Get Out

May 8, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Jordan Peele) (2017) In the  promos for Get Out, we see  the agonised, frozen face of a black man, Chris. You will see more such faces in Get Out, but not all of them are black. Decades ago, having withdrawn from the tense atmospherics of a 1980s media party, L was chilling (there was still some hippie in the air, and L is very cool) in a quiet room, exchanging a few words with a well-known African-American singer, who was hoovering up some well-known Australian lollies from a jar on the mantelpiece. An older (white) couple paused on their way out to congratulate said singer with, “thank you for your…

Continue Reading →

Personal Shopper

April 21, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Written and directed by Olivier Assayas (2016) Much has been made in the publicity for this horror-paranormal-suspense-thingie of the haute couture clothes which Maureen (Kristen Stewart) buys for her employer, but  is ‘forbidden’ from trying on herself.  Naturally she tries them on, but unhappily they are too few, rather dull and Kristen wears them with her usual aplomb. If you like watching Kristen Stewart clump around sullenly in designer clothes, you’d be better off watching the Oscars. Maureen has a job – God knows why – selecting clothes for a vaguely-defined celebrity, Kyra (an underused Nora von Waldstätten).  We’re confused. Why does a stylist get around…

Continue Reading →

Vale John Clarke

April 10, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, Comedy Film, LIFE |

The Varnished Culture is suspicious of most New Zealand products, but John Clarke (29 July 1948 to 9 April 2017) was very much an exception. We passed Higson Lane in Melbourne only a few days ago and thought of him, photographed with perennial off-sider Brian Dawe in front of the neon Go-Go sign (see main image). He originally came to prominence as Fred Dagg, who gave a rambling discourse about some arcane matter before leaping on a bus to god knew where. He combined a keen sense of human idiocy with hard-won, in-depth knowledge that he originally acquired on coming to Australia by…

Continue Reading →

The Founder

April 5, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. John Lee Hancock) (2017) It’s the Art of the Deal with extra fries but no profundity. Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton in acting-overdrive mode) unearths the McDonald’s production-line, family-friendly, fast-food ‘restaurant’ and envisions that template replicated, by way of franchising, across the planet. And that’s it. Yep. That’s it. We’ll have it our way – hold the cheese, please. Unlike the sauce, there’s nothing special here; it’s all rather obtuse, albeit not objectionable. It’s like the famous product – fast, bland, formulaic, predictable, and forgotten in a trice. It founders under the arches, and the archness.

Continue Reading →

Beyond the Rock


(by Janelle McCulloch) (2017) Do you know where you were in the early afternoon of August 8th 1975? Thanks to Janelle McCulloch, I do. I was at the world premiere of Peter Weir’s film Picnic at Hanging Rock. It is not that I could ever forget that day – it changed my life – but I was not sure of the date. The closest I have come to finding a description of the feeling which this film aroused in my upon my first viewing  is C S Lewis’s explanation of what he calls “joy.” This is from his memoir – “Surprised…

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.