TL;DR – A film that will make you laugh and cry in equal measure, that brings a profoundly Australian feel to a coming-of-age story set in the simple stunning Pilbara.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There are photos during the start of the credits
Disclosure – I paid to see this film
Sweet As Review –
One of the best things about film festivals is finding gems you have not heard about. Today we see just such a film that I caught at the closing gala of The Brisbane International Film Festival. A film about finding yourself along the coast of Western Australia.
So to set the scene, Murra (Shantae Barnes-Cowan) lives with her mother, Grace (Ngaire Pigram), in a mining town on the Western Australian coastline. Murra has to mainly look after herself as her mum struggles with addiction relapses, which comes to a head when someone from one of Grace’s parties tries to break into Murra’s room one night. Calling in on her uncle Ian (Mark Coles Smith), he realises that there are very few options for her left. Using his connections as a cop, Ian gets Murra into a photography program for at-risk kids run by Mitch (Tasma Walton) and Fernando (Carlos Sanson Jr.). The program was designed as a way to help, maybe even a last chance, for Murra and the three other campers, Elvis (Pedrea Jackson), Kylie (Mikayla Levy), and Sean (Andrew Wallace) it could well be.
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
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.
TL;DR – Mystery Road is a mystery ‘who done it’ where every reveal has weight and you have to watch every episode just to see what happened next.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Australian TV is kind of going through a period of uncertainty, how does it adapt to a changing global marketplace where streaming services are the new norm, or to governments that do not feel like supporting the arts is a good thing any more. Indeed, when you look at the list of currently running drama series in Australia it is almost anaemic compared to even ten years ago. Within this world, it is an unfortunate reality that you have to make each chance count, and with today’s Mystery Road we have a show that does just that. Now before we move onto the review proper just a couple of points. Firstly, this is based off a series of films created by Ivan Sen that I have unfortunately not seen, however, if you are like me in this regard, don’t worry because anything you do need to know about them is told in the show so you are not missing out. As well as this, we will be looking at the series as a whole so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead, but we will leave discussions about the final episode to a paragraph all to itself so you can skip that if you don’t want to find out the conclusion.
So Season Two of Cleverman has come, hit us hard, and it’s now over. So we have had some time to think back and contemplate on the overarching themes for the season and how it worked, which is what we are going to do today. So today with our review we will look at how Season Two improved on Season One, look at the central themes and characters, and finally conclude on the importance of Cleverman. Before we start, just a warning that we will be talking about the season as a whole, so there will be [SPOILERS]. Also, this will be looking more broadly at the season, if you what to look at individual episodes, then you can look at our reviews here: Revival, Bindawu, Dark Clouds, Muya, Skin & Borrowed Time.
TL;DR – Indeed everyone is on Borrowed Time, as choices come to a head in the season finale
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
So we’ve reached the end of Season Two with the final episode Borrowed Time, and after five weeks of everyone making mistakes, tonight it all comes to a head. At the end of last week’s Skin (review) we had that shocking moment when Charlotte (Frances O’Connor) defending herself and her baby put a scalpel right into Slade’s (Iain Glen) neck, though we didn’t see him die. Now there is one thing you need to know about TV, and that is they are not dead until we see the body, and even then everything is up for grabs. Well, first up tonight not only do we find out, yep he’s dead, but we also find out that he ended up going nowhere in the end, because (and I had forgotten this) he got caught up in the blue wave at the end of Season One. That was a really powerful opener but Borrowed Time doesn’t stop there, and a reminder as we will be talking about the episode as a whole, there are [SPOILERS] ahead. Continue reading →
TL;DR – Today we find out that there are consequences for actions and what happens when you push things too far.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
So we have reached the penultimate episode of Cleverman’s sophomore season and we are starting to get a glimpse of the end game and how it presumes things are about to get significantly worse. So at the end of last week’s Muya (review), things reached a head and finally Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard) stood up to take the mantle of cleverman and you can tell he’s serious because he unlocked his superhero costume, and you only earn the superhero costume when things are about to get real. However, at the end of last week we find many of our characters are in precarious places, Nerida (Jada Alberts) has lost the two girls under her protection, Charlotte (Frances O’Connor) has been kidnapped by Jarli (Clarence Ryan) and her future is still far from being safe, and Alinta (Tamala Shelton) is now trapped in her father Waruu’s (Rob Collins) house, which should be the safest place in the world for her, yet somehow we can’t feel like it is. Now we will be discussing the episode in depth so there may be some [SPOILERS] moving forward. Continue reading →
TL;DR – Relationships and repaired and torn, and for some blackmail is the least of their worries
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
So at the end of last week’s episode Dark Clouds (review) we find that Aunty Linda (Deborah Mailman) didn’t just cause Koen’s (Hunter Page-Lochard) parents deaths through negligence, but she was actively trying to kill them, and then Waruu (Rob Collins) just slit Koen’s throat and slapped on some red kryptonite sap from a Melaleuca to stop him from regenerating. Oh boy, was that a lot to take in, and we have had a week to learn what everyone’s fate will be, and tonight’s episode Muya packs all the same punches and more, as we continue our drive to the end of the season. Just a warning, there will be some [SPOILERS] going forward so be careful. Continue reading →
TL;DR – As Season Two continues we start to see where the lines in the sand will be drawn, and characters are starting to take a stand against the coming storm
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
So we continue our look at Cleverman’s second season, and after the carnage of Revival (review), we get a couple of episodes to hold our breath … nope, we continue steam rolling through the season with carnage in our wake. So today we will be discussing both Bindawu & Dark Clouds so there may be some spoilers going forward, however, if you want to be careful and have not watched these episodes, then I would suggest avoiding the paragraph on openings and cliff-hangers towards the bottom.
TL;DR – Season 2 opens with a bang, leaves you wanting more, and fearing the worst.
Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars
Wow what an opener, I mean we loved Season One of Cleverman, but I don’t think anything prepared us for how this first episode of Season Two was going to play out. So to remind everyone of where we left off last season, Koen (Hunter Page-Lochard) had rallied all the remaining residents of The Zone to fight the coming Containment Authority. His brother Waruu (Rob Collins) rejected his family and his people to stand with Jarrod Slade (Iain Glen) who is trying to unlock Hairy DNA and the power it possesses and that creep probably did something to his wife Charlotte’s (Frances O’Connor) pregnancy. Finally, Araluen (Tasma Walton) was able to escape the brothel she had been imprisoned in after killing the minister in charge. All through the season we were building up to the conflict, Koen was understanding and accepting his role as the Cleverman, and then bang season two opens and Koen is dead in a body bag, and you know nothing is safe anymore. So in our review today we are going to be covering all the aspects of the first episode of Season Two, so there will be [SPOILERS] for those who have not seen it yet. If you have not seen Revival yet, you can watch it easily on ABC IView, or SundanceTV, and you should go do that right now. Continue reading →
TL;DR – Cleverman is revolutionary TV show in many ways, its freshman season was a powerful work of cinema, though not a perfect one.
Score – 4 out of 5 Stars
For those who have not seen the show yet, and you should go fix that, Cleverman is the story of Australia in the not too distant future. Where we lock people up just because they are different or because it is politically convenient for the government to shift the blame on to them, where people have to shed aspects of their cultural identity to try and protect themselves from harm just because they are perceived as being different, and where the government can use the catch-all excuse of ‘national security’ to hide things from the population and to deflect condemnation of the international system. So you know it’s clear that this is fiction because that would never happen in modern Australia… To do my overview of the first season of the series I am probably going to spoil a couple of things, so you have been warned now to only proceed if you have watched the show.