Qohel Home Page

Click photo to go to Peter's profile






Quality Web Hosting at the Best Price






www.1and1.com

Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

When I first read about the Baz Luhrmann tourism ads for Australia, I shared Andrew Bolt’s concern that they were both unattractive – ie, not likely to attract visitors to Australia, and that they sent the wrong message about Australia. They sounded dull, even morose.

Of course, I hadn’t seen  them then.

I was watching TV a couple of nights ago when one of those ads came on. It wasn’t immediately clear what it was. I thought it was a station promo for a movie or a new series. And without knowing what it was, Amanda and I both decided that it looked interesting and that we would check the time and turn the TV back on to watch it later. I was astonished when I realised it was an ad inviting people to visit Australia.

OK, so there are no well endowed young ladies bouncing along Bondi Beach. There’s no Paul Hogan throwing another shrimp on the barbie. But Australia is more than buxom blondes, beaches and practical jokers.

As a nation, Australia clings to the edges. There is a vast blankness inside, which can be both scary and liberating. A journey to the geographical heart of Australia lends itself to being a journey of self-discovery – through the vast wrenching dust and hopelessness to the sacred rocks and waterholes. This is part of what it means to be Australian – it is more authentically ‘us’ than the Gold Coast. It is a gift we have to share.

After an ultrasound doctors found a large quantity of fluid in Amanda’s chest yesterday, and asked us to leave for a few hours while they sedated her and inserted a drain.

Dad and David and I went and had pizza for dinner and then went to see Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino.  Gosh! Wow! Heck!

It was a great film. My emotions are pretty close to the surface at the moment – Amanda is still dangerously unwell, is not responding as well as we would like, and will need lots of support to recover – so I am not sure whether I would have laughed and cried as much if I had seen it at another time.

What is not so good in the film is that there is a little more swearing than is necessary (though most of it is in context and appropriate), Clint’s growling and grumpiness are a little overdone, and the actress who plays the Hmong girl next door, while pretty and appealing, just did not seem to be able get any real conviction into her character.

Also, some people might find some of the terms used a little hard to take.

There was one couple in the cinema who left half way through claiming the film was racist. No it isn’t. It is partly about racism. That doesn’t make it a racist film.

The heart of the film is a very well paced exploration of the nature and cost of both friendship and redemption. Who and what matters, and why. It is intelligent and moving. It is currently number one at the box office in New Zealand, and will go on my list of DVDs to buy.

Shouting, stomping your feet and screeching at people are an effective way of getting what you want. If you are a two year old.

My Mum used to tell me that if we were in a supermarket and I saw something I wanted, and she wouldn’t let me have it, I would say I felt sick  and then vomit. It didn’t work. Mum was smart enough to realise that taking the easy way and giving in would make life harder later on (for both her and me).

Without making any comment about Lindsay’s parenting, it is a pity there are some things she didn’t learn as a two year old.

But then again, why would she, when the same behaviour keeps working?

Let’s hope they do a better job than Disney did with Prince Caspian.

Disney cited ‘budgetary issues’ as one of their reasons for not continuing the series. Prince Caspian earned $420 million, compared with $745 million for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. No wonder. Prince Caspian was a dog of a film.

Some Hollywood directors seem not to have the slightest understanding of their target audience, or even of the fundamental workings of drama. The prime audience for any of the Narnia series are people who have read and loved the books. Drama works when people care about the characters.

So why include in the first ten minutes scenes which are not in the book, which serve no positive purpose, and which make the audience dislike or distrust the characters who drive the story? These were the scenes of Peter and Edmund fighting in the railway station, and Susan lying to a boy who wanted to befriend her. These scenes made the key characters look violent, self-important, selfish, dishonest and shallow. This impression was confirmed by their behaviour through the film. It is impossible to care what happens to characters like this, so it was impossible to care what happened in the film.

Some teenagers (and some adults) are like this. But the characters in Lewis’ books are not. They are fallible, sometimes weak, always human. But they are also courageous, caring, even noble. The exception in the film was Lucy, who was delightful. But she could not carry the film on her own.

And then there was the idiotic attempt to suggest sexual tension between Caspian and Susan, which culminated in a passionate kiss. Pathetic.

I remember watching an episode of the US made version of Dr Who, originally a BBC programme I had loved for years. The special effects were brilliant, the Tardis looked better than ever. Then the Dr kissed his assistant. Instant reach for the remote.

You can make your own cirque de so lame programmes with kissing in them. Well, some of them aren’t so lame. But put kissing in Dr Who, and you have crossed a line, my friend.

Likewise with the Narnia stories. You can make films about shallow teenagers finding themselves, and maybe some of them aren’t so bad (though I’m struggling to think of one).

But don’t make a film that twists into dullness the characters I love from the books, that leaves out all the themes that were Lewis’ reasons for writing the book – honesty, courage, dignity, forgiveness, the balance between trusting God and taking responsibility – and then tell me that’s Narnia, and expect me to pay to see it.