December 11, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, RELIGION, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. J M McDonagh) (2014) This is Craggy Island without the laughs, a richly human ‘who-will-do-it’ as Brendan Gleeson, the village catholic priest, struggles with his faith in the wake of a confessional death threat. Paul Byrnes in the Sydney Morning Herald well described Gleeson’s role as “the one good man in a town of jackals” – the relentless vitriol and mockery spat at him by various village types is matched by their own astonishing, preternatural candour – no feelings are spared in this story. The whole tone reflects an Irish ambivalence vis-à-vis organized religion, its utility and its scars….

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December 11, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | MUSIC, Opera, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Opera Australia, Melbourne December 2014 To the claustrophobic scarlet pit that is Melbourne’s Arts Centre for Verdi’s take on Sir John, a rather broad and heavy handed work drawing mostly from the plonking Merry Wives of Windsor with only salted bits from the history plays. First done at La Scala in 1893, this is a radically economical opera in structure: no overture, no recitative, almost no arias; melodies that rattle along, into each other and most formalities discarded as it cuts to the Garter Inn without ado. Shakespeare’s Falstaff is big in every sense but here he is merely fat,…

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Jamie’s Italian – Adelaide (with a Minority Report)

December 9, 2014 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | LIFE, Restaurants, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

TVC ventured with friends L and M to Jamie Oliver’s eponymous restaurant in a restyled bank – an immense vault – on King William Street.  Having valiantly resited the Jamieabilia for sale in the lobby shop the diner is then assaulted by a tsumani of sound and the unappetising sight of a sea of cafe-like booths. However, the further end of the restaurant is slightly more impressive, with individual tables and banquettes, low lighting and  tall, bare windows.  The “marble” bar, hung with red peppers and sausage lights, is an imaginative (if not authentic) rendering of an Italian lunch counter.  People who…

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The Judge

December 9, 2014 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. David Dobkin) To make a film as bad as this, more ingredients are required than Hollywood plot #7, additional clichés and dollops of sentimentality. To the mix must be added really good actors – (Roberts Downey and Duvall; Billy Bob Thornton and Vincent d’Onofrio, who is starting to look like a confusing cross between Charles Durning and Brian Dennehy) – so that the hapless viewer is all the more disappointed when it turns out that there really is no more to this than appears. Avoid.

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His Mutti Loved Him

(Jane Ridley) If, like my mother-in-law, you don’t enjoy books about the  generation of British and European royals who were Queen Victoria’s children because Queen Victoria was so “beastly” to them, stay away from this biography of Prince Albert Edward/King Edward VII.  Victoria is a mother who – knowing that her letters could well be preserved  for posterity and made public – wrote to her daughter Vicky, Bertie’s sister, “The nose…is becoming the true Coburg nose, and begins to hang a little, but there remains unfortunately the want of chin which with that very large nose and very large lips is no…

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