Thursday, 23 February 2006


Jewboy (SBS Thur 830P) "powerful and restrained," this SBS funded movie-ette (50 minutes in length) was invited to be screened at Cannes last year and won three AFI awards locally. Written and directed by a "gifted emerging" talent, Tony Krawitz, the short film is also well acted by lead Ewen Leslie and ably supported by Saskia Burmeister.
Read the Age review

Jaws (10 Sat 10P) first half is good old fashioned horror movie set-up with the second half owing as much to captain ahab and his whale as to anything else.

Open Your Eyes (SBS Sun 930P) the original of what was remade Vanilla Sky with Tom and Penelope - this version is in Spanish, is heaps better than the remake (what a surprise !), also stars Penélope (this time with an inflection) and is directed by Alejandro Amenábar (The Sea Inside, The Others) {yes that's right, I am actually endorsing a PC movie}

The Producers (10 Sun 12noon) With the current remake in cinemas underwhelming critics world-wide, enjoy the orignal, orignal Mel Brooks comedy from 1968 starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder.

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

Rabel Watch

Asian Cup qualifier
Australia takes on World Cup unlucky loser Bahrain, early Thursday morning in the first Asian Cup qualifer (SBS 0215 Thurs) - no surprises looking at the time that this is live from Bahrain.
Australia play 3 Asian-zoned countries this year to try and qualify for the Asian Cup Finals and play 1 away game as well as 1 at home (the other countries are Bahrain, Lebanon & Kuwait). Australia must finish in the top 2 in their group to qualify for the finals.
Bahrain were tipped out by Trinidad and Tobago on their road to Germany 2006 on the same weekend Australia took out Uruguay and so they will be no bunnies however Australia would be confident of a win.
Click here to read the article on the Soccer Australia website

Thursday, 16 February 2006


Comedians doing "funny" things involving unsuspecting people sometimes works (think Garry McDonald) and sometimes doesn't. That's the nature of comedy.
The new series of the Chaser (Friday nights) seems to have been trying a bit too hard to generate comedy moments. So hard in fact that in a desperate bid to fill in 27 shows, being "hard hitting" and "controversial" they have over-stepped the mark in two well reported incidents.
The first involved handing over a fake cheque outside the Cole enquiry into the AWB bribery scandal. This matter was handed over to the Federal Police for investigation. Whoops.
The second involved submitting a Michael Leunig cartoon (which was never published) into a pro-Muslim, anti-Semite newspaper "competition" which was in itself in response to the bally-hoo about the Dutch newspaper publishing the anti-Muslim cartoon. The Chaser folk have been forced to apologise to The Age and Leunig publically with both aggrieved parties deciding not to pursue the matter.
Hardly an auspicious start for comedy by surprise. Controversial certainly but not that clever.
In truth I have never found the Chaser lads to be that funny : they appear to be more wrapped up in their own cleverness than anything else. Thus far I'm not inclined to change my mind about this new series either.


Very thin on the ground this week.

West Wing starts at season 4 on the ABC for the first time (Thu 930P) and they promise to run it in sequence, at the advertised time, every week. For fans, this should be a huge fillip given the mauling at the hands of channel 9 over the past few years, if irate letters to the GG editor are anything to go by.

The Movie Show (ABC Wed 10P) - with Margaret and David - made a welcome return last night even if Margaret continued to "love" everything that she saw over summer.

I often wonder how GG decides which movie receives their 'movie spotlight' for the week but now I know : there's nothing else on !
Cutter's Way (7 Sat midnight) stars Jeff Bridges and John Heard and was made in 1981. Heard plays a "psychologically and physically damaged Vietnam vet...who is fuelled by alcohol, self-pity, paranoia and indignation at those who elude moral obligation. Cutter embarks on a mission to find his Ahab (the film makes an overt reference to Moby Dick), and that instigates a fatal chain of events." "[The film] is a brilliantly concentrated study of three people trapped in an abyss of guilt, injury and redemption." It might be worth a look.

Juxta position

If you do get a chance to look at a hard copy of today's GG, then turn to page 32. Under the heading 'Prison Break' and paragraph about the channel 7's new show, is a picture of Jamie Oliver making his getaway in a blue row boat.
There's an article about Jamie Oliver too on this page however my eye immediately associated the picture with the article and figures that those making a "break" had done it via row boat. You decide.

Thursday, 9 February 2006

Sjov uddunstning

The current events in the muslim world surrounding Danish embassies etc takes me back to the playground in 1985.
I had a friend who had done something that I'm sure he now regrets and that was, in its own context, deplorable. No lasting harm came of it however. It was in reality a desperate act by a desperate boy who felt diconnected and unloved by his parents.
His problems magnified however when another mate of his had taken a photo of this act which was then seen at school by some trouble makers. These thugs climbed the moral high ground, were "outraged" and looked for an opportunity to mete out some justice with their fists.
The outrage expressed by many, many muslims (all from outside Australia I might add) seems a little over the top in response to an insensitive cartoon in a Danish newspaper.
The media and the violent muslims remind me of those mugs from year 9 at school. Looking for any means to create a story or go on a rampage, they highjack something about which they can be "outraged" and use it justify their actions.
Let it be said that I don't support vilification of other religions or race or gender etc etc but I don't support anarchy either.

The title by the way is Danish for "Comic Rant".

Movie Highlights

The Butcher Boy (Fri 9 140A (Sat)) This mix of comedy and drama sees a boy become increasingly mentally unstable after his mother commits suicide and he receives a visit from Sinead O'Connor as the Virgin Mary before avenging his arch-nemesis in a rather bloody manner! A modern success.

Meet Me In StLouis (Sat 9 2P) Judy Garland sings her way across the screen.

Dark City (Sat 9 1040P) Alex Proyas' trip into the future to produce a Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, City of Lost Children, Delicatessan) like world. Stars Rufus Sewell and Kiefer Sutherland. For the record, Roger Ebert loves it.

For Sean ...

No News From God (Thur SBS 1030P) starring (who else) but Pigdog Cruz. “Cruz’s dancing to Kung-Fu Fighting is generally regarded as the highpoint.” RT only gives it a 38% but when you’re a fan, you’re a fan.

Thursday, 2 February 2006

Ross Warneke - get your hand off it!

Ross Warneke writes a regular "opinion" piece each week in GG and this week he talks up the second season of Lost and debut drama Prison Break (described in reverential tones as "a mixture of SBS' raw American jail drama, Oz, the race against the clock that is 24 and the excitement of the Steve McQueen movie, The Great Escape".
He goes on to admit (thinking it is a virtue) that, "[Prison Break] as with Lost, is all wrapped around a tantalising mystery that I can imagine the show's writers toying with for years."
Well excuse me RW but get real ! If Prison Break refuses to resolve (and he virtually assures us that it doesn't) then it can go the same way as Lost : with declining ratings and the subject of mockery regarding the storyboard that tries too hard to perpetuate itself.
According to Warneke, Lost "is better and more mysterious than ever" (not a good thing) and that "finding who or what is down the hatch does not resolve the mystery." Tragically for us, he continues, "you will be begging to know what happens next" (no, I won't).
What's worse, he goes on to compare Prison Break to Lost : "the mysteries are just as tantalising" (oh no!)
Deciding last year not to continue as a viewer of Lost in 2006, I hit the website when the second series began in the US to read up on eps 1 & 2 to see if I was being hasty. More pouting, more "drama" and more nonsense made my decision the easiest on how I will spend my time this year.
And finally, Warneke leaves us with this : "I can just imagine sitting here in five years writing about yet another series - the sixth - of Prison Break and the seventh of Lost, with none of us really having any idea what's going on in either of them. But we'll still be hooked." Oh Please. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Read the article online here

Movie & TV Highlights

The movie highlight for me this week is an Errol Morris documentary (he of 'Fast Cheap and Out of Control' and 'Thin Blue Line') as renown for his quirky subjects as his scripted docos.
'Mr Death : The Rise and Fall of Fred A Leuchter Jr' (SBS Wed 1A (Thurs)) chronicles the man who dedicated much of his career to the redesign of electric chairs and execution equipment. Leuchter's concern was a humane one for the suffering of others (imagine frying some person on an unreliable apparatus but not actually killing them) but has perhaps been highjacked by those that champion efficient killing and, in a slight side-step, holocaust deniers.

Sixth Sense is an always creepy and well made ghost story (7 Tue 830P)

Henry V (ABC 1A Thu) starring Laurence Olivier

Allan Border Medal for cricket nuts (9 Mon 930P)

SuperBowl for sports nuts (SBS Mon 10A & 11P)

TV Love My Way

Love My Way, on Foxtel, won numerous awards after series 1 last year and is about to begin airing series 2.
GG writes : “As with the first series, it’s the writing that stands out. It has a level of sophistication and nuance unusual in Australian drama. The characters are fully fleshed, compelling and they ring true. The writers have enough confidence in their actors and viewers to leave things unsaid, to hint at meaning.”
After the summer dross highlighting how little there is to look forward to on television at any time, it is a pity that something (anything) that can be written about like this is tucked away on pay TV where most of us don’t get to see it.
For the record, I have noticed that it has been released on DVD and is available at my video shop and so the opportunity is there for those keen enough.