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Wednesday, 15 June 2011 14:10

Orphans

Theatre in Preview

“I don’t want to give away the twist. But let’s just say at the start of the play, the lights come up  and I’m standing there and I’m covered in blood, a lot of blood.” The latest production from Queensland Theatre Company 'Orphans' starring Leon Cain, Helen Cassidy and Christopher Sommers should not be your first pick for a date night. Rather you should expect tense moments, horribly uncomfortable scenes and a relentless pace that holds you in a vice-like grip.

Wednesday, 08 December 2010 16:03

Letter's End Interview

Theatre in Preview

As we grow older and our lives get busier - we tend to catalogue time and events past into packages and store them in the back of our minds.

In our heads, we have a room filled with memories, strewn around, lost in a jumble of old boxes - but if you were to unwrap a box and look inside, what forgotten treasure would you find?

This is the premise of the new show being performed next month at QPAC's Playhouse Theatre by physical theatre extraordinaire Wolfe Bowart, called 'Letter's End’.

“‘Letter's End’ is about a man who is shuffling packages into a furnace,” Bowart, who is a presence on stage in the same vein as a Charlie Chaplin or a Cirque du Soleil performance, says of the story.

“It is almost like a dead letter office but strange things begin to happen. He opens one of the packages and realises they are memories, his memories and each time he burns a package, he starts forgetting who he is and loses the sense of who he is.”

Despite the somewhat heavy and mature undertones to the piece devised over three years by Bowart, the play is infused with humour and remarkably, it is told almost completely without words.

Part of QPAC's Fairytales and Fantasy summer family program, the piece weaves together a mix of circus and theatre, stage illusion, music, interactive film and physical comedy to tell the story of a man rediscovering his past.

“It's a bit dark and a bit melancholy and bittersweet, but there is a lot of hilarity interspersed throughout,” Bowart, who as a child made silent movies and learnt juggling as a hobby, says of the show's universal appeal.

“It is one of those shows that plays around the world and it has to work for all audiences. There is not a lot of speaking, just a little voice-over narration. It's a whole family show, it's a multicultural show and a multigenerational show and there are a lot of elements to the story to fit into the 70 minutes.”

“There are a lot of magic tricks and sleight of hand and multimedia imagery to help move the story along.”

‘Letter's End’ will run at QPAC's Playhouse from January 4 until January 15.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011 14:35

Movie Reviews

YOUR HIGHNESS
Danny McBride, James Franco, Natalie Portman. Directed by David Gordon Green.


It’s simple: Danny McBride shouldn’t be let near a typewriter. Not that I think the man actually did any typing on ‘Your Highness’ – his bawdy-beyond-belief, cod-pieced quest flick – no doubt he and co-writer Ben West hired a topless secretary to do the physical labour while they sat on bean bags in the corner, punching cones and letting their tongues relay the ramblings of restless minds. Thankfully McBride the performer is much better than McBride the filmmaker, and ‘Your Highness’ has a secret weapon in the form of James Franco throwing himself headfirst into a film that doesn’t deserve his skilled presence. Thus it’s a likeable turkey, but a turkey nonetheless.
2 stars
MATT SHEA

 



BURKE AND HARE
Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher. Directed by John Landis.
I’d love to watch a documentary on the making of ‘Burke And Hare’, if only to nail down the exact moment that everyone involved realised they were making one of the worst films of their careers (to put that in perspective, Tim Curry is in this movie). The tale of two real-life serial killers - inexplicably portrayed as lovable lads by Pegg and Serkis - who sold corpses for dissection in the 1800s, this exceptionally tonedeaf film is like ‘Snowtown’ played for easy laughs (making those laughs look awfully difficult in the process). Like virtually all Simon Pegg films made without the involvement of ‘Shaun Of The Dead’ and ‘Hot Fuzz’ director Edgar Wright, it’s best to give this one a wide berth.
1 star
ROHAN WILLIAMS

 

Wednesday, 23 February 2011 14:01

Film Reviews

<< NO STRINGA ATTACHED

No Strings Attached
Ashton Kutcher, Natalie Portman. Directed by Ivan Reitman.

This is essentially a prettier, less funny and much, much longer version of that one episode of 'Seinfeld' where Jerry and Elaine agree to use each other for casual sex.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011 13:31

Film Reviews

<< Black Swan

WHAT TO WATCH

MEET THE PARENTS: LITTLE FOCKERS

Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba. Directed by Paul Weitz.

Did we really need another one of these? In 'Meet The Parents: Little Fockers', writers John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey keep the bawdiness coming as nurse Greg Focker (Stiller) and father-in-law and ex-CIA agent Jack Byrnes (De Niro) once again do battle, before once again bonding with each other by the final credits. The film may be subtitled ‘Little Fockers’, but the promise of a new generation is a hollow one, the kids hardly featuring as Jack (for the third time) terrorises Greg into temporary madness. Better than the second film but not even close to the magic of the first, this is one big joke that should have ended a long time ago.
2 1/2 stars
Matt Shea
‘Meet the Parents: Little Fockers’ is in cinemas now.


Burlesque

Christina Aguilera, Cher, Stanley Tucci, Kristen Bell. Directed by Steve Antin.

There were no expectations for this film as the road has been littered with the cinematic corpses of musical stars trying their hand at acting (Mariah Carey in Glitter, Britney Spears in Crossroads, Madonna in Swept Away). But the sneaky casting of film stalwarts gave me hope (Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming, Peter Gallagher) that there could be a film worth watching here. And... it is watchable but that’s all. For fans of Christina, this is a vehicle for her voice and the film centres around that. In saying that, the acting by all is passable, the storyline is simple and doesn’t aim too high and the dance routines are saucy and fun. Cher’s face is distracting as nothing moves, Cam Gigandet’s chest is distracting as he wanders about naked and Tucci is distracting as he again plays the best gay straight man I have seen on film.
2 stars
Majella McMahon
‘Burlesque’ is in cinemas now


BLACK SWAN

Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis. Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

At first glance, ‘Black Swan’ - a psychological thriller revolving around a performance of ‘Swan Lake’ - wouldn’t seem to have much in common with ‘The Wrestler’, director Darren Aronofsky’s last film. ‘The Wrestler’ was an earthy, gritty affair, focusing on a defiantly lowbrow sport; ‘Black Swan’ is loaded with horror and fantasy elements and explores the distinctly highbrow New York ballet scene. And you’re not about to confuse Mickey Rourke with Natalie Portman anytime soon.
Ultimately, though, both films do an equally brilliant job of exploring the exact same subject matter - the toll physically demanding artforms take on their practitioners. ‘Black Swan’, with its theatrical backdrop, simply takes a more melodramatic approach. It also has way more hot lesbian makeout scenes than ‘The Wrestler’, which obviously makes it the better film.
5 stars
Rohan Williams
‘Black Swan’ pirouettes into cinemas on January 20.


The Dilemma

Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Kevin James. Directed by Ron Howard.

With a cast of this calibre, a director who knows what he is doing and a catchy concept - this should have been a winner. But alas, ‘The Dilemma’ falls short of being anything much at all other than a time filler. The premise of the film is good - best friends Ronny (Vaughn) and Nick (James) are about to land the deal of a lifetime with their auto design business when Ronny discovers Nick’s wife (Ryder) is cheating on him with a tattooed younger man (Channing Tatum). Whatever ensued should have been hilarious but ends up feeling overly complicated, drawn out and slightly unbelievable. However Tatum is a surpirse comedic force and provides both beautiful eye candy and big belly laughs. How he manages to still look sexy when he is crying is amazing.
2 stars
Majella McMahon
‘The Dilemma’ is in cinemas now.


Morning Glory

Directed by: Roger Michell
Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and Jeff Goldblum. Directed by Roger Michell.

'Morning Glory' is like waking up to freshly buttered toast oozing with honey. Up and coming television producer Becky Fuller (McAdams) relishes 2am starts, a sunrise over deserted city streets and unquestionably tacky breakfast broadcasting. Though when given her dream promotion as executive producer on ‘Day Breakers’, she quickly realises the anchors (Ford, Keaton) are quite the weighty burden. Roger Michell (Notting Hill) has wonderfully captured everything fake and kitsch about breakfast television and the film is well cast, entertaining, with a warm story and nothing too serious - hopefully Kochie takes home a few pointers.
3 stars
Ben Edwards
'Morning Glory' is in cinemas now.


Unstoppable

Denzel Washington and Chris Pine. Directed by Tony Scott.

The question - how hard is it to care about a train? The answer - damn near impossible. But what we can care about is a carriage full of screaming children hurtling at top speeds into said train. And it's for this reason that 'Unstoppable' pulls us in and never lets us go. Denzel Washington and Star Trek captain Chris Pine's partnership is actually quite endearing as the two battle with their past relationships whilst simultaneously battling with a speeding train. Based, surprisingly, on a true story, 'Unstoppable' is gripping right to the end. If you can get past the first awkward ten minutes or so where the fat guy falls over and the train takes off, you're in for a thrill ride of epic proportions.
2 1/2 stars
Dave Zwolenski
‘Unstoppable’ is in cinemas now.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009 14:24

The Hangover

Film In Preview
On a warm afternoon, when the powerful sunrays that punish the Nevada desert are reaching their peak, four friends jump into a beat-up, classic Mercedes Benz in a hurry. One of them is missing a tooth, but what none of them wants to miss is a wedding.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010 10:41

Henry Rollins Interview

A Well Travelled Man

With latest tour called ‘Frequent Flyer’, Henry Rollins is taking his unique brand of spoken word poetry to the people - and by people, we mean everyone, everywhere.

If you were to place pins on a map of all the places Rollins is performing, vast expanses of the paper would be obscured - he is literally covering the globe.

Rollins' history is colourful to say the least. After a childhood that saw him struggle with his parent's divorce, low self-esteem and a bad attitude by the time he hit his teens, he had “accumulated a lot of rage”.

From here he embarked on his musical career, joining State Of Alert and gaining a reputation for his intense style before forming Black Flag in the early 80s. After assaulting audience members and struggling with internal conflict within the group, Rollins left Black Flag to perform spoken word and formed his own band.

Over the following years, Rollins went on to win a Grammy; he also became a magazine columnist, a Hollywood actor, book author and campaigner for gay rights. He speaks with deliberation, pausing before talking and articulating the important details in case you're not really paying attention. His voice is steady, rhythmic, metronomic - for someone with so much passion and anger it seems almost too contained. But when you have been performing for as long as Rollins, past history and preconceptions are hard to avoid, but he does not pander to expectations.

His current tour kicked off in mid-January and “started in Ireland and it's been going without cease ever since. England, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Germany and then onto America, then it's onto Australia, New Zealand, South Africa then back up to America then back to Europe until the end of the year.”

For some, it would be too much - months of nomadic travel on the road, constant change, foreign cultures and a never ending impetus to move on. But for Rollins: “it's all been pretty darn great actually. The shows have been consistent; the audience has been very, very kind to me and so far, so good.”

With such a huge roll out of shows, one has to wonder how he keeps himself enthusiastic and excited. Surely there’s only so many times you can spit out the same stream of words, no matter how enlightened or passionate they may be.

He explains: “I have several ideas that I can rotate and get to on any night. I'm curious about any country that I'm in, so I always try to find some issue in that country that I can talk about, not in a way to patronise the audience, but when something interesting is happening politically, I try to talk about it.”

After questioning whether he thinks people in his audiences are socially aware and don't need his input, Rollins asks: “Well what should I do? Not bring it up? I can't not bring it up. Whoever comes to my show - are they a certain way? Hell I don't know. When I go out on stage, I just see a bunch of humans and I'm going to talk at them the best I can. So I get what I get and they get what they get. I'm not trying to sound like a tough guy, but I can't evaluate what they are like. I would never endeavour to second guess my audience because what does that make me? That's insulting and I'm not here to insult.”

The man has morphed dramatically from the frenzied tattoo-ed frontman of Black Flag to human rights activist, but can still be humbled by his fans. “Usually after the show, I speak to people and they come up to me and say things like 'I've seen you 18 times and I've been watching you since 1988’.”

Does such dedication surprise him? “It's an honour. You take the compliment and thank them and mean it. It's nice when someone likes what you do. It allows me to keep coming back and doing it ... so if someone comes up to me and says 'hey man, that was a good show tonight', that is not lost on me at all.”

Henry Rollins performs his latest show ‘Frequent Flyer’ at the Brisbane Powerhouse on April 22.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:49

Water Wars

Theatre in Preview
What would you do in a world without water? How far would you go to survive and who would you fight for? Inspired by the opposing natural disasters of flood and drought that have wreaked havoc on our country, writer and producer Elaine Acworth explores these dark questions in ‘Water Wars’, the latest production from La Boite Indie.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:45

A Collection of Various Selves

Dance in Preview 

The latest show at Metro Arts asks the big question – who are you?

Wednesday, 10 August 2011 14:43

Ross Grayson Bell

Producer Interview

Describe Fight Club in five words? You are not your fears.

What was your role and did it change your career? The movie exists because of me. Nobody wanted to touch the book. Most producers and studios had turned it down. I got the book to Fincher through my producing partner at the time, Joshua Donen, and confirmed Jim Uhls to do the adaptation. It is only when I had packaged the project, with a condensed version of the book performed by a group of actors I had put together, that the studio stepped up and optioned the book for me to produce. It was a groundbreaking film and it launched my career. I was able to get better access to material and it got me a producing deal at Twentieth Century Fox, even though I hadn't produced a movie before.

Do you think audiences will have the same reaction to the film this time around? Watching the film again, not having seen it in ten years, I was amazed how little it has dated. It feels and looks as contemporary now as it did then. I was also reminded of Helena Bonham Carter's brilliance. If you've only seen the film once, her performance might be confounding. it is only after you know the twist that you understand and appreciate what she is doing on screen. I also think most People have only experienced the film on a small screen, so to see it in a theatre, immersed in the dark, surrounded by other space monkeys, is going to be electrifying. The energy of an audience will double the impact.

Highlights of producing this movie?
The highlight was definitely working with Jim Uhls and seeing the script come together. We invented the new ending where they blow up the credit card companies. This was not in the book. When Chuck Palahniuk read the script, he was so impressed with the change he wanted to go back and change the ending of his book.
What did you learn about yourself working on this film? I learnt that there is only one thing that gets films made (indeed anything made) and that is conviction! Talent is important in making better films but it is determination that gets them into production. I had never produced a movie, I was an Aussie in LA, sitting on one of the great books of our generation and I knew I would stop at nothing to realise the film. It just proves that with honest conviction, anything is possible.

What does your role as Head of Screenwriting at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) entail?
I am in charge of creating a syllabus that will take screenwriting in this country to the next level. Having hired Simon van Der Borgh and Allen Palmer as co-lecturers, I have built a team with over 50 years of collective international experience. I want to encourage writers to think outside the box and think beyond the confines of what we think an Australian film should be. Could we have made ‘The Hangover’ or ‘Sixth Sense’? Yes! They are films with great concepts and concept knows no national boundaries.

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