Australia! It’s a big country, and to be terrifically unfair and dismissive we’ll be honest and say until recently it hadn’t given us very much. Off the top of our head, we thank it for inspiring an enjoyable episode of The Simpsons, a couple of 2000 AD stories (Oz and Song of the Surfer), and, uh…
That all changed recently, because we’ve been watching Summer Heights High on HBO. It’s superb and makes us reassess our general blanket ban on everything Australian—for everything except the film that takes the country’s name. Because Australia is directed by Baz Luhrmann, who (to us) feels like the cinematic equivalent of someone scraping their nails down a blackboard.
This is not the case for other critics, of course! NOW‘s Norm Wilner rather sweetly states that he “will follow Baz Luhrmann anywhere”—hopefully not over the side of a cliff, which is where we’d direct him—but that he “cannot accompany him to Australia.” No wonder, it’s, like, a really long flight. He explains, “Australia feels like a far emptier (and far noisier) place than it might otherwise have done.” Noisy and empty…what on earth else would anyone expect, we could quip, if we were in the mood to continue to be unfair and dismissive (which, generally, we are).
Let us instead be positive, by noting that the Bloor Cinema continues its excellent work by screening a couple of interesting documentaries throughout the week: FLicKeR, concerning Brion Gysin’s “Dreamachine”; and I Think We’re Alone Now, which we reviewed when it played the Over The Top Film Fest and called “interesting as an exercise examining our own views on people with obsessions.”
Also on release this week, Restless, The Killer (Le Tueur), A Christmas Tale (Un conte de Noël), and Transporter 3.
In festivals, the AluCine Toronto Latin Media Festival, Brazil Film Festival, and Eh! U European Film Festival finish up this weekend, with the Eh! U festival screening Hunger, one of the most celebrated films of this year’s TIFF, at 8:30 p.m. tonight at the Royal Cinema.
And if you can’t be bothered to leave the house (to go to, say, Cinematheque Ontario, which continues), Criterion have started an “online cinematheque” where you can watch a selection of films for $5 each (and then deduct that $5 from the cost of the DVD if you like the film enough). We’d be in hog heaven if we could make them stream to our Xbox 360 (especially if they expand the line-up a bit).