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Mimi

 

 

Reviewed by Leigh Coyle

Mimi by UK based, US born Lucy Ellmann is a paradox.  On one hand, it is a ridiculous story, hedonistic and somewhat silly, featuring narrator, New York plastic surgeon, Harrison Hanafan, as a kind of Woody Allenesque character, who fills his privileged, puerile days with relentless introspective analysis.  Yet, if you allow yourself to settle into the style of the book, Lucy Ellmann’s ability to use parody, slapstick and a touch of the ribald as mechanisms for spotlighting what lies beneath modern-life absurdities, is an original and indeed, rather admirable effort to demonstrate power shifts between the sexes in the guise of a love tale. 

  

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Headmaster Not Eaten

 

Reviewed by Ian Lipke

James Farrell explains that his book is about destinations. His destinations are to be revealed through unforeseen amusements, ironies, surprises, vexations and absurdities encountered by the author. He intends to merely report “the surprising social and linguistic behaviours of people in many countries” (book jacket). The purpose of the book, we are told, is to bring the reader behaviour where serious intent comes across to the author as hilarious or maddening.

 

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Cinema: Mommy

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

I first became acquainted with director Xavier Dolan at a festival a few years back where I bore witness to his stunning epic, Laurence Anyways. Starring Melvil Poupaud and Suzanne Clement, it chronicled the relationship between a man and a woman after he reveals his deep desire to live his life as a woman. It journeyed everywhere you expected it to go but upon arrival, Dolan, with his gallery of sophisticates, invariably surprised us with a sleight of hand. At well over 2 ½ hours, it was a feat of a film, brilliantly acted and cinematically rich. Once seen, never forgotten. His follow up, Tom at The Farm, I’m yet to see but his latest film Mommy, in its way, revisits similar territory. Certainly not in subject, but in approach. Once again he digs deep with detail and magically eases popular standards (Lana Del Rey, Celine Dion, and Oasis among others) into the action (his use of Visage’s Fade To Grey in Laurence Anyways was stellar). With most directors, such a device is a cheat, used to prop up the weaker moments but not with Dolan. They enhance his scenes. They earn it.

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Cinema: The Longest Ride

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

No The Longest Ride isn’t a porn film, although considering the provocative title, the appalling dialogue, its preoccupation with bucking bulls, and the number of shots of the leading man’s biceps, you could be excused for thinking so. This zero hankie, cliché-suffocating turkey (gobble! gobble!) starring Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, and Alan Alda, tells the usual Nicholas Sparks story. Boy meets girl, boy has drama with girl, boy can’t be part of the girl’s world, boy and girl have a shower together, boy and girl save an old man from a burning car, girl finds a box of his letters and nosily reads them, girl visits old man and reads them to him, boy insults girl’s transsexual boss, boy and girl clash again, boy rides another bull (complete with icky shots of the animal’s saliva), boy and girl reunite at an art auction, and end up millionaires.

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DVD: Force Majeure

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

Force Majeure, Sweden’s bid for the Foreign Language category at the Academy Awards (but criminally pipped at the post), was one of the masterpieces of 2014. It is one of those films where everything comes together. It clicks into place like so many jigsaw pieces and yet director Ruben Ostlund lets it stagger and spin as the characters try to make sense of their disillusion. Its nowhere as neat and tidy as the ski slopes that are plowed daily in the resort where its set. Rather, Ostlund deftly uses those slopes as a contrast to the high drama.

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Blu Ray/DVD: Nightcrawler

Reviewed by Michael Dalton

Together with Force Majeure, Under The Skin, Still Life, and Predestination, Nightcrawler, the brilliant new film by Dan Gilroy, can stand tall as one of the best films of 2014. Shot through a noir lens, this sleazy underbelly of LA is sweaty, grubby, and lethal. The story is brilliantly told and Gilroy, making his directorial debut here, together with his leading man Jake Gyllenhaal, who delivers the performance of his career, takes it all the way to the edge, and then over. 

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Unearthed

 

 

Reviewed by Hazel Menehira

It is refreshing to find a volume of elegiac writing that provides an uplifting and joyous reading experience. Tracy Ryan’s full-length collection Unearthed published by Fremantle Press is an outstanding achievement which marks her maturity as a noted Australian poet. The very earliest elegies written in disciplined metre were dedicated tributes allied to war and love. Today, any poem regardless of form or meter to commemorate the dead is regarded as an elegy and most reflect gentle melancholy rather than passionate grief. 

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Call me Sasha: Secret confessions of an Australian call-girl

A new social shopping platform has been opened. You can see lots of products with actual prices and social media comments about them. The system works real-time, so the comments and critics are up to date when you are searching. Why it is important to look at social media comments when you are shopping? Because the only thing that the companies and the sellers think is to sell the product to you, in any way! But the older clients, of that product or company, are the ones that can say the truth. You can check out the website on the following link: Socialmediashoppers.net.

 

 

Reviewed by Louise Pascale

Call me Sasha is the first book by aspiring author Geena Leigh. It is a career she has started by chronicling her abuse as a child then her life as a sex worker in brothels on the east coast of Australia and in Greece. At just 15 Geena left an abusive father with no real options, education or expectations. Through a friend of her mother’s she is lured in to the sex industry with fantasies of glamour and money. While she soon realises it is actually unglamorous the validation of strangers was something Geena longed for. It filled a void that was left wide open in her real life. 

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An Elegant Adventure in Wonderland

 

Reviewed by Tom Coyle

Luke Carman is confused. Not Luke Carman, the author of An Elegant Young Man, but Luke Carman, the main character of the same novel who “hails, like his author, from a small mountain near the suburban city of Liverpool”. Like a modern day Alice, Luke makes his way through the dangerous and unpredictable wonderland that is Sydney’s western suburbs. Every encounter with the Lebbos, Fobs (fresh off the boat), pretty-boy Croats and Aussies that inhabit this world is accompanied by an almost psychedelic aura of violence, racism and of course, drugs. Although Luke is himself a Westie, he is never sure of the rules, so he tries on the various personas and ideologies of those he meets to see if they will provide either protection or escape from an environment he is unable to comprehend or navigate. 

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Harry Curry: Rats and Mice

 

 

Reviewed by Mike Clarke

 

Stuart Littlemore QC is an Australian barrister and formerly a journalist and writer/presenter of the ABC’s Media Watch programme from its inception in 1989 until 1972. As a barrister, Littlemore has had a string of high profile cases which include representing Mercedes Corby (the sister of Schapelle) in a defamation action against the Seven Network which was decided in her favour. Another successful case was Pauline Hanson’s defamation action against The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Telegraph. In 2012 he represented Eddie Obeid in hearings before the Independent Commission Against Corruption in NSW. 

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