Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Taste of Mebourne

The weekend before last now we popped down to Melbourne on Friday morning.
Arriving around lunch time we dropped our bags off and headed into Federation Square.
Can I tell you how great the trams are in Melbourne - I know it's because the city is well laid out and organised (not quite in a Canberra kind of way) and is a true tourists delight to be able to get pretty much anywhere you need to simply and quickly.

First stop was lunch (no where fancy) just something to eat and drink before our afternoon effort. We tried Time Out at Federation Square. It was raining and grey and the upstairs at the Tourist information centre across the way was packed (free wifi and power!). The food was good and they were quick with the beer for T and the ginger beer for me.

We stepped into ACMI early afternoon - we started with the 25 years of David and Margaret Exhibition. The exhibition is small but perfectly formed with a collection of Margaret's earings on one side and David's film festival lanyards/passes on the other, the exhibition lets you know it has a sense of humour. A collection of photo's with various film luminaries from around the world and over the year adorns one corner. A veritable who's who of international film. Scattered around the exhibition is a range of memorabilia that enthralled this film buff. As only a museum dedicated to the moving image can there were a number of stations showing a sutie of clips many snatches of memorable reviews and some great skits/special apperances. There is also the chance to review a film with David or Margaret in a special greenroom set up. A fun exhibition and free!

After taking a quick break we bought our tickets and headed into the Star Voyager Exhibition loosely marketed thus.

Journey through the fact and fiction of space exploration from Fritz Lang to the moon landing, to Star Trek and Total Recall.

We spent a lot of time trawling through the much larger exhibition - particularly loving some of the old presentation materials and the early silent movies (especially the German ones!). This exhibit is very much an exploration of the fiction and it's connection to fact of our journey into space on film this exhibition is a delight. It does include some of the space flight video and some great Cosmonaut items.

The film segments are mesmerising (especially the ones you have seen). A highlight is the 3D film on Mars. A really worthwhile exhibition, especially for those that love Sci-Fi. Space 1999 &

After another short break we ventured into the Screen Worlds Exhibition a permanent and free exhibition entitled The Story of Film, Television and Visual Culture.

From the computer games you can play both native (ie as they should be) and  Wii Tennis vs Pong at the start to the complete Digital exhibition from original PC's (the Commodore  64 wasn't working!) to iPhones this exhibition is interactive and overwhelming. We spent the most time in the portion dedicated to Film and Television celebrating directors, animators, game developers and of course Actors, Films and TV shows. A highlight was the Zoetrope blogged by ACMI here it features Ty the Tasmanian Tiger a computer game character (Australian one too!) and is quite mind blowing.

Revisting Gallipoli, Neighbours, Kylie Mole, Crocodile Dundee, Mad Max, Picnic at Hanging Rock and a multitude of other Australian film, telivision and video/computer gaming delights with a range of articles and lots more video - mostly interactive. This is positively overwhelming (Yes that word again). We managed to cover all bar the digital culture (but did go visit the non-working Commodore 64).

Saturday saw us head into town for breakfast in one of the famous laneways (did I mention it was freezing and wet and more than a little windy). Following eggs and coffee we hit the shops. T bought some really nice new boots and I bought not much of anything. We were looking for a coat and shoes for him considering the weather might turn beyond ordinary to positively unpleasant. The coat was abandoned. Over breakfast we found a movie to see Red State an, at first glance, atypical Kevin Smith offering.

We headed over to Kino (Palace's fantastic stadium style seating venue in the CBD) around lunch time (well and truly full from breakfast). Slightly damp (it was pouring, we took our seats with the obligatory Choc Top and Water (seriously - anyone will tell you T can not see a movie without a choc top - there were protests once at Dendy Newtown when they ran out).

What can I say about Red State - it's strengths John Goodman, Kevin Smith's natural dialogue amongst peers and friends, John Goodman, a great cast, John Goodman, a couple of great jokes, the closing sequence (necessary to make the rest of the film bearable) and did I mention John Goodman. (Seriously a great actor). It's weaknesses trying to grapple with so much about blurred lines - fundamentalists and government agents who take a we know whats best for everyone stance, the bizarre comfort with violence and religion and children.

The film looks at a group of teenagers who get lured into a bizarre situation by the local fundamentalist Christian church who are taking things into their own hands. As the twisted tale continues violence, fear and a standoff with federal representatives ensues. The ending (a hearing on the outcome of the standoff/siege is an inspired rewrite and a comment on the amoral stance of those in charge.

I suppose would i recommend it - probably not. Did I regret seeing it - No.
3 stars.  Can't wait to see what Smith does next.

And don't go read about the original ending - I am so glad it ended the way it did. The original endign probably would have had me throwing things and screaming at the screen.

Saturday afternoon saw us head to Chapel Street where we bought a beer each after much traipsing and looking but nothing jumped out at either of us. We sat on slightly damp seats out the front of the pub. Eventually heading back to the hotel.

Next up Notes from The Hard Road & Beyond  and The finally Sunny Sunday.

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