peteg's blog


/noise/movies | Link

8:30pm session at the dear old Verona, $16.00, theatre 4, which I don't think I've been in before. The lass allocated me D6 but the room is small and narrow enough that you could comfortably sit in the front row (C6 it was for me, and the other person in the cinema sat on the end of the same row). The ride over was quick but middling; asinine traffic, a bit cold and spitting rain. The shorts were uniformly crap.

This is a romanticised portrait of a Canadian lady who became famous for her paintings, living in a tough life in the margins of nowheresville Nova Scotia. It's a bit hard to place it in time; the middle segment is centred around 1955, with Nixon in the Senate and not yet the Whitehouse. There's not much plot but some character development; the central motif is the turning of the seasons. The producers were reaching for Mr Turner, and their main failing is that while the visual composition is great and often pretty, the photography lacks vibrancy. I was mostly there for Sally Hawkins, who previously put in some excellent work with Mike Leigh in Happy Go Lucky. Ethan Hawke was also fine, looking more like Nick Nolte by the year.

Manohla Dargis.

The Farthest

/noise/movies | Link

A PBS documentary gestured at by Ars. It's about the Voyager probes, which launched about a month after I was born. I remember some of the media hoopla of the 1980s as it passed the gas giants and the excitement about cosmology of those days. This has some great footage but also too much synthetic CGI and eyes in negative space. More about the engineering please, the science, and far less gold disc; for a story about machines it's too human-centric.

Andy Webster.

Jarett Kobek: The Future Won't Be Long.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle, pre-ordered from Amazon, $US13.99. This is Kobek's longest outing yet, and the least imaginative, being the backstory of the comics artist Adeline and her best friend Baby we met in i hate the internet. It's long on the glory days of the clubs of New York, dropping names and nostalgia freely. Elegy or eulogy? The literary and cultural criticism here lacks the conviction of his previous outings.

City of Tiny Lights

/noise/movies | Link

For Riz Ahmed, who it seems is essential to any terrorism-related flick out of England. The flashback revelatory structure is too much like Wind River's; I guess this is how you tell a story in 2017. The parallel historical story of their youthful selves is not very plausible or innovative, and the ending is a bit too tidy. It adds up to something less than an extended episode of The Bill. The Wong Kar Wai cinematography does not help.

Kenneth Grahame: The Wind in the Willows.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle, from Standard Ebooks. I was looking for an easy read, and vaguely remembered a movie based on it from my childhood. Well, the vocabulary here is extensive and perhaps now a bit obsolete. Certainly the class consciousness is, as is the blithe presentation of socialising animals eating other animals; perhaps Grahame separated the industrial from the native or wild animals in his mind. The story is pure triumphalist English essentialism. I much prefer Oscar Wilde's stories for children.

Wind River

/noise/movies | Link

A freebie from NIDA, with Dave, 9:10pm, Palace Cinemas Norton Street theatre 1, maybe ten people total. We had a flat white each there.

Overall it's good. The short implied there'd be more stereotyped conflict between Jeremy Renner's gone-native local hunting bloke and Elizabeth Olsen's FBI agent. (Writer/directory Taylor Sheridan trotted out Emily Blunt in a similar FBI ingenue role in Sicario.) It's a simple moral fable really: Native Americans suffer much predation and maybe all the justice on offer is (righteously Dirty Harry) vigilantism. Leaving aside my doubts about the logic of all that, things fit together well, especially the scenes shot outside. The major failing is Renner's (two?) explanatory monologues, which don't sit so well with his being otherwise a man of few words.

Glenn Kenny.

Michael Chabon: Moonglow.

/noise/books | Link

Kindle. This made a big splash sometime last year. I enjoyed it for the most part, though it is lengthy and some sections drag. I cynically wonder if Chabon didn't target this book with excess precision at the market segment with the time and money to read: a piece of greatest-generation hagiography with a side serve of ungrateful boomer-ish children/parents from an adoring grandchild. Some mental illness (much slighter than Ken Kesey's) and decreased vigor, respectfully and sometimes crassly treated through violent action and language. There's more Wernher von Braun in here than I expected, and perhaps I should have been reading Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow instead.

A. O. Scott.