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

Escape From Pretoria – Movie Review

TL;DR – A exploration of tension when one wrong step can be fatal.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Escape From Pretoria. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

One of the things I like the most about cinema is when they let me know of stories that I have previously been unaware of. As well as this, I have seen a lot of prison break films in my time, some fictional, some real, some ‘we think this is how they did it’, and I have always found them fascinating. Well, today we get to explore both of these with Escape From Pretoria.

So to set the scene, we open in the heart of apartheid South Africa with accrual footage of the time. It is here where we are introduced to Tim Jenkin (Daniel Radcliffe) and Stephen Lee (Daniel Webber) who work setting up leaflet bombs for the African National Congress or ANC. One day after a successful campaign, they are captured by the police and sentenced to twelve and eight years in the all-white political prisoner’s prison in Pretoria. While in Pretoria jail they meet Denis Goldberg (Ian Hart) who was put on trial with Nelson Mandela and fellow prisoner Leonard Fontaine (Mark Leonard Winter). They dream of escaping, but how do you do that when you are locked behind several feet of steel?    

Continue reading

Movie Review – Babyteeth

TL;DR – This is a film that is both funny and deeply sad, immediately captivating yet also uncomfortable to watch, full complete yet broken characters    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

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

Babyteeth. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

When I walked in to see Babyteeth, I had no idea I was walking into. Sure, from the wigs I assumed it had something to do with cancer, it also had Ben Mendelsohn, so at the very least I was going to be entertained by that. However, nothing could prepare me for the emotional roller coaster that I would be taken on from start to finish.

So to set the scene, Milla (Eliza Scanlen) is preparing for her last day at school for a while as soon she would be starting chemotherapy as her cancer had returned. While she is waiting to get on the train, someone crashes into her from behind. Moses (Toby Wallace) had just been kicked out of home due to his drug addiction. They run off to get her hair cut, and Milla brings him home to meet her parents Henry (Ben Mendelsohn) and Anna (Essie Davis). It goes about as well as you expect it would.

I do feel that I have to preface my review with the note that moments in this film are painful to watch. So difficult that you want to turn away from the screen because the pain is too raw to bear. I say this because I feel people are going to come away with very different feelings about this film, and I wanted to give a little forewarning before we dived into the review proper. 

Continue reading

Movie Review – The Invisible Man (2020 film)

TL;DR – A film filled with amazing acting, and technical brilliance, however it was one of the most difficult films I have reviewed due to the issues of abuse that it explores.

Score – I am honestly not sure what to score to give this film

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene that I saw

Warning – Depicts scenes of abuse

The Invisible Man (2020 film). Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Review

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon Upgrade and thus discovered the wonderful work of Leigh Whannell. Since then, I have been waiting to catch his next film, so I was really excited to get the invite to see The Invisible Man. This was also a film that was going to reframe an old classic monster film and bring it into the modern age, which also intrigued me because that is my jam. However, while watching the film, I found myself feeling very conflicted with the subject material. All of this left me very unsettled in a way that I have spent the past two weeks wondering if the film approached it in an appropriate way or not.  

So to set the scene, we open in on a mansion on the top of a cliff, waves crash against the rocks on a cold winters night as we zoom in on the isolated house. In the house, there is a couple asleep in a bed, Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) and Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen), but only one of them is actually asleep. We watch as Cecilia slowly slips out of the bed, at first you think it is just that she does not want to disturb Adrian, but soon you discover there is something more to it than that. In fact, she is leaving him in the middle of the night, the only time she could, which means that when every sound could be her undoing. The moment she grabs her hidden go bag you immediately understand why she is leaving. As she escapes over the high walls of the house everything starts to get better, that is until things start moving in rooms that should be empty.

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 – Fragmentary

TL;DR – A look at the effects of death and trauma, that then gets weird.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

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

Fragmentary. Image Credit: We're The Weirdos Productions.

Review

One of the things I think people have a hard time comprehending is the lasting impact of trauma and what it does to a person. The impacts that reaching into the past, present, and future. Today we look at a film that explores that reality and the effect it can have and how people can be real asses about it.

So to set the scene, Ben (Jace Pickard) and Allison (Debbie Neilson) are living their lives, exploring the potential names for their coming baby, when there is a crash of glass outside. Ben goes outside to see what caused it when Allison noticed the fridge door has been left open, but no one has been in the fridge. When they get back inside the power goes out and when they flip the fuse back on the attack happens. Two years later, Ben has finally started a new relationship when he is meeting the parents and drinks wine for the first time in two years and blacks out, but where did he go when he blacked out?    

Continue reading

TV Review – Total Control: Episode 1

TL;DR – This is one of the strongest opening hours of TV I have seen in years, with the first few minutes affecting me in ways I was not ready for.  

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

Total Control: Episode 1. Image Credit: ABC TV.

Review

A pilot episode of television has a lot it has to do. It has to set the tone, explain the setting, introduce you to the main characters, and find the drive for the whole season. I have seen a lot of TV show pilots in my time and even shows that are fantastic can fumble parts of this very important introduction. Well, today I look at a show that nails every single element in its 50 minutes run time.

So to set the scene, we open in on a tragedy where Alex Irving (Deborah Mailman) is thrust into the national spotlight after a video goes viral. Alex shuns all media request for interviews but she has caught the eye of someone important. Soon there is a knock at the door and Jonathan (Harry Richardson) who works for the Federal Government arrives at Alex and her mother Jan’s (Trisha Morton-Thomas) house in Winton in country Queensland. He is there with an offer for Alex to take over the seat of a Senator that has just died. She declines, saying that if Prime Minister Rachel Anderson (Rachel Griffiths) wants her to be a senator then she can come and ask herself, which is exactly what she does. For here we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.  

Continue reading

TV Review – Les Norton: Season One

TL;DR – Was one of the more interesting shows I have seen on Australian TV by being both a throwback to the past and also something a little new 

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Les Norton. Image Credit: ABC.

Review

We took a look back at Les Norton’s first episode You Wouldn’t Be Dead For Quids, back when it first came out. Well, the first season has just finished so I wanted to take a moment to look back at the show and how well it did as a whole. A show about the 1980s, finding yourself in over your head, and also just about the most aggressively Australian TV show I have seen in a very long while.

So to set the scene, Les Norton (Alexander Bertrand) is a country boy from Dirranbandi in south-west Queensland. He’s had to skip town after an incident where a rival teammate was left fighting for his life with a head injury and he needed to disappear before there was a riot. He needed to find some work to get through his time in Sydney which is where he meets his guide and new friend Billy Dunne (Hunter Page-Lochard) working as a doorman at a local club in Kings Cross. 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 – Sequin in a Blue Room

TL;DR – A film about wanting to grow up but when you are not mature as you think you are to navigate your way through it.    

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Warning – There is extensive use of Strobe Lighting.

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

Sequin in a Blue Room. Image Credit: AFTRS.

Review

Today we review a very interesting film from a first time future director, which you would not know was his first feature unless you were told because it is at a much higher standard than you would expect. It explores coming of age in a realm of digital technologies that can bring people into certain worlds well before they are ready. It is a film that hits many emotions from joy to dark foreboding as it goes on.

So to set the scene, Sequin (Conor Leach) is a 16-year-old that spends his days in school and at night he uses an anonymous hook-up-app to meet up with men. While his dad (Jeremy Lindsay Taylor) is supportive he does not know the full extent of what is going on. All of this lead to potential disaster when one of his hookups B (Ed Wightman) leads him into a world he is not ready for and then it all spirals out from there.

Continue reading

TV Review – Carpark Clubbing

TL;DR – This might be the most joyous, charming, and a little bit absurd series I have seen in a very long time.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Carpark Clubbing. Image Credit: ABC.

Review

Comedy is one of those genres that is so difficult to get right. Sure it is not hard to make people laugh uncomfortably at gross-out jokes and the like. But for something to be truly funny you have to care about the characters involved. This is how shows like Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place, Parks and Rec, and Futurama (to name but a few) work. Today I get to look at a show that did all of that and more, but it did it in only 8 minutes.

So to set the scene, we open in Western Sydney in a carpark of the local doughnut stand Double Dee’s. Bonita (Monica Kumar) and her friends are getting ready to go out to the city when a mixup at the shop leaves her doughnuts with Sokhey (Sophea Op). Hoping on over to her car to sort it all out she gets left behind by her friends and decides to wait there while her Uber is coming. Which is the point when Nashrah (Tasnim Hossain) gets kicked out of her learner driver lesson and then there was three.

Continue reading