First I sat in the damp, freezing cold lecture hall all Saturday for the deeply intriguing lecture on witchcraft trials and heretics. I really enjoyed it, and normally I'd marvel at the quaintly Twenties (Thirties?) old building we were in, with orginal art deco fittings, but, man, it leaked like a sieve and had no heating whatsoever (they obviously bred students tougher back then).
Then I ran around in the rain doing emergency yardwork, thus ensuring my throat tickle turned into a cold. Then I ran around trying to meet my many and various commitments, and made sure my cold turned into flu. Oh, and it was hot water bottle time. And EOFY deadlines. Misery, compounded.
That said, I think being feverish rather enhanced my viewing of both Man of Steel and Angels In America.
Amazingly, in the few weeks since I saw part one, DOMA and Prop 8 have been repealed and they've had some promising developments re finding a cure for HIV. In just those few weeks. Like, that more stuff than in the twenty years since the play was last staged in Sydney. Ok, still no rainbow pavements here, but you know, progress in the world.
I did like it, even if it was a crazy, polemic, philosophical soap opera of Dickensan coincidence and tropes. But I did love it so. It was funny, sad, hopeful and trumphant, of its time and out of its time, speaking of gods and plagues and the cold war (only the Yanks could make a public health issue all about the apocalypse, Puritan death-cult worshipping freaks that they are).
I loved this production of the Belvoir, making wickedly clever use of the limited space, lack of wings, arch, etc., and it was perfectly, perfectly cast. One of the best Belvoir productions I've ever seen, and I've seen a few now that have made me happy. too bad they don't broadcast live to the world, because this would be one you have to see.
Marcus, a bastard to the end, Ashley, my dear, the mystery has gone (grin), and Luke, I'm so in love. Robyn Nevin, as always, brilliant. I mean, I never saw her once on stage, so fully and completely was she her characters (proper acting, kids, attend).
So, what was the deal with the folks in the row behind who left, complaining loudly, about the boy kissing and nudity. In Part Two. Of a play about AIDS. Fer fek's sake, did they think it was some loony Christian play?
Speaking of overloading Christian imagery, but sadly no boy kissing, I also saw Man of Steel. Those who read previous entries may know I like young Mr Cavill okay (ahem), so I was predisposed to at least try and like it, and it wasn't bad, per se, but even in my feverish state, or perhaps because of it, it was so hard not to snork, and then stifle the resulting coughing fit, over the OTT Christ-like imagery that young Kal-El indulged in (so funny that I saw two works of Jewish writers that night that both hammered home the Christian iconography, mythology and themes).
Also, for a guy who is supposed to be essentially good and the saviour of mankind (really?), Kal/Clark was indulging in a lot of collateral damage, as TripleJ observed in their review, like an obscene and disturbing amount. Remember when they said we'd never see New York ever trashed again in films? Remember when I pooh-poohed that very idea in this very journal and lost a stack load of friends who said I was wrong. Well, I was right. As if. I adopted the correct cyncical attitude that Hollywood handwringing would last a week at best, and I was completely, totally, absolutely right. You get cities trashed twice weekly in big fillums these days (Avengers, Pacific Rim, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Man of Steel, whatever fightin' robots film is out this week). So there was that. I just felt the need to finally say I told you so.
Storywise/filmwise, there were some things I liked better than the classic '78 film (but it still holds a very special place in my heart), and I liked the use of flashbacks to dip in and out of the mandatory origin canon, but the the whole opening bit on Krypton was over drawn, and again, hammering home the point that, what was the point, that councils, dictators and wise men can't get it done? I did like the design, though it looked more like recycling from John Carter than anything Kryptonian (I would have loved a more Modernist feel, myself, to acknowledge the Thirties origins and old serials that gave it birth), but I have a soft spot for Rusty, still, and did not begrudge his hogging the stage. It was almost as if they were afraid young Harry couldn't carry the can and had old JE holding up the film for him, which, again, as much as I love Rusty, was undermining of the whole hero's journey thang, I mean, I suppose Jor El was taking over the mentor role, but, really, how many classical heroes take their dad along?
And if he did have to take his dad along on the old hero journey, could it not have been Robin Nevin in cranky old rabbi mode (as per Angels in America), 'It sucks to be you, bubala'. Hee.
The Lois stuff was perfuntory, but it worked, somehow, and they've made her a modern girl, but I miss the old His Girl Friday wise cracking, hard talkin' origins (again, more source material, less endless and excruciating X-Box fights).
I would have also liked a bit more Metropolis with my Metropolis, you know? What can I say, would it have killed them to pay some homage to the whole modernist ethos? The faster, stronger, better thing that was so optomistic. Ah, well. This film had the style and art direction of a network tv show. Sigh.
I didn't mind it, I was into it, but parts of it bored me (battles, battles, more busting up shit), parts moved me (old Kev wrung out every second of his screentime, he is underrated and underused these days) and parts made me laugh (it wasn't enough to start quoting Aristotle, Socates and Plato wholesale but they actually waved around Plato's Republic (I think that was it, my seat was not up the front as requested) at one stage in book form. Again, subtlety was not this film's strong suit.
Aside from that, Henry was purty, and that's all that matters in the end, really. The rest was all archetype hero's journey, done with a leaden journeyman's competency, with precious little flair or originality (even the flashbacks were lifted from Rashomon and the like), precious little love for the origins of the story, while sticking to the canon (at least this pleased me, I'm oddly orthodox in my comics) and way, way, way too many X-Boxy battles (yawn). I mean, fer fek's sake and throw me a bone and at least let me have half his blue suit torn away in the process (not everyone who buys tickets is a homophobic white guy, even if that's who the film was marketed to).
So, gods, angels and fever dreams.
Oh yes, I also watched the last ever Lewis episodes, being unwell and unable to endure anything more exciting than an ITV murder mystery show. I find Lewis soothing, in an odd way. I'll miss it, now it's gone. At least there was a buddy cop show where the two cops were actually buddies and genuinely cared for each other and weren't afraid to show it and were quaintly loyal, even if they did annoy each other often and frequently. There were some great moments, some geuinely sweet and just plain wonderful moments. I wish some of my other shows could be like that, but I guess there's only one Lewis. Sigh. I'll miss my Lew-Lew (constant companion for more years than I dare to calculate).
Onto and forwards to the Modernists. I know, it's of the past, so very, but it's still of the future, that hopeful, wonderful place just over the rainbow, but we'll get there, if we're just faster, stronger, taller. All those fantastic images of trains and planes and skyscrapers and rushing crowds. And it's Sydney. Who knew?
So I went to the opening of Sydney Moderns at the Art Gallery of NSW (I finagled my way in) and it was fabby. The exhibition, that it (the opening itself was one interminable speech after another, one glass of bubbly which I damn nearly had to kill to get and a snot biscuit - a canape that looked, and tasted like, snot on a biscuit. Yum).
I loved this to bits, the brooding Bauhaus city scapes, the rushing crowds, the planes, trains, bridges, the greens, reds and blues, the sharp angles and lazy curves of an empty road. Lovely, lovely stuff. If only the makers of the Supes film had been in possession of the catalogue. Metropolis indeed, or the whimisical Sydney version, anyway (can't escape that harbour).
So that was that. There's more, and you'll know why I'm still so very unwell. Will I not stay in bed? Well, not even if I want to, and I've only made a small dent in the David Tennant dvd pile, sigh.
Angels soars in a new millennium
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Searching for the ’70s and Finding America
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Trumpeting a Michelangelo (Cue the Trills of Dissent)
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