Years ago I got Mr Nice Guy on DVD. It’s the Jackie Chan movie that has a lot of scenes filmed around central Melbourne.
Given that apart from Jackie himself, I only recognised one actor (Barry Otto), that most of the acting is pretty bad, and the movie is basically all fight scenes, my conclusion was that they hired mostly stuntmen for all the characters. Why would you bother getting real actors?
The plot is wafer-thin, seemingly designed primarily to link together the fight scenes. As a reviewer on IMDB said “‘Mr Nice Guy’ might be a contender for the thinnest plot in the universe prize”.
In this first clip you’ll see Jackie (in this movie playing a chef, also called Jackie, who meets a journalist who has a tape incriminating a gang of suited drug pushers) running around Melbourne Central shopping centre. It was filmed in 1995 (there’s a clue in the second clip), and you get to see him slide down what was the main escalator entrance to the station from Swanston Street until it was removed in 2004.
In this scene straight afterwards, our hero, having just left Melbourne Central, somehow finds himself on Swanston Street near Collins Street, and hijacks a horse and carriage. A few familiar sights are in there, including Melbourne Sports Depot (now EB Games), the Town Hall, the Manchester Unity Building, quite a few trams in the Met colours and the old Batman Records, Off Ya Tree, and Academic & General bookshop. The geography goes screwy again, with a turn into Lonsdale Street becoming Little Bourke Street near Hardware Lane, and then becoming Flinders Lane at the back of St Paul’s and next to the City Square.
Quite entertaining, though mostly for the familiar sights.
Note: In both cases you can improve the picture quality by choosing 480p when playing. Also check out an earlier scene filmed at the Showgrounds.
I lived in Elsternwick once, and since then have always envied residents there. Everything’s there: supermarket, lots of shops, restauraunts, train or tram to city, bus to the beach. And a cinema: The Classic, which originated in 1913, and thanks to investment and renovations in the 90s, survives (and thrives) today.
Bentleigh, where I now live, once had a cinema, next to the station. What became Bentleigh Hoyts originally opened in 1928, and ran until 1984 — later than I thought it might have survived. From the looks of the photos, a marvellous art deco building. A little bit of the facade on Nicholson Street survives, but it’s now offices of a real estate agent.
What a shame it closed. We have heaps of real estate agents. A cinema would have been terrific to still have in the neighbourhood.
A few quick reviews of things I’ve read or watched recently…
(The DVDs fall into the category of “I’ve been meaning to watch that; I’ll buy that if it’s less than $10. Ooh, there it is!” One book was borrowed, the other I got for Christmas.)
A Hard Day’s Night — got this cheap on Amazon, and thought the kids would enjoy it, which they did. Occasionally the accents are a tad hard to follow, but the antics of the Beatles, together with Paul’s “very clean” grandfather got some laughs. And because it’s based loosely on the real life experiences of The Beatles, it’s also a view into life in 1960s Britain.
Tron — found this cheap in JB Hifi. It smells a bit of 80s computer-age wonder cash-in, with users having real beings inside the computer who run all their jobs. But it was quite enjoyable, and very interesting graphics for a 1982 film.
A Nest of Occasionals, Tony Martin — very funny stuff, particularly the tales of writing radio adverts, which had me in stitches at one point. I’m going to have to check out his other book, Lolly Scramble.
Jasper Jones (by Craig Silvey)– Superb, a real page turner, really enjoyed it. And again, fully intending to get hold of his other novel, Rhubarb.
(Currently reading Shane Maloney: “Stiff”.)
As my kids have grown, the choices of movies has become a little harder. With one 14 and the other 11, most kids’ movies aren’t very appealing, but many adult M-rated movies aren’t suitable either.
MA15+ is a legal restriction — kids under 15 can’t legally see the movie unsupervised, and although they can see them if supervised by a guardian, that rating doesn’t get applied for no reason. It’s almost always quite strong stuff. I don’t go there.
In contrast, M is just a recommendation, and the content can vary widely. I’m of the view that there are movies which are stronger than PG and fall into M without really being too bad.
So how does one determine which are suitable, preferably without watching them first?
One easy way is to check the ratings in other countries. The USA’s MPAA ratings include a PG-13 rating, for which there is no Australian equivalent. There are a number of movies which get PG-13 in the States, but M here, and my view is that generally these are okay for my kids to watch. Examples include all three Lord of the Rings films, Avatar, Star Wars episode 3, and the latest Star Trek movie.
USA:PG-13 (certificate #44847) | South Korea:12 | UK:12A | Netherlands:12 | Ireland:12A | Finland:K-13 | Singapore:PG | Norway:11 | Switzerland:10 (canton of Vaud) | Switzerland:10 (canton of Geneva) | Australia:M | Portugal:M/12 | Italy:T | Canada:G (Quebec) | Canada:PG (Alberta/British Columbia/Manitoba/Ontario) | Brazil:12 | Sweden:11 | Philippines:G (MTRCB) | Hong Kong:IIA | Argentina:Atp | Peru:PT | Iceland:10 | Germany:12 | South Africa:10V | New Zealand:M | Mexico:B | France:U | Canada:PG (Canadian Home Video rating) | Austria:10 | Denmark:12 | Denmark:11
I suppose everybody has a different strategy for this. That’s mine.
You may think you’ve seen some cool stuff today, but I’ll wager you haven’t seen yourself in Matrix-style “bullet time“.
Pretty damn cool huh?
Forgot to review the Star Trek movie. In summary: great stuff, really enjoyable. (And still chuckling over The Onion’s take on it.)
How is it that Rivers in Victoria have 7 retail outlets, but 31 clearance centres?
You’ve heard of the Big Mac Index, for comparing the spending power of world currencies? Here’s a theory that the Mars Bar can be used to track historical value of currencies.
Why is Westpac bank turning into my mother? Do they really expect to get more customers like this?
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
– Robert J. Hanlon
Star Trek: all creeds and colours of humanity, in a spirit of co-operation and harmony, working together at hating the Romulans.
This trailer for the movie Knowing… doesn’t really make me want to see it, but if the train carriages look familiar to Melburnians, that would be because it was filmed here, and they used old Melbourne Hitachi carriages for filming, though apparently the subway scene is set in New York City.
Very funny stuff, and some quite remarkable stunts considering they had so few safety precautions compared to nowadays.
I had been pondering if it was rude to talk during a silent movie.
The conclusion was: yes. It may not stop you hearing the dialogue, but it does interrupt your concentration.
Keaton’s Steamboat Bill Jr is also on my list.