Sunday, January 9, 2011

The week that was #19

It's been a while since I did a catch-all post, but a few things have happened over the last week or so; however, none is really worth devoting a standalone blog post to. So, I felt it was time to resurrect The Week That Was series.

Of course, whether or not there'll be another is wholly dependent on what else goes on – though I know what my next post is going to be: my 2011 Adelaide Fringe preview.

Pete Postlethwaite

A sad thing that happened this week was the passing of legendary actor Pete Postlethwaite, aged 64. The distinctive-looking Englishman appeared in several of my favourite films – Romeo + Juliet (as Friar Lawrence), The Usual Suspects (as Kobayashi) and In the Name of the Father (as Guiseppe Conlon) – as well as numerous others; he was someone I was almost always pleased to see in a film because he always added so much.

Unfortunately, the last thing I saw him in – The Town; read my review here – wasn't (in my opinion at least) one of his better roles; it wasn't, however, his performance that was the problem, it was the character and the dialogue, neither of which were worthy of him.

But there are plenty of films of his I plan to rewatch in the near future, probably starting with the one that won him an Oscar-nomination, In the Name of the Father1 .

Anyway, for a far better analysis of his life and work, check out this obituary.

1He was up against some serious competition: John Malkovich for In the Line of Fire, Leonardo DiCaprio (with whom he would appear several years later in Romeo + Juliet) for What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Ralph Fiennes (with whom he would appear in The Constant Gardener) for Schindler's List, and Tommy Lee Jones, who took home the statuette for his role in The Fugitive.

Sydney Test match agony

The second-saddest thing that happened this week was the culmination of Australia's miserable season of Ashes test cricket (the loss which I've already written), being beaten once again by an innings – the first time we've ever lost by an innings three times in one series.

Once again our batting collapsed (twice); once again our bowlers were ineffective. Really, there were very few moments when we ever looked like England's equals.

At least it's over. It's really not often I can say that I'm happy a test series is over – as noted in the linked article, I love watching test cricket more than any other sport, and I really don't get to see as much as I'd like – but there's really only so much disappointment and humiliation I can take in one summer.

I just hope they sort things out before the next test series.

Entrails by the roadside

Weirdest thing that happened this week was the appearance of random piles of entrails by the side of the road – specifically, the western side Portrush Road, near the intersection of it and Magill Road. Literally, just random piles of guts in intermittent intervals over a few hundred metres.

It's one of those very rare occasions where I actually wished I owned a mobile phone with a camera – not because I like photos of gross things (I don't) but just to put it into perspective.

As for why this happened, I had some fun speculating on Twitter and Facebook about what the source of said innards was; suggestions ranged from a poorly secured door on a home delivery service to soothsayers, to an overfilled haggis-ingredient truck.

The actual explanation – apparently – is that trucks taking offal to the abattoir use that road and sometimes stuff gets loose. Which is kind of scary when you think about it; it makes me very happy I don't drive a convertible...

West Side Story

Thursday night I went to see the touring production of West Side Story at the Festival Theatre with three friends from work.

It was a great production – the choreography in particular was excellent – though there were a few things about it I wasn't that impressed by: the guy playing Tony was a great singer, but but I felt lacked the intensity the character needs; the woman playing Maria was an even better singer, but sang in a far more operatic style than the other characters, which seemed a bit strange2.

And I realised that, despite the quality of the performances, it's not really a show I like that much – that I didn't already know that might come as a surprise; however, the fact is that despite my heavy involvement in theatre, my experience has been overwhelmingly with plays rather than musicals, so there are a large number of well-known musicals I'm not that familiar with beyond the basic outline3.

So I do end up going to shows without knowing for sure whether or not I'm going to like them. Next unknown for me is going to be Wicked in April; I do, however, suspect – and hope, given that I've parted with 130 clams for the privilege – I'm going to like that more.

2This might, of course, be the way the part is written; while I have seen a production of the show before, it was something like six or seven years ago and I barely remember it; this may have something to do with the fact I saw it with my then-girlfriend, and whenever I break up with someone I tend to experience an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind procedure on myself and wipe everything that took place while we were together.
3Yes, this has an impact on my capacity as a reviewer; this is why I don't tend to review very many musicals. I only reviewed Oliver! last year because it's a show I've actually been in and I therefore felt I knew it well enough to provide a critique.

True Blood season three

Minor spoilers!

I got the time over the break to sit down and watch the third season of the campy vampire tv series True Blood; having watched the first two seasons (I wrote about season one here), it was really only a matter of time (and opportunity) before I got around to watching season three.

While I think the quality has dropped off a little since the first season, I still enjoyed it. Most of what works for the show is still there – fast-paced action, black comedy, cliffhanger endings, great quirky characters, buckets of blood and steamy human/supernatural (not just vampires but werewolves as well) romance.

In fact, I think I liked it more than season two – it was certainly more consistent; the 'Maryanne' subplot the was resolved in the last few episodes of season two wasn't especially entertaining.

Once again it's built up toward a set multi-character cliffhangers, and I know I'll be just as keen to watch the next season when it appears.


  1. I think the main issue I had with True Blood in season three was that there were too many narratives to keep track of, and less intersection in the arcs of the characters we grew to love in season one.

    Ball was pretty ambitious in introducing the fairy mythology this season, what with all of the other developments going on. I would have preferred more focus on weres and shapeshifters.

    Having said that, I enjoyed the hell out of the season. Since you're a fan of the Eric bullet-sucking scene in season two, did you enjoy the "passionate, primal sex" scene from this season? It felt closer to the Book Sookie and Book Eric dynamic than just about anything I've seen on the show ever. Playful, laden with sexual undertones, but kept in check by Sookie's pragmatism (for the time being, anyway :)).

  2. Good point about the non-intersecting narratives; now that you've brought it up I've realised that I can't recall a scene in the whole series where Sam and Sookie interacted at all – and their friendship (with overtones) was such an important part of the previous two seasons.

    And yeah, loved the 'passionate, primal sex' scene, almost as much as the dream sequence ho yay between Sam and Bill.

    Really, I think the cheer when tv Sookie finally gives in to the inevitable Eric-lust will cause the earth to shift on its axis...