Friday, 28 September 2007

Brownlow blues

There is nothing inherently wrong with a time of 17.01 around The Tan running track, a distance of 3.85 km. In fact, by all accounts, its quite a good time. And its not the fact that I ran exactly the same time two fortnight’s in a row, both times I knew I couldn’t have run any faster to lessen the time. However the ridiculously competitive spirit within me wants to make every attempt a PB and (more significantly) beat my boss who is also running the Tan regularly and is now 30 seconds ahead of me. So, I’m disappointed with that time and will be looking to beat it next attempt. Not sure if I will by 5 seconds or 50 but I will !

There was plenty wrong with the Brownlow presentation on Monday night. As you know, I am a bit of a sucker for Award shows, Oscar’s night and Brownlow night feature prominently in my annual viewing calendar. The anguish on the faces of those who really want to win (such as Scott West last year) and the round by round highlight packages form a great recap to kick start Grand Final week. But the Funniest Home Videos-like commentary framing the highlights was the first on a long list of what to hate about that coverage this year. Bruce really needs a good smack in the head for his incessant blabbering about “did you knows” and “what abouts”. We really haven’t missed him while the footy was at channel 9. Even Eddie must have been kicked after his first year calling games because he has toned down his oh-so-interesting stat talk. The player interviews were as vacuous as ever; Bruce’s “interview” with Bartel the second it was apparent he had won was cringe-worthy and gratuitous as he would be on stage in just a couple of minutes more (“We just wanted to say, well done Jimmy. Congratulations from all of us. Well done”); and Ricky Olarenshaw managed to sideline whatever female viewership was left by 11pm with his take on partner’s use of their man’s credit cards. It seems that Demetriou was given instructions to read out the votes at double pace however that seemed redudant when ch.7 filled in the “extra” time with an unfunny cross to Stephen Curry (of the Toyota grand final highlight ads) and interviews with retiring players Hird, Kouta, Riccuto and Archer via a video tape and then have them on stage to ask them the same questions in person. And finally, the red carpet show preceding the medal count was as disappointing as ever with very few dresses actually being shown. It can’t be that hard to show what every woman in town wants to watch ? Show the frocks! Show the frocks. Don’t show Garry Lyon, Sam Newman or any of the other has-been meatheads in a not-so-witty piece to camera.

And in a new segment, I would like to name some things that I hate. Celebrating this time of year, I hate the Royal Melbourne Show. The rotten, over-tired, crashing from too much sugar darlings crowd on to my train at going home time, take up all the seats, carry way too many show bags/balloons/giant stuffed animals and talk way too loudly when all I want to do is get home quickly and quietly.
I do love the Grand Final parade however. It is my one day a year when I can be a starry eyed groupie in the crowd, cheer on the footballing heroes as they drive by in the backs of the sponsor’s four wheel drives and sing along to the club songs played out by the marching bands.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Kingdom of Kenny - GG

Did Channel 10, or one of its affiliates, have a hand in the funding of Kenny (10 Wed 830P), the 2006 Aussie comedy ? For it to hit free to air TV so soon after release (usually 3 years) would suggest so. Kenny, the man behind the name, played by Shane Jacobson (and directed by his brother Ronald) is the latest in a long line of naïve, knock-about, basically lovable Aussie blokes just doing their job. His line of work is in Port-a-loos which dot the landscape at every public event and function.
What makes Kenny fun to watch is that it gets good mileage out of its poo jokes in the first half hour and then settles down to present a character comedy as Kenny deals with his estranged wife, cantankerous father, indifferent employees and all the while trying to relate to his near teenage son in a respectful and responsible way.
I have also found that I regard the otherwise unremarkable Port-a-loo out in the real world in a whole new way after seeing this film!
Also on first run is 2005’s Kingdom of Heaven (7 Sun 830P). From director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Gladiator) it stars Orlando Bloom as the shattered young man, Balian, who rides off to fight the barbarians in the Crusades; it co-stars Liam Neeson and Jeremy Irons. At the time of its release, the reviews wanted to be positive but just couldn’t quite. The action scenes are good, performances okay and the story line manages to blend enough fiction into the fact to render the fact meaningless ! GG seems surprised that “Bloom can only hold the camera for a few seconds before his internalised grief gives way to blankness.” For those of us who have followed his career since Fellowship of the Ring, there is no surprise. He can’t act !

Thursday, 6 September 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

Matt Damon’s latest Bourne outing, this one ‘The Ultimatum’, followed the same formula as the first two. Fast paced action and a relentless, likeable hero up against a nasty, double-crossing institution.
The hand-held camera used throughout creates shaky images which no doubt were designed to convey urgency but instead creates sea-sickness. This vertiginous approach was not helped I admit by sitting in the front row of the packed out cinema with good friends Vijay and Rise Tall. At least we avoided the pre-show advertisements which postpone the actual start time by some 20 minutes.
Sore necks, dizzying headaches and spinning eyes detracted somewhat from the spectacle. My personal feeling is that incomprehensible scenes, where a cut lasts less then 2 seconds and the camera has a fit of the shakes, probably means that the action is poorly choreographed and is being papered over. Certainly we can never tell because it is just a blur of movement before the next image is thrust upon us.
The story line has our man Matt, whom I have dubbed Mr Walker – the Ghost Who Walks, because you just can’t kill him, once more on the road searching for his identity with the US authorities trying to trick him to “come in” where presumably they can shoot him in the Cuban. But he knows they can’t be trusted and has more tricks up his sleeve than Rambo ever had.
Damon has bulked up significantly since his first outing as Bourne five years ago and with his thicker neck and shoulders, especially from the bottom of the screen looking up, made me constantly question whether I had walked into a James Packer fan zone.
We missed Franka Potente in this outing. Her companionship of Bourne helped to make him more human; brought the best out of him, as many a good woman has done before.
Still, action is as action does and it works on that level. Just don’t sit near the front!

A Bit Of A Run

Pre-season training is underway and a second run around the Tan yesterday yielded a time of 17.01, an improvement of nearly 90 seconds from two weeks ago.
If you are interested in a social kick of the footy this weekend then the first of four ABOAK (A Bit Of A Kick) ‘kick off’ on Sunday at 2pm, Ford Park, Heidelberg. Lift the aerobic, hang out with mates and kick the footy ! What more could you want ?