Monday, 2 August 2021

Next Hotel - Melbourne's latest swanky 5 star accommodation

Bar area. The Barrel Room - the hotel's own wood-ageing program for spirits, cocktails and herbal liquors 
The Club Lounge
Staircase to La Madonna Restaurant Level 3

Opened in 2021, this 24 storey hotel is situated on Little Bourke Street between Russell and Exhibition Streets, close to Chinatown and the theatre precinct. During the pandemic, any hotels are closing or modifying their club lounges (e.g. no buffet areas, self-serve beverages). Thankfully this hotel is bucking the trend. 
Reception area Level 2

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Rules to follow when visiting Japanese onsen

1. Leave everything in your locker (even slippers). You must be naked.

2. Take a small towel (for modesty, moving from bath to bath to changeroom).

3. Wash thoroughly, sitting on the stool or shower area before entering bath. Take your time. Rinse thoroughly.

4. The personal towel must not be dropped into the water (the bath water must be kept pristine). Fold it and place it on your head or leave it close to you on the side of bath.

5. Do not put your head/hair under the water.

6. No tattoos. For centuries tattoos have been associated with criminality. There are only a few bathhouses that allow tattoos in Japan. Small tattoos - you might get away with covering with a bandage.

7. Relax, take your time, don't raise your voice.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Kagoshima, Japan - a unique city

I can't think of many cities with an active volcano so close by. Sakurajima is 4 km from the CBD.
Kagoshima is 4 hours by direct shinkansen from Shin-Osaka.

The easiest way to tour the volcanic area is to buy a One Day Pass, then hop on, hop off the sights, buses come every 30 minutes. Ticket can be bought on the bus (the bus stop is next to the ferry terminal on the Sakurajima side). The pass includes a discount for the returning ferry to Kagoshima.
Take the scenic coastal train to Ibusuki hot springs area (50 minutes from city). This beautifully restored train is popular, so reserve seats with at JR ticket offices.
Head north to Kirishima National Park (Yoshimatsu is the last stop)

Thursday, 23 January 2020

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

The State Library is located on the corner of La Trobe and Swanston Street, Melbourne.
The restoration of Queen's Hall was completed late 2019. Before you visit the magnificent Reading Room and dome, turn right at the main staircase to admire Queen's Hall. Free admission.
Queen's Hall
Reading Room/Dome
There are exhibitions on Levels 4 and 5. View of the dome, Level 6

Sunday, 15 December 2019

"The Assassination Bureau" (1968) An unappreciated treasure

Paramount Pictures did not give this stylish (and quite expensive) adventure/comedy much love in 1968. The US release added "Limited" to the title to make the title less dark.
Michael Relph's art direction is especially noteworthy. Diana Rigg and Telly Savalas would star together a few months later in the Bond flick "On Her Majesty's Secret Service".

The sumptuous Assassination Bureau conference room

Venice palazzo

The ficticious Ruthenian castle is actually Karlstejn Castle, 30 km SW of Prague

Monday, 18 November 2019

Classic Horror Movies available on You Tube

German influenced design

The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971) Vincent Price Horror/Comedy
The Ape (1940)
The Bat Whispers (1930)
The Black Raven (1943)
The Black Doll (1938)
The Body Disappears (1941)
The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) *
Cry of the Werewolf (1944)
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1920) *
The Ghost Train (1941)
Horror Island (1941)
House of Dracula (1945)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) *
Invisible Ghost (1941)
The Lodger (1944)
The Most Dangerous Game (1932)
The Mummy's Ghost (1940)
The Mummy's Tomb (1944)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Nosferatu (1922) *
Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)
The Phantom of the Opera (1925) *
Phantom Ship (1935)
Premature Burial (1962)
The Thirteenth Guest (1932)

* Silent Movies

Friday, 15 November 2019

"Road House" 1948 A forgotten film noir

Not the one with Patrick Swayze.

The things you find on YouTube (and it's a good copy) - like this 95 minute film noir gem. Killer cast. Directed by Jean Negulesco (before he was called "the first real master of CinemaScope").
Ida Lupino singing classic by Johnny Mercer "One for my baby (and one for the road)"and Alfred Newman ("Again"). Richard Widmark again plays a psychopath (one year after his debut in "Kiss of Death").

Joseph LaShelle's fim noir photography

Intriguing set design - rustic, ski-chalet plus a bowling alley

Shadows and ceilings... tick, tick.  We are definitely in noir territory.

Atmospheric setting for the movie's climax

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Highlights of "Mr Robot" Season 4

In Mr Robot's fourth and final season, Sam Esmail once again demonstrates that likes to play with his audiences' expectations and indulge in an array of cinematic pizzazz.

  • Phillip and Angela's first (and final) scene in Episode 1 "401 Unauthorised"
  • Whiterose's back story in Episode 3 "403 Forbidden"
  • Everytime Janice (Ashlie Atkinson) appears as the creepy taxidermist/ killer (Episodes 1, 2, 5).
  • Tyrell Wellick's final scene in the snow in Episode 4 "404 Not Found"
  • Episode 5 "405 Method Not Allowed",  a heist/chase movie with no spoken word (except 2 lines of dialogue) for the entire 50 minutes.
  • Episode 7 Riverting, filmed like a play, confined to two rooms, broken into 5 acts. Powerful Bernard Herrmann-esque score.