Friday Flix: #5 The Little Guy


“Mini muscleman Romeo Dev poses with his trainer Ranjeet Pal. Dev is regarded as the world’s smallest bodybuilder.   At 19 years old, Dev is 33 inches tall and weighs only 9kg. 250 grams (20.4 pounds). He has trained as a body builder and has a chest measurement of 20 inches.  Romeo trains at the Leo Health Club in Phagwara, India and his trainer is the health club owner Ranjit Pal ‘Mr. Punjab’.”
(BARM/Fame Pictures)

Tuesday Timeshift: #2 In Bruges (film)

A dwarf, 2 hitmen, a wannabe skinhead, a sexy girl and a few grams of cocaine.  Sounds like fun huh?  It is. It’s also really, grimly serious.

Funny thing to do to an audience… the black comedy is pretty strong, the internal struggle themes are pretty strong, the romance is pretty strong, the action gore is pretty strong… so what the hell kinda movie is this?

In Bruges, stars Colin Farrell in a rubber-faced turn as Ray, a first-time contract killer.  That kid has some serious eyebrow action going on.  Forehead caterpillars notwithstanding, Farrell does a pretty good job in the role.  He adequately conveys Ray’s struggle in dealing with the consequences of his choices.  These are weighty issues. We’re not talking about ‘victimless’ crimes here – killers knocking off killers and other equally forgiveable bad guys – we’re talking serious conscience-grinding murder. 

Of course, it’s not all soul-searching blackness.  Farrell is a young, sexy actor so we do have the requisite hottie in Chloe (Clémence Poésy – who you might remember from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).  Chloe is an excellent character.  Sure she’s just there to look attractive and soften Ray’s character, but she is beguiling, intriguing and very very sexy.  Oh, and a drug-dealer.  Did I mention that?

When all’s said and done, this is a buddy film through and through.  Ken, played by Brendan Gleeson, another Harry Potter alumni, is Ray’s mentor.  Gleeson is excellent.  He brings a real quietness to the role which contrasts well to Ray’s ebullience.  Their relationship is the cliche of the older-guy-teacher who patiently waits for his younger, brasher student to grow up and ultimately sacrificing so much for his young charge.  To call it a cliche is not a criticism, it conveys an understanding of the roles they have taken on with each other. 

Serious or romantic moments are often punctuated with humour, like when Ray, in the middle of a perfectly mushy first date with Chloe, stops and suddenly punches an American in the face and says “That’s for John Lennon”.  Or when drowning his inner turmoil in a bottle of whisky, Ray abruptly stands up and invites a prostitute-engrossed “midget” up to his room for some cocaine.  The comedy serves well to lighten and shake things up, to really get things moving in a different direction.

Oddly, there is plenty of gore – they are hit men after all – but somehow it doesn’t sit quite right.  The comedy is too off-beat and the subject matter too weighty so the gore seems over the top.  It belongs in an alien movie not indie black comedy.

Ray and Ken encounter many others characters – each of whom is a pleasure to watch.  Particularly Ralph Fiennes as Harry, their boss, who is intense, manic and scary as hell.  The town of Bruges looms very large in the film, certainly a character in it’s own right.  Bruges seems beautiful, peaceful, quirky and very, very dark.  Which is a both a metaphor and a foil for the unfolding situation.

In Bruges, is entertaining.  The script is cleverly crafted, the dialogue excellent and comedy pleasing.  Somehow it doesn’t all fit together perfectly.  It’s a fun film and certainly worth seeing, but ultimately ever so slightly unsatisfying.

Out September 4.

Manboob Monday: #3 Young Lads Can Do It Too

I honestly can’t decide if this is a boy or a lesbian… look apologies to the lesbians and the young boys but seriously, it’s not that clear. 

I’m gonna presume it’s a boy because, I don’t know, he seems boyish and I just can’t see any self-respecting woman taking a photo of them selves with “sup yo” written on their hand in texta.  I don’t know that he’s all that young either – that’s a serious amount of underarm hair so I’m thinking it’s just a fresh-faced man.

This gent has a serious b-cup going on.  I foresee a future of torturous dating ahead for this chappie.  Or at least investing in a manziere and never changing in front of others.   Although, he did both take and publicly publish, a photo of his own goods so he can’t be feeling all that put out by his boobage. 

Good luck to you my friend!

Friday Flix: #4 Pavement Art

I am such a sucker for those street chalk drawings.  I don’t care that they are a cliche, or uncreative or whatever it is the cynics don’t like about them.  As far as I’m concerned it’s clever, painstaking and cool to see!

Kurt Wenner

And I love just walking down the street and being captured by something so startling and intriguing.  However uncool they may be!

Julian Beever

It makes a drab CBD street come alive… it makes the city feel more vital… like there’s stuff going on.  And I like that in a town!

Tracy Lee Stum


Tuesday Timeshift: #1 Not Quite Hollywood (documentary)

Boobs, Pubes & Tubes.  Blood, gore and more.  This is Australian cinema at it’s trashiest.  Examining the so-called “Ozploitation” films of the 70s and early 80s, Not Quite Hollywood is a fascinating and entertaining documentary.  The ozploitation genre, similar to the grindhouse genre of American culture, covers those not-so-subtle soft porn, muscle car and horror schlock films which we less-than-proudly lock away in the back cupboard.    However, Quentin Tarantino is the avid fan who sagely opens our eyes to what we’ve been missing.  Like we need an American telling us what to do?!  Geez.  And yet, his enthusiasm is catching.  

Really though, Tarantino is just the more voluble voice for Not Quite Hollywood’s very Australian director, Mark Hartley.  This has been a passion project, 10 years in the making, which Hartley struggled to get financed in Australia and so turned to overseas investors for assistance.  Sounds like a severe case of cultural cringe in our funding bodies!  In what I’m sure must be a very satisfying “told you so” outcome for Hartley, this years theme for both the Melbourne and Brisbane International Film Festivals is, you guessed it, Ozploitation.  I guess it’s making a comeback.  And case in point, the requisite remakes are on their way (Patrick, Long Weekend)!

Ozploitation was born out of the post-censorship era when Australia really didn’t have a film industry so we set about making one, on the cheap and appealing to Saturday night drive-in kids.  Which meant sex, violence and horror were order of the day.  Blockbusters like Alvin Purple, Razorback, BMX Bandits and Mad Max were the cream of the crop… movies like Dead End Drive-In and Pacific Banana were the meat and potatoes.  Hartley takes the entertaining approach and for the most part ignores movie reviewers, film historians and experts and instead, talks to those who were there.  Jamie-Lee Curtis, Dennis Hopper, Stacey Keach, George Lazenby, Sigrid Thornton, Lynda Stoner, Rebecca Gilling, Steve Bisley and the like.  Yes that list does seem to have a strong American skew but that’s what film-makers at the time seemed to think was de-riguer. Hartley also talks extensively to successful directors and producers of the time such as Brian Trenchard-Smith and Anthony Ginnane.  Their behind-the-scenes stories are at times mind-boggling, at other times bitchy and always quite hilarious. 

The documentary itself is nicely edited, briskly paced and looks good.  All praise to Hartley on that score.  But the true genius is the joyous glee of the ozploitation films themselves.  It really makes you want to sit down and watch them all.  Well, maybe not all!  Luckily for us, the film festivals and many local cinemas are doing just that in conjunction with the release of this outstanding documentary.

Not Quite Hollywood is out August 28.

Manboob monday #2: Run Fatboy

Lucky you!  It’s Manboob Monday again.   Well, bless this little porkchop for sharing himself with the world!  Clearly this is a chap who’s proud of his assets.  And frankly that takes a courage that’s… well, tinged with a little bit of crazy.  I’d tell you to prepare yourself but by now the page has fully loaded so it’s already here for your viewing pleasure (?).

They do look like a milk-producing moobs.  See, he’s trying to squeeze a little bit out for you right now, sweet lad!  Odd though, that one so well endowed in the breast area would be completely missing genitals?  You’d think that if you’ve got enough hormones running around to make boobs, you’d also have a correlatingly ginormous penis?  Stands to reason doesn’t it?  (And yes, correlatingly IS a made up word).

Mind the Gear Stick, Love

My first car was a 1989 lime green Honda Civic given to me by my parents when I was 17, before I even had my licence.  Yes I know you’re all groaning because mummy and daddy gave me, what was at the time, a reasonably newish car.  Trust me, it was as comfortable as driving a Model-T round Le Mons for 24 hours and I’m sure Dad got it for free – or near to.  It had air-conditioning which didn’t work and the tape deck, yes tape deck, had a sticky play button, which meant  I could only listen to tapes SOME of the time.  Car is so green and little that everyone calls it “the aphid”.

Day One.  Still on my L’s.  Dad takes me for a burn around downtown Winston Hills where a half-blind woman, with all the steadiness of an angsty teen who’s just sucked down a quarter of gorilla biscuits, obliviously pulls out of her parking space directly into my lane.  And me.  Well, my passenger door. Ace.  Dad’s worried that it freaked me out and I might be upset – I’m just pissed at the old bag… and so begins a life-long hostility for anyone over the age of 60 behind the wheel.

Day Five-teen.  Got licence.  Terrified of driving alone but unwilling to admit that to a soul including self.  Faining excitement, I get in the car and drive off, merrily waving goodbye to mum and dad.  I make it about half a klick down the road, pull over into an empty car park and sit there for about an hour reading a book.  At which point it’s been a respectable enough length of time to head back home and tell everyone what fun I had.

Day Ninety Five.  New boyfriend.  He has a car too but his is much crappier so we take mine everywhere.  By which I mean, we take it everywhere we can find that has some semblance of privacy in order to shag madly.  We’re young, our parents are christians, it’s first love and for both of us, our first sexual foray – the front seat of an ’89 Honda Civic parked in the back streets of Eastwood is the best we can hope for.

Day Three Hundred and Sixteen. Picking up Andrew from his place.  Approaching traffic lights at a brisk pace when I belatedly realise the light is red.  Gracefully slide into a very tidy 360 in the centre of the intersection, barely scraping the mudflaps of an oversized semi trailer. Nice!  Andrew tells me “I’m a bit of a crazy driver but I do seem to be in control most of the time”.  I take it as a compliment.

Day Eight Hundred and Twenty Three.  Sharing an aging fibro 3-room house in the suburbs with an old friend from school.  Can’t afford rego.  Again.  Lime green paint is now a muted beige in places.  Most panels are more putty than metal.  Car dismally succumbs to rust in the front driveway. RIP.