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20 reviews in total 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
A History of Australian Art, 13 December 2006

"One Summer Again" outlines the development of the Heidelberg School. Sometimes known as the "Australian Impressionists", the Heidelberg School was founded by Tom Roberts in the late 1880s and changed the course of Australian art. They sought to break away from the formal, academic style of English colonial art. Like their French counterparts, the Heidelberg School were interested in light and its effects on the landscape.

This three part television series mainly focuses on Tom Roberts. In the beginning we see him standing at an easel working on a landscape. A young boy comes up to him and says: "What are you doing?" Roberts almost sounds like he's in a state of awe when he whispers the reply: "Painting".

Tom Roberts left his secure position as a society photographer to become a full-time painter. The bushland around Melbourne (where the Heidelberg School was based) was captured on canvas in a looser, more dynamic, more realistic manner than that of the artists who habitually painted English trees in an Australian setting.

In one scene Roberts tells his friend and fellow artist Frederick McCubbin to use flat brushes, which were not widely available in Australia at the time. McCubbin marvels at the difference this new type of brush makes. As the story progresses Roberts' circle of friends widens to include such artists as Arthur Streeton, Charles Conder and Jane Sutherland. Being a female art student, Sutherland was not allowed to draw male models in the life drawing class. The disagreements she had with the establishment demonstrate the sexism prevailing in the art world in the 19th century. (Are things much different today I wonder?)

Ignoring the artistic conventions of the time, the Heidelberg artists forged ahead, Roberts creating his famous painting "Shearing the Rams". Although "One Summer Again" is supposed to take place in the 19th century, the outdoor scenes in the city make no attempt to hide the modern cars and skyscrapers. Rather than being jarring anachronisms, these give the series a surreal atmosphere. It also serves to remind us how much Melbourne has changed since the time of the Heidelberg painters. Melbourne in the 1980s would seem like a science fiction world to Tom Roberts and his friends.

"One Summer Again" highlights a momentous development in Australian art. It is a story that is sure to be appreciated by art students, connoisseurs and those with an interest in historical drama.

"Trisha" (1998)
0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Got a Problem?, 11 April 2006

Until I saw this show I thought the Vicky Pollard character from "Little Britain" was exaggerated. Little did I realize how close to reality it was. When you see a few episodes of "Trisha" you get the impression that every teenager in Britain is a loutish, binge-drinking, drug-addicted gang leader with an attitude. (I'm sure it can't be like that in real life. It can't be!) For some reason other people's problems tend to attract audiences. Maybe it makes us feel better about ourselves when we see someone worse off. On "Trisha" an attempt is made to talk about whatever problem the guest has (it usually involves alcohol) and hopefully reach a resolution. There are the options of boot camp or a makeover.

Trisha Goddard is a good presenter with a warm, friendly personality. When she lived in Australia she was in the children's programme "Play School". She understands kids. In the past she has had her own demons to battle, so she speaks from experience when trying to help the guests. Members of the audience are also invited to give their opinion and offer helpful advice to the guests. It's usually along the lines of "Sort your life out, give up the drink, and get a job." They make it sound so simple!

"Trisha" is obviously a popular show in Britain, it even gets a mention in the film "Shaun of the Dead". In Australia it is shown on the channel UKTV, the episodes are from 2005. Seeing people scream and shout at each other may seem entertaining for a while, but there is the danger that it will become an unhealthy obsession. Watch "Trisha" by all means, but don't let it take over your life.

It Might Be You (1995) (TV)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Finders Keepers Losers Weepers, 29 September 2003

Douglas Hodge plays an electrician in this film about a dream shared by most of the working class: to win the lottery. In "It Could Be You" the dream comes true. But there's a catch. Hodge had concealed the winning ticket in a book called "The Gourmet Guide to Sex". Unfortunately, the wife got rid of the book, along with the ticket, not knowing what lay within the pages, and so begins an unusual chase, as Hodge frantically attempts to retrieve that elusive piece of paper worth millions of pounds.

Throughout the film the ticket passes from hand to hand, all completely unaware of its significance. At one point the ticket even gets folded into a paper plane. As time goes on, one desperate man turns into an entire mob, running after a little piece of paper that could change life so dramatically.

"It Could Be You" is a rather improbable farce that shows us how far we will go for the sake of money. Greed is a quality of human nature that can drive us to extraordinary lengths. While it's true that money makes the world go round, it's also true that money makes people go round the bend. In this film about the treasure hunt to end all treasure hunts, there are moments of true silliness. There has been a lot said about money over the years, how money is power, or the root of all evil, and it's pretty hard to deny. Most of society's problems do come down to money, the lack of it, or the sickening greed for more of it. We are enslaved by it, corrupted by it, totally dependent on it.

While "It Could Be You" is meant to be taken as a comedy, it has some serious implications to it as well. No one who wins a large sum of money can remain unchanged. A world without money would be hard to imagine. Then again it would be a saner, happier one. But as long as we are driven by a desire to get the better of others, to have more than others, we'll never have utopia.

1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
It's About Time!, 1 September 2003

That battered old police box is materialising on our screens once again. Finally, after a ten year absence, ABC TV are bringing back this great series, which will replace that show about sick and injured pets (not "All Creatures Great and Small). Over the next three years, starting this month, just about every surviving episode of "Doctor Who" will be played.

I have fond memories of this show. I watched it all the time when I was growing up. Because I was six when I first saw it, I did find some parts a bit scary, but not to the extent that I hid behind the sofa. At that age I wasn't too critical of special effects either. They were convincing enough for me. I became a fan of "Doctor Who" just as it was celebrating its twentieth anniversary. Ironically, the show was only supposed to last for six weeks.

I probably would have been a different person if I hadn't seen this programme. For one thing, "Doctor Who" got me interested in reading. I spent much of my formative years in primary school reading "Doctor Who" novelisations, and collecting the magazines.

The show also proved to be very educational. From "Doctor Who" I learned that King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, the Great Fire of London took place in 1666, and the dinosaurs were wiped out when a giant space freighter crashed into the Earth.

Unlike most fans, it was not the Daleks that I liked best. There wasn't any particular feature that I liked more than anything else. I think it was just seeing how the Doctor would get out of the latest life-threatening jam. For me the years 1970-1980 were the high point of the show. The Jon Pertwee story "Inferno" introduced me to the concept of parallel universes. Most fans felt Tom Baker's incarnation was the strongest. He inspired me to try jelly babies. As everyone knows, Baker played the role longer than anyone else. Among my favourite stories from his tenure are "The City of Death" (by Douglas Adams) and "The State of Decay", a story about a medieval planet ruled by vampires. "The Talons of Weng-Chiang" was a good homage to Sherlock Holmes.

Throughout its time on TV, "Doctor Who" was often featured in the newspapers, with articles alternating between praise and controversy. Many complained about the supposedly violent content, Mary Whitehouse called it "Tea-time brutality for tots", and parents were upset about children with nightmares. Other sources of concern were the inherent sexism. Female companions were just there to scream when they foolishly got into danger or to make cups of tea, although the companion Leela proved to be capable and self-sufficient, very handy with a knife. Another good thing was that the Doctor never got romantically involved. Until that 1996 TV movie.

I think Colin Baker gave a good performance as the mentally unstable sixth Doctor, I just didn't like the costume. He certainly seemed more "alien" than Peter Davison. "The Two Doctors" was his best story. (Memories of the grisly Shockeye come to mind.) I don't remember much about the final stories of the late 1980s, except for a Dalek that could actually climb steps. Even though the special effects had improved, I prefer the low-budget early episodes.

Overall, "Doctor Who" was an intelligent, thought-provoking show. It even gave an explanation of why all the inhabitants of different planets speak English. Companions can understand what the aliens are saying because of a telepathic gift imparted by the Doctor. I like to think I wasn't too traumatised by "Doctor Who". The companions seemed to be remarkably well adjusted too, considering their terrifying experiences. This show made an entertaining blend of science fiction, horror and humour.

"Bread" (1986)
4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
A Good Show That Went A Bit Stale, 21 April 2003

"Bread" follows the lives of a close-knit family in 1980s Liverpool. We see their trials and tribulations, their daily battle with an outside world of crime, poverty, unemployment and immorality. Using their wits, the Boswells beat this world at its own game, exploiting every loophole in the welfare system to cheat the bureaucrats of the DHSS.

Nellie Boswell and her five grownup children (Joey, Jack, Adrian, Aveline and Billy) are fiercely loyal to one another. When one has a problem everyone else comes to the rescue, traveling in a convoy of cars, ranging from Joey's black Jaguar to Billy's clapped out old mini. You always see them walk closely together at the same pace, staring straight ahead. The charming, leather-clad Joey was always the first to speak, usually beginning with the word: "Greetings!" Not every episode had a happy ending, however.

When I first saw this programme I was still in primary school. It used to be shown on the ABC every Monday night at 8.00 PM. I liked it when it first started. 1986-1988 was the heyday of the show. But after a while it didn't seem so fresh. The show dragged on into the early nineties, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The mobile phones were still huge, though. They changed the actors who played Joey and Aveline, although I found the original Aveline's accent a bit annoying. The show seemed to have lost its sparkle.

When the last episode finished in 1991 we saw the camera draw away from the Boswell house in Kelsall Street (which looked identical to the surrounding streets), getting an aerial view of Liverpool at large, finishing with a shot of that old cathedral. And there it finally closed.

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Caught in the Rat Race, 10 March 2003

Until I saw this programme, I never knew Mr. Spock from "Star Trek" was half human. Thank you, David Brent. Until I saw this programme I got really annoyed by people on T.V. saying how much they love their job. A show like "The Office" makes one question whether unemployment is really worse than being stuck in a job you hate. Most of the characters in "The Office" behave like school children, winding each other up with immature pranks, or getting involved in silly squabbles over something as trivial as a quiz. People never grow up, really.

In "The Office" we get a peek at what goes on in the utterly mundane, uninspiring paper industry. Like most offices, the workplace in this show is a demoralising, cheerless environment. The prospect of redundancy is another dark cloud in an atmosphere that weakens the spirit. We have characters who stare at computer monitors all day, their hopes and dreams unfulfilled; a boss with delusions of grandeur, believing himself to be a witty, fun-loving guy worshipped by all. One can't help but cringe when David gets his guitar and sings to the staff. We never actually see him do any work, mind.

While "The Office" is hilariously funny, it's also a chilling reminder of how bleak and disappointing life often is. The people in this show are stuck in a rut, and things are unlikely to change. It's quite frightening, really. "The Office" makes one wonder what the object of life really is. Is it to slave away in drudgery for half a century? For all but a lucky few (those who can afford a life of leisure) this seems to be the case. No wonder people look forward to the weekend, when they can get drunk in a club and forget reality for a while, before getting back on the treadmill once again.

"The Office" is probably the definitive portrayal of 9-5 routine. Mordantly humorous, depressingly realistic.

6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The "Reality" of Current Affairs, 12 January 2002

Mike Moore is the well groomed host of Frontline, a current affairs show that presents "the stories behind the stories". Just like any other current affairs programme on commercial television, it has its share of sensationalism, controversy, and cynical manipulation of the truth. All in the pursuit of ratings.

There are good days and bad days for the Frontline team. On a good day there are hard-hitting stories like the gun siege, where Mike becomes an impromptu negotiator speaking to a gun-man's children over the phone. On other occasions, when the show needs to spice things up a bit, there are stories about tabletop dancers or the lesbian netball team.

In an industry without ethics, Mike is an idealist who really cares about the show. But every now and then he needs reassurance, whether it be from the unctuous E.P, the enthusiastic weatherman, the fawning secretary, or the fan mail. (Unknown to Mike the hate mail addressed to him ends up in the shredder before he gets to see it.)

Needless to say, Mike's presentation of the show is all mapped out with precision. Without even watching the stories he can react with a deeply concerned "Mmmm", or put on a fake chuckle at the Friday night funnyman. (Mike has tried to get the funnyman axed on more than one occasion.) Sometimes the production team slip up and let Mike do a studio interview live. On each occasion the result has been a fiasco.

Frontline is an astute look at the unscrupulous manipulation that goes on in the high-pressure world of T.V. journalism. Some of the episodes are based on events from "real" current affairs shows, such as the three unemployed teenagers who turned down jobs at a holiday resort, the feeding frenzy over a grieving widow, or the time when Mike Willisee was drunk on air. The "big villains" who come under the spotlight are usually shonky repairmen, dodgy mechanics, and illiterate kids who don't want to work. The team at Frontline know their stories have to appeal to a vapid blue collar audience, because that's where the ratings come from. As Sam Murphy once said: "Why would anyone with brains or money be sitting round a telly at 6.30 each night?"

There have been many guest celebrities on Frontline, such as Jon English, who was used in a Frontline charity special: the challenge to build a playground for needy kids within 24 hours.

I think Series 3 was the funniest of the lot. We see a lot more of Mike's extravagant lifestyle while the E.P. vainly tries to sell Mike as a man of the people. One of the funniest moments is when Mike goes on "This Is Your Life".

Frontline has got to be the most credible of Australia's current affairs shows. It's the only one I take seriously.

40 out of 44 people found the following review useful:
"You Know It Makes Sense", 8 January 2002

"Only Fools and Horses" is definitely one of the funniest shows ever written. David Jason plays Derrick (Del Boy) Trotter, a likable rip-off merchant who runs Trotters Independent Traders. Although Del Boy's cockney speech is riddled with malapropisms (such as saying goodbye with words like "bonjour"), he manages to con the public into buying (stolen) goods they don't really want, pay for services they don't really need, or basically give up large sums of money for whatever doomed enterprise he happens to be peddling that week.

Del Boy's gift of the gab comes in handy whenever he has to placate his gauche brother Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst), who, unlike Del Boy, happens to have principles. Rodney allows himself to be talked into the most ridiculous, humiliating situations, thanks to Del Boy's twisted logic and specious arguments.

Grandad is the third member of the team; often the butt of Del Boy's pranks, his cookery skills leave a lot to be desired. He spends most of the time taking care of the flat (filled with all kinds of gaudy junk) and watching two televisions. Grandad was later replaced by Uncle Albert, whose experiences in the Navy have provided him with a limitless store of anecdotes that invariably begin with "During the war..."

Among my favourite episodes are "The Yellow Peril", where Rodney has to paint the grotty kitchen of a Chinese takeaway. "The Russians Are Coming" is (or was) a timely episode where the Trotters spend time in their own nuclear fallout shelter and Del Boy ponders the idea of procreation with mutants. "A Touch of Glass" has the team cleaning 17th Century chandeliers. That episode also proves that the best solution to a problem is to run away from it.

John Sullivan was originally going to call this show "Big Brother". But then he decided that people take more notice of long titles. Sullivan also sings the catchy theme song. Each episode of "Only Fools and Horses" is laughter guaranteed.

16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
"Power to the People!", 15 June 2001

Wolfie Smith is a fanatic who craves revolution. Leader of the Tooting Popular Front ( a Marxist political party which numbers six members), Wolfie is a wannabe freedom fighter who likes to call himself an "urban guerilla". He wants to overthrow the Capitalist oppressors of the working class and create a fair, equal and just society (with himself in charge). While he waits for the glorious day, he plays the guitar and sings his raucous songs, dressed in a Che Guevara T-shirt and a black beret with one star on it.

Wolfie's attempts to seize power are thwarted time and time again, usually with hilarious consequences. Wolfie keeps a book containing a list of anyone who gets on the wrong side of him. Come the Glorious Revolution they'll be first against the wall, blindfold, last cigarette etc. But it's a very long list...

"Citizen Smith" was written by John Sullivan, who went on to write the even funnier "Only Fools and Horses". This show contains characters with similar personalities. Wolfie Smith is a fast talker like Del-Boy, Ken is artistic like Rodney and Tucker is vague and confused like Grandad.

"Citizen Smith" was a witty comedy from the 1970s that got better as it went along. The later series seemed funnier than the early episodes. Hopefully the show will be screened again. This is a classic.

Barracuda (1997)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
The spider and the fly., 14 January 2001

This is a rather creepy black comedy about madness and deceit. After seeing this film you won't be so trusting. It makes me think of that saying '"come into my parlour" said the spider to the fly.'

The story begins in an apartment occupied by an eccentric old man named Clement. On nearly every wall of the apartment are portraits of Fred Astaire. It soon becomes clear that Clement is a mentally unbalanced recluse living in a fantasy world.

Luc is a young cartoonist who has just moved into an apartment across the hallway. With grand plans to sail around the world and start a family, Luc's life is normal and happy until he makes a fatal mistake. He runs into his elderly neighbour and agrees to meet his "wife".

"Barracuda" follows Luc's plight as he becomes the unwilling "son" of Clement. The film is quite engrossing as we see how Luc tries to escape from his tap-dancing captor. We see what goes on in Clement's mind as he has conversations with Fred Astaire, and get some insight of his lonely, empty life.

"Barracuda" has some chilling moments. It might seem far-fetched, but it's entertaining nevertheless. Although if you watched it over and over again you can imagine the story losing its suspense.

One of the things I like best about the film is the dance music. It's quite catchy. Beware of your neighbours.

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