Arts Reviews Archive

  • I fancy myself as a rather literary kind of guy. I read quite a bit and not only books with pictures in them; some of them are just words. There’s a whole list of books which are form the core of western civilisation which I should know better. While a don’t want to get into arguments for and against the idea of “The Canon,” the follow are a list of books and authors whose works are continually appearing in one form or another or are being alluded to in pretty much every story being told today.

    Books I Should Know Better

    I fancy myself as a rather literary kind of guy. I read quite a bit and not only books with pictures in them; some of them are just words. There’s a whole list of books which are form the core of western civilisation which I should know better. While a don’t want to get into arguments for and against the idea of “The Canon,” the follow are a list of books and authors whose works are continually appearing in one form or another or are being alluded to in pretty much every story being told today.
  • <p><strong>Title</strong>: The Aegean Bronze Age<br />
<strong>Author</strong>: Oliver Dickinson<br />
<strong>Paperback</strong>: 364 pages<br />
<strong>Publisher</strong>: Cambridge University Press (1994)<br />
<strong>Language</strong>: English</p>
<p>This is a much-needed summary of current evidence and scholarship on an amazing period of eastern Mediterranean history from around 3000 – 1000 BC. Although it is now fifteen years old, it outlines the recent revolution in ideas about the period and show how the (still depressingly scant) archaeological evidence has put nail after nail in the coffin of Arthur Evans and the historians of his age. Dickinson brings to life a vibrant civilisation which traded widely  […]</p>

    Review: The Aegean Bronze Age

    Title: The Aegean Bronze Age
    Author: Oliver Dickinson
    Paperback: 364 pages
    Publisher: Cambridge University Press (1994)
    Language: English

    This is a much-needed summary of current evidence and scholarship on an amazing period of eastern Mediterranean history from around 3000 – 1000 BC. Although it is now fifteen years old, it outlines the recent revolution in ideas about the period and show how the (still depressingly scant) archaeological evidence has put nail after nail in the coffin of Arthur Evans and the historians of his age. Dickinson brings to life a vibrant civilisation which traded widely […]

  • <p>Why is Tora Tora Tora such a good film and Pearl Harbour a steaming pile of turd? Surely Michael Bay is merely a symptom and not a cause.</p>
<p>I recently watched both movies again … well, watched one and raged at the other for 40 minutes before turning it off. It’s not so much the two film’s difference in treatment of the same event (and, in fact, many of the same characters and incidents) as the difference in tone and approach to story telling which intrigues me.</p>
<p>A friend of mine lays the blame for the difference between the two  […]</p>

    Hollywood Sucks Ass

    Why is Tora Tora Tora such a good film and Pearl Harbour a steaming pile of turd? Surely Michael Bay is merely a symptom and not a cause.

    I recently watched both movies again … well, watched one and raged at the other for 40 minutes before turning it off. It’s not so much the two film’s difference in treatment of the same event (and, in fact, many of the same characters and incidents) as the difference in tone and approach to story telling which intrigues me.

    A friend of mine lays the blame for the difference between the two […]

  • The Abbey Festival (10-11 July 2010) was huge! Rumour has it that 18,000 people went through the gates before 3pm on Saturday. The spectacles and demonstrations that I saw were fabulous. There was falconry, archery, jousting, seminar talks, a couple of very interesting weapons demonstrations, stalls (selling medieval hot dogs? hmmm…) and lots of practical hands-on activities in the encampments. All of this was brilliant fun.

    The Abbey Festival 2010

    The Abbey Festival (10-11 July 2010) was huge! Rumour has it that 18,000 people went through the gates before 3pm on Saturday. The spectacles and demonstrations that I saw were fabulous. There was falconry, archery, jousting, seminar talks, a couple of very interesting weapons demonstrations, stalls (selling medieval hot dogs? hmmm…) and lots of practical hands-on activities in the encampments. All of this was brilliant fun.
  • <p><br />
Each year, History Alive (June 12-13, 2010) gathers re-enactor groups from around Brisbane to one place at one time to show off. The groups involved span pretty close to the entire timeline of human history from the Near East of about 2000 BC to the very recent past. As well as being loud, colourful and a great day out, it gives a very clear snapshot of the state of living history groups in Queensland.</p>
<p>The first people I encountered on the day was Contact Front, the Vietnam re-enactment group, walking through around the site in skirmish line in silence and  […]</p>

    History Alive 2010


    Each year, History Alive (June 12-13, 2010) gathers re-enactor groups from around Brisbane to one place at one time to show off. The groups involved span pretty close to the entire timeline of human history from the Near East of about 2000 BC to the very recent past. As well as being loud, colourful and a great day out, it gives a very clear snapshot of the state of living history groups in Queensland.

    The first people I encountered on the day was Contact Front, the Vietnam re-enactment group, walking through around the site in skirmish line in silence and […]

  • <p><strong>Title: </strong>Zombie Myths of Australian Military History<br />
<strong>Author</strong>: Craig Stockings (editor)<br />
<strong>Paperback</strong>: 288 pages<br />
<strong>Publisher</strong>: University of New South Wales Press (2010)<br />
<strong>Language</strong>: English</p>
<p>A fascinating look at the difference between received ideas and facts. It covers ten major historical myths across 200 years from the original settlement of the country by Europeans to our recent involvements in Southeast Asia and East Timor. It strives to show the reasons or circumstances which created and have sustained each zombie myth until it gained a life of it own and needs no more prompting. In many cases, the  […]</p>

    Review: Australian Zombie Myths

    Title: Zombie Myths of Australian Military History
    Author: Craig Stockings (editor)
    Paperback: 288 pages
    Publisher: University of New South Wales Press (2010)
    Language: English

    A fascinating look at the difference between received ideas and facts. It covers ten major historical myths across 200 years from the original settlement of the country by Europeans to our recent involvements in Southeast Asia and East Timor. It strives to show the reasons or circumstances which created and have sustained each zombie myth until it gained a life of it own and needs no more prompting. In many cases, the […]

  • <p>English has definitely become the lingua franca of the world. I was appalled at the ability of the participants at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest to speak not only very good English but current everyday, infomal, even colloquial English. (Unlike like my still formal and rather stilted French.)</p>
<p>Gone was the dual English/French repetition of every statement by the the hosts (although the scoring remains bilingual). Most countries sang in English and those who did not sang in their native lingo. The only real clanger was Latvia whose entry only served to prove that Google translator is not foolproof:</p>
<blockquote><p>“What </p></blockquote> […]

    Operation Cultural Imperialism: Complete

    English has definitely become the lingua franca of the world. I was appalled at the ability of the participants at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest to speak not only very good English but current everyday, infomal, even colloquial English. (Unlike like my still formal and rather stilted French.)

    Gone was the dual English/French repetition of every statement by the the hosts (although the scoring remains bilingual). Most countries sang in English and those who did not sang in their native lingo. The only real clanger was Latvia whose entry only served to prove that Google translator is not foolproof:

    “What

    […]
  • HP Lovecraft and the Myth of the Golden Age
<p>I started reading H.P. Lovecraft again after a break from his work of far too many years. Specifically, I re-read Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, one of the Randolph Carter cycle. The story itself was published posthumously and HPL intended it as nothing more than a writing exercise. It was never a finished work. Regardless – or perhaps because – of this, it highlights the central themes in all of Lovecraft’s writing, Progress and the Myth of the Golden Age.</p>
<p>Lovecraft struggles to reconcile the ideas of progress, that science and technology  […]</p>

    Cthulhu Dreaming

    HP Lovecraft and the Myth of the Golden Age

    I started reading H.P. Lovecraft again after a break from his work of far too many years. Specifically, I re-read Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, one of the Randolph Carter cycle. The story itself was published posthumously and HPL intended it as nothing more than a writing exercise. It was never a finished work. Regardless – or perhaps because – of this, it highlights the central themes in all of Lovecraft’s writing, Progress and the Myth of the Golden Age.

    Lovecraft struggles to reconcile the ideas of progress, that science and technology […]

  • <p>I just realised that it’s Sunday and I’m two days late in posting. The schedule may be meaningless and self-imposed but it quietens the stabby-stabby thoughts. And to get it out of the way: Christmas was great. Kathi and I spend it alone and reconnecting with each other. It’s been a very valuable time for both of us.</p>
<p>Now to television and the best sci-fi show you’ll never see: Defying Gravity. This show is just plain awesome, not least for being targetted at adults rather than teens, but also for not being a <em>Star Trek</em> clone. This last point is  […]</p>

    For Your Listening Pleasure

    I just realised that it’s Sunday and I’m two days late in posting. The schedule may be meaningless and self-imposed but it quietens the stabby-stabby thoughts. And to get it out of the way: Christmas was great. Kathi and I spend it alone and reconnecting with each other. It’s been a very valuable time for both of us.

    Now to television and the best sci-fi show you’ll never see: Defying Gravity. This show is just plain awesome, not least for being targetted at adults rather than teens, but also for not being a Star Trek clone. This last point is […]

  • <p>I’ve been watching. And with watching come thinking. Which leads inexorably to blogging.</p>
<p><strong>Paranormal Activity</strong>: This is a standout. Shot for US$15,000 and somehow managing to get a cinema release, this film is scary as hell, despite suffering from too much Blair Witch handycam camera work, precisely because of the low budget. Apparently, the filmmakers decided that because they had such a small budget they had to suggest the horror rather than spend their cash on special effects and such to show the horror. The film has nothing new to say but it is very, very creepy. I expect  […]</p>

    TV and Movie Roundup

    I’ve been watching. And with watching come thinking. Which leads inexorably to blogging.

    Paranormal Activity: This is a standout. Shot for US$15,000 and somehow managing to get a cinema release, this film is scary as hell, despite suffering from too much Blair Witch handycam camera work, precisely because of the low budget. Apparently, the filmmakers decided that because they had such a small budget they had to suggest the horror rather than spend their cash on special effects and such to show the horror. The film has nothing new to say but it is very, very creepy. I expect […]

  • <p><em> </em></p>
<p>Last Sunday was the twelfth anniversary of the day we were married. Yay us! After all we’ve been through it was a bit of a shock to realise that we’re still together and that we actually like hanging out with each other. To celebrate, we did two things: dinner at a new (for us) french restaurant called C’est Bon on Saturday night, traipsing around the Glasshouse Mountains looking at rocks and stuff Sunday. Both our Satruday night and our Sunday wanderings were brilliant.</p>
<p>C’est Bon has earned itself a good rep both generally and within the french ex-pat community in  […]</p>

    C’est Bon and the Glasshouse Mountains

    Last Sunday was the twelfth anniversary of the day we were married. Yay us! After all we’ve been through it was a bit of a shock to realise that we’re still together and that we actually like hanging out with each other. To celebrate, we did two things: dinner at a new (for us) french restaurant called C’est Bon on Saturday night, traipsing around the Glasshouse Mountains looking at rocks and stuff Sunday. Both our Satruday night and our Sunday wanderings were brilliant.

    C’est Bon has earned itself a good rep both generally and within the french ex-pat community in […]

  • <p>Lately, I’ve become entangled in a number of debates with others about the quality of various films and novels. Only now have I realised that I approach these media in a manner which seems completely at odds with the way other approach them. Therefore, it’s time I explained myself.</p>
<p>I have a couple of fixed ideas on what makes a movie, novel or short story good. These have developed out of a cloud of different inputs such as: </p>
<ul>
<li>four years of studying film and literature at university,</li>
<li>a strong interest in learning other languaes and reading foreign literature,</li>
<li>a strong </li></ul> […]

    I Feel a Manifesto Approaching…

    Lately, I’ve become entangled in a number of debates with others about the quality of various films and novels. Only now have I realised that I approach these media in a manner which seems completely at odds with the way other approach them. Therefore, it’s time I explained myself.

    I have a couple of fixed ideas on what makes a movie, novel or short story good. These have developed out of a cloud of different inputs such as:

    • four years of studying film and literature at university,
    • a strong interest in learning other languaes and reading foreign literature,
    • a strong
    […]
  • <p>Given the glowing reviews and praise this film have been receiving, anyone who does not follow suit appears as a curmudgeon. So, I feel the need to explain a couple of things before I launch into my review.</p>
<p>First, I liked the film. I liked it very much and expect to see great things from this director. Second, it has only gathered such marvellous reviews because all the other current offerings, especially any other recent sci-fi, are sooooo bad. The vast fields of crap to which we (particularly sci-fi) fans have become accustomed to putting up with means that anything  […]</p>

    District 9: Not Bad

    Given the glowing reviews and praise this film have been receiving, anyone who does not follow suit appears as a curmudgeon. So, I feel the need to explain a couple of things before I launch into my review.

    First, I liked the film. I liked it very much and expect to see great things from this director. Second, it has only gathered such marvellous reviews because all the other current offerings, especially any other recent sci-fi, are sooooo bad. The vast fields of crap to which we (particularly sci-fi) fans have become accustomed to putting up with means that anything […]

  • <p>You know how it is, you’re sitting in the cinema watching a film and dying to go to the loo. Do you go now and miss the rest of what could be the pivotal or even the only good scene in the film? Do you wait just that little bit longer? Either way your enjoyment of the film is shot for good.</p>
<p>Never fear! Here’s the site for you. RunPee lists all the points in various films that you can dduck out to the bathroom without missing anything significant.</p>
<p>The site has an added benefit. The list of three minute  […]</p>

    Public Server Announcement: Peeing in Public

    You know how it is, you’re sitting in the cinema watching a film and dying to go to the loo. Do you go now and miss the rest of what could be the pivotal or even the only good scene in the film? Do you wait just that little bit longer? Either way your enjoyment of the film is shot for good.

    Never fear! Here’s the site for you. RunPee lists all the points in various films that you can dduck out to the bathroom without missing anything significant.

    The site has an added benefit. The list of three minute […]

  • <p>Last night, I saw a great movie on <strong>Fox</strong>. And by great I mean Uwe Boll great rather than ‘contains actual greatness or even a redeeming feature’ great.</p>
<p>Doomsday (2008) is another laugh-a-minute horror movie from writer/director Neil Marshall, who’s responsible for such masterpieces as Dog Soldiers and The Descent. This time the incomparable Marshall takes on the post-apocalypse sub-genre with typical style to create a melange of every 1980s post-apocalypse and viral terror film that decade produced. Unless you count the way these allusions are skilfully blended into 113 minutes of implausible and often gratuitous violence, it’s really  […]</p>

    Doomsday – Bwahahahaha!

    Last night, I saw a great movie on Fox. And by great I mean Uwe Boll great rather than ‘contains actual greatness or even a redeeming feature’ great.

    Doomsday (2008) is another laugh-a-minute horror movie from writer/director Neil Marshall, who’s responsible for such masterpieces as Dog Soldiers and The Descent. This time the incomparable Marshall takes on the post-apocalypse sub-genre with typical style to create a melange of every 1980s post-apocalypse and viral terror film that decade produced. Unless you count the way these allusions are skilfully blended into 113 minutes of implausible and often gratuitous violence, it’s really […]