Let Me Be There: Olivia Newton-John

August 9, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | AUSTRALIANIA, FILM, LIFE, Modern Music, MUSIC |

Olivia Newton-John (26 September 1948 – 8 August 2022) The quintessential girl next door sang like the girl next door: no screeching, no vocal tricks, no auto-tune. A mellow, pellucid delivery in the fashion of Karen Carpenter. At one stage, in the 1970s, country fans thought her a country poseur but listen to songs like ‘Jolene’, ‘Banks of the Ohio,’ ‘If You Love Me, Let Me Know,’ and ‘Let Me Be There,’ and she more than justifies the mantle of country singer. Her apple-pie purity was used to great effect in the hugely commercially successful film Grease (1978), and when…

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This Is Spinal Tap

(Directed by Rob Reiner, 1984) (Special Screening at the Mercury Theatre featuring a Q & A with Harry Shearer, Adelaide Guitar Festival, 22 July 2022). Spinal Tap are the blond rock god David St. Hubbins (Michael McKean, who you already know well from Better Call Saul and other offerings), the bass player Derek Smalls (Harry Shearer) and Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), who longs for St. Hubbins with big wet spaniel eyes. When Nigel learns that David’s girlfriend Jeanine Pettibone (June Chadwick aping Yoko Ono) is flying over from England to join the tour, his heart sinks. His crush on David…

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In the Heat of the Night

July 8, 2022 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Norman Jewison) (1967) It looks a little dated now: race is still a Great Big American Problem but in an entirely different way – however, In the Heat of the Night still resonates, largely due to efficient direction and some terrific performances. Styled as a thriller, and fairly glib even on that level, the film has flaws (including over-plotting) but works most effectively as a study of chalk-and-cheese relationships, where our tribes become our talismans and we forget how much alike we really are. (A title song performed by Ray Charles helps). Virgil Tibbs (great name, played by…

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Elvis – The Movie

July 3, 2022 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | Classic Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(Directed by Baz Luhrmann, Gold Coast premiere, June 2022) [Editor’s note: Rock biopics have greatly improved of late, such as Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. It was only a matter of time before some ambitious director ‘Followed That Dream’ and tackled the life of Elvis Presley, one of the most significant cultural figures of the twentieth century. Our guest reviewer, Andrew Brown, the biggest Elvis Tragic we know, attended the Gala Premiere on Queensland’s Las Vegas, the Gold Coast (or “Goldy”) with family in tow, to report on proceedings.] We attended the Red Carpet event on the Goldy on 4 June,…

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Midsommar

July 1, 2022 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. Ari Aster) (2019) Midsommar performs poorly on The Babadook Horror Movie Scale. Rather than dark mansions and creepy children, Aster has set his nastiness in sunny meadows (although it still looks cold) peopled by beatifically-smiling blond Swedes.  But the story is familiar.  Nice, naive, clean, modern-day American kids are blindsided by evil, sophisticated old-worlde types.  Maybe there’s witchcraft.  (See Henry James, add The Lottery, stir with Rosemary’s Baby).  While we’re at it, let’s get the rest of the obvious comparisons out of the way: The Wicker Man, Get Out, The Village and Hereditary (Aster’s previous feature). Our innocents, Christian…

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