Romance on the Menu – Movie Review

TL;DR – There are moments when this film comes together. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between.    

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Romance on the Menu. Image Credit: Netflix.

Romance on the Menu Review

Do long lost relatives ever give you a call to adventure in their wills, no you neither? Well, it does seem to be a ubiquitous plot point in films. Today we explore a movie that as fate would have it has that very set up, that takes our protagonist from the hustle and bustle of New York to the calm of Australia.

So to set the scene, Caroline (Cindy Busby) works as a professional chef running a kitchen of a fine dining restaurant. The one day she took off they had a food critic come and blast the food, so she spends all her time trying to make up for that. Caroline does not have any time for love because she is too busy. However, out of the blue, Caroline receives a letter from Australia, her late aunt had left Caroline her old café in Lemon Myrtle Cove. When Caroline arrives to look over the café to get it ready to sell, she makes a fool of herself in front of Simon Cook (Tim Ross) who is both her landlord and also the cook of The Seagull Café, and yes our love interest. Well, Caroline’s plan of finishing the sale as quickly as possible is put in jeopardy when no one will renovate the café to let her sell it, so she has to take drastic measures to keep to her timeline.     

Continue reading

Slim & I – Movie Review

TL;DR – A beautiful documentary looking back on the lives of  Slim Dusty and Joy McKean  

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Slim & I. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review –

Growing up in Australia, even if you might not know who Slim Dusty is or even if just the name rings a bell, you will still know a bunch of his songs, even if it is only through osmosis. Songs like A Pub With No Beer and Duncan sit in the pantheon of Australian music, and you probably started humming at least one of those tunes to yourself just with the mere mention of the name. However, I must confess that I didn’t really know much about his life beyond those touchstone moments and even less about Joy McKean, the I in Slim and I and the main focus of the documentary.  

The documentary follows a (mostly) chronological look at the lives of Joy McKean and Slim Dusty’s from their start in music through to today. We get to see them go on these gigantic Australia wide tours, raise a family on the road, and also write at least two albums a year which might be the most bonkers part of the entire process. Indeed, over their 50-year love story, they wrote at least 107 albums which is frankly ridiculous. They show this story with a mix of interviews with both Slim and Joy’s family but also with key members of Australia’s Country Music scene like Keith Urban, Missy Higgins and Kasey Chambers. As well as this, we get archive footage going back to the 60s, both professionally shot and also just from home cameras. There is such a varied amount of footage that someone had to be well ahead of the curve in adopting that technology and preserving it all these years.

Continue reading

Awards – The of Best of Australian Cinema in 2019

It was an amazing year for Australian Cinema, with each film I saw knocking it out of the park. There were intimate documentaries, films that held up a mirror to society, and those that brought the action to a new level. In this list, we will be looking more at the locally made Australian productions/co-productions and not films filmed in Australia.

So without further ado, these are the best of Australian Cinema in 2019. Be warned that there will be some big spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, click on the banner to go to the full reviews.  

Continue reading

Movie Review – The Australian Dream

TL;DR The Australian Dream is a film that I think every Australian should watch because it holds up a mirror to Australian society and we need to be ready for what it shows.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

The Australian Dream. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

I thought when I sat down to see The Australian Dream that I was ready for what I was going to see. I was a fool. This might be the most important film I have seen all year because it shines the light on an episode that many in Australia feel more than content to sweep under the rug because to do otherwise would mean confronting our history, our way of life, and our commitment to all Australians.

At its core The Australian Dream tells the story of Adam Goodes former Australian of the Year and one of the best Australian Rules Footballers (AFL) to have ever played the game. It is the story of his life, the highs and the lows. However, it is something more than that, it is using the biography to focus in on a problem Australia has had for the last two-hundred odd years and that is how it has dealt with its Indigenous people and well there is a reason that Indigenous Australians call Australia Day, Invasion Day.

Continue reading

TV Review – Les Norton: Wrongside

TL;DR – Continues one of the best Aussie pilots I have seen in a while by taking everything up a notch.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Les Norton: Wrongside. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

Last week I kind of stumbled upon a new gem in Australian TV with the show Les Norton that immediately stamped its presence in the media landscape. It was brash, it was funny, it also was a little absurd at times all while a friendly narrator (Angus Sampson) told us how bad poor old Les (Alexander Bertrand) was doing. However, getting out of the gate is one thing, but can you keep running the race, well that is a different question that we will try to find the answer today as we politely ignore why a horse racing metaphor is an apt description.

So to set the scene, in last week’s You Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids, Les inadvertently helped cover up the murder of a local brothel madam Doreen Bognor (Rebel Wilson) by filling up a foundation at a new handball court for his boss Price Galese (David Wenham). All well and good, well sorry no, just one small problem, local muscle and slightly off quilter bodyguard Eddie Salita (Justin Rosniak) accidentally dropped his boss’ keys, for his expensive car, in the concrete with all that incriminating evidence. Well at least nothing else can go wrong, but wait what is that strapped to the engine of Price’s car. From here we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there may be [SPOILERS] ahead.

Continue reading

TV Review – SeaChange: Paradise Reclaimed, Part 1

TL;DR – Twenty years is a long time and while it is good to be back in Pearl Bay, some of the characters dragged us back to the 20th century.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

SeaChange: Paradise Reclaimed. Image Credit: Channel 9.

Review

Let me take you back in time, a whole twenty years ago, which seems a lifetime now that I think about it. It was a quieter time in life, we had not yet dealt with either the millennium or even the Willennium yet. However, down here in Australia everyone and their mum’s was riveted by the story of the lost magistrate and her Diver Dan. A lot has changed in those preceding years, both in the real world, and the fictional one of the show, and it will be interesting to see if lighting can hit twice again.

So to set the scene, we open in with Laura Gibson (Sigrid Thornton) who is volunteering somewhere in Africa and not getting along with everyone, or anyone. She is throwing herself into her work to kind of distract herself for the fact that her marriage is tenuous at best, her daughter is in and out of trouble and that her career is not really going anywhere. After upsetting enough people the aid agency firers her and has her visa cancelled so she is forced to fly back to Australia to get it sorted out. With some time to kill, she decides to come back to Pearl Bay to visit her other daughter Miranda (Brooke Satchwell) who still lives there. Only to find out a lot has changed, such as her house got washed away.

Continue reading

TV Review – Les Norton: You Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids

TL;DR – This is one of those Australian TV shows that makes you sit back and marvel as to how it all works, cause it works really well.  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Les Norton: You Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

There are many reasons to go sit down, turn on the TV, and watch something It could be your favourite show that you make time for each week, it could be you are bored and there is nothing else to do, or it could just be that you have heard good things about something and you need to go check it out for yourself. Today we review a show that falls into the latter column, though if this first episode is anything to go by, it might find its way into the first real soon.

So to set the scene, Les Norton (Alexander Bertrand) is a country boy from Dirranbandi in south-west Queensland. He’s hopped a ride down to the big smoke in Sydney to try out for some of the local footy teams. It is his first night in King’s Cross, so he takes some night work as a bouncer at a local club to pay his way. Which is where he meets his guide and new friend Billy Dunne (Hunter Page-Lochard). The first 22 minutes of his shift is boring, but we come in at minute 23 and the fists start flying. The head of the club Price Galese (David Wenham) likes what he sees and brings him into the fold and Les discovers a world hidden out of sight, protected by the powerful, and who run on very different rules where discretion is key.

Continue reading

Movie Review – Djali (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – A poignant look at what rock bottom feels like  

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Review

Today we continue our dive into the 2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition by exploring a short film from one of Australia’s up and coming actors Hunter Page-Lochard. Here we look at what life is like when you hit rock bottom and that moment where you realise that you need to climb up.

Djali looks at the life of Johnny (Hunter Page-Lochard) who is an inspiring dancer and really good at it until he received an injury to his leg. However, this is just the first in many setbacks as we see him hiding in a dark room reminiscing about the past. Only for his brother Harry (Rhimi Johnson Page) to come and try and shake him out of his funk.

Continue reading

TV Review – Robbie Hood: Season 1

TL;DR – This the best reimagining of Robin Hood I have seen in years, take what works of the traditional story and reinterpreting it into the Australian context.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Robbie Hood. Image Credit: SBS.

Review

Robin Hood is one of those characters that you see a lot of in media because he is one of the few safe completely public domain characters that most people know about. We have had every type of adaptation of his story, from the faithful, to big action set piece films like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, to the farcical like Robin Hood: Men in Tights, to the forgettable, I mean we ever got a version from Disney where they were all animals. However, while there have been a lot of versions of the story, they have all followed pretty much the same formula with nothing of any real worth to the adaptations, well that is until now.  

So to set the scene, Robbie (Pedrea Jackson) is 13 and a is thief, he lives in Alice Springs and Alice Springs is a dump, well he uses a different word, but we will go with dump. He lives with his Nana Mary’s (Audrey Martin) house after his mother died and his Dad (Andy Golledge) never really recovered. Robbie might be a thief, but he always has the best intentions at heart as he goes around Alice Springs with his friends Little Johnny (Levi Thomas) and Georgia Blue (Jordan Johnson).

Continue reading

Movie Review – Top End Wedding

TL;DR – Joyous, Funny, Beautiful, and Moving.     

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Top End Wedding. Image Credit: Universal.

Review

As a guy, it might not be kosher, but I love a good romantic comedy, one that you can sit back, laugh, but also be moved by the characters. However, this is a genre that has kind of been on the backburner in recent years with only Crazy Rich Asians being the one to come to mind when I think of good works to draw from. Today, thankfully, I get to add another film to this list with the joy that is Top End Wedding.

So to set the scene, we open in on a couple living in Adelaide who are both having very important days. Lauren (Miranda Tapsell) is having her first major client meeting and if it goes well she will get a promotion for the firm she works in under Hampton (Kerry Fox) who is often referred to a Cruella. Meanwhile, Ned (Gwilym Lee) is trying to live up to his father’s memory in the courtroom but finds the job difficult because he has no passion for it. Well, Ned decides to quit his job and proposes to Lauren, the only catch is that Hampton will only give Lauren 10 days off for the wedding, as in the next 10 days, and Lauren has always dreamed of having her wedding in Darwin where she is from. While this should be easy to put together, things take a turn when she arrives home to find her father Trevor (Huw Higginson) and mother Daffy (Ursula Yovich) had recently separated and no one knows where her mother is.

Continue reading