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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The Lobster

February 23, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Comedy Film, Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Out of the frying pan...

(Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos) (2015) At the commencement of the film, David’s unseen wife has told him that she is leaving him for another man.  “Does he wear glasses or contact lenses?”  David (Colin Farrell) asks incongruently for us but entirely reasonably for him, as will become apparent. A magnificently affectless Colin Farrell is booked into a dreary hotel for the purpose of finding a mate. He is told that the “bisexual option is no longer available”. No, it’s not a swingers’ or lonely hearts’ hotel, not exactly.  In this dystopian state (filmed in Ireland) it is unlawful to be single.  David and his fellow singleton “guests” each…

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Shaun of the Dead

October 26, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Quality: Original. Film Title: Shaun Of The Dead. Photo Credit: Oliver Upton. Copyright: © 2004 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

(Dir. Edgar Wright) (2004) You can forget all the other zombie films* – this is the only one worth watching, a hilarious look at a London gripped by an epidemic of uncertain aetiology and yet hardly changing!  After all, as we see in several lovely, Spaced-style montages, Shaun and his girlfriend and useless mates still end up at the pub; they once again get in a fight; once again, Shaun forgets his obligations, but his Mum still loves him. The M1 and M3 are clogged.  What’s new?  Well, for one thing, our eponymous hero (Simon Pegg) manages, amid the chaos, pretty-much single-handed, to man-up…

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David Brent – Life on the Road

September 4, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Comedy Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Ricky Gervais) (2016) We have commented on David Brent from The Office and his unique place in the pantheon of The Theatre of Embarrassment.  Here we have a film version of the next chapter of Brent’s life – he’s now at a feminine hygiene products office, handling phone sales and cold calls – and dreaming of his return (not comeback) as a lead singer in a rock ‘n’ roll band (“Foregone Conclusion”), which frankly, does not seem to be feasible. Brent is one-of-a-kind.  He is excruciating, wanting, a bundle of inhibitions.  You expect him to go on a kill-crazy rampage…

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