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The Sydney Morning Herald

The Diary

Date: 24/05/2012
Words: 1730
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News and Features
Page: 24
Movie's great expectations

These days a big new movie is no longer heralded by the "coming attractions" trailer alone. For Prometheus for example we had an internet-only pre-trailer and an official trailer, presumably to create pre-buzz - which is the necessary step to plain old buzz. Anyway in that spirit, the marketing for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, which is due out at Christmas in the US and early January here, has ramped up with a splashy new trailer hitting the web. Garry Maddox reports that the blockbuster, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's famous Jazz Age novel and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton, already looks lavish enough - if it delivers dramatically - to be a contender for production design, costume design and cinematography awards. A party scene shot inside Sydney's Fox Studios and outdoor scenes shot at the old White Bay Power Station have been transformed digitally into an impressively razzle-dazzle New York in the 1920s. Online reaction ranged everywhere from gushing enthusiasm to scepticism about the movie, with Crikey noting a spelling error in a Times Square scene - a sign saying "Zeigfeld" instead of "Ziegfeld" Follies. But what got our attention was a press release yesterday afternoon from the Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, ("NSW GOVERNMENT WELCOMES THE GREAT GATSBY TRAILER") who claimed the trailer as a great ad for NSW "declaring it a visually spectacular advertisement for NSW's world class filmmaking capabilities". There's the wagon. There's the band. We know the drill.


It's a big week for Australians in film all round. Following the standing ovation for Wayne Blair's musical The Sapphires at the Cannes Film Festival, Andrew "Chopper" Dominik's Killing Them Softly, an American mob drama that stars Brad Pitt and Ben Mendelsohn (see Arts, page 15) has also been winning acclaim. And a French film featuring Kylie Minogue has emerged as a hot contender to win the competition. The Hollywood Reporter called Leos Carax's Holy Motors an "exhilarating, opaque, heartbreaking and completely bonkers" film that screened to a rapturous reception. It stars French character actor Denis Lavant running wild through the streets of Paris in 11 different roles including a naked, flower-munching leprechaun and an old crone with grey hair and a beggar's cup. Our Kylie plays one of his lovers - described as "a Jean Seberg-cum-air stewardess" who sings a forlorn love song before a tragic end. Variety said Holy Motors had "the most wildly enthusiastic cheers of the festival" and ignited a storm of critical excitement on Twitter.


There's a lot to see in the Blue Mountains. The beautiful bushland, picturesque towns and abundant wildlife ... part of which, a team of visiting American Bigfoot hunters are hoping, will include a wandering Yowie or two. Four professional Bigfoot hunters, presenters of the Animal Planet series Finding Bigfoot, have been in Australia for the past two weeks researching and filming in various locations in search of our own version of their mysterious hairy hominid and dropped by the Blue Mountains this week to follow up on local legends. "The Yowie reports have come out of The Blue Mountains area, in fact all the way up the east coast of Australia," said research biologist Ranae Holland and the self-confessed sceptic of the team. "So we are here to take a look around, listen to what people have to say and see what we can find." And what have they found so far? Well no Yowie but it sounds like the team is having fun. "Let's just say on our investigations here I personally felt I had more activity - I can't really go into details - in one night than I did collectively in the States," Holland said. "As far as what's good on television, nothing has happened that would make me say definitively Bigfoot is real."


And in related Bigfoot news (now there's a sentence you didn't expect to read in the Herald), England's Oxford University and the Museum of Zoology in Lausanne, Switzerland, have announced a joint project to use the latest genetic techniques to investigate organic remains that some have claimed belong to the "Yeti" and other "lost" hominid species. In other words, they're testing bits of poo in the machine that goes "Bing!". Bigfoot hunters in the past had amassed large collections of "biological matter" they believed were left behind by the mystery animals, but were unable to subject them to the type of tests now available. "It is possible that a scientific examination of these neglected specimens could tell us more about how Neanderthals and other early hominids interacted and spread around the world," said Professor Bryan Sykes, a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, co-leader of the project. Or not, we can only reply.

GOT A TIP? Contact or 92822350 or on Twitter @mattsmhdiary


CRACKS and holes break out across the Sydney Opera House, its surface is peeled back like skin and giant humans stretch out across its sails. The testing of 3D projections transforming the structure for the Vivid Sydney festival has begun. The German art-meets-architecture collective Urbanscreen arrived in Sydney this week and was testing its dramatic and playful visuals, beamed from across the water at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, on Tuesday night. The "Lighting the Sails" projections will open the festival at 6pm tomorrow and are set to again lift the bar of the annual light show on the Opera House. Urbanscreen has called its work a sort of architectural "remixing", like a DJ, and says it sees the Opera House "as a stage". The glow of more than 60 "light art" installations from Circular Quay and The Rocks to Walsh Bay will shine nightly from 6pm until June 11 in the festival of light, music and ideas, in its fourth year. Large 3D projections will also beam onto the recently expanded Museum of Contemporary Art and Customs House. Circular Quay was aglow last night as about half a dozen skyscrapers turned a variety of colours with moving visuals in separate testing, drawing stares from passersby. The Opera House announced yesterday that part of its Vivid Live music program will be streamed on YouTube, including performances by the Temper Trap, Imogen Heap and Amon Tobin, as well as the lighting of the sails.

Scan the Opera House sails to watch a video of the light show.

See page 2 for more information.


Australia's Biggest Morning Tea, workplaces and homes around the country.

Yarn: True Storytelling, Bedlam Bar, Glebe.

Installation walk, UTS Gallery (leaves Dab Courtyard), UTS, Ultimo.



AFTER multiple reunions, Paul Simon says he will not get back together with Art Garfunkel again. But some bands are even better at staying apart, The Guardian reports. It would be easier to cheer Simon if he had made his stand earlier. It's all very well appearing on BBC radio and saying "I would just as soon not go back and visit the past." But Simon spends a lot of time visiting the past. Otherwise he would not have reunited with Garfunkel in 1972, 1975, 1981, 1982-83, 1990, 1993, 2003, 2004, 2007 and 2009 (a 2010 reunion was cancelled owing to Garfunkel's vocal problems). True reunion refuseniks must look further afield for the heroes of the counter-reformation. Top of the list is Paul Weller, who is asked in every interview if The Jam will reunite. The most recent answer - from November last year - was: "Hopefully, I'll never be that skint, mate." Interestingly, the most devoted hold-outs have all come from the more bloody-minded end of the '80s British alternative scene. The Smiths, pictured, have long resisted, aided by bad blood caused when the drummer Mike Joyce sued Morrissey and Johnny Marr in 1989, in a successful attempt to get more royalties from the pair. It was no surprise when last month's reunion rumours were promptly dismissed by the band. The Cocteau Twins were offered #1.5 million each to reunite for the 2005 Coachella festival - a sum that would persuade most musicians to put aside misgivings for a weekend. And, indeed, their headline slot was announced. And then cancelled when the singer Elizabeth Fraser said she would not be taking part. Only those artists tempted by the promise of vast sums to reunite can ever know how hard they are to resist.


THE organisers of the Orange Prize for Fiction have announced that this year's prize will be the last to be sponsored by the mobile telecommunications brand Orange. After a successful partnership of 17 years, during which time it has boosted the status of female novelists worldwide, Orange has decided that next year it will focus its sponsorship activities on film in Britain. The organisers of the Women's Prize for Fiction will continue with a new sponsor. Founded in 1996 by a group of senior figures in the publishing industry, the prize signed Orange as the original title sponsor and partner. Its aim was to celebrate and promote the very best of international fiction written by women to the widest range of readers. It also funded educational, literary and research activities. Kate Mosse, the co-founder of the prize, said: "This is an end of an era but no arts project should stand still and we are now looking forward to developing the prize with a new partner." This year's winner will be announced next Wednesday. Previous winners of the Orange Prize for Fiction include Tea Obrecht for The Tiger's Wife (2011), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for Half of a Yellow Sun (2007), Zadie Smith for On Beauty (2006) and Lionel Shriver, pictured, for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2005).


THAT annual festival of tinklybonk pop, the Eurovision Song Contest, is on this weekend and, as many will be aware, the British entrant is Engelbert Humperdinck, who to our minds is more antique even than his namesake the German composer (1854-1921). The Guardian reports the veteran crooner takes to the stage in Baku on Saturday night and, despite being a 14-1 chance, patriotic punters have piled into his odds, which will have the betting agency Ladbrokes paying out #50,000 on his success - the largest amount yet on a Eurovision final. Just so you know, Sweden is the clear favourite at 7-4; Italy's Nina Zilli next at 6-1; and Russia third at 7-1. Serbia (14-1) is the next most popular pick after Humperdinck.

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