Red Koi Reviews

See what I've seen, hear what I've heard

Archive for February, 2006


Posted by redkoireviews on 19/02/2006

Syriana PosterSyriana brings to the surface the ugly elements of oil security. It somehow manages to condense big picture, systemic problems with American democracy and business into a rich, gripping (and somewhat difficult to follow) plot.

At the same time, all the leading characters go through their own rounds of challenges, triumphs, deceit and corruption. It’s a bleak story in which greed and injustice wins at the expense of pawns or the desperate.

If you’ve ever doubted that oil rules foreign policy, or that business interests in oil are above the law, see this film. It’s great to see films that cause debate, raise awareness and deal with issues of our time come back into the mainstream. Well done to George Clooney, who’s mission to make film meaningful has been accomplished. Rotten Tomatoes Reviews
My Rating: 4 Stars


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Voss by Patrick White

Posted by redkoireviews on 16/02/2006

Voss BookcoverThis is the first Patrick White novel I’ve read, and it was amazing. It’s a dense read, thick with beautiful prose that fires your imagination into the heads of the charaters and the power of the land that they roam.

Voss is an early Australian explorer who sets off into the deserts of central Australia to find what lies in the heart of the country. The strange love that develops between Voss and Laura creates an extra window into the souls of both characters.

Voss is a character so well developed I feel I’d know him if I met him in real life. Not that I’d want to know him – the man is a arrogant, defiant, obsessive and mythological.

There are plenty of far more literary critiques of Voss and plenty about Nobel Prize in literature winning Patrick White For those who want it. White seems a pretty strange character himself. Tree of Man sounds good and will be one I plan to read in future.
I’ll be making a note to re-read it. Next time I will read it more slowly, and in decent chunks of time, ideally on holidays.

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Posted in 4 Stars, Books, Reviews | 4 Comments »

Auburn Botanical Gardens

Posted by redkoireviews on 12/02/2006

Red bridge in Japanese GardensWe tried to make a bit of walk of this by leaving the car at the end of Sixth St in Auburn and walking along the banks of Duck River to the gardens. However, Duck river is very infested with weeds and so was not a great walk.

The Gardens however where fantastic. The best area is definately the Japanese Garden. I has lovely ponds with large Koi, swans, zen gardens, waterfalls and is beautifully landscaped. Other setions include a pool of reflection, maze, scented garden, billabong, and bonsai collection. The ‘rainforest’ section isn’t quite convincing because, lets face it, Auburn is too dry and hot!

My main suggestion is to spend more time there than we did – bring a rug and have a picnic. It’s too restfull a place to zoom through it. Oh, and watch out for the swans – they’ll peck your feet if you don’t feed them!

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Posted in 3 Stars, Bushwalking, Gardens & Parks, Reviews | 4 Comments »


Posted by redkoireviews on 10/02/2006

PissaroThis exhibition is showing at the Art Gallery of NSW. Pissaro is an amazing artist – his paintings really do capture the subtle sensations of light and movement in the French countryside and cities. I particularly liked the city and industrial scenes. They seems very alive, bright and full of the energy that came with the start of the industrial revolution.
The exhibition istelf was well laid out, themed with different styles and subects. Pay the money for one of the portable audio guides – they reveal so much more about the artist and the paintings.
Impressionist art like this is a lot more accesible than something like the Erwin Wurm exhibition and the MCA. I suppose that’s why there where so many people. It was PACKED. Go during business hours if you can.
My Rating: 4 Stars

Posted in 4 Stars, Exhibitions, Reviews | 1 Comment »

Gilbert & Sullivan

Posted by redkoireviews on 10/02/2006

Music by MoonlightThis “Best of Gilbert & Sullivan” was part of the “Music by Moonlight” series at Sydney Olympic Park. A cut down version of the Sydney Opera and Ballet Orchestra performed with singers from Opera Australia. The songs where picked to tell something of a story about the renound composers, and where introduced with a little but not too much information.
The performers where obviously having a great time, and that lifted the already excellent renditions. I went to “Symphony in the Domain” this year and while I like Gershwin more than Gilbert and Sullivan, this was a better performance.
The atmosphere was also better. It was less crowded and with fewer consversations during performances. Smokers were relegated off into an area right at the back, and the organisers had the sense to have a no-chair section at the front and a high chair bit at the back.
My main complaint (and it’s a biggy) was the food. I’m vegetarian and there was not one savoury, vegetarian food item. And because it’s Olympic Park, the food stalls are pretty much it. Food aside, a pleasant night out.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Posted in 3 Stars, Music, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Tan Dun – The Map

Posted by redkoireviews on 04/02/2006

Tan DunThis performance brought together the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Composer / Conductor Tan Dun. The first piece, Paper Concerto, used paper instruments to excellent effect. The piece is haunting, atmospheric and gives your imagination plenty to work with. Placing some violinists in the audience boxes made the music appear to come from everywhere. This is innovative, elegant new classical music, and I loved it.
The second piece was The Map. It’s worthwhile reading a bit about this piece, which was inspired after Dun met a ‘Stone Man’ musician in China whose stone music was dying out. The piece uses video recordings of indigenous chinese musicians as part of the musical and visual compostion. The eastern musical techniques combined with western instruments create a stunning kind of fusion classical. I think I liked this piece even better than the Paper Concerto. The Map is also a good example of why live classical can be better than at home with your CD. The use of multi-media simply wouldn’t carry into your lounge room.
My only complaint about the performance was the audience. I hate coughing and other bodily noises, especially in delicate productions like this one.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Posted in 4 Stars, Music, Reviews | Leave a Comment »

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