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Telluride Diary part one: The decision

By Cinema and Travel

The first draft of history…

ABC Motel, Gunnison, CO

The ABC Motel in Gunnison, Colorado. Venue for Night Two of this odys­sey. Who could resist?

For a few years I’ve been har­bour­ing ideas for a num­ber of excit­ing pro­jects. These are the sort of pie-in-the-sky ideas that wer­en’t pos­sible dur­ing the dark days of 2009 and 2010 when work was thin on the ground and money was thin­ner, but they kept me going and I was hope­ful that one day I might be able to put one or two of them into action.

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Review: The Invention of Lying, Jennifer’s Body, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Looking for Eric, Summer Hours, Valentino- The Last Emperor and Mary & Max

By Cinema, paramount and Reviews

This past week may have been the most con­sist­ently sat­is­fy­ing week of cinema-going since I star­ted this jour­ney with you back in 2006: sev­en very dif­fer­ent films, all with some­thing to offer. And no tur­keys this week, so I’ll have to put the acid away until next week.

The Invention of Lying posterIn com­pletely arbit­rary order (of view­ing in fact), let’s take a look at them. In The Invention of Lying British com­ic Ricky Gervais dir­ects his first big screen film (work­ing without the cre­at­ive sup­port of usu­al part­ner Stephen Merchant) and it turns out to be a little bit more ambi­tious than most Hollywood rom-coms. In a world where no one has any con­cep­tion of “untruth”, where the entire pop­u­la­tion makes each oth­er miser­able by say­ing exactly how they feel all the time and where there is no storytelling or fic­tion to give people an escape, Gervais’ char­ac­ter dis­cov­ers he has the abil­ity to say things that aren’t true and is treated as a Messiah-figure as a res­ult. Everything he says, no mat­ter how out­land­ish, is believed but he still can’t win the love of the beau­ti­ful Jennifer Garner.

Gervais is solidly funny through­out, and demon­strates even more of the depth as an act­or that he hin­ted at in Ghost Town last year, but the dir­ec­tion is uneven – per­haps because both Gervais and co-writer-director Matthew Robinson are first-timers.

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Review: Michael Jackson’s This is It, My Year Without Sex, The Limits of Control and Black Ice

By Cinema, paramount and Reviews

Thi is It posterFull dis­clos­ure: I wrote a play about Michael Jackson once (“Dirty Doris”, BATS 1995) so I’ll con­fess to always being inter­ested in the real char­ac­ter behind the tabloid and music video façade so the arrival of This is It (what some have described as a cheap cash-in flick) is of more than passing interest to me.

And of all the pos­sible adject­ives avail­able to describe the film “cheap” would seem to be the least appro­pri­ate. This behind-the-scenes doc­u­ment­ary, made up of foot­age inten­ded for “Making of” extras on an even­tu­al DVD plus han­dic­am foot­age for Jackson’s own per­son­al archive, shows a ded­ic­ated bunch of ser­i­ously tal­en­ted people pre­par­ing a huge stage show for an audi­ence of demand­ing fans. However, no one involved is more demand­ing than the star of the show MJ himself.

In the film we see Jackson and his crack team rehears­ing the massive series of 50 London shows that were sup­posedly to mark his retire­ment from live per­form­ance. Pushing 50, with a body battered from years of ill­ness and tour­ing, suf­fer­ing from anxiety-induced insom­nia, Jackson knew that audi­ences only wanted the moon­walk­ing King of Pop per­sona, an act that he wouldn’t be able to main­tain much longer. So, he wanted to go out with a bang, with some­thing mem­or­able, and he was evid­ently very ser­i­ous about put­ting on a truly amaz­ing show.

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Top Gear Tribute Tour

By Travel and TV

So, here I am sit­ting in the deser­ted café of the Antarctic Centre at Christchurch Airport, wait­ing to pick up Marty R for the start of his birth­day trip.

We’ve hired a sporty sil­ver Mercedes so we can drive him back to his gaff in Dunedin and then hoon around Otago pre­tend­ing to be rock stars. I have my sunglasses at the ready and, fin­gers crossed, the rain will hold off long enough to have some pho­tos taken with the top down.

So far, I haven’t had a chance to exer­cise the key prop­er­ties of the SLK Kompressor as all the driv­ing so far has been in gentle Christchurch traffic but we’ll soon be on the road.

I’ll be tweet­ing through­out the trip, and post­ing longer thoughts here.

Back

By Asides, Family and meta

I got back a couple of hours ago from a fam­ily hol­i­day, three gen­er­a­tions of Slevins hav­ing a very relaxed time of things in sunny Hawkes Bay. I man­aged to go almost cold tur­key on the the Internet apart from one breof peri­od where I updated the Academy Cinemas web site for the new week. By Saturday how­ever I found myself try­ing to read the tiny type on the Nokia 6120 web browser. It’s instruct­ive that the two sites I chose to look at were Public Address and Daring Fireball. Perhaps I should purge everything else from my RSS feeds and spend more time in the sun in 2009?

Anyway, apo­lo­gies for not hav­ing the Summer Film Review pos­ted yet – it went to print in the Capital Times last Wednesday – nor have I updated the cap­sule reviews to the right. This is obvi­ously sub-optimal per­form­ance and will be remedied over the next few days.

An Anniversary

By Newtown, Personal and Wine

According to TreeHugger, wine in 3 litre card­board casks is sig­ni­fic­antly more envir­on­ment­ally friendly than the equi­val­ent volume in glass. I was pleased to read this as, in my final year of drink­ing, when I was giv­ing it a bit of a nudge, pretty much all my con­sump­tion was from those cheap casks of Country Medium you get at the front of the New World in Newtown. So, I’m glad to con­firm that, even then, I was doing my bit for the planet.

Yesterday, Friday, marked two years sober, two years which have eas­ily been the most pro­duct­ive of my life. To cel­eb­rate (and while we are on the sub­ject of the envir­on­ment) here’s John Clarke and Bryan Dawe dis­cuss­ing an envir­on­ment­al cata­strophe: “The Front Fell Off”.

John Clarke & Bryan Dawe – The Front Fell Off (Bob Collins)

Cheers.