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The Gourmet King Unlocks His Treasures

 

josh rea

The world’s finest high-end foods and spices once attainable only by top chefs are now available to the public. The opening of retail store Gourmet Life in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs sees products used by such names as Quay’s Peter Gilmore, Est.’s Peter Doyle and Aria’s Matt Moran in the grasp of every lover of fine food. Brainchild of importer Josh Rea, Gourmet Life is an Aladdin’s cave of culinary and gourmet delights set to change the scope of the city’s food scene.

Josh has unearthed more than 1000 unique products to grace his store, from Rome’s oldest coffee to Europe’s most sought-after fresh almonds and hazelnuts that burst with genuine flavor. But his piece de resistance are his ranges of the world’s finest black caviar, truffles and wild mushrooms – each the largest of any in Australia and available only through his newly opened outlet. Indeed, nowhere else in the country can such an extraordinary range of produce be found.

Over the past decade Josh became renowned through Sydney’s leading restaurants as the supplier of rare, high quality products starting with vanilla and saffron. His dedication to excellence saw him succeed where others had failed: for instance he was the first to bring fresh porcini mushrooms – the king of their kind – into Australia and he remains the country’s sole importer of the delicate morsels. “We nailed the quality aspect of importing fresh porcini and it went gangbusters with all the leading restaurants,” Josh recalls.

 But the price of this success meant Josh’s home-based business took over his life. “We couldn’t fit all the hazelnuts in the hallway of my house anymore”, he says. “We had Mediterranean sea salt stacked to the roof. There was no restaurant we weren’t supplying.” The only way forward was to find a willing retailer to taking on his highly delicate produce, but when this proved impossible, Josh took matters into his own hands and Gourmet Life was born.

It is little wonder that Josh’s dedication has seen him become Sydney’s newest and best fine food purveyor.  Only at Gourmet Life can customers buy such delicacies as the world’s only sustainable caviar, Mottra of Latvia, which is gently milked from the sturgeon before the fish is returned to the water. The store’s hazelnuts are the world’s most sought-after, hand-picked and sorted by an Italian mother and daughter team using methods passed down through generations. Gourmet Life also sells rare wild French asparagus from the Pyrenees Mountains, harvested straight after its month-long growing period, as well as chocolate deemed the finest in the world. Josh has just become the sole purveyor of leading French foie gras brand Castaing, a favourite with Michelin star chefs. Gourmet Life is also the only supplier of beluga caviar in Australia.

 

Some of the treats available at Gourmet Life include:

  • Rome’s oldest coffee label, Sant’ Eustachio
  • Jams crafted by 2 Michelin star Chef Moreno Cedroni presented in hand-made stackable Venetian glass jars. Varieties include strawberry lemon thyme, and tangerine and organic fig with violets
  • French spice range Terre Exotique and its unique varieties including Yuzu zest and Espelette chilli
  • A L’Olivier olive oils, chutneys, pastas, mustards and vinegars
  • The globe’s sexiest bottles of olive oil from Spanish producer Pepa Olivar
  • Hazelnuts from Nocciole d’Etite, Europe’s most renowned producer of the variety.
  • Homewares from Galateo and Friends
  • Chocolates by Catalonian artisan chocolatier Xavier Mor

 

Gourmet Life is far more than just a shopping or browsing experience. Each brand has a story and staff can take customers on a sample tasting through the store, explaining the background of each so buyers fully appreciate products’ unique qualities. Prices are affordable, too, ranging from well under $10. Black caviar costs from $4.50 a gram.

Whitebread Magic – The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

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FILM REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK

PLACE: 10:10, Hoyts Woden, Cinema 8.

PIC: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.

PEOPLE: One, un, uno, ein.

If one is the only one in an enormous cinema, and one still sits in the allocated seat, should one give a damn?

The ads include the now-grating PillowTalk summer ad – we’ve been having single digit nights for a while here, and summer is probably over. Other highlights include Nepali food, sportspeople counselling against drinking and driving. Lexus. More previews than one could possibly absorb and enough to create some concern about what was about to appear. The Host (Stephenie Meyers and aliens or something), Iron-Man 3, GI Joe:Retaliation, Man of Steel*. And Scary Movie 5, which looks like the usual chundering of cliches, but this time with Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan**. How the potentially quite good have fallen!

And it was a decline from grace that we (well, I) saw in the feature. The small boy who became Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) was small, geeky and neglected in 1982 but found a love of magic and a friend, who became his side-kick/co-star Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi).

Years later, they strut the stage At Bally Casino in Las Vegas, delivering the same show every night for proprietor Doug Munny (James Gandolfini), while leading a life of prodigal luxury. The fall is fast, with the arrival of Steve Gray, the Brain Rapist (Jim Carrey), a magician whose work and persona are provocative, abrasive and disturbing. The team breaks up, and finds different grades of misery while Steve Gray goes from strength to strength and Burt finds counsel in the old magician Rance Holloway (well-played by Alan Arkin.)

olivia wilde wonderstone

So, will the boys get back together? Will they recover their old status? Will Steve Gray get a big smack in the face with a hubris pie? Will Burt get Jane (Olivia WIlde) the girl he really loves**? Is this an American movie?

This movie is pretty competent and fairly harmless, the latter of which is its main problem. Even the out-there stunts of Steve Gray are merely unpleasant rather than genuinely confronting. Probably safe for most audiences, like most big-stage magic acts. But there is, with respect, no magic in it.

Two skinny flat whites. Some kind of artificially-sweetened, gluten-free pretend biscuit.

FPB

* – yup, another Superman movie. This time, though, there seem to be some lovely shots of small-town America before the silliness starts.

** – he could have been a great actor, but remains my wished-for role model. She less so.

*** – he’s 50, she’s 32. Has my whole life been missing something?

PINHOLE COLLECTIVE / Vol 03. Call For Submission

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Our favourite little Aussie zine, PINHOLE is releasing Volume 3 and calling for submissions.

They say:

“We’re going fishing for submissions and want to ask; ‘what are you chasing?’ Is it love? Money? The idealistic dream lifestyle? What captures your  imagination? What are you suddenly aware of? What moves or inspires you? Makes  you think twice or even look back in anger?

We present ‘The Catch’ – The devil is in the details.

Often referring to a catch or mysterious elements hidden in the  details. You can have it all, but you better read the fine print. We explore the  dark side of a good thing and vice versa. So what is the catch for you?

We’d like to invite you to unleash your creative mind and show us your best  artistic interpretation of ‘The Catch’ by adding your words, visuals, tales and  stories to our Volume 3 for your chance to have your work printed in our  zine.

Max four A5 pages for each submission. Words 500-1500 – max | Images,  illustrations and all visuals to be sent in high res 300dpi for print  purposes.”

Get your creative thinking caps on and submit!

Submissions for Volume 3  close end of March 2013

Pinhole Collective www.pinhole.co Follow us @pinhole_3

 

Go Red Threads to Knock Em Dead

 

Newcastle, for all its glorious beaches, fecund palm trees, broad streets and pop-up shop awesomeness, is not a destination known for its shopping. Trust me, this is for good reason. Severely sparse pickings on the fashion retail therapy front.

Baking in the Hunter Valley sun after schlepping from the beachfront, through the Hunter St Mall and up the celebrated Darby street seeking shopping relief. I panted my way along Glebe St to discover The Junction – according to Vogue Forums – had a redeeming boutique called Lillies at the Junction. And yes, Lillies is swell, if you love love love Trelise Cooper and were looking to blow a cool couple of grand on your afternoon shopping spree. So, no offense to Lillie’s or Trelise, I moved on rather disheartened and was starting to consider the whole mission a failure, dragging my feet along Union St when the Red Cross shop caught my eye.

redthreads

 

In I walked and was immediately soothed by the conducive shopping tunes of ABBA’s greatest hits (play Dancing Queen next time you’re trying on a skintight pair of jeans and you’ll agree, there’s something in that disco mix that makes everything OK). The lovely Adele was busily working her visual merchandising magic and I was so taken aback by the loveliness of the shop displays, I had to poke my head back out the door to check the sign. Yep – Red Cross Op Shop – most peculiar.

Then my busy hand fingered the racks turning up label after label of beautifully pressed, barely worn clothes. Jigsaw, Witchery, Country Road, Escada, Max Mara, Cue… all in my size! The final assault were the price tags. Almost new, trans-seasonal wool-blend trousers for $12.99, dresses for $15 and jackets for $20, I needed to know what was going on.

Patient Adele explained it all to me – luckily – because now I can share this news with you (unless, of course, you already have known for ages in which case WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?).  Red Threads is the Red Cross’  fashion initiative where they only keep premium quality donations and attract partnerships with fashion labels who donate their seconds stock. Store Manager, Megan, has decorated the boutique with bunting and cute signs which, along with Adele’s zjooshing make this one happy little oasis of bargain bliss.

It’s fabulous. You can nab a new outfit for less than $50 and enjoy warm fuzzies all in one fix.

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 Like them on Facebook or visit www.redcross.org.au

The Concourse Lunch Hour Series

Jane Rutter

Escape from the rat race with world renowned flautist Jane Rutter who presents The Concourse Lunch Hour Series, a showcase of classical music set against the backdrop of the Concert Hall on The Concourse, Chatswood.

Featuring Simon Tedeschi, Cho Ki Wong, Rick Price and Taryn Fiebig, The Concourse Lunch Hour Series will commence from Wednesday 17 April until Wednesday 11 September, 2013.

Known for her classical, multi-media and cabaret performances, Jane Rutter has appeared as guest soloist with prominent artists such as Richard Bonynge, Michael Crawford, David Helfgott and Slava Grigoryan.

“The site of The Concourse has many wonderful memories for me – as a child I remember performing at the Willoughby Town Hall and studying with the legendary Victor McMahon at his studio on Victoria Avenue,” said Jane. “It gives me great pleasure to present world-class music in what will always be one of my favourite stomping grounds,” she said.

 

The Concourse Lunch Hour Series:

French Kiss – An Australian in Paris

12.30pm – 1.30pm, Wednesday 17 April

Featuring Jane Rutter (Flute) with Cho Ki Wong (Piano)

 

Gershwin and Me

12.30pm – 1.30pm, Wednesday 15 May

Featuring Simon Tedeschi (Piano)

 

PS I Love You

12.30pm – 1.30pm, Wednesday 19 June

Featuring Taryn Fiebig (Soprano) with Jane Rutter (Flute)

 

Rick Price Unplugged

12.30pm – 1.30pm, Wednesday 17 July

Featuring Rick Price (Vocals) and Band

 

Beethoven and Chopin

12.30pm – 1.30pm, Wednesday 21 August

Featuring Choki Wong (Piano) with String Quartet

 

An Irish Fantasy

12.30pm – 1.30pm, Wednesday 11 September

Featuring Jane Rutter (Flute) with String Trio and Harp

 

For more information, please visit The Concourse website

Suspenders – ‘Hitchcock’ film review

Hitchcock – A Film Review

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REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK

The local baseball club ad is really awful and I want to attack my eyes with a sharp object when I see it*. Previews for The Impossible (scarily real tsunami-stuff with Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts playing roles occupied in real life by Spanish people) and Zero Dark Thirty (interrogators nearly as brutal and effective as parents, leading to the death of Osama Bin Laden).

[Corpulent old guy appears on screen similar to though better dressed than your scribe. Speaks fluidly as one would imagine an unfit beagle speaking, if it could, in a palimpsest of an East End accent.]  “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Tonight’s production tells the tale of a prolific director, no longer young, and his well-organised wife as they develop a new film for presentation to the public. There is also some ambiguity about the nature of their relationship, and you may notice some references to the work of the late Mr Hitchcock”.

What follows is a fine piece of work setting the context in which Alfred Hitchcock directed Psycho. Serious film historians can debate bits of the story – the extent of studio support, the extent of Alma Hitchcock’s control over the creation – but most of us will see it as sound storytelling. That story is of a self-centred auteur with a flock of personal demons and an unshakeable faith in his own specialised genius, who realises he needs to recover from some relative failures. He receives support from his long-suffering wife Alma, who manages what he cannot, and who acts as the mother figure which so troubled the director**. He fights the minions and titans of the corporate film world and outflanks the naysayers of censorship who inexplicably object to possible scenes of a naked woman being hacked to death with a knife. His most consistent ally is not always Alma, but the spirit of Ed Gein, the perpetrator of the macabre crimes which inspired the book and the film.

hitchcock-hopkins-mirren-johansson

The performances are strong. While Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock) and Helen Mirren (Alma) should receive most of the praise, they provide only a robust structure. There is sound work putting flesh on the bones by Scarlett Johansson (as Janet Leigh), Toni Collette (as Peggy Robertson, the assistant director), James D’Arcy (as Anthony Perkins) and Jessica Biel (as Vera Miles). The settings are limited, but attractive (the Hitchcock home being a semi-Gothic masterstroke). “In Hollywood, you are only as good as your last film”, Hitchcock at one point intones. Hitchcock’s last film, in real life, was Family Plot, a poor example of his work (I saw it in 1976 or 77, and do not want to repeat the experience. Ever). This is a much better memory.

Three flat whites and a babycino, with a 1960-style chocolate eclair.

FPB

* – no objection to baseball, for those who can’t understand cricket and don’t care about their duty as Australians.

** – look at Psycho, and at this film’s references to betrayal by actresses who preferred to be mothers and its depiction of Hitchcock’s direction of actresses.

The Hub House Diner – Deep-fried Dreaming

The Hub House Diner – Dulwich Hill – Restaurant Review

Fries

Fat has never been so photogenic since locals rushed the doors of The Hub House Diner which opened in Dulwich Hill last month. The crowd-pleasing Yankee diner cuisine has food bloggers and Instagrammers snapping the golden, mouth-watering morsels and singing high praised ‘hallelujahs’ since the burger joint came to town. Dean and Daniella Papas opened with head chef Joseph Sergio who is still tweaking his fried fantasia but has essentially nailed the ultimate ‘dude food’ menu.

The staff are young, fun and friendly which shouldn’t bear mentioning but makes a mighty impact on a seasoned Sydney diner these days. Daunted by a mouth-watering menu of burgers ($15 – $18) we went for the house plank ($22) and the pulled pork sliders to share in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. The waitress offered us wise counsel when it came to our choices, whipped our beers out to us before we could bat an eyelid, very quickly followed by our meal.

The sliders were not as thrilling as we had hoped. It is true that they had to gently break the news to us that the cute little brioche buns had sold out and instead the chef cobbled together a slider-esque attempt by quartering a larger bun. They were a bit dry and more about the bun rather than the so-called pulled pork.  The saving grace was the share plank which had splodges of American-style mustard, the house chilli sauce, coleslaw, creamy aioli, a steel bucket of buffalo wings, zucchini fritters and popcorn chicken.

Underneath a fantastic, tooth-crackingly crunchy batter were plump pieces of delicious chicken (we had heard a rumour that the owners’ father ran the local BBQ chicken place… but this remains unconfirmed) and the zucchini fritters with orange gel and sour cream were tasty little examples of the rare possibility of a vegetable inspired heart attack. Mopping up the creamy lashings of dip with salty fries and licking our oily fingers with the same immense satisfaction that everyone else in the warm-glow restaurant had on their faces. It seems the Papas’ are on the pulse when it comes to people’s demand for gourmet grease and the rise of ‘anti-health’ cuisine in Oz.

They’re getting a lot of things right at this place. Dulwich Hill hasn’t stopped raving about the coffee since the first day of trade. Barista Nick Xipakis serves Di Bella coffee with a secret twist that people are loving. His specialities include the Cold Drip Espresso Blend on the Rocks and his ¾ Latte.  If coffee’s not your thing, maybe you could be tempted by the artery clogging indulgence that has set the social media mentions afire; the peanut butter and banana smoothie.

 

The Hub House Diner

404 New Canterbury Rd

Dulwich Hill, NSW 2203

Can Do Kandos

 A weekend escape to The Town That Built Sydney

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The Dubbo XPT chugged into station after a carefree hurtle over the mountains and my travelling companion remarked “Oh, it’s cold.” to which a passer-by replied, “Welcome to Lithgow.” We braced ourselves against the mid-summer chill for a brief wait before switching to a Mudgee-bound bus which delivered us  out the front of the Railway Hotel, Kandos (population 1306). The bus was necessitated by the fact that the Gwabegar railway line hasn’t run through Kandos since 2007.

We had arrived in The Town That Built Sydney – home to NSW’s most productive cement works until it was abruptly shut down in 2011, never to be reopened. The local abundance of lime deposits in the Capertee Valley inspired the opening of the works in 1913. The town’s original name – Candos – was an acronym based upon the names of the six directors of the company and in their time, the works were the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Just west of the Great Dividing Range, Kandos is 3 hours from Sydney, the town features imaginative structures built in the ‘Spanish mission’ architectural style popular in California and whimsical Federation-era construction curiosities. Visiting for the inaugral Cementa 13 art festival, we discovered that the orderly company village facade (40 wide streets, all scrubbed and freshly painted, not a skerrick of litter in the gutters) does not do justice to the quirky township’s personality.

On the back of a Twitter tip-off, we tried our luck with the delightful hospitality of Marie and Barry Trounson of Kandos’s Fairways Motel (est. 1975 with the first guests through the door being the directors of the cement works) and found that there was room at the inn.

marie_barryMarie, was born in Kandos and destined to be the town’s hostess with the mostess. Her determined work ethic, vivaciousness and generosity are all part of a personal philosophy to, ‘Do everything you can for whoever you can’  We were her good deed for the day when she arranged for us to catch an earlier bus home and with her husband driving like only a country man can, ensured we got to our connection in Ilford with time to spare. If only the dour barmaids at The Railway Hotel had been apprenticed in hospitality by the charming Marie!

She remembers the shock of the Cement Works closing, “It was like losing a member of the family.”  Although she notes that it hasn’t affected business at the motel which overlooks a tranquil 18-hole golf course and is on the fringe of the town (only a short walk to Angus Street). Marie’s sense of community is strong and it’ no wonder;Barry has been strongly involved in local business for many years, serving on the council and working with his son in the younger’s an award-winning winery (now closed, however the beautiful property is for sale if this article convinces you to take up a tree-change. Contact Richard Traunson, manager of the mixed grocery and fuel business in Capertee.)

The museum is a carefully curated trove, and one must make a stop to meet the exuberant proprietress of Shady Lady Hats who with a few expert adjustments (and side-cracks to boot) will have you be-hatted in style. For snacks, cheeky sips of lovely Mudgee wine or hearty breakfasts, you will be cared for graciously at the Clock Stop Cafe by the defunct train tracks. A coverted train station, the deco is so authentic you might feel like you’re about to be ushered aboard an Agatha Christie mystery.

Or, if it’s Mother Nature you yearn for, take a trip out to Dunns Swamp. Manmade in the 1920’s to provide water for the Kandos Cement Works, it forms part of the beautiful Wollemi National Park and is a picturesque camping, fishing or picnic spot (don’t forget to pop into the Kandos bakery and stock up for the picnic on their delicious treats).

Dinner may warrant a drive to neighbouring village, Rylestone, where a culinary surprise exists in the form of the funky 29 Nine 99 restaurant which knocks visitors socks off every day of the week. Outstanding yum cha, with dumplings to die for on offer served up by couple Na Lan and Reg Buckland. But if it’s simple fare that you seek, step into the Hotel Kandos for classic pub grub at its country best.

Enclosed on one side by an enigmatic escarpment, the finest hour is sunset in Kandos. With a drink in hand on the balcony of the Railway Hotel, tourists and locals watch the sky softly burn to an orange glow that illuminates the cliff face to a fierce blush. Glossy cockatoos shriek from the boughs as the shadows of the gums lengthen to streak across neatly mowed town parkland. Maybe it’s a little rose-tinted, but the world sure looks lovely from here.

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HOTEL

Fairways Motel
Cnr Ilford Rd & Henbury Ave
Kandos NSW 2848
Telephone: (02) 6379 4406

WINE BAR & CAFE

Clock Stop Cafe
37 Angus Ave
Kandos NSW 2848
Telephone: (02) 6379 4180

By Estelle Pigot

Buckets of Blood – Django Unchained

Django Unchained – Film Review

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REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK

11 am Hoyts for Django Unchained with a pretty blokey 30 or so viewers.

A new homewares ad and an appealingly funny one for being sane when one’s friends are drunk. A few previews – Hansel and Gretel: WItchhunters looks as stupid as one can imagine a film to be that is  based on a revenge theme, an unlikely buddy pairing and dialogue a couple of centuries wrong.  Then there was Zero Dark Thirty (dealing with Osama Bin Laden, for revenge) and, bizarrely, The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann, anachronistic music, a spot of iconoclasm).  Would we be seeing a movie that involved a good deal of revenge but also featured unlikely buddies and a spot of time-shifting in attitudes and speech?

Of course we were!  All up something north of three hours of it.

The unlikely pairing is Schultz; a bounty hunter masquerading as a travelling dentist (Christoph Waltz) and Django (Jamie Foxx); a slave whom he liberates from a chain gang being marched across some of the less hospitable bits of Texas in 1858.  Schultz is German, so can get away with accented irony and a killer raised eyebrow.  They seek out and kill some routine criminals for reward* and then set out to rescue Mrs. Broomhilda Django (Kerry Washington) from the clutches of crazy Calvin Candie (Leonardo Di Caprio**), his Uncle Tom of a butler, Stephen (Samuel L Jackson***) and a number of supporting actors.  That’s pretty much it.

Stylish?  Certainly, though some of the music was bizarre and the casual dialogue from the 1970s.  The credits and the theme music were a genuflection to spaghetti westerns with a great deal of violence.  Violence of every sort – considered, unconsidered, generic and personal –  much of it in extreme and visceral detail****.   There is lots of swearing and a great deal of (presumably accurate in 1858) use of a despicable term for black people.  Did I mention the violence?

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An Oz cameo towards the end by John Jarratt, and one by Tarantino using an accent that sounded like Dick van Dyke’s Mary Poppins cockney coached by a Korean who’s trying to sound South African.  A genuinely hilarious intervention by a forerunner of the Ku Klux Klan.  Oh, and the violence.

Did it mean anything apart from the obvious?  The obvious being that slavery is a Very Bad Thing, an appalling infliction of indignity and the cruel subjection to the whims of another because of the happenstance of race.  Not a contentious proposition. There’s an attempt to shoehorn meaning in by telling a truncated version of the German Brunnhilde story.  I was looking for a more contemporary political message to go with the dialogue but couldn’t really see much to support it.

Four flat whites.  I don’t think my stomach could keep a pastry down.  And real blokes don’t do sweet stuff anyway.

 

FPB

 

* – Schultz takes a pragmatic view of the “wanted: dead or alive” concept.  Dead men, presumably, challenge no warrants.  Plus they don’t try to escape and they don’t need to be fed.  They would, I suppose, start to smell after a day or so but most people stank in those days.  Django just seems to like shooting white people and it’s a bonus to be paid.

** – This is a really weird role and Di Caprio plays it straight.  Candie is simply an appalling human being of limited intellect and some beliefs that could be called eccentric.

*** – There are not many actors who could play Stephen and bring any subtlety to the role, but Jackson does so.  Some of his lines were painful for an ageing liberal white person to hear.

**** – Yes, it’s over the top in quantity and its graphic depiction.  Yes, it’s probably clever and ironic, Tarantino being one of the few cinematic geniuses.  But, if someone does not view realistic depictions of pain, humiliation and violence with equanimity, it’s probably a film better avoided.

 

Pi In The Sea – Film Review

Life of Pie – Film Review

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REVIEWED BY CRITIC, FILM BUFF & BEER CONNOISSEUR F.P. BLUCK

 

10:15 am, Life of Pi (3D).  About 20 present.

 

We were spared the usual ads for Kmart and local baseball because someone was trying to get the technology right.  For the same reason, we were spared previews, one of which would probably have been Jack Reacher, so we should be grateful for small mercies.  But it meant that we had no hints of what the great minds who run cinemas thought might appeal to people there to attend Life of Pi.

I had been in some doubt about whether this film could be made to work.  Yann Martel’s book, though quite slender, has some subtlety to it and modern cinema and subtlety tend to get on as well as a porn festival in Teheran.  Ang Lee does better with the material than many would have managed, and even sets out the dilemma at the core of the book without hammering any particular answer.  To do this, he creates a framework, not reflecting the book, where a frustrated author spends time with Pi* and hears his remarkable story of survival.

Unvarnished, the scenario is that Pi and family leave India on a freighter accompanied by the animals from their zoo, heading for Canada.  A storm claims the ship and months later, the survivor (Pi) and his lifeboat come ashore in Mexico.  Beyond that, there is a contest of beliefs in different versions, paralleling the contest between religions that Pi has experienced.  Does one prefer a probable but ugly truth or a claimed truth so remarkable it would be difficult to invent?

 Life-of-Pi-Richard-Parker

As would be expected from the previews, the film is a visual treat.  Some elements have obviously been added to distinguish and use the 3D format to advantage and it is probably worth a few extra bucks to see the 3D version.  A great performance by the novice star, Shuraj Sharma and general quiet competence all around the cast**.

It has “award winning” all over it.

Four flat whites.

FPB

 

* – originally Piscine Molitor Patel, born in Pondicherry and an enthusiast for several religions simultaneously.

** – even Gerard Depardieu.

 

 

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