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.

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Movie Review – The Faceless Man

TL;DR – A film with some good ideas that is unfortunately bogged down some truly frustrating elements    

Score – 2 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene

The Faceless Man. Image Credit: Chapter 5 Studios.

Review

This is one of those films that is really difficult to review for a number of reasons. First I feel that I am far from the target audience also I am not an expert in Ozploitation sub-genre of horror films. However, while I might not be able to be as sophisticated in my critiques as usually, I’ll give it my best.

So to set the scene, we open in on Sophie (Sophie Thurling) as she sits in a hospital waiting for treatment for cancer. While she waits a man comes up to her, her father Harrison (Brendan Bacon) and it is clear from the first moment that their relationship is very estranged. Three-years-later and Sophie have beaten cancer enjoying a life of alcohol and drugs and living every moment. She, Kyle (Lucas Pittaway), Dave Eddison (Martin Astifo), Chad Blavinski (Sunny S. Walia), Brad Barns (Daniel Facciolo), and Nina Hancock (Lorin Kauffeld) head off into the countryside to Orange Lodge to have a quiet weekend only to find themselves in the crossroads of different warring parties.

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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.

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Movie Review – Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan

TL;DR – A powerful and deeply compelling film that explores a key moment in Australia’s military history and the cost it took.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a credit sequence and a mid-credit scene

Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan. Image Credit: Transmission Films.

Review

Australia has a long history of making truly excellent war films. From works such as the pivotal Gallipoli to Beneath Hill 60 to The Rats of Tobruk and many more. So walking in I knew that there was a level of quality that was going to be there no matter what. However, for me, I can either be drawn in fully to war film or I can bounce off it like Andy Dwyer off an ambulance, so there was still a little hesitation. But I should not have been concerned because this is some of the best of Australian cinema at the moment.  

So to set the scene, it is 1966 and it is the height of the Vietnam War, a Cold War proxy conflict between the USA and the Soviet Union played out in the context of a civil war between North and South Vietnam. The 1st Australian Task Force headed by Brigadier David Jackson (Richard Roxburgh) is set up in Nui Dat where they send patrols out into the local countryside. One night the camp is attacked by mortars and while the Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery were able to target them, the 1st Field Regiment, need to follow up the next day to find the source. Alpha Company didn’t find much, so part in punishment Harry Smith’s (Travis Fimmel) Delta Company was sent out to chase them down while a musical performance was happening back at camp. All was going well until at the rubber plantation at Long Tan the 11th Platoon of D Company came under heavy fire and it is soon discovered that this is not just a raiding party but a full battalion of the North Vietnamese Army heading their way, 100 men against and advance of 2000 and a monsoon is just about to hit.

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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.

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Movie Review – Busting Out The Bells (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – A film with the right heart, even if it does not all come together.      
Score – 3 out of 5 stars

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

Review

Watching a love one slide into dementia where they forget where they are and who they are is a heart-breaking process that I and many others have had to experience. Indeed it is a real shame that more films don’t explore this issue but today we get to look at some that have.

Busting out the Bells tells the story of when parents had to tell their young children Jason (James Bingham) and Kate (Amelia Kelly) that their Grandpa George (Phil Mackenzie) will not be staying with them this year because they have had to put him into a nursing home because he kept forgetting things and getting lost.

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

TL;DR – In some respects this is a very simple film, but it uses that premise to perfectly explore the building tension    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Review

There are a lot of things films can do, they can excite, they can astound, they can terrify, and the can crush. However, one of the key things they can do is let you walk in another person’s shoes for a time, which can lead to some really powerful moments.

The story of Birdie is, well it is less of a story and more of a premise. A woman (Maeve Dermody) is on her way to see a new apartment so she takes the train. This is the framework, but this is where the tension is introduced because as she arrives at the Redfern station there are a couple of guys lurking around. You can feel that tension as her personal security lowers each moment they are around. How she tries to find people to be near so she is not alone, you feel every moment of this trial.

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