Wiener Dog

September 18, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Todd Solondz) (2015) A film of many dog day afternoons, with a docile, uncomplaining dachshund the trope for hope and the lifting of spirits, this beautifully shot but slurpily-cadenced film is a poignant dance through a series of sad-funny lives and circumstances. From his first rejection (taken in the back of a ute from a farm to the shopping mart featuring a Chuck E Cheese, a 99c Store, an Armed Forces Career Center, ‘My Urgent Care Walk-in Medical’, ‘Vitamin World’, ‘Shoes etc’, AT&T, Liquor and, relevantly, a “Shake A Paw”), wiener dog is shuttled around. First there is a messy, disastrous stay…

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Eating Raoul

August 6, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM |
Eating Raoul 009

Paul Bartel (born 6 August, 1938) was a classic example of an alternative film director (think Ed Wood), but in his case, with real talent.  His time to shine was in Eating Raoul (1982), which he also co-wrote and directed, as Paul Bland, who with wife Mary (Mary Woronov), happen upon a scheme to lure ‘swingers’ to their apartment and dispatch them with a trusty saucepan (not one they will use when they open the gourmet restaurant it is helping to finance – as Mary justly observes, “I’m a bit squeamish about cooking with the one we use to kill people.”)…

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Glenne Headly

June 10, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM |

Glenne Headley (March 13, 1955 – June 8, 2017) did not appear in many distinguished films – she had a small role in The Purple Rose of Cairo – but she was delightful as allegedly dopey American Soap Queen, Janet Colgate in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988). And she kept the money. Was that wrong?  Farewell, Glenne. x

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The Castle

June 7, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Dir. Rob Sitch) (1997) Darryl Kerrigan (Michael Caton) has lived with his family at 3 Highview Crescent Cooloroo from time immemorial (15 years). It’s so handy being next to the airport, in case they ever have to fly anywhere. So when the Barlow Group seeks to compulsorily acquire all homes in the street for an airport expansion, Daryl takes them on. This delightful Australian comedy is not perfect (i.e., it’s not Love Serenade) and is rough-and-ready at times, but it works due to a winning cast and a robustly funny script. Some of our favourite moments: The hilariously awful submission to…

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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…

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