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The Dish
Director: Rob Sitch
Screenplay: Rob Sitch, Jane Kennedy, Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner
Producer: Debra Choate, Jane Kennedy, Michael Hirsh
Cast: Sam Neill, Billy Mitchell, Roz Hammond, Christopher-Robin Street, Luke Keltie
Genre: Art House & International

Running Time: 101
Aspect Ratio:  1.85:1 (NTSC Widescreen)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, French
Studio:  Warner Home Video DVD Region:  1 PG-13
DVD Release:  Aug 2001 Discs:  1 (DVD) [$14.97]
Reviews:  "The Dish", a good-natured and effortlessly funny Australian drama-comedy directed by Rob Sitch ("The Castle"), is filled with warm-hearted characters and has a factual hook that's irresistibly inspiring. This cumulative goodwill springs forth from the rural town of Parkes in New South Wales, where a 1,000-ton radio observatory dish is recruited to relay telemetry, voice, and television signals from the historic "Apollo 11" moon landing in July 1969. To make sure the dish delivers Neil Armstrong's "giant leap for mankind" to 600 million eager viewers, site director Cliff Buxton (Sam Neill, at his gentle best) relies on a three-man crew consisting of an American NASA watchdog (Patrick Warburton, resembling a bearish Clark Kent), a sarcastic engineer (Kevin Harrington), and a lovestruck math whiz (Tom Long) who's pining for the sister of the dish's rather dimly overzealous security guard (Taylor Kane).
Numerous other supporting characters add color to the proceedings, and crises arise (albeit briefly) when power outage, signal loss, and windstorms threaten to spoil Parkes's proudest hour. It all rates a bit high on the cuteness meter, but "The Dish" is so smoothly amusing that you won't object to its eagerness to please. By focusing on the Aussie locals, the film reminds us that the moon landing was an occasion of global unity, and pride in all humanity is reflected in the wondrous smiles of Cliff, his crew, and the citizens of Parkes. That they played such a small but pivotal role in this historical milestone is just one of many joys to be discovered in this delightful little movie. "--Jeff Shannon"

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