Monthly Archives: July 2010

and the winner is…..

As some will know, and some will soon learn, I am quite obsessed with entertainment awards.  I have been since I was a child. I love them. Silly as they can be, they serve a purpose. To promote the medium they represent. No harm in that.

Oscars, Tony’s Emmys, AFIs,Golden Globes, Logies! Critics Awards blah! blah! blah!

I have held an Oscar (Sandy Dennis’ for “Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf” no less) , Emmy, Tony, AFI,  IF, & Logie award in my hands – never a BAFTA or Grammy.

So I will of course be posting my opinions and thoughts on a regular basis.

Stay tuned……the Emmys approach.

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Filed under Awards, movies, Theatre, TV

I have finally met Nurse Jackie

It is sometimes very hard to keep up to date with the latest happening hip television series. Who has the time?, and in Australia, the TV programs of merit are usually on PayTV or delegated to very late night slots on free-to-air. Of course now that I own a DVD recorder at least I can tape the late night screenings. It takes ages for them to be released on DVD. Thank god for

There are so many around now it is astonishing. Weeds, The Wire, Breaking Bad, True Blood, Pushing Daisies Oz, Dexter , Glee , Entourage, 30 Rock, Mad Men (some still in production, some cancelled). And beware! many more to come, of which I will keep you posted – The C Word & A Miraculous Year for example. How many times does somebody tell you….oh have you seen that great show?????  I am still catching up with most of them. And god forgive me, I never got into Six Feet Under, or The Sopranos (I am sure one day I will). Just for the record, I am a big fan of Weeds, Oz, True Blood, Glee & Pushing Daisies. Which brings me to my next blab.

Nurse Jackie.

Produced by Showtime, who are responsible for a lot of the above mentioned. It stars the suberb Edie Falco, formely of The Sopranos. She was a multi award winner for her Soprano role, and she has her set of devoted admirers. Now you can add me to that list.

Basically it is a half hour show that details the life of a very dedicated nurse as she deals with a serious addiction to prescription drugs, infidelity, family life ands it’s ups and downs, the tragedies of an emergency department in a major city hospital, (show is set  & filmed in New York City), leading a double life. The list goes on. Great fodder for a series that you can seriously become addicted to.

The show triumphs due to the fact that the characters are very real and recognisable, the situations seem very lifelike, and up pops an absurd moment. I think the true reason the show works is that all of the characters are seriously flawed, therefore anyone who is honest with themselves can relate. The only argument I have is that the show is classed as a comedy (well at least at award time), but I feel it is more a drama with some comic moments. Beats me who decides what is what.

Aside from the wonderful Miss Falco, the show has a terrific supporting cast. And to be honest an oddball performance that doesn’t quite fit in, but is amusing anyway. I won’t go into all of them, you will have to see for yourself, and choose your own faves. But for me. I love Eve Best as Nurse Jackie’s confidant, she plays a doctor (obviously well paid) with a taste for designer duds, and a penchant for fine dining restaurants, which are often  a highlight of some eps. She knows Jackie’s secret, and has a great sense of humour. I am looking forward to her character development. Eve Best is an English actress, who came to fame with Gotham audiences with her Tony nominated performance in a revival of “A Moon For The Misbegotten”, a few years ago. Casting agents must have been impressed. I also enjoy the performance of Merrit Wever as Zoe, a student nurse, she is at once jovial and perky, and then reflective and sad when the realities of nursing in  a big city hospital hits home. Her scenes with Miss Falco are a delight. The male characters are kind of interesting as well, but I feel the female roles are  more rounded. The one oddball out, is Anna Deavere Smith (herself a respected playwrite in NYC) as the head honcho of the department, she seems to fly in like the wicked witch of the west, and her performance is just as highly OTT as the great Margaret Hamilton, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Then again, she is very watchable.

The show has been nominated for a swag of Emmys this year, of course Miss Falco is up there for best actress in a comedy. The veteran actor Eli Wallach has been nominated for his guest appearance as a man dying ,and trying to keep it from his wife, he was superb. Plus various technical nods and one for direction for it’s very strong pilot episode.

The great Eli Wallach with Eve Best

As is de rigueur with cable tv shows, the titles are excellent, and also nommed for an Emmy

Please forgive me for being behind the 8 ball on this show, and if you haven’t caught up with it yet, go buy the DVD. I am sure you will fall in love with Nurse Jackie and all her friends, warts & all.

Footnote: I am only up to episode 5 of season 1, so there is a way to go. 2 seasons have been produced.

I am very excited as it seems a swag of Broadway performers turn up. For example the great Judith Ivey, and Blythe Danner, can’t wait to see them.

Thank god for shows produced and filmed in New York, so many wonderful performers from stage turn up giving such good performances.


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“With One Look”: Stefanie Powers Is Norma Desmond in Ogunquit Playhouse’s Sunset Boulevard –


via “With One Look”: Stefanie Powers Is Norma Desmond in Ogunquit Playhouse’s Sunset Boulevard –

Stefanie Powers, I feel will be perfect for the role of Norma Desmond, she IS Norma Desmond, if you think of her yesteryear television fame. Whether she can sing or not, she has the vanity to pull it off.

I have had first hand experience working with the FORMER TV siren.

I was a set dresser on a tv movie made in Sydney many years ago. It was a telemovie trying to cash in on the hit tv show which made her very famous. “Hart To Hart Down Under”. She starred alongside the actor Robert Wagner, known as RJ, and he was a gentleman. She was no gentlewoman. We received in a memo  “Miss Powers does not want to appear in scenes with flowers, she does not want the audience to be distracted by her inner beauty”. It was a tall order as there was a funeral scene in the movie, and a hotel lobby scene in which the chosen location demanded a central floral arrangement!  Well we were told that in the hotel lobby the flowers could only be white. And in the funeral scene, well they were funeral flowers, so they couldn’t possibly distract.

To put the project in perspective. In the final scene, after they had solved the crime. Miss Powers and Mr Wagner were shown attending an opera at the iconic Sydney Opera House, and in their hands, as they watched, was a Koala bear. Such a classy production. 🙂

So, Miss Powers, I hope you triumph in the role of the deluded Norma Desmond, art imitating life?

As a footnote, I mentioned that Robert Wagner was a true gentleman, and he was.

I recall that we went on a location survey at a jetty on the Nth Shore of Sydney. Years later I was working on a miniseries about the life of Natalie Wood, Mr Wagner’s former wife. Again I was at the same jetty looking at it for a location. Such a funny small world we live in.


Filed under movies, Theatre

and the Emmy goes to……..Jane Lynch!

Last night I watched the 2nd last episode of the current season of the smash hit TV series, “Glee”. My friend Gary had recorded the final 2 episodes for me while I was away.  I had forgotten how great this show is, and how much I love it. I was about to go into the final episode but I wanted to save it for tonight. After last nights episode I’m sure it will be a blockbuster.

But let’s talk about the actress Jane Lynch. She plays the character Sue Sylvester, coach of the cheerleading squad, and  nemesis to the Glee club leader Will Schuester (Matthew Morrison – also great). What a wonderful performer she is. I have long been a fan of hers since I first saw her in the movie “Best In Show” as the dog trainer girlfriend of another  funny performer – Jennifer Coolidge. She was great as Julia Child’s sister in the movie Julia & Julia, and occasionally I have seen her play Charlie Sheen’s psychiatrist in the average comedy, “Two & A Half Men”, in this role she steals the show. But it is Glee that really shows her talent, her delivery of insults to each and everyone are hysterically funny. And on occasion she can show her soft vunerable side too. Last night’s little plot involving her possible attraction to Will, showcased her acting range  very well.

I say give her the Emmy, and give it to her now. She deserves to win and she had better, or else I will scream. She is nominated in the supporting actress in a comedy category, and also nominated for guest supporting in “Two & A Half Men”. I don’t want her to win that category, as the wonderful Kristen Chenoweth is nominated for her hysterical turn as April in “Glee”. Actually I want  Glee to win everything.

She has a lot of competition

Guest Actress in a comedy series


TINA FEY (Host) – Saturday Night Live

JANE LYNCH – Three & A Half Men

KATHRYN JOOSTEN – Desperate Housewives


BETTY WHITE (Host) – Saturday Night Live


Supporting Actress in a comedy series



KRISTEN WILG – Saturday Night Live

SOFIA VERGARA – Modern Family

JULIE BOWEN – Modern Family

HOLLAND TAYLOR – Three & A Half Men


Filed under TV

Taymor’s ‘Tempest’ to close Venice – Entertainment News, International News, Media – Variety


via Taymor’s ‘Tempest’ to close Venice – Entertainment News, International News, Media – Variety.

Can’t wait to see this movie, it has been around for a while. Please let it be good, of course it will look amazing, guaranteed!

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Herman plays Sondheim

No it is not a pairing of songwriters Jerry Herman & Stephen Sondheim, that would be way too weird.

It is Pee Wee Herman and his hit stage show, which will be performed at the newly named Stephen Sondheim theatre.

I would love to see this one, that’s for sure

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theatre? cinema? theatre? cinema? Who cares, it’s a hit!

This Saturday I had two very different theatre experiences, and both involving cinema. I love the fact that one can now sit in a theatre, or a cinema, and feel you have been to both…….at the same time.


Let me explain.

Doris & Wanda, knowing I had post NYC blues, invited me to go and see the National Theatre’s live broadcast of “London Assurance”. We had previously immersed ourselves in the same kind of presentation a few months earlier. Back then we saw “The Habit Of Art” by Alan Bennett, and we loved it.

It is basically a filmed performance of a play,  simulcast throughout the world (I doubt the simulcast aspect after checking out the website). It is a great opportunity to see some wonderful productions with fantastic perfomances, all first rate.

London Assurance didn’t disappoint. A play written way back in 1841 by Dion Boucicault, a prolific playwrite of his time. I guess the equivalent of Alan Akybourn today?

It is an old fashioned comedy, and director Nicholas Hyntner has given us a very  entertaining production, full of over the top performances from a brilliant cast. Standing out in particular was Simon Russell Beale, playing an aging society fop full of airs and graces, not to mention a healthy libido! It is a masterful performance, just his standing pose alone is hysterical. I love these kind of performances, nothing but pure delight. Not to shabby alongside him was the wonderful Fiona Shaw, as Lady Gay Spanker (the name alone makes you laugh), full of energy and horsy guffaws. She too just has to do simple things, like lounging on the sofa, and you were guffawing along with her. Richard Briars as her aging senile husband was a delight as well. All the cast were fabulous and each had their moments to shine.

It really does feel like you have been to the theatre, but with the best seats in the house. At $25 it’s a steal. Wanda has told me that the Opera presentations are well worth checking out too.  I will make sure I do.

Simon Russell Beale & Fiona Shaw

The magnificent Simon Russell Beale strikes a very funny pose.

Another dear friend of mine, Gary, invited me to see a special screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller Psycho. Gary is a cinephile and had secured seats because he had witten the program notes on the classic film. The theatrical twist this time was that the film’s magnificent score was to be played by a live orchestra at the Regent theatre. Bernard Herrmann’s score is arguably one of the most famous in cinema history. Boy does it sound good live! At first you notice the orchestra playing beneath the cinema screen, but eventually, to the merit of Mr Hitchcock, the film itself grabs hold and you find yourself immersed in the creepy story flickering above. Of course the screeching strings that accompany the infamous shower scene were a highlight. In the corner of your eye you could see the bows of the orchestra strings thrusting away, whilst on screen the kitchen knife stabs away at poor unfortunate Janet Leigh. I haven’t seen Psycho in years, and never at a cinema or theatre. It holds up as a true classic, even with it’s silly ending and long winded explanation of the sad Norman Bate’s psychotic state. And speaking of Norman Bates, I think Anthony Perkin’s is wonderful in this role. It is a great film, and with the live orchestra playing alongside, it was a great experience.

So I saw a play in a cinema, and a film in a theatre. Either way I was greatly entertained. Entertainment comes in all shapes it seems.

I look forward to being entertained again soon.


Filed under movies, Theatre

the franchise

The franchise, how can we avoid it? That is the question

After my recent holiday to the USA, a holiday I enjoyed immensly. I became very aware of the franchise.  And after watching the brilliant Christopher Nolan film, Inception, franchise crept into my sub conscience even more. The Broadway musical as a franchise, became a reality. Stephen Sondheim as a franchise?, in the year of his 80th birthday, became a franchise! To be an individual without a franchise, well one can recall David & Goliath and their struggle. I am sure that will become a franchise, just cos it sounds like it should be one.

Starbucks, Chipolte ( a Mexican fast food NY franchise), Bodyshop, Applecrumble & Fish (sorry, Abercrombie & Fitch), even the  US independent film scene has become a franchise, (more about that later). Walk down Chapel street in Melbourne and you are in a franchise wonderland. Even the MOMA gift shop has everything you can buy in any upmarket gallery store woldwide. Perhaps franchise really means globalisation?

The first point i will make, is about the brilliant Chris Nolan film, Inception, it is a film pretending to be a non franchise film, and it almost succeeds, not a sequel, not a remake, not based on a novel about vampires or wizards, not about a comic book hero. But, and I do not mean to criticise,   it is a blockbuster, and released in the US in summer, therefore by default it is a franchise.

The independent film franchise is alive and kicking. Point in case. The film direct from the prize pool of the Sundance film festival (in itself a franchise), it concerns a breakthrough performance, touted for an Oscar nomination, for it’s lead actress, Jennifer Lawrence for The Winter’s Bone, a very low budget film, with a heroine who is battling against all the odds. Think Frozen River, or Maria Full Of Grace,  and even last years Precious. Then there is The Kids Are All Right, think Little Miss Sunshine or Juno (not sure whether Juno was Sundance or Toronto?, that is another franchise. The quirky Oscar film to triumph over the majors. But enough about the film franchise.

The theatre franchise is blossoming at an alarming rate. The teen angst rock musical is alive and well. Rent, becomes Spring Awakening, becomes American Idiot, and soon to be, Bloody Andrew Jackson. Actually the off-Broadway success becoming a Broadway success is a huge franchise. Fela, Next to Normal, the upcoming Yank! the musical. In yesteryear – Avenue Q & Grey Gardens.

It is very hard this day and age to be truly original, I cannot imagine the struggle to produce a viable original work that makes money. Therefore the franchise is a safe bet.

No mention of the mega franchise – McDonalds, I was surprised to see less McDonalds restaurants  in the states than here in Australia, was told that we are a huge market in the McDonalds family. How sad is that?  At least we rejected Starbucks.

Go visit your coffee shop on the corner, and go see something off off Broadway. or the equivalent.

Of course, I am so guilty of the franchise, when it comes to Broadway or film, but I do try every now and then to break away, and I if I had more choices, I am sure I would venture further afield.

We are very lucky in Australia that we have a lot of individual choice, but beware, it is slipping away.

Something to think about. 🙂

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Dream on

Film Review


I am very pleased to report that finally a blockbuster movie release has lived up to it’s hype and delivered. Not a sequel, not based on a comic book, not a remake, just pure entertainment and thrills. A grown up action movie masquerading as a summer (winter here) blockbuster. Director Christopher Nolan has fashioned a very entertaining, if a tad silly, visually stunning action adventure. By no means a perfect film, the plot holes are quite large, but if you go along for the ride, you won’t be disappointed.

I won’t go into the plot, there is no point. All I will say it involves, corporate espionage, architecture, loss and mourning, father son relationships, and dreams. All interwoven into mind blowing action set pieces. Standouts involve Paris folding in on itself and a mid air weightless fight.

It has a great cast of very good looking actors. Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Ellen Page, Joseph Gordon Leavitt,  the beautiful Marion Cottilard (in a twist on the femme fatale role), Cillian Murphy, Tom Berenger and even the wise old Michael Caine in a cameo. Standing out amongst the strong cast is Tom Hardy (Bronson), he is a big star in the making.

It is a visual and audio feast, the sets, the effects, costumes and cinematography, sound design and music all first class. I liked the way architecture played a major role in the film, and enjoyed the nod to Miss Cottilard’s Oscar winning role as Edith Piaf , with the song Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien playing a part .

Christopher Nolan has had a field day making this movie, he has not put a foot wrong with his movie making attempts so far, and as it looks like Inception is another mega hit for him, he must think he is living in his own dreamworld. Let’s hope he never has to wake up.


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“Great Performances” to Broadcast Sondheim: The Birthday Concert in November –

Something to look forward to, it should eventually come out on DVD, or anyone who has a friend in the US that has a DVD recorder………..


via “Great Performances” to Broadcast Sondheim: The Birthday Concert in November –

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