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Return to Moondilla


Reviewed by Ian Lipke

 According to the blurb on the back cover “Tony Parsons has written another action-packed, suspenseful story with an unforgettable hero, an evocative Australian setting and a touch of romance” (cover note). We are told “the successful, handsome writer and martial arts expert is subjected to the attention of some attractive women, including the feisty doctor he once had a crush on” (rear cover blurb). This sounds like a pleasant read and people buy the book expecting just that.



Cinema: The Theory of Everything

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

Blessed with five Oscar nominations and a vivid performance by Eddie Redmayne you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry, The Theory of Everything opens across Australia this week. Warmly directed by James Marsh and beautifully scored by Johan Johansson, some have complained it’s too plain, too straightforward, and even verbose. What were they hoping for? Bloodshed and tears? Certainly Marsh, who gave us two of the most inventive documentaries in recent years, Project Nim and Man on Wire, doesn’t demonstrated the same flair here but it matters little. He just turns Redmayne and his leading lady Felicity Jones loose.



Darcy Moon and the Deep-Fried Frogs


Reviewed by Sharon Norris

The world has known some fierce wildlife warriors who spent much of their lives in pursuit of their passion to guard and protect the defenceless animals of this planet. Legendary Frenchman Jacques Cousteau was considered the ‘saviour of the ocean’, while Australia’s own Steve Irwin was known to be the ‘saviour of crocodiles’. In Catherine Carvell’s delightful novel by Fremantle Press, these environmental legends are about to be joined by a gutsy girl from sleepy rural Quagmire – Darcy Moon, the ‘saviour of frogs’. 





Reviewed by Sharon Norris

  ‘To learn how to rule you must first learn how to serve.’

This powerful statement is a primary theme of the Fremantle Press mid-grade novel Shimmer, co-authored by Jennifer McBride and Lynda Nixon. Noble birthright may bring much to a fortunate few, but with it comes tremendous responsibility and the need to understand what it means to serve and be served. This is the lesson that needs to be learnt by Kora Archein, a powerful teenage genie who will one day rule the Imperial Empire of Genesia.


Cinema: Wild

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

With few exceptions, the noted actresses of this award season have all given us characters that have one thing in common. They’ve all been involved in a search for safety and peace, and all those searches have been underpinned with desperation. As artist Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes, Amy Adams has to take her brutish husband to court to reclaim her identity and her life. Marion Cotillard has to bury her dignity and beg her co-workers for leniency and generosity in Two Days, One Night, and Julianne Moore in Still Alice (opening next week), slowly descends into the hellish pit of Alzheimer’s and grasps at any straw in an attempt to regain control. Even Rosamund Pike’s Amazing Amy seems to be on a search in Gone Girl, a search to the death, as it were, and while all these women venture into some kind of wilderness looking for their own perch, none travel as far as Reese Witherspoon in Jean-Marc Vallee’s new film Wild. She really does hit the dirt, and she tramples it in her own bid for peace.



Cinema: American Sniper

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

American Sniper, the story of Chris Kyle, the most lethal marksman in US war history with over 160 confirmed kills, is a huge disappointment. As Clint Eastwood demonstrated in Flags Of Our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima, his corker of a double feature from 2006, he can grasp the essence of war and the meaningless and insanity of it, whether he’s on the front lines or examining the backstage chicanery. Those films were richly detailed, superbly acted, and so affecting it was impossible to walk out and leave them behind. American Sniper, which stars Bradley Cooper, is another film altogether, superficial, reserved, and one I was relieved to leave behind. There is undoubtedly a great film waiting to be made about this man but American Sniper isn't that film. 



Cities, State and Globalisation: City-Regional Governance in Europe and North America



Reviewed by Isabelle Hugo

 In what ways are city-regions the geographic containers for 21st century politics and economics?  Herrschel's book is an extended meditation on this question, and it is structured by a conception of the city-region as a political and economic entity that lies somewhere between two scales--the level of the state and the level of the global.  The city-region is also between being an actor and being acted upon: in the well-worn cliche of the structure/agent problem, city-regions both shape the actions and processes of the state and globalization and are shaped by actions stemming from national and global scales--a point which Herrschel returns to again and again throughout his book. 



Elvis has entered the building


Reviewed by Jill 

Ian Abdulla’s art is his story, made for and to his children. He was determined not only to provide for them, but to ensure they knew their own traditions.  We the viewers and readers learn the stories too.  The subtitle of this book  ‘Elvis has entered the building’ is the first clue to Abdulla’s character.  A powerful triad of two essays and an image gallery complete the picture.  Readers familiar with his books As I grew older, and Tucker will recognise many of the paintings in  Ian W. Abdulla: Elvis has entered the building.  They may now be meeting for the first time an engaging and thoughtful person.





Reviewed by Dorian Stranger Rix

‘Two years ago, something terrible was unleashed in an Australian mining town. Thousands died.’ The blurb starts with this line and persuades the reader to look further into the story, to read Lexicon is to understand: words have power. 


Cinema: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

You have to give Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu points for consistency. Notorious for overlapping storylines in masterpieces Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel, his expertise at maintaining the loose narrative strands and plugging them in for a grand finale has always been an exercise in audacity. For the majority of his latest film, we’re restricted to a theatre (The St. James Theatre of New York City). Inside, an actor, desperate for career respectability, haunts the narrow, dim hallways where an ex-wife, a daughter fresh out of rehab, his manager, and a competitive thespian lurk. We’re made privy to his wild imagination, one built out of despair and loathing. He meditates suspended in midair, he debates with his bruised daughter, he softly engages with his ex, and he crosses swords with the actor. This is Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), a comic phantasm of uninterrupted takes, and on its own terms it’s an electrifying experience, built out of technique and fuelled with unbridled energy. Inarritu wants to lock us up with his hero, and get us inside his head, right inside. Blessed only this morning with 9 Oscar nominations, the trailer makes it look magical and euphoric, but the reality of this unreality is sadness and confusion.



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