Never Let Me Go

Book written by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005) Film directed by Mark Romanek (2010) Ishiguro, Romanek, please let us go, you heartless bastards.  Not since Chris Lilley killed Pat Mullins (We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year of the Year, ABC TV, 2005)  have we at TVC been rendered sleepless by an afflicted fictional character. And we could laugh at Pat. Laugh at any of the characters in Ishiguro’s book or Romanek’s film of the book and you will go straight to hell. It is best perhaps to watch Romanek’s realisation before reading Ishiguro’s pitiless novel. The film transforms…

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RocKwiz Salutes Eurovison (2021)

June 29, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, THEATRE, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

Adelaide Cabaret Festival, 25 June 2021 We thought nothing could stop the Eurovision Song Contest.  The plastic glitter tv extravaganza that has been jauntily assaulting our eyeballs, ears and self-respect since 1956 is proof against international conflict, political controversy and stage-bombers.  But a little virus from a non-competing country cancelled the contest in 2020 and Eurovision tragics had to content themselves with The Story of Fire Saga . The SBS music quiz tv show RocKwiz is keeping the legend alive in 2021 for those Australians who cannot travel. From the Gershwin Room in St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel in Melbourne to…

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Eurovision 2021 (Rotterdam)

May 25, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | LIFE, Modern Music, MUSIC, THEATRE |

The Varnished Culture had night sweats and knotted stomachs awaiting the return of the Eurovision Song Contest. On ice in 2020 due to something or other, we had only Will Ferrell’s lovely tribute to sustain us for a year. Even now, Covid’s ugly head reared and “prevented” the Australian contingent from attending Rotterdam in person. This perhaps caused Australia’s offering, “Technicolour” by Montaigne, to fall at the semi-final stage, which is patently unfair and unjust. Still, Eurovision is the byword for dazzling, iridescent mediocrity, so there we are. Our points system, you’ll recall, rates each song on ‘real world merit,’…

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Stowaway

May 14, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Joe Penna) (2021) Commander Marina Barnett (Toni Collette), scientist David Kim (Daniel Dae Kim) and medico Zoe Levenson (Anna Kendrick) set off on a two-year mission to Mars, unaware until they are past the point of no return, that they are carrying a stowaway [Shades of Dr. Zachary Smith! Oh, the pain of it all – Ed.]. The stowaway, an engineer, Michael Adams (Shamier Anderson), somehow got himself accidentally hidden behind a panel, and just wasn’t noticed during takeoff. He has unwittingly damaged a device necessary for production of breathable air. What could be a sinister or suspenseful…

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Mare of Easttown (Foxtel)

May 14, 2021 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS, TV SERIES |

(Directed by Craig Zobel) (HBO; Foxtel, 2021) There are more sombre crime series on streaming services than a world-weary detective can poke a blood-stained stick at.  How then to choose which to watch – and why watch at all?  Pull up a rumpled armchair, push away the AA booklets; give this one a go. Mare of Easttown, a Foxtel series written by Brad Ingelsby, has held our grumpy, misanthropic attention for four of its seven episodes.  Mary-Something ‘Mare’ Sheehan (Kate Winslet,) an unsmiling Philadelphia small-town detective, tramps along, bottom lip dragging on the muddy ground, six-inch-long dark roots (seriously?) pulled…

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