Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower


My understanding of a 'wallflower' is someone who is a loner, shy and who is not a participant in social activities.

The three principal 'wallflowers' in 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' scarcely fit that profile. OK, the main character portrayed by Logan Lerman is a little shy but he and Emma Watson and Ezra Miller are a remarkably social threesome.

Whether it is at school football matches, or school dances, or house parties, there they are....participating, fully, visibly, attractively exchanging witty repartee and belonging in their own way.

Sure not everything is mellow in their lives. There are sexual identity issues and a hint of mental health issues in the past but for an hour or so it all seemed a case of attractive rich kids with first world problems to me. In that time I felt I was watching a stereotypical rights of passage tale.

And then there are the final twenty minutes. Patience is a virtue. I could have dismissed it all out of hand but in those concluding scenes issues that have been hinted at are explained and clarified and secrets until then concealed are now revealed. What seemed mostly innocuous takes on a dramatic and highly serious turn.

I feel the story is misnamed but taken as a whole the film packs a punch.

★★★★

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Skyfall


I think that seeing a James Bond film is a bit like eating at McDonalds. Once you've tried one you know what to expect from every other tasting. An all action introduction is followed by a familiar course of womanising, villain baiting and an eventual 'too cool to be true' escape from deathly situations.

'Skyfall' is the 23rd film in the series which is now celebrating fifty years. This time, our current Mr Bond, Daniel Craig repeats the formula with his peculiar mix of urbanity and mournfulness. He does it well and so does everyone else who contributes to this episode.

The introductory sequence in Turkey is especially impressive and fun and for those of us for whom 'too much Judi Dench is never enough' we get extra exposure of her as the under pressure 'M'.

One of the better, recent, Bond movies.

★★★★

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Sunset Boulevard


Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical interpretation of the Billy Wilder film 'Sunset Boulevard' is one of Lloyd Webber's lesser successes. The Wilder film is arguably one of Hollywood's classics with its vaguely eerie storyline of the forgotten silent screen star, stuck in her past, latching onto the younger screenwriter in need of money. The musical sticks fairly closely to the movie to the point of drawing on much of its memorable dialogue but fails on its own account with its repetitive, at times uninspiring score. There are several tunes to provide some highlight but not sufficient it seems for mass appeal.

The Australian professional premiere of the musical was in Melbourne in 1996 where it failed to live up to expectations and did not subsequently transfer to Sydney as would have been expected. I did see a full concert version staged in Sydney a few years back which thrilled the loyal followers but this staging by the Willoughby Theatre Company is the first ever in the state as a full production.

The WTC is a respected not for profit company which has a strong following for its annual season of musical productions. As far as I am aware they are largely if not entirely amateur performers and crew. Their production standards are ambitious and staging their productions in the relatively new surrounds of the impressive boutique Concourse Theatre, a community facility, lends a further air of professionalism to their output.

I thought they did a pretty good job with Sunset Boulevard. My companion, Cs, with a history of professional and semi professional theatre work of his own, was pretty critical of their efforts in the first act - unreasonably so in my view - but he did concede they finished on a high with the second act.

★★★


Friday, 23 November 2012

Signs of Life

(Sydney Theatre Company)

A new play by Tim Winton, 'Signs of Life' has a sibling Aboriginal couple encounter a recently widowed outback property owner.

All three are mourning the loss of a close relative, each in their own way, and in so doing they make discoveries about themselves and each other.

An interesting tale especially for those interested in the spiritual side of things. A little less shouting from Aaron Pedersen would have been nice but that aside all four performers, including Pedersen when he eventually quiets down, do well.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Peak hour on the harbour

Click to enlarge

Around 7pm and Voyager of the Seas (right) arrives in Sydney Harbour as Celebrity Millennium (left) departs. Out of frame to the right Pacific Jewel also heads out of the harbour city.

Voyager of the Seas

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Medea

(Belvoir Street Theatre)

'Medea' is a figure in Greek mythology. She married Jason (of 'Argonauts' fame) and bore him two sons. When Jason falls in love with another woman and announces he will take the sons to live with her and that he will send Medea back to her home town, Medea wreaks her revenge. She sends the lover a tainted garment which peels off all her skin killing her and her father who comes to her assistance. Expecting Jason to return to secure his own revenge, Medea kills her sons. A charming little tale.

Belvoir Street's interpretation of the tale is contemporary, set in the sons' bedroom where they have been locked whilst their parents argue unseen and unheard offstage. The only way we know about what is happening behind the scenes is from the brotherly banter between the boys as they play with their toys.

Their mother, Medea, makes several brief appearances mid play before returning for the final, emotional climax. The two sons played by Rory Potter (pictured) and Joseph Kelly are on stage the entire time. Aged, at my guess, about 9 and 13 respectively the two boys are exceptional. They are completely natural in their roles. Blazey Best performs superbly under the difficult circumstances of very limited stage time.

A very accessible interpretation of a classic tale.

★★★★

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Eclipse

As I type, a full solar eclipse is occurring several thousand kilometres north of me over Cairns in Far North Queensland.

Here are images being beamed on television in Sydney.



In twenty four minutes time, the eclipse (partial) will occur over Sydney with 68% of the sun covered by the moon's shadow. Unfortunately there is heavy cloud cover in Sydney at the moment so the event is unlikely to be visible to us.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Bishopscourt

I so often post photos of the harbour from my apartment I thought I should offer another aspect of the view.

The official residence of the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney is Bishopscourt which you can read in the link has been placed on the market and is expected to fetch a considerable amount but nowhere near the figure of what was lost in the global financial crisis. I wonder what the parishioners feel about their church having lost 'about $100 million dollars'?

This is how Bishopscourt appears this cloudy evening as seen from my balcony.


It all looks very English (and 'Harry Potterish') in its leafy location amongst what Andrew likes to refer to as Sydney's salubrious eastern suburbs.

You can see from the lovely purple areas that it is the Jacaranda season in Sydney.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Bridge

tonight, 47.00%, 10/13, partner and I had words and I was accused of being childish! (I probably was.)

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Private Lives

(Belvoir St Theatre)

Noel Coward's play 'Private Lives' about a formerly married couple meeting unexpectedly whilst on honeymoon with their new partners dates from 1930 and in this production is brought up to a date never mentioned but evidently is the present. I write 'evidently' because that is not a given with this staging. The music used in the production is a spread between World War 2 and the 1960s. Some confused thinking if you ask me.

Similar confusion is evident in the set design which is, as usual for Belvoir Street, minimalist. The opening balcony or terrace scenes take place in front of hotel doors with the room numbers on them, each door separated by an elevator which opens onto the terraces. It is an odd design. The same setting then is applied to the apartment in Paris to which the four characters later adjourn. It just doesn't seem right.

The production has been very popular with many performances sold out and the audience at the performance we attended mostly gave it a rousing ovation when it concluded. Neither Cs nor I felt as warmly about it. I thought it was unfunny for long stretches in the middle but I concede the final scene worked beautifully.

Times have changed since the play was written. Domestic violence, an element in the plot, may have been the acceptable butt of humour in the 1930s but nowadays the thinking is different.


★★

Friday, 9 November 2012

Alex Cross


A police psychologist, 'Alex Cross', is on the hunt for a sadistic killer.

Based on a book from successful author James Patterson this is a pretty awful film. The characters come across as cartoonish stereotypes, one scene in particular of a stand-off in a German company is lamentably ridiculous at times.

The sadistic elements are mostly implied rather than shown directly and prove sickening nonetheless and the film fails to deliver as a thriller.

On the plus side, Matthew Fox is effectively creepy.

Not recommended.


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Bridge

last night, 53.30%, 7/16, a couple of poor boards prevented a much better result.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Safety Not Guaranteed


A magazine intern goes in search of the author of an advertisement seeking someone to go back in time, 'Safety Not Guaranteed'. The intern is as quirky and as much an outsider as the advertisement's author and unsurprisingly they become drawn to each other.

A mostly gentle, off centre comedy.


★★★


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Monday, 5 November 2012

Sculpture, sea and sun 3

Still more from the Sculpture by the Sea.

ViewDave Mercer

'where do the children play', Warwick, Ben & Sam Orme
'knot standing', Paul Trefry
Pacific Ocean
Two passers by
'the commodification of imagination', Petra Svoboda
Bondi Beach

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sculpture, sea and sun 2

More from the Sculpture by the Sea.

At Marks Park
'Mirador', Rachel Couper & Ivana Kuzmanovska
Inside 'Mirador'
Inside 'Mirador looking out at the rising sun
Not a sculpture, a passing runner

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Sculpture, sea and sun

Sydney's annual Sculpture by the Sea concludes this Sunday. I paid a visit early on Thursday before the crowds, which become almost intolerable later in the day and all day on the weekends of the display, reached their peak.

Here are a few snaps.

At Tamarama Beach
'Kaleidoscope Cube', Alex Ritchie
'Transition', Greer Taylor
Sun over the Pacific Ocean at around 8am
'and in the endless pauses, there came a sound', Paul Kaptein
What's that exposed below his belt?

'love, cherish, remember' Patricia Prociv
One of three seats along the pathway this one being 'love'. And so say all of us.

Walkers, joggers and runners on the Bondi to Tamarama coastal pathway
More to follow.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Change imminent

Clouds signalling a weather change

This is a section of the car park at Sydney's latest super IKEA store in the suburb of Tempe with my silver/grey Mazda 3 nudging the walkway bottom left.

Sydney Airport is immediately to the right and planes taking off fly very low overhead with deafening noise however there was no airport noise noticeable whilst we were inside the store.

None of this was the reason for my photograph. I was trying to capture the interesting cloud formation moving in over the city signalling the predicted cool and possibly showery change after a hot day. The temperature had just peaked at 33.3°c

Thursday, 1 November 2012