Mini Reviews


Bawa Cafe is situated on 248 Burwood Rd in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn; and I noticed something rather familiar about its lush green interior. There’s a calming (Buddhist) simplicity in the design here that’s found in many buildings in Sri-Lanka. It transpires that the interior is inspired by work of Sri-Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa

My Country – Hermannsburg and beyond

This exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, consisting of four rooms of well-spaced works, explores the lasting legacy of painter Albert Namatjira (1902-1959). Namatjira was the first Indigenous Australian to receive commercial success in the mainstream art market, and recognition both at home and overseas. He established the Hermannsburg School of Watercolour Painting in Central Australia…

Film review: Bridge of Spies

Directed by Stephen Spielberg, Bridge of Spies is a gripping, well written and comfortingly old school Cold War spy drama based on real events, starring Tom Hanks as Insurance lawyer James Donovan and Mark Rylance is the Russian spy Rudolf Abel. The story sets off in the US with an exhilarating chase sequence when KGB agent Abel is intercepted by the CIA. Donovan uses his powers of persuasion…

Abraham Cruzvillegas: Empty Lot - Tate Modern Turbine Hall Exhibition 2015

How do you fill the massive expanse of the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern? This year artist Abraham Cruzvillegas from Mexico has stepped up to the challenge with his large scale sculpture ‘Empty Lot': a display consisting of wooden planters (containers) filled with soil - identical in size (about that of a wheelbarrow bowl), and triangular in shape.

These planters are arranged across a huge…

Coming up: Spectre

Well Quantum of Solace was bunkum (yes, there are limits even for a Bond film) and Skyfall, despite the splendidly camp Javier Bardem, was way way hyped (note to Peter Bradshaw, Bond/Craig was not ‘attractively human (though never humane)’ in Skyfall, he was absolutely wooden). But it’s still the making of a dench weekend when another 007 goes on general and you can, largely, put your critical faculties on hold and revel in a pre-holiday season slab of hokey. Are you ready for some fun?

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The 5th Plinthers

Ai Weiwei, Royal Academy

Ai Weiwei is a man with a message and his current exhibition at the Royal Academy gives us all a chance to listen. While we have seen his work in London before, sunflower seeds at the Tate Modern and Zodiac Heads at Somerset House, this larger exhibition showcases his versatility and the many forms his criticism of China’s current regime can take.


All of his works are about China. …

Film review: The Big Sick

Kumail Nanjiani is a Pakistani-American stand-up comedian and actor (Silicon Valley). He’s both written, and stars in, The Big Sick – a romantic comedy with a twist set in Chicago – and the surprise box-office hit of the summer.

In the film Kumail portrays himself: a struggling stand-up comedian who meets Emily (Zoe Kazan) when she heckles him during his stand-up routine. They date for a…

Film review: Suffragette, Dir. Sarah Gavron

Not far from where I live (and vote) is Holloway Prison. In fact a friend who lives in sight of the building, and has been in the area for far longer than I, remembers the old women’s prison before modernisations gave it double glazing, and recalls being able to hear the prisoners as they bid each other ‘Goodnight Vi’ and ‘Goodnight Elsie’, calling from one end of the prison to the other. I suppose the names (despite being newly posh) date this memory to somewhere pre-70s, when mature women still went around lumbered with ugly names and uglier hairdos.