Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: A Word From the Ministry for Learning People Things

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  • 81stcolumn,

    There are few things more likely to guarantee disaster than me and a Physics exam or a job interview.....I have yet to combine the two

    My ahem...O level physics exam was characterised by a series of notable events:

    i) Beefy Botham beating the heck out of the Aussies yeah !
    ii) Me being collected from the pub on my birthday to do a physics practical - cue images of drunk me trying to do some type of calorimetry lab; water, thermometers, drunk 81st, oh dear. Looked like a swimming lesson instead.
    iii) Later that year, my being carpeted for flippancy in the written paper: In response to a question about the relationship between image size and the position of convex lenses I came out with the apparently objectionable "Gets bigger, gets smaller, gets happy....."

    I got a B.....

    In that Shakespeare, Lord of the Flies etc have been written about a zillion times and they know it inside out, appropriate quotes and all so it's way easier to mark? I imagine that if you haven't seen a movie/read a book and only marking an essay on it for the first time (or even the first 100 times) it would take a heck of a lot longer.

    As the current semester closes I await with dread for the 200 or so lab reports I will end up marking, as the days go by I quietly lose the will to live. If I were a vain man, I suspect I would love to see my notes so gloriously reproduced repeatedly. As it was, last years highlight was a report written by someone who clearly had not attended the labs but had heard others talk about them. There followed a magnificent recombinant tale of two otherwise unrelated practical sessions. The candidate very nearly passed if only for the sheer imagination applied to the graphs provided in the report.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    By a strange English-exam coincidence, I noticed in last week's Time Out New York that there is a current production of A Man For All Seasons. Which apparently is being staged without the Common Man character.

    Part of me wants to tear out the review and mail it to my high school English teacher just to torment her (or possibly give her something to torment the current students with, if they still study it these days).

    Another part is just baffled. What happened? Did the building inspector come and insist that a fourth wall was necessary under the earthquake code?

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And while we're at it (men with luv-er-ly voices, that is), Jeremy Irons.

    Though I know one or two women who found him a damn less yummy after seeing David Cronenberg's __Dead Ringers__ -- in which he played identical twin gynecologists who have **issues** involving (this being Cronenberg after all) sex, drugs, psychic dissolution, and more body horror than you could shake a speculum at.

    A bloody good film -- though the worse date movie imaginable -- but I guess nobody should be surprised this is the film he won an Oscar for:

    "You're a very strange man."
    "You have no idea..."

    Brrr... __Reversal of Fortune__ is well-worth seeking out, because it ends up being (to my surprise) unexpectedly moving as an ambiguous comedy of very bad manners indeed.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Never could abide Shakespeare - except when someone with a gorgeous voice and impeccable delivery is doing the talking.

    As part of Shakespearean lit, we were treated to a screening of the highly regarded Russian version of Hamlet

    As the film started, it became clear that the print we were watching was without subtitles. I moved from the front of the theatre to the back. The very scary Fr McKay asked me what I was doing. I said "I'm getting closer to the exit."

    And really, while I endured 45 minutes or so, and many in the class stayed to the bitter end, I couldn't help questioning the use of seeing Hamlet in Russian to teach us the richness of the play, couldn't they find a silent version or something?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And really, while I endured 45 minutes or so, and many in the class stayed to the bitter end, I couldn't help questioning the use of seeing Hamlet in Russian to teach us the richness of the play, couldn't they find a silent version or something?

    Well, if you wanted to go down that route I know a teacher who twinned King Lear with Akira Kurosawa's __Ran__, and Macbeth with the same director's __Kumonosu-jō (Throne of Blood)__. They're both rather loose adaptations, but intensely cinematic and energetic (and bloody) enough to hold the attention of a class of teenage boys.

    And if you're interested, Kurosawa also made fascinating adaptations of Dostoevsky's The Idiot and Gorky's The Lower Depths.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I couldn't help questioning the use of seeing Hamlet in Russian to teach us the richness of the play, couldn't they find a silent version or something?

    There are plenty of those of course, but what's the difference between a silent version and a version in a language you don't speak? Except with sound you could at least enjoy the music of the words and the rather splendid soundtrack. It isn't the best Hamlet I've seen - that would be Olivier's, if you subtracted Olivier's own uber-narcissistic acting - but it beats the crap out of, let's say, Notting Hill.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It isn't the best Hamlet I've seen - that would be Olivier's, if you subtracted Olivier's own uber-narcissistic acting

    You should try Olivier's __Othello__ -- that masterpiece of bootblack camp. (Though Maggie Smith's Desdemona is a reminder that she wasn't always the go to dame for period battle axes of a certain age.) I think the kindest thing you can say about that particular performance is *cough* it hasn't dated well.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    And if you're interested, Kurosawa also

    Yep, seen 'em all. :) (except The Hidden Fortress, which was remade as Star Wars (for real), I have it on DVD to get to sometime soon)

    There are plenty of those of course, but what's the difference between a silent version and a version in a language you don't speak?

    Pacing mostly. And this reminds me... I have actually seen a silent version in which Hamlet was a woman (possibly swedish, I can't find a link). That was pretty good.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I have actually seen a silent version in which Hamlet was a woman (possibly swedish, I can't find a link)

    Sarah Bernhardt, possibly?

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    :

    You should try Olivier's Othello -- that masterpiece of bootblack camp. . . I think the kindest thing you can say about that particular performance is *cough* it hasn't dated well.

    Maybe it's Olivier's kaftan and oversized tacky stage-bling, but it's a bit spooky how much this overhyped 60s turkey resembles - visually, anyway - a blaxploitation flick from the following decade. Give it a crime-jazz Curtis Mayfield-style soundtrack and it might be watchable again.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    No (that was only 2 minutes long & had sound).

    This one

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Though Maggie Smith's Desdemona...

    Argh! I never made the connection that it was that Maggie Smith.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Argh! I never made the connection that it was that Maggie Smith.

    I know what you mean - I still can't get my head around the idea that Judi Dench was the original West End Sally Bowles in Cabaret. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to imagine Keira Knightley in 2048 playing Lady Bracknell or Lady Catherine De Bough in another (holographic?) version of Pride and Prejudice.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Argh! I never made the connection that it was that Maggie Smith.

    oh yes

    Mind you, on this sort of thing, I recall being amused that in Polanski's MacBeth, Doyle from The Professionals played Banquo.

    Mmmmm.... Francesca Annis

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Yes, indeed. And Alan Rickman.

    And while we're at it (men with luv-er-ly voices, that is), Jeremy Irons.

    And now we're heading to a list of Die Hard bad guys.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Yes, indeed. And Alan Rickman.

    And while we're at it (men with luv-er-ly voices, that is), Jeremy Irons.

    And now we're heading to a list of Die Hard bad guys.

    Isn't it odd how the Die Hard movies also suffered from the even-odd problem of the Star Trek franchise?

    I'd recommend fans of Jeremy Irons avoid his craptacular performance in Dungeons and Dragons.

    This thread makes me think we should have a nerdy Public Address book club. There seems to be a common enough core of interest (if Ian Banks is a decent touchstone), and if we can all have civil discussions about politics, why not about books?

    I'm very much in favour of the community here manifesting on relevant social platforms -- and also greatly in favour of me not doing it all.

    I do belong to a 'file all your books here' site with discussion boards but I haven't been there for ages. I'll have to see if I can track down the link.

    Or, y'know, make one. "All your books are belong to us".

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Judi Dench was the original West End Sally Bowles in Cabaret

    <squeeeeak> Really?? Oh, I must do more research about the various stage versions. Issyvoo!

    My love for that film is so immense. Baz Luhrmann, take some notes on 'divine decadence' in musical form from Mr Fosse, and get back to me.

    (Oh, also, speaking of pop-cultural things that are hard to fathom: Bob Fosse was one of the backup dancers in the film version of Kiss Me Kate, wasn't he? In pastel tights?)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I always thought Mr Irons would have made a much better Aragorn than Viggo. In thinking that, I totally forgot until this minute he also costarred with Liv Tyler in Stealing Beauty. That would have been a tad creepy.

    He plays Vetinari competently in the otherwise awful Colour of Magic tv adaptation. It amazed me watching that how a really good cast could ruin good material through such rotten pacing and directing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I'd recommend fans of Jeremy Irons avoid his craptacular performance in Dungeons and Dragons.

    Ah, that was a glorious performance. Some friends and I once devised a scale of scenery-chewingness - it went some like:

    1 Jeremy Irons in__ D&D__ = 10 Nick Nolte in Hulk = 100 John Travolta in Battlefield Earth

    As far as majestic voices go, it was Tom Baker who apparently claimed "I can make whippet shit sound like The Old Testament!"

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Thank you for the opening, Emma.

    Simon Pegg as Scotty! Worth seeing just for that.

    Looks appropriately awful though. Hullo bad 1960s Star Trek uniforms :)

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Simon Pegg as Scotty! Worth seeing just for that.

    Nah. They always try to get you with the alluring casting, like Carell as the titular hero in the awful, awful Get Smart. Wake me up when they cast Pegg as Hamlet. Or Lady Macbeth.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    (Oh, also, speaking of pop-cultural things that are hard to fathom: Bob Fosse was one of the backup dancers in the film version of Kiss Me Kate, wasn't he? In pastel tights?)

    Yes he was - and starting as he meant to go on, he choreographed the utterly sublime 'From This Moment On':

    My love for that film is so immense. Baz Luhrmann, take some notes on 'divine decadence' in musical form from Mr Fosse, and get back to me.

    The funny thing is... Luhrmann was pitched 'Chicago' by Miramax all the way back in '94, as his second film. He passed, reportedly saying that he felt Fosse's original production of the show was intimidatingly perfect. (This was the year before the revival that's still running on Broadway.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Looks appropriately awful though. Hullo bad 1960s Star Trek uniforms :)

    Well, I'm ashamed to admit this but J.J. Abrams didn't do a half-bad job with Mission: Impossible 3, and perverse as it may sound it might just be an advantage that Abrams isn't a hard core Trekkie, and can get some critical distance on the more neutoric fanboy nuances. Yes, the usual suspects are screaming bloody murder, but they're same kind of people who trashed the sublime re-boot of Battlestar Galactica because "Starbuck's a man, MooreRon" blah blah blah. Russell 'Queer as Folk' Davies is going to be running Doctor Who! It's the end of the multiverse! Who give a flying fuck at a black hole what these nuts think?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Looks appropriately awful though. Hullo bad 1960s Star Trek uniforms :)

    OK, fuck *all* y'all (:)), because TOS is clearly the best series by a long, long way, and I include the uniforms in that assessment. Beatle boots on everyone! And Shatner in a gold skivvy with a girdle *totally* beats Shatner in burgundy nehru faux-military shit with a tight curly perm (and, erm, another girdle). Plus: the original series had those insane miniskirts, and alien chicks in lurex and body paint. And they had no budget for prosthetics, and so barely anyone had that goddamned forehead wrinkling so prevalent in all alien races from The Next Generation onward.

    I will admit that this film looks icky, though. You can't recapture the magic of that dude in the giant lizard costume throwing polystyrene rocks about. Or Spock's kidnapped brain running the entire planet full of infantilised sexy ladeez. It's not going to happen.

    Craig, you are a veritable font of wisdom today! I don't know whether I like 'From This Moment On' or 'Too Darn Hot' the best in
    that film.

    Ann Miller could only do one thing, but she was so brilliant at it. Luhrmann was probably wise not to do Chicago. I might have been even more annoyed with him...

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

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