Monthly Archives: December 2016

Embraces his dark side in hard

PITTSBURGH garbage man Troy Maxson has got to be one of the ugliest characters in the canon of contemporary American literature.

Actor-director Denzel Washington might well owe the surprise SAG award he received this week from his peers for the unwavering commitment of his performance in Fences.

At no point during the film’s 139-minute running time does he let either the man or his audience off the hook.

Self-opinionated, self-righteous and self-pitying, pretty much in equal measure, Maxson casts such a large and imposing shadow over his household that the family has become bent of shape in their attempt to catch even a sliver of light.

He dispenses his home-grow philosophy as freely as he knocks back the ever-present flask of gin in his hip pocket.

Maxson’s chauvinism might be explained by his brutal upbringing and the era in which the film is set (the 1950s), but that doesn’t excuse it.

The man is so busy railing against the injustices he has suffered that he is blind to those he commits towards those around him.

And he is so eaten up by bitterness at the opportunities he was denied — by the time Afro-American baseball players were admitted to the national league, the gifted sportsman was too old to qualify — that he blocks his youngest son’s chance of a college scholarship.

Maxson’s wife, Rose (Viola Davis) is stoic to the point of saint hood. She stands by her man even when he asks her to be mother to the daughter his late lover gave birth to.

It takes an actress of Davis’s stature to portray Rose as anything more than a victim. For a large part of the film, I struggled with her “wifely” accommodation of such a bore of a man.

But Rose has a couple of killer monologues towards the end of the film — and she explains the choices she has made with eloquent force and a generous, theatrical spray of bodily fluids.

The two actors first performed August Wilson’s play on Broadway in 2010 to rave reviews and Tony awards. Their deep knowledge of their characters shows.

Also reprising their roles from the stage production are Russell Hornsby, as Maxson’s oldest son, a jazz musician, Stephen Henderson as the knowing best friend and Mykelti Williamson, as the brain-damaged brother.

Jovan Adepo, who plays Maxson’s youngest son, Cory, is the only member of the cast that didn’t appear in the play — not that anyone would notice.

Washington’s direction is a little stagey at times, and some of the time shifts are jarring, but Fences is a film of uncommon power and integrity.

And its ultimate message of forgiveness and acceptance packs a hefty punch.

Brother busted with marijuana

THE youngest Jonas brother, Frankie, was reportedly caught with marijuana in Nashville this week.

According to TMZ, the 16-year-old “Bonus Jonas” was cited outside of a convenience store on Tuesday for possession of marijuana.

A source told the gossip site that the teen is “extremely remorseful about the bust.”

Nashville recently passed a law reducing penalties for a half-ounce of marijuana or less.

Frankie was not a member of the band fronted by his brothers Nick, Joe and Kevin.

Joe made headlines earlier this year after opening up about losing his virginity during a Reddit Q & A.

When one fan asked him about the experience, he replied, “I lost my virginity to this girl named Ashley. You can probably just Google it. It’s pretty easy to figure out. I dated a girl named Ashley, so just Google it to figure out which Ashley that is.”

Of course, the not-so-mysterious Ashley he is referring to is Twilight star Ashley Greene, who he was dating at the age of 20 — which he previously revealed was when he lost his virginity.

Joe then went on to get even more personal, sharing the actual story of that fateful day.

“It’s quite a great story because I didn’t have any condoms, so I went to our drummer, Jack’s room, who was my roommate at the time and I demolished his room looking for them,” he said. “Found them underneath his underwear drawer. When he came home, he thought somebody broke into his room because his whole room was demolished because I was in dire need. Needed to happen then and now. Safety first, kids.”

This story originally appeared in the NY Post and is republished here with permission.


Cyborgs and aliens to assassins

This year is no different, with the ad breaks revealing new looks at the (possibly last ever) Transformers movie, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds finding big trouble in space in Life, the Fast and the Furious crew going rogue, Jack Sparrow and some of his old pirate mates reanimating in Dead Men Tell No Tales, Scarlett Johansson turning Japanese in Ghost in the Shell and Keanu Reeves kicking butt in the John Wick sequel that may not get released in Australia.

Michael Bay sent this trailer out into the world with a message: This MIGHT be the last one.

“I can safely say that there’s never been a Transformers film with the huge visual scope and expansive mythology as this movie, The Last Knight,” Bay said.

“It’s bittersweet for me. With every Transformers film, I’ve said it would be my last. I see the 120 million fans around the world who see these movies, the huge theme park lines to the ride and the amazing Make-A-Wish kids who visit my sets, and it somehow keeps drawing me back. I love doing these movies. This film was especially fun to shoot.

“But, this time might really be it. So I’m blowing this one out. It’s a final chapter and a new beginning.”

Speaking to James Wigney for Hit last week, Mark Wahlberg said he couldn’t reveal too much about the new film — “because Michael Bay will make me disappear.”

“Michael doesn’t want me disclosing too much information, other than that it’s very different. We meet up with Cade again and he’s a man on the run. He has run away and left his daughter in school so he can protect her and is thrust into this world in England with Anthony Hopkins’ character and is paired up with this woman who is a professor and they are basically tasked with going out and saving the world.

“There a lot of new characters and as you see there are major questions with Optimus and what’s happening with him. But I can’t tell you much more than that.”


Theatre and arts news

THE story of how Redcliffe nearly became the capital of Queensland is the subject of The Great Shove Off, a zany new mockumentary by local filmmaker Richard Lancaster.

Inspired by the Horrible Histories franchise Lancaster (who directed the film) and his pals have created a kind of Carry On version of Queensland history with Redcliffe as the focus.

Lancaster, who lives at Clontarf on the Redcliffe Peninsula, thinks the area might have made a fine capital and for a while there it looked like it would be.

Matthew Flinders had discovered the Redcliffe Peninsula in 1799 and in 1824 it was chosen as the site of a new penal colony.

“But the mosquitoes were bad, the water was no good and there was no good port there so they moved to what is now Brisbane,” Lancaster says.

He reckons a lot of people don’t know about this history which is why he has made this low-budget ($10,000) film, which has its world premiere with two session at Redcliffe on Wednesday.

The film has a stellar cast – well not that stellar actually – but you will recognise some names with cameos by the likes of Channel Nine’s Shane Doherty who plays Duncan Donut, the world’s foremost celebrity agent in the 1820s.

Poet Rupert McCall is also in it and he plays Judge Ben Dover and that really does sound like a character from a Carry On film.

There are raunchy wenches, cranky convicts, warlike indigenous warriors and Lancaster himself turns up as the colonial secretary.

“I’m doing an Alfred Hitchcock,” he says.

He means he appears in cameo, not that the film is a masterpiece.

Still it sounds like fun so if you have some time on your hands today head for Redcliffe, have a good laugh and ponder what might have been had it become the capital.

The Great Shove Off is on at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, Wednesday February 15, at the Redcliffe Cultural Centre, Downs Street, Redcliffe.