The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - Stephen Romei Emily Ritchie Deb­o­rah Jones Graham Strahle Matthew West­wood SBJ

(MA15+) Amer­i­can Ul­tra be­longs to a cin­e­matic sub­genre that sounds like an oxy­moron: the stoner ac­tion film. Mike How­ell (Jesse Eisen­berg) is the last sur­vivor of a de­funct CIA pro­gram to cre­ate su­per agents. When the agent who cre­ated the pro­gram learns her re­place­ment has or­dered Mike elim­i­nated, she de­cides to save him by ac­ti­vat­ing his pro­gram­ming. Mike doesn’t sud­denly strip to a tight sin­glet to re­veal pumped bi­ceps: he re­mains a doo­fus, al­beit a deadly one. Yet for a while we won­der whether he is in fact an agent marked for death or if it’s the pot mak­ing him para­noid. Eisen­berg is con­vinc­ing as a young man who doesn’t trust his own mind.

A Walk in the Woods St Albans Writ­ers Fes­ti­val The Hawkes­bury River re­gion will celebrate Aus­tralian literature by host­ing the inau­gu­ral St Albans Writ­ers Fes­ti­val. Au­thors in­clud­ing Hugh Mackay, Jane Caro, The Aus­tralian’s Nikki Gem­mell and Michael Robotham will head­line the event, with a pro­gram of­fer­ing work­shops, film nights, read­ings in the pub and ghost sto­ries around the fire, all held in and around his­toric venues of the “for­got­ten val­ley”. In ad­di­tion, Stephen Luby, pro­ducer of The Se­cret River se­ries will speak about adapt­ing the book for the small screen. sec­tions in­volv­ing Emma Maye Gib­son and Michael Lewis. While it was orig­i­nally touted as a cri­tique of cur­rent arts pol­i­tics it is more per­sonal than that, look­ing into the heart of the artist. Belvoir St Theatre, Belvoir Street, Surry Hills. To­day, 2.15pm and 8.15pm. Tick­ets: $25-$68. Book­ings: (02) 9699 3444 or online. Un­til Septem­ber 20. when he does things that are in­ter­pre­ta­tively ques­tion­able, there is al­ways a won­der­ful pu­rity about his play­ing that sep­a­rates him from the rest. Lewis’s fourth na­tional tour with Musica Viva sees the English pi­anist at the height of his pow­ers in two late Beethoven sonatas and pieces by Brahms. His play­ing is full of in­sights and a lov­ing dis­til­la­tion of ideas. Lewis is one of the most stim­u­lat­ing pi­anists of his gen­er­a­tion. City Recital Hall, An­gel Place, Syd­ney. To­day, 2pm. Tick­ets: $30$104. Book­ings: 1800 688 482 or online. the dig­i­tal age. Paint­ing has this con­ver­sa­tion: that it has a death and a re­birth. I think it al­ways comes back.” Polo says he is in­ter­ested in the pres­ence of doubt and does not want to present the viewer with the cer­tainty of an­swers. Brett White­ley Stu­dio, 2 Raper Street, Surry Hills. Fri-Sun, 10am4pm. Ad­mis­sion free. In­quiries: (02) 9225 1881 or online. Ends to­mor­row.

Sa­lon des Re­fuses Edge. All six fi­nal­ists ap­pear in the ex­hi­bi­tion. Na­tional Por­trait Gallery, King Ed­ward Ter­race, Parkes, Can­berra. Daily, 9am-5pm. Ad­mis­sion free. In­quiries: (02) 6102 7000 or online. Un­til April next year.

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