Auto-Focus: Our Runners-Up

July 14, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | FILM |

"What? No Shawshank Redemption? You idiots!"

Settle down folks. Our Top 20 list was drawn with blood, sweat and tears. We are not going to ‘out’ ourselves, except to say that we regard ourselves as disinterested, more qualified than the Archibald Trustees, and more cohesive than the Nobel Committee. We can’t hope to please everyone by our list (be definition, exclusionary). Our runners-up list was a lot longer, and friendlier (almost unanimous, with some spectacular exceptions, viz., Lawrence of Arabia): Ace in the Hole (Directed by Billy Wilder) (1951) All About Eve (Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz) (1950) All the President’s Men (Directed by Alan J. Pakula) (1976)…

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Our 20 Finest Films

July 13, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Classic Film, FILM |

The Varnished Culture has not been hibernating these few weeks in late June and early July. We have convened, and over many screeching, shrill, shrieking debates, several pots of coffee and several bottles of fine Jeanneret riesling from the Clare Valley, we have, with some dissents, compiled our list of the Greatest. We hope for, but do not expect, tolerance from film buffs out there. But if you can bottle the acid and lower the static, please let us have your thoughts (but be prepared to defend them!) There’s no mileage in exhaustively setting-out our Committee’s criteria, or allowing too…

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Donald E. Westlake

July 12, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedic Books, WRITING & LITERATURE |

(July 12, 1933 – December 31, 2008) He seems to have mostly written pulp, but superior pulp (we rather like 2 films scripted by him – The Stepfather and The Grifters).  But The Varnished Culture particularly remembers Donald on his birthday for his very funny literary work, A Likely Story. Journeyman writer Thomas Diskant (i.e. Westlake) writer of the novel The Pink Garage Gang and important non-fiction commissions covering El Alamein, Golf Course of America, The Ins and Outs of Unemployment Insurance, The Films of Jack Oakie, among others, proposes the ultimate Christmas Book – a seasonal compendium with eclectic contributions from…

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A Further Sign of Decline

July 11, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, AUSTRALIANIA |

The downfall is not limited to the pale people of the West. It has infected aboriginal art as well… Here is a piece by Enos Namatjira: Compare it to this: Perhaps we’ve done our dash and now the cycle spirals ever downward?

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Listen to This

July 10, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Classical Music, MUSIC |

We’ve recently ploughed (and sloshed) through a very sub-par biography of the great Ludwig van Beethoven – rather than trouble with that, listen to this instead: x

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