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Archive for October, 2014

Big Picture Deal – A Review of Gone Girl

gone girl review


PLACE: Dendy Civic, Cinema 2

PIC: Gone Girl

PEEPS: About 2o present

Dendy, so lots of short ads for food, fashion, jewellery, giftware, hair products and the like.  An ad promoting the niceness of a union-based club to female sport in Canberra*.  No #$%^ing meerkats, so common sense may have hit, or maybe the thing has won some award and no-one has to worry about showing it any more.  Previews for The Captive (family etc deal with aftermath of a child being abducted) and A Walk Among the Tombstones (Liam Neeson as a PI manque, traumatised by what he did as a cop, and now dealing with an abduction).  No prizes for guessing that the feature might be about an abduction.

gone_girl_twoflatewhitesGone Girl is one of the more extensively promoted films of the year.  For those who haven’t seen a preview, an ad or a proper review, the setup is pretty simple.  Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is married to Amy (Rosamund Pike), nationally known as Amazing Amy, her parents’ fantasy account of her childhood.  They are not doing well, in life or in their marriage, a parade of low-grade hostility and resentment over pretty much everything, including moving from New York to Missouri**.  On their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears, with some signs of a violent abduction and Nick is Suspect No 1, the Most Hated Man in America, because he smiled for the cameras***.  Things get worse for him as more of the story emerges and his life becomes every day more of a performance for a ravenous media.  He’s supported by his twin sister, Margo (Carrie Coon) and Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) a flamboyant lawyer with a flair for domestic homicide and media management.  On his tracks are Detective Boney (Kim Dickens) and Officer Gilpin (Patrick Fugit), as well as about  thousand media trucks, network news and commentary and his increasingly disenchanted in-laws.

The plot has a distance to go from there, but that should be left to be revealed in the film or the book****.   There’s enough substance already for a film with some ideas about the compromises inherent in marriage and, more dramatically, the extension and intrusion of the media into private lives and complex investigation.  There’s a display of the ugly phenomenon of the uninvolved appropriating the emotional strain of those at the centre as if it were their own.  There’s enough material for the amusing exercise of trying to work out which of two essentially unappealing main characters, one mostly absent or in flashback, would be less palatable as a colleague or fellow-passenger.

Three flat whites.  A good cast and some interesting ideas, plus a large budget ($US61m*****) for a conventional film, probably should have qualified for a little more.  So the coffees are large, but there are still only three of them.



* – recently voted the Most Liveable City in the world.  I think it may be a question of scale; Sydney and Melbourne have their charms, but they’re focused in a few relatively small areas.

** – where most of it was filmed.  A pretty place in a small town with some big features way.

*** – and because, let’s face it, a lot of murders seem to involve spouses and partners.

**** – which one of my co-viewers suggested was not as engaging as the film.

***** – I couldn’t guess at what Gillian Flynn got for the film rights, but it was probably heaps.

Think Kink – A Review

the little death two flat whites


PIC: The Little Death

The Little Death contains the funniest scene about telephone sex in the history of cinema and is worth seeing for that scene alone. The Little Death, written and directed by Josh Lawson, is a very funny multilayered film containing various stories relating to the sex lives and fantasies of a group of friends and neighbours.

The film opened at the Sydney Film Festival and the audience was laughing from the opening scene. It was difficult to hear all the dialogue during the phone sex scene (featuring Erin James and TJ Power) because of the waves of laughter rolling around the cinema.

The film commences with a scene about rape fantasy; a topic that is fraught with danger and in the wrong hands could be destructive and traumatic. However, Josh Lawson handles the situation well with humour and sensibly avoids the potential hazards of this subject.

Other fantasies explored involve being aroused by someone crying and the tragic and comic depths someone will descend into to make their partner cry, being aroused by inherently funny role-play which happens to turn into an obsession, and being aroused by the sight of a sleeping partner. These fantasies make for some comical set pieces. Even though the film’s subject is about very intimate feelings and subjects, the characters tend to get themselves into complicated and ridiculous situations through their failure to have open and intimate conversations. This is incidental, really, as the film is lots of fun.

There are consistently strong performances from the talented cast: Josh Lawson, Bojana Novakovic, Damon Herriman, Patrick Brammall, Lisa McCune, Erin James, Kim Gyngell, TJ Power, Kate Box, Kate Mulvany, Alan Dukes, Genevieve Hegney, Zoe Carides, Ben Lawson, Tasneem Roc, Paul Gleeson, Lachy Hulme and Russell Dykstra.

The Little Death is on general release from 25th September 2014. I thoroughly recommend it.

This Christmas, a Prescription from Art Pharmacy

Maz Dixon "Colony 21"
Maz Dixon “Colony 21” available at Art Pharmacy

Warm the hearts of loved ones with lasting gifts from local, emerging artists

Forget socks, scented-candles and other ordinary dispensables. This Christmas, forego the throwaway gift in favour of an inspiring artwork to last a lifetime, selected from Art Pharmacy’s talented pool of local and emerging visual artists.

As Australia’s biggest online dispensary of visual art, Art Pharmacy was born from the idea that original art should be available to everyone – even those who aren’t bankrolled by billionaires or the offspring of Russian Oligarchs.

Emilya Colliver, Art Pharmacy Founder and Director commented: “Receiving an original artwork made by a local artist at the beginning of their career is incredibly rewarding, not least because it will look lovely on your wall. A new artwork can be challenging, personal and also a lasting token of your relationship with someone.”

The carefully curated collection of more than 600 original works from award-winning local artists are available for as little as $80 in a bid to provide a nourishing dose of art for enthusiasts of all budgets and offspring of all persuasions.

Among these artists include Bea Bellingham and her playful, whimsical illustrations, Maz Dixon and her series of nostalgic paintings that are known to elicit memories of sun-streaked holidays, Victoria Dixon’s conceptual patterned prints and experimental radiography photographs by Brendan Fitzpatrick.

Detail, Sarah Roberts "Far From View" available at Art Pharmacy
Sarah Roberts “Far From View” available at Art Pharmacy

Hailing from across Australia’s eight states and territories, Art Pharmacy’s artist stable spans two-dimensional and three-dimensional work across multiple disciplines, ensuring there really is something to satisfy the personal aesthetic of all burgeoning collectors this Christmas.

“An artwork from Art Pharmacy can serve as an ice breaker between strangers at dinner parties and even has the potential to act as a catalyst for igniting a life-long interest in art and potentially an art collection to rival Herb & Dorothy’s.

In the event of an emergency, or for those with a tendency to leave Christmas shopping to the last minute, Art Pharmacy offers Gift Prescriptions, available online and sent immediately to the recipient. Best of all, delivery of all Art Pharmacy artworks is free, regardless of the size of the order.

Share the love this Christmas; support local emerging artists and ignite someone’s interest in art with a prescription from Art Pharmacy.

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