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Archive for September, 2010

Reflections on the movie, “Charlie St Cloud”

September 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Reader Ant has asked me to post my thoughts about the movie, “Charlie St Cloud” (which she liked), but tied my hands somewhat by saying that “you have to be nice (because it’s my birthday).” So here goes.

SPOILER ALERT – don’t read this if you’re yet to see the film & you don’t want to laugh loudly during the sad or romantic bits. You might get elbowed in the ribs & spill your popcorn, which would be a waste.

In short, the main character, Charlie (Efron), is devastated by his younger brother’s untimely demise. Minutes before the car accident, the brothers had made a pact of sorts, to meet every day at sunset and practise catching ball in the woods, so that younger brother, Sam (Tahan) can grow up to play serious baseball. Both die in the accident, but Florio, the paramedic (Liotta) brings Charlie back from a flatline. Charlie indefinitely defers the college sailing scholarship to work at the graveyard so that he can keep his promise to his brother. Years later, Charlie encounters the paramedic, who himself is dying of cancer. The paramedic tells Charlie that he was brought back by God for a reason and that he had to find it – the second chance story. Helpfully, this coincides with a damsel-in-distress story with the introduction of sailor-girl, Tess (Crew), who gets herself lost and near-death at sea.

This movie has some lovely moments and the cinematography is great. In all, I think it’ll appeal to teenagers and those looking for the second chance, live-every-moment moral. Zac Efron fans will be beside themselves when he takes his shirt off.

However, older viewers who might see past this (or not) may well be wondering:
(a) the girl’s deceased father mightn’t like what she’s doing in the cemetery with Charlie;
(b) whether it’s too much like cutting and pasting the kid from “Sixth Sense” and the gooey bits from “Ghost”, rolling it together and smoking it; and
(c) if your subconscious can go off by itself without your knowledge or consent and have intercourse with someone in a cemetery and form “a memory, not a dream” (Charlie), dating just got a whole lot more confusing.

To its credit, the movie raised issues of survivor guilt, grief and moving on in a way that is accessible to all viewers. I wouldn’t recommend the film to anyone who’s lost a loved one recently, or been in a major vehicle accident any time in the last few years, for fear of exacerbating post-traumatic stress disorder. I also wouldn’t recommend it for young teens (or tweens).

Will the film smudge your mascara? Depends. That’s the odd thing about this movie. I went with a large group of mothers – and by rights, we all should’ve been passing the Kleenex, but we weren’t – some were, most weren’t. Even I cry in kids movies (“Up” and “Toy Story 3”, most recently), but I was too busy trying to decide what it was that prevented me from suspending my disbelief in this story.

The relationship between Charlie and Rachel was flat until they rolled around in the cemetery – but wait, they didn’t – so he saved her anyway and they went back to being flat but sailing off into the sunset (promising) all because of a little poem by ee cummings about taking risks. Maybe it was some of the corny lines – like the one which should’ve been the most powerful, when Sam was moving from being in-between to moving on (to Heaven) but asked his still living brother whether he promises that they’ll “be brothers forever – you promise?” (because you broke your last promise about meeting me here at sunset and playing ball since you went out looking for that sailor-girl, so I had to think of a promise you could actually keep….)

But hey, if the film makes people Google ee cummings, take up sailing (safely), move on from grief, have a cleansing cry, then it’s okay by me. It pulls at the heartstrings, for some more than others and in all, will probably be loved by more people than reviewers will give it credit for – so go watch it and decide for yourself.

[And happy birthday, Ant!]

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Chook fact for the day …

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s true that chickens love dirt baths. But did you know how much dirt one little chook can carry?
Dixie shook herself / himself off to demonstrate …

Made you look, you dirty chook ...

You might recognise Dixie from my earlier post “K. Rudd on the Hustings“. For Dixie’s fans: s/he is the only one of four to not yet lay an egg – but since Dix – who is also known as Kevin07 – hasn’t been crowing, s/he’s safe from the fate of city roosters …

If Dixie does crow, he mightn’t get the foreign posting he was hoping for….

Categories: Australia, Pets

Thought of the day …

September 23, 2010 Leave a comment

I love the Italian proverb on these gorgeous little ice cream cups: After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box. Says a lot.

What I loved even more was the ice cream itself. Miss Six had American Chocolate – which we all enjoyed. I had Pistachio – which we all enjoyed. Miss Nine finished her Carmel & Hazelnut Gelato before I could introduce her to the joys of taxation (‘Mama Tax’).

Have a great Friday! If it’s not so great, ice cream helps….

Craft: fabric colouring set & recycled paper notebook

September 22, 2010 Leave a comment

Craft is something that other people do better than me.

I’m mostly appreciative of other people’s efforts (although please don’t send me any toilet roll dollies) and I know a winner when I see it.

It being spring carnival / school fete season, I thought I’d share two little projects which you might find inspiring. Since a hot glue gun is a weapon in my hands, I won’t pretend to know how to make these items, but will depend upon the picture-being-worth-a-thousand-words saying. So, my four thousand words on craft this week are as follows:

With thanks to readers Lee (for the colouring kit) & Joanna (for the purse-sized notebook).

BHP Billiton finds its soul; or Marius Kloppers sees a business advantage in pricing carbon

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Not green, but MEAN. BHP plans to bury its rivals in a State forest near you ...

Has anyone wondered why the CEO of BHP Billiton Australia, Marius Kloppers, was against Kevin Rudd’s CPRS & Resource Super Profits scheme, but this week comes out ahead of anyone else to announce that Australia has to ‘get moving’ on carbon pricing?

Kloppers is a smart man, who out-maneuvered everyone on the recent mining tax negotiations. Keep that in mind, when answering this multiple choice question. And also remember, that a tax is a tax, no matter how many times you rename it, or whether you put happy-feeling words in its title.

So, is Marius Kloppers:
(a) Suddenly mad;
(b) In secret negotiations with Prime Minister Julia Gillard which could benefit BHP if he were to shout support pre-emptively (Labor modus operandi involves hanging someone else out to test public sentiment & then backing away if it goes badly);
(c) Keenly aware that it would be in the interests of shareholders and BHP to price out smaller competitors;
(d) In Team Julia, not Team Kevin; or
(e) A Greenie.

The Australia where everyone had a chance to ‘have a go’ and where small companies could work hard and grow, might just be behind us. The fact that no-one is shouting “anti-competitive behavior” is most vexing.

Australia: vibrant and competitive one day … dull and anti-competitive the next….

Review: Burn the Floor (choreographed by Jason Gilkison)

September 13, 2010 Leave a comment

This new show, choreographed by Australia’s beloved Jason Gilkison, doesn’t just burn the floor – it burns the house down.

Gilkison has become international hot property, choreographing and judging most recently, on the American and Australian dance show franchise, “So You Think You Can Dance.” I’ll admit to a slight addiction to the show and a great admiration for Gilkison. You can see his style and great Aussie humour in his choreography. Fans of our boys, The Cat Empire will enjoy the Jive number he set to “Fishies“.

The chorie is inspired, the costuming just yummy and the dancing is HOT. The live singing is great and the stage setup is just right. It was non-stop action: one song led into another and there was no intermission. It was the fastest 70 minutes of my life.

The show’s on the Gold Coast at the moment from 26/8 to 31/10, at the Jupiters Hotel & Casino. It’s great value at $59 a ticket or $69 with dinner – and there is no parking fee (compare the Entertainment Centre & Convention Centre, in Brisbane). The show kept the whole family totally engaged – you can take the kids and grandma. As a guide, there aren’t any moments where you wish you’d not brought grandma or kids – nothing that can’t be overcome with a quick pass of the chips and lemonade, according to discretion. [There’s nothing like say, Pink’s rendition of “I Touch Myself” in her last Australian concert, which had parents with children in attendance want to just die – for anyone who didn’t hear about it, you didn’t need to understand International Sign Language to get it – it followed more common conventions… And no, I didn’t take my kids to that one!]

Don’t miss the show. Book here.

P.S. The “Learn to Burn” instructional dance DVD is pretty good for total beginners, especially for those who’d prefer to stumble in private. It’s sold at the show.

Categories: Australia, Dance, Music, Review, Stage

Kid invents eco-car

September 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I recently went on excursion with year ones (as in 6 & 7 year olds) to Brisbane’s GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) and noticed this poster flashed up on the screen (from another cohort of children, not our year ones). Children had been invited to draw whatever they liked on sheets of card and they were put up on display.

Child explains transport of the future

Give the kid a prize for combining humour with scientific acumen.

PS. How are the ‘green cars’ Toyota was building us for our $35M grant?

Categories: Academia, Art, Australia, Technology