Movie Review – Take Home Pay

TL;DR – A look at what happens when the competing interests of money and family collide

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

Take Home Pay. Image Credit: M2S1 Films.

Review

Today we get to dive back into the world of Pasifika Cinema as we explore a film that takes on themes like tradition v modernity, brother v brother, money v family, and honour v fun. However, all of this is tempered by a comedic style that is unique to this part of the world and a heart that just shines.

So to set the scene, Popo (Ronnie Taulafo) and Alama (Vito Vito) are brothers living in rural Samoa working for their father planting, harvesting, and selling taro. Alama dreams of ways to make things easier for his family, even if it does not always go right, and Popo just dreams of getting out of the country. Well that opportunity arrives when they need labourers in New Zealand and both Alama and Popo get the chance to earn some more money for home. They spend their days picking kiwifruit and all is going well until the day they have to leave and Popo runs off, with both his and all of Alama’s money.

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Movie Review – The Breaker Upperers

TL;DR – At times hilarious, at times incredible farcical, and at times a deeply moving look at the trials of friendship.

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

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

The Breaker Upperers. Image Credit: Piki Films/Madman.

Review

For a long time, there has been this growing bubble of particular dry absurdist comedy coming out of New Zealand. You see it in the work of Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, Bret McKenzie, Rhys Darby, Rachel House, and also some of Peter Jackson’s early films. These are films that mix comedy and emotional understanding in equal measures. Whenever one of these movies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople (see review) or Hibiscus & Ruthless (see review) make it across the ditch I always really look forward to seeing it. Well, today we get the chance to look at a new entry into this wonderful genre The Breaker Upperers, from the comedic team of Madeleine Sami and Jackie van Beek.

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Movie Review – Hibiscus and Ruthless

TL;DR – A beautiful, funny film of charting family expectations

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit sequence as the credits roll

Hibiscus & Ruthless. Image Credit: M2S1 Films.

Review

Families are complicated’, I think that is a phrase that just about anyone in the world can relate to. There is pressure to conform to your parents wants, and there is pressure to try and help the next generation succeed more than you did, and sometimes those two drives crash into each other in explosive fashion. Today we will be looking at a film that deals with just this very issue, as we explore this fascinating film from New Zealand from the same creative team behind Three Wise Cousins (see review). There will be laughter, there will be tears, and there will be bread rolls on people’s heads for some reason.

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Movie Review – Moana

TL;DR – A beautiful film from the animation, to the story, to the characters, a must watch this holiday season

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

P.S. There is an after credits scene

Moana. Image Credit: Disney.

Review

Moana is a powerful story which is brilliantly animated, wonderfully acted and tells a great story. All of that would have been enough for me to recommend it to you, but on top of this Disney took a big risk in telling a story from Polynesia a place that rarely gets a look in this modern media landscape yet it is full of fascinating stories. I highly recommend you check Moana out at the movies if you can.

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Movie Review – Mercenary (Mercenaire)

TL;DR – A powerful story of exploitation, honour, family and what it means to be free and does it come with a price

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Mercenary (Mercenaire). Image Credit: Ad Vitam.

Review – Recently I was able to go along to the Pasifika Film Festival here in Brisbane put on by Event Cinemas, the NRL, Screen NSW and West Sydney University. It was a really interesting insight into Pacific culture and stories, the universal medium of expression. There was a selection of fascinating films from right across the Pacific and I was able to so see the amazing Mercenary of which we will be talking about today.

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Movie Review – Three Wise Cousins

TL;DR – It is a film that treads over very familiar ground, the ‘fish out of water’ scenario, however, it has a sense of humour and identity that elevates it above many of its contemporaries.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Three Wise Cousins. Image Credit: Madman.

Review

This is an interesting little film, I didn’t really know anything about it going in and had not seen a single trailer, so I was intrigued to see how it would end up. Three Wise Cousins tells the story of Adam (Neil Amituanai) who lives in suburban Auckland with his parents and is doing pretty much nothing other than playing his PlayStation and sleep. One day he stumbles across the woman of his dreams Mary (Gloria Ofa Blake) and overhears that she is only interested in island boys. So Adam decides to drop everything and visit his cousins Tavita (Fesuiai Viliamu) and Mose (Vito Vito) in Samoa to learn how to be an island boy so he can impress Mary. Of course, once Adam gets there he finds out it is more than he bargained on as Mose and Tavita play a kind of good cop, bad cop, to get Adam to … well then that is the crux of the film so I won’t spoil it here.

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