her scarlet pout, her cloche hat pulled low over the brow and her dark eyes gleaming with unshed tears, is a cartoonist's delight. But I'm not carping. The overall effect is far from being a caricature. Christine Collins was a single parent whose nine-year-old son went missing in Los Angeles in 1928 and for all her glamour, Jolie is a good fit. As she proved with her performance as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart, she's at her best when bereft. The enamelled armour she wears as her half of the Brangelina brand is stripped away and you become acquainted yet again with the fact that she can act. Collins's case uncovered a corruption scandal that involved Los Angeles' most powerful figures, among them the mayor and the police chief, and its story is so rich in gothic touches that you wonder why James Ellroy didn't get to it first. Instead, the story was disinterred by J. Michael Straczynski, a journalist who's also worked in television. These days, he writes Marvel comic books, none of them, I'm guessing, any more bizarre than the events that unfold here. Clint Eastwood directed the film, another remarkable fact since he has two films in release at the moment, having completed both this and...
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