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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Downton Abbey: A New Era – Movie Review

TL;DR – While it does suffer from pacing issues when it finds its grove, it becomes a true delight    

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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

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

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey: A New Era Review

As we said back in our review of the first Downton Abbey film, I have never watched any of the TV Show that is the basis for these films. It was a pop-culture phenomenon, so even without watching, you picked up things like one character’s untimely death via car crash after visiting his newborn son. With that in mind, I am approaching these films and these reviews as someone who has not seen the supporting show and thus present how it works or does not work for those who have not watched the show.

So to set the scene, we open with a wedding as Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and Lucy (Tuppence Middleton) as the whole family comes to share in the nuptials. However, as they return to Downton, Robert Crawley, 7th Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) and his daughter Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery) are called into a meeting with Violet Crawley, The Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) and her lawyer. For you see, Violet has inherited a villa in the south of France in a surprising and disputed way. Half the household makes the trip down south to work this all out. Meanwhile, those who stayed back at the Abbey must contend with the mansion being used as a location site for a film. It is a big imposition, but the appearance of Guy Dexter (Dominic West) and enough money to fix the roof help ease the pain.

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RRR – Movie Review

TL;DR – This is a film that is a slow burn right up to the point that it goes from 0 to 1000km in a second and does not stop for its entire runtime.    

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid to watch this film

RRR. Image Credit: DVV Entertainment.

RRR Review

In 2020, I started dipping my toes into the mammoth that is Indian Cinema. However, as the pandemic erupted, that was one area that slipped away. Now that things are sort of coming back to normal, it is time to begin this chapter again, and what a film to start on.

So to set the scene, in Adilabad forest, the Governor of India Scott Buxton (Ray Stevenson) has been out hunting. In contrast, his wife Catherine Buxton (Alison Doody) has the whole village on a show for her entertainment. As the village looks on, the young Malli (Twinkle Sharma) sings while painting on her hand. The governor throws Malli’s mother (Ahmareen Anjum) some coins that she things were for the song, but they were to buy her daughter. The tribe is distraught at the crime and calls on their protector Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.), to travel to Delhi and rip it apart to get the girl back. Hearing that Bheem is on the way and not knowing who they are, the colonial police force gets Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) to hunt him down before he can succeed.    

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Belfast – Movie Review

TL;DR – A delightful film that has the ability to surprise you with its emotional content, even when you know it is coming.    

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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

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

Belfast. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Belfast Review

When I trace my lineage back in time, half of me comes from Ireland and the other half from England, which makes any film set in Northern Ireland this odd combination of interests and concern. I honestly did not know what to expect when I walked into the cinema, which was for the best as I got sucked into this narrative and world.

So to set the scene, on the 15th of August 1969, it was a quiet day in the suburbs of Belfast. Ma (Caitríona Balfe) calls out across the street for Buddy (Jude Hill) that it is time to come home for dinner. As the request gets passed up the road, Buddy comes galloping home only to crash into a riot in progress. As the violence increases, a barricade is put up on the street, and Pa (Jamie Dornan) comes rushing home from overseas because soon, the family will have to make some hard choices.   

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The Great: Season 2 – TV Review

TL;DR – There is an absurd chaos on display from start to finish.  

Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Great: Season 2. Image Credit: Stan.

The Great Review

There is something so odd watching something proposing to be one thing but is another. There is a level of tonal dissonance that can take you out of the experience if there is not a deft hand on show. Today we look at a show that dances through history while ignoring actual events for a more engaging story.

So to set the scene, at the end of Season One, Catherine (Elle Fanning) finally made her move on Peter (Nicholas Hoult) with the help of her advisors Orlo (Sacha Dhawan) and Velementov (Douglas Hodge). Catherine had to sacrifice her lover to take the crown, but her love for Russia overtook her personal desires. However, Peter still has some support at court and weeks in. He still controls part of the Palace even though he is now surrounded. Time is short, and the one constant is everyone around Peter and Catherine has made it clear, they need to kill the other. Now from here, we will be looking at the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Shadow In The Cloud – Movie Review

TL;DR – Conceptionally, this is an interesting film, but I am not sure it makes the leap from concept to the final film.     

Rating: 3 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this movie.

Shadow In The Cloud. Image Credit: Roadshow Films.

Shadow In The Cloud Review

Well, today, we look at a film that is clearly swinging for the fences in what it wants to do. It’s a wild ride, like anything experimental, but like some experiments, it doesn’t quite work in places.  

So to set the scene, we open in World War 2 with a short cartoon reminding everyone that there is no such thing as gremlins, and only airmen can stop disasters in the sky. At an Allied Airbase in Auckland, a B-17 bomber called The Fool’s Errand is waiting to take transistors to Apia, Samoa. However, just before they take off, Flying Officer Maude Garrett (Chloë Grace Moretz) arrives with a broken arm, a mysterious package, and secrecy orders. The crew is quite miffed about the change of plans, but they relent, and the plane takes off, with Maude in the Sperry Ball turret on the bottom of the aircraft. Her goal is working until they see some Japanese planes and a creature crawling on the wing.  

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News of the World – Movie Review

TL;DR – A compelling ride through the 1890s with a man trying to his best in difficult circumstances    

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Disclosure – I paid for the Netflix subscription that viewed this film.

News of the World. Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

News of the World Review

There are few actors around that you know going in will always give their best performance no matter what film they are in. One of those few is Tom Hanks who gives his all even in movies that are not that great. Today we get to explore a film that puts him right in the centre of a world going through a difficult transition.

So to set the scene, we open in Wichita Falls, North Texas, 1870, on a cold a rainy night. Here we find a Captain Kidd (Tom Hanks) speaking with the fine folks of the town. They are cut off from most of society, so he lets everyone know the news of the time, like a local fever going around or river crossings being cut, for a fee of 10c. On the way to the next town he stumbles across a black man who had been lynched, and the young girl Johanna (Helena Zengel) who he was carrying. She had been taken in a raid by the ‘Indians’, and she had been brought back to what was left of her family. When some Cavalry riders arrive, we discover that Captain Kidd served with the Confederate Army in the Civil War. They tell him to take the girl to the next town, but things are never as easy as that.

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True History of the Kelly Gang – Movie Review

TL;DR – A visually stunning film that unfortunately left me feeling hollow at the

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Warning – Contains significant strobe lighting

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

Awards

Nominated: Best Australian Film

True History of the Kelly Gang. Image Credit: Stan.

True History of the Kelly Gang Review

Well, there are many aspects of Australian life I just don’t get, and one of those is the veneration of Ned Kelly. But then it does have the distinction of being the subject of the first feature film ever made. Today we look at a movie that explores the life of Ned Kelly, the true story of the bushranger … well maybe not the whole truth …or even a little bit of it.

So to set the scene, in 1867 Australia, and a young Ned Kelly (Orlando Schwerdt) is trying to find his place in a rural world with no education and a mother Ellen (Essie Davis) with an ‘interesting’ view of raising children. She sells the boy to  Harry Power (Russell Crowe) a bushranger who introduces the boy to the violent world, including shooting Sergeant O’Neill (Charlie Hunnam) a member of the constabulary. After spending time in jail and away from his family Ned (George MacKay) returns home and gets brought back into the world he once escaped.

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The Black Emperor of Broadway – Movie Review

TL;DR – A look at a revolutionary figure in Broadway’s past and the layers of oppression he had to go through to get where he did.     

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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

Warning – Extensive use of blackface

The Black Emperor of Broadway. Image Credit: Vision Films.

Review

If there is one large blind spot in my art history, it is Broadway. I didn’t come from a musical theatre background, so any introduction to this world is welcome. Today we look at a film that explores this through the life of Charles Sidney Gilpin one of its first Black stars. I should say that before we dive in as a bit of a warning that this is a film very much set in the 1920s and the language and depictions used in the movie are consistent with that time which may be difficult for some viewers.

So to set the scene, Charles Sidney Gilpin (Shaun Parkes) is working in a blackface minstrel show that goes around entertaining white people at parties. He hates the work and tries to get a job a legitimate actor which is difficult in a time when few roles are written for black men, and white people in blackface perform most of them. That chance finally comes when noted play write Eugene O’Neill (John Hensley) writes his newest play The Emperor Jones about a leader of Haiti and he wants Charles for the role.

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How Well Did They Create Ethiopia in Civilization VI?

TL;DR – So how well does Civilization 6 capture Ethiopia with its new entry? It’s raining faith Halleluiah, its rain faith, amen

Review –

With the drip-feed of content coming out of Civilization VI’s New Frontier pack we have already gotten a look at the Maya, Gran Colombia, and now Ethiopia. Given that Ethiopia is the first of these civilizations that has grabbed me, I thought it best to sit down and have a look at just how well they have implemented it in-game. After that, we will also spend a little bit of time looking at the other additions to the game. But to refresh ourselves, let’s take a look at Ethiopia’s bonuses.

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