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Monthly Archives: July 2010

Awkward is the new black, if black is still the new black. From Kristen Stewart’s tomboyish stiffness to Michael Cera’s adorable gawkiness, awkward seems to translate well in the box office. And Greta Gerwig and Ben Stiller do their own brand of awkward to a tee in Greenberg. The former a 20-something pushover in ill-fitted clothes that were probably bought for her 15-year-old body and the latter a middle-aged narcissist whose new project is to do nothing except write angry letters to corporations – both holding on to the past in fear of the future.

This has writer/director Noah Baumbach’s (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding) signature gloomy meets quirky scribbled all over it, and his take on the lost souls of Los Angeles is a welcomed change from the glitz and plasticity of L.A. that we are bombarded with in movies, television and reality shows.

Whether or not Baumbach’s awkward will translate to box office dollars remains a question mark but this is a must-watch for those who are not afraid to go on a journey with an unlikable protagonist. Greenberg will be remembered as that movie Ben Stiller played a serious character in, but really, that’s not such a bad thing. Special mention goes to Rhys Ifans, whose in-the-background supporting character is played to unassuming perfection.

In cinemas 22 Jul 2010

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Walking through walls, using sparkly eyes technique to confuse your enemy and killing goats by simply starring at them are just some of the psychic weapons used by the U.S. Military’s New Earth Army. Sounds kooky? Well, it is a kooky kind of a movie except that it flaunts a dream cast (George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey) and is based on a true story recounted in a book of the same name by journalist Jon Ronson. Whilst there is no arguing that the film is hilarious, the repeated Jedi warrior jokes do start to falter. In hindsight, however, with the knowledge of the film’s back story, (jokes were direct quotes from real soldiers) I would have readily gone with every ridiculous and bizarre antic. Suffice to say, I will never get bored of looking at Clooney but I am getting a little weary of him playing the same character (O Brother, Where Art Thou, Leatherheads) over and over again. He is easily outstaged by a brilliantly cast Bridges who takes us from a hippie army commander to a withering old man in love with ice cream and LSD.  Special mention goes to Spacey, whom we meet at a spoon bending party in the film. His knack for pulling off the bad boy persona (Swimming with Sharks, American Beauty) with just the right amount of snide arrogance is just brilliant.

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Ten days of morning sickness, frustrations, cravings, mood swings and weight gain later, a masterpiece is born. Instead of just marveling at the finished product at an art gallery, witness the tumultuous process of art in the making. Watch 15 projects by 100 artists come alive as filmmakers, musicians, installation artists and theatre crews amongst others develop their projects at The Lab in FraserStudios and surrounding spaces next to the old Carlton United Brewery on Broadway. Then see the end products at the ticketed Underbelly Arts Festival on the final day at pop up spaces along Kensington Street in Chippendale. This is truly a rare opportunity to watch the behind-the-scenes antics even before the show starts. Tickets go on sale ten days prior to the festival.

8 – 17 Jul. FraserStudios, 10-14 Kensington Street, Chippendale. 0410 748 039, underbellyarts.com.au