Thursday, 28 June 2007

Yolngu Boy - GG

In a barren week, Yolngu Boy (SBS Sun 1030P) might be the pick. Three Aboriginal boys trek across the desert in a journey that touches on their mateship and ties to their heritage.

Eastern Rovers Round 6 selection

This Sunday’s clash against top of the table Glen Orden will be somewhat equalised by the wet, cold, sloppy, muddy, mucky and did I mention cold conditions this Sunday. Playing at home has never seemed so attractive … NOT. Still, about 25 braved the conditions at training last night which just shows how many desperate men there are out there in real-life land who also happen to be scared of the coach. Goodridge named on the bench.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Birth - movie

{Spoilers Ahead}
Birth tells the story of a woman, Anna (Nicole Kidman) who loses her beloved husband, Sean, to a heartattack while jogging in Central Park. Ten years later, a boy turns up at Anna’s appartment and says simply, “It’s me, Sean.”
If you view this story as a supernatural mystery akin to The Sixth Sense (“I can see dead people”) or The Exorcist then you will be sorely disappointed. While the mystery of husband Sean’s rebirth as young Sean is a bit creepy and the build up first rate, how the film concludes ultimately is dissatisfying. Young Sean eventually “loses” his psychic alter ego and disappears back into the schoolyard as a regular 10 year old.
While this is how the film was marketed, this is not the story ! The story is all about Anna while the rest of the cast orbit her grief.
Still mourning her husband from 10 years prior, Anna knows intellectually that it is time to move on. Her family tell her it is time to move on. She finally accepts the advances of Joseph (Danny Huston) and agrees to marry him; the opening act is of their engagement party. Emotionally and spiritually, Anna cannot or will not move on from her first husband. In fact, the first time we see Anna she is paying her respects at Sean’s grave. When young Sean first appears, we can see she is troubled and unsure. She wants to believe that her beloved Sean has come back to her (“I wanted him to be Sean”). The rest of the family are less convinced, assuming young Sean to be a hoax or a nasty coincidence.
After young Sean collapses in a hallway we watch Anna’s face in the next scene, during the prelude of a concert. The camera focuses nowhere else. Slowly, surely her resolve falters. What we are watching is a woman who has not come to terms with her grief.
Young Sean however is not the Sean. He is a mystic projection of Anna’s memory of her husband. What she knows about Sean, he knows about Sean. What she doesn’t know about Sean however “breaks the spell.” The event, precipitated by Ann Heche, is like a pebble that breaks the surface of a still pond. The images reflected on the glassy surface shatter and fragment.
Intellectualism reasserts itself briefly to a happy wedding in the beach house gardens in Spring. Being an optimistic, ‘glass half full’ kind of guy, I assumed that they walked off arm in arm to live happily ever after but the evidence doesn’t point to that. Instead of a sunny May (equivalent November) day for their wedding the weather is bleak and cool. Anna can’t smile for the camera and Joseph finds her down on the beach, alone and crying as the waves break around her feet. The evidence is that of a woman who has finally succumbed to a complete mental breakdown, who can’t see a way over her grief.
The colour palette is blue-hued with the warmer red and yellows desaturated. Many visual images stick in the mind, of winter in the Park and the lush apartment in Manhattan. Credit here to cinematographer Harry Savides. The cast ably support Kidman : Cameron Bright as the young Sean, Danny Huston as Anna’s fiancĂ© and Lauren Bacall and Alison Elliott as Anna’s family. And the classical music scoring the film is sumptuous also.

Thursday, 21 June 2007

Australian Rules

Australian Rules uses the sport as a means of pitching Anglo and Aboriginal boys/men in the same frame. Set in a small coastal town in South Australia, a Tidy Town runner up from 1982 demonstrates its less tidy attitudes of tolerance and respect. The focus of the story is a boy (16 year old?) named Blacky (who is white) and his best mate Dumby Red (who is black). Both play footy in the only local team which wins through to play in the district grand final. Although the team needs the Aboriginal players to fill out the team, it is their talent and flair that has got the team through to the final. Off the pitch however they are met with racism and difference and it is this attitude which ultimately leads to the wrongful death of Red.
Blacky, a quietly spoken and sensitive fellow, long an admirer of Red's sister, finds that she is the only one to whom he can talk to deal with his grief at the death of his friend and their relationship blossoms. It is one of the sweetest parts of the movie.
Blacky's father is a local fisherman, played with mean vengeance by Simon Westaway whose presence perfectly fills the role of wife-beater and hard drinker who intimidates all those around him. In the end he leaves and you breathe a sigh of relief for the family. They will not be better off financially but there can be no price on emotional and spiritual (not to mention physical) health. The movie ends with Blacky and Red's sister leaving the town to start a life together.
The movie is characterised by wonderful acting of the three young leads (Nathan Phillips, Luke Carroll and Lisa Flanagan), the wholly believable set-up (it could be any town across the country) and the way that it deals sensitively without sermonising the themes of friendship, racism and tolerance.

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Eastern Rovers Rd 5 vs Frankston - match report

I did not attend Sunday’s fixture against Frankston and the winter weather and driving rain was not the reason. I did in fact sit in my lounge room in front of my log fuelled open fire place watching The Good The Bad and The Ugly but that wasn’t the reason I didn’t play either. In truth, one my young fellows was unwell and we thought a trip to hospital might have been in order. As it turns out he recovered sufficiently to avoid that but by then I had made the call to opt out of Sunday’s game.
As it turns out, it was a good game to miss. Reminicent of some of the worst of Mitcham Tigers circa 2006, the final score was (14.13) 97 to (0.3) 3. The coach apparantly went straight to the bar at the final siren and didn’t address the team. And this against the third best team in the competition. We have teams 1 and 2 coming up. At least we can get that foolish notion of ‘finals’ out of our system and enjoy the rest of the year, come what may. It will make Wednesday night training an interesting experience !

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Good, Bad, Ugly - GG

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (7 Fri 1130P) is Sergio Leone’s cowboy opera. It stars Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef who must work together to uncover buried gold. “[Leone’s] close-ups are exciting and confronting, [the film itself] is a visual triumph and the [story line intertwines] ethical and narrative complexities as the characters move with varying degrees of grace and incompetence through the American Civil War.”
Johnny Depp fans can enjoy either The Astronaut’s Wife (9 Sun midnight) or The Ninth Gate (10 Sun midnight). What ? Counter-programming at midnight ?

It's Cold Out There - Rant

I understand the point and even agree with it but the execution does not meet the ideals.
Our Group Executive (the very senior managers) have made a decision to act in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable manner by allowing the average floor temperature in our building to “a couple of degrees warmer in summer and a couple of degrees cooler in winter.” This is admirable and not a sentiment to be dismissed too quickly.
The previous average floor temperature was 22.5 degrees, neither too cool nor too warm. The new temperature they are shooting for is 20.5 degrees. Again, acceptable and if one feels a little chill then a jacket will easily accommodate that.
Here’s the problem. With the exception of the foyer, all floors are only equipped with cooling. The presence of bodies and computers and no door or window open to the elements will warm the floor sufficiently and the cooling ensures that the mean temperature is maintained.
By setting the system temperature to 20.5 degrees however ensures that the air-conditioning is blowing cold air all the time to ensure that the average floor temperature is kept at 20.5 degrees. Not only does this seem to fly in the face of being environmentally friendly by having an air-conditioning system running ALL the time, the wind-chill makes the air feel colder by another 6 to 8 degrees.
My desk is situated near an air con. vent and it feels about 12 or 14 degrees. I bought a thermometer a while ago to measure the static air temperature and it confirms that we are at about 20.5 degrees. If I had some easy means to measure air velocity then I would happily calculate the wind-chill and reinforce my case.
The system needs to be set to 24.5 degrees so that the cooling does not come on if it is less than that. Given that it is 10 degrees outside, this should not be too much of a concern !
The Managing Director has been made aware of my situation. The OH&S rep. has been made aware. The Building Property Manager has been made aware. They don’t care. Their desks aren’t near the vents. They don’t really understand how the air con works in this building anyway (trust me, I do. I have had 12 months of this and have thought about the rotten thing too often).
All I know is, I’M COLD !!!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Eastern Rovers Round 5 selection

The big surprise coming out of Round 5's team selection for Eastern Rovers v Frankston this Sunday is that yours truly has been named in the back pocket yet again. All this despite the unimpressive last performance. Nothing for it but to go in hard and get the ball ! I was strongly of the belief that I had the week off. That's what you get for going to training !

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Running - GG

Johnny To (Election) likes to take the classic Hong Kong cop / triad storyline and instead of filling it with martial arts (countless) or slapstick (some of Jackie Chan’s finest), he creates suspense and drama around two protagonists, not necessarily on either side of the law, who are certainly never “good” or “straight” in their behaviour. In Running Out of Time (Sat SBS 1A) To manages just this as a master criminal with only days to live from a terminal illness sets out to extract revenge on an unsuspecting police force. Plenty of clever plot twists from both cop and crim. as they both set about trying to outthink the other. Violence comes in bursts and the chase/action scenes are frenetic.
The Illustrated Family Doctor (Sat SBS 930P) is an Australian comedy/drama starring Samuel Johnson, Colin Friels and Sacha Horler and never quite achieved credible success when it was released in 2005.
Other movie classics can be found in The Red Shoes (Sun ABC 115A) and Great Expectations (Mon ABC 1230A). Both excellent.
And for the young girls, the premiere of Barbie Fairytopia:Magic of the Rainbow (Sat 7 1P).

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

The Appeal of the Cinema

It seems to me that one of the appeals of the cinema (both for those chasing the blockbuster and those others hunting down a ‘classic’) is time and price.
Watching a movie, perhaps like watching a TV show, are “easier” than reading a book. A watcher is not bound to invest as much energy in the engagement whereas reading requires considerable effort, even for accomplished readers.
With the vast location of cinemas around the metropolitan area too, finding a venue is not especially difficult, nor do you have to travel far. Travel is even less of an issue if you visit your local rental store and watch DVD’s at home.
Compared to other communal, passive (non sporting) entertainments, such as the theatre or musicals, the relative dearth of these performances usually requires a trip into the city with all of the effort that that involves (baby sitters, car parking, fewer performance times to choose from).
Many people cannot conceive going to the cinema by themselves (although I do often) but I cannot imagine anyone going to a live performance by themselves. A collective experience is one of it’s appeals.
Price too makes a trip to the cinema great value. Let’s say we are being “gouged” by the Village Roadshow’s of the world with a $15 ticket. For that sort of price, for two hours of entertainment, I want to make sure that spending my money and time is worth my while. That is where my interest in reading reviews and gauging reactions from others comes in. For many though, a trip to the cinema is a social cornerstone for catching up with friends. To see the latest “Shrek” or “Pirates” is a part of the fabric of engagement within their social circle.
In contrast I am continuously disappointed by the sheer expense in attending live events. That they cost a lot to stage is not in contention. Relatively though, they cost a lot for me to attend too.
As a family (5 members), we attended the ‘Walking with the Dinosaurs – Live’ experience in March. This cost $350. And I didn’t think it was that great.
I was drawn to the Missy Higgins concert and, notwithstanding its time and location (StKilda, midweek – neither easy to get to nor get home from) the tickets were starting at over $100.
When I first heard Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds musical as a teenager my imagination was captured by the drama in the story and the music. The sci. fi. story seemed very chilling and plausible. No wonder they freaked out when Orson Welles first broadcast the radio play in the late ‘30s. Some of Australia’s current songsters are performing this musical later in the year for the first time. The cheapest ticket in the pack was $99.50 at the tennis centre. While there is no “bad” seat at that venue, one would be quite a distance from the action all the same. My dismay at not being able to seriously consider booking because of price was very real.
It even costs $33 to reserve a seat at an AFL game at the MCG this year.
As can be observed, these options are all more than a $15 cinema ticket.
As a counterpoint, a “live” experience has the potential for a greater upside than a manufactured, 2 dimensional, projected experience and this is true. But how much better ? Twice as engaging ? Seven times ? Ten times ?
While not attempting to laud one and denigrate the other, the appeal of the cinema will endure for these reasons alone : accessibility (for location and time as well as the capacity to “get into” the experience) and cost.

Eastern Rovers Round 4 versus Hallam - match report

A measly 3 points was the winning margin of Hallam over Eastern on Sunday and the long faces, coach’s ire and disappointment were palpable.
Hallam’s desire to win the hard ball and create chances for themselves was greater than their opponents who, at times, lacked cohesion and purpose.
Recruit Goodridge had a very ineffectual game, spent at least half of it warming the pine and does not expect his services will be required come Sunday week against Frankston.