peteg's blog

John Balaban: Coming Down Again

/noise/books | Link

1974, northern Thailand, the golden triangle: a friend of Lacey's and the man's girlfriend and her Lao girlfriend are incarcerated by Thai border guards after carrying a minor amount of something-or-other across a border. Lacey, professor, poet, American, organises some bandits to liberate them. Balaban writes as well as I hoped but not really about what I expected; he implies there is some truth underpinning this fiction, but it is difficult to know what, and if this is more than just a ripping yarn written ten years after the event. The ultimate deus ex machina, featuring an NVA detachment and the words of Hồ Chí Minh, is a bit tough to swallow.

Dogs in Space

/noise/movies | Link

I remembered this from years ago as some kind of vehicle for Michael Hutchence at the height of his fame, circa 1987. I'm not at all sure it tries to do much more than glamorise Melbourne 1978, and it would be difficult to claim that it succeeds even at that; for instance, the heroin-ending is absolutely feeble. In any case it does mark some point on the downward trajectory of Australian movies through the 1980s. I did like the abiding fascination with space exploration, and the reentry of Skylab, though as I remember it broke up somewhere in Western Australia, i.e. out past Moonee Ponds.