Three Thousand Years of Longing (3000 Years of Longing) – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it might meander to the end, it shines when it delves into stories and vignettes of the past.    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Three Thousand Years of Longing the book.

Three Thousand Years of Longing Review

Few films have ever captured my soul quite like Mad Max Fury Road, a movie that changed and shaped my engagement with cinema. It made such an impact that when I heard that the team behind the film, including director George Miller, were back for another ride. Well, I had to check that out on the opening day.

So to set the scene, once upon a time when humans flew through the skies on metal wings while pulling stories out of the air on their glass pads. A Narratologist called Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) is making her annual trip from her gloomy home in England to a more exotic land in Istanbul to attend a conference of peers. But when she arrives, she starts to see things that are not quite right. Ignoring them as artifacts of her over-active imagination, she spends some time in Istanbul’s Grand Bazar, and she picks the one junk pile, in one of the rooms, in one of the thousands of shops and finds a glass jar whose life told a story. But she got more than what she wished for when in her hotel room, she decided to clean the jar up and inside was a powerful Djinn (Idris Elba) who gave her three wishes.   

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6 Festivals – Movie Review

TL;DR – A transcendent exploration of music, youth, and the times in our lives where the two powerfully intersect.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Paramount+ service that viewed this film.

Warning – contains scenes that may cause distress.

Utopia Valley, Central Coast, NSW, New Year's Eve.

6 Festivals Review

When people write stories about young people, they often look back to their own lives as inspiration. But there becomes a disconnect between setting something in the now based on a feeling from the past. This issue can lead to outdated films before they even make it to the screen. Well, today, we look at a movie that avoids those pitfalls by focusing on the very real and now.

So to set the scene, we open on a small rowboat in the middle of the river as three friends, James (Rory Potter), Maxie (Rasmus King), and Summer (Yasmin Honeychurch), drink wine out of a box and sing Powderfinger’s My Happiness. They are using the boat to sneak into the Utopia Valley music festival on the central coast of Australia’s New South Wales. But they are soon rumbled by the cops and have to do a quick fence jump to get in. The festival is a riot, right up until the cops catch up with them, and James is forced to reveal that he has cancer. Knowing that he can use his cancer as a good excuse, the three convince James’s mum Sue (Briony Williams), to take them to the Big Pineapple festival and more, as they try to hit six festivals in a row.     

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Bosch & Rockit – Movie Review

TL;DR – A delightful meditative film that explores two damaged lives trying to find their way, and it shines when the film focuses on that.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

Walking into the surf with the sun setting in the background.

Bosch & Rockit Review –

I am not sure why Coming-of-Age films capture you as well as they do. Every part of a person’s life should be as interesting as any other, yet there is something about these stories that always captures your attention. This is probably why we see many of these films throughout the year, but some connect better than others, and today we get to look at just such a film.

So to set the scene, we open in on the New South Wales coastline as a young boy Rockit (Rasmus King), is surfing barrels in the waves. While he is struggling with school and wanting to spend time surfing, his father Bosch (Luke Hemsworth) makes money selling weed farmed from his property in the hills. Things are going well until Bosch’s partner and local copper, Keith (Michael Sheasby), brings in a new boss Derek (Martin Sacks), who wants them to sell coke as well. This is bad, but before Bosch can work a way out of this mess, a bush fire crashes down the hill and leads the cops right to Bosch’s farm. Knowing he is rumbled by the police, both legitimate and dirty, Bosch grabs Rocket and goes on the run, or as he calls it, ‘a holiday’.

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Elvis – Movie Review

TL;DR – A film that is equal parts electric, chaotic, and uncomfortable       

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film

Elvis about to perform

Elvis Review –

If there is one genre that has exploded across the screen in recent years, it is the Biopic. Everyone from Aretha Franklin to the Sparkes Brothers and all in between being brought to life in a dramatic presentation or documentary. Given the strengths of these films, it was only a matter of time before someone would attempt to contextualise the life of the “King of Rock and Roll”. This would be no easy task given the life and death of Elvis and the legacy he has left in the world. Today we look at a film that might still be flawed in many ways, but it excels in capturing his energy and passion. 

So to set the scene, we open in the 1990s, and a frail Col. Tom Parker (Tom Hanks) wants us to know the story of Elvis (Chaydon Jay), well, the story that he wants to tell. From here, we jump back in time as Elvis (Austin Butler), a young boy who discovers the power of music and movement and who incorporates it into his world. As he grows older, his sound spreads around the south when Parker runs a travelling show. Watching one show, Parker knew the skinny kid in the pink suit would be a star, and he needed to get in on the ground floor before someone else grabbed his meal ticket.    

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Interceptor – Movie Review

TL;DR – A one-dimensional film that gives the narrative nowhere to hide, thus revealing its flaws at every stage.   

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix service that viewed this video.

A terrorist stares through a window in a door.

Interceptor Review

There are some films that you know were filmed in Australia without checking. It can be the supporting cast being filled with characters actors you have grown up with, or it could just be the specific energy the film gives off. Today, we look at just such a film, also one that might just have a significantly higher opinion on the ability to shoot down nuclear weapons than what is born out in reality.  

So to set the scene, we open with a military base under attack, a substantial military base because Fort Greely in Alaska is one of only two places where America can launch interceptors to shoot down nuclear weapon attacks from Russia. On the only other INTERCEPTOR base, the floating SBX-1, Captain JJ Collins (Elsa Pataky) is returning after a battle with the US Brass around sexual assault, which is when they discover that first that Greely has gone dark and then that Tavlinka, a nuclear facility in Russia, has been attacked and terrorists have stolen 16 nuclear weapons. Those weapons are now aimed at America, looking to take out 16 major cities like Los Angeles and Boston. JJ and the base commander Colonel Marshal  (Rhys Muldoon), began preparations to lock down the base when they discovered the hard way they had been infiltrated by the terrorist as well. Now JJ has to fight for her life to stop America from being attacked.                           

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How to Please a Woman – Movie Review

TL;DR – A story that explores a part of life that rarely gets to make it to the cinema, even if it does take some wild turns and does not quite come together in places.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

Swimming in the open ocean.

How to Please a Woman Review

I am not quite sure what I expected when I sat down to watch How to Please a Woman. I had not seen any of the trailers, and there was only the poster to go on that, at best, gives off a ‘Cougar Town after they worked out what Cougar Town was and regretted calling it Cougar Town’ energy. However, no matter what I would have thought, I am not sure I was ready for the wild turns this film takes.

So to set the scene, Gina (Sally Phillips) spends her mornings swimming in the ocean off the West Australian coast with her friends, which is the one part of her life that gives her purpose. Her marriage with Adrian (Cameron Daddo) is loveless, and her boss Gary (Ben Mortley), is more interested in his staff’s physical attributes than how good they are at their jobs. Knowing she is in a bad place, her friends buy her a stripper called Tom (Alexander England) for her birthday. They just didn’t realise that the ‘premium package’ meant they had actually paid for a prostitute and not a stripper. Not wanting to cheat on her husband, Gina takes his ‘I can do anything you want for two hours’ to instead clean her house, which is the point that she has an idea for a new business.

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The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson – Movie Review

TL;DR – A heart-wrenching look at life in Australia on the cusp of the 1900s and at issues that are just as relevant today.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Warning – This film depicts scenes of abuse

Disclosure – I paid to see this film

Sheep being headed across the plains

The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson Review

There are many touchstones in Australian literature that you must look at in school, and one of the big ones from the 1800s is Henry Lawson. One of their more famous works is that of The Drover’s Wife, a story of life on the ‘frontier’ in 1983. It is an interesting tale of survival against the elements, but it also glosses over many realities of the time. Today we are looking at a film that takes that central premise and then reinterprets the story from a different perspective.

So to set the scene, it is 1893, and high up in the Snowy Mountains, a lone mother, Molly Johnson (Leah Purcell), is watching over her home and four children while her husband is away droving sheep on the high plains. Her husband is away for months at a time, so she has to be resourceful, like when she takes out a wandering bullock that was about to attack her kids. But as she is cooking the meat, the new town Sergeant Klintoff (Sam Reid) and his wife Louisa (Jessica De Gouw) arrive destitute after losing it all in the river. Molly helps them and sends them on their way because they can take her kids to town, so she can give birth uninterrupted.

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Gold – Movie Review

TL;DR – Brutal, uncomfortable, and completely compelling.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Stan subscription that viewed this film

Gold. Image Credit: Stan.

Gold Review

When you are creating a film that wonders into the Survival genre, there are two very different ways you can engage your audience. The first is through shock, a sudden event or trauma like a bear attack. Or you can slowly pull everything away from people like a tide coming in or an approaching winter you are not ready for. Today we look at a film that explores the latter, but instead of the chill of winter, we get the brutal, unrelenting heat of the desert Sun.   

So to set the scene, some time, someplace, not far from now, a man is sitting in a train carriage boosting a ride in cargo. Man One (Zac Efron) has the clothes on his back and not much else as he walks out into the desert heat at Greenview Outpost. He is heading to the compound in the restricted Eastern Territories and gets a lift with Man Two (Anthony Hayes) through the inhospitable landscape. Man One goes off to take a leak after the car blows its radiator, which is when he spots something shiny in the desert, a gold nugget.

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The Best Australian Cinema in 2021

It was a fantastic 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.

This list will be looking more at the locally made Australian productions/co-productions and not just films filmed in Australia.

So without further ado, these are the best Australian Cinema in 2021. Be warned that there will be significant spoilers ahead for the films in question. Also, click on the banner/titles to go to the full reviews.  

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High Ground – Movie Review

TL;DR – A challenging and confronting film exploring a part of Australia’s history that we don’t like to talk about.     

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to see this film.

High Ground. Image Credit Madman Films.

High Ground Review

When I was growing up, every year at school we looked at the explorers that charted the coast, then the first fleet, finally the early penal colonies, and then we skip forward to Federation. At no time did we talk about the people who lived in the land before the colonists arrived, nor did we explore what happened to them as colonisation swept across the nation. The period known as the Frontier Wars was a bloody conflict about removing people from their land. In today’s review, we look at a film that explores this part of Australia’s history and all the ugliness that comes with it.

So to set the scene, in 1919 in Arnhem Land Australia, Gutjuk (Guruwuk Mununggurr) is being taught the dances of his people by his uncle Baywara (Mark Garrawurra) when they stumble across two men fleeing from troopers. They were accused of killing a cow, and they are allowed to stay the night, but then they must move on. However, before than can happen, the troopers arrive at the camp, but with a plan to discuss things peacefully. They were to move in as a group and announce their arrival. They brought the local priest Braddock (Ryan Corr) to help translate and if all went wrong the commander of the troop Travis (Simon Baker) was on the high ground overlooking the settlement and could fire down if needed. Well, that was the plan, but as Travis watches the group splits up, chooses to sneak up on the group, and ignore his command that only Travis can fire first. It is a recipe for disaster, and disaster is what occurs.

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