David Stevens

Posts Tagged ‘film’

Stuff I am doing or more accurately, stuff I did

In Uncategorized on May 22, 2017 at 6:35 pm

Watched: The Dressmaker – how had I not seen it before? It was compulsory viewing for all Australians, but I must have been on shrimp-tossing duties that day. It made me want Kate Winslet to love me, the way she automatically and effortlessly fell in love with Liam Hemsworth. A bonus was that I have now collected all three Hemsworth’s, and one was by accident, I did not know that Stubbs in Westworld was Luke Hemsworth. But I have to be honest, the only Hemsworth performance I am concerned about is Thor: Ragnarok, because, fair dinkum, Taika Waititi meets Marvel is something to look forward to, and why didn’t I do better in life, why didn’t I do that – sorry. It is odd, I bet the people who watched and loved The Dressmaker back home were not the sort of people who normally watch cartoons, an by jingo, weren’t there a lot of cartoon characters in that film. Barry Otto was probably not born a cartoon character, but he has certainly evolved into one, and well done to him. Plus the film gave the extra survivalist knowledge of the relative virtues of diving into a silo of wheat, versus diving into a silo of sorghum. I did not know that fact, but I will not spoil it for you. But even the guy from House Husbands apparently knew. I still have no idea what a 41 year old and a 27 year old were doing going to school together, and Liam Hemsworth’s character must have been two when the defining incident of the film occurred, yet he was able to remember the activity in the playground vividly. Oh well, suspension of disbelief, and Judy Davis was bloody fantastic, yes she was.

Read: The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross, (well, that’s as good a link as any) and I have been tricked, but I knew it. Far out, I am an easy target. Years of watching the Paranormal Romance shelves spread and spread and spread in Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney, and complaining loudly about it (oh, look at that, there’s paranormal romance everywhere, its reproducing paranormally, oh, I’m hilarious), and here I am reading the stuff. BECAUSE IT IS. I mean, its not just that, but Alex and the Elf Princess, it sucked me in just like certain women of my vintage get sucked in by Mills and Boon, because, he is a nerd with no saving graces and no social skills, but because of inherent strength that only the exotic Elf Princess can see, he gets the girl anyway. And Tor says “Stross is clever in representing Alex’s helpless, under-socialized terror of women without giving the audience the sense that Alex is in the right about his weirdness”, and I say, fuck off Tor, that’s me, and just about every nerdy bloke I knew, knowing someone special had to be out there who would see the good inside underneath the hopelessly unsocialised exterior (hello Mrs Stevens – not you, Mum, the other one). And so why does it still warm my heart, why do I still need the nerdy guy to get the impossible girl – you know why, the same reason you have nightmares that you have to go back and sit that final maths exam again, because every single achievement since high school is a dream, you IMPOSTOR … sorry. I also like the shooting bits and the dragon bits and other bits. And this is why I do not do book reviews. (I like that there is a character who is a vicar, very generous and indeed diverse of the author, but I do not believe the bit at all where he does not pray because he does not want God to know what he is doing.)

Drunk: Hoegaarden Grand Cru: a lov – er – ly drop. Plus, what they say, at the link there.  Lov-er-ly. Available exclusively in Belgium, but the occasional bottle finds its way into the Netherlands … and into my heart.

Writing: Yes I am. And bad things are about to happen to Grandma. Meanwhile, while I am working on that, have a look here.

DUNKIRK

In Uncategorized on August 5, 2016 at 8:22 am

I just saw the teaser trailer, and I am really looking forward to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. I’ve relished the developments in technology and filmmaking that allow us at least a little glimpse of what historical events might have been like. I know, I know, it is still filtered through perceptions and shaped by market demands and limited in so many other ways, but I say we have a chance of a glimpse at what we didn’t live through. Even if not, though, it allows for an expansion of imagination, and a sympathetic imagination that allows us to stand in another’s boots for a moment is halfway there to creating decent human beings. Perhaps I will be disappointed – it will neither be the first nor the last time – but fingers crossed.

And as for Dunkirk itself, I can’t ever finish Paul Gallico’s The Snow Goose without crying. The bravery of all of those on the armada of tiny vessels, the fishing boats, the little sloops that sailed to and fro across the English Channel to rescue the stranded soldiers – just writing this gives me goose bumps. Unarmed recreational and commercial vessels up against the Luftwaffe. Thousands of men standing neck deep in water for hours, hoping to get onto a ship before the paused blitzkrieg begins again, before a dive-bombing stuka blows them to bits.

All of our lives are contingent on so many things, even just going back one generation, let along to the primordial slime: that our parents met, for a start. We could go crazy thinking about all of the things throughout history that led to us being here, all the happy accidents and the disasters which did not destroy our line. There is an infinity we will never know. However, I know this: my grandfather, serving with the BEF, was evacuated from Dunkirk. If history had been this tiny bit different, neither my mother nor me and my siblings would ever have been born.My grandfather never spoke much of the war, but one thing he did say was that if some bastard hadn’t stolen his boots, he would have drowned during the evacuation. So to that bastard, and to the good Lord who gave us all life, I say thanks.

Dracula is dead

In Uncategorized on June 12, 2015 at 7:23 am

Christopher Lee is dead, and no one is going to bring him back by dripping the blood of a virgin on his ashes in a deconsecrated London church (I walked past many such buildings last Christmas, I didn’t notice any jaded covenists hanging around waiting for dark, they all seemed to have been converted to rather jolly Sikh function rooms or mosques). I read today of an interview where he complained his Dracula was never given anything to do, and on reflection, he was blood well right. His immortality was a hunger driven needy thing, Hammer providing heaving bosoms and bare necks, but it was strangely sexless. There was no intellect (except at the end, where he planned to end humanity by plague so that all the nongs would stop bringing him back from the dead and he could just have it all over with), none of the drive that powered Stoker’s Dracula, nor the existential horrors that challenge Kim Newman’s Dracula. For all the foreboding and drama, his nosferatu was reminiscent of Janos Skorzeny in The Night Stalker, existing only to feed (unlike the rest of us – we also have consumerism!). Then we have Peter Cushing fretting away in his cardigan, and who can blame him, he’s getting on and who wants to step away from the three barred gas heater on a cold English night? Still, no one else is going to do anything, so van Helsing has to step out from his bed sit, probably wondering why he never emigrated to Australia when he had the chance, when there was plenty of work on the Snowy Mountain hydroelectric scheme, oh those jolly times of nation building before environmental assessment plans spoiled everything. A spot of fresh air will do him good, you can smell the cigarette smoke coming from the screen, no wait, they were the days when you were allowed to smoke in the cinema. I can remember having to stand for the national anthem before the movies started, and in the pre-Whitlam days, that was ‘God Save the Queen’.  For the life of me, I do not know why her Majesty had to grace each cinema broadcast, just as I do not know why each rugby league game has to begin with a rendition of ‘Advance Australia Fair’. Is someone trying to prove that rugby league is more authentically Australian than football, aka soccer?

But anyway, Christopher Lee is dead, and though he may rise on the last day, he isn’t going to rise before then, regardless of the Satanic Rites of Dracula or Dracula has Risen from the Grave, and at 93 he had a pretty decent innings, so it is a bit hard to complain if you aren’t a member of his family or one of his friends. Don’t come here for the facts, you can search anywhere else on the internet, I just want to say I enjoyed many of his films, especially when I shouldn’t have.

PS: This is nice.

Unknown short Wes Anderson film

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2014 at 8:37 am

I was not aware that Wes Anderson was a contributor to Bucketman’s oeuvre. One may think Bucketman the antithesis of quirkiness, favouring direct story telling for human beings. However, as Bucketman has said in the past, “Hipsters gotta hip”, so who can hold it against them. Or him. Either of him. When aliens invade Earth, I for one do not want Anderson to be directing the defence. However, despite his well established credentials in alien fighting and other important things (Thunderbirds, UFO, Captain Scarlet, Space:1999), ultimately I have to concede that Wes Anderson would do a better job than Gerry Anderson, largely because Gerry Anderson is dead. Still, it was a close run thing. The advice I would give Mr Anderson (pre-posthumous) is to try to get some alien fighting product into his resume, so that on the day film makers must stand up and direct something useful, he is not found lacking.

Australia’s Film History: jingoism and the lead up to World War 1

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2014 at 9:49 am

Australia is a multi-cultural society, but this archival footage reveals the jingoism present in the days leading to the First World War – hardly an indication of some halcyon Golden era.
In this week of Australia Day, and in this Centenary of ANZAC Day, it is worth reminding ourselves of the way it was, before it wasn’t, when it was something, rather than something else. Who can argue with that?