Month: March 2019

Last straw for Camberwell resident

LONG-STANDING Camberwell residents are on the verge of abandoning their beloved village after decades of fighting the effects of mining on their lives.
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Wendy Bowman, whose family have lived in the district since the early 1800s, said she would probably leave unless Ashton Coal’s South East Open Cut coalmine could be successfully challenged.

‘‘We are waiting to see if there are enough people who want to fight it before we decide,’’ she said.

‘‘If not, there is just no point in it (staying).

The Planning Assessment Commission gave the green light this week to the $83 million mine, which it previously rejected.

The project is expected to create an estimated 160 jobs and extract 16.5 million tonnes of coal over seven years.

It is also likely to lead to the loss of the historic Camberwell common.

The common was a community-managed asset from the 1880s until the former state government handed its control to Ashton Coal in 2010.

The once thriving agricultural community has dwindled from a population of about 70 to less than 20 since the early 2000s.

Only four Camberwell residents still own their homes outright. The remainder are owned by surrounding mining companies.

Ms Bowman said several residents had indicated to her this week that the South East Open Cut project would make their lives unbearable.

The phones of Ms Bowman and another prominent Camberwell resident were unexpectedly disconnected this week.

‘‘You have to wonder,’’ Ms Bowman said.

‘‘It’s a very dirty business.’’

WAIT AND SEE: Wendy Bowman, one of the four home owners left in Camberwell, is considering whether to give up the fight against Ashton Coal.

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A veteran who won’t be typecast

IF YOU adapted Tait Brady’s 30 years in the Australian film industry into a slate of films you would have an eclectic selection. There would be the suspenseful thriller about the years Brady spent securing the future of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF), or the procedural drama covering his time at the now defunct funding body Film Finance Corporation (FFC), where he was an ”advocate” for the likes of Animal Kingdom and Not Quite Hollywood.
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The next fictitious movie about Brady’s career is still in development, but it’s already shaping up as an ambitious if unclassifiable production. At the age of 52, Brady, a leading figure in Melbourne film circles, is attempting to do a little bit of everything.

The Wedding Party, the first entry from Brady’s new independent distribution company Label, is being released today, but that’s just the initial public act in a belated embrace of multitasking.

”One of the big things for me has been learning how to not have one single nine-to-five job, which I’d had for more than 25 years,” Brady explains. ”It took me two years to loosen up, but in the course of a day I can work on a proposal for a documentary, consult to someone on a script, spend the afternoon with a writer, and then teach that night.”

Sitting in an office close to St Kilda’s Astor Theatre, which was a MIFF hub before he began the festival’s expansion by transferring it to the CBD in 1996 in his final year as director, Brady is full of enthusiasm for the movies as an art form and a business but low-key about his own contribution. Writing pads on his desk are covered with daily lists, with an impressive number of items crossed out by late morning.

Between the MIFF and FFC eras Brady spent eight years as general manager at Palace Films, the country’s leading independent distributor.

Having worked on about three dozen Australian releases between 1996 and 2004 he thought he was done with distribution. But his frustration at the local industry’s poor response to The Wedding Party, the romantic comedy that opened MIFF in 2010 but attracted at best so-so notices and subsequently failed to find commercial traction, caused him to reconsider.

Amanda Jane’s picture, which has had 19 minutes shaved from it by Moulin Rouge editor Jill Bilcock since a Melbourne audience last saw it, has not been easy to book into cinema screens. One reason, Brady readily acknowledges, is that Label is a new distributor, but another is the sheer glut of new releases available to exhibitors.

Despite an ”oversupply of films”, Brady is generally positive about the exhibition business in Australia. Disruptive technologies, such as Video on Demand, haven’t established a foothold here, and cinemas continue to draw audiences even as the once lucrative DVD retail business falls away. It’s a sturdy foundation, but the question remains what kind of films should Australia aim to produce?

”There’s a difference between making terrific films and having the kind of massive mainstream successes that film agencies and governments want,” Brady notes. ”Everyone would acknowledge that you have to support a range of films across the spectrum, but my fear is when we get fixated on mainstream box-office success and start to manufacture films to try to fill that shape.”

As a producer, Brady’s slate of films in development reflects his wide-ranging taste. He’s helping to bring a sci-fi mash-up, Stephen Amis’ The 25th Reich, to screens later this year, and is working on adaptations of a comic Nick Earls novel and Richard Frankland’s play about Aboriginal deaths in custody, Conversations with the Dead.

He’s received rejections from Screen Australia, the federal government funding body that absorbed the FFC, but in the case of one project, director Craig Monahan’s redemptive drama Healing, it spurred those involved on to improve the script.

With Hugo Weaving and Don Hany to star, Healing received funding at the second attempt and will shoot early in 2013, allowing Brady to add marshalling and overseeing a film shoot to his list of skills.

”I’ve really gone 360 degrees. So the last challenge is physical production with Healing, and that’s really interesting to me,” says Brady, whose own career is in no rush to get to the third act. ”I just love doing new things.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Master of dark arts

Benicio del Toro delves into the darkness in Savages.”LADO enjoys the foreplay to evil. He adds a new dimension to psychopath,” says Benicio del Toro.
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In his first major Hollywood role – the 1989 Bond film Licence to Kill – del Toro was a switchblade-wielding villain, and he’s been developing his dark side ever since. In Oliver Stone’s aptly titled new film, Savages, del Toro steals the show as Lado, a sadistic enforcer for a Mexican drug cartel.

”Playing a villain is fun!” del Toro says. ”There’s moment after moment in Savages; things like Lado keeping mementoes of the absolutely terrible things that he’s done to people.”

Lado has his own video-equipped torture dungeon and habitually snaps phone photos of the trail of corpses he leaves behind. Just as important to this monster is his luxuriant, shaggy mullet that looks as though Lado cuts it himself in the rear-view mirror of his van. ”It’s my own hair!” del Toro boasts in his trademark husky tones. ”Lado is very proud of his hair. It’s part of the construction of the character, his vanity, his huge ego.”

The Golden Globe and Oscar-winning actor has never been less than memorable in almost 30 films including The Usual Suspects, Snatch, Traffic, 21 Grams and Sin City. Savages proves no exception.

”Oliver wants to capture something, like every day he’s ready for war,” del Toro says of his director. ”He makes it so that all the actors are in that place with him.”

At the centre of the story is a stoner-surfer menage a trois. Taylor Kitsch (John Carter, Battleship) and Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) are Chon and Ben, wealthy purveyors of Afghan super-weed to Laguna Beach’s party crowd. Their shared girlfriend, Ophelia (Blake Lively), is abducted by Lado and the ransom is nothing less than their pot empire. The boys mount a complex, desperate rescue mission.

Del Toro explains that Savages is a condemnation of the failure of the US ”war on drugs”. ”Oliver Stone is saying that the future could be very, very dark. What can you do to stop this madness? These narco gangs, people like Lado, only live an hour away.”

Savages opens on October 18.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Threesomes, homelessness and life in Scandalands

The controversial radio tsar Kyle Sandilands has dedicated his new memoir, Scandalands, to the homeless people of Australia.
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The revealing book, soon to be published by Pan Macmillan Australia, details his year on the streets after being kicked out of the family home as a teenager in Brisbane, a theme that recurs throughout.

A sober Sandilands – who has topped many a most hated list – looks back over his life and delves into why he became such an extroverted, indulgent personality. Ironically he attributes many of his ego-laden stuff-ups to low self-esteem, lack of education and the absence of a solid family life growing up.

The polarising yet high-rating 2DayFM star, who has recently been in the news over his weight gain, leaves no topic unturned in the tome, due for publication on October 23. He details his rollercoaster life with trademark humour, and what the flamboyant announcer lacks in sophisticated prose (he says he left school in year 10) he makes up for in brutal honesty.

He reveals intimate details from his early life in Brisbane. It was an unhappy home filled with stomach-churning Johnny O’Keefe records (She Wears My Ring became an anthem for anger that he cannot play to this day) that were played by a dominant and angry father. His parents fought and his subservient and dependent mother had shut down sexually in what he now suspects was post-natal depression.

Sandilands talks of escaping with his brother Chris into a world of toys, fancy dress outfits, his pet lamb Lambert (whose death he still thinks about) and imagined games of cops and robbers.

The dramatic moment when his mother finally fled with the children in the middle of the night is told with riveting candour.

Sandilands also talks about homelessness after he was kicked out of the house by his step-dad. He covers his early career in Townsville radio and aspects of his complex personality that have garnered loads of headlines over the years and led him to do what he calls incredibly irrational things – including getting a fake police badge and ID – as well as his stint as a private investigator. He also reveals his grief over a miscarriage with a former girlfriend, Tracy.

The chapter titles include “50 Shades of Kyle” (which gives way too much information), “Angry Kyle”, “Little Kyle” and “I’m A Prick” – all attempts at entertaining readers while giving him a chance to explain his attention-seeking behaviour and putting his errors in judgment down to a hot temper rather than malicious intent.

Some chapters read like open apologies. In one chapter he focuses on his ex wife Tamara Jaber – he regrets not trying hard enough to save their marriage – and goes on to detail the huge sex parties and threesomes he enjoyed after the marriage collapsed.

Then there are his bad track record with money, his stoushes with Rove McManus, the television night-time debacle that almost led to his downfall when the Australian Communications and Media Authority came down on him, and the anti-semitic gaffe about Magda Szubanski – which he attributes to ignorance.

He gives his side to the humiliating lie detector scandal and how it changed his life. And he ends by telling of how he is in a happy place with a woman who could be his true love.

Whichever way you read it, the book offers a transfixing glimpse into a man who continues to polarise the nation. Are there certain aspects he glosses over? Definitely. Is any of his behaviour excused? Probably not. But is he still fascinating? Absolutely.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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Warriors only have themselves to blame

Warriors forward Elijah Taylor in action against Parramatta.UNSUCCESSFUL Warriors coaching applicant Tony Iro has responded to a brutal assessment of the culture in the club from back-rower Elijah Taylor by admitting coaches “changed too much” this season after a 2011 grand final appearance.
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Taylor said some players had a bad attitude and “cruised” this season and that pre-season training was not hard enough, meaning the Warriors faded badly at the back end of games.

Taylor was also openly critical of his club for taking too long to appoint a coach and spoke out in favour of Iro as reports emerged that Matthew Elliott had been handed the post on a two year deal.

“Some players’ attitudes weren’t up to standard,” said Taylor. “I can’t name names but there were a lot of players just coasting and not on their toes and not working hard on defence. It showed in the way we played, just the attitude thing from a lot of the players. Our pre-season wasn’t as hard as the one prior. I think the training wasn’t too hard and we paid the price at the back end of games. Teams blew us off the park.

“That is not going to happen this pre-season. We’re going to get touched up every session.”

After losing to Manly in the 2011 grand final, the Warriors finished 14th with eight wins and 16 losses. Taylor’s comments are the most damning from any player at an unsuccessful club this season.

Told of the criticism, Iro said: “I don’t think it’s one or two things. There’s probably something to what he said. We had injuries to senior blokes as well. We probably changed a bit too much from the previous year.”

Iro said he had not been advised of Elliott’s appointment. Underlining the disquiet at Mt Smart, Taylor joined clubmate Feleti Mateo in making it clear the players wanted Iro in the top job and were unhappy with the delays in making an appointment.

Taylor said: “Personally, (I think) it’s taken too long. I feel sorry for Tony Iro. He’s in limbo just like the players and he’s got family and stuff like that. The Wests Tigers are in the same boat. I was talking to Benji and they don’t know what’s going on either. That’s the NRL. We’re in a business. As a player, you just want to get the coach and say ‘let’s go’. Our pre-season is two weeks away, three weeks away. It’s better knowing now.

“I don’t know what’s going on but I’m a footy player. That’s my job, I just have to do my job.

“Players all want Tony to be coach. He’s been there for seven years now. The majority of our team are Toyota Cup players now and Tony’s brought us all through. I don’t understand why he doesn’t get a shot. He’s been assistant coach for the Kiwis, assistant coach of the NRL side for the last four years, including last year which was a grand final year.

“The year before, he was the attack coach and Ivan (Cleary) was the defensive coach.

“He’s a tough coach and he would do it really well.

“(This year) he was chucked in the deep end, that was his job interview I suppose and it’s not very fair. He needs a proper shot.

“I’m always hitting up Simon (Mannering) every day. I’m, like, ‘have you heard anything, have you heard anything?’ He’s like ‘I haven’t talked to them since awards, since presso night’. We’re getting nothing at all.”

Iro said he was appreciative of the players’ backing. “(The players) have been publicly supportive of me – that doesn’t get you the job,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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