Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Man Who Knew Infinity

Based on true events and actual people 'The Man Who Knew Infinity' tells the story of a young Indian man without formal higher education who just instinctively was a genius at mathematics. Although he secured a place at Trinity College, Cambridge University he experienced racism and violence because of his background especially as the Great War of 1914/18 loomed.

This is a fascinating and beautifully told film and I feel some shame that I had no prior awareness of this Mozart of Mathematics whose now century old formulas still inform us about matters in our universe to this day.


Saturday, 30 April 2016

Mother's Day

Here we go again. This fad for romantic comedies set around a holiday season or annual celebration. New Year, Christmas, Thanksgiving and now 'Mother's Day' all excuses for this formula driven unrelated series of films.

The template is identical. Create multiple plot lines, featuring photogenic characters and season with cheesy, happy endings, or at least heartwarming situations and with any luck audience members will identify with at least one of the set ups generating positive word of mouth and box office success.

The current outbreak was sparked by the world wide success of  'Love Actually' in 2003/04 with its ridiculous number of plot lines.

'Mother's Day' runs for 118 minutes and contains precisely two funny scenes, one of which relies on a cute baby to inspire its humour. The remainder of the film, some 110 minutes is deeply unfunny and pretty unromantic too. The blooper outtakes over the end credits are the best moments of the film.

A formula, already very tired, plummets new depths.

★ 1/2

Friday, 29 April 2016


(Sydney Theatre Company)

Religion, identity and stereotypes all are aired and argued over in 'Disgraced', the Pulitzer Prize winning drama currently staged by the Sydney Theatre Company.

Set in a loft style New York apartment, an ambitious lawyer, his artist wife, her art gallery sponsor and his lawyer wife are forced to face some home truths about their lives and relationships.

The set up is an unlikely but not impossible contrivance given that the foursome comprises a 'lapsed' Muslim of sub continental descent married to a caucasian Christian and a Jew married to an African American.

The performances are excellent whilst the dialogue and actions are provocative.


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Hay Fever

(Sydney Theatre Company)

I wondered a bit why a major theatre company would stage Noel Coward's 'Hay Fever' nowadays. Especially in Australia. It is a play of its time (1925) and is based on society people who would have been well known to the audiences then. It is very English in style.

Each of the four members of the Bliss family, unknown to the others, invites a guest to their country home for the same weekend resulting in a comedy of ill manners. It is a premise that could easily be adapted and updated for a 21st century audience.

The play hasn't been updated in this production although the period in which it is set  - judging from the clothing of the performers - I believe is left deliberately vague thus enabling the inclusion of an Amy Winehouse song.

Without some awareness of the individuals being parodied a lot of the first Act falls flat as the self absorbed characters engage in idle chatter but the play gathers steam when the farcical elements of the story develop.


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Divergent Series: Allegiant

'The Divergent Series: Allegiant' is about the third film in the series that I have seen. The population of what is left in the skyscraper ruins of Chicago has been has been divided into a number of groups each with their particular characteristics and purposes in what remains of community. They are not permitted to travel beyond the wall that surrounds the city nor even know what, if anything, lies beyond that wall. There is a general sense of lawlessness as the groups battle each other for supremacy.

Well, that sort of what happens in my blurred impressions of what seems the same story repeated over and over in each episode.

There are some interesting effects but this is really one for the aficionados and fans. At least this time it is all over fairly quickly (at least that's how it seemed to me).