Archive for the 'Movies' Category

Films featuring writers and writing

I always find it interesting and somewhat enlightening when I see a film which features a writer or someone writing. I have seen quite a few over the years and even have a few in my own collection of DVDs.

I get a weekly newsletter from the Australian Writers’ Centre. It is usually both informative and entertaining. Their blog recently featured a list of movies which feature writers or something about writing. You can access the article here.

This is quite a long list and some of my favourite movies are featured on the list, including:

  • Miss Potter
  • Finding Neverland
  • Iris

I must admit that there are many on the list which I have never seen. Perhaps I need to reactivate my membership of the local video hire shop – if it is still operating. I haven’t darkened its doorstep in many years. Too many books to read – and write!

There is also a lingering feeling that this list is far from complete. I have just quickly skimmed over my own collection of DVDs and can add the following:

  • Moulin Rouge
  • As Time Goes By (okay – this is a television series)
  • MASH (okay – another television series and only occasionally features a writer or writing)
  • Jewel of the Nile

Books into movies

Now – if we extend the list to include books which have been made into movies, the list would be enormous. The latest one I have experienced is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 2 which I just happened to see yesterday. Good movie, and a satisfactory ending to the series. I don’t think I will get around to reading the books; I have too many other piles of books and magazines waiting to be read.

Good writing. Good reading. Good viewing.


Australia Day

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Happy Australia Day to all of my readers.

For all of my non-Australian readers let me explain. Australia Day celebrates the arrival of the First Fleet carrying soldiers and convicts to Sydney in 1788. They were the first Europeans to settle here and were followed soon after by many free settlers.

Traditionally families have gathered on this special public holiday for picnics, barbecues, games of cricket or tennis and swimming at one of our many thousands of wonderful beaches. Many people also go boating or sailing in our wonderful waters, like Sydney Harbour shown above. This is also a time of year when there is much on offer in the way of international sporting events to attend or watch, including the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne.

And what did I do?

Not a great deal apart from some reading and writing here on this site and on some of my other sites (see Trevor’s Birding here as an example). It was cool here in South Australia with a little light drizzle – can’t call it rain – and not at all like the normal hot weather we usually expect at this time of the year. Still, I don’t mind the milder form of summer we are currently enjoying.

This evening I took my wife to our local cinema to see the Australian film The Water Diviner directed by and starring Russell Crowe. This powerful and engaging film tells the story of a father looking for his three sons who went missing in action during World War I at Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915. The story, based on real events, poignantly relates this father’s anguished quest to find his boys after the war in 1919. The movie was filmed partially here in South Australia in places we know well.

For non-Australian readers this movie will not open outside of Australia for a few months yet, so I recommend that you look out for its release.


Our iconic Australian animal, the Koala

Our iconic Australian animal, the Koala

I had a good laugh

Last Wednesday my wife and I had the joy of seeing a preview of the soon to be released movie The best exotic marigold hotel starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy and several other wonderful actors. My wife won the tickets through and offer made by the Seniors Card people here in South Australia.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie and will eventually buy the DVD as it is such a delightful romp with many hilarious lines and incidents. Unknown to each other a group of ageing English people respond to glossy advertising placed by the young manager of a run down hotel in India. Unable to afford their current housing, or seeking adventure, each in the group sets out to take up residence in the hotel. Through many misunderstandings, misadventures, comical situations and a touch of pathos, the group is thrown together in an unlikely situation and help one another to survive – or not.

I haven’t laughed out loud like this for some time. In fact, the whole audience – the theatre was full – enjoyed it so much that I occasionally missed some of the wonderful dialogue. Mind you, the average age of the audience was well over 60; you have to be 60 to qualify for a seniors card. The script was certainly written with seniors in mind – but younger generations will also get a good laugh at this, if only out of fear of what might happen to them in a decade or two.

I am a great admirer of the acting of both Judi Dench and Maggie Smith but this movie shows how both of them are ageing quickly. May they continue to delight audiences for many years to come – even if those movies send up the elderly in hilarious ways like this wonderful film.

Highly recommended.

Television writers acknowledged

I don’t normally watch awards programs shown on television. They tend to be long-winded, drawn out and frankly boring affairs. Of course, if I was in the running for an award of some sort, they’d be as exciting as.

I didn’t watch all of Australian television’s  Logies Awards presentation last night but did catch the last half hour or so.  I should have gone to bed as I was very tired, but kept putting off the effort of doing so.

What I did see pleased me. Not one but several of the award winning actors paid tribute to the excellent writers of various television series. Writers are far too often overlooked in such events, but where would they be without the writers first having the ideas for the story lines, and then doing the hard work of putting the plot, characters and setting and all the other elements of a good story together? Without writers – good writers – we’d have no television drama, no comedy series, no films and little entertainment.

I know it’s not an Australian series, but I’ve recently become a fan of the American crime series called Castle. In an interesting twist, the main character is a crime writer called Castle who helps a detective and the police solve everyday crimes. I also enjoy the gentle humour incorporated in the scripts.

Enough from me: I’d like to acknowledge the fine skills of the many wonderful television and film writers out there. Well done.

Another night at the movies

Last week we got around to seeing “Shrek the Third” movie at our local cinema. Sad to say we picked a Saturday night and the theatre was practically full of rug-rats. Despite the average age of the audience being somewhere around six or seven, it was still an enjoyable evening.

While not as funny as the previous two in the series, “Shrek the Third” is still good entertainment. It must be hard for the writers to come up with new material in a series like this. Most of the cliches have been used, so it takes quite an imagination to come up with new gags.

I’m not sure if I embarrassed my wife or not near the beginning. The old king of Far, Far Away was turned back into a frog at the end of “Shrek 2”. The beginning of this latest movie sees him on his death bed. The shocked audience was very quiet during this sombre moment.

Then yours truly has to mutter, “He’s going to croak.”

No-one laughed.

I guess I’ll just stick to my day job.