Short movie notes from recent viewings:
Paper Planes: the Australian kids' movie that was apparently a commercial success is simply ridiculous in its improbable details. Even my daughter, who is pretty much in the target market, thought it silly. At least it helps confirm my biases against Australian made films, which currently have a hit rate with me of about 1 out of 100 viewed (and I've probably only seen 35.)
The Cave of the Yellow Dog: being a film that heavily features yurts, I was probably destined to like it. And yes, this great looking, naturalistically acted film set on the plains of Mongolia is pleasant and engaging. Oddly, though, it is very neutral in its depiction of the dog. Some would say this is a good thing, I suppose (certainly, the people who harp on about Spielberg and sentimentality); but really, I felt the movie could have been better by making at least a bit of effort to make the dog look cuter and more engaged with the girl.
Safety Not Guaranteed: an example of a low budget ($750,000 [!] according to IMDB), independent American film that blows low cost Australian film making out of the water. Looks great; some charming acting; good script (although I would have preferred the unpleasant male to be less sweary); and an intriguing story with a pleasing enough ending. Confirms my biases against Australian films.