Sunday, 19 November 2017

Shock Jock Rules in the Interval

I was taking some snaps of the orchestra and audience returning to their seats ahead of the resumption  of the Broadway to La Scala concert in the Sydney Opera House yesterday. I didn't notice the raised finger at the bottom until later.

But therein lies a story. The finger appears to be against the grey hair of a gentleman. But that was no gentleman. That grey-haired head belongs to a Radio Shock Jock. A very well known Sydney Shock Jock. Probably Australia's most notoriously known Shock Jock in a city which has a gaggle of notorious Shock Jocks.

Blow it; I'll tell you who. Alan Jones; that's who.

Mr Jones spent the twenty minutes long interval in deep conversation with a gentleman to his left. Throughout the conversation he waved his hands about extravagantly in the manner of someone who is laying down the law to a recalcitrant. Mr Jones is well used to laying down the law especially to people who are to his left. Mr Jones is accustomed to lecturing Prime Ministers, Premiers, sundry politicians, rugby players and his many, many listeners.

Curiously Mr Jones had a pen in hand throughout what appeared to be heavily a one sided conversation. Perhaps he'd been taking notes during the concert and didn't want to let go. Perhaps he was anticipating autograph hunters although I didn't notice any. Maybe he is just one of those who has a pen handy at all times.

I imagine Mr Jones will make mention of his attendance at the concert in his broadcast tomorrow morning. If so he might mention his interval discussion. I won't know. I tired of listening to Mr Jones' lecturing a long time ago.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

From Broadway to La Scala

This one off concert in the Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House today follows on from similar concerts staged in 2015. Opera Singers Teddy Tahu RhodesDavid HobsonGreta Bradman and stage and screen performer Lisa McCune perform a series musical and operatic favourites. Limited concerts are also programmed for other capital cities.

Today's performance was enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience overwhelmingly of my generation or similar.

Two disappointments. One was the non performance of 'Au fond du temple saint' from The Pearl Fishers although it was mentioned in the (expensive) program. The second being the variable sound quality and levels in the Concert Hall.

Overall though I shared the general enthusiasm around me.


Friday, 17 November 2017

The House of Dior Exhibition

I visited the House of Dior exhibition that was staged recently at the National Gallery of Victoria. I'm not a fashionista nor do I have any particular knowledge about fashion but I enjoyed what was on display and I could appreciate that there was considerable art and skill on display.

Here are some photos from my viewing (without comment nor caption).

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Blade Runner 2049

In 'Blade Runner 2049' Los Angeles Police Department Officer 'Blade Runner K' (Ryan Gosling), a Replicant (artificial but human like fighter), is ordered to chase down rogue Replicants who revolted against a major corporation. K uncovers secrets from the past and goes in search of Deckard (Harrison Ford), a Blade Runner who has been missing for thirty years.

This is the sequel to 1982's 'Blade Runner' and it shares the original's dark and rainy images. Gosling's naturally deadpan manner and expressions are perfectly suited to the his character as a Replicant.

Very atmospheric and whilst the pace is slow I found the film intriguing.


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Australia 2-0

It has been a good day for Australia.

This morning the announcement that the Government decreed voluntary survey which few Australians felt was necessary had returned a 61.6% vote in favour of marriage equality effectively committing the Australian Parliament to introduce the necessary legislation; something that should have been done without an expensive tax payer funded process.

Australia 1 win.

This evening Australia's soccer team, the Socceroos, defeated Honduras in the last chance play off match to qualify for the World Cup Finals 2018 in Russia.

Australia 2 wins.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Murder on the Orient Express

'Murder on the Orient Express' is one Agatha Christie's most famous titles and it contains perhaps the most famous whodunnit resolution in all of her work. Once you have seen/read it and remember the resolution any revisiting of the work can be rather tedious. The story has been filmed several times for both the big screen and television and the 1974 film version was extremely successful. Essentially the plot is that a passenger aboard the Orient Express is murdered during the night and an investigation of the fellow passengers is conducted to establish the murderer.

This 2017 version is Directed and Produced by Kenneth Branagh who also stars in it as the eccentric Belgian Private Detective Hercules Poirot. The film adds a new introduction to establish Poirot's eccentricity and brilliance and a new faux ending in which Poirot has a mental struggle on how he will explain his findings to the Police. Both seem unnecessary to me but this version is a relentless Branagh-athon and so it is that Branagh/Poirot dominates every scene.

I was hoping that Director Branagh might combat the familiarity of the plot by finding an inventive way to highlight interesting aspects of the luxury train service. For one brief moment I thought he might manage it. An early scene has the camera tracking down the length of the train from the vantage of the platform following as Branagh/Poirot is taken to his compartment. This provides glimpses of the passengers already on board and some of the train's facilities. A clever moment but it is not built on.

The long middle section of the film in which Poirot interviews the passengers is deadly dull. Each scene is yet another opportunity to demonstrate Poirot's (Branagh's?) brilliance but the passengers themselves remain steadfastly uninteresting and less than fully formed. Christie aficionados will be bemused to see that this Poirot is particularly athletic grappling energetically with various suspects and witnesses.

If you've never seen/read the story before or if you don't recall whodunnit you may well find this an entertaining experience, even possibly thrilling but I would doubt that.

There are some lovely images but even then the computerisation is obvious. An unnecessary remake.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Bad Moms 2

'Bad Moms 2' (originally titled 'A Bad Moms Christmas') is screening in Sydney a full six weeks ahead of Christmas. Perhaps it was originally intended to screen the film closer to the Christmas period but here it is with Christmas not really on my radar yet.

The film is centred entirely around Christmas even displaying the countdown from six days before through to Christmas Day itself. I don't think any of we four that comprised the audience at our session was feeling especially festive. And this film would not have helped engender a festive spirit. It is rather awful. Not awesome but awful.

Three of the original 'Moms' are back for this sequel. They are not behaving badly when this sequel commences but this time it is the moms' moms (ie the grandmothers) who arrive for the holidays and who set off the bad behaviour.

This is the latest in what seems an endless stream of gross out comedies emanating from the USA. Despite children featuring in the film it seems doubtful that families are the target audience. The 'F' word is uttered regularly both by the adult and child actors and some of the plot devices seem unnecessarily crude. One subplot running through the film involving a male stripper plumbs the depth of poor taste.