REVIEW: A Day on the Green

MORE than a decade after A Day On The Green first started, crowds are as keen as ever for a taste of classic rock and a Hunter Valley drop.
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About 8000 people converged on Bimbadgen Estate for Saturday’s sold-out show, the final of the season.

Headlined by the irrepressible Jimmy Barnes, the line-up for the traditional “classic Aussie rock show” also included the likes of ’70s rock legends The Angels, Ian Moss, Richard Clapton and Daryl Braithwaite.

As a finale for a classic rock concert, Jimmy Barnes would rank highly on most wishlists, and he doesn’t disappoint. The 57-year-old has been performing long enough to know how to grab an audience’s attention and hold it, sprinkling in enough of the classics – When Your Love is Gone, Working Class Man, and enough of the scream, to keep casual fans interested through the less-well-known later work.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better setting for a concert – the rolling hills of the Valley mean natural ampitheatres are a dime a dozen, and the proximity of some of the country’s best winemakers means by the time things get under way at 3pm, many of the concert’s well-heeled ticket holders are in fantastic spirits.

And so it was through the early portion of Saturday’s show.

Between them, Braithwaite, Clapton and Moss were all workman-like without being particularly memorable – although Moss did start things with a bang when he appeared to break an amplifier after tripping into it during his opening song.

But that hardly mattered, go anywhere in Australia and classics like Horses and Girls on the Avenue are still greeted with spectacular enthusiasm, and as the afternoon progressed the wine and [mid-strength] beer flowed, the on-the-spot-shuffle dancing increased, and the lines for the toilet grew.

But as the sun went down it took The Angels to make the show feel less like a garden party and more like a rock concert.

With regular frontman Doc Neeson still in poor health, the Screaming Jets’ Dave Gleeson has done an admirable fill-in job, and manages to make songs written, in some cases almost 40 years ago, continue to feel fresh.

Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again remains an Australian classic, but it’s the verve with which all the members continue to perform that continues to see them held as one of Australia’s best-ever rock bands.

NCH – NEWS – A Day on The Green at Bimbadgen Estate. The Angels perform. Photo by Marina Neil – 22nd March 2014.

NCH – NEWS – A Day on The Green at Bimbadgen Estate. Richard Clapton. Photo by Marina Neil – 22nd March 2014.

NCH – NEWS – A Day on The Green at Bimbadgen Estate. Ian Moss. Photo by Marina Neil – 22nd March 2014.

NCH – NEWS – A Day on The Green at Bimbadgen Estate. Jimmy Barnes. Photo by Marina Neil – 22nd March 2014.

NCH – NEWS – A Day on The Green at Bimbadgen Estate. Jimmy Barnes. Photo by Marina Neil – 22nd March 2014.

NCH – NEWS – A Day on The Green at Bimbadgen Estate. Photo by Marina Neil – 22nd March 2014.

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Flood of concerns for Noah

Darren Aronofsky (left) and Russell Crowe (right) in NOAH, from Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises. Noah NOAH. Russell Crowe © 2013 Paramount Pictures
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LONG before the high-profile film Noah was green-lit by the decision makers at Paramount Pictures to be what is known in the industry as a blockbuster tent-pole release, controversy began to develop.

Engaging the culture of religion and use of scripture as the basis of films is nothing new. Ben Hur and The Ten Commandments, both considered film classics, caused public outcry when they were released, with critics claiming they were not historically accurate.

Mel Gibson took heat by many and strange happenings occurred on set during his filming of The Passion of the Christ.

Lead actor Jim Caviezel suffered unexplained turmoil and sickness of various kinds during filming. Audiences became emotional to say the least, helping it to a huge amount of box-office money in 2004. It has since become a go-to movie for many believers.

Martin Scorsese’s 1988 drama, The Last Temptation of Christ, sat as a script on his desk for more than five years. Nobody wanted to make it because among other unbiblical things, the full-frontal nudity from Willem Dafoe playing a rugged, humanised Jesus was confronting.

Certain cinemas refused to play it and video rental stores en masse refused to stock copies. Scorsese recorded a personal introduction, which played on the tape for those who hired it.

There have been many other titles disowned by the Christian fraternity.

To a lesser extent, as a kid I remember walking past the heritage-listed State Theatre in Sydney, probably en route to the now defunct Pitt Centre cinema, and being caught up in picket lines and chanting groups holding placards.

It turns out the 1985 film Hail Mary from French auteur Jean-Luc Godard depicting a modern retelling of the virgin birth, was screening. There was a standoff of people harassing audiences from purchasing tickets, police cars were zooming down Market Street as I got out of there.

More recently, in 2006, The Da Vinci Code caused a minor furore, not just because of Tom Hanks sporting a mullet.

Noah was always going to be something different when the visionary director Darren Aronofsky was appointed to take the helm. He was always going to make an arty, eccentric and over-zealous production with little conformity.

The last ark-related film, Evan Almighty, should have been banned for lack of laughs. No stranger to controversy himself, Aronofsky is a calculated filmmaker whose second film Requiem to a Dream almost glorified cocaine, weight-loss pills and sexual experimentation, not in that order.

From his notorious Black Swan switching the delicate ballet Swan Lake to a psychological, sensual, double-identity crisis, to The Wrestler pitting at-the-time unwanted actor Mickey Rourke going raw in the real world of second-tier professional wrestling, Aronofsky does not shy from controversy.

Clearly the story of Noah is a straightforward tale of a man saving an animal kingdom from a flood by building a craft big enough to hold as many species as possible. Russell Crowe plays the gruff disciple chosen by “the Creator”, as he is known in this film, to undertake the rescue mission.

Noah has two visions, one artificially enhanced by some “special” tea served by Anthony Hopkins, both involve a terrible flood, apocalyptic in scope and his need to build what turns out to be a boxy wooden ship, not the commonly known curved ark.

Deviation from scripture involves a focus on ecological unrest, romantic involvement and family issues.

Lord of the Rings-style battle scenes and unique confrontations with fallen angels depicted as rocks talking in voices of such unusual choices as the great Nick Nolte and Frank Langella, are only part of the extended narrative.

Crowe has said himself the controversy was not unexpected, he did even try to take the film to the Vatican for an audience with the Pope, which was declined (and tweeted about).

Sensing rejection from various countries and an over-blowing budget also a concern, Paramount screened various rough-cut versions of the film without the permission or knowledge of Aronofsky.

Creative licence by Hollywood took its toll on secret test audiences. Resounding criticism of all kinds hit the comment cards: the film was described as slow, confusing, frightening and weak, and an abundance of religious discomfort emerged.

The studio relented and let Aronofsky complete his vision. As a film critic and by no means a Bible aficionado, I watched Noah as an adventure tale, for which it is magnificent.

Already barred from release in certain Muslim countries, if Noah is a global box office flop, it will certainly be a noble failure.

Filmed mostly on location in Iceland, the movie’s sets are amazing, while the spectacle of the vast lands turning into waterworld literally rising to the heavens and the round up of all animal kind, are cinematic wonders.

The movie doesn’t run aground but Noah remains an entity that won’t be smooth sailing for everyone.

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ART: Graceful by intuition

Brian Roberts: Bird Shirley Cameron-Roberts: Treading Carefully, Quoll
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BRIAN Roberts and Shirley Cameron-Roberts have lived in the Hunter since 1991.

At Cessnock Regional Art Gallery until April 13 is a survey exhibition of the paintings and graphics made by these widely shown artists to mark 25 years since they first hung work at the von Bertouch Galleries.

Brian’s paintings of Nobbys are well known; its instantly recognisable fin dominating the horizon, with choppy eye-level waves in the foreground and the abstract forms of harbour markers another regular presence.

This conjunction of moody, animated paint with strict geometry has appeared so basic that a series of deft, closely observed portraits comes as a surprise. He is a painter who thinks in paint.

Shirley Cameron-Roberts also surprises with a series of large tinted drawings incorporating wildlife studies into detailed depictions of ferns, branches and forest floor.

A small, shy quoll explores a dominant clump of graceful ferns. A family of tawny frogmouths watches us watching them. Swathes of lines from the artist’s intuitive pen or pencil discover an image in contrast with earlier wide vistas.

The two artists have a further exhibition later in the year at ASW. Perhaps they will surprise us anew with works based on the human figure, for each of them a re-discovery.

IN November 2013, James Murphy lived through the bushfires south of Swansea.

His professionally presented photographs at Four Point Gallery until April 4 document the aftermath on a landscape shockingly transformed. The colours alter, with green becoming brown and forest floor now blackened or white with ash. Nature quickly starts the process of regeneration, but at the moment James Murphy was exploring newly revealed topography, open vistas and strange dumped discoveries in a lyrical visual essay.

ACROSS the Bank Corner intersection, C Studio is presenting graphic-based work by Linda Swinfield as its first solo exhibition.

In the past year, Linda has had increased time to expand her printmaking skills into new areas, moving out into the landscape and embracing photo collage in a series of evocative layered images. She is also developing the use of three-dimensional form, applying a printed surface to woodland timber cutouts.

Also on view in the gallery’s many spaces are works in various mediums by a truly eclectic line-up of artists.

ANYONE seeing Bliss Cavanagh’s fantasy sculpture environments is unlikely to forget her use of illuminated fake fur or the brightly coloured ceramic structures, like trees and flowers from an alternative universe. For the next few months, they are on view at Inner City Winemakers, lending to wine-tasting a psychedelic edge.

THE human face is compulsive viewing. At Maitland Regional Art Gallery, several exhibitions confirm its power.

Faces dominate the Showcase exhibition of art works from high schools in the Hunter. They also immediately attract the viewer in the Maitland International Salon of Photography, whose 101 works remind us that this is one of the major photographic forums in Australia, with entries from more than 50 countries. Both exhibitions close on April 6.

The human image is also the principal subject animating the large showing of extraordinary photographs by Mark Tedeschi at Maitland until April 27. He creates instantly involving but apparently unstaged images of people he meets on his travels, as well as at home in Sydney.

A multiracial group of boys happily confront us in an inner-city laneway. An Italian woman sits musing among her familiar kitchen objects. A black-clad old man waits stoically at a subway station in New York.

But perhaps most startling are the many pictures of lawyers in their robes of office indulging their spare-time pursuits. Raising geese and kids leads to some surreal conjunctions. What about a killer martial arts side kick in wig and gown?

Tedeschi, AM, QC, is himself a distinguished member of the legal profession who happens to take expressive professional photographs. Undoubtedly, an empathy with people of all kinds is an invaluable gift in both parts of his life.

In the gallery’s always tempting shop are sinuous silver brooches by Esther Belliss (1926-2002), a legendary sculptor of horses from the Upper Hunter.

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Weekend Planner: March 29, 2014

PICK OF THE WEEK
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Kurri Kurri Nostalgia Festival promises a rollicking celebration of all things 1950s and 1960s, with three days of dancing, polished cars, hot rods, retro fashions and rock’n’roll music.

Highlights include international pin-up Cherry Dollface, pictured, appearing in Rotary Park today and tomorrow at 10am and judging the daily Best Dressed Competition at 3.30pm, a Doris Day tribute, a dance competition tomorrow and market stalls

TAKE NOTE

Considered by many to be the best ventriloquist in the world, comedian David Strassman brings his new show, Careful What You Wish For, to the Hunter this week.

He will be joined by Chuck Wood, whose sharp-tongued, caustic, sarcastic humour has been cracking up audiences for years.

Toronto Workers Club April 1, Hexham Bowling Club April 2, Soldiers Point Bowling Club April 3, Belmont 16 Footers April 4, Wests New Lambton April 5 and 6.

Literary Art Exhibition Saturday. In conjunction with the upcoming Newcastle Writers Festival, Back to Back Galleries in Cooks Hill presents SUBTEXT, a unique exhibition that brings the printed word and visual arts together. Local artists such as Anne-Maree Hunter and Sue Stewart have taken books by Newcastle writers and used them as the inspiration for artwork. The exhibition, curated by Dr Margaret McBride, continues until April 13.

Afternoon with Dolls Saturday. Friends of Grossman House host this afternoon with Lin Fitz-Gibbon, an expert in vintage dolls and teddy bears. Brings yours along and hear about the history of dolls as well as receive advice on value and repairs. Bookings essential. 1pm to 4pm, $20 including refreshments or National Trust members $15, Brough House, 73 Church Street, Maitland.

Sunday Pastels Sunday. A workshop under the expert guidance of Jean Davies for beginners of all ages and those finetuning their craft. Free, 10am to 1pm, Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre.

Newcastle Pregnancy Help’s 40th anniversary dinner Saturday. The agency has been supporting Hunter families for four decades, providing free pregnancy testing and counselling for women. Guest speaker Dr Simon McCaffrey, music by New Vine. 6pm, Belmont 16 Footers, tickets $65 including wine available from Bronwyn Melville, 0411 980 400.

Life and Death: A Concert for Celebration and Reflection Saturday and Sunday. Choir V and soloists will be supported by the Scots Kirk Baroque Band in presenting works by composers such as Purcell, Handel, Gibbons, Vittoria and Bach. Tickets $25 or $15 concession, available at the door. Saturday 2pm, Singleton Uniting Church, Sunday 2pm, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Laman Street, Newcastle.

Westfield Pop-Up Demonstrations Saturday. Live cooking demonstrations showcasing a variety of food available at Wests, with shoppers able to sample food prepared fresh. Free, 11am, Westfield Kotara.

Newcastle Charity Boot Camp Saturday. WellFit Personal Training will host its third annual outdoor group fitness to raise funds for the John Hunter Children’s Hospital. Local fitness professionals will be facilitating a range of fun-filled exercise stations in what will be a challenging two-hour workout for those who can last the distance. 8am to 10am, $17.50 per person, Newcastle Foreshore. Register online, newcastlecharitybootcamp南京夜网.au.

Art Zone Saturday. Trained tutors encourage participants to experiment with materials and learn skills in a fun environment. Ages 9 to 12 from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Ages 12 to 16 from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. $180 per term, First Street, Booragul.

Jam For Nanna book launch. Saturday. Join author Deborah Kelly as she celebrates the launch of her new picture book about a little girl’s bond with her grandmother. Drinks and nibbles, lucky door prizes and recipes to give away. Free, 10am, Belmont Library, bookings essential, 4945 4329.

Tallavera Grove Vineyard Tour Saturday and Sunday. Guided vineyard tour including wine tasting. 10.30am. Costs $12. Bookings essential, 4990 7535. Tallavera Grove, Mount View.

Wine and Chocolate Masterclass Saturday and Sunday. Be guided through wines from Wyndham Estate, matched with premium chocolate from Brix. $15 per person, 2pm, 700 Dalwood Road, Branxton. Bookings essential, 1800 677 366.

Seagrass Walk Sunday. Local coastal group Ocean & Coastal Care Initiatives will help participants discover the secrets of local seagrass. All participants must wear enclosed footwear and a hat and all children must be accompanied by an adult. Free, 3pm, Pelican foreshore, near Pelican Jetty, Lakeview Parade and Soldiers Road. Bookings essential. Contact Janet White 0487 501 782.

National Rugby League Sunday. Newcastle Knights vs Cronulla Sharks. 3pm, Hunter Stadium.

Adamstown Markets Sunday. 7am to noon. Corner of Glebe and Brunker roads, Adamstown.

Branxton Lions Club Markets Saturday. 10am to 3pm, Branxton Community Hall,

Hamilton Clock Tower Markets Saturday. 8am to 2pm. James St Plaza, Hamilton.

Rotary Community Markets Saturday. 8.30am to 1.30pm. New Lambton South Public School, New Lambton.

Maitland Harvest Markets Saturday. 8am to 1pm. Maitland Showground, Maitland.

Newcastle & Hunter Vietnam Veterans Inc Market Sunday. 7am to 1pm. Wickham Park, Islington.

Newcastle City Farmers Market Sunday. 8am to 1pm. Newcastle Showground, Broadmeadow.

Aftershocks The impact of the 1989 Newcastle earthquake, as recounted to writer Paul Brown and the Workers’ Cultural Action Committee by people caught in the destroyed Workers Club; moving and heartwarming. DAPA, at DAPA Theatre, Hamilton. Saturday, at 2pm and 7.30pm, Friday, April 4, at 11am, Saturday, April 5, at 2pm and 7.30pm. 4962 3270, 0416 252 446.

Art Systems Wickham White by Kelly-Ann Lees. To April 13.

Back to Back Galleries Subtext, exploring the links between literature and the visual arts. To April 13.

Cessnock Regional Art Gallery Reflections on The Hunter Brian Roberts and Shirley Cameron Roberts. To April 13.

Cooks Hill Galleries Preview of Master and Apprentices by Bruce Rowland and co-exhibitors Christine Harvison, Amber Carbury, John Maroney, Ellen Howell and Richard Kearney. April 4 to 28.

Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery Wood: Art, Design, Architecture. Your Collection: Charles Collin. Both to April 6.

Maitland Regional Art Gallery Shooting Around Corners by Mark Tedeschi, to April 27. Showcase 2014, April 6. International Salon of Photography, to April 6. The Moving Finger Paints by Tallulah Cunningham, to May 4, DomiKNIT by Brett Alexander to May 4. Groovin: The Story of Groovin the Moo to May 25.

Maitland Gaol Australian Museum of Clothing and Textiles All Tied Up, an exploration of ties and neck wear and the place they have played in social interaction and identity. To July 20.

Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre 24th Muswellbrook Photographic Award. To April 20.

Newcastle Art Gallery Blue + White; Fully Figurative; Peter Maloney: A Focus. All to May 11. New To Video to April 27. Rrapture: Julie Rrap to April 27.

Newcastle Art School Works in Progress from the students of the Advanced Diploma Visual Arts. To April 11.

Newcastle Art Space On the Verge: Paintings by Lesley Instone and Dan Nelson. To April 13.

Port Stephens Community Arts Centre. Port Stephens Art Prize, to March 30.

Timeless Textiles American-born fibre artist Kerr Grabowski’s first Australian exhibition, Wearable Narratives, to April 13.

The University Gallery Shadowline: Contemporary Drawing by Nicole Chaffey, Anne Judell, Jennifer Keeler-Milne and Franc Hancock. Spiritlands photography and video by Cherie Johnson, Nicole Chaffey and Tara Standing. Both to April 17.

Watt Space Gallery Ceramics Showcase 2014 Ulterior Connection, Street Stories by Tim Buchano, The Mad Scientist Study by Emma Collins, Mixed Media by Natalie Engdahl. All to April 13.

Wollombi Cultural Centre Mirrabooka by Kevin Gavi Duncan. To March 30.

Argyle House Saturday, Argyle House First Birthday Party. Wednesday, Ramshackle featuring Neil Fleming.

Avon Valley Inn Saturday, XYZ.

Bar 121 Friday, Troy Kemp. Saturday, Incognito.

Bar Petite Saturday, Matt Purcell. Sunday, Crocq.

Belmore Hotel Saturday, Daley Holliday.

Blackbutt Hotel Saturday, DLove.

Cambridge Hotel Saturday, The Gooch Palms, Palms, The Sufferjets, Dog Beach. Wednesday, Iwrestledabearonce, Caulfield.

Catho Pub Saturday, Cash and Co. Sunday, Dirty Deeds The AC/DC Show.

CBD Hotel Saturday, House Party with DJs Jun-Wan, Salvia, Goldboxx, Thialh.

The Edwards Sunday, Soul Shakedown Party.

Exchange Hotel Saturday, Grand Theft Audio.

George Tavern Saturday, Mardmax. Sunday, Troy Kemp.

Great Northern Hotel Saturday, Mayhem 10, Divina, Pants Optional, Kang, Handball Deathmatch, Take Your Own, Driverside Airbag.

Grand Hotel Saturday, Anna Milat.

Grand Junction Hotel Saturday, Teej and the Fiends. Sunday, Lyle Dennis and the Moustache Rodeo.

Hamilton Station Hotel Saturday, Live it Up Karaoke, Razorhead, Unstuck, Necrologoy. Sunday, Jen Buxton, Jerk Lundie, Wil’s Rock trivia. Tuesday, Disturd, Insidious Process. Wednesday, Great Toad, Organik.

Kent Hotel Saturday, Rip It Up. Sunday, Dai Pritchard Blues Band. Wednesday, Trivia.

Lass O’Gowrie Saturday, Great Toad, Organik, The Way Out. Sunday, Ovarian Cancer Fundraiser with Coal Mouth Blues, Annie O’Dee and the Hot Shots, Walter Junior Band, Kingy’s 2NUR FM Blues Show.

Lizotte’s Newcastle Saturday, Ms Murphy. Sunday, Amber Lawrence and Jason Owen. Tuesday, In The Name Of Style with Sam and Jordi Woods.

Mark Hotel Saturday, Hayden Johns. Sunday, Hornet.

Museum Hotel Saturday, Paparazzi.

Pedens at Cessnock Saturday, Damnation: The Bon Scott Tribute.

Royal Federal Hotel Saturday, The Nick Raschke Duo.

Shinnies Hotel Boolaroo Sunday, Firewall.

Shoal Bay Resort Saturday, Russell Hull, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Amy Fredes, Russell Hull. Sunday, Good Company, Kazzi Waters.

The Small Ballroom Saturday, Stonefield, Lurch, Chief. Sunday, Mi Casa Su Casa featuring Tales in Space, Yeo, Pierce Brothers.

The Stag and Hunter Hotel Saturday, Gleny Rae Virus and her Playboys.

Vues on the Bay Saturday, Troy Kemp.

Warners Bay Hotel Saturday, Shivoo. Sunday, Jungle Kings. Wednesday Trivia.

Wickham Park Hotel Saturday, Pat Capocci, Helen and Friends. Sunday, Fish Fry, Dave and The Demons.

ADVANCED SCREENING

The Lego Movie (PG) An ordinary Lego minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil Lego tyrant from gluing the universe together. (Event Cinemas Glendale)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier. (PG) After the cataclysmic events in New York with The Avengers, this film finds Steve Rogers, also known as Captain America, living quietly in Washington, D.C.

Muppets Most Wanted (G) The entire Muppets gang goes on a global tour, selling out grand theatres in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, before they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper. (Hoyts)

Opening

All Is Lost (M) Deep in the Indian Ocean, a determined solo sailor (Robert Redford) wakes to find a shipping container has violently crashed into his boat, severing his connection to the world.

Noah (M) Directed by visionary filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, this film stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman and Anthony Hopkins.

Now Showing

300: Rise of an Empire After its victory over Leonidas’ 300, the Persian army under Xerxes marches to the Greek city states.

12 Years a Slave (MA 15+) Solomon Northup was kidnapped for slavery in 1841 despite being born a free man. Best Picture Oscar.

20 Feet From Stardom (M) Long-neglected back-up singers to musical legends like Bruce Springsteen, Mick Jagger and Sting take centre-stage in this music documentary. (Regal Cinema)

American Hustle (MA15+) An infectious tale set in the 1970s, this story of a con artist couple roped into a corruption crackdown is inspired by true events. All-star cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence. (Regal Cinemas)

Are We Officially Dating? (MA15+) Jason (Zac Efron) and co-worker Daniel (Miles Teller) try to help friend Mikey (Michael B Jordan) after he discovers his wife has been cheating. (Hoyts)

Blue Jasmine (M) A socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, imposes on her sister. Oscar best actress, Cate Blanchett. (Avoca Beach Picture Theatre)

Bolshoi Ballet Lost Illusions. Based on French writer Honoré de Balzac’s novel, Lost Illusions is a new ballet, created in Moscow in 2011 by Alexei Ratmansky with dramaturgy reviewed by French actor, writer and director Guillaume Gallienne. Lucien, a young provincial and budding composer, sets to conquer the Parisian scene in search of glory.

Cuban Fury (M) Beneath Bruce Garrett’s shabby, overweight exterior, the passionate beating heart of a salsa king lays dormant. Only one woman can reignite his Latin fire.

Dallas Buyers Club (MA 15+) Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof.

Free Birds (G) Two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must team up to travel back in time to change history.(Event Glendale)

Ghost. (M) Stars Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg. (Event Cinemas Newcastle)

The Great Beauty (M) Oscar winner: Best foreign language film. (Event Cinemas Newcastle)

I, Frankenstein (M) Dr. Frankenstein’s creature, Adam finds he has the key that could destroy man. (Nelson Bay Cinema Complex)

Jump ‘n’ Jive Party (G) Follow Little Charley Bear as he shows he’s no ordinary bear (Hoyts)

Le Weekend (M) A British couple return to Paris many years after their honeymoon.

Lone Survivor (MA 15 +) Based on a true story of heroism and survival about four Navy SEALs. (Reading Charlestown)

The Monuments Men (M) Stars George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett and John Goodman.

Mr Peabody and Sherman (PG) The dazzlingly brilliant Mr. Peabody – who happens to be a dog – and his adopted boy Sherman go on a time travel adventure through the defining moments of history.

Nebraska (M) A father and son road trip, from Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska gets waylaid at a small town where the father grew up and has scores to settle. (Avoca Beach Picture Theatre)

Need for Speed (M) Framed for a crime he didn’t commit, muscle car mechanic and street racer Tobey (Aaron Paul) gets out of prison.

Peter Rabbit, The Tale of the Missing Egg (G) (Hoyts)

Philomena (M) Judi Dench delivers a note-perfect performance in a touching and often funny true story of grave injustice and a mother’s search for her son. (Nelson Bay Cinema Complex)

Pompeii (M) Set in the days leading up to the famous eruption of Mt Vesuvius, which destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii. Kit Harington stars as Milo, an enslaved gladiator, who must fight for his life in the arena every day.

Ride Along (M) Fast-talking security guard Ben joins his cop brother-in-law James on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying Angela, James’ sister.

Tracks (M) Mia Wasikowska stars as Robyn Davidson, who made a solo trek from Alice Springs to Uluru and the Indian Ocean.

Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters (M) Rose Hathaway is a half-human half-vampire. Stars Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky.

The Wind Rises. (PG) Japanese voice cast: Hideaki Anno, Miori Takimoto, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masahiko Nishimura, Stephen Alpert and Morio Kazama. (Event Cinemas Newcastle)

Wolf Creek 2 (MA 15+) The outback once more becomes a place of horror. (Hoyts)

The Wolf of Wall Street (R) Leonardo DiCaprio is the very picture of corporate recklessness and hard-partying lifestyle in this true story of greed and excess portrayed in grand, operatic, often darkly funny style. (Regal Cinema)

Less than one month remains to the seventh annual Sail Port Stephens, Australia’s fastest growing sailing regatta.

The event will kick off with a long weekend of racing on April 11, featuring three sailing events – the NSW IRC Championships and The Pantaenius Port Stephens Trophy from April 11 to 13, followed by the Pantaenius Commodores Cup from April 14 to 16.

“Whether you’re a skipper or crew member out on the water, or family or friends taking it all in from the many scenic vantage points, Port Stephens promises to deliver an exciting getaway with loads to do off the water, including coastal national parks, reserves, plenty of bushwalking, wildlife, marine life, beaches, restaurants, clubs and pubs,” said event co-ordinator Janelle Gardner.

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BEER REVIEW: Palate Wrecker

First, grasp your sledgehammer firmly in both hands. Stand beside the pallet and knock the two base planks off the bottom side.
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Oh, whoops, sorry, that’s how to be a pallet wrecker, not a palate wrecker. Forget all that stuff I just said.

Palate wrecker is a mighty hoppy ale from American craft brewing outfit Green Flash. Originally brewed in 2008 as a special release for a famous San Diego craft beer tavern, Palate Wrecker still bears the tavern’s name – “Hamilton’s” – on its label. It was such a huge hit when first released that the brewers decided to bottle it, and its following is now international.

Palate Wrecker is a double-brewed monster packed to the gills with pungent hops, hence the name. But Aussie hop-heads should not be afraid. If you’ve been used to some our own home-grown hop extravaganzas or, more to the point, some of the Kiwi taste-bud blasters, you will manage this one OK.

My PW poured a good clear gold, with a big pile of creamy froth on top that made filling the glass a bit of a challenge. I like that. The aroma was bitter and piney, as you’d expect from a beer with heavy hop pretensions.

The flavour is where it really gets you. It’s no smash in the teeth, but a multi-layered and super-interesting beer. You get a mellow floral hit, almost honeyed, that lifts off to give you a bit of cough drop, then a bitter, ragged edge that winds up reminding you of furniture polish. Or I did, anyway.

Palate Wrecker

Green Flash Brewing Co, USA, 9.5%

Typical price: $8 per 355ml bottle

Available: Georgetown Cellars, Warners at the Bay

Palate Wrecker, Green Flash Brewing Co, USA, 9.5%. Greg Ray beer review

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