Seen, read, and heard, books, film, TV, and music March 2024

27 March 2024

Long time readers of Kottke have doubtless seen his semi-regular media diet posts, where he writes about the movies and TV shows he’s seen, plus books he’s been reading. Kottke is a voracious consumer of media if those posts are anything to go by.

In comparison, my consumption is far more modest. Maybe it’s because I have a minimum of two to three hours away from screens daily, and/or I spend too much time daydreaming.

Still, dimming the lights during the quiet remains of the day, and taking in a movie or TV show, and afterwards, a book, is always something to look forward to.

Movie poster for The Miseducation of Cameron Post, featuring Chloe Grace Moretz

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is a 2018 film directed by Desiree Akhavan, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, as the titular character. After learning Cameron has a girlfriend, her conservative aunt and guardian sends her away for gay “conversion” therapy at a religious institution. I watched this twice, as I found the first viewing unsettling to say the least.

Also unsettling and confronting is Nitram, by Justin Kurzel, which delves into the mind of the person responsible for Australia’s largest mass-shooting in 1996, at Port Arthur, in Tasmania.

Tully, directed by Jason Reitman in 2018, stars Charlize Theron as Marlo, who is struggling to raise a family after the birth of her third child. Reluctantly she hires a night nanny named Tully. Despite some early misgivings about Tully, the two quickly develop a close bond.

Knives Out, made in 2019 by Rian Johnson, sees Daniel Craig playing a James Bond like role that not the least bit James Bond (thankfully). Craig portrays Benoit Blanc, a private investigator, who tries to piece together the apparent suicide of a wealthy family patriarch. If whodunits are your thing, this is not to be missed.

I’ve also found time to look at Nemesis, a documentary produced by the ABC, which looks at the last three Coalition party Prime Ministers of Australia. What can I say? Once a politician, always a politician? And, we may wear the same stripes, but that doesn’t mean we like each other. Even if politics isn’t your thing, this is still fascinating viewing.

I’ve also been tuning into Universe, a documentary by British physicist Brian Cox. There’s no missing the similarities to Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, made by Carl Sagan in the early 1980’s. Compared to Cosmos, Universe does plod a little, but Cox’s enthusiasm, indeed joy, for the gargantuan entity we reside in, is nothing short of infectious.

Most people probably know Cox played keyboards in British dance/electronica act D:Ream, and their 1993 track Things can only get better, perhaps remains one of the band’s best known tracks. But you may not know that Cox later conceded the song was misleading and scientifically inaccurate. The universe, despite being a mere baby, is already in an inexorable, albeit protracted, decline. Things are certainly not getting better…

Turning to novels, I’ve recently read Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens, by Sydney based author and lawyer Shankari Chandran, which won the 2023 Miles Franklin literary award for Australian fiction. I’m not really into crime fiction, but couldn’t put down The Housemate, by Melbourne writer Sarah Bailey.

Likewise, Funny Ethnics by Shirley Li, set across the west and inner west of Sydney, which I wrote about here last year. I’m currently reading Before You Knew My Name, by Jacqueline Bublitz, a story about two women, one alive, one dead, whose fates become intertwined in New York.

The Triple J Hottest 100 was broadcast two months ago, but I’m still sifting through the countdown for tracks to add to my playlists. At present though I have Paint The Town Red, by Doja Cat, and The Worst Person Alive, by G Flip, on repeat. Also State Violence State Control, by Arnaud Rebotini, which was on the soundtrack for Mark Raso’s 2014 film Copenhagen.


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