Article: Cockatoo Conservation at Curtin University

DSC_0021Article: Cockatoo Conservation at Curtin University

Self/less Review: Running at Half Potential

Director: Tarsem Singh

Writers: Alex & David Pastor

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Kingsley, Matthew Goode, Natalie Martinez


Release date: July 10th, 2015

Distributors: Focus Features, Gramercy Features

Country: USA

Running time: 117 minutes



Review: Self/less

Scene Stealer: Quicksilver’s Kitchen Takedown – X-Men: Days of Future Past

quicksilver-steals-hatX-Men: Days of Future Past reinvigorated the beloved superhero franchise after the laughable misfires of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Though X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine did valuable work, Days of Future Past pulled fans back into the franchise and newcomers into its intricate plot and pacy vibe. The movie, described by Honest Trailers as a near carbon copy of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, played on familiar tropes with an effervescent glow. The plot bent and stretched the X-Men franchise’s chronology beyond comprehension. Like the varying mutant powers on display, the story requires a full suspension of disbelief.

Despite the inclusion of a naked Hugh Jackman, the original and First Class X-Men casts, and the bizarre absence of Anna Paquin (you know, the MAIN character of the original 2000 flick?), there was one aspect of Days of Future Past critics and general audiences have refused to shut up about! Quicksilver, played by relative newcomer Evan Peters (Never Back Down, Kick-Ass), is as slick and scintillating as Wolverine and Magneto combined. Despite the surf-brand name, the character was key to the movie’s unbridled efficiency. He, introduced as a kleptomaniac with a desire to escape the basement, is one of the franchise’s more positive and charismatic characters. His existence yields several plot-holes (Why not take him on every mission? Their mission would be wrapped-up before lunch!). Thankfully, the character makes an immediate impact.

x-men-days-of-future-past-quicksilver-kitchen-scene-slow-motionAfter springing Erik Lensherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) out of the Pentagon’s prison headquarters, Quicksilver – along with Erik, Jackman’s Logan/Wolverine, and Charles Xavier/Professor X (James McAvoy) – is cornered by armed guards in a cramped kitchen space. So begins the movie’s standout, hold-onto-your-butts sequence – it’s up to Quicksilver to take out the guards and stop the bullets before any fly through anyone’s heads. This sequence is just one of many fun action beats this series has conjured up since its early-00s conception.

Like the exhilarating Nightcrawler-White House sequence from X2, the Quicksilver-kitchen sequence is a short, snappy highlight full of neat tricks. This 2-minute set-piece, backed up by Jim Croce’s 1973 folk-pop hit ‘Time in a Bottle’, was the tireless work of director Bryan Singer’s army of special effects crewmen and stunt coordinators. Thanks to the blockbuster filmmaking’s endless developments, Singer and co. reached new nooks and crannies. Whereas The Avengers and Man of Steel aimed for epic scopes and core emotions, Singer’s third X instalment scored visceral thrills and stylistic flourishes. This sequence proves superhero flicks don’t have to stick to a cinematic universe or dark, dreary introspection. Who knew, huh?

x-men-days-of-future-past-hugh-jackman-michael-fassbender-james-mcavoy-evan-peters-600x400Singer’s immaculate direction elevates this sequence from dumb fun to substantial entertainment. The switch between speed-up and slo-mo establishes the character’s greatest feats. He – decked out in a silver jacket, walkman, Pink Floyd shirt, and thick goggles – encapsulates Singer’s pulpy version of the 1970s. His cinematic treatment illuminates Quicksilver’s boisterous sense of humour and uber-slick style. As all manner of plates, food-stuffs, and utensils fly through the air, he uses everything at his disposal. In one fell swoop, he tastes the soup flying through mid air, knocks off people’s hats, steal other people’s caps, watches water droplets bounce off him, and runs across the surrounding spherical walls.

Quicksilver’s core strengths elicit big laughs and hearty surprises. Quicksilver, needing to take out a troop of guards, utilises gravity and brute physical force to save his mutant buddies. He does everything from throwing plates into people’s faces to forcing guards to punch themselves in the face to using gun recoils against one another. Effects including rippling skin and slo-mo bullets build tension before the scene’s spectacular payoff. As the scene switches back to regular motion, we see the full force of Quicksilver’s power. Full-grown guards, pots, pans etc. are sent flying across the room. Logan, Erik, and Charles’ reactions say it all: Quicksilver is not to be crossed!

Interview: Maziar Lahooti (Filmmaker)

Maziar Lahooti

Interview: Maziar Lahooti

Photo Essay: Perth Zoo 2015

Perth Zoo has been an essential element of Perth’s social and cultural development over several decades. In addition, it became my second home during my primary school years. I, convinced zoölogy was my calling, studied the biological majesty of all creatures great and small. Indeed, when contemplating the existence of flora and fauna, it’s difficult acknowledging how everything we know came to being. Though normal to us mere mortals, native and international animals always draw ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from people the world over.

The zoo, though considered much less entertaining than the i-Pad or smart phone, leave us in an awe-inspiring trance. Perth Zoo, opened in 1898 with only six staff members, first included two bar enclosures, a monkey exhibit, mammal house, and model castle for Guinea Pigs. It, drawing locals and tourists, had roughly 53, 000 visitors in its first nine months. Today, the marvel is home to over 1200 animals of more than 160 species. Today’s Perth Zoo, bathing in sunlight, is still one of the City of Perth’s most interesting and unique attractions.

Due to our scorching summers and freezing winters, our climate is almost inhospitable for most African, Asian and South American animals. Indeed, during any Winter’s day, many of these creatures would either be sleeping inside or…sleeping outside. However, the exhibits – including the Australian Walkabout, African Savannah, Asian Rainforest, Primates, Nocturnal House, South American Birds, Wetlands, and Reptile House – are worth the admittedly inflated price.

Find out more: Perth Zoo Website

Ant-Man Audio Review: Pint-sized Powerhouse

Director: Peyton Reed

Writers: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd

Stars: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll


Release date: July 17th, 2015

Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 117 minutes




Paper Towns Audio Review: Manic, Pixie Nightmare

Director: Jake Schreier

Writers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber (screenplay), John Green (book)

Stars: Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Halston Sage, Austin Abrams


Release date: July 24th, 2015

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Country: USA

Running time: 109 minutes




Boiler Room (2000) Retrospective Review: Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems, Mo’ Respect

Director: Ben Younger

Writer: Ben Younger

Stars: Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Nia Long, Ben Affleck


Release date: February 18th, 2000

Distributor: New Line Cinema

Country: USA

Running time: 120 minutes

2000 crime-drama Boiler Room is one of the most underappreciated and surprising features of the past century. Between its time of release and today, this crime-drama has become an instruction manual for crime, corruption, and excess on screen. There is now an extensive, and somewhat questionable, laundry list of features and TV shows discussing the same topics and banging the same drums. If you are afraid of reality’s slimey infrastructure, look away now! Though broken in parts, Boiler Room is a fearless, imposing monster convinced the strength of power will always outmatch the power of strength.

This game-changing crime-drama focuses on the confusing life of 19-year-old Queens College dropout Seth Davis in 1999. Seth runs an illegal, unlicensed casino in his cheap, rundown residence. Despite his financial success, he continually faces the bitter disappointment of his New York City Federal Judge father, Marty (Ron Rifkin). One day, as his narration describes as a “What if” moment, his cousin Adam (Jamie Kennedy) and his wealthy, charismatic work associate Greg (Nicky Katt) come over to try their luck. Greg’s work pitch to Seth pays off, with the youngster hurriedly joining Greg and Adam at brokerage firm J.T. Marlin. Based off the Long Island Expressway, the firm is the ultimate place for Seth to get rich or, at the very least, die trying. boilerroom

Boiler Room, directed and written by newcomer (at the time) Ben Younger, is a cool, calm, and charming ode to cinema and society of future past. The narrative, though splintering off into several key traits, sticks alongside Seth throughout tumultuous highs and lows. By all means, Seth is a despicable individual. From the get-go, he would rather keep his illegal casino running rather than shutting it down to prevent his father’s immediate termination. In addition, his treatment of friends and family leaves much to be desired. From his point of view, his brother and mother barely register whilst his friends are reduced to co-workers/employees forced to bow down (figuratively, of course) after each shift.

However, Seth’s rise of prominence at J.T. Martin is handled with care and flair. The second third delivers some of 2000s crime-drama’s most thrilling and light-hearted sequences. Chris Varick (Vin Diesel), taking the phone from Seth mid-trade, sells one customer on the sale of his life. Varick, the wolf amongst sheepish employees, shows off his fanciful, albeit questionable, skills to the tune of thunderous applause. Seth’s story runs through a gauntlet of exposition before the better days kick in. Stock jargon, particularly describing the importance of the Series 7 exam, might fly over most people’s heads. Younger and co. never drown in stockbroker gobbledegook or any movie like Margin Call would offer up. Even the twist – Seth discovering the firm creates fake demand for the sale of speculative penny stocks from expired or fake companies – is a bit of a bummer. The ride is seemingly too fun to leave behind.

Younger’s focus on story and character follows a familiar, albeit lively, beat through its speedy 2-hour run-time. On paper, these protagonists are supervillains sucking people dry. On screen, they are simply overcompensating for a lack of depth for ambition. They are little more than get-rich-quick schmucks. Younger’s film, against all odds given our post-Global Financial Crisis perspective, allows you to care for everyone involved. Seth, entering a relationship with receptionist/Greg’s ex Abbie (Nia Long), puts his new-found confidence to good use. Of course, in true Ribisi fashion, looking and sounding like an easy target will put you directly in the firing line.

NVMuDeSThe fall – Abbie turning Seth in to protect her sick mother, his father’s involvement, Seth losing one client’s life savings – hits with brutal intensity. Ultimately, Boiler Room‘s final quarter draws multiple surprises out of its otherwise stock-standard characters. Its life-lesson schpiel takes swift turns away from what many crime-dramas would typically accelerate towards. The film, if anything, provides a look at the Ghosts of Hollywood Past, Present, and Future. Ribisi, stuck in conventional villain roles today, showcases his immense tenacity. Diesel, having taken on several meaty roles well before his Fast & Furious/Riddick successes, proves he is more than just a bald head and deep voice. Affleck, shows glimpses of the charismatic professional he is today. Meanwhile, Tom Everett Scott and Scott Caan have since risen and fallen similarly to Boiler Room‘s plot.

Boiler Room, though a small-scale corporate-espionage thriller, paved the way for everything from Knockaround Guys to The Wolf of Wall Street. Stuck between Leo’s Oscar-worthy black comedy and David Mamet’s esteemed creation Glengarry Glen Ross, Younger’s breakout feature, like many of its actors, is filled with potential and chutzpah but fails to connect with the masses.

Photos: Hidden Treasures #2 @ Fremantle, WA

The City of Fremantle is known for sun, sand, good food and better music. In almost every pub or club, some of Western Australia’s best bands are shredding, swearing, and shouting their way to the top of the state’s pop-culture ladder. Indeed, the coastal abode, for decades, has delivered some of Australia’s biggest names and talents. This time around, the Buffalo Club, Navy Club, National Hotel, and PS Art Space played host to a slew of top-shelf performers for July’s Hidden Treasures 2015. The crowds and bars, emitting that salty, vibrant atmosphere, young Perthians and Freo folk know and love, amped up the already buzzing atmosphere. Bands from Shit Narnia, Methyl Ethel, Mt. Mountain, and Matt Cal gave us plenty to hoot, holler, and howl about. I, along with Rotunda Media critic Jasmine Uitermark, went along to capture a slice of the manic, electrifying festivities.

Find out more: Fremantle Story – Hidden Treasures 2015

Manny Lewis (Home Release) Audio Review: Romantic Tragedy

Director: Anthony Mir

Writers: Carl Barron, Anthony Mir

Stars: Carl Barron, Leeanna Walsman, Roy Billing, Damien GarveyManny_Lewis_poster

Release date: March 12th, 2015

Distributor: Studio Canal

Country: Australia

Running time: 89 minutes




Ruben Guthrie Review: Drowned in Sorrows

Director: Brendan Cowell

Writer: Brendan Cowell (Screenplay and play)

Stars: Patrick Brammall, Alex Dimitriades, Abbey Lee, Harriet Dyer


Release date: July 16th, 2015

Distributor: Madman Entertainment

Country: Australia

Running time: 93 minutes



Review: Ruben Guthrie

Reviews: Quick Picks – Revelation Perth International Film Festival Documentaries


Reviews: Quick Picks – Revelation Perth International Film Festival Documentaries

Reviews: Quick Picks – Ted 2 and Magic Mike XXL


Article: Quick Picks – Ted 2 and Magic Mike XXL

Reviews: Quick Picks – Revelation Perth International Film Festival Feature Films



Love & Mercy Audio Review: Great Vibrations

Director: Brian Pohlad

Writers: Michael Alan Lerner, Oren Moverman

Stars: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti


Release date: June 5th, 2015

Distributor: Roadside Attractions

Country: USA

Running time: 121 minutes




The Good Lie (Home Release) Audio Review: Journey > Destination

Director: Phillipe Falardeau

Writer: Margaret Nagle

Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Corey Stoll, Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany


Release date: October 3rd, 2015

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Countries: USA, Kenya, India

Running time: 110 minutes




Terminator: Genisys Audio Review: Old AND Obsolete

Director: Alan Taylor

Writers: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney


Release date: June 22nd, 2015

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 126 minutes



Live Review: Riley Pearce + The Julius Lutero Band @ Northbridge Piazza



The Loft (Home Release) Audio Review: High-rise Hijinks

Director: Eric Van Looy

Writers: Wesley Strick, Bart De Pauw

Stars: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet


Release date: January 30th, 2015

Distributors: Open Road Films, Kinepolis Film Distribution 

Countries: USA, Belgium 

Running time: 103 minutes



Minions Audio Review: Big Things…Tiny, Yellow Packages

Directors: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda

Writer: Brian Lynch

Stars: Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock, Jon Hamm, Michael Keaton


Release date: June 11th, 2015

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 91 minutes