Jacaranda Delights for Beltaine!

Beautiful Jacaranda, Newtown, Sydney, Australia Beltaine 31st October 2017

So today is the best day of the year, not just for birthday girls, but pagans alike. 

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, the wheel of the year turns to Beltaine. If you have been thinking it’s Halloween, that – i.e., Samhain – occurs on the first of May.

Newtown in Sydney’s Inner West is renowned not only for its bohemian culture and league of nations of cuisines, but its lovely messy Jacarandas which bloom every Spring.

I hope you enjoy this photograph I took of a beautiful Jacaranda tree up the street this afternoon, whilst slightly blinded by sunlight.  Jacarandas are one of my favourite trees, with their bell-shaped purple blossoms.  Little did I know when I was drawn to photograph this tree for my writing page, that this lilac stunner symbolises rebirth, and is a lunar aspect of the Goddess.

Enjoy, and Blessed Be!

c. Kylie J. Lawrence 2017

Photograph by Kylie J. Lawrence

 

 

‘The Enchanted Wood’ Re-Framed

On my way home today I stopped in a bookshop, and after being bored by the synopsis on the back cover of a book about female chauvinist pigs, turned toward the children’s books on a side wall.

Ahh, ‘The Enchanted Wood’! Wouldn’t that be a lovely book to give my tiny niece for Xmas.  Memories of childhood imaginings about Joe, Bessie, and Fannie climbing the Faraway Tree and meeting Moonface; hot-cold goodies; and exploring the land at the top of the tree.  I loved this when I was a kid out in the bush, and one sunny day lamented that I wanted to have adventures like Joe, Bessie, and Fanny, considering my own life unadventurous.  Although I doubt that Joe and co. ever had to concern themselves with avoiding snakes, sunburn, and dehydration on bush walks, or helped break in neurotic ponies, or were solo driving at seven.

Harmless storytelling to inspire the imagination of another generation.  Certainly, I became aware many years ago that some of Enid Blyton’s storybook characters were racially-offensive confections compounding stereotypes, well out of place in a more culturally-aware society. Fair enough if these had changed.

Surely there wasn’t anything offensive in ‘The Enchanted Wood’.

But lo, there it was on the back cover:  “Joe, Bessie, and Frannie.”  FRANNIE?  FRANNIE?? FRANNIE???

What numpty, politically-correct publishing prat changed Fanny’s name to that of a burnt-out middle-aged bank teller with frigging corns and a nylon blouse?

I hot-footed it out of there.

What the hell else has changed?  Let me guess:

  1. Joe, Bessie, and Frannie’s helicopter mother follows them everywhere and won’t let them climb trees.
  2. Joe, Bessie, and Frannie’s famed bottle of milk and sandwiches stuffed into a bag, is now a bottle of organic soy milk with individual cups and enviro-killing wet wipes and gluten-free, nut-free in an ostentatious bento box-style Disney-licenced plastic lunch box of wanker proportions.
  3. Joe, Bessie, and Frannie aren’t allowed to touch the tree in case they get bark-poisoning just from looking at it.
  4. Joe, Bessie, and Frannie never find out what is up the Faraway Tree, and never have any adventures because their pathetic helicopter mother is too freaked out to let them climb it.
  5. Joe, Bessie, and Frannie miss out on eating Moonface’s hot-cold goodies, because there’s no proof that they are paleo-inspired and come out of a twee enviro-killing crunchy plastic bag that’s headed straight for land-fill.  Also, Moonface may turn out out to be a tree-hugging creep.
  6. Joe, Bessie, and Frannie are forced to ‘curate’ a photo essay of their day out for their mummy blogger’s Instagram account, which will be full of over-exposed ‘whimsical’ shots of them in twee designer clothes that are not designed for playing in outdoors.

Re-framing literary narratives within the confines of a contemporary social narrative has its merits, but at some point, revisionism egregriously assumes an -atriarchal[sic] role in a reader’s critical thinking that sucks some of the enchantment out of storytelling.

c. Kylie J. Lawrence 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Top Five Comedies to Wet the Pants of a Pregnant Sheila.

Here’s my top five comedy viewing list, inspired by a cranky pregnant mumma who needs some laughs.

1. BRIDESMAIDS (2011) You cannot go wrong with badly-behaved bridesmaids, a dirty restaurant, and a posh bridal fitting.  Besides, it has Melissa McCarthy in it.  

2. DEATH AT A FUNERAL (2007)  Families, feuds, and f-ups.

3. KENNY (2006) A mockumentary with heart, great lead character, cracking dialogue.  

4. THE GOODIES  (TV Series 1970-1982) Fun, fun, fun.

5. GETTIN’ SQUARE (2003) David Wenham.  Leopard-print undies.  A window.  

c. Kylie Lawrence 2017.

 

My Cousin Rachel

Is, or is not, Rachel Ashley a black widow?

Is she, or is she not, a dangerous woman to love?  Perhaps the danger lies not only in her flawed hands, but in the carelessness of her prey, the initially wary Phillip Ashley, played by Sam Claflin.

Ambrose Ashley (Deano Bugatti)  was everything to his orphaned young cousin Phillip: devoted guardian and mate.  His mysterious and unexpected death soon after a whirlwind marriage to beautiful, worldly Rachel in Italy, prompts dark questions in the grieving and angry Phillip’s mind.

A cougar with a potentially extinguishable cub, Rachel Weisz’s sympathetic portrayal of new widow Rachel Ashley, is almost disarming in her gentleness when she arrives at Phillip and Ambrose’s English working estate.  However, it is not long before the lines of Phillip’s loathing become blurred, and he throws the caution of good friends to the proverbial wind.

If, like me, you read Daphne du Maurier’s incendiary 1944 novel,  My Cousin Rachel, in the wee lamp-ringed hours of teenager-hood (it is a hood), and were no more apprised of the truth at the story’s end; then turned up to watch the film with no more expectation that cinematic interpretation would be equally obfuscatory in resolution, you would not be disappointed.  Writer-director Roger Michell’s 2017 adaptation is a classy rendition of an awful story.

Is Rachel Ashley lover, friend, or mortal foe?

 

c. Kylie Lawrence 2017

 

 

Berlin Syndrome

I deliberately avoided any 9.30pm sessions of Berlin Syndrome (2017) in case I scared myself on the dark walk home.  Some films are best kept for daylight hours.  Watching a thriller is as much a test of the film, as it is of my internal fear that I will remember painful, revolting, cruel scenes from the film, bring that fear into my sacred space, and not be able to sleep, perhaps even have a nightmare during which I cannot grab anything.  One could probably achieve the same by locking me in a room with a bird or a reptile (this is not an invitation), and saying, “Go to sleep.”

When I ‘get through’ a thriller, with minimal sensory ‘damage’ it is a small achievement.  Tonight though, I was too late to see a comedy, and settled for another film on my list of desired fillums[sic] to watch, the 7.10pm session of Berlin Syndrome.  So, really no different from the 9.30pm assault upon the visceral senses after all.

Director Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome is an engaging, though at times slow-moving erotic thriller about a young photojournalist who has packed up her life in Brisvegas, Australia, for a creative endeavour in Berlin, but meets hell instead.  At first, Teresa Palmer’s Clare is your prototypical hiding-her-light-under-a-bushel solo backpacker, enjoying a fun fling.  She discovers too late that behind cute local Andi’s  (played by Max Riemelt) friendly mask, lies a wolf in waiting.  But within herself, Clare finds her own animal instincts in an increasingly excruciating, in more ways than one, fight for survival.

See the preview here: 

c. Kylie J. Lawrence 2017

 

Table 19

I don’t know if it is an ephemeral hang-over from last night’s Samhain*, but tonight, sitting alone in Cinema 9 at Dendy Newtown, I could feel presences, at first in the row behind me, to the left, then later, further along the right of that row.  Ghosts of patrons past?

And for the second time tonight I sat in seat C5, though different cinema screening rooms.  Oooooh!

Speaking of veils between worlds, the second film I saw tonight, Table 19, was a bitter-sweet comedy about a table of wedding misfits, lead by sacked and dumped Maid of Honour, Eloise, (Anna Kendrick) at first lost in in wedding reception hell – having to spend an evening with strangers.  Although at times laugh-out-loud funny,  it was no Death At A Funeral (2007), and, like some weddings, tonally, it slipped between maudlin and comical.  It evoked Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), later it was no surprise to find out that Mark Duplasse was one of the co-writers.  I did find my heart beating and a romantic smile enveloping me, in a dance promising much, but delivering a plot twist servicing a morally conventional true love pas de deux.

See the preview here: 

c. Kylie J. Lawrence 2017

*I drafted this in May, so that’s Samhain Down Under.

 

Colossal

Pisshead Gloria’s life in New York is a mess.  An unemployed writer, Gloria’s mainstays in life are partying, sleeping all day, and borrowing money from Nice Boyfriend Tim (Dan Stevens). The do hits the fan when N.B.T. dumps her, kicks her out of his flat, and Gloria moves back to Mainhead, her childhood home town, where she is forced to face her demons, one of whom is not the drink.

Convinced that her emotional state is controlling literally monstrous events in far off South Korea, anti-hero Gloria’s unwilling journey to save herself becomes a mission to save the world before the world becomes complacent.  At times brutal, this comedy is more monster film than action film.  It evokes the quirky storytelling of writer Derek Connolly’s 2012 romantic comedy, Safety Not Guaranteed, and director Dan Trachtenburg’s 2016 seat-clencher 10 Cloverfield Lane.  A decent performance from Anne Hathaway as Gloria, who buries herself in a world of men, but is more King Kong than fey Fay Wray.  An increasingly plotty storyline resolves itself in a very clear-cut way, and over all, a satisfying film to watch.

Watch the Colossal preview here:

c. Kylie Lawrence 2017

Far From Men

Algeria. 1954.  Lone middle-aged schoolteacher Duru, played with increasingly unquiet soul by Viggo Mortensen (‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy), lives a peaceful, spartan life, in an isolated valley.  Forced to escort a young alleged murderer to court in a distant town, the reluctant Duru comes face-to-face with his own past, in an increasingly dangerous journey through the shale and rebel-filled mountains, to redemption.   But whose redemption?

Cowed villain Mohamed, played beautifully by Reda Kateb, is arguably the more fascinating character of the two, his story peeling away to reveal a tragic core.

Far From Men is a character-driven, action-packed western leavened with heart, moments of levity, and a stillness befitting the extraordinary Algerian landscape.  From Albert Camus’ short story L’Hote, and directed by David Olhoeffen who also collaborated  on the screenplay adaptation with writer Antoine Lacomblez, Far From Men draws one in with decent performances, stunning cinematography, and a genuinely heart and gut-gripping climax.

Unfortunately I forgot to post this film review back in August when I saw it at the cinema and concluded that: “Far From Men is the best drama I have seen recently, and I would hasten thee to a cinema on the pronto.”

Now it’s November, I’d say saddle yer steed and hasten thee to a DVD or VOD!

c. Kylie Lawrence 2015.

She moves in mysterious ways…

She moves in mysterious ways.

Best Blogs in Goddess Worship

Thank you.

Femme/Feminine Essentials – An Abbreviated Lissssssst

Femme/Feminine Essentials:  what exactly are they?  And why do they matter?

I first heard of  ”feminine essentials” from a work colleague some years ago.  This terminology was a world away from ”women’s things,” the shy termininology I muttered at the blushing age of fifteen on a rural towns high school orchestra tour, to the elderly male bus driver who demanded to know my reason for wanting to get back onto the locked bus when everyone else was inside the hall tuning up.  Despite having a friend with me, I couldn’t bear to state the bleedin’ obvious.

Now I see that the term ‘feminine essentials’ has a broader application.

As a member of the Femerati, with a doubtless biased opine-yon, I have decided to set sail (without help from real sailors) upon a M.O.G.I. (no, not a cat, rather a Mission of Great Importance) which explores the feminine-gendered kind.  Obviously it’s of some small concern that the ‘femme’ reference may go down a G.G.R. (Grossly Girly Route), so I’ve boiled it down:

To Discover: What Are the Top 100 Feminine Essentials?  And why.

Rules, Disclaimers, and Other Procrastivatory[sic] Bollux: the following is not an experiment in E.S. (Exact Science).  Probably because I don’t possess a white coat.  True, it has an objective (reverting to high school biology here, rather than the more dramatic GOAL which has been seconded by motivational types), and something of Methodology,  and it is possible that a conclusion or set of conclusions may be drawn from Evemadence[sic]… ooh, just notice a girly inscrimination[sic] there.

I invite you to think outside social stereotypes.  So please avoid the following, unless you can offer a particularly feminist reading upon your selection:

  1. Shopping
  2. Cosmetic surgery (for purely vain concerns of perfectly fine-looking persons)
  3. Other socio-gendered crap

This experiment is not for the fainthearted, the lazy, or the J.I.I.T.R.T.R.G.B. (Just in It To Read The Good Bits).  Au contraire, I offer you, the reader, the marvellous opportunity to contribute your own wild and fabulous examples of evidence which I will publish after a very long time into the future.

And when the list of Feminine Essentials Reaches 100.

Thus, to begin with, a suggestion of my own, which one hopes you shall find charming and entrancing.

FEMMESENTIALS  – An Abbreviated Lisssssst

1. Firm Foundation Garments: what a Berlei-ooody load of gender-political bollocks.  Did Boadicea wear a brassiere?  Whilst cooking upon a brazier?  In brazen times of old…

The greatest women in history were very often triumphant with the firm foundations of strength of character, bbbbraaaaains, and spunk.  That’s Australian for good looking, and for guts.  Boadicea had better things to do than hitch her herself into an iron cage before hoisting herself upon her trusty steed.  Did Boadicea’s horse wear a bra?  No. And I’m sure that Napoleon’s didn’t bother either.

What say you are feminine essentials?  And why?

Leave Nigella Lawson Alone!

I usually don’t mind reading Sarah Le Marquand’s columns in the Snaily Telegraph.  She usually writes with intelligence and some decency.

But today she takes the cake with her patronising and pompous faux-feminist attitude to the way Nigella Lawson has chosen thus far to deal with the very public breakdown of her marriage to Charles Saatchi, the man who assaulted her recently at a restaurant.

Le Marquand demands of Nigella:

But she cannot stay quiet forever. Having found herself in the centre of a highly publicised matter, she owes it to herself – and to the countless women in similar situations now watching her closely – to speak up and denounce violence and bullying.

Daily Telegraph 11/07/2013

There is no singular perfect human response to trauma. 

Le Marquand’s smug,  insensitive,  patronising, and ignorant suggestion that Nigella get a wriggle on denouncing Saatchi publicly, and become the posh anti-domestic violence poster girl before she turns into a 50-something Rihanna, chooses underhanded and passive aggressive feminism at close to its worst. 

At no point in her article does Le Farquwittand[sic] open her heart to the possibility that Nigella’s refusal (thus far) to publicly denounce Saatchi or to make any comment about intimate partner violence in general, is anything beyond the mark of a very public figurehead maintaining the clichéd stiff upper lip in the face of public humiliation.

As one who was many years ago on the inside of a relationship marked literally by domestic violence, the last thing a person in Nigella and her family’s (yes, Le F. you didn’t think about the rest of the family did you?) situation need is judgmental outsiders casting cut-throat black and white aspersions their way during a shitty time of transition.

Le Marquand’s eager article reads as black and white about one thing:  Charles Saatchi is not the only pig at the fair.

This is a time less for heartlessness, than healing, and kindness.

c. Aroomofheroine 2013.

The Great Gatsby

I finally went and saw The Great Gatsby at the pictures last night and I am glad that I did.

First up, was it spectacular cinema?  What Baz Lurhmann film isn’t?

Look at it this way, when you have more special effects crew than cast, and enough to populate a small town, with Baz Lurhmann and the fabulous Catherine Martin at the helm, how can it be anything else?

But what of the story?

If I was irritated by Gatsby’s repetitive fondness for the phrase “old sport,”  bandied about like Kevin Rudd trying out Australianisms to suck up to voters at a barbeque, then at least Buchanan took him to task over his right to its utterance.  Fair suck of the sav, we get that it’s an idiologism of the 1920s, we see that it’s the 1920s, what more do you want?

As Nick Caraway says of Daisy and Tom Buchanan at the end, “They were careless people.”  Did I care about these characters?

Daisy had a heart, for sure, and Nick too.  It took me a while to warm to Jay Gatsby, and it wasn’t really until he revealed his love for lost love Daisy, and thus began unravelling in his pursuit of her, that I cared indeed for Gatsby himself.  By the end, who did I care most for?  Nick, and Gatsby himself.  I’m interested in anybody who chases and does all he or she can for love.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1343092/

 

Will I watch The Great Gatsby again?  Thinking about it.

Does seeing this latest cinematic reinterpretation make me want to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s original novel?

Definitely.

 

 

 

Hollywood Movie Data Machine Puts Bums On Seats

It had to happen.  Somebody who loves numbers invents a machine that can calculate exactly what ingredients determine a film’s success at the box office.

Hollywood executives secretly love this, because they can use it to make more money.

Screenwriters are not so keen, because they have been making replica  calculations on the backs of envelopes for years.  They have made trigonometry and other fancy maths words out of equations such as Tools to Sell Out With – I mean, Commerce: Art, and Commercial Paradigms: Indie Tropes.  NB.  It is always good to use words such as ‘paradigms’ and ‘tropes’ to stop words such as ‘story’ and phrases such as ‘a bloody good story’ getting in the way of sounding fancy pants/like a cinematic fancy pants (CFP).

Hm, what role does imaginative storytelling play?  Will writers have to wear aluminium foil around their heads to stop the Hollywood statistics machine messing with their imaginations?

I reckon there might be a few home truths in the statistics garnered by this wizz-bang new service, that writers, such as myself, should cop sweet.  Such as:  successful action films always have action scenes in them and/Bruce Willis.  Or, the older Bruce Willis gets, the more likely he is to take the piss out of his earlier action roles, which is endearing on the one hand, but raises questions about how fast he can run away from baddies on the other.  I refer particularly to Die Hard 96 which is due on cinema screens in thirty years time  (but don’t hold me to that being true or not because I just made it up).  Bruce will probably be close to 96 himself by then.

Lolly Bag Gift for Writer:  always include a dramatic action sequence in your action film, and if you can’t get that, write Bruce Willis taking the mickey out of his youthful action star persona.  He loves that kind of shit*.  Especially if you make him some young hottie’s dad and he gets to show him up in a wild action scene, such as in Die Hardest.

Never Mind Hollywood, What About the Real Down and Dirty statistics?

Speaking of Bruce, I have had a few thoughts.  Instead of writing my screenplay in which Bruce Willis gets to play a flute in a highly emotionally-charged but totally pointless scene that leads the story nowhere, and is thus illustrative fluff (hm, or maybe his character is playing the flute in the desert and when the sun shines off his silver flute, he is blinded, and this makes him go dizzy, and when he wakes up, he is confronted by wolves who threaten to turn him into wolf breakfast unless he plays Xmas carols), but will cut down on the musical composition budget because that’s one less musician to hire – I have just come back from a top secret investigation and discovered some surprising statistics that screenwriters should be aware of before they next put finger to keyboard or quill.

  1. Films about shy young men who turn into spiders always put loads of bums on seats and make bucket loads of moolah.
  2. The brand and quality of coffee on set is directly proportional to the proportion of cranky actors who carry on like plucked-arse parrots, get shickered in pubs on location, and end up on the front pages of trash mags just before their latest film premieres.
  3. Tom Cruise + any film about aeroplanes = always a safe bet.  Ditto for Tom Cruise rescuing maidens and them falling in love with him.
  4. If you write a film where Meryl Streep plays a paper sandwich bag in a hair shirt in the the pitch black of night where you cannot see her performing, this role is over 90% likely to result in a Best Actress Oscar nomination. And 0.003% likely to end in an actual win.  Still, you will have Meryl Streep in your film, and that, in my book, is heaps better than all the Oscars in China.
  5. Kids love films about animals, and films about kids saving the world from stupid adults.  Thus kids are 100% likely to pester their parents to spend silly amounts of money on taking them to the pictures to see these films, or annoy the crappola out of them until they buy the DVD.  So you should probably write one.
  6. French films are 99% likely to have French-speaking characters and 96.2% likely to look classy and glamorous, even in a working class setting.  Even if they talk pointless or banal crap in a scene, the subtitles always make French characters’ dialogue sound impressive and meaningful.  So if your dialogue is a shocker, just write it in French.
  7. American films often have shit character names, and kid characters with boring old man names.  I’m looking at you, Home Alone.
  8. Horror films are 100% horrible.
  9. Angelina Jolie is 100% unlikely to break into a sweat even if she has run for what looks like kilometres across a freeway.   See Salt if you don’t believe me.
  10. Australian actors are like ants:  everywhere and into everything.   Sometimes you can’t even tell that they are Australian.  Statistically they are 95% more likely to do a good Yank accent than the other way around.
  11. Quentin Tarantino is 99% likely to have never made a rom-com or a kids’ film.  
  12. Successful rom-coms ALWAYS have kissing in them.
  13. Films about Xmas always have a Xmas tree in them.
  14. Films about nuns are either miserable or romantic.  If they have songs in them they are 100% successful at the box office, and they won’t reach reach their peak again for close to sixty years.
  15. 100% of films set in space have aliens in them.

*Pure conjecture.

 

c. Kylie Lawrence 2013.

A Leaf of Unexpected Abundance

A Leaf of Unexpected Abundance.

“Write What You Know.”

“Write what you know.”  That’s what they told me early on at film school.  I was shocked.

To me, that’s just plain lazy.  Wow, don’t leave home, your pond, your life.  Stay put, know only what you know.

What happened to imagination?  What happened to being eternally open to the worlds of the wilds of imagination, of inspiration?

Advantages of Writing What You Know:

  1. Research is a piece of piss.
  2. You can just get on with writing your story.
  3. Your characters will be ‘more’ authentic.
  4. Your story world will be more authentic.

Disadvantages of Writing What You Know:

  1. People will insist that the story world is more important than the ‘real’ world you know, which has inspired your story.   They will be write – woops, right.   And they will be wrong.  This may prove annoying, or deeply challenging.  You may be acccused of using your imagination because your real world sounds too fantastical.  Social realism thus becomes addressed as fantasy.  So now, you are arguing authenticity.   So who is the fantasist:  you, or those who apply narrow real-world thinking to your story?

Advantages of  Writing From Imagination:

  1. Inspiration

c. Kylie J. Lawrence 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Loneliest Planet

What is the loneliest planet? 

This is a question which played by chance after watching writer/director Julia Loktev’s latest feature film, visually stunning The Loneliest Planet.

Adapted from a short story by journalist and travel writer, Tom Bissell, Loktev draws out the tale almost in real-time of Nica and Alex, a young couple passionately in love with each other and on the brink of marriage.  Too soon, but not soon enough for the audience, they find themselves on the brink of betrayal, wrought by a single shocking event, which shatters everything they think they know about each other, and about themselves.

Nica, played by Hani Furstenberg a talented Israeli-American actor who could give Jessica Chastain a run for her money – partly ’cause she’s a ranga – and Alex, played by Gabriel Garcia Bernal, (The Motorcycle Diaries (2004) and Babel (2006)) are fit, seasoned backpackers, seeking experiences off the beaten track in rural Georgia, Russia.  I say seasoned, unlike their clothes, which never seem to get dirty or torn, no matter how many rocks they clamber over or grassy mountains they roll down.  But hey, John Wayne’s shining new trousers and red shirt at the start of The Searchers (1956) never truly belied the adventures of a U.S. Confederate soldier who has ridden rough for three years before arriving home to his family out in the Texas desert.

Alex and Nica’s Georgian local mountaineering guide, played by Bidzina Gujabidze, is at first a subtly shy though friendly older character, in counterpoint to the garrulous Nica, but as Nica discovers, behind the scarred exterior Dato is a thoughtful man hiding a tenderly complex story of loneliness which proves an elixir in the resolution.  Gujabidize, an accomplished mountaineer, rather than actor, offers an authentic, nuanced performance in his feature film début.

We are easily drawn into the minutiae of life on a trek in a foreign country:  a tourist’s eye-view of magnificent, rugged countryside, which both invigorates and blisters the traveller’s spirit and feet, from shattering rock-strewn hillside, to washing in flat waterways, and laughing over cheeky language games.  There are some unsettling moments for Nica and Alex: perhaps this land is not so friendly, but Dato ushers them through with care.  These hints of danger tease the viewer into thinking that they are watching a thriller.  The rising tedium  – I wanted to yank a chunk out of the story – leading to the crisis moment in Alex and Nica’s journey, contrasts with the slow-moving but rising tension in the climax scene, during which an inevitable careless betrayal elicits the aforementioned elixir.   Delaying the drama is an intriguing choice, but as a measure of character development, it works well.

After watching this film, I find the loneliest planet is not the isolated wilds of remote Georgia‘s Caucasus Mountains, but the human heart.

No bull:   If you love backpacking, or storytelling that gives you time to smell the roses, then it is worth a look. 

Newly released in Australian cinemas, The Loneliest Planet is clever, simple character-based storytelling.   Slow in parts, it is ultimately evocative, and provocative.

To watch The Loneliest Planet preview:

c. Kylie Lawrence 2013.

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED… But Laughs Are

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED… But Laughs Are.

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED… But Laughs Are

It’s a quirky title, but the storytelling team behind this endearing off-beat comedy,  Safety Not Guaranteed, take us on a ride into imaginative territory.

Determined to get the story behind a crazy time-traveller-companion-wanted advertisement, the misfit trio of sleazy Gen X magazine journalist, Jeff (Jake Johnson of A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas (2011)) and young interns, the depressed Darius (comedian Aubrey Plaza of Parks and Recreation (TV) fame) and geeky innocent Arnaud (Karan Soni, Are You There, Chelsea? (2012), set out on an increasingly bizarre  trip into the perilous world of time traveller Kenneth.

Character-driven comedy with a twist I won’t spoil, the stand-out performance for me is Mark Duplass’s child-man Kenneth, a man for whom moving on is just too hard, and revisiting the past seems the only way to make sense of the present:  a theme that true romantics will appreciate.  Time travel is dangerous stuff, as Kenneth’s self-made action hero explains to Darius, but it can change your life.

A touch of over-plotting in the latter part of the second act slows the pace slightly, but overall I cannot fault writer Derek Connolly and director Colin Trevorrow’s hilarious, heart-warming comedy for engaging storytelling.

No Bull:  Get your backside on a cinema seat now.

The only person laughing more than me was a mysterious stranger in the front row.

SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED preview (I refuse to say trailer):


c.  A Room of Heroine 2012

New Theme

Tried Matala last night.  No, it’s not Masala, but the Matala theme.  Tonight, trying out Twenty Ten for size.  Decisions decisions.  It’s enough to turn a girl to Masala in the bottle.  If she were likely to imbibe.

I really want a red header, for that mysteeeerious redhead vibe, and the ordinary mysterious vibe, but am impressed with the white background which makes my posts devamastaingly[sic] clear to read.  However, will have to learn how to rejig the header for a more captivating picture or colour block.

In red.

Yellow is so last night!

c.  A Room of Heroine 2012.

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Something I have been thinking about for a long time.  Time to change the colour of our day.  As much as I really like the white text on dark grey background and the whole mysterious red header – most suitable for a red head!  it is time to bring some font contrast to A Room of Heroine.

So after I have yet another squizz at the WordPress themes on offer, these – interestingly enough, black and red – martial arts shoes are going to take me out into the sunshine down the hill.

Who knows what brighter, yet mysterious layout awaits the eye?

 

c.  A Room of Heroine 2012.

BRIDESMAIDING 101 Top Tips for a Proper Bridesmaid

BRIDESMAIDING 101

Top Tips for a Proper Bridesmaid

  1.  Don’t tell the bride something looks foul until you’ve tried it on. Chances are it’ll look a lot better on you than it will on the shop shelf or hanger.  Whether it’s foul or fair, you’re probably going to pay for it, so give it a go before writing it off as the tacky pair of shoes from hell.  Something that starts off looking trashy may well prove the coute de rootistance at the reception.*  If, for example, the sales assistant volunteers that she walked in the same style of shoes from The Rocks to Darling Harbour without breaking out into a blister at her work Xmas party, rest assured that the comfortable fit you enjoy in the shop will last an entire wedding day no problems.
  2.  When the bride asks you seven months before the wedding what colour her roses should be, don’t tell her to wait and see what’s in season.  In fact, this should be rule number one.  Brides need to know hues and shades and tinges months in advance.  They say this is because they need to co-ordinate bridesmaid outfits, and handbags and other crap like that, but really, it’s so they have time to surreptitiously plant design seeds into the groom’s side of the business into picking the right colour ties and cummerbunds.  Where the Kyoto Protocol is only concerned with saving planet Earth from global warming between here and eternity, brides have one mission: to save Their Special Day (T.S.D.).  As you embark upon your pre-wedding journey, you will realise that The Bride (T.B.) is the boss of everything.
  3.  When The Bride asks for your opinion upon the colour of chair sash colours at the reception venue, and what you think will complement the dining room nautical-themed carpet, don’t throw a hissy fit and expostulate, “For god’s sake who the hell’s gunna notice – they’re chair sash covers for goodness sake!” Remember the invisible rule that renders all other rules insignificant – only the bride is allowed to throw a hissy fit, and if it’s prompted by a materialistic, superficial reason that she too would otherwise, in more rational times, ie, Pre-Bridal (P.B.), not give a shit about, this is perfectly normal, and par for the course of Briding.
  4.  Bridesmaids should not attempt to co-produce short films long distance whilst attending to their Maiden of Honour duties on the weekend of the wedding.   Your stomach may be churning at a frightening rate of knots as your paltry film budget suffers for your art, but if your focus is anywhere but decorating the tables at the reception centre with the bride and her family the day before the big day, you will fall short of being A Proper Bridesmaid.  She won’t even need to say it.  The artistic nerves in your inside will spontaneously [sic] into waves of guilt that you have not been A Proper Bridesmaid.
  5.  Bridesmaids should refrain from playing hopscotch up the church aisle during wedding rehearsals, even if the vicar does laugh.  This stresses brides out, particularly brides whose sole M. of H. and E. (Maiden of Honour and Everything) has also been so wrapped up in filmmaking that she has neglected to turn up to the reception venue to decorate tables and cannot remember the running order of the ceremony.
  6.  A Proper Bridesmaid will refrain from being politically correct and telling her bride-to-be off for being sacrilegious and shallow.   This is for special cases, where an atheist bride takes her lapsed ex-schoolboy Roman Catholic father into the church, to point out how the stained glass windows, featuring saints, in the vestibule co-ordinate with her traditional wedding theme, and the father decides to start reciting long forgotten catechisms and reminding everyone of how he was once a good little altar boy.  Art and beauty have everything to do with celebrating love.
  7.  If the bridesmaid has a different spiritual calling to the bride and groom, she will likely as not find that her spiritual beliefs are small bickies in comparison with the love she has for true love.  The old maxim, when in Rome do as the Romans do, for a half hour wedding service helps.  Besides, there is a rock solid chance that the marriage celebrant will prattle on about all sorts of positive vibes about marital commitment and love that transcend the tenets of any organised religion, even if several centuries ago, you would have been burned at the stake by the marriage celebrant’s predecessor.
  8.  If the photographer offers you cheap champagne out of the esky in the boot of his car while s/he does the formal portraits out in the hot sun, just drink it.  The bride, despite more than likely knowing nothing about photography or set design, will be too busy telling the photographer how to stage her/his photographs and run her/his camera, in order to catch the eyeball-scorching sunlight in a halo against the back of her dress, to drink.  This also has the run-on effect of warming her thirst engines so that she will be ready to harass you for a drink at the reception.
  9.  Don’t think your duties at the reception begin and end with holding the bride’s handbag while she and the groom welcome the guests inside.  She may never have been married or even a bridesmaid before, but if you don’t know that you should know to fetch her drink from the bar, there is the distinct likelihood that she will become tetchy, as well as thirsty, and tell you off… discreetly or otherwise.  Your bride will depend on you to know your bridesmaid business, even if she thinks she doesn’t.
  10.  Bridesmaids should always size up the available groomsmen.  Even if you don’t get lucky with one of them after the wedding, there is a pretty good chance you could get lucky with their dessert.  Which, after the exhausting day you’ve just had, absolutely justifies eating a second one.  Suggest to the bride that she order a fussy, girly sweet that no self-respecting Groom’s Bloke (G.B.) could have the sweet tooth to handle, such as Pavlova, chocolate puddings and tarts.  A Proper Bridesmaid knows it is vitally important to line her stomach before she hits the dance floor with all the other tarts… well, the ones in satin.
  11.  Always accompany the bride to the toilet, even if it’s just to gossip about the hot waiter.  Whether she needs you to hold seventy metres of tulle up while she plants one on the dunny, or pin her back fat back into the corset she’s never fitted into, it is an unspoken rule that the bride always goes to the dunny in a posse of satin, silk, and perfume.
  12.  When it’s time to dance with your Allotted Groomsman (A.G.) during the bridal waltz,  realise that it will never be as bad as social dancing for P.E. in Year Ten, and the groomsman may well be just as nervous as you.  It is only one dance out of the rest of your life, and with a bit of luck, he will be so concerned about his Groomly Duties (G.D.s), that he will kindly offer to fetch you a drink from the bar.
  13.  When your bride sister or friend says she could not have made it through her special day and months of preparation without you, say thank you.  You never know – one day you could be in need of an experienced Matron of Honour, one who understands your bridal needs perfectly.

*Coute de rootistance.  For those of you not from the Land Down Under, this means the pinnacle of ones shagging opportunities.

c. A Room of Heroine 2012. Continue reading

Welcome to No Bull Film Reviews

G’Day Possums,

I am officially going to pull my finger out and start sharing some no bull film reviews with you, especially as I’ve seen some great films lately, take generally inconsequential interest in film reviews. 

This will include films I truly like, and others I want to pick a bone with.  If they help you decide whether or not you would like to watch the films at the pictures, or on DVD, just remember that I will probably not be as rude online about the ones I’m annoyed with as I would be if we were chatting face to face, and utterly effusive about the ones I really like:  either of which may be of generally inconsequential interest to you as a film audience member.

But deep down, I enjoy going to the pictures, and hope that you do too.

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