Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Post

'The Post' is set around the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s when first The New York Times and then the Washington Post newspapers published papers leaked by a military analyst revealed years of deceit by successive US Administrations over the progress and handling of the Vietnam War.

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are reliable as ever as the Post's Publisher and Editor respectively. An interesting reminder of events which led indirectly and eventually to the impeachment of a President.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Darkest Hour

In May 1940, the British parliament is in turmoil. The Opposition Labor Party is demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Chamberlain before joining with the Conservatives in a War Cabinet to deal with menace posed by the German Chancellor Hitler. Winston Churchill is called upon to take over as Prime Minister.

'Darkest Hour' focuses on that month and the tensions between the Hawkish Churchill and those Establishment identities who prefer to sue for peace. The film is an opportunity for an Actors' masterclass with Gary Oldman magnificent as Churchill amongst a powerful British cast. One Aussie, Ben Mendelsohn, matches the film's standard in the key role of King George VI.


Monday, 15 January 2018

What's in a name?

My friend H has a new puppy; a groodle which is a mix of golden retriever and poodle.

I think she looks cute. The puppy's name is Maili. You have a choice regarding the meaning of the name depending on which origin you prefer. There are Irish, Polynesian and Hebrew origins. From Polynesian roots the meaning is gentle breeze. From Hebrew the meaning is sea of bitterness or rebelliousness. From Gaelic the meaning is pearl. The name is a variant of both Molly and Mary.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Greatest Showman

'The Greatest Showman' is a musical which chronicles the life of P T Barnum who rose from childhood poverty to international renown as a Circus promoter.

The story is presented in Baz Luhrmann style without matching Baz's levels of excess. The songs are by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the duo behind La La Land and in my opinion they are a great improvement over the earlier work.

The plot gallops along from one musical number to the next by performers who for the most part are competent singers and dancers but there is not much attention to developing their characters. Like Barnum's product itself 'The Greatest Showman' is a confection packed with oddities and beauties. If you don't like this scene, just wait because another one will replace it momentarily.

Definitely better than the over-hyped 'La La Land'.


Friday, 12 January 2018

No words

Isn't this a lovely looking family?

I don't know the family. I never met them. The day after this photo was taken they were driving on one of our roads. It was Boxing Day. It was also the last drive that three of them would ever take and almost certainly also the last drive of the fourth family member. The family was involved in a car crash.

Funerals of the three family members shown left to right in the photo were held yesterday. The life support for the woman on the right was turned off this morning.

The driver of the other car, it is said was returning from receiving methadone treatment. It is also reported that the other driver had more than 60 convictions, including at least 10 convictions for driving while disqualified and allegedly had been subject to a nine-year driving ban.

I should stress that I do not know the circumstances of the collision; in particular whether blame for the collision can be, or will be, attributed to either driver.

The other driver also died in the collision.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Mildred (Frances McDormand), wearied by seven months of apparent inaction over the murder of her daughter buys advertising on three billboards to bring to public notice the failure of the Police to identify a suspect. Her action brings Mildred into conflict with Police Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) and his offsider Dixon (Sam Rockwell).

Ostensibly from the outset a whodunnit, 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri' is in reality a depiction of relationships and self discovery. The drama and occasional violence are balanced by unexpected moments of humour and irony.

The performances are magnificent.


Tuesday, 9 January 2018

All the Money In the World

'All the Money in the World' is based on events when the grandson of Billionaire J Paul Getty was kidnapped for ransom in Italy in 1973. This is the film which achieved pre-release notoriety because twenty-two scenes had to be re-shot in ten days when Christopher Plummer was brought in to replace the disgraced Kevin Spacey in the Billionaire's role.

Although the kidnapping and extortion demands were real occurrences, the dramatisation of the events is fictionalised in the film.

Historical inaccuracies aside, this is a terrific film which is increasingly gripping as it progresses. The performances especially by Plummer and by (Michelle Williams) as the kidnapped teenager's mother are excellent. Even the usually light-weight Mark Wahlberg makes an impression.