Friday, January 27, 2006

This Week's Recommendations

Film of the Week

As good as the apparently increasingly-controversial "Munich" was, its slightly less-focused and clunky final third means that the honour of my film of the week goes to... "Good Night, and Good Luck". If the words "A Film by George Clooney" may initially send a shiver down your spine, take comfort in the fact that Time Magazine describe him as "Hollywood's leading lefty"; so relax, sit down, watch, and be absorbed into an utterly engrossing un-Hollywood movie.

It's shot in black and white, perfectly capturing the 1950s era in which it's set, and focuses on CBS News' attempts to counter the reactionary threat of anti-communist witch-hunts. The two main protaganists are Edward R. Murrow, a superb performance by David Strathairn; and Senator Joseph McCarthy himself via authentic newsreel footage. The tension it builds as their weekly show "See It Now" broadcast goes out live is phenomenal. It's also much funnier than you'd imagine, with a stream of dry one-liners between members of the news team as they attempt to ease their paranoia and tension, whilst reassuring each other that what they are doing is right.

The parallels with the US's current "War on Terror" [sic] has been well-documented, although Clooney has distanced himself from that particular debate. It can't be avoided, however, so I'll end with a quote from Murrow himself: "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."

Breakfast Cereal of the Week

Since arriving here in Melbourne, I've become started eating breakfast most mornings. Usually, other than on weekends, I avoid breakfast completely [the 7.15 starts helped with this], but I've changed. And it's all thanks to Weet-Bix®. Yes, that's right, Weet-Bix with a dash, not an "a".

Along with the Weet-bix I've had to take a good dose of humble pie after asserting my view that the Aussies had clearly stolen the idea and name from good ol' Weetabix. But, as I hang my arrogant Pommie head in shame, I have to tell you, dear friends, that the Aussies did it first in the early 1900s, with the Brits 'bix following-on languidly in 1932, when Weet-Bix was sold not only as a breakfast cereal but [bizarrely] "also as an alternative to bread." Jam or vegemite on that, dear?

Anyway, they hold together better than Weetabix, are crunchier [not something I usually go for in a breakfast cereal, believing the soggier the better], but are, along with the British version, the only cereal I have to put sugar on.

O, and it's made by a company called "Sanitarium" too, which makes me smile every time I see it, although that may just be due to something they put in the Weet-Bix rather than a childish sense of humour.

Language of the Week

So, I've been here barely 5 minutes and I'm already changing. BUT, I'd like to reassure you that I am maintaining a rearguard action on my Englishness by not giving in to an Australian accent. I already have a magpie-like ability to take on the accent of the person that I'm talking to at any given time, and whatever Mancunian I once had, had been assimilated into a vague "northern" accent over the years, but I'm determined not to give in to their ockerdom.

Sure, I already tend to drop in a "no worries" now and then, but that's a product of my status as unemployed when Neighbours first hit British screens, leading to my twice-a-day fix of Kyli... er, Antipodean Soap.

I'm asking for YO-gurt rather than yog-urt, and will say "Can I GET a beer" rather than "I'd like a beer please" or the rather more pleading "Can I HAVE a beer, please?" but I don't think I'm on the slippery slope. Mind you, I'm asking for zucchini rather than courgette, and aubergine has been dispaced by eggplant, but that's not going too far, is it?

Anyway, better go. Got some hard yakka to do, like making the bed as the doona's gone totally cactus, and I need to find my thongs [you really DO need to click the links for this one]. See ya's later.

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