Thursday, 25 December 2008

A Very Wombat Christmas

Hope y'all have a very Merry Christmas.

Best wishes, seasons greetings and all that jazz,

Friday, 19 December 2008

Bon Voyage

Because I have better things to do than sit around and blog to you people from The Middle of Nowhere, state of Whoop Whoop, somewhere in the land of Down Under, I am departing for the fair shores of Hawaii tomorrow, and will henceforth be likely cut off from the Internet, computers and blogging for a month or so. I know y’all are going to miss me (etc) – I’m going to miss you too, believe me – but try not to dwell on it, m’k? Tis the season to be merry, after all.

Here’s the plan:

Hawaii (Christmas)

Dallas, Texas


Taos, NM

Santa Fe (New Years!)

Grand Canyon (3 days)

Las Vegas (2-3 days)

Los Angeles (3 days)



In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a terrific New Year. Keep me updated on your happenings, y’hear?

christmas Pictures, Images and Photos

Love and season’s greetings,



Thursday, 18 December 2008

I Only Date Vampires

So, it’s been a while and a lot has happened. For starters, our computer got malware and required a service, hence my blogging absence. Secondly, it was Sharanya’s 19th last week (Wednesday), so if you haven’t already, go over and wish her a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And finally, I went down to Melbourne over the weekend and saw – as well as AustraliaTwilight!!

Twilight was a madhouse of maniac teenage girls, a description which may or may not have included myself and my friend. However, it made for a fantastic and charged atmosphere; really, it was like one big slumber party, with everyone “shh!”ing as the lights went down, laughing at Jasper’s face (he is kind of funny looking, he has this permanently surprised look), murmuring when Edward appeared and cheering and wolf-whistling when Edward and Bella kissed.

The book might not have been subtle, but the film makes you appreciate such qualities, generally hitting you over the head with things like Bella’s scent and Edward being a blood-scuking, immortal “cold one,” just in case you live under a rock and hadn’t realised Edward is a dirty great vamp. However, like the book, the chemistry, head-over-heels part where they (supposedly) fall in love is lacking and therefore kind of unbelievable. I mean, Edward goes from being “we shouldn’t be friends” to “I can’t stay away from you, I must watch you sleep and follow you to Port Angeles,” and Bella’s all “I trust you, even though I don’t know you AT ALL and you’re a vamp who not only lusts after my body but – more importantly – my BLOOD.” While it’s faithful to the essential outlines – and favourite quotes – of the plot, it takes liberties by mixing in parts from New Moon.

Twilight Movie Still 1 Pictures, Images and Photos

Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) is broody and aloof almost to a point of overkill (but he still looks good when he’s brooding, so all is forgiven), and fairly well captures Edward’s internal struggle between his clashing desires; Bella, and the need to resist her. However, even CGI can’t mimic the sparkle of Edward Cullen’s diamond-looking skin in the sunlight; the result is pitiful and somewhat laughable.

It is well worth the wait to see Edward smile; on the other hand, it looks as though Bella (Kristen Stewart) is in constant pain, even though she’s with the sexiest vamp EVER. As Jake Wilson observes in The Age, “she has only two real acting weapons: her lashes, which she flutters to indicate confusion, and her prominent front teeth, which are put on show when she lets her mouth fall open in a wary, appraising look.”


The secondary characters, on the other hand – Charlie, Jacob and the Cullens – play their parts well, although Jacob and the Cullens were all too minor, if you ask me. I hope we see more of them – especially the latter, who were particularly good – in the film/s to come.

Jim Schembri wrote a hilarious response to the film about “25 things you will learn about your average modern-day angst-ridden teenage vampire from watching the new hit movie Twilight,” including, first and foremost, that “broadly speaking, the world is divided into two groups: normal people, or “mortals,” and vampire people, or “immortals.” The chief advantage of being an “immortal” is the ability to sit through an entire screening of Australia without regretting the three hours of life you’ll never get back.”

Which leads me to the “obese epic” that is Australia.

Perhaps the best and most arresting thing about Australia is the cinematography, which completely captures the sprawling landscape in all its expansive, beautiful, overwhelming and breathtaking glory. In terms of its leading stars, Nicole Kidman has the irgnoant, hoighty-toighty English aristocrat (Sarah Ashley) down, whilst Hugh Jackman (the Drover) says crikey more than Steve Irwin, and is a little too much of a pretty boy for a drover, but he’s rugged – and chiselled – enough for the part. But the star of the show is the young Aboriginal half-caste boy, Nullah (Brandon Walters), from whose point of view the story of Mrs Boss (Sarah Ashley), the Drover, the fight for Faraway Downs and the bombing of Darwin.

David Wenham does a mean (pun intended) bad guy (Neil Fletcher), the evil and ambitious underling to the King of the Beef Industry and landowner Carney (Bryan Brown), who wants Faraway Downs. Much underhandedness ensues, there is the inevitable confrontation, a declaration of war and so begins the battle for Faraway Downs, which is restored to its former glory with a joint effort by the Drover and Mrs Boss, who – obviously – fall madly and passionately in love. But wait – it’s not a true Luhrmann film without tragedy, which is scattered throughout the film but is compounded in the last hour (by which time you are practically begging for the film to end.)

Sure, it’s clichéd, corny, predictable, much too long, melodramatic and cringe-worthy (at least for Australians), but it’s romantic, spectacular, evocative, impressive and feel-good. Evan Williams sums it up best when he says: “there are moments in Baz Luhrmann’s over-sized, over-long Outback weepie Australia, when one wonders if there are any tablecloth clichés about Australia that have been missed. We have the horses, the cattle, the dust, the rugged Aussie loner, the Aborigine standing on one leg in a loincloth, the beer, the roos. About the only thing missing is a bloke named Bruce.”

Germaine Greer – ever controversial – had a field day in yesterday’s Age, with a scathing article about how the film is “strictly fanciful,” “a film that twists history into a fairytale confections…and glosses over the shocking exploitation of Aborigines,” essentially expressing indignation and outrage over Luhrmann’s lack of historical accuracy. But that’s exactly what Australia intends to be – strictly fanciful; it’s symbolic to the point of hyperbole. It makes clear the cruelty of the White Australia policy that created the Stolen Generation, and it doesn’t shy away from the ostracizing of Aboriginals by society. I’m inclined to agree with Marcia Langton, professor of Australian indigenous studies at Melbourne University, that Lurhmann has created “a myth of national origin that is disturbing, thrilling, heartbreaking, hilarious and touching.”

That’s Hollywood, Germaine. Don’t take it quite so seriously.

Twilight: 2.5 stars

Australia: 3 stars


Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Double Take

Queer's - I mean Queen's - College, Uni of Melbourne.

Meet R2-D2 the second.

Christian Science Reading Room, DeGraves St, Melbourne.

(Apologies for the quality of the photos; first taken from a moving car, latter two are from iPhone.)


Sunday, 7 December 2008

How Far We've Come

Last night was the Australian Film Institute (AFI) Awards, celebrating 50 years of Australian cinema, hosted by the hilarious Steven Curry, who I loved in The Castle. It was a fairly modest affair, featuring appearances by Marcia Hines, George Miller and Eric Bana, looking handsomely rugged and bearded, but Hugh Jackman – the Sexiest Man Alive – could not be there.

Summer Heights High won 2 awards (deservingly) for Best Comedy and Best Actor, with actor/writer Chris Lilley winning the Byron Kennedy Award. The Black Balloon also scooped up several, and Underbelly, not surprisingly, made a killing. I really should see it. It’s too bad it was banned in Victoria (all but 5 episodes of 13) – it’s so ironic, because we don’t live in Victoria, but we live close enough that we receive Victorian TV. The Hollowmen got the acknowledgment it deserved for best screenplay.

Underbelly Pictures, Images and Photos

There was a wonderful tribute to Heath Ledger, who received an award for Best Actor. I really hope he wins the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, it would be a wonderful testament not only to his outstanding performance in The Dark Knight but recognition of his stunning body of work.

Australia’s favourite film, as voted by Australians as part of Australia’s Post stamp campaign, was The Castle. Among the top five were Muriel’s Wedding, Lantana, Gallipoli and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The most prestigious award of the night – Best Film, obviously – went to The Black Balloon. The rest of my family have seen this (including my brother, against his will), and I'm definitely intrigued, as it stars Gemma Ward, who apparently isn't half bad.

The Black Balloon Pictures, Images and Photos


Friday, 5 December 2008

Do you believe in happily ever after?

twilight Pictures, Images and Photos

Twilight - Lion Fell in Love w/ Lamb Pictures, Images and Photos

and so the lion fell in love with the lamb Pictures, Images and Photos

Stupid shiny volvo owner 6 Pictures, Images and Photos

Twilight Icon Pictures, Images and Photos

team edward Pictures, Images and Photos

He swam to France Pictures, Images and Photos

In a week from today, I'm going to see Twilight!