Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dancing with the Bowls in Comedic Fashion

(Please note, this entry was written over the stretch of a week, so the timing of it might be a bit funny…and there’s a lot of it!...)

Hope you are all having an unbelievably fantastic Easter weekend!

After a lazy midday sleep-in I am lying whimsically and languorously on the lawn in the sun, uploading my thoughts - can’t complain really. J Although, having worked the whole weekend at the box office, I think I deserve it! Sit back and relax with this melodious encounter, it has been neuf jours tres busy. ; P

(Contents: 3 x Comedy reviews, 2 x Movie reviews & some happy snaps)

Roll up to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Since opening day, Thursday, it has been a crazy house down at the Town Hall. The queue has been consistently ten to twenty deep, snaking outside onto the street come rain, hail or shine. Apparently Melbournians are mad for comedy - some of the big names have already sold out for the whole festival. If you haven’t seen anything yet, I highly recommend going to something. The city is abuzz every night (except Monday) and there are some serious belly laughs to be had. Come see me at the box office and I’ll sort you out! You can see shows from anywhere between $15-30. See below for a couple of reviews.

Competitive Bowls at its finest!

Last Saturday we headed out to the Auburn Bowls club to celebrate Geordie’s birthday. Thanks Geord and Soph for organising such an enjoyable afternoon. The bowls, food, drinks and perfect weather were wonderful revelation! I want to go back
and do it all again.

Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera, so I have no pictures of the many wayward bowls I made (ending up on the field of play two groups away). The award for the most raw talent undoubtedly goes to Mr Paul Gilbert who consistently hit fluky shots all afternoon (paradox?).

Vine Dancing @ Rochford Winery

The sky was completely overcast all day, the temperature was cool at best, there was even a sprinkle of rain at one stage, and yet it was a glorious day. The five of us danced and drank wine from midday till five (more or less) - a fine mixture of salsa, dance and mulled wine - perfect solution to a chilly day! Here are a few photos (Matt, finally, some photos of your girl! She’s so photogenic, it’s not fair!)…

Frank & Gabby of Melbourne Salsa take a class
(Earlier on in the day before even the instructors had had too much to drink!)

Melissa enjoying the class

Jason & Mel enjoy some wine and relaxation

Gideon avec moi

Melissa & Adrian strutt their stuff on the "dance floor"




Ross Noble – The Randomist – 13/4/2006

Ross is without doubt my favourite comedian. With shows called ‘The Randomist’ and ‘Noodlemeister’, you cannot accuse him of false advertising. It is virtually impossible to tell which of his multitude of tangents and flights of fancy are scripted and which bits are off the cuff, such is the talent of the man. While the show wasn’t quite as funny as previous years (although with comedy, sometimes it can be just explained with the comedian having an off night) and it was a little crasser than usual, parts of it had the audience in tears, literally and in a good way. I highly recommend seeing Ross Noble as much as possible, unless you are an unwavering realist.

Daniel Kitson – Weltenschnauug – 16/4/2006

Mr Kitson is almost the Anti-Ross. Steeped in sobering reality, the beauty of his show are his cynical observations of the way things really are, but said in a way you’d never thought of before. The show wasn’t a million laughs a minute – I’m told there were more laughs and more audience interaction in previous years, which I was a little disappointed about. But, with a joyous melancholy and a sharp intelligence, Kitson’s comedy is for the thinking punter. A smart show that may even have you thinking long after it is done. Personally, I just like the fact that he was a fellow Ben Folds fan! ;-)

Tim Minchin – 19/4/2006

Mr Minchin is a bit of an enigma – a little hard to describe. He’s listed under cabaret in guide, and yet is a little too dark to be cabaret. A little strange, you think he might break into a nervous breakdown at any stage, and yet once you settle into the performance, there is a lot to enjoy, laugh at and feel toasty about. A mixture of songs and stand-up, it is definitely the songs you are there to see. Written and played by the man himself on the piano, his songs cover all sorts of topics, and he is obviously both intelligent and musically talented. Meanwhile his stand-up makes a nice balance to the music, although a little rough around the edges. He is a favourite of most of the box office staff for a reason.




Ice Age 2 – The Melt Down: 3.25/5

Cast: Voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, Sean William Scott

In a Nutshell: Awesome graphics, corny story – cute and funny.

Synopsis: The ice is melting and they population of creatures must get to THE boat.

Not quite as good as Ice Age. The graphics are probably better – very realistic fur!, but the jokes are not quite as witty. There are a few great scenes, eg. Anything with Scrat in it and the mini-sloth scene. The two new possum characters are also a bit of fun. However, the story line was all too predictable and on the sickly sweet side.

Failure to Launch: 3/5

Cast: Matthew McConaughey (Wedding Planner, Reign of Fire), Sarah Jessica Parker (Family Stone, Sex & the City), Kathy Bates (Misery, Waterboy).

In a Nutshell: Unexpectedly funny Rom Com

Synopsis: 35yo male still lives at home, female is hired to make him fall in love with her so that he will move out. You know the rest.

Bit of a ridiculous pretence to begin with, and a very predictable outcome. However, there is a lot of fun to be had in the getting there and the way the resolution comes about wasn’t bad. The supporting cast is very comic and steal the show, in particular Zooey Deschanel, Justin Bartha and Kathy Bates (she’s always good!). McConaughey and SJP do not really extend past what they usually do (ie. Cocky womanising stud muffin and thirty something woman going through an identity crisis in expensive shoes). I spent a lot of time wondering how much longer SJP thinks she can get away with playing a woman in her early thirties – maybe not what the director was aiming for.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

"A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having" - V

Hmmm.... the English lamb & mint were defintely better than the Australian Sausage Sizzle... by a mile... at least they are better at something! ; )

For those who haven't had a look yet... here's that invitation to Flixster again!

Thanks mainly to MattyT4, the community seems to be up and running... it's very cool! You should give it a go (it's addictive), or at least have a look if you have time ( I'm up to 215 ratings... I set down the gauntlet for someone to beat that!... would be cool to see if anyone wants to have a better than "best friend" relationship with me too! ; ) Tell you what, first person to overtake me in the number of movies rated gets a DVD! - I get to choose it though! Some people have a bit of a headstart, so you'd better get cracking!

And now, to the all important reviews! Only a couple this week (Inside Man & V for Vendetta - see bottom).

Yeah, I know, I'm letting the team down.... I've been too busy dancing! If anyone ever wants to go for a salsa/swing/tango/modern jive - just give me a call!! I'll be there! Classes or social. Friday nights at the Park Hyatt rock! Thanks to Mel and Gideon for dragging my sorry butt out of the house! Looking forward to dancing amongst the grape vines on Sunday! Oh, and clubbing happening some time in the next few weeks - let me know if you are interested- probably end up at Seven this time.

Oh yeah... also, went to see Axle Whitehead again last Sunday! Show was not quite as good as the last one. Maybe that's the difference between a free show and a $18 show... heheh... they weren't quite as tight, but the atmostphere was more relaxed and rather appropriate for a sunday evening. If you are free this weekend-Sunday 9th April- I highly recommend heading on over to the Cornish Arms at 5pm. Geord & Jasmine, was awesome that you made it. Joe, lovely to meet you as well!

Next week - should have photos from Geordie's b'day and Latin Funk - Vibes on the Vineyard! It'll be a big one, make sure you tune in!

PY BIRTHDAY for today GEORD! Also a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY for KATHERINE for Friday as well. Love you both! g xoxox




Inside Man: 3/5

Cast: Denzel Washington (Philadelphia, Training Day), Clive Owen (Closer, King Arthur), Jodie Foster (Panic Room, Silence of the Lambs)

In a nutshell: Only slightly better than average hostage movie

Synopsis: Owen is the head of a gang that takes a bank hostage, Denzel is the police negotiator, and throw in Foster who may or may not play for both sides. However will they get out?

Given the skill of such a cast, this was a most disappointing movie. It felt incredibly long, and despite some flashes of something a little more interesting than your common hostage movie, it just didn't happen. Jodie Foster is underutilised, Denzel Washington seems too hyper and not gritty enough, almost like he's taking the piss, and you barely even get to see Clive Owen's face. To its credit, there was a little more subtext going on than your average suspense movie, perhaps a little more understanding of the characters and the last 10mins are decent, but for some reason it chooses not to pursue the potentially intriguing bits and instead sticks with the usual hostage formula. The question is, how did a director such as Spike Lee manage to make such a non statement?

V for Vendetta: 4.25/5

Cast: Hugo Weaving (Matrix, Rings trilogy) , Natalie Portman (Closer, Garden State)

In a nutshell: Original and thoughtful - unlike most comic adaptations.

Synopsis: England in the future has been taken over by a dictator of sorts (John Hurt) - the mysteriously masked V (Weaving) hatches a grand plan for revenge and revolution, Evey (Portman) gets swept up in the vendetta.

This movie is kick arse! Don't go in expecting the special effects and fighting of the Matrix.. it's not that sort of movie, and it's probably not for everyone. However, the attitude and atmosphere that the Wachowski's are brilliant at instilling is all there. A few bloody fight scenes, but it's more the banter between the characters that make you want more. The beauty of this film is that it makes a political statement (revolution against a totalitarian state - US anyone?) well within the context of anit-hero-of-sorts movie, so it's not in your you something to think about if you want, or you can just enjoy the spectacle of it. Hugo Weaving is exquisite. You never really get to see his face for the whole movie, and yet he creates such a textured persona that you swear the mask is moving (oh, and it probably helps if you can get past expecting him to say "Missster Anderrrrson"). Natalie Portman is also very good, but I have a feeling she hasn't reached anywhere near her full potential yet...damn her for looking beautiful even with a shaved head! My only gripe would be it probably could have been 15mins shorter, but still, well worth a viewing or two.