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 (by 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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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 https://youtu.be/_mVW8tgGY_w

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Eurovision 2018: Bet Against Logic and Taste

May 14, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Modern Music, MUSIC, THEATRE |

Lisbon, May 2018 Israel claimed its 4th Eurovision victory in a stunningly predictable finale, where taste was defenestrated and trampled, writhing and squirming, on the Portugese cobbles below. The UK and Bulgaria had outstanding entries, and we give honourable mention to Estonia, Holland and Cyprus.  However, what with the jury vote and the televotes, bizarre results were in the cards. We liked Elina Nechayeva with her dress of many colours and the operatic aria, ‘La forza’ sung in Italian, but Estonia came in 8th. Bulgaria’s Equinox (see main image) featuring an East European Lady Gaga, had a dramatic pop-rocker called “Bones”…

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Thoughts for the Day

May 2, 2018 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | LIFE |

Ilja Richter bei den Proben zu seinem Stueck Altweibersommer am Muenchner Volkstheater, Oktober 1998

We liked this and wanted to share it. Other burning questions in these dark times: Why does grape flavor taste the way actual grapes don’t? Why do Americans ask for a ‘grape drink’? Why does the Easter bunny carry eggs? If you have two options, don’t you have one choice? If tonight there’s going to be a ‘jailbreak somewhere in the town’, wouldn’t that be at the jail? At a cinema, or on a plane, which arm-rest is yours? When did ‘Off’ and ‘On’ switches disappear? If an author writes a book about failure and it is remaindered, is it…

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