peteg's blog

White Hunter Black Heart

/noise/movies | Link

A jag from The African Queen. In 1990 Clint Eastwood tried to become John Houston as he chased his white whale (elephant) in the Congo while filming his Kate/Bogey classic. Clint set a few people straight on the need to fight for what's right, and not be ugly racist bitches; what he lost in fisticuffs he mostly won in verbal sparring. I was a bit surprised that Timothy Spall took on the minor role of the japing pilot. Jeff Fahey looked about the same as he did when working for ex-Ms Eastwood, as did George Dzundza. Some of it is funny, most is farcical. Apparently some was filmed onsite-ish in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Roger Ebert. Janet Maslin.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

A beaut day to be back in Sydney: warm in the sun, coolish when the clouds came over. Walked down and ate my sushi for lunch on the Coogee headland, and read some book. Quite a few people about, not many in the water; I got in around 3pm. The beach was epically flat, a bit cooler than I remembered, and seemed clean. Afterwards I dried out by reading some more book.

Watchmen

/noise/movies | Link

Apparently fourth time around. Roger Ebert. A. O. Scott. Dana Stevens.

Us

/noise/movies | Link

With Dave at the Odeon 5, 8:30pm, $17.50 each. Stuck for choice: I hadn't seen Jordan Peele's previous Get Out and everything else screening seemed worse. It's a horror movie. The kids were the best, particularly Shahadi Wright Joseph who has some great comic timing. Lupita Nyong'o worked hard. I didn't really get into it, but was sufficiently engaged to be unimpressed by the switcheroo when it arrived.

Manohla Dargis reckons it's heavy on the symbolism. Dana Stevens.

Graham Greene: The Heart of the Matter.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. At a loose end for something to read, I picked this one up on the strength of Greene and it being on some list of 100 great English-language novels of the twentieth century. As always it's cinematic, just waiting to be shot. Somewhere on the coast of Africa, policeman Scobie is a similar character to George Smiley: a certain kind of wise Englishman who's hoping to go to a quiet grave having found his situation and making peace with an unsatisfied wife. The booze certainly helps. There are shades of A Quiet American: some intrigue, probity, corruption, cluelessness. But really, like The Power and the Glory, it centres on how Catholic theology ties ones hands: Greene has it that one must save one's own soul even at the potential cost of others'. Perhaps this was Greene-the-convert himself working it out in public.

Orwell nailed it in his review for The New Yorker: "Scobie is incredible because the two halves of him do not fit together. If he were capable of getting into the kind of mess that is described, he would have got into it years earlier." (etc)

Topsy-Turvy

/noise/movies | Link

A Mike Leigh effort from 1999, and one of the last of his features for me to see. Many of his usual cast (Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall, Lesley Manville, also Trainspotters Kevin McKidd and Shirley Henderson) participate in this portrayal of what may have been a pivotal point in the creative partnership of Gilbert and Sullivan. It's not at all my thing but there are loads of fine details to enjoy and the performances are uniformly excellent.

Grindhouse: Deathproof and Planet Terror

/noise/movies | Link

Second time around with these ultra-trashy Tarantino/Rodriguez exploitation flicks: it's just like From Dusk Till Dawn but more so. This time around I noticed Michael Biehn (Kyle Reese from The Terminator).

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid-morning paddle at a mostly-deserted Coogee as the storm clouds rolled in. Pleasant with the occasional large shore dump.

Notorious

/noise/movies | Link

A black and white Hitcock from 1946. Second time around apparently, but I don't remember a thing. Daughter Ingrid Bergman is supposedly everyone's but she's only got eyes for party crashing Cary Grant, who plays the straight G-man until he can't. In between she gets hitched to Claude Rains in a plot to bust open a uranium-fueled Nazi plot in Brazil. It could have been 50-100% longer and I would still have been there.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Beaut clear day with no rain. Went for a mid afternoon paddle at Coogee after updating vast piles of software on my machine at UNSW. Seemed clean. Quite a few people but nowhere packed. I stepped on a large dead spiny fish (?) getting out; fortunately my foot seems OK. Afterwards read some more book and dried out on the headland while a bloke played guitar further down the slope facing the beach. I wonder how many more of these days we have.

Jasper Fforde: Early Riser.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. A pointer from Charles Yu. Drug-assisted hibernation, dreams and their manipulation, corporate corruption, zombies! — all in a snowy landscape that felt very familiar: wintry wastes like something Adam Johnson wrote or maybe just Game of Thrones, mixing in Total Recall and Ishiguro's spare parts, with Atwood-esque breeding units and random psychologising, building worlds via information dumps ala John Brunner. I often felt cheated by the narrator, wondering just how much was a dream and how much a cliché. There is lots of wordplay (the names of the Pool breeding stock), endless reversals (skinny shaming, a new ice age, a declining human population) and far too many secondary characters: soon enough I lost track of who knew what and who killed whom as it didn’t seem to matter. The ethical conundrums are dubious. I don't understand why anyone would feel obliged to preserve the English aristocracy. It's supposed to be fun, like a Douglas Adams, but it doesn't quite get there.

Fans and critics alike at Goodreads.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Grim and cloudy, but with the window of opportunity closing I headed up to Manly to have lunch with Pawel and Sylwia (a pokè bowl at Momo), and attempt a snorkel at Shelly Beach. We got in off some stairs halfway from South Steyne where there's some conveniently smooth rocks and shallow sand. Good visibility, somewhat clean-ish. Almost immediately I spotted a big blue groper. There were loads of small fry and grown up yellow-fin fellers, ludderick. Pawel encountered a wobbegong on the way back. While we had a warm-up coffee across the road from South Steyne, fog seemed to roll in. (The morning rain had been light but it got more serious in the late afternoon. The ride over and back was more relaxed than previously. Somehow the traffic was placid.)