RAW: SALA – Our Mob – Artspace / Fest Theatre – Till 5 Sept – 4K

Our Mob is a state-wide celebration of regional and remote South Australian artists. This is its fifth year and derives from a desire to develop a sustainable and dynamic indigenous arts industry, now enshrined in the Statewide Indigenous Community Artists Development (SICAD) program. This year’s exhibition features Ngarrindjeri artists from the Riverland and Coorong.

There are perhaps two stand-out feature works that certainly warrant the time to visit. Major Sumner’s Tree Canoe sits in the midst of the works resting on sand on the floor. A Ngarrindjeri elder, Sumner describes his canoe as a homage to the tree from which it is cut, being more than 100 years old, and to children as an example of both technique and culture. It is certainly impressive and as clear as anything could be of the close inter-relationship between the land and its uses by indigenous communities for thousands of years.

Beaver Lennon’s Break of Dawn (attached above) is notable for two reasons. First, it is one of the few works on display clearly borne of white man styles and techniques, Jack Absalom would be proud of the gums and the spinafex. The heavy, dewy atmospherics of the work with the dark under sides of the clouds, tinged with the dawn’s crimsons, pose the question of whether this is about the on-coming of a cultural storm or the dawn of new, brighter day. The second notable feature is that this work won the inaugural SA Indigenous Acquisitive Art Award of $5000 (thanks to an anonymous donor) that sees the work go into the Adelaide Festival Centre’s Indigenous Art Collection.

Also of note is the exquisite brush work of Roger (Bushfire) Saunders in his Spirits of Change and the raw talent of 9 year old, Ella Ackland’s Snake Protector, an acrylic on bark work of a snake slithering for safety.

Finally, of considerable interest is Narelle Unmeopa’s Emu Egg. Her daughter’s Emu egg is also there, a brightly coloured collectible, but Narelle’s exhibits extraordinary craftsmanship being symbols left as shell after all else has been scraped and sanded away down to the finest skin or membrane before reaching the egg’s yoke – no paint applied.

Kryztoff Rating   4K

Image:   Beaver Lennon, The Break of Dawn, acrylic on canvas, 2010

RAW: Splice – 2K

The greatest fear in all of bio-technology is the creation of a creature that by accident or intention is released onto the world with unknown and unintended consequences – like cane toads only developed in a lab. Splice takes this issue head on when Nerd’s headstrong scientists Clive Nicoli (Adrien Brody) and Elsa Kast (Sarah Polley) develop a part human embryo only to find it survives and develops. From there all manner of maternal and male instincts kick in as they battle the rapid development of their ‘child’, Dren (mostly Delphine Chaneac) and try to keep it all a secret.

If what you are after is a Sci-Fi schlock DVD to watch late one evening with your partner armed only with a bottle of scotch then Splice is five star entertainment. The is the Creature From The Black Lagoon meets The Room aided by 21st century film technology. The ethical and scientific dilemmas thrown up are given at best lip service and are overwhelmed by the human hormonal imbalances of the grossly selfish.

Once all semblance of credibility is lost after the shareholders meeting ends in a bloody fiasco one can only marvel at the corny dialogue. The sex scenes that climax the film (if that is the right word) are extraordinary but only in the context of being very silly.

If you are after a primer on the challenges of raising children then other films do a lot better. If you are interested in the clash of ethics between the scientific, commercial and domestic worlds, then this offers zero insights. If you love Frankenstein style Sci Fi flicks and can suspend reality for 2 hours, Splice may be a film for you.

Kryztoff Rating   2K

RAW: The Ghost Writer – 3.5K

Reviewed by Lucy Campbell

Roman Polanski’s latest effort sees the controversial Pole tackle an airport fodder heavyweight in the form of ‘The Ghost Writer,’ an adaptation of Richard Harris’ thriller novel ‘The Ghost.’ Ewan McGregor plays the writer (simply named Ghost) who is employed by ex-British Prime Minister Adam Lang (Pierce Brosnan) to edit his memoirs. The film takes place in Massachusetts, where Lang and his wife Ruth (Olivia Williams) are isolated from prying eyes and pesky journalists. When Lang is accused of war crimes, the film slowly begins to escalate into an espionage thriller, spearheaded by the rather bumbling yet placid Ghost. Of course, it’s all very Tony Blair; names are barely altered for the sake of the film, and it’s sure to be mildly controversial.

But at the centre of this film is some really creaky dialogue, a great deal of exposition and some unsettling acting from the leads. There are parts of the film that veer into Cohen brothers-esque black comedy: “They can’t drown you both. You’re not kittens,” placates an ex-minister to an increasingly paranoid Ghost. But other parts feel heavy and plodding, a few of Ghost’s decisions seem downright bizarre, and really the twist at the end we could see for miles. But in all of this McGregor’s Ghost is strangely unsettling (he also has an atrocious English accent, as is Tom Burlinson’s American) and unequivocally ordinary. His stupidity is understandable when one sees him as a man un-wittingly thrust into a conspiracy, and he reacts in the same way any of us would.

The structure of the film feels a bit off, the set-up is far too long, and there is so much exposition you want to take an axe into the edit room, but there are some great sequences. It isn’t Polanski’s best by any means, but it’s a solid shot at a political thriller that seems ever more relevant in the wake of Iraq and the midst of Afghanistan.

Kryztoff Rating   3.5K

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World – 4K

Geeks of the world rejoice! Computer games and comic books are cool. That is the premise for this brilliant and refreshing movie directed by Edgar Wright, of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead fame, and based on a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley. 22 year old Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) is in a band, Sex Bob Omb (great name) and he’s fallen for Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a roller blading delivery girl who changes her hair colour every week. In order to win her heart he must fight and defeat each of her seven evil ex-boyfriends.

At times you feel as if you’re playing a computer game, as text boxes appear on the screen labelling items in the room or to give a brief bio on characters. Giant scores and prize coins shoot out of each conquered ex-boyfriend.

Fairly simple plot, but the special effects and graphics combined with an exceptional cast, Michael Cera’s cute awkwardness is particularly perfect for this role, raise the bar and make Scott Pilgim vs the World refreshingly unique and incomparable to any other movie. It’s important to note here that Cera brings additional bite to the role in what is up there as his best performance yet. It’s not just his stock standard character that he played in Superbad, Juno and we’ll forget about The Year One.

This movie is fast paced, fun and hilarious. It’s a surprise package and not just a movie but an absolute experience, highly recommend you check this one out.

Kryztoff Rating: 4k

RAW: The Expendables – 4K

The Expendables is a light hearted movie to the good old action movie formula. The Hero(s), the big guns, the fist fights, the fiery explosions and the girl in distress who needs rescuing. Add to this an ensemble of stars including Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Eric Roberts, David Zayas, Gary Daniels and Mickey Rourke with appearances by Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charisma Carpenter.  Rumours are that some other well known actors where considered or offered roles and declined, what a pity.

It’s a story presented very entertainingly about a team of elite mercenaries known as The Expendables who get hired to overthrow a ruthless dictator, which does not take itself too seriously, with some good one liners as well as poking plenty of fun at itself, the characters and the Action Hero. Stallone co-wrote the screen play which is by Dave Callaham and also directs with himself as the main hero, of course. Both old, those that grew up with the 80’s & 90’s action movies, and young will enjoy this flick.

The only let down of the movie is the budget, which is unfortunately very obvious in the special effects.

Dolph Lundgren sums it up well as “an old-school, kick-ass action movie where people are fighting with knives and shooting at each other.”

Kryztoff Rating  4K

RAW: SALA Drop The Dust – Kouwenhoven and Worth – 4K

Drop The Dust By Pamela Kouwenhoven and Margaret Worth – Flinders Uni Art Museum (State Library) – Till 29th August

The role of dust in our lives and the decay that leads to becoming dust is well explored in this small exhibition of both two and three dimensional works by these South Australian artists. At the big end, stands a decaying, rusted and old rainwater tank, with detritus from the water held, its decay or role as a collecting vessel assembled at its base. At the other end are ‘dust domes’, six transparent bell jars with architectural models of domestic residences in them that are overwhelmed by dust and other waste that one would commonly expect to exhume from a vacuum cleaner.

In the middle, paintings or panels spread with red dust collected from the Amata Aboriginal settlement. The intensity of these panels give the viewer the opportunity to see them either as cross sections of an ancient outback soil profile or aerial views of a seemingly never ending desert. The whole makes one feel like you have been dropped into the yard of an outback station with domesticity available at short hand but beyond all existing at the whim of the elements.

This is a very Australian exhibition that takes a new look at a very well covered homage to our outback and our ability to survive in it.

Floor talks by the artists, this Saturday, 14th August, at 2pm.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

RAW: Fugitive’s Eamon Farren & Louisa Mignone Interviewed


The stars of The Fugitive: Robin Hood Retold, speak to Kryztoff about the play and their roles in it.

RAW: Waterhouse Nat History Art Prize – SA Museum Till 5th Sept – 4K

The Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize commemorates the SA Museum’s first curator, Frederick George Waterhouse and this is its eighth year and already it has become Australia’s richest prize awarded for natural history or wildlife art.

There are three categories, paintings, works on paper and sculpture and objects, with a Youth competition also included.

What strikes one immediately upon entering is the great variety of the works and approaches, even within each category. None could accuse the 104 finalists (chosen from 684 entries) of attempting to pander to some preconceived notion of what the judges or even the viewing and buying public might be after. (This may stand as a contrast to competitions such as the Archibald Portrait Prize.)

This year’s overall winner is Nikki Main’s Flood Stones which appears as shiny mid-sized mineral infused rocks but is in fact blown glass with silt and powders to give a sense of silt, sediment and running water in order to celebrate the flood phase of the hydrological cycle. Some works are monuments to wild life such as Indiana James’ Restraint – Wedge Tailed Eagle, others far more political such as the Youth Prize winner, Tessa McDonnell’s Owl In Victorian Bell Jar and Terry Jackson’s Not So Different, a pencil sketch of hand that is part human and part primate.

With a purpose of celebrating the intricate and complex world of global biodiversity as well as encouraging excellence in natural history art, the Waterhouse 2010 competition is a success on all fronts.

Kryztoff Rating – 4K

RAW: SALA – Steve O’Connor – Return To Nest – Urban Cow Studio – 4K

No one could accuse Steve O’Connor’s Return to Nest exhibition as lacking focus; a huge 77 items are nearly all dedicated to the theme from tiny clay birds to one metre hanging cane nests, arrowheads in paper clay with marble oxide to chalk, charcoal and acrylic paint on large canvases. The creativity around the theme is remarkable and the patience and craftsmanship with which so many of the items are created a credit. Many look as if the materials worked with would not be straight forward, brittle yet requiring malleability – like the nests themselves and their purpose in life.

The Urban Cow Studio is an ideal place for such an exhibition, being its own house of curios, for here in Return To Next those looking for anything from a wall painting to a quaint paperweight will find objects of interest. The cane hanging nests are fine pieces with titles that evoke the safe refuge nature of nests such as Looking Out on a Misty Morning and Killin’ Time in the Afternoon Rain and stand out in the exhibition not only for their size.

O’Connor’s paintings are far more abstract that his moulded work, many featuring nest like shapes perched on top of bended tree trunks. These are motifs that look they could be a collaboration between Tim Burton and Salvador Dali but they work as individual art pieces in and of themselves.

Well worth the visit and have your credit card handy.

Kryztoff Rating   4K

RAW Mother Africa @ Her Majesty’s until 15 Aug 5K

Mother Africa opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre Wednesday night to a full house with the crew just returning from a two week break after having performed at Jupiter’s Casino on the Gold Coast for 4 months.  Adelaide is the second Australian stop for Mother Africa, performing until the 15 August, before moving on to New Zealand.

From the start to finish, what calls itself a circus is what I would rather label a journey of energy as it goes way beyond circus. So, from start to finish it is a two way performance between the artists and audience. The energy on stage is reflected by the energy of the crowd’s response.  It is a pleasure, a joy to be part of this electrifying experience. The energetic, enjoyable, entertaining and enthralling show takes us on a journey of music, traditional dance and powerful acrobatics with a mixture of mesmerizing colour of the traditional looking costumes.

The world touring show which promotes itself as 100% African, 100% Joy and 100% Party. I must say I 100% agree. It is a party of music, dance and acrobatics. And it is a joy to see the artists enjoying themselves while doing their performance and soaking up the audience’s joyful response. The 40 artists are 100% African, from many different countries of the second-largest continent such as Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and South Africa. Let me add 100% energy and 100% entertainment.

Thank you Mother Africa. Not often that I would give a full 5K, but this must see show deserves it. With ticket prices starting at $59.90 for adults there is no excuse to miss Mother Africa.

Kryztoff Rating  5K