Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tales From Earthsea

Saw Tales from Earthsea last night. Leigh Paatsch of the Herald Sun trashed the film in his review on Thursday: gave it only one star.

Bollocks to that. It was great, best film I've seen for a while. Anything that starts with a storm at sea and two dragons fighting, has a murder two scenes after that, a kid being chased down by ravening wolves in the scene after that, not to mention well developed characters and an otherwise awesome plot has got to be good.

Critics: 0
Ursula le Guin/Japanese Manga: 1


Karen said...

I didn't know they'd done a film for this. It sounds promising.

Mrs Mean said...

Off topic, but I preferred the format of this blog when there were links down the side and the archive was down the side too ... or is it just the browser I'm using here? It's someone else's computer and a very old one.

TimT said...

I watched it on a Monday evening as an excuse to get away from the house. It's a perfect Sunday afternoon or weeknight film; like an excellent television drama. One guy at the ticket booth was thinking of bringing his mother along to it. The theatre was packed (on a Monday night!) and I was crammed between a family of four on the one side and a couple on the other. Oh, and I walked away feeling full of communal love and Monday-night pleasantness (after a tedious day at work).

It's good, you see, because the kid is angry, so he kills his father; then he's sad, because he's lost his father; then he has a weird dream sequence where he gets swallowed by black goop, so he's frightened; then he has a battle scene against a freakbeastperson with hollow eyes, so he's shitting himself. Basically, the film runs the full gamut of human experience that you are never likely to experience, so it's fun for the whole family.

TimT said...

Mrs Mean, it's a new template though I admit it needs work. I have the links saved, though because there's so many of them I may file them away in an archived post, with a button linking to them at the top. Or something. It's like that moment when you get too many books and you need to buy another bookshelf, or similar. You keep meaning to get around to it... sooner... or later.

Karen said...

Oh yes, I do very much want to see it. I checked online, though, and my nearest multiplex has clearly deemed that it might be too enjoyable and well-made for them to screen it, so I'll have to see it in town.

I did notice, whilst checking, that there is a movie of Bridge to Terabithia, a favourite of mine as a child. It seems to have fared rather better with the critics. Have you seen it?

TimT said...

- Use F6 and then just key in the first few letters of, that should be enough. It's easier than a mouse-click!

- Also, I saw it at the Dendy, so if anyone is screening it, it's likely to be them.

- No, they were screening that when I was in the US and it got a good reception there too. When I was a kid I was never really that interested in the book - I snuck a couple of chapters ahead and saw it was one of those serious books about cancer or something like that. I always disliked variations on the 'And then I woke up! And it was all a dream!' theme.

All your questions answered!

Karen said...

Sigh! It is not at all easier than a mouse click, but I suppose it will have to do.

Yes, will have to go to Newtown then.

Everyone has to face the harsh light of reality sooner or later, although I vividly remember bawling my eyes out when I read the book as an 11 year old. A friend startled me the other day by confessing that he always reads the last page of a book first. Are you like that?

Apologies if I scared you with the cat rant. Just be grateful you don't know me in real life!

TimT said...

I did skip to the end as a kid occasionally, though fat lot of good it did for The Lord of the Rings - the end was as full of long-winded portentous nonsense as the beginning. Now I do skip through some books, but only if they're collections of short-pieces, and I think it actually improves the reading. After all, nothing is more absurd than reading a magazine or even a choose-your-own-adventure story from beginning to end and expecting it to be enjoyable.

Cat rants are always welcome. They're so much better than rat cant.

Karen said...

Well, some things are meant to be dipped into and sometimes that's the sort of reading you feel like doing. I don't know if I'd do it with a novel though. I don't tend to read magazines often- a combination of not having the money to buy them and the terrible quality of many of them, although there are some good current affairs/politics ones now.

A friend in school had pet rats. If you were at her house, she'd put one on your shoulder and say "Don't move!". Thankfully, she never did this to me.

TimT said...

Pet rats? She could call them prats.

Karen said...


You're just...incorrigible.

I have wondered though: is your mind simply the most stupendous pun-generating facility known to humankind or do you have a stock of these things which you utilise in appropriate situations? And, if so, how many years since pet rat= prat last got an airing?

TimT said...

But surely all you have to do is look at the words 'pet rats' and take two middle letters out?

I'm an inveterate subscriber to magazines. When I first got into chess, I became a member of the Correspondence Chess League of Australia, whose main activity is the production of a chess magazine. THEN I subscribed to a British origami magaizne for a while. THEN I was a member of the Australian Skeptics, mainly for the magazine, and subscribed to Quadrant.

Even when I was dirt poor and on the dole I scrounged up a couple of hundred dollars and (ludicrously) signed up for one year of the High Tory Spectator magazine. It was great! For several months, I read nothing else! These were in the Boris Johnson days, and I would read the entire magazine, even the sports column, which I had no understanding of. My main drama every week was agonising over why it was so late.

Now I've signed up to the New Yorker and - God help me! - I want to adopt another magazine. (Maybe Andromeda Spaceways...) I'm suffering spasms of agony as I wait for this week's copy of the New Yorker to come through (two days late and counting.)

Karen said...

Alright. If you don't want to accept the backhanded compliment, well then that's your business! It does make one feel rather self-conscious about one's compliments though.

I've never picked up the magazine subscription habit, other than the London Review of Books. A subscription to the Spectator whilst dirt poor is the kind of extravagance I admire, however. And the British origami magazine! You remind me of my sister sometimes, you really do. I can top all of that though, for my father was a carnivorous plants enthusiast and was not only president of the society, but also editor of its magazine.

My top tips for living on a budget: not driving, being unable to hold much liquor, second-hand clothes. But maybe more Tory writing is what I need!

TimT said...

Re: compliment. Well thank you very much indeed, though I simply can't let myself get too egostical when I know that I am simply in the habit of punning. I do collect them, obviously, in an absent minded way, so I have repeated myself.

Re: your father's editorship of carnivorous plant magazine. PHWOOOOOOOOOOAR!

Re: Spectator as compared to London Review of Books - go the Speccie, definitely. The variety's better and the 'Low Life' column by Jeremy Clark is beautiful. And their book reviews are great. And they have more theatre reviews.

Karen said...

I simply can't let myself get too egostical

That's why it was a backhanded compliment!

You haven't repeated yourself at all. All puns have been expertly deployed thus far. I do wish my punning ability was somewhat more developed- my specialities are saying the same sentence in as many different ways as possible in order to provoke loved ones and quoting poetry during an argument.

Yes, you used to have something at the side of the page about eating flies, which really stood out, as you can imagine. It may delight you to know that one of our more unique family activities was to wait for mozzies to land on our skins and then trap them with half a soft-drink bottle placed over a venus fly trap. These, which were in the greenhouse at the back of the yard, were my favourites.

I like the LRB because they have the space for really detailed essays, rather than simple reviews. And the personal column is fantastic, of course. Does the Speccie have a personal column? The theatre reviews would probably depress me- all those things I can't see!

TimT said...

The Speccie doesn't have a personal column (though maybe there's something in the classified pages that I missed). It DOES have a backpage etiquette/advice page by the fictional 'Dear Mary' which is delightful. And Jeremy Clarke occasionaly reveals details about his weird depressing love life. Their reviews have a wonderful gossipy feel that make up for any lack of space - for a review last year/year before on the latest Evelyn Waugh biography, they got the youngest member of the Waugh clan to write it.

Two or three years running, my father had an assignment to catch mosquitoes in the Balranald Shire (where we grew up) for some reason, which necessitated several trips out into the mallee scrub with dry ice and a complicated mosquito trap contraption.

Karen said...

You are certainly selling the Speccie well. I suppose it's a different thing to the LRB and the NYRB, which are often very academic. I do like spoof advice pages and it is indeed comforting to know that the weirdness/depression is shared by others- cheaper than therapy, as they say.

I suppose they were getting sample mosquitoes for some sort of study-? My father also grew the aquatic variety of carnivorous plants, so we had lots of mosquitoes and also frogs, which he would name.

Google reveals that you are originally a New South Welshman. I used to go camping on the Murray River every year as a child, but that was at Tocumwal. I grew up in boring old Southern Sydney.

TimT said...

I supposes what you supposes. I never really asked why my father did that, but in retrospect that seems to be the case. He also did water samples fairly regularly, which must have been standard practice for his job.

Karen said...

Some sort of scientific officer?

If I may ask, that is- I don't mean to be rude. My father was an electrical engineer for Telecom/Telstra and my mother was a librarian at various TAFEs.

TimT said...

Well, I skipped around it because really, although I know what his job was called, it always seemed quite mysterious to me. He was a 'Health and Building Surveyor', which meant that he had a position in the admin of Balranald Council doing stuff about health and building.

I think it also entailed a lot of telling people whether their house design was up to standard or not. Most people in Balranald seemed to recognise him, although being forgetful he could never remember their names. And it didn't seem to do him much good when the council had a reshuffle back in, oh, 98 or so...

Balranald is a country town near the Victorian border, (but in NSW.) They play AFL there, so when I first moved to Melbourne, I had the shock of my life to be living just around the corner from Fitzroy! St Kilda! Richmond! Hawthorn! Collingwood! (and so on.) They used to be teams that other kids supported, and now they were suburbs.

Karen said...

I was worried I was being rude, but I was intrigued by the mosquitoes and the water testing. I hate that so much- the way when you meet someone the first questions are what do you do, where do you live, where did you go to school, what do your parents do- being placed like that.

My father's job was very mysterious to me too, although it's a common enough occupation- lots of computer programming and maths, it seemed. I'd ask a question for school and, all of a sudden, the J axis would appear out of nowhere and I wouldn't have the foggiest idea what the answer to my question was, nor could I admit that I still didn't know!

Lots of nastiness at Telstra with retrenchments and so on too.

My mother was at Ultimo mostly, but she finished up at East Sydney in the end- gosh, maybe for about three or four years, I think. This was very nice for the two of us having lunch together.

There was no team you supported? My mother is a big swans fan. Apparently the umpires are very biased, she says. I don't pay much attention.

TimT said...

No, we weren't a football family. A question I get with disturbing regularity from people in Melbourne is - 'so, what's your footy team?' I dunno. Maybe I should adopt one.

I should probably note the the Speccie is a Tory magazine, and you'll probably find several British Frank Devines in every issue, but it's really a mixed bag. I like things with an honest bias, so long as they don't just push a party line and use hackneyed ideology, but reflect the values and experiences of the writers. And the Speccie always does that. So that's where I'm coming from on it. (Anyway, I've been meaning to do a post on the latest issue, as there were one or two things in there that amused me greatly. Will do next time I can upload a photograph)

Karen said...

I suppose "What's your footy team?" is virtually the same thing as "Nice weather we're having, eh?". Perhaps you'd best play along- it might lead to heading down the pub together and possibly friendship. Apparently you get a reaction if you say "Collingwood", or so I hear. Hell, it might even be like people who place certain items in their shopping trolleys to indicate their romantic predilections to other shoppers. There might be some sort of elaborate code behind it all!

I am aware of the Spectator's origins and do realise that it is a Tory magazine. I should note that I do owe Frank Devine the fact that he convinced me to talk to you, which I must confess I was avoiding, much to my chagrin.
I do understand what you mean about an "honest bias". If someone argues from a particular world view and is consistent and true to that world view, I respect their writing and position, even if I violently disagree. But there's nothing worse than a commentator who has aligned herself with a particular party and is only looking for the appropriate justification for this week's party line.

TimT said...

Ah, but I wish it could be 'What's your Magazine'? I'd totally be the follower of the Speccie, wrap myself in team colours every weekend and go the MCG to watch them read articles in a violent and divisive fashion in the general direction of the visiting team, The New Statesman, or similar. S-P-E-C-T-A-T-O-R! SPECTATOR!

TimT said...

On personal columns, check out this poem* by Wendy Cope, inspired by a personal advert in the NYRB:

"Man who is a serious novel would like to hear from a woman who is a poem."

Exchange of Letters

Dear Serious Novel,

I am a terse assured lyric with impeccable rhythmic flow, some apt and original metaphors, and a music that is all my own. Some people say I am beautiful.

My vital statistics are eighteen lines, divided into three-line stanzas, with an average of four words per line.

My first husband was a cheap romance; the second was Wisden's Cricketers' Almanac. Most of the men I meet nowadays are autobiographies, but a substantial minority are books about photography or trains.

I have always hoped for a relationship with an upmarket work of fiction. Please write and tell me more about yourself.

Yours intensely,

Song of the First Snowdrop

Dear Song of the First Snowdrop,

Many thanks for your letter. You sound like just the kind of poem I am hoping to find. I've always preferred short, lyrical women to the kind who go on for page after page.

I am an important 150,000 word comment on the dreams and dilemmas of twentieth-century Man. It took six years to attain my present weight and stature but all the twenty-seven publishers I have so far approached have failed to understand me. I have my share of sex and violence and a very good joke in chapter nine, but to no avail. I am sustained by the belief that I am ahead of my time.

Let's meet as soon as possible. I am longing for you to read me from cover to cover and get to know my every word.

Yours impatiently,

Death of the Zeitgeist

*Possibly wrong word to use.

Karen said...

'What's your Magazine'?

I'm afraid some might take that as a covert and roundabout way of asking people about their star signs, should it lead to a comparison of magazines. Perhaps the loser of the magazine welterweight contest would have to disclose his or her star sign. It certainly would be a nice variation on those bring-a-book singles nights (the Wendy Cope poem is very like them), although I must admit that I'm still besotted with Alexis' idea of people being books and having to bring along their reviews. Perhaps personal columns should be replaced by review columns-?

I must endeavour to work out what my magazine is! The LRB and the NYRB are in newspaper format really, so I don't know if they count.

The poem is spot on though. The NYRB is people trying to sell themselves by listing their intellectual qualifications/interests (although, infamously, there was this), whereas the LRB is very humorous, in a very British way and often at the advertiser's own expense.

TimT said...

Perhaps personal columns should be replaced by review columns-?

A review of my ex-boyfriend.
By Disgruntled and Disillusioned.

While initially promising in his overtures, the performance of this guy was generally lacklustre and without finesse. In this review, I intend to go through each of his points one by one, with reference to my other ex-boyfriends, and conversations I have had with my girlfriends about Stupid Stuff That Men Do.

1) Conversation...



Karen said...

1) Conversation...


Gosh, you've managed to write the entire history of my love life with an ellipsis and three stars!

Perhaps you should do tea-leaf readings?

TimT said...

These days, I suspect it would be tea-bag readings, but I'm glad you liked it.

Karen said...

I find tea bags thoroughly objectionable, but I suppose you could cut them open with scissors. I do think that they would rather spoil the effect, even if you were in a tent and were wearing heavy mascara and flowing robes. You will certainly have to consider your china very carefully, when you set up shop.

Incidentally, I very much hope that you were able to view this program in the wilds of Balranald. It was a particular favourite of mine and I find it even more pertinent the older I get and the more I come to resemble the title character.

(Apologies if I'm extending this thread past its use-by date).

TimT said...

Indeed I did, and I am sitting here in the internet cafe with a great goofy smile on my face for having been reminded of it!

You will be pleased to know that yesterday and the day before I wrote an opera about tea. True story.

Karen said...

Oh, wasn't it just the best? I used to watch the reruns in the school holidays when I was well out of the target age range.

If it's a true story, might we at least see a portion of the libretto? I don't suppose there's a part for a tea-drinking spider-?

TimT said...

*Crankily* T-shirt! T-SHIRT! COME HERE!

Well, y'know, if said opera proved to be too long for this blog, I could always email it through or something. We'll see. I keep on writing these pieces for which publication or performance is impossible.

Karen said...

All the thoroughly terrifying things that are available on DVD now and no T Bag! As far as I know, that is. I was having a conversation with my sister today about Transformers and I'd completely forgotten that there's a Decepticon called Starscreamer who tries to overthrow the leader of the Decepticons in many episodes. Apparently he screams "I am your leader now! Follow me!". I must temporarily appropriate her copy, just for that!

I can assure you that few things in this world would give me greater pleasure than an opera about tea and that I am a big fan of your comic verse.

Karen said...

Oh, and I'm drinking "monk pear" tea, as I type. Fascinating!

Ampersand Duck said...

Critics: 0
Ursula le Guin/Japanese Manga: 1

and Dendy Cinemas: 0

That's because the cnuts are not bringing it to Canberra. And I'm pissed off about it. I REALLY want to see that movie, preferably on a bigger screen than is in my living room.

TimT said...

Ah - oh dear.

Maybe a junket to Sydney is in order! There's a new Terry Gilliam film out that hasn't come out to Melbourne yet - and may not, either.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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