Hedwig and the Angry Inch: March 1st at Tom Mann theatre

A refugee from East Berlin with a botched sex change operation and a catalogue of stolen songs does not seem a likely subject for a stage show, yet this is exactly what Hedwig and The Angry Inch professes to be. Having taken over @Newtown in the latter half of last year, iOTA has reprised the role at the Tom Mann theatre in Surry Hills as part of the Mardi Gras for this year.
This is a good thing, as the show is something of a tour de force: funny, confronting and dang near moving over the course of its ninety minutes. A more varied crowd than attended The Dying Gaul included men, women and, more surprisingly, older couples.
The subject matter isn’t exactly mainstream.

Transformers: Fear Takes a New Form

Transformers, He-Man, G.I. Joe et al are more my brother’s vintage. I was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles boy, myself.

When I saw Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, I caught the majority of the new Transformers trailer. It was … hilarious in its badness. Now, the movies are a good way of telling people how to feel. We’ve had, over the years, homo panic, Islam panic, Commie panic, even North Korea panic.

Today, thanks to Michael Bay, we’ve got a new twist on AI panic: the fear that our cars will TURN INTO ROBOTS AND KILL US ALL. That’s why I don’t drive: I live in fear! The reason I upgraded from a Walkman to an iPod is because I’ve seen what Walkmen can do.

So if you look at Transformers, you can tell that what we’re in for is a ride of pure hell. There could, even as we speak, be a Transformer hiding in your pool waiting to pounce on your unsuspecting children. It is unclear precisely what this Transformer intends to do your little girl, as I believe that Decepticons run on fuel rather than blood. Perhaps plasma is simply delicious.

In fact, none of this makes any sense at all. That’s the good thing about irrational fear: it’s irrational. I don’t believe that society has a history of oppressing sentient machines, enslaving them to our whims. I’m more in league with the types of cars that burst into dance at the slightest provocation.

How Transformers can be anything but bad is beyond me. Unless it turns out to be a documentary: a stern warning of things to come. In which case, Michael Bay for Antichrist!

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny

It’s fair to say that you don’t need to be Chinese to like a Chinese movie, or gay to like a gay movie, or French to like a French movie (although not being an American helps on that particular front). However, I’m coming around to the view that to enjoy a stoner movie … you kind of have to be a stoner.

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, a film with a name that wants to imply limitless sequels, lets you know what you’re in for from the very beginning with its “THC” logo. Thereafter it’s sporadically funny but it tends to sacrifice the subtlety and nuance that we all know that Kyle Gass and Jack Black are capable of … all for the sake of people saying “dude, I am so high right now.”
Well, I’m not high right now. I was not high when I watched the movie. That is possibly why it skirted along the shores of awfulness.

Heroes – episode 16

“Unexpected”

Suck that, Sylar! In this episode we’re treated to good things happening, some good cliffhangers, and one stupidly contrived episode ending.
Plus Stan Lee! Excelsior!

Spoilers!

Academy Awards ’07: Deadblogging

Due to my Australianity, I have chosen to avoid the internet so that I don’t spoil the Oscars for myself. My computer is going King Slow, so I can’t exactly update this anyway. So here we go: faking the Oscars in a stream of consciousness, as inspired by Mark!

I don’t have predictions for reals, but I’ll say who I think should win and whatnot at first.

Best Picture: I get the notion that Babel might win, but part of me says that The Departed could. I don’t think that Little Miss Sunshine is a real contender, and The Queen seems an odd duck.
I’ve actually been ignoring the other awards ceremonies, so we shall see.

Best Actor: This is actually the category I’ve seen the least of, but I’m throwing it at Forest Whitaker for persuading me in The Last King of Scotland.

Best Supporting Actor: I’m going to say Jackie Earle Haley. Much as I love Mark Wahlberg, I think it would be a bit of a joke to give him the award. I suppose that even if he technically qualifies, The Departed was so long you wouldn’t notice how good he was. I mean, that role for me is more about the C word than it is about dramatic quality.

Best Supporting Actress: They’re going to give this to Jennifer Hudson maybe and, while she was good, check out that Cate Blanchett! She was white hot with passion and fire in Notes on a Scandal! Adriana Barraza is also deserving of recognition.

Best Director: What do I know of direction? Give it to Scorsese … although Eastwood should definitely be respected for getting people who don’t even speak the same language to give him such dynamite. But! The same could be said of my friend Inarritu! Also, The Queen had magical atmosphere!
Damnit, these directors all caught the zeitgeist.

Foreign Language Film: Just give it to Pan’s Labyrinth, because no one has heard of the other films.

Adapted Screenplay: Children of Men should win based on the fact that it’s a good script that bears little or no resemblance to its source material. The Departed is also a good departure from its source material to make something awesometacular. Little Children still feels like a book, and Borat – the whole point was to make it seem unscripted. Oops, forgot how awesome Notes on a Scandal was.

Original Screenplay: Go Pan’s Labyrinth! Perfect ending! The Queen was meticulous, Letters from Iwo Jima was heartfelt, Babel intricate and … well … you know what I think of Little Miss Sunshine.

Animated Feature Film: Monster House, because it’s the only one on the list that doesn’t make me wretch with hatred at the industry. I guess Happy Feet would have been super awesometacular great if it wasn’t so freaking boring.

Original Score: You don’t think much about this category until you realise that Pan’s Labyrinth haunts your dreams.

Original Song: “Listen”, already beloved by the drag acts on Oxford Street. I’m looking forward to seeing Beyonce take it to the limit.

Warning: The contents inside are rambling, unedited and somewhat more political than I usually allow to get out on the site.

Flags of our Fathers

Buy war bonds.

I am now ashamed of not having seen this at the cinema. It just goes to show, though, that a bad trailer can break a good movie. Flags of Our Fathers had a trailer aimed at the Ur-American who wanted to celebrate the glories of war. The film itself is actually an examination of the necessities and cruelties of war, and of the war machine itself.
It fails to pass judgement for the most part (with the exception of a brief reference to Vietnam), and to that end is a good movie. However – and I personally don’t see this – Paul Haggis’ script may be too leftist for some. Why, if he had run World War II, we’d all be communists by now!

Mardi Gras Film Festival: The Dying Gaul

I can’t decide …

My friend Annie was the only girl in the cinema. That sounds about right. The Dying Gaul is an adaptation of a stage play, and at times it certainly feels like it. For all of its strengths, its power, and the excellence of Patricia Clarkson, it has a certain pretentiousness in its staging and an abrupt ending of the kind generally reserved for the stage.

In a festival that includes Poltergay (which sounds stupid but looks hilarious), Another Gay Movie (homosexual American Pie) and Dead Boyz Don’t Scream, another addition to the presumably until recently unexplored genre of the homosexual slasher movie, The Dying Gaul is one of the more serious entries; perhaps a little too serious. Still, Patricia Clarkson is always worthwhile.

Stranger than Fiction

“This may sound like complete gibberish to you, but I think I’m in a tragedy.”

2007 has a lot of work to do if it wants to equal the brilliance set by Stranger than Fiction. This early in the year you’re mainly dealing with refugees from 2006, and this would have been an awesome way to cap off that year. Instead, I’m left with something that kicks off the second month of 2007 with style, flair and meaning.

Stranger than Fiction is a different movie, particularly to those used to attending Will Ferrell’s standard fare. I have held firm to the belief that Ferrell can be good in a good film, and this is proof: he is great in a great film, and utterly believable. When he cried, I damn near cried along with him.
I did cry later though, for real.

It’s a terrible cliché, and one that I indulge in a lot, to say that any given movie feels as if it were made for me. But Stranger than Fiction, with its combination of finding one’s soul and a certain level of literature, was made for me. A personally tailored film being played on a wide release basis is naturally not going to find proponents all over the place but, if it manages to snag at least a few people and forces them to reconsider their lives, it’s all worth it.

Heroes – episode 15

“Run!”

Matt Parkman is the most stupidly oversensitive police officer in the world! Meredith, or the writers, can’t decide whether she’s caring or venal! Missi Pyle manages to appear in something without having to resort to her crazy eyes! Sylar has some nerve! The Haitian really, really sucks at his job!

It’s an improvement, but it ain’t great and its name doesn’t make any sense.

Spoilers!

Grey’s Anatomie de l’Enfer

I was going to give up Grey’s Anatomy after Washingtongate, and then I realised that Isaiah Washington’s deplorable actions were just a smokescreen to cover up the fact that the most popular show in the world … sucks. It undoubtedly has its moments, but the core cast is terrible, and the whole exercise is ridiculously cutesy poo.
It started back up on Channel 7 this week, and straight up we had Ellen Pompeo’s voice telling us in its smug way “I know the facts of life! Suck it, bitchés!”
The show proceeded to play its smug pop music, and then show its smug bursts of humour, and then offered its smug profundity.

Essentially the only good part of the show was Bailey talking to the man who had been exposed to the plague, and whose wife had died. That was good emotion right there. Also almost good was the work of Addison and Alex as the Pediatric Dream Team, which is amazing for two of the supposedly least sympathetic characters on the show.

But let’s see: everyone else is annoying as all get out! McDreamy is wet and pathetic! George? Also wet and pathetic! Until I realised that T.R. Knight is a pretty cool guy, I hated him for George. Then I realised that he’s presented that way, and it’s not his fault – it’s Shonda Rhimes, crusher of souls.
Then you’ve got Izzie, who runs the gamut from overly enthusiastic to “I can’t get off the floor”; you’ve got Christina, who expertly projects the aura of “Sandra Oh is great”; and now we’ve added Callie to the mix. I hated her last season. I’ve changed as a person since then, so I don’t hate her so much as I simply hate the show that she’s in.

Meredith Grey is a terrible, terrible woman. Her pithy narration (the worst this side of Desperate Housewives, which I gave up on entirely too late) totally does not match her proper demeanour – that of the emo surgeon with dead eyes who can’t make a decision for herself. I think it’s good that we’ve got George off of her, because I don’t want this show to swim in its own patheticness while pretending to be hip, trendy, profound and cool.

Then at the end we got Isaiah Washington appearing sensitive. Well, I didn’t buy it for a second. When your show has no credibility and your viewers hate all of your characters, you’re screwed. I’m weaning myself off masochistic television, so hopefully I can cut Meredith Grey’s fetid claws out of the small of my back … all while listening to trendy pop music.