Terminator Salvation

June 15, 2009 at 1:02 am | Posted in Film Review | 1 Comment
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I had a spare three hours so I went to see the latest Terminator movie. Warning: plot elements revealed.

June 12, 2009 by


Film Hanger

Paper Hanger Blog
Wellington
New Zealand

I found Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles kind of interesting, so I thought “give it a go.”

Christian Bale gets to play the first adult potrayal of John Connor. I found the rest of the rest of the cast looked like the cast from The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Marcus (Sam Worthington) for Derek (Brian Austin Green); Blair (Moon Bloodgood) for Cameron (Summer Glau) and Kyle (Anton Yelchin) for John Connor (Thomas Dekker ). Nice to see Yelchin showing some versatility (vis-a-vis playing the part of Chekov in Star Trek.

It is an action movie. It is loud and violent, and maybe a little formula-ish. John has to save his future father without revealing too much to those around him. Still, it pays homage to the earlier Terminator movies in a number of places; there is even a ‘tip of the hat’ to Arnold Schwarzenegger

The film stay consistent with the previous Terminator movies. It fills in some of the missing pieces; and does not try to re-invent things.

I have two questions: (i) was that really Arnie in the final confrontation? (ii) John knows that Skynet will one day produce human tissue covered terminators, so why is he so surprised?

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New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season 2009

June 6, 2009 at 10:07 am | Posted in Show Review | Leave a comment
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June 5, 2009 by Show_Hanger

Last night I went to the opening night of the New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season 2009 – “In a Space”. I was quite looking forward to this: I had not been to a dance performance for a while, the astronomy theme would combine my interest in dance with my interest is space and the School’s marketing manager had ‘sent’ me two reviewer tickets !

I got there nice and early to pick up my complimentary tickets from Rebecca Galloway (the marketing manager, who was on the ticket pick-up desk) and wandered about the Te Whaea Plaza.

The Plaza had been artfully transformed into a theatre foyer – with a temporary bar and covered tables that looked like they were permanent fixtures. On the wall that the Plaza shares with the Te Whaea Theatre, some art was on display – or more correctly projected. Short dance clips were projected above a series of small backlit panels. Each panel explained an item of choreography we would be seeing in the performance. Everything was low light and backlit where necessary for viewing – building the space theme very effectively.

There were nine choreographed works and four interludes, which made for 13 dances:

  • Transient Matter – Gina Andrews
  • I’m Present (v) – Robbie Curtis
  • Jess(ica Jeffereies and) Claire (Hughes) Interlude
  • Traveller in the Dark – Nicola Leahey
  • Bright Young Things – Lucy Marinkovich
  • Challenging Life – Jana Castillo
  • Jing(wen Xu and) Robbie (Curtis) Interlude
  • Wo de Ying Zi – Jingwen Xu
  • Relentless Pull – Florian Teatiu
  • Gina (Andrews) Interlude
  • Venus – Claire Hughes
  • Florean Interlude
  • Cosmic Collision – Jessica Jefferies

The Theatre was laid bare – no curtains to creat wings and no backdrop.

The show opened with a video clip of Lucy Marinkovich and a friend projected onto the back wall. They introduced the evening from a men’s toilet (tiles visible in the background)! The images occasionally stopped and/or repeated (a la Max Headroom) – as if the video was being transmitted from a long way away and subject to interference – very sc-fi.

Transient Matter set the scene for the evening – minimal lighting and dancers’ shadows projected deliberately onto walls. Nice sequence where one of the dancers uses a mirror to reflect light that has already passed through his fellow dancers back onto them.

The interludes threw me a bit, as I was trying to keep track of the choreographed works. But I was able to reconstruct the order and place the works afterwards from the programme (in discussion with the other members of my party). Someone needs to come up with a way of introducing dance works – as they are set out in the programme – without intruding into the individual work.

I was a little lost as to which work was which until Relentless Pull came on: Florian Teatiu choreographs the way he dances – full of energy and pace. Also. his Pacific origins were visible in the choreography (e.g. hand gestures while sitting cross legged) and audible in his choosen music.

I am in two minds about the tissu sequences in Challenging Life. This work explored a species’ evolutionary path to walking upright, and the tissu seemed to be some form of suspended egg, from which the species gets deposited. The use of the tissu was restrained; Jana Castillo avoided the tempation to have a prolonged aerial sequence, but then why use it at all? Still, good to see someone willing to explore the concept of dancing in the air.

I enjoyed Venus; the work was very lyrical and soft (I guess I am just a hopeless romantic at heart) and technology had been used to place the dancers on stage twice. Much of the lighting was provided by a back projection showing the three dancers dancing in low light, illuminated by the reflections from their bare backs, complementing their movements on stage.

Venus expanded on the concept introduced by the Jing and Robbie Interlude, where Jingwen dances with a projection of Robbie.

I found the Gina Interlude very clever. Gina Andrews dances in front of three tall mirrors. You could see all sides of her at once – like an animated cubist painting.

I found the Jess Claire Interlude most thought provoking. What did the standing around in the spotlight, rising on a cable and drinking a can of drink mean?

I felt that the pieces by Gina Andrews, Jana Castillo, Florian Teatiu and Jessica Jefferies found the mark with the overall astronomy (and space) theme. Generally, I would have liked to see more of the majestic grandeur of the universe come through.

Given the astronomy (and space) theme, I was a little disapointed that there was not a greater aerial element. I suppose there is a undefined divide between dance and circus/gymnastics, so that spending too much time off the floor is to be avoided.

The dancers did a good job of executing the choreography. And I think that those involved in the set design, lighting and use of video back projection did a fantastic job.

The opening night performance was played to a full house, and I think there was something for everyone – there certainly was for me.

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