Sunday, 21 May 2017

Drivers. Beware. Elderly drivers!

It is a stereotype. Elderly drivers are dangerous. Especially those driving Volvos. Particularly those wearing hats.

Well. Somebody told me that tale thirty or so years ago. And it has stuck in my mind.

I don't drive Volvos. I don't normally wear hats while driving but occasionally I will wear a baseball style cap. Nonetheless I may have turned into an elderly driver. Just maybe.

Friday night. It is dark and rain is falling. City back streets, not well lit. I'm trying to find a car space. I notice one to my right on a one way street. (Overseas readers, we drive on the left hand side of the road in Australia.) Actually I have driven almost past the space.

I check my back mirror. I check my side mirror. My rear window is splattered with rain. I cannot see anything behind me. All is dark.

I start to reverse my car. I continue to reverse my car. Suddenly. Simultaneously. A car horn and a very loud crashing sound.

I have backed into something. I look back at the rear window. Still cannot see anything.

I get out of my car. A small, black (or maybe it is dark navy) Toyota is behind me. Apparently I have backed into it.

The Toyota driver and I examine her little black car as best we can in the rain and darkness. No evidence of any damage. 'I will check it later in better light and away from the rain' the Toyota driver says.

We both examine my car. Embarrassingly, mine displays a few scratches and minor indentations which I know are from previous incidents. One tiny scratch looks to me to be the result of this incident.

Examining my car the next morning I see several other smallish paint scratches, four in total. If the Toyota driver finds similar damage - and none was evident on the night - it won't be worth claiming the cost of restoration through the insurers.

Drivers. Beware. I am an elderly driver on the road. I drive a dark grey, Mazda 3 sedan.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Viceroy's House

Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville), arrives in India in 1947 with instructions to oversee the transition of that nation to independence after three centuries of British rule. He and his wife, Lady Edwina (Gillian Anderson), prove very different from their remote predecessors but are confronted with intransigent religious based factions unwilling to accommodate compromise over a nation's future.

'Viceroy's House' is a blend of 'Downton Abbey' meets 'Gandhi' with touches of the opulent privilege and frivolity of the former seasoned with the political seriousness of the latter. The blend is not entirely successful; a sort of bet each way really but it is a useful introduction to an important period in world history.


Friday, 19 May 2017

Mr Burns

(Image: Daniel Boud)
'Mr Burns' is a co-production from the Belvoir Theatre and the State Theatre Company South Australia.

Some cataclysmic event has destroyed much of the planet and its inhabitants and a small band of survivors occupy their time reliving episodes of 'The Simpsons'. The cast of seven is energetic and lively and performs admirably.

If like myself and my companion you have not been an ardent follower of that animated series, then like us, you may well be left mystified by the happenings on stage in this work. Quite a few patrons did not return to their seats after the interval. Most of those who did return however, enthusiastically roared their appreciation at play's end. We were left bewildered albeit admiring of the performers' efforts.


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Black is the New White

(Sydney Theatre Company)

In a twist of racial stereotypes, a well to do Indigenous family comes to terms with the struggling, white, boyfriend and his parents who visit for the Christmas holidays.

'Black is the New White' is a Guess Who's Coming to Dinner for the 21st Century. Authored by Nakkiah Lui, the play contains plenty of sassy, intelligent dialogue and much humour. Two slapstick scenes may be slightly over the top and the eventual resolution may be a little too neat but for the most part this is a very funny and intriguing play.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Bonnie and Clyde

Minor felons, Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty), meet by chance, are quickly drawn to each other and embark on a crime spree that cannot end well.

'Bonnie and Clyde' is one of a series of classic films screening over the year at Sydney's Randwick Ritz to celebrate the cinema's 80th anniversary. It also is the 50th anniversary of 'Bonnie and Clyde's' release.

Surprisingly, given how much time I spend at the cinema, this is my first ever viewing of the film. It must have seemed a very violent affair half a century ago given that the impact of the violence is still stunning today. There is a fascinating assemblage of supporting characters and Dunaway's and Beatty's charismatic coupling still resonates.


Monday, 15 May 2017

Things to Come (L'avenir)

Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) who teaches Philosophy at a school is increasingly drawn to a former student and his commune lifestyle as her marriage to another academic begins to disintegrate.

'Things to Come' (L'avenir) is one of these French films which present a snapshot of a time in a person's life. There is little to explain their past and just as little to suggest their future. The film ambles along as a period in Nathalie's life.

I generally find Huppert to be a rather cold, emotionless presence. In this instance there are flickers of passion in her character.

An observation piece without the interruption of action.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife

As the Nazis occupy Poland in 1939, in Warsaw the local Zookeeper and his wife Antonina (Jessica Chastain) pursue action to maintain their animals while also secretly protecting members of the Jewish population from incarceration in the Jewish Ghetto.

'The Zookeeper's Wife' is based on actual events and individuals. A most extraordinary story told well.


Saturday, 13 May 2017

Their Finest

Catrin (Gemma Arterton) is selected to write scripts and storylines for British propaganda films during the Second World War. She has to deal with male chauvinism and the eccentricities of fading matinee idol.

'Their Finest' is quite a pleasant, if sometimes slow, romantic comedy which follows a predictable arc to its eventual resolution.


Friday, 5 May 2017

The Book of Mormon

Two Mormon missionaries are sent to Uganda and are confronted by a culture and lifestyle beyond anything imaginable from their own experience and education.

'The Book of Mormon' ostensibly ridiculing religion sends its characters on a journey of revelation in a manner never envisaged in the Bible. If you take your religion very seriously this is not the show for you. For those more relaxed about their beliefs and for those without belief at all this musical will mostly be an hilarious two and a half hours of entertainment and silliness.

Currently staged at Melbourne's Princess Theatre this is a brilliantly performed production.

I believed!


Thursday, 4 May 2017

Personal Shopper

Maureen (Kristen Stewart) flits between Paris and London shopping for her celebrity employer's clothes and accessories but her mind is constantly distracted by her late twin brother's vow to send her a message.

'Personal Shopper' is a European atmospheric experience rather than a plot driven journey. It is a case of love it or loathe it, I think. Definitely not an action flick.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Berlin Syndrome

Clare (Teresa Palmer), an Australian tourist in Berlin, meets local teacher Andi (Max Riemelt) who takes her home for the evening. The next morning after Andi has left for his work, Clare finds herself locked in his apartment. Is the lock in deliberate or accidental?

'Berlin Syndrome' is a slow burn thriller/mystery which has its moments but the rationale for Andi's behaviour is never fully explained and the final resolution appears superficial and unconvincing.


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Rules Don't Apply

Marla (Lily Collins) is invited to Hollywood by Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty) to audition for a new movie and before long she becomes involved with Frank (Aiden Ehrenreich), one of Hughes' company drivers.

'Rules Don't Apply' is as much about the eccentricities of the legendary filmmaker/billionaire as it is about the young couple's relationship. Collins charms on screen and Ehrenreich makes for an interesting partner.

Beatty does a great job as Hughes but how humorous you find this movie humorous may depend in part on how much you stomach the character's eccentric behaviour.