Robot and Frank

WHILE Robot and Frank might feel like a filmaimed at our older generation, there is much to enjoy for anyone who mightoccasionally be frustrated by the cynical modern world.

The film allows a subtlebalance of laughs, romance and sadness with a quirky sci-fi twist.

Frank Langella plays Frank,a divorced senior living a life of solitude in rural New York. Between visitsand video calls from his children (James Marsden and Liv Tyler), who areconcerned for his seemingly deteriorating mental state, Frank spends his sparetime visiting the local library to flirt with the librarian (Susan Sarandon)and by shoplifting various soaps from the store which occupies the site of hisfavourite restaurant.

His little moments ofdefiance in the face of change establish earlier, none more so than when hisson arrives with a new robot caregiver.

As might be expected, Frankis none too thrilled with the prospect of a robot babysitter, in the form ofthe VGC-60L humanoid.

Langella is strong as thetitle character of Frank, coming across poignant as the surly ex-con who isbeginning to lose his memory.

The film’s supporting castplays in well to establish Frank’s present and past. Sarandon radiates analmost beautiful sadness as the lonely librarian in a changing world. Tyler andMarsden work well to portray the grown-up kids who do not have the time to lookafter their father and his worsening condition.

In a standout role, PeterSarsgaard bring a perfect sense of comedy and real life validation as the voiceof the robot, complete with enough dry wit to steal the scene on a number ofoccasions.

A clever subtext runsthroughout Robot and Frank, commenting on the loss of personality in thedigital age as well as the disposable nature of modern life.

As we come more to rely on technologyfor everything – from our reading material to aged care, we give rise to ageneration of privileged but purposeless people.

Robot and Frank highlightsthe fragility but also the value of a mind filled with life experience andskills.

Sadly, the film does notmove with ease, there are a number of long parts that don’t appear to resolvemuch in the end – but to its credit, Robot and Frank has a number of funnyscenes.

This time, the thrust ofthe film is not about the sci-fi technology, but instead Frank, his conditionand his relationships. Aside from a few problems, the script is smart and makesthe film worth a look.

Robot and Frank, Rated M, 3stars

Robot and Frank

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Nationals’ student support review will hurt local families

USING the cover of Christmas, the National Party has quietly announced it will review

student support, including the start-up scholarship, for low-income families if elected next


Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott said any move to reduce funding support for students

from regional communities would have a devastating impact on local families.

“The National Party’s Lyne candidate David Gillespie continues to deny the reality of inequity

that is at the core of disadvantage for regional students,” Mr Oakeshott said.

“Cutting start-up support to assist first-year university students from regional Australia is

just the latest example of this.

“When the National Party announces it will review all student income support, everyone

knows this is code for cuts, cuts and more cuts.

“Personally, I am offended for two reasons. First, the National Party continues to ignore and

deny the issue of inequity. Its policies to date – at secondary and tertiary education levels –

show the party does not recognise any problem at all for regional communities trying to

access better education. This is absolutely and fundamentally wrong, and goes against

everything a so-called regional political party should stand for.

“Second, I personally negotiated a better student support package with the Prime Minister in

the early days of this 43


Parliament. A record $265 million annual Youth Allowance

package was negotiated to help regional and local students break through the ‘glass ceiling’

of education opportunity. To see this now challenged is a direct slap in the face to the

many students who are currently benefiting from these new opportunities.

“Students need to look very closely at the National Party’s funding review announcement. It

is sneaky in its timing the week before Christmas, and it screams cuts to student support for

locals trying to get ahead in life,” Mr Oakeshott said.

Member for Lyne Rob Oakeshott is wary of the National Party’s student support plans.

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Esperance will suffer the same demise as the coastal towns 

DAVID PRICE of Esperance writes:

THE majority of Esperance’sresidents and ratepayers have obviouslysupported the replacementof the town’s natural beauty, clean healthyenvironment and ambience forthe ever-expanding port,its associatedinfrastructure and the pollution it creates.

I find it hard to accept that these same people are prepared toforgothefinancialbenefits that should flow from such asacrifice.

The installation of the naturalgas pipeline, the upgrade of ourrailway, the increased shipping andthe extra heavy vehicletraffichas not delivered any immediate financialbenefit to ourregions residentssuch as decreased costs intravel, transport,utilities (electricity, gas, water) shire rates, building constructionorthe price of fuel.

It is blatantly obvious, when a person can purchase fuel in Newdegatecheaper than in Esperance, that this government and its big business partnershave no intentionof reimbursing usfor some of the savings madepossible by the residents forfeiture.

It seems inevitable that Esperance will suffer the same demise asthecoastal towns of the north west unless its residents demandbigbusinessand their shareholderspay a smallfee forthedestruction they cause.

On the subject of fuel, it is of extreme concern that you canreceivea 4c a litre fuel discount at aColes/Shell fueloutletalthough Coles doesnot have a store in Esperance. To obtain a4c discount voucher you need to purchase alcohol from their bottleshop.

This could be construed as “if youdon’t drink alcohol youmust pay more for fuel”. Not a good look for a corporate citizen.

It makes more sense to legislate that if a supermarket/fuelchaindoes not have a store in the townthey cannot control a liquor outlet.

So if you are driving to Perth and want to send a message to the localchamber of commerce and industry,put enough fuel in your tank to get youto Newdegate and fill up there.

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Praise for pollie who sticks to her guns

THERE’Snot much to be gained by praising a politician.

Thisis best expressed by voters at the ballot box.

However,on occasions, it is worth handing out the


WhileI’m reluctant to single out any one MP, there’s an MLC that continues toimpress by being genuinely independent and making the right call at critical andduring controversial times.

Sheis not frightened to make a decision knowing it might not have majority supportin her electoral division.

MurchisonMLC Ruth Forrest showed again last week during a forestry debate why she isn’tone of the ‘‘dinosaurs’’ of the Legislative Council.

Butfirst I want to rewind the clock four or five years to the bitter Gunns pulp millfast-track legislation, to highlight her ability.

Atthe time, pressure was on MLCs to support proposed legislation to fast-trackthe project approval through Parliament after it was ripped out of the independentResource Planning and Development Commission.

Therewas a rotten stench about the whole affair, with senior public servants being ‘‘lenton’’, amid political nterference tofast-track the mill.

Then-Gunnsboss John Gay was saying every day the project was delayed it was costing hiscompany $1 million.

Thelegislation was passed but Ms Forrest, who is a strong supporter of the forestindustry, spoke out strongly about unresolvedissues with the project.

Shedid this knowing it risked accusations of her being anti-development in herpro-forestry electorate.

Butit was the fair and just thing to do.

Finally,Ms Forrest, during the crucial vote over the forest peace deal, was again lastweek among a minority of MLCs who made the right call when it counted, albeitbeing defeated by the majority.

MsForrest pleaded with MLCs to make a final decision on the legislation beforeChristmas instead of referring it to a select committee for a further three-monthreview.

Thedelay could threaten hundreds of millions of federal dollars flowing to Tasmania.

Thetime for more talk fests is over.

Again,Ms Forrest gets my vote.

Pip’s point of view

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Answer the petty accusations and queries

CARMEL McEWAN, Secretary, Esperance Community Fundraising Group, writes:

I WOULD like to answer the petty accusations and queries that hadappeared on Esperance Express Facebook page regarding the Esperance CommunityFund Raising Group role in the running of the Esperance markets.

We are the group that fundraised for CT Scanner that has helped manypeople of Esperance avoid travelling to Perth or Albany. We also donated moneyto the Esperance Hospital for the upgrade of the TVs that hospital patientsenjoy. We have had changes to the committee but the majority of the members arestill on the new committee.

When we finalised this project we looked for another project that wouldbenefit the residents of Esperance decided that an Eye Laser machine would beappropriate goal for us to undertake. We changed our name to the EsperanceCommunity Fundraising Group and once again commenced fundraising. With theassistance of the Shire of Esperance we were granted the running of themarkets. Ever since that time we have had innuendoes against our coordinatorJoyce Pearce.

We are an incorporated body, To the Pearces of stealing is to by defaultaccuse the eight members of this committee of the same crime.

Every person who has a stall is issued with a receipt (even if they saythey do not want one). We do not charge any fundraising group or buskers anyfees and actually would like more groups to hold stalls. We receive assistancefrom all the service clubs of Esperance plus businesses also donate to ourcause. Do you think that these people would donate to us if they thought wewere ‘cooking the books’? With their assistance and at their request we arealso purchasing an Afinion Analyser that tests for diabetes in children savingthem a trip to Perth for a five minute test. This should come on line shortly.

We have currently $100,635.17 in our account and in January the two eyelaser machines will be ordered and the transportable building that will housethese should be in Esperance. The third machine that we were fundraising for,we have been advised that the hospital has put this on hold as there is noqualified person in Esperance to operate the machine. We will then look foranother project for the Esperance Community.

To conclude, the Pearce family donate all telephone calls, fuel that isused shopping every fortnight for setting up our donut stall. Instead of snideremarks they should be getting bouquets.

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