Monday, 27 August 2007

please forgive me, but i need to post this

The Pelican
by Dixon Lanire Merrith

A wonderful bird is the pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week,
But I'm damned if I can see how the helican!

black snake moan

yesterday i went to see black snake moan, and in the very best of company! it's so nice when somebody suggests something out of the blue, something you had wanted to do yourself but had nobody to do it with. so so nice. so very very nice! thankfully we made it this week, since it's only showing one session a day, and only at Dendy Portside Wharf.

it was hard to have proper expectations of this movie - i hadn't read any detailed reviews or a plot synopsis like the IMDB or Wikipedia ones, because they spoil things too much; and any short reviews i had seen were basically just "Samuel L Jackson is a god-fearing ex-blues player who's been cheated on by his wife, and cross paths with Rae, half-naked and beaten". it was probably good to go along without expectations, because i was actually blown away by how good this movie was.

first things first - any movie where Samuel L Jackson gets to say motherfucker a few times is gonna be good. woops, that might include Snakes On A Plane. but i never saw that. but more seriously, i'm a big fan of his and this is one of his best performances yet. watching him sing the blues with electric guitar in a thunderstorm - it just cuts straight to yr soul. Lazarus, his character, is strangely conflicted between his god-fearing principles and family values, spurning the use of "cuss" words in his house - and the guy who used to sing blues songs in bars. he's lost that part of his life, and in fact his wife complains at the start of the movie about "needing to live", something which she can't do in his house.

i hope it's not too revealing if i say i actually identify with the character Rae to some extent (hey i like it a bit rough sometimes!). she's the town slut, i suppose you could say, but in love with Ronnie (Justin Timberlake). Ronnie has left her for the army, but suffers from anxiety attacks that only Rae can help him with. i've decided that no matter how old JT gets, his voice will always sound like a 12yo boy, but that suits the character in this case - except when he's trying to be tough and wield a gun. that was a bit ridiculous, but it is subsequently ridiculed by Lazarus, so that's all good ;)

without giving too much away, Rae gets beaten up and is found by Lazarus, who takes her in and looks after her for a few days through her drug-induced stupor and her bizarre fits of sexual abandon. he then takes it upon himself to try and "save" her, chaining her up to the house. it all sounds very kinky, but is really played out quite well. it's at this point that you struggle to understand Lazarus and his motives, and a character that you wanted to like becomes a bit less likeable. but i always enjoy this kind of realism in a movie, and understanding these characters and their motives is what underpins the whole journey.

a special mention from this shameful Law and Order fan for the appearance by S. Epatha Merkerson. this film has a stunning cast, an interesting story and complex characters. i wasn't bored for one second.

all i can say is thankusomuchsoveryverymuch to the one who accompanied me.

Friday, 24 August 2007

I finally succumbed .. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

It's been a dull rainy old week here, so what better time to finally turn to the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Cormac McCarthy - The Road. I've considered reading this for awhile and had high expectations, considering the number of rave reviews it has had, and the discussion I saw on The First Tuesday Book Club.

To begin with I was leaning towards disappointment. I was distracted and bogged down in technical issues of style - "why does none of his dialogue use quotations marks?", "why doesn't he use apostrophes for contractions like dont/cant, etc?". However once you are into the flow of the narrative, it seems natural and even fitting for the plot. With only two characters, you don't need to structure your dialogue so neatly, and it adds to the poetry of the whole thing.

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic version of America, we are unsure of what has happened - a natural disaster, or man-made? - we simply follow the journey of a man and his child through the barren, cold and dangerous landscape. There are few people to speak of, and those they meet are either hopeless souls or marauding groups who have turned to cannabilism.

Despite what others have said, I didn't find the book particularly disturbing and I certainly didn't cry, which means I have a heart of stone apparently. I guess to me it was all so inevitable. In fact, the ending stopped well short of what I considered to be the inevitable conclusion, which is why I suppose the book has been called ultimately redemptive.

Anyway I don't really have much more to say. It is a brilliant book and well worth reading. Just don't buy the paperback edition like mine which is literally covered front,back,inside with raving quote after quote from reviewers -- it will set your expectation level too high, and it's a bit much really. Let the book speak for itself.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

First Among Sequels - Jasper Fforde

Today I finished the next Next book. Or is that now the current Next book? Or since I finished it .. the previous Next book? Gah. *frowns*

Anyway, since my Sister and her then-partner-now-husband introduced me to Jasper Fforde in the guise of a gift a few years ago, I've enjoyed all of the Next series and also (to an oh-so-slightly lesser extent), the Nursery Crimes. Anybody who loves books, reading, and a bit of fun will enjoy these books and First Among Sequels hit the spot just right. The book takes a number of different turns, such that you aren't quite sure which plot line is supposed to be the primary one, but who cares, it's a great rip-roaring adventure.

Anybody who knows about the Thursday Next books doesn't need me to sit here and outline any of the plot, and anybody who doesn't would be better off starting with The Eyre Affair, so that logic gets me safely out of having to say anymore right now. w00t!
For some reason, I had assumed that this would be the final final final Next, although the ending casts more than a little doubt on that. The Handy Hint (c) for today? Never assume anything.

happy sunday,

Friday, 17 August 2007

City of Violence @ BIFF

Well here I am on a lonesome Friday night listening to YOU-KNOW-THE-FUCK-WHO and realising that I never wrote about my second (and final) BIFF session for 2007. That's quite pitiful really, but 2 is better than none. My bestest buddy and her fiance were supposed to be joining me, but that didn't eventuate and I got a terrible seat, so things weren't off to the best start. On top of that, although I was expecting a bit of fun korean martial arts action, I was very tired, out past my pathetically early bedtime and didn't really want to be there.

But it was a bit of fun korean martial arts action.

If you want a real review I'm sure you can find one Out There in the luminous aether, I don't even pretend to be good at such things, and it's not like I'm an expert in the genre.

What else has happened this week? Work work work, sister's wedding, boss trying to sneak in a new collective agreement with all kinds of changes that smell of take-take-take without any give .. the usual stuff I suppose.

...and we rode towards the dawn; with our black hoods down and our headphones on...

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Mukhsin - Yasmin Ahmad @ BIFF

Well! I've not written much at all this week, and that is How Things Should Be, I suppose. Things have been a mixture of busy and frustrating at work, and the past week has brought some sad news. I attended the funeral of a colleague on Thursday, 'nuff said.

Meanwhile, the BIFF has been going on, and I've been awfully slack this year! Last year I considered myself "restrained", seeing only 7 films. In the past I've done the whole 11-movies-in-10-days thing, but this year... I don't know, I suppose it's been bad timing - I'm only seeing two.

But on to today, when I had the pleasure of going to see Mukhsin, directed by Yasmin Ahmad. This was in the "Malaysian New Wave" category of the festival. I had previously seen Sepet at my bestest buddy "Merlin"'s house, and today we both went to Mukhsin together. There weren't all that many people in the cinema, which was strange for a 12pm Saturday BIFF session, but there you go. This was a first-love story - the story of Orked and Mukhsin. A very simple, sweet tale. So very nice. The film contains a tie-in to Sepet, hinting at a happy ending for the inter-racial couple. I admit that I only suspected this tie-in and wasn't truly sure until "Merlin" confirmed it later (my bad memory).

Being a "first love" story - and between a 12 and 10 year old - it is very pure, and in fact neither character even mentions how they feel. But the audience can truly feel the characters shining through. Not just Mukhsin and Orked, but Orked's family and other supporting characters as well.

I don't know if a dumb aussie boy can truly appreciate Yasmin Ahmad's films - the glimpses into Malay life, the way she "pokes fun" at her own people and introduces inter-racial (particularly chinese/malay) tensions. But regardless of my dumb-aussieness, I've enjoyed both Sepet and Mukhsin very much.

goodnight folk,

Friday, 3 August 2007

an important lesson, from me to you

ALWAYS have an exit strategy.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Ode to the 470 - for bindleys

I fucken love the 470. I fucken miss catching the 470. I fucken love the 470. No other bus route could turn a 7km journey into a 40 minute adventure. Back in the day, on the days when I didn't cycle for one reason or another, this bus would always do the job. I always scored a seat - it's not the most popular route going, although it still does fill up as it winds its way as slowly as possible towards the city. The 470 used to take me doorstep to doorstep. I fucken love the 470. You know, only on the 470 could I start listening to the Ape Got Fire mini-LP by Front End Loader and actually get to finish it just as I reached my destination. I fucken love the 470. Every time I listen to that album now, I think fondly of the 470.

Bindleys. Embrace it. I fucken love the 470 and so should you.