peteg's blog

Transat at the Petersham Bowling Club

/noise/music | Link

Jon invited me along to see this band that he's been talking up for a while now. They are a long way from Australian pub rock, and without ear-bleeding volume didn't manage to quell the crowd's conversations.

/noise/beach/2010-2011 | Link

Mid-afternoon snorkel at Long Bay. Dad tells me it's the filthiest beach in Sydney, not due to the adjacent sewerage treatment works as one might suppose, but because of the huge storm water drain that empties onto the northern end. The water was fine in a spring suit and singlet, quite calm but with poor visibility. I didn't see much.

The Beguiled

/noise/movies | Link

Yankee Clint Eastwood versus a tribe of Southern women during the Civil War. An early 70s effort. Yeah.

The Expendables

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It could have been worse.

Malcolm X

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Another Spike Lee effort, from 1992. At three hours it was a bit too long for comfort. Well made, shot, etc. but perhaps spoilt by its earnestness; the irreverence of the later 25th Hour is missing here.

/noise/beach/2010-2011 | Link

A snorkel in the rain with Rob. Up to 1:30pm or so the day was perfect for it, and then the storm blew in. We went anyway. The tide was out at Little Bay so we went much further out, past the rock break, than we usually do. Perhaps for that reason we spotted a stingray, the biggest I've seen, perhaps a metre across, and some Port Jackson sharks resting at the bottom of a crevasse in the rocks. The water was OK in a spring suit and singlet, with gloves. Visibility was excellent as the regular rain (and recent fine weather) has thoroughly cleaned the streets.

25th Hour

/noise/movies | Link

As good as I remembered. The music echoes Once Upon a Time in America, as does the story to some extent.

Will Self: The Quantity Theory of Insanity

/noise/books | Link

I read a lot of Will Self ten to fifteen years ago, in my impressionable youth. This is the first time I've read him since then, and this collection is a lot weaker than I remember. I only really enjoyed the titular piece, and even then not so much; the idea of reductivist studies is still funny, but these days it is played out in the real world, far too literally. I imagine that if he wrote that story now he would point to Madoff's ponzi scheme, providing quality financial services to the financiers. Self is too smart to be authentically empathetic; unlike Douglas Adams his humour to enlightenment ratio tends toward the brutal.

Shutter Island

/noise/movies | Link

I didn't really get into this. The suspenseful stuff dragged, and the twists left me cold. The ultimate one (if I got it right) is too subtle after the earlier blunderbuss revelations. Scorcese makes everything look great, as usual, but I am yet to see more than a still-blank canvas in DiCaprio. How much longer can he remain boyish, in a faux and hackneyed tough-guy pose? Dennis Lehane wrote the book on which this was based.

Nothing much here for me.

Gone Baby Gone

/noise/movies | Link

A lot better than I expected, and I can see why Casey Affleck went on to star in The Killer Inside Me. It is something like Se7en, piling things up, twisting, skirting a little too close to impossibility, stretching its poetic licence to fit a fable. The themes are assembled masterfully: cops, kidnapping, drugs and absent mothers, filmed resolutely without condescension, without an American ending. Boston never looked so good; they must have shot it at the height of summer.

This was a Michelle Monaghan-segue from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and she is solid here, though hers is the weakest of the central characters. Ed Harris reins in his signature largeness in disarming fashion. Morgan Freeman is relatively inoffensive.

Certainly the best movie I've seen for the first time in a long time. The author of the original book, Dennis Lehane, has a sequel of sorts due out in a fortnight. Now I'm keen to see Ben Affleck's new movie The Town.

Towelhead

/noise/movies | Link

A Lolita for the 21st century? Certainly a dash of Aronofsky, and perhaps Moodysson. Being American-made it has an uptick at the end, a crack that lets the light out. Eckhardt chooses the toughest roles to play, and he does fine with the slobbering. Great to see Toni Collette here, and Peter Macdissi nails his role as the Lebanese migrant father working at NASA.

Animal Kingdom

/noise/movies | Link

Meh, yet another Australian gangland saga. I'm glad I didn't see this in the cinema. Edgerton doesn't make it past the first half-hour, and all the characters are so underwritten that I couldn't care about any of them. Guy Pearce is solid but given very little to work with. Nothing new here.

The Girl from Monday

/noise/movies | Link

The Girl Who Fell to Earth... irritating camera work ruins an otherwise fun ride, though it is clear Hartley is sliding into a late-career rut here. Bill Sage tries hard to anchor a mildly incoherent plot and succeeds as much as anyone could.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

/noise/movies | Link

At the 6:40pm session at The Ritz with Albert and Sandy. I had to go see this, being the new Oliver Stone movie and all that, but it simply isn't that great; the plot is bent to fit, and the ending makes no sense. What, you can buy money with happiness? LaBeouf has none of the sly levity of Michael Douglas, and the movie is flat when he all too regularly does his earnest thing. It was good to see Frank Langella (as always), though his tiredness is pretty depressing. The usually solid Josh Brolin is in full-on bland mode, as if he is training for Pierce Brosnan's old roles. I appreciate that Stone felt he had to comment on the travesty of the GFC but perhaps it might have been better to look at it from the other end of town.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

/noise/movies | Link

I last saw this one at the cinema in 2005. Still funny. The best thing I've seen Val Kilmer in for sure.

No Such Thing

/noise/movies | Link

Twenty-first century Hal Hartley, this is his A Clockwork Orange. Apparently I haven't seen this since 2004, and it is better than I remember. The first thirty minutes moves quickly, maybe too quickly, and it flags around the hour mark when Polley gets to Iceland. Robert John Burke is somehow familiar underneath all that makeup, as are the rest of Hartley's regulars, most of whom put in small cameos. Mirren is great as the old media hound, a role she reprises in State of Play.

Mystery Train

/noise/movies | Link

I saw this late-1980s Jarmusch effort a long time ago, and remembered it as being better than it is; Dead Man is a long way from here. The Japanese couple in Memphis is probably its best aspect, though he does make some of the other stuff funny. This subtle, indulgent kind of movie making is really out of fashion now.