Category: Television

SLACKER directed by Richard Linklater (USA, 1991)

Two definitions from Urban Dictionary :
SLACKER – Someone who puts off doing things to the last minute, and when the last minutes comes, decides it wasn’t all that important anyways and forgets about it.

SLACKERS – a group of guys who like to hang out and do nothing.

Two typical conversations from ‘Slacker’, the movie:
Q – What’s up man?  A – Not much OR
Q – Hey, what’s going on? A – Nothing

‘Slacker’  follows the day in the life of a cast of youths in Austin, Texas who share the ability to turn idleness into an art form and who are content to spend their days “lolligagging around” or just vaguely hanging out.

One prefers to stay home rather than go out to the lake because he hates the idea of “premeditated fun”. Another can’t decide if he is remembering something that happened to him or whether he saw it on TV. Continue reading

sad-brazil-fanI don’t normally blog about soccer but the unprecedented events of last night throws up issues that go beyond the so-called ‘beautiful game’.

Brazil’s astonishing 7-1 world cup defeat at the hands of a merciless German team was nothing short of a disaster not only for the team and the nation but also for the corporate interests behind the orchestration of this sporting event.

The hope, and expectation, was always that the home country would triumph so that it would end in one gigantic Samba street party.

The massive expenditure needed to stage such global happenings are enough to potentially bankrupt even the richest countries. The huge investment in the construction of soon to be redundant stadiums and facilities can only be justified if they bring wealth to the country in the form of sponsorship deals or increased tourism.

Anti-government demonstrations against high taxes, poor services and political corruption have been violently quelled leading up to the tournament and Brazil’s ignoble exit will only serve to reignite the debate about these spiralling costs. Continue reading

LE MERAVIGLIE (The Wonders) directed by Alice Rohrwacher (Italy, 2014)

Le Meraviglie is an unconventional drama set in a contemporary Tuscan landscape which is a far cry from the picturesque scenery you find in travel brochures.

It’s the kind of modest, low-budget independent movie that could easily disappear without trace yet should gain wider recognition after winning the Grand Jury prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The somewhat contrived, plot revolves around the working life of a bee farmer of German origin and his family. This man (Sam Louwyk) clings to the anachronistic and primitive lifestyle placing a high value in self-sufficiency. His bark is worse than his bite but he is still not a man to get on the wrong side of.

His paternal role is a fragile one and he cannot fail to be cognizant of the fact that the world around him is changing fast. The lack of separation between life and work in this female dominated household is a difficult discipline to maintain.

This harsh and humorless world is seen mainly through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu), the eldest of his four daughters who help, and sometimes hinder, in producing honey.

The director’s older sister Alba plays the role of the mother who is increasingly frustrated by her dour and stubborn husband.

Modernity intrudes in the form of a TV reality show which, unbeknownst to the father, the young girls sign up to participate in. In a non too convincing cameo, Monica Bellucci plays a glamorous presenter of the show (Il Paese delle meraviglie – the land of wonders) which, in the name of light entertainment, turns real lives into a kitsch parody of tradition. Continue reading

SEXY BEAST directed by Jonathan Glazer (UK, 2000)

While waiting impatiently to see Under The Skin, I decided to take a look at director Jonathan Glazer’s earlier films.

I was familiar with his inventive work in advertising, notably the Guinness ads as well as his innovative videos with Radiohead and others but hadn’t seen either of his previous movies, Sexy Beast or Birth .

The boldness of Glazer’s debut on the former demonstrates the enormity of his talent. Not only does he assemble some fine actors but he also has the courage to cast against type.

Before seeing this movie, I wouldn’t have put Ben Kingsley down as an obvious choice to play an evil, villain. On paper, Ray Winstone would be more convincing as a violent sociopath. You only have to see Winstone’s charged performances in Scum or Nil By Mouth to know that such a role would have come easily to him.

Instead Winstone plays Gary ‘Gal’ Dove, a washed out hard man who has decided to take early retirement from his ‘career’ as a safe-breaker. Gal has moved to a Spanish villa to escape the “grey, grimy shithole” of England.

In the opening scene he suns himself beside a swimming pool to the sound of The Stranglers ‘Peaches’. A sign that this Mediterranean idyll is about to be cut short occurs when a huge boulder rolls down the hillside and narrowly misses flattening him. The rock splashes into the pool.  Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) as the human boulder is equally disruptive. Continue reading

The late, lamented Frank Zappa preached about the need for constant vigilance against the repressive, self-righteous, bigoted forces who censor what we can see, hear and read.

Zappa was an articulate and outspoken critic of religious fundamentalists who seek to restrict our freedom claiming they are saving us from the devil’s work.

He explained his views during an interview with Larry King which you can see below.

As a way to counteract the Parental Advisory stickers on rock albums, Zappa wrote his own ‘Warning Label’ for a Mothers of Invention album.


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