Welcome to the preview of the 85th Oscars, and what a pageantry of Hollywood flash and glamour it’s going to be. The knives have been out early with manoeuvrings ol’ Abe would have been proud of. Already Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Ben Affleck (Argo) are directorial casualties, and there have been some interesting betting moves.
Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects: These are separate categories, but any visual award should go to The Life of Pi. Forget the period dramas, this film tantalised the eyeballs.
Best Costume: Anna Karenina is the hot favourite in front of Les Miserable, but the money has been for Les Mis. There could be an upset here and this is one category both films excelled in. Some may say it’s the only category Anna excelled in.
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Okay, I’m going to say it. Les Miserables sucked.
There. I can’t take it back.
We could have done a Phantom Menace and lied to ourselves for months, but I think it’s better to accept the truth now. Ahhh, that’s good. It’s a load off my chest. [Ed note: Spoilers follow].
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The sniffer dogs are out, the shirts are off, the skirts are short… and the media is using the phrase “festivalgoers”, which apparently is a term people use to describe people.
Oh, and the music is loud. Music festival season is revving up, with Homebake, a mainstay, held at the weekend.
But sadly, for many Australians, their days of being “festivalgoers” are but a distant, sweaty memory. And, tragically, that is often because they are old.
So today, we’re presenting a guide to this season’s festivals that is not just for the Mad Dogs pinging under the sun to dubstep music this summer - but for everybody, featuring helpful festival alternatives for those who don’t plan to crowdsurf again anytime soon.
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Is David Beckham coming to Australia? Who cares? I don’t. His overly tattooed torso, has-been right foot and toothpick wife can come to Australia if they like, or not. I couldn’t give a stuff, and we shouldn’t either. But we do. We really, really do.
Personalities drive the public’s interest in a sport, especially when it’s a public not already familiar with that sport, but those personalities rarely have the same effect on the field as they do off it.
The result is sports reporting that focuses on the mediocre effects of a darling or bad boy, which disregards the superior play of a comparatively unknown, or a team effort. Since they haven’t married a starlet, kicked goals overseas, or been involved in a drug or sex scandal. (Insert cheap Bulldogs, Sharks, Premier League etc joke here).
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When I was an early ‘90s teenager in 501s, Doc Marten boots and often some variation on burgundy crushed velvet I can tell you with great certainty that I was not dressed anything like my mother.
Nor were any of my friends, whose originality could be measured by whether their Doc Martens were black or cherry. We all pretty much looked the same, and photos from those days place us smack bang in our era. You can look at the pictures of us in black long-sleeve tops and high-waisted Levis and say, yep, that was 1991.
From that photo you would also have been able to say what we listened to and what issues we cared about.
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In the classic Hollywood sports flick script, a ragtag bunch of losers and misfits take on the arrogant team of pretty boys and spoilt brats. The bad kids then proceed to teach us all a lesson about sport, life and the triumph of the human spirit or some such baloney.
Act One of this script will be played out tonight. The arrogant pretty boys are Queensland, who have clearly superior players, yet whinge and exploit loopholes like only the privileged can.
NSW are the basket cases, with a team full of drunks, ex-jailbirds, thugs, head cases, and players hopelessly out of form. And the player in the best form of his career, Tigers skipper Robbie Farah, is unwanted and unloved by his own fans.
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Bee Gees star Robin Gibb has died at 62 after a long battle with cancer. There will be some funky beats at the pearly gates today.
The Gibb brothers who co-founded the band (Maurice, Barry and Robin) sold more than 200 million records over four decades. The disco genre was dominated by the music of African-Americans. It’s incredible that a bunch of boys who lived in Brisbane (ex- of Manchester, UK) could make such a lasting impression on that scene. Indeed, they pretty much owned it.
Whether you consider yourself a Bee Gees fan or not, your love for them probably runs deeper than you think. Here are three examples of songs they wrote for others: Diana Ross’s “Chain Reaction”“, Dionne Warwick’s “Heartbreaker” and (Punch editor Tory Maguire’s personal fave) Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream”.
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Wally de Backer, better known as Gotye, is a legend.
Not just because lately he has stoically endured a significant increase in strangers hideously mispronouncing his stage name as Goatee-yeah, Gotya and Goiter (it’s gore-ti-yeah), but because he’s a consistently creative artist who has made an art out of producing his own style of his music.
After owning the Australian charts late last year with Somebody That I Used To Know, Gotye’s hit whooshed to the top of the US Billboard charts this week, not long after it was performed on Glee. As one Twitterer put it, how often is a song at the top of the US charts recorded in someone’s home studio?
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With a blockbuster film adapted from a popular book series, hot young cast and devoted fans, the dystopian epic that is The Hunger Games was always going to be compared to that other huge franchise, Twilight.
The books might sell the same theme: Teens vs the world. But they’re different where it counts.
After having to swallow Twilight’s mellow and passive lead heroine Bella, her Hunger Games counterpart Katniss comes as a breath of fresh ass-kicking air. Finally, there’s a popular teen heroine who can kick butt without a dude by her side.
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Here at The Punch, we pride ourselves on our original content. OK, so the prose in our stories might not be Shakespearean, but at least you won’t find us aggregating other people’s stuff and sneakily passing it off as our own. Except for today.
Aggregation is what good websites do when they become lazy, and what lazy websites do all the time. But we can’t resist. We have found the world’s best website and we need to share it with somebody. You’ll break out into a sweat. In fact, you’ll break out into a sweater when you see…
The absolutely amazing thecosbysweaterproject.com !!!!!!!!!
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So you want a career like the legendary Ian Turpie, who died on the weekend.
And you’re thinking, how hard can this thing be? You put on your Karandonis shoes, your fat tie, your suit so shiny it negates the need for studio lighting, and bingo! You’re ready to come on down.
Not so quick. This is tough work. To make it in the cut throat world of game show hosting, you’ll face some real heat. More heat than those namby-pamby miners up in the Pilbara. OK, so admittedly, most of that heat will come from tanning salon lamps, but all the same, this gig is harder than it looks. Here’s what you’ll need…
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A quarter of a century ago, American academic Neil Postman released a book called Amusing Ourselves to Death, which argued that television was dumbing down society in dangerous ways.
Decades before Kevin Rudd used his folksy appearances on Sunrise as a launching pad to the prime ministership, Postman was warning that in a culture based on visual images, a politician’s policies were becoming far less important than whether they came across well on TV.
Two books released in recent months suggest that Postman’s direst predictions may have come to pass. The first is Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World by American lawyer and television commentator Lisa Bloom.
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With the MasterChef juggernaut about to serve up its latest side dish in the form of Junior MasterChef, the kitchen timer is already trilling with the first claim of exploitation of its young contestants.
Last night the nation’s most lucrative TV brand shortened the apron strings and lowered the bench heights as a bunch of eight to 12-year-olds battled it out to become the most precocious kid …. oops, I mean, the most talented tween chef in Australia.
But not everyone is happy about combining kids with reality TV and it’s not because they’ll be staying up past their bedtimes.
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If the nastiness of this election is getting you down, perhaps it’s time to take a break. If you want to forget that Mark Latham even exists, it’s probably time to open your brain to the full-frontal lobe sensory assault that is Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
It’s hyperreality stretched to the limit, an ADHD teen-nerd rom-com packed with Atari-style graphics, manga and anime. And you’ll either love it or want to chew your own eyes out.
The plot, adapted from a comic book series, is ludicrous: Scott Pilgrim – played by quintessential geek Michael Cera – meets the girl of his dreams, but in order to date her, he must first defeat her seven evil exes in battles that make The Matrix look like Raging Bull.
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Am I the only one a little queasy over the underlying public gloat at the jailing of master criminal Lindsay Lohan?
There it is, just beneath the surface – unspoken and insidious. It’s the patriarchal desire to see a wanton woman tamed.
Disagree? Replay the Lohan case with buttoned-down Katie Holmes in the dock and picture the reaction. See what I mean? But a boozing bisexual rootrat with a spoiled tabloid reputation and cash in the bank must be brought to heel.
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After a week in which the country went into a collective meltdown following the eviction of someone called Marion Grasby, it’s easy to forget there are actually people who don’t watch MasterChef.
Perhaps it’s time for those of us who have somehow managed to miss the entire series to form a self-help group.
I can’t have been the only one left feeling completely bewildered by overhearing spirited conversations about satay sauce everywhere I go. Can I? I’m not sure fans of the show understand how bizarre lengthy debates over the finer points of Thai cuisine cook-offs sound to their hopelessly uninitiated friends and colleagues.
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I wish to make it clear, first of all, that this was not planned. I never saw it coming. It wasn’t premeditated.
You know those affairs where you just stop in at the pub on your way home for a quick drink, and before you know it you’re waking up handcuffed to a bed in a Taree motel next to a harelipped Slovenian wrestler? That’s how it was with me and MasterChef..
I had always been one of those men who loathed cooking shows in all their manifestations. Every time I saw one of those grinning loons drizzling things, or rubbing spices into the intimate sections of other species, or plunging their disgusting greasy hands into mounds of dough, I would go into a violent rant that nearly drove my wife to distraction, huffing and puffing about the degeneration of modern television and how in my day we had quality programmes like The A-Team and Vidiot but these days all we seemed to have was fat men opening cans and Nigella Lawson dripping her juices all over various puddings.
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It’s a show that deals with the most ideologically contested decade in living memory, but neither the Left nor Right have stepped up to the plate and dragged Mad Men into the culture wars.
The third season of Mad Men, the cult hit TV show set (thus far) in a Kennedy-era ad agency, is about to be broadcast in Australia by cable channel Movie Extra. The show is now closing in on 1964 - the year when the Sixties really began to swing.
By the season’s finale JFK will be history and the Beatles three months away from setting off the baby boomer youthquake that, within four years, will have torn the US and, to a greater or lesser extent, the rest of the Western world in two, setting in motion a host of rancorous political conflicts that are still being played out five decades later.
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Before indulging in a teeny-weeny bit of sympathy for celebrities whose private lives are flayed open for the public to feast on, spare a thought for what global leaders and their spouses have to endure.
If it’s not the Italian stallion, Silvio Berlusconi having flings with escorts, or holding frivolous parties, prompting calls he should be put out to pasture (from everyone and everywhere but his actual Italian constituents), or Vladamir Putin rising out the water, James Bond-esque, in budgie smugglers and with a well-toned body that defies his age, making world headlines, then it’s what the partners of these leaders are wearing.
In fact, when it comes to powerful women and/or the female spouses of Presidents and Prime Ministers, the fashion police are criminally biased.
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Yes! Stick this in your eye, over-analytical movie critics: Quentin Tarantino has named his favourite 20 movies of his directing career, and it’s a laundry list of pop shtick including Speed, The Matrix, Fight Club, and Team America - World Police, while the closest it gets to a Semillon Sauvignon Blanc is the palatable Lost in Translation.
To my fellow trashy-movie-loving Philistines who have been hiding in the closet: it’s time to celebrate. Liking movies with bad guys and guns is OK. Quentin Tarantino, one of the finest directors of his generation, says so.
The list includes some off-the-wall Japanese and Korean martial arts and monster flicks - which I haven’t seen and probably won’t, ever - but the rest help make up one of the most quotable lists you’ll see this year.
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