The reason these disparate shows link so well is because they feel like simultaneous occurrences in completely different worlds. You could never show a 10 year old child Louie, and nor would they understand its Woody Allen and French new wave influences; you could, however, show them Adventure Time, all bright colours and butt jokes, and point them down that path when they’ve grown up. Great TV at a young age will expand the mind just like any book, and given how much TV so many kids are watching these days, the importance of a show like Adventure Time only increases.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – review at The 500 Club; this review was also the recipient of the Australian Film Critics Association’s 2013 Writing Award for Best Review of a non-Australian Film.
One of my most vivid, painful memories of truly feeling like a teenager is crying on the train home from school one Friday afternoon. I played ‘Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want’ by The Smiths on my iPod and thought about wanting to be happy, and how much I hoped no one would look at me in my seat at the very back of the carriage. I thought about how much I wished to finally come out to my friends and family and how much I desperately wanted to no longer feel like I was sitting alone in a dark room with the lights turned out.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is so powerful because it evokes this kind of pain; one that is both rational and irrational, and either by design or choice can only be held within oneself, like the last handful of water in a desert.
Not-so-Modern Family: 16 years after Ellen, are we now in a golden age of queer television? – Crikey, and featured on AfterEllen
Queer television has always had to straddle a very fine line. While it’s tempting for writers to create queer characters who reject every detail of the stereotype, doing so tends towards overt heteronormatisation of queer experiences. When critics and commentators write about queer characters on television, they often fall into the same trap that often befalls writing about female characters; their writing reverts to meaningless phrases like “strong female character” or “non-stereotypical gay character”.
But what is and isn’t stereotype is incredibly difficult to define these days. With the advancement of representation and acceptance in society, it’s less and less necessary to have to fight against a certain ‘kind’ of gay man, for example. Because of the breadth of personalities afforded to queer characters now, characters who are effeminate gay men or butch, unfeminine lesbians are less problematic because these personalities exist. The struggle, as ever, is that high quality writing is required to craft recognisable human beings out of piles of queer tropes.
It’s only natural for the film festival to get philosophical. This is not to accuse the long-running Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) of deliberate naval-gazing – it achieves this almost entirely through the mere feat of continuing to exist. The thickening fog of uncertainty surrounding the future of cinema – as a venue, an art form, and an experience – isn’t new, nor will it be old any time soon. Successful film festivals continue to achieve a degree of insularity from any such hang-wringing. Taken on its own, MIFF’s 63rd edition felt as towering and alive as ever, but its programming proved representative of film’ s growing insecurities.
Praise for this piece from Awkward. creator and former showrunner Lauren Iungerich: “I read with my husband. In the hospital – 2 days after giving birth to my first child. I cried for hours. Thank you…It’s just the most beautiful review of my work. Ever.“
Her Contested Reality: Schapelle and Dead Men Can’t Sue – Metro Magazine ($)
Inside Llewyn Davis – review at The 500 Club
Unheralded folk singer Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) feels almost like a mystical creation. Preternaturally bitter, he drifts wraith-like through life, practically haunting the lives of those who knew him before he became unmoored.
He used to be anchored by his musical partner Mikey (voiced in song by Marcus Mumford), but Mikey committed suicide an unspecified time before the winter of 1961, when the film picks up. When Llewyn sings “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” in the Gaslight Café to open the film, we sense his half-heartedness; later, hearing his voice blending with Mikey’s on their recording of “Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song),” he sounds whole. Either way, Llewyn Davis sings only of loss: “Life ain’t worth livin’ without the one you love.”
Not so Ja’miezing: Private School Girl proves disappointing – The Guardian
Tom at the Farm – review at Graffiti with Punctuation
This rural landscape exists as an expression of the heterosexism that sadly still exists in pockets of the world. Tom’s inability to escape from Francis is a terrifying manifestation of how this intolerance haunts the lives of queer people, an insidious presence that can be found even in those we assume to be close to us. When Tom tells locals where he is staying, they do not tell him to leave. They know, but they would rather preserve themselves than become involved.
Wetlands – review at The Age
This story of extreme exhibitionist and eccentric Helen Memel (Carla Juri) is likely to make even the most hardened viewer recoil. She is obsessed with her body’s most primordial functions; her first line of dialogue is about her haemorrhoids and the title sequence is a CGI-rendered exploration of the seething microbiology in a stain on a public toilet seat. Whether or not you consider that a deterrent, there’s more to Wetlands than shock and ewww.
Godzilla – review at Graffiti with Punctuation
Edwards and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey’s thoughtful framing and shot composition is such a refreshing change of pace that it is worth heralding regardless of the film’s quality. Be it from cars, buildings, trains or buses, or through binoculars or masks, Godzilla requires us to look beyond the foreground at the spectacle beyond it; a kind of view through human eyes from human constructs. Numerous shots exist to point out to us the daffy insignificance of much of human creation, whether it’s the tourist-ridden beach restaurant in Hawaii or an incandescent casino in Las Vegas, in which the people are so focused on gambling it takes a power outage for them to realise what is happening around them.
This is Godzilla’s chief thematic thrust, as was the case with Monsters. The destruction here isn’t arbitrary but included to point out our virulent capacity to corrupt nature. It’s no coincidence that key sequences are framed around the presence of children, the end-point of the allegory of our self-annihilation.
We want their love – The Star Observer
So why is it that, at a film festival dedicated to queer cinema, it is decided for us that we can’t handle a bit of man-on-man action? It’s not as though anyone was angling for it to be shown in public broadcast – no awkward 14-year-old was going to stumble upon it airing on SBS at 2am on a Friday night. These would be age-restricted, ticketed, limited session screenings in cultural events designed to showcase queer cultural contributions, promote community dialogue about queer issues at large, and provide a safe space for oft-ignored queer cinema.