Any Questions For Ben?

Discuss what Working Dog are up to now, and the rest of The Late Show cast - Mick, Jason and Judith

Moderators: ShitScared, BenG, Steve

User avatar
13 schoolyards
Champagne Comedian
Posts: 4816
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 5:16 pm
Location: Petulant Child Championing Talentless Hacks

Post by 13 schoolyards » Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:25 pm

Big interview with Rob in today's M Magazine in The Age. Which would be this article here: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/mov ... 1qipl.html
"Aww great - there goes my genitalia you slutty little monkey!"

User avatar
ShitScared
Champagne Comedian
Posts: 4304
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: Stunt HQ

Post by ShitScared » Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:04 pm

Felicity Ward hosting advanced screening at Event Glendale, NSW.

http://www.pingg.com/rsvp/i66ex33i4cmxte7dr
Blog
Now with EXTRA teabagging.
VALE Ricky M

Ferret
Muckraker
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 6:14 pm

Post by Ferret » Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:51 pm

I went along to the screening on Friday so I thought I would give my brief thoughts on it and seeing I am the same age as the Characters and live in Melbourne, I guess I would fall into the target demographic also.

I thought all the previously mentioned actors were all great in their roles. Lawson, Taylor, Hulme and Ward were all very good. I hadn't really seen Christian Clark in anything before hand (only knew who he was by association with Lawson and Kavalee) but I thought he played the role as well as you could. Dan Henschell is pretty good as the 'normal' one in the group, not given a heap to do but he is certainly very believable in the role. Kavalee and Brough certainly got a lot of laughs basically by appearing on screen which I doubt would happen at a Tuesday night screening at Hoyts in the suburbs.

You can definitely tell that Rob and the team really wanted to make a movie that showed the charm and appeal of Melbourne and rightly or wrongly, I think that the only way to do that in this medium is to focus on these types of characters. If you ae going to use events like the Aus Open and Spring Racing Carnival, it is this type of story with this generation of characters that you would do it with.

I hope it does well at the box office, I doubt it is going to be a runaway hit but I think there is certainly enough about it to draw an audience. I don't think people are really going to have to make a choice between this and 'The Best Men' as they seem like very different films aiming at a different type of audience

snausages
Brilliant, Brilliant
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2008 12:45 pm
Location: Sydney

Post by snausages » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:10 pm

A reveiw from Crikey

Quite Scathing

While growing up every person has at least one interminably uncool relative. The daggy uncle duded up in chest-high jeans. The aunty who distributes socks and hankies every year for Christmas. The father who sneaks in the occasional cheeky shandy.

There are few things more transparently uncool, more kill-me-now-or-we’ll-all-die-from-embarrassment, then a perennial dag pretending they’re still trendy, still in tune with the yoof of today — as if the word “discotheque” never went out of fashion and they never snapped up that Michael Buble CD.

Imagine if that relative were handed a few million dollars to write and direct a romantic comedy about hip young people falling in love, in a plight to prove they’re still ‘connected’. Imagine the potentially ghastly consequences.
Now you have the vaguest glimmer of what it’s like to sit through Any Questions For Ben?, the third feature film from director Rob Sitch and beloved Australian production company Working Dog, who have made precisely that: a dog.

The blobs of writers’ block offal masquerading as a storyline concern 27-year-old Ben (Josh Lawson), a hot shot well-sexed advertising executive who arrives at the epiphany that his life is as vacuous as the film that bears his name. He likes short term relationships with long-legged women; quick stints in high paying jobs.

The dawn of realisation occurs when Ben is invited back to his old high school to speak alongside successful alumni such as savvy international aid worker Alex (Rachael Taylor). After an awkward, scattered speech about billboards and rebranding Ben is the only participant — gasp! — not be asked a question by the students.

He takes this personally; so personally it lands him in a quasi-existential who-am-I funk. Ben asks for advice and gets sub-par responses from his materialistic mentor Sam (Lachy Hulme) and mates Andy (Christian Clark) and Nick (Snowtown’s Daniel Henshall). What does he do to change his ways? He does what he’s always done: chases skirt, and an awkward to-and-fro romance between him and the up market Alex slowly comes to fruition.

The second act is supposed to be about how Ben looks for answers in the wrong places – by dating a tennis star, for example, and going on holiday to New Zealand – but essentially the screenplay (written by Sitch, Santo Cilauro and Tom Gleisner) doesn’t have one. With an almost complete absence of character trajectory, Ben reflects on his life, decides it ain’t right, but barely passes that initial point of realisation. Expect a feast of rom-com clichés, nary an original thought in sight, to fill out the plot: an unfulfilling desk job, a wedding, a visit to a popular sports event, drives in a fast car, an overseas vacation, an airport scene, a hot air balloon, a work Christmas party, a boat trip…

The implausible relationship between Ben and Alex is written and acted with cat strangling caricature, as bogusly applied as the too-bright lipstick decorating star Josh Lawson’s lips (The Dawson’s Creek syndrome). Alex is painted in bleeding obvious strokes as a dignified person worthy of our respect – she’s a member of the UN and she’s, like, met the Prime Minister and stuff – yet the script unceremoniously flings her around, presenting her as low hanging fruit for Ben to nibble on when the time is convenient while insultingly maintaining the illusion that her character amounts to more than that. There is no emotional connection between the two leads, and certainly no fizz between Lawson and Rachel Taylor, though both try their darndest to work the material.

Even the crucial set up scene — not a difficult one to pull off — badly misfires. When Ben talks on stage at the all important alumni event he blabbers and stammers, barely one coherent sentence emerging from his lipstick painted lips. Surprise surprise, nobody asks him a question. How much better that scene might have resonated if Ben had the gift of the gab, silkily verbose and sell-ice-to-eskimos convincing, feeding into his persona as a slick advertising man. And yet the kids still care not a jot, enforcing the idea that’s it’s Ben’s life that’s uninteresting rather than his public speaking abilities. That his existence, while shiny on the outside, is hollow at its core, which is supposedly what this mangled mess of film is all about.

Before a preview screening two weeks prior to its release, Rob Sitch addressed an enthusiastic crowd, describing the city of Melbourne as a key character. Remembering those comments after wallowing in the wreckage of Any Questions For Ben? provides a sobering reminder that Sitch – whose last feature was the pleasant-enough The Dish in 2000 – is not a practicing filmmaker and far from a natural hand at the medium.

Evoking a sense of place requires a great deal more than sweeping helicopter shots of the CBD and a choice of popular locations to film (in this case the Yarra River, the Sydney Myer Music Bowl, Rod Laver arena and others). Unassisted by editors Stuart Morley and Phil Simon, Sitch appears to have no idea how to play with spatial properties, to hold the frame, to allow locations to seep off the screen, to make a city a personality in itself. Cities portrayed in films like Guys and Dolls (1955), Play Time (1967), Wake in Fright (1971), Collateral (2004) and The Lincoln Lawyer (2011) provide telling reminders that it’s a great deal easier to say these things than to achieve them.

Adding to the overarching feeling that pervades the production – that this graceless comedy has been made by middle-aged dags trying and failing to capture the mannerisms and lifestyles of people decades their junior – is a face-palm soundtrack stuffed to the gills with top 50 bubblegum pop tracks that used to be sort-of cool in mainstream circles three or four years ago. During virtually every moment of visual exposition, no matter how fleeting or inconsequential, Sitch cranks the songs up to ten, giving the film a throbbing brick-to-the-face rhythm that will inspire audio palettes not attuned to homogenized gunk want to bolt for the exit.

Even more painful than Stephen Elliott’s dire A Few Best Men, Any Questions for Ben? is a culture cringe clunker so awfully written and directed it challenges audiences to do the previously unthinkable: to look back on Working Dog’s The Castle, a prize possession in the pool room of great Australian comedies, in the context of a brilliant fluke.

Any Question for Ben?’s Australian theatrical release date: February 9, 2012.

User avatar
13 schoolyards
Champagne Comedian
Posts: 4816
Joined: Wed May 18, 2005 5:16 pm
Location: Petulant Child Championing Talentless Hacks

Post by 13 schoolyards » Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:33 pm

Here's a link if anyone wants to leave a comment: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/cinetology/2 ... rking-dog/

Unusual choice to run a review so far ahead of the release date.
"Aww great - there goes my genitalia you slutty little monkey!"

User avatar
menagers
Champagne Comedian
Posts: 4209
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2007 10:56 pm
Location: Melbourne

Post by menagers » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:39 pm

That is a hilarious review. Very entertaining. I don't agree with him at all about the performances, but I definitely do about those plot points and the technical side. I just had a look at one of the editors websites... *pffft*.

He didn't mention anything about the comedy, which I hope others do, as it is definitely there.
Are you castin' aspersions on the habeebee?

User avatar
ShitScared
Champagne Comedian
Posts: 4304
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: Stunt HQ

Post by ShitScared » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:15 am

Josh Lawson on Triple M Grill Team Brisbane.

MF: 5 MB
SC: Stream
Blog
Now with EXTRA teabagging.
VALE Ricky M

User avatar
baudrillard
Champagne Comedian
Posts: 6581
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:47 pm
Location: Natural Resource

Post by baudrillard » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:51 pm

Thanks SS.

Image

Someone tweeted at Tony:
SMH interview with Rob Sitch where one of the members of The Panel is listed as 'Kate Longbroek'.

"Location, Location, Location" - apparently, it's about the location angle of the film.
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/mov ... 1qipl.html
Whatever precautions you take so the photograph will look like this or that, there comes a moment when the photograph surprises you. It is the other's gaze that wins out and decides.
- Jacques Derrida

User avatar
ShitScared
Champagne Comedian
Posts: 4304
Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: Stunt HQ

Post by ShitScared » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:03 pm

Already here: bottom page by 13.

showthread.php?t=2241&page=4

and reproduced on front page.

http://www.champagnecomedy.com/?p=433

:)

good eye though! Thanks
baudrillard wrote:Thanks SS.

Image

Someone tweeted at Tony:
SMH interview with Rob Sitch where one of the members of The Panel is listed as 'Kate Longbroek'.

"Location, Location, Location" - apparently, it's about the location angle of the film.
http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/mov ... 1qipl.html
Blog
Now with EXTRA teabagging.
VALE Ricky M

User avatar
baudrillard
Champagne Comedian
Posts: 6581
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:47 pm
Location: Natural Resource

Post by baudrillard » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:31 pm

Oops. I guess I hadn't read it and I thought the date was more recently than had been posted. I might have been looking at today's date on the site... ouch. I did overlook that entry. And I really have no excuse as I set the forum to show four pages of a thread at once, so this whole thread is only one page... :\


edit. I'll try to make up for my Sitch-related gaffe with this Sitch-related news I'm presuming... it's news that is...! oh, and I just wanted to post that picture on the forum!


ADAM Hills admits he ended Spicks and Specks to help him finally win a Gold Logie.

Hills is hoping for his fifth Gold Logie nomination this year, and has his fingers crossed that he comes up a winner.

"I'll say it out loud: it's the only reason we finished up Spicks and Specks," he said.

"There's no point finishing up a long-running Australian TV show if you are not going to win a Gold Logie. It worked for Kate Ritchie, with Home And Away. It can work for me."

The comedian returns to the ABC on Wednesday with series two of In Gordon Street Tonight and, joking aside, said being able to book guests he found interesting was the key.

"Andrew Denton told me I should do something halfway between Enough Rope and Rove, and I think looking at the line-up for this year we're about there," he said.

Guests this week include Josh Lawson, Essie Davis, Jonathan Lynn and Rob Sitch.

While he hopes to take the IGST format overseas, he will record a pilot for BBC4 radio and will help front paralympics coverage for the ABC.
Whatever precautions you take so the photograph will look like this or that, there comes a moment when the photograph surprises you. It is the other's gaze that wins out and decides.
- Jacques Derrida

Post Reply