Tuesday, February 21, 2017

White Night 2017

A couple of years ago I went to White Night for the first time and really loved it but when I went last year it wasn't such a great experience. Now I could say that was because the displays weren't that great, but I think that the reality is that I was in the middle of a gall bladder attack and so it wouldn't have mattered how spectacular the displays were.

This year, though, was back to an amazing experience. We changed our strategy this year. Instead of going in just after dark, we didn't actually go in until around 11.30pm. I have to say I'm a bit old for this going out at 11.30 at night. And that's despite the fact that I had a nana nap before we went into the city. At least I'm still calling it a nana nap, but I am pretty sure that the fact that I laid down in bed with every intention of going to sleep and slept for a good 2 hours means that it was more a sleep than a nap. Not sure where that line is technically. I then didn't get home until 4.30. That would have been fine except I was going out the next morning too! More about that later maybe.

Last year they didn't have any projections on the facade of Flinders Street train station or on the buildings near the Forum so I was very glad to see that they were back this year. On the train station there was a projection with an indigenous theme talking about the fact that there are many nations within indigenous culture.

The next buildings we saw were on a stretch near the Forum building, one of my favourite building facades in the city. These buildings have a fairy tale theme which reminded me in many ways of the Fables series by Bill Willingham.

The Exhibition building is always a highlight and this year was no exception, although a little bit surprisingly, it wasn't may favourite thing this year. More on that at the end. The building really lends itself to projections. It is a beautiful building itself at the best of times, but when done well, it really is a spectacular canvas on which to paint a picture with light and sound.

One of my favourite places in Melbourne is the Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria. Normally it is a place where it is quiet, with stately green lamps filling the desk spaces but come White Night it is transformed into a canvas. This year we found ourselves under the waters of Port Philip Bay in the Sea Dragons Lair.

My highlight this year though was definitely the Pyrophone Juggernaut. We originally arrived just as a show ended so we had to wait over an hour for the next show, but it was totally worth the wait.

The juggernaut is a fire organ, where the percussionists use gas and flames to play organ pipes. That is such a meagre explanation for the experience - amazing performances of percussion on unusual instruments, drama and spectacle. Amazing!

Not everything was a hit. There were a couple of things that we saw that I was underwhelmed by and then reading through some of the news I realised that there was lots of good stuff that we just didn't see. I'm not sure that I have quite figured out how to see everything in any one night. We do tend to go to the Exhibition building and the Library. May need to be brave and venture into new parts of the city. Next year, which I am already looking forward to!

Now to work on the definition of nana nap vs sleep.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

What if you don't really do popcorn?

The last time I posted about going to the movies I called the post Pass the Popcorn Please, but the reality is that I don't really do popcorn. I don't dislike it. It's more that the giant buckets of popcorn you get at the movies are a) too expensive and b) too big!  I do like a choc top icecream but I have usually finished eating it way before the movie starts to that hardly counts does it.

Anyway, I've been to see a few movies since my last post. Here are my thoughts on them.

I went to see this because it's set in WWII and I was also looking for a movie that would appeal to both me and a male of the species, and I think it hit the spot. Even though I had seen the trailer, it didn't really play out the way I thought it would which I guess is a good thing unless you don't actually up with satisfaction. It is interesting because there are some war related scenes in there, but it wasn't really all war, all the time. Marion Cotillard is gorgeous and some of her costumes were very nice, and Brad Pitt is, well, Brad Pitt so it was easy on the eye. I've never really got the  Brad Pitt thing, or the Ryan Gosling thing either I guess come to think of it, but he was good in this.

A couple of weekends ago I went on a road trip to Canberra with a couple of friends. We did lots of very cool stuff, exhibitions, art galleries, food and sight seeing, and on one night we headed to the movies to see this. When I first saw the trailer for this I was trying to place who the Australian actor was in the lead role, so I was very surprised when it turned out that the main actor was Dev Patel. He totally nailed the Aussie accent, and lets face it, there have been some great names who have tried and failed in that regard (Meryl Streep as Lindy Chamberlain anyone?)

One of the good things about going to the movies while on holidays is that I didn't have to drive and so I thought I would be totally decadent and have a glass of wine during the movie. Great plan....until I knocked it over when it was still 3/4 full.

So what about the film you ask? I enjoyed it a lot. It was a very moving story about a young Indian boy who gets separated from his family and ends up being adopted by an Australian family and then needs to go back and find his home. This one is based on a true story, and any film based on a true story is instantly a degree better than it would have been if it was just made up. And I'm not sure that you could necessarily believe the story if it was made up. It was very moving, and the final scenes were very emotional

Last night this was our choice to go and see, mainly because it was the main move that we both had some interest in seeing. I was hoping to see Live by Night but it looks like we may have missed it unfortunately I am just getting to know my movie watching companion and so it felt like it could be a movie that had them not necessarily enjoying it, but I think he did.

It was once again a very moving story, and Casey Affleck's performance was stellar.  As the story unfurled to the point that we learned why Lee was so reluctant to return to his home town under any circumstances, no matter how much his nephew wanted to stay, you couldn't help but feel for Lee, to understand why he was so melancholy and angry all at once.

I was surprised by how humourous the film was, particularly in it's observations about life with a teenage boy who is dealing with unexpected loss the best way he could.

It was slow in parts, but I can totally see why the movie and the performances of the cast are receiving so many accolades during prize season.