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two decades of Newspolls

state votes at federal elections

Votes and seat
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1949 - 2001

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Newspoll &
Morgan graphs

preferential voting

federal election 2001

NSW election 2003


Vic election 2002

Beazley versus Crean

Newspoll Opposition leader approval ratings

Newspoll Opposition voting intentions

Mumble Movie Reviews for 2003

The year 2003 was a bumper one for flicks. Click the movie titles or scroll down.

Lowest rating: BOMB (avoid at all costs) 
Highest rating: **** (don't miss it)

Reviews

Abu Bakar's journey

**

East Javanese cleric travels to Bali for spiritual salvation but gets more than he bargained for. Eventually moves to Australia, where he becomes a game show host.

Multi-layered narrative with deeply affecting Wayang sequences, but slow moving. Watch out for Amrozi as village idiot – a small but crucial role.

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Alan Ramsey is a grump  

***

Everybody's  loveable Unca Alan is back in the fourth instalment of this now classic series. Spot on Xmas fare for the young and young at heart.

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ATSIC

*1/2

Stars Geoff Clark, Ray Robinson. A promising premise is brought down by self-indulgence. And then there's the plot! Still playing to art-houses. What's going on here? We doubt even the producers know. Clark does well in the role of Bruiser. Conceptually not dissimilar to THE GOVERNOR GENERAL.  `

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Baghdad Cafe             

*1/2

A misunderstood cafe owner wishes for nothing more than a quiet life for himself and his family, but is forced to flee for his life. Found living in a hole months later, believing himself to be Santa. Perhaps he is. Then again, is it really him?

With Saddam putting in a sloppy performance, this one polarised the critics. Our verdict: a schemozzle best avoided.

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Chechnya, My Chechnya

*1/2

Russian lad Vladimir grows up dreaming of mythical Grosny, capital of Chechnya. Upon his 18th birthday he starts on the trek. Has travails along the way. Does he make it? Does he get the girl? Watch and find out.

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Circumstances in Which They Come, The

***

Epic tale of a nation-continent that finds itself under threat from boatloads of swarthy foreigners intent on imposing savage customs on peace-loving people.

No one knows what to do, until into the breach steps one brave man who assumes moral leadership of the country, rallies its sense of patriotism and wins the day. His middle name is Winston – just in case you missed it.

Howard’s discipline is, as always, undeniable, Ruddock gives the bravura performance we never knew was in him and Reith provides comic relief. Stretches credibility at times, but excellent editing undeniable. Entered in Uncertain Regard at Cannes

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Colin's Colon                  

Unreviewed 

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Democrats, The

BOMB

Gloomy Social realism about a family that keeps fighting, and shrinking and shrinking. Many allusions to phone boxes.

Bartlett, however, is smashing.

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Dude, can I lick your arse?

BOMB

L Jon Howard and former Calvin Klein model and rapper "Marky" Mark Latham together for the first time in this dreadful "comedy" about two slackers trying to out-do each other currying favour with the neighbourhood Big Tamale.

Latham, initially disparaging of Howard's incessant brown-nosing, converts to the cause and eventually outdoes him.

Following the adage that nobody ever went broke underestimating the public's intelligence, this piece of crud garnered a small following, and made back most of its money, but for the discerning viewer - forget it.

The least dynamic duo ever to grace our screens. Stay away.

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Federal Opposition, The

BOMB

This under-heated, ill-prepared tragi-comedy doesn't know whether it's Arthur or Martha and fails on both fronts. Michael J. Crean struggles valiantly in a role manifestly beyond him, but the script is the real problem.

Opened on a crowded weekend and was murdered at the box office. Director understandably removed name from credits.

Amazingly, a sequel is planned for next year - sans Crean in the lead. Will be interesting to see what they come up with.

But this one: amateur hour.

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Get f**ked Chirac! 

***

Not to be confused with UP YOURS DELORS, this latest from American auteur George W Bush sees clean cut American hero do battle with shifty garlic and cheese-munching European poseur - and come out on top, naturally. Simplistic but uplifting for those prepared to buy into it. Donald Rumsfeld is a solid - if hammy – costar.

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Governor General, The

BOMB

Appallingly ham-fisted would-be morality tale is just too silly to believe. Serious social issues addressed in poor taste and handled atrociously. Absurdly plotted with no logic or coherence, still less rhyme or reason. Towering performance by Peter Hollingworth in the lead role hits all the marks - stoicism, pride, self-pity - but can't save this certifiable turkey. Big question: what was director John Howard, he of the usually sure hand, up to with this one? Yuk.  

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Howard government, The

**

Languished on the shelf from lack of interest for over a decade before its release, this curious concoction was largely unloved by critics, but performed solidly at the box office.

Protracted and surprisingly callous in parts, it's not for all tastes and was unkindly described by one writer as akin to being "stuck forever at 3pm on a long, flat suburban Sunday". After several false endings it wears out its welcome. Not quite as long as it feels.

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HIH  

**1/2

So-so spoof, a bawdy romp through the insurance industry. Lots of humour of the wink wink nudge nudge variety, Ray Williams in fine form; John Belushi shines as Brad Cooper.

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 Iraq War, The

**

Long anticipated spectacle is undeniably compelling but lacks moral centre. Moves steadily towards the inevitable conclusion and then makes a huge fuss when it gets there. Humungous budget, brilliant special effects and a cast of millions don’t hide the tinny dialogue and paper-thin performances; the one exception being Don "Rummy" Rumsfeld,  showing comic flair as the US Information Minister. Very popular with adolescent males

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Janette and John

**

Rip off of “Till Death Us Do Part” has appalling bigot flopping around house in dressing gown whinging to wife about foreigners, invariably employing the phrase “I certainly don't want people of that type in this country.” 

Hit a chord with punters, and spawned successful television series, but leaves unpleasant aftertaste.

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Kim Jong is ill

***

In the region surrounding his seaside Korean village, the culinary prowess of Kim Jong's father, Kim Sung, was legendary. People travelled hundreds of miles to sample his dishes. But now he is dead, and Kim Jong has big shoes to fill. 

On the first anniversary of his father's death, Kim’s attempts to emulate his cooking with a magnificent feast for hundreds appear doomed when he succumbs to food poisoning. Who will prepare the banquet? Can he orchestrate it from his sickbed? 

This delightful film takes its own time to meander before reaching a surprise conclusion, but the real star is the sumptuous food.

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King, The

***

Chick-magnet football player with eyes too close together moves to new city and embarks on a series of orgies. Hot stuff for those who can take the hedonism.  

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Laurie's lunch

**

An afternoon in the life of Big Laurie, a political journalist, seen from the viewpoint of his lunch. Not for the faint hearted.

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Megawati

**

The daughter of a charismatic man becomes president of her country. Then takes a vow of silence. The end.

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Meg's Party 

Unreviewed.

Very staid affair, playing once a month in an Adelaide art house. 

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Natasha's Party

**

Young lady parties like there's no tomorrow, only to wake up when tomorrow has come and must deal with reality. Eventually finds true love.

Stott Despoja adds zest to the proceedings, but strictly for fans of the genre.

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NSW election, The

**

Overblown but curiously flat project. Carr, an unlikely leading man, manages to pull it off, but brat packer Brogden is miscast as the would-be premier. A steamy tale of police corruption, criminal gangs and double speak. Watch for Peter Ryan hamming it in a minor role. Hampered by flat, inevitable conclusion; the most common audience reaction afterwards was: “why”?

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Peter Beattie has big teeth

**1/2

Made by Warner Brothers on the Gold Coast, this story of a man who compulsively swims with sharks until he finally becomes one. Corny, so cheesy it melts, but oddly compelling.

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  Road to Damascus

***

American hero George visits Middle East. Meets many moustachioed villains and outwits them all. Stars Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour and Bing Crosby.

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Russell Crowe's big fat wedding               

*1/2

Big Russ gets married, sinks heaps of piss, goes into town with the boys and does some brawling. The end.

Social realism with no surprises, even less storyline, but Crowe as usual puts weight into the enterprise. Shane Warne in a bit part.

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SARS Attacks

***

Unreviewed

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There’s Reithy!

****

Sequel to WHERE'S REITHY? and WHERE'S REITHY NOW? Irrepressible, naughty boy Peter is back! This time he pops up in Ireland to foil a counterfeit racket. Or does he? 

This surefooted comic enterprise sets a cracking pace with nary a note missed. By rights it shouldn't work but it does - thanks in part to writer, director and co-star John Howard who generously plays straight man and leaves the best lines and grimaces to Reith. But honours must go the central, brazenly outlandish performance. Great, if formulaic, fun for the family. Forget the storyline, enjoy the gags. Uh oh, where's the phone?

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Ticker Man, The

**

Bryan Brown plays the central character, "Beazo", in this enjoyable if forgettable kiddies' film about a lovable, quixotic character who just doesn’t know when to give up; whenever on the brink of achieving his lifelong goal, he chokes.

Not without appeal, especially in the opening scenes, but marred by almost fatal ill-discipline and lack of imagination.

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United Nations, The

***

Hilarious comedy stars Peter Sellers and Kofi Annan. A poolside party, originally organised for noble purposes – though no one quite can quite remember what - degenerates into ribaldry and farce. Meanwhile the planet goes to hell. There’s a plot there somewhere, but if you can find it you’re better than us. Never mind: Annan and Sellers are a brilliant comic act.

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W

**

Thirty five years after his cult movie "Z", Constantin Costa Gravas directed this political thriller in which preppy party boy sobers up, discovers God and, with the help of his brother, lands the American Presidency. Yeah, right!

Then manipulated by a shadowy cabal into committing unspeakable acts on an unsuspecting world. Much praised project suffers from paper-thin characterisations and unbelievable, simplistic screenplay. But masterful editing is undeniable. For once, that famous George Bush II woodenness sits curiously right. Described by one reviewer as "Ayn Rand meets Frank Capra".

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Waiting for Howard

***

Pleasant, unpretentious but rather pointless tale of a conceited man who learns to wait, and wait … and wait. Along the way he learns humility and patience.

Costello's acting skills are rudimentary, but screen presence undeniable. A nice story, well made, that earns its laughs honestly

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Warning Shane

BOMB

Spoilt blonde fatso tones up to win the girl's heart. Which he does, but his double chin gets him into trouble with elicit drugs.

Warne is truly awful in this unbelievable tosh.

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