Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Nicole Kidman's pregnant. So is Cate Blanchett. And Gwen Stefani. Daniel Johns of Silverchair is "not f**king gay". Lindsay Lohan's still out getting shitfaced, and Britney Spears is still fucked in the head. A football player has been nicked for being a dickhead. A cricket player called another cricket player a rude name ... chaos and controversies have ensued ever since.

Heath Ledger is still dead.

I'm sure there's more "very important things" deserving of a mention, but it's so hard to keep up with it all some days.

Thursday, 24 January 2008


Written and directed by Karen Moncrieff, this film from 2006 (released here in 2007) was one of the finest I've seen recently. Unrelentingly grim, but gripping nonetheless and featuring a swag of excellent performances from a predominately female cast (of the male cast members, Nick Searcy is exceptionally good). Many critics found it dour and depressing, yet given the subject matter, an uplifting tale of redemption and moral rectitude was not exactly promised by the film's PR and should not have been expected.

Here are some excerpts from a few of the more astute reviewers ... The trailer is below.

The Village Voice (Jim Ridley)

“... The Dead Girl isn't as gimmicky as other films that fit the current vogue for chronologically scrambled, everything-is-connected puzzle movies with bleeding-heart agendas ... ”

“The best piece of acting in the whole movie is also the quietest. Having made a horrible discovery that casts her entire married life and future in shadows, (Mary Beth) Hurt unleashes another desperate, full-throttle tirade about her lousy marriage—to which (Nick) Searcy, the husband, simply says, "I'm sorry." It's not just the contrast between Hurt's near-hysteria and his eerie, mournful calm, it's the shading in Searcy's inflection—a mixture of chilling moral absence and distant regret—that suggests unfathomable inner darkness. In such moments, The Dead Girl is the best kind of psychological puzzle movie: the kind that can't be solved.”

The Sydney Morning Herald (Paul Byrne)

“This cast is exceptional and each actress has a strong character to play. Each has an epiphany, often in a way that shocks and surprises you. None of the men is given the same care or colour but it's not about them. Moncrieff is interested in the way women react to violence, rather than why some men commit it. And some of these women are capable of their own violence, in the right (or wrong) circumstance.”

“In each story, the main female character does something seemingly inexplicable. Moncrieff's aim as a storyteller is to suggest a possible reason and this is where the film is most rewarding. Moncrieff has an almost forensic interest in women's emotions; she surprises you in every story.”

The Seattle Times (Moira Macdonald)

“ ... those who pass on "The Dead Girl" are missing something. Moncrieff has assembled a remarkable (and mostly female) cast, and there are moments in this film that are as powerful as anything currently in theaters. Mary Beth Hurt gives a blazing, angry performance as a bitter woman married to a man who harbors a dark secret; at the end of her segment, she starts a fire, and it pales in comparison to her own white-hot rage. Marcia Gay Harden, whispery yet determined, affectingly plays a bereaved mother who learns to her surprise that she has a grandchild; the little girl seems to bring light into the film. Kerry Washington takes the small role of a prostitute and makes of it something heartbreaking; a fragile creature forced to become unbreakable.”

Urban Cinefile (Australia) (Andrew Urban)

“It's a heartbreaking film, superbly written, directed and performed. The darkness is bearable only because it rings so true to humanity and embraces the positives of the human condition within its framework. A serious film for serious lovers of film.”

From 2007, “The Dead Girl” (Trailer)

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


On his blog of January 16th, 2008, Jack Marx composed a prayer apologising for everything Australians have ever done to everyone ever.

I decided, in response, to compose a “Sorry” song to the tune of Tex Williams’ “Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette)” ...

Now we're a country with a heart of gold,
Or at least that's what we're taught and told,
The kinda place that's the envy of the world.
But there's some things that ain't too thrillin'
Like rape and murder an' pillage an' killin'
That when I heard about, did make my toes fair curl.

We're very sorry for Pauline Hanson,
She can't sing and she's shit at dancin'
She ain't much superior to anyone.

Sorry for whingin' and fallin' to our knees
Every time we see some Sudanese,
We promise we'll stop runnin' for our guns.

Sorry, sorry, sorry, sincere regrets,
Sorry for all the things we've done, and the things we ain't done yet.
We're so sorry it makes us cry,
Sorry 'bout all these fuckin' flies,
Sorry for the drought and the whales and the heat and the rain and the wet.

John Laws is sorry for his fuckin' language,
Sorry ol' bugger oughta choke on a sandwich,
And Derryn Hinch is sorry for his beard.

We're sorry for Amanda Vanstone,
On behalf of all our unborn grandsons,
And all those foreign folks that we've made a'feared.

We're sorry for Dicko, Mark and Marcia
Can't Cathy Freeman run any faster?
Sorry 'bout that, but we'll see what we can do.

And we're sorry 'bout Kylie Minogue
And Dannii and Delta and Australian Vogue
We're very sorry for everything we've put you through.

Sorry, sorry, sorry, sincere regrets,
Sorry for all the things we've done, and the things we ain't done yet.
We're so sorry it makes us cry,
Sorry 'bout all these fuckin' flies,
Sorry for the drought and the whales and the heat and the rain and the wet.

Now I saw a show that weren't quite right
“A Current Affair” or “Today Tonight”
And afterwards I was sorry that I had.

They'd chained some old gal to a wall,
And it turned out it weren't true at all,
T'were enough to make a sane man mad.

And a long time ago I was a bit of a boozer,
Some folks called me the biggest loser,
But we gave the world the technicolour yawn,

So on behalf of all drunken Australians,
It needs to be said if our souls are for savin'
We're so sorry that we pissed on your front lawn.


From 1995, Asleep At The Wheel "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke (That Cigarette)"

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


Here is the opening paragraph of prolific Texan writer Joe R. Lansdale’s 1999 novel, “Freezer Burn” ...

“Bill Roberts decided to rob the firecracker stand on account he didn't have a job and not a nickel's worth of money and his mother was dead and kind of freeze-dried in her bedroom.”

In 35 words, Lansdale introduces his novel’s chief protagonist, his situation, his problem, and the action he intends to take as a solution to his woes ...

Some writers couldn’t manage any of that with 35 pages.

From 2007, Samuel Jackson “Stack-O-Lee” from “Black Snake Moan”

Thursday, 10 January 2008


From “Rebus Flatbush’s Famous Fables & Folk-Tales from the American Mid-West” ...

(Any similarity to actual persons, either living or deceased, or to
this item from the Daily Mail is purely coincidental)

ONCE UPON A TAHM, there wuz a li'l feller by the name of Tomothy Cruise an' he wuz a purty li'l feller too, thass fer sure. All the ladies wanted to have their wicked, wicked ways with purty li'l Tomothy (an' sum a' the fellas too by gosh, but ah ain't a’ goin' down that manky ol' tunnel a' confusion raht at this moment, no sirree), but purty l'il Tomothy was a mite more innerested in a funny ol' religion that wuz alls about holdin' tin cans in yer hands so as ta get yerself raht in tha head.

Now ... this funny ol' religion was put tagether a whiles back by a funny ol' sailor fella by the name of Elron Bubba who useta write stories 'bout flyin' saucies and li'l green fellas from outta space ‘til he figgered that that weren't no proper way fer a grown man to make a decent livin’, so he thought he may's well start hisself a religion on account a’ all the other religions din't have no truck with holdin' onta tin cans an' such, an’ they weren’t no li’l green fellas from outta space in ‘em either ... they was all abouts sum fella from way back who git hisself nailed to a cupple a’ chunks of two-be-four, an’ by golly, that weren’t no fun to be readin’ on, Bubba reckoned ... Yep, Ol' Bubba lahked his tin cans and li’l green fellas a whole lot more, thass fer sure, so he set about makin’ hisself a new church ... the Church of Tincanology ... an’ purty li’l Tomothy Cruise found out about it sometahms after Bubba had passed on, and reckoned it sounded lahk a good idea to get hisself raht in the head, so he read up some books on it, an’ joined hisself up ...

Anyhoo ... Li'l Tomothy had bin grabbin' onta those tin cans for about a decade or so an' figgered hisself mostly raht in the head, when a few of the folks in Ol’ Bubba’s Church of Tincanology thought it maht be a good idea that he get hisself a lady to grab onto fer a change ... see, they figgered that purty li’l Tomothy with his purty li’l face could pull ‘em some wimmen folk inta the Church an’ they could ‘pregnate ‘em wif some a’ the frozen spuzz from Ol’ Elron they’d been keepin’ aside so’s they could have ‘emselves some li’l Elron’s to fawn on an’ follow about ... also, they was runnin’ real short a' tin cans at the tahm too ...

Now ... Li’l Tomothy may ‘ave bin a purty fella, but he wuz only about 2 an’ a half feet an’ one inch tall an’ sum a’ those wimmen folk he wuz hangin’ ‘round wif din’t stay fer long on account a’ how he wuz more inclahned to wanna play wif tin cans than take to pokin’ about their lady bits as much as they’d ‘ave lahked ... One a’ these ladies, who went by the name a’ Nikky Pigman, why, she was as tall an’ pale an’ scrawny as Tomothy was short an’ dark an’ stumpy an’ even standin’on a step-ladder that li’l feller couldn’t so much as scratch at her lady bits, an’ dang if those bits a’ hers weren’t just itchin’ fer some scratchin’ action after a whiles, so ‘ventually she tol’ ‘im where he could put his tin cans in no uncertain terms an’ she ran off an’ found herself a gee-tar playin’ feller to get scratched at by ...

But then, one day, Tomothy met a cute li'l gal by the name of Cattie Ohms, an' he tol' her again an' again an' again an' over an' over an' over all about holdin' onta tin cans an’ the Church of Tincanology an’ Ol’ Elron Bubba ‘til her brain fair did rattle with confusion an’ afore she knew it she’d agreed ta marry the li’l feller an’ ‘ave his babies ... But li’l Tomothy had hisself no intention a’ pokin’ ‘bout her private bits, no sir, he an’ the Church had ‘emselves another plan altogether ...

So’s one naht ... he waited ... an’ he waited ... an’ he waited, ‘til poor young Cattie had fallen fast asleep, an’ he went to the icebox an’ got hisself a big ol’ blob of Ol’ Elron Bubba’s frozen spuzz that the Church of Tincanology had given him a whiles back and which he’d bin keepin’ hidden behind the turkey gizzards fer jes’ this very moment, an’ he put that spuzz on a turkey baster an’ crept toward Cattie’s sleepin’ self so’s he could stick that spuzz inta Cattie where it could do what spuzz does when it’s stuck there ...

But ... as li’l Tomothy moved hisself forward, he hadn’t noticed that some a’ that spuzz had melted a bit an’ had dripped onta the floor an’ jest as he’d got hisself real close to Cattie, he slipped on some a’ that melted spuzz and went scootin’ across the floor, bangin’ his head smack inta the wall so hard that he bounced back the other way an’ onta the so-fee with such a mahty force that one a’ the so-fee springs popped raht through the so-fee cover and raht inta his neck where it ripped his neck innerds to stringy red bits a’ spurtin’ flesh an’ killed li’l Tomothy Cruise in a instant.

Whereupon, poor liddle Cattie Ohms woked herself up of a sudden an’ looked over to see the tiny li’l body of li’l Tomothy Cruise layin’ dead on the floor, a big ol’ turkey baster with meltin’ sailor spuzz on it still in his hands, an’ she realised then what he’d a’ bin goin’ to do to her all this tahm an’ thanked her lucky stars that she had escaped his foul intentions ...

Now, even though she survahved, from there on in, from that day to this, purty liddle Cattie Ohms still can’t hold on to so much as a tin o’ beans without a shiver a’ creepin’ up her spine, whiles at Christmastime, no matter how loud an’ how long her mama hollers at her, there ain’t no way in this world or the next one that she’s a’ gonna help out stuffin’ no turkey.

No, sir. Uh-uh.