Gods of Egypt Review: Gold-polished Turd


Director: Alex Proyas

Writers: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless

Stars: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Elodie Yung

gods-of-egypt-new-poster-389x600


Release date: February 25th, 2016

Distributors: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate 

Countries: USA, Australia

Running time: 127 minutes


1½/5

Review: Gods of Egypt

Tim Rogers & the Bamboos @ Chevron Festival Gardens


twe-timrogers

Review: Tim Rogers & the Bamboos @ Chevron Festival Gardens

Hail, Caesar! Review: Ode to Old School


Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen

Writers: Joel & Ethan Coen

Stars: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes

hail-caesar-poster


Release date: February 25th, 2016

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 106 minutes


 

3½/5

Review: Hail, Caesar!

Zoolander 2 Audio Review: Model Idiots


Director: Ben Stiller

Writers: Ben Stiller, John Hamburg, Nicholas Stoller, Justin Theroux

Stars: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz, Will Ferrell

Zoolander-2-Posters


Release date: February 12th, 2016

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 102 minutes


1½/5

Review:

Trumbo Audio Review: Writer’s Block


Director: Jay Roach

Writers: John McNamara (screenplay), Bruce Cook (book)

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Louis C.K.

TRUMBO-Movie-Poster


Release date: February 18th, 2016

Distributor: Bleecker Street

Country: USA

Running time: 124 minutes


3/5

Review:

Ride Along 2 Audio Review: Ice-cold Hart


Director: Tim Story

Writers: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi

Stars: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Olivia Munn, Ken Jeong

ridealong


Release date: February 18th, 2016 

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 101 minutes


2½/5

Review:

Concussion Audio Review: Down for the Count


Director: Peter Landesman

Writers: Peter Landesman (screenplay), Jeanne Marie Laskas (article)

Stars: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Albert Brooks

Concussion-Movie-Poster


Release date: January 18th, 2016

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 122 minutes


2/5

Review:

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Audio Review: Total Bay-hem


Director: Michael Bay

Writers: Chuck Hogan (screenplay), Mitchell Zuckoff (book)

Stars: James Badge Dale, John Krasinski, Max Martini, Dominic Fusuma

13_Hours_poster


Release date: February 25th, 2016

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 144 minutes


3/5

Review:

Brooklyn Audio Review: Across the Pond


Director: John Crowley

Writers: Nick Hornby (screenplay), Colm Toibin (novel)

Stars: Saorise Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent

2015_-_Brooklyn_Movie_Poster


Release date: January 11th, 2016

Distributors: Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox, TSG Entertainment, Lionsgate 

Countries: UK, Ireland, Canada

Running time: 112 minutes


4/5

Review:

Review: Black Mire – Lonely the Brave


Lonely-The-Brave

Review: Black Mire – Lonely the Brave

Review: The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet @ Regal Theatre


hamlet-4

Review: The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet @ Regal Theatre

Article: Places to Shop – Dunn & Walton


DSC_0031

Article: Places to Shop – Dunn & Walton 

Review: Circus Freak Show @ Circus Theatre, Perth Cultural Culture


Zap Circus’ Circus Freak Show, on Valentine’s Day, turned Fringe World’s Circus Theatre into a gothic, visceral ballerina music box. Endless smoke machine puffs and sonic chanting brought the audience into the weird and wacky minds of Perth performers Rusty and Tarabelle. Stepping out in Harley Quinn-esque attire, the two set the tone. Describing the differences between stunts and tricks, they saw fit to “juxtapose the playful nature of circus”.

939337_origMake no mistake, a visceral circus and sideshow experience and NOT a magic show.The seceding hour bent the laws of physics, warped the mind, and twisted each audience member’s stomach. Rusty, sporting a bright, red mohawk, kicked off proceedings with machete juggling mayhem. The laid-back performer off-set opening-night nerves, launching into witty repartee and kooky puns. Walking over a terrified audience member, a blindfolded Rusty juggled three machetes with flawless precision.

Rusty and Tarabelle, switching from charming performers to ominous hosts, added to the alluring sideshow atmosphere and darkly slick sense of humour. Amped up by a thumping electronica/rock score, Tarabelle’s 10 LED-hula hoop routine highlighted the performer’s undeniable core strength and creativity. Rusty upped the ante, wowing many crowd members and disturbing others by hammering a nail into his nose. As it was pulled out by a concerned audience member, the artist’s pithy, risqué comments alleviated the tension.

Rusty and Tarabelle poked fun at their own thesis, weaving light-hearted tricks (balancing brooms, pretending to swallow balloons, making objects disappear etc.) with solid comic timing. The contortion routine showcased the pair’s extraordinary acrobatic skills and cooperation. Despite slight slip-ups, the two leaped on and over one another seamlessly. Tarabelle delivered the show’s standout routine, fitting the herself through a hoop and tennis racquet before bending over backwards into a glass box.

Circus Freak Show’s climax took the routine to new, unpredictable heights. Rusty, lowering his back into a vicious-looking bed of nails, waited tentatively as Tarabelle gained enough balance to stand on top of him. Covered in puncture wounds, Rusty sprung to his feet with a beaming smile for the show’s final act. Reiterating the stunts-are-100%-real mantra, the pair concluded their bewildering performance with an intensifying fire-eating routine.

Unphased by dangerous feats, the pair proved the difference between true stunt-work and magic. Circus Freak Show is a jaw-dropping, fascinating Fringe spectacular not for the faint-hearted.

Photo credit: Wayrehouse Photographics

Review: Diana Krall @ Kings Park


dianakrall_kingspark

Review: Diana Krall @ Kings Park

Fringe World Interview: Ruven Govender of Comedy Boxing


South African-Indian comedian Ruven Govender is crafting a strong, influential career in stand-up comedy. The comic kicked off his career from an early age, sneaking in to comedy clubs at 16 and 17 years of age before finally being allowed in through the front door. His love of stand-up blossomed, graduating from the Class Comedians program with enough confidence and support to succeed. By 21, he had written and performed 5 shows for the NZ Comedy Festival.

Along with touring solo throughout Australia and the world, invited to TED X last year amongst many phenomenal successes throughout his career, Govender runs Laugh Mob Entertainment with tour mates/co-stars Sam Kissajukian and Kyle Legacy. After hit show The Black, The White, The Beard, Govender and co. return to Perth’s Fringe World 2016 with Comedy Boxing. Govender referees as Kissajukian and Legacy go head to head in a battle of scathing insults. The show puts the ‘punch’ back into ‘punchline’ over several nights of colourful, unique Fringe mayhem.

Reshoot & Rewind recently caught up with Govender about Comedy Boxing, life on the road, and the comedy’s scene’s welcoming aura.

 

9657547How did you first get into stand-up comedy? 

I got selected by the New Zealand Comedy Festival in 2004 through the Class Comedians program. The first gig I thought went horribly but I actually got signed to an agency after my first ever spot in the town hall. Charlie Pickering, the guy who used to be on the 7pm Project, he was actually my mentor and helped me write my first set and get my jokes out.

I got on stage, delivered my lines, and got these massive laughs straight away. I did the first few lines, got big laughs, and got really nervous because I didn’t expect such a wave of laughter. Then, I just forgot everything that I was supposed to say within the first 30 seconds. I then ran off stage and threw up. Everyone was like: “ok, that’s the end of that” and thought I had to get back on to finish my set and save face.

I got some really good gigs to begin with, but the age factor really caught up quickly. It was a challenge to be 16-17 and try to get into a comedy bar, and obviously wasn’t 18 years of age. That actually proved to be a huge problem, but once I was able to walk into pubs, bars, and clubs that’s when things really started to kick.

 

What have been some of the highlights and lowlights of performing on stage?

Last year, I was invited to speak at TED X. That was fantastic, it was 1000 people in an auditorium and an absolutely great gig, that was probably the highlight of last year I’d say.

A low point would probably include when I ventured out of New Zealand, which is a nice, little environment for stand-up, and into a market where I wasn’t well know, didn’t have connections, and didn’t have the backing of the New Zealand festivals. That was when I really got a taste of what it’s like to really do stand-up – hustle for gigs, having to beg, steal and borrow for stage time. That’s when I really got to understand how difficult it can be for comedy, because apart from that everything was kind of handed to me on a silver platter.

Coming into a market where nobody knew my name and no one was willing to really help me that was a big challenge. It’s a necessary evil to get me to start my own rooms, get a set-up, and hold hands with other comedians and local people.

 

Yourself, Sam Kissajukian, and Kyle Legacy run Laugh Mob Entertainment and perform together, how did you first realise your dynamic worked so well?

I actually found Kyle Legacy at a comedy club, I just found him to be a very funny human. I was surprised because I thought: “You’re very funny, you’re English etc.”, but he wasn’t getting any stage time. I saw him at a few clubs, he wasn’t going well, and I had a chat with him about what he’d done, where he’d been. I found out he was a writer for Russell Brand, he was on season 1 of Brand X and junior writer for Brand in that season.

As we did the rounds of the open-mic rooms I bumped into Sam. Was very much anti-working with anyone else, he didn’t want to work with anyone else, and wanted to his own thing. Myself and Kyle thought he was really funny, had a lot of doubts, was very intelligent. He had started comedy after us but got very good very quickly, and I thought: “This guy is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with”. We started to gig more, wore him down a little bit, and morphed into us three working as a very well-oiled, comedic trio.

 

What can you tell us about your latest Fringe world show, Comedy Boxing?

4790497Comedy Boxing is probably one of the most hilarious, ridiculous shows I have ever seen. Part of running our own agency is, Laugh Mob, is having the creative freedom to do these really wacky shows. If we were assigned to one of the other agencies, we probably wouldn’t have as much creative freedom. The show is basically Sam and Kyle full-on insulting each other in a structured format, which is the best thing. It’s pretty much the ‘why’ of Fringe and it’s just entertaining watching them insult each other.

Now, we have managed to put that format into a structure that everyone can enjoy. The biggest part of the stand-up is making it contextual to the crowd, generally, if people thought they were up there just insulting each other, people would think they weren’t friends and didn’t actually like each other. It’s quite the opposite, all three of us are best friends, and now Comedy Boxing has allowed a format that contextualises that for the audience and that’s why it’s so funny.

 

Diversity in mainstream media has been in the spotlight recently, where do you see this conversation going over the next year?

You’ve got key people that are really pushing for that, people like Kevin Hart – you’ve got people touring and working a lot harder at these things to breach those barriers. I think the non-white market for comedy is ready to explode and ripe for the picking. Seeing people like Kevin Hart, to me personally, is a massive inspiration. Seeing a short, black man go out there and do it and everyone love him gives me enough confidence to think that there is a market for it.

I feel I have a lot of this advantage in the comedy scene – people want to laugh at the racial stuff and when I get up there, whether I want to make fun of Indians or Africans whomever it may be, being South African I feel I may have the range to do that. Having that generally separates me from the crowd, when you go to a comedy club 99% of time it’s single, middle-class white guys complaining about stuff. The more diversity that you add to that I think separates you from the pack and elevates you from the crowd.

 

Comedy Boxing hits The Hidden Bar, Northbridge for Perth’s Fringe World 2016 from February 12th – 21st.

Photo credits: YouTube, Laugh Mob Entertainment

Fringe World Interview: Sam Kissajukian of Animals Attack Me


Sam Kissajukian has led an interesting life, a series of wacky events leading him from ambitious traveller to real ‘stand-up’ guy. The comic, spurred on by those around him, first stepped on stage three years ago. Telling of his experiences with animals, his stories of danger and curiosity quickly gained traction in Sydney’s comedy circuit.

From that first stage experience to today, Kissajukian regularly performs stand-up, long-form storytelling, and emcee work in Sydney. The comic, along with hosting two weekly comedy shows Live Baha and POS Comedy, is an essential part of Laugh Mob Entertainment. He, teaming up with fellow comics Ruven Govender and Kyle Legacy, is fast becoming a staple of Australian and world stand-up.

Kissajukian, fresh off the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Sydney Comedy Festival, and Edinburgh Fringe, is back in Perth for Fringe World 2016. His latest one-man show, Animals Attack Me, tells of life-threatening run-ins with Mother Nature’s most dangerous creations including Sharks, baboons, log-throwing chimpanzees, mountain lions, and the most fearsome of all – ex-girlfriends. This month, Kissajukian delivers seven nights of big laughs and valuable lessons for audience members great and small.

Reshoot & Rewind caught up with Kissajukin about his new show, burgeoning career, and awkward encounters with the animal kingdom.

download

When did you realise you wanted to do comedy as a career?

That was actually after I started doing comedy, and fell into it accidentally. The show that i do is about being attacked by a lot of animals, so before I did comedy i was 27 and over the last 10 years I’ve been travelling and going on adventures. Just before I turned 27, we went to a storytelling competition, my girlfriend and I. Someone had dropped out, and she goes: “No, you should go in it, you should go in it”. The organizer was then like: “yeah we can put one more on”.

I went up and told a story about the time I got chased by a baboon with a machete and another time I got attacked by two sharks whilst spear fishing. I ended up coming second in the competition and then people invited me to do other storytelling nights. Then some said I should do stand up comedy and I started doing stand up and after I did that I thought: “This is great, I should just tell stories about my life”, and now it’s three years later and what I do for a living.

 

After your first few times on-stage, did you immediately adapt to it or did it get easier over time?

When I first started I started telling animal attack stories and that was great. Then I thought in stand-up comedy you’ve got to tell jokes, so I started writing jokes and went badly for a couple and then I got the hang of it. For the last two and a half years, it’s been pretty steadily increasing I definitely feel like I was more naturally a storyteller than a joke writer so its natural. I like telling long stories to pull people in, but now I do both – I do the stand-up comedy clubs and personal story shows.

 

What are your most alarming experiences in stand-up comedy?

I’ve had some great ones, one time I did a show, the audience didn’t like me, and I said: “If you guys don’t like me, I’m just going to subject you to dad jokes”. A woman yelled out: “No need, mate. You are your dad’s joke”. I thought that wa a fantastic heckle.

I had one that was very unfortunate, because it almost hurt me. It was in Newcastle, and the audience didn’t like me. I may have made a comment that the audience didn’t like and a woman at the back of the audience threw a bottle at me while I was on stage. It ended up being in the newspaper and became a bit of a hoo-hah, it was quite funny. Lucky it didn’t hit me. It still had beer in it, she threw a full beer at me.

 

You have toured across Australia and the world, how do the varying crowds and comedy atmospheres compare?

I spent a month in Edinburgh last year, I think it depends on the local audiences. Scottish people are so funny, they really are so funny and they’re so vocal and outspoken. I got a lot of heckles when I was in Scotland but they were great heckles. They were just so on point, so funny, and the Scottish people in general were just up for a laugh. There is just a real, fun drunk energy.

In another way, in somewhere like Hong Kong, that’s really interesting too because it’s such an international city. You get people who are expats, so I found that in Hong Kong it was like the comedians that did very well there spoke a lot about different races and sub-cultures in that respect. That seems to be the focus, somewhere like the Melbourne Comedy Festival that type of comedy doesn’t seem to as prevalent.

tumblr_inline_niei44lLdn1t4dk12

How do yourself, Ruven Govender, and Kyle Legacy work together so well?

Comedy is just a lonely game, at the end of the day you’re an island and doing a lot of work alone and performing alone. We just decided that we would have a collective of guys working towards the same goal. We work on project individually but then, at the same time, we do a lot of stuff together. It help work on larger projects that you might not be able to do alone.

We are all very different people and we wouldn’t naturally, possibly be friends outside of comedy. I don’t know how I would have met these guys outside of comedy and, because we are so different, every situation we get into we find we have completely different perspectives on it and we really enjoy those differences. At the end of the day, they’re just good friends and I enjoy watching them succeed or fail on stage.

 

What can we expect from your latest show, Animals Attack Me

I’m delivering about 1o true stories about animal encounters. They are 100% true and I have just spent the last three years honing my craft so that I can tell them in the funniest way possible. I want to make these stories accessible and people that are interested in animals or had some animal experience themselves, there would be time to chat about that. I think everyone has a few in some regards to wild animals and I just want to dwell on the topic and open it up a little bit.

Sam Kissajukian’s Animals Attack Me is on at the Elephant & Wheelbarrrow, Northbridge from February 15th – 21st.

Photo Credits: samkissajukian.com, eveleighcomedy.com

Theatre Review: Zwai @ The Big Top, The Pleasure Garden


Zwai, part of Fringe World’s impressive array of circus productions, is one of the festival’s stand out events on the calendar. E1NZ, composed by performers Esther and Jonas Slanzi, bring their extraordinary new show to Perth audiences for the next few nights.

JonasEstherSlanziOn a sweltering Sunday night, the Big Top was a hefty buzz with anticipation over one of the festival’s most-anticipated circus experiences. As the lights dimmed, both performers immediately embodied their characters. The two characters duel over freedom of expression, fighting on another to escape their limited surroundings.

The narrative is essential to Zwai’s emotional, physical, and sensory auras. It is relatively simple, with two characters feuding endlessly over space. The plot, like circus performance itself, focuses on how multiple beings come together – finding literal and figuratively stability within unique environments. From the blissful opening sequence, the performance whisked the audience away into a kitsch world.

With the setting based around only a handful of props/tools, along with fewer lighting and soundtrack changes, Zwai involves a less-is-more approach. The show relies on the performer’s abilities throughout the highest highs and subdued character moments. Kicking off the show, Esther pulls off a flawless rope routine via the trapeze-like pulley system set-up. Swinging towards the crowd, her first number immediately impressed the all-ages, fan-waving crowd.

The story is made whole by peculiar, interesting character moments and an overt sense of humour. Both characters have varying ticks, continually moving green, glass bottles, heavy, wooden table, and drawers around the stage. To each other’s despair, both characters illuminate their desires for the room. Esther held on tightly as Jonas pushed and pulled the table, on all angles, across the venue. Their expressive, silent performances cement the pillars of circus performance – style and substance.

The performers’ grace and agility were simply awe-inspiring, highlighted by Jonas balancing a red ball on each part of his body throughout an intensifying 10-minute stretch. The pair’s chemistry and dynamic, coupled with a whimsical score, raised the light-hearted, gleeful tone. The floor routine, including Jonas lifting and flipping Esther (keeping a diabolo in motion), fluttered along with jaw-dropping rhythm. Juggling bottles between one another, their synchronicity and reflexes are superhuman.

The big, brash moments of Zwai further wowed and stunned the audience. Esther launched into the air, performing a vertigo inducing, dizzying single-rope routine. Tying a knot, and adding weight, to the table, her core strength helped pull the mass straight upwards. Supported by Jonas and the table’s immense weight, Esther’s swing routine made palms sweat.JonasEstherSlanzi

The show’s climactic routines were worth the price of admission several times over. Jonas took multi-tasking to the next level – balancing the ball on his face whilst pulling himself several meters off the ground. His diabolo routine was the show’s standout act, showcasing his immense concentration and fluidity across the stage. His exhaustion caught up with him, losing balance multiple times during the final routine.

Esther and Jonas received a standing ovation as Zwai came to a blistering close. The show is one of this festival’s most refined and extravagant circus productions. Get in quick!

Photo credit: E1NZ

Theatre Review: Luminous @ Freo Royale, Fremantle Town Hall


Art Kinetica and Lauren Eisinger’s latest Fringe World smash hit, Luminous, will make you ask to that all important question: “Seriously…how do they do it?!”. This circus extravaganza is Limbo’s biggest competition for the season’s best production – an outside-the-box achievement worthy of the praise and rewound venue it’s staged in.

3862_Luminous_Promo-9_EFUL_IMAGEThe Fremantle Town Hall was a hefty buzz with anticipation, awaiting something truly exciting on the show’s opening night. Before the lights went out, an electronica/trance/percussive score blasted our ears. The pre-show atmosphere immersed the audience in a frenzying mix of contemporary artistic sensibilities and the venue’s period aesthetic.

As the show begun, the lights flickered into a deep sleep, and the pitch-black aura held us in a trance. The anticipation reached breaking point, before a soothing narration voice kicked in. The announcement pulled us forwards, calling the performers “creatures” and referring to the ensuing performance as a “Pigment of imagination”.

As the narration stopped, Luminous showcased the raw, everlasting strength of its imagination. Utilising black light technology and fluorescent body paint, the performers transported us to another universe. Two stage hands, donning black leotards, painted symmetrical patterns over each character. Orange, green, yellow, red, and blue neon lit up the stage, illuminating every movement and mannerism.

The show’s four lead characters, each donning intricate, alien-like headgear and facial detailing, are worth the admission price. Living up to the “setting aside everything you thought you knew about gravity” tagline, each performer got a chance to showcase their extraordinary skill sets. A mix of solo and group sequences, the group’s collaborative efforts solidified the illusion.

Luminous’ solo performances became central to its visceral, unique sensory impact. Fitted with unique patterns all over their bodies, each artist contorted their bodies to a raucous reception from the awe-struck crowd. Handstands, front flips, and stretches showcased each person’s inhuman balance and physicality.

Despite a few stuff-ups and foibles, the circus acts and flourishes flowed together. Early on, orange juggling clubs lit up the stage. Our performers, juggling multiple clubs at once, gave us the first taste of the cast’s overwhelming talents. As the show continued, hula-hoops and juggling balls flew through the air and around our spirited aerialists and acrobats.

3862_Luminous_Promo-8_EFUL_IMAGEOvershadowing the juggling and hula-hooping stunts, the cast’s aerial pursuits were terrifying just to look at. The aerial silk stunts took everyone by surprise, further accentuating the cast’s intricate abilities. In addition, the climax is a visual and emotional feast. As one character ascends, on the trapeze, water bombs and bottles spray UV liquid across the stage.

Made up of three male performers and one female, the narrative provides a meditative, melodic exploration of gender and power. Within each sequence and act, each action further develops the show’s characters and thematic resonance. Throughout the event, in true Avatar-like fashion, the show heavy-handedly presents the native person’s interactions with flora, fauna, and their own kind.

Luminous is one of Fringe World and Freo Royale’s – literally and figuratively – brightest events. The extravaganza provides a creative and exhilarating venture into another realm for only a few nights at a time.

Photo credit: Riley Burns

Predator Movie Review: Schwarzenegger Smackdown


Director: John McTiernan

Writer: Jim & John Thomas

Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke
predator-movie-poster-1987-1020261352


Release date: June 12th, 1987

Distributor: 20th Century Fox 

Country: USA

Running time: 107 minutes


 

4½/5

Review: Predator

 

Comedy Review: Colin Ebsworth: Neato Burrito @ DeLuxe


Perth comedian Colin Ebsworth, throughout his burgeoning stand-up career, has had a string of overwhelming experiences. At just 23, he has gone from strength to strength across the country. Delivering his refreshing, in-your-face style of comedy, he returns to Perth’s Fringe World festival – following up sell-out, award nominated shows Western Devil and First Blood: Parts I and II – with his best hour of hilarity yet.

col-eb-photo-by-tom-harfieldPerforming at some of Australia’s biggest stand-up events, and touring with the likes of Claire Hooper, Ebsworth’s enthusiasm and work ethic come off in spades. His latest set hits home; providing a modest, relatable look at early-20s existence.

Opening act Sean Conway, fresh off his latest act Rock ‘N’ Rolla, perfectly got the ball rolling on Neato Burrito’s opening night. Conway, with an impressive beard and bellowing voice, fits the mould of top Aussie bloke. His set revelled in Perth’s don’t-care spirit, poking fun at the never-ending feud between the Eagles and Dockers, Spudshed owner Tony Galati’s trouble with the establishment, and the bogan’s obsession with drugs. Breaking down a stint with steroids, his brief appearance left us wanting more.

Inside Fringe’s Deluxe venue, the audience sweltered in close-knit conditions. Ebsworth stormed onto the stage to thunderous applause from the overwhelming crowd. The comic hit the ground running, launching into self-effacing material about his appearance. Referring to his “Disney villain” face, the friendly, neighbourhood performer pulled the audience into his unique worldview.

Like preceding shows, he called Australia’s bogan-driven culture into question. Ripping apart rat-tails, neck-tattoos, and AFL, his scathing opinions hit the nail on the head. His material ascends to even greater scrutiny, tearing apart the concept of E-Plates on work vehicles for ‘troubled’ drivers. His wrath against Australia delves into very dark waters, highlighting the ridiculousness of our inherent xenophobia and lackadaisical treatment of crime.

Like his preceding Fringe World performances, Ebsworth’s quick wit, rollicking pace, and likeable stage presence stand tall. His observational notes touch on the public’s biggest pet peeves, with vegans, burlesque, pop-up advertisements, and professional DJs are obliterated by the comic’s dark, edgy comments. The audience wandered into the firing line, with the front row chock-a-block with under-18s and half-drunk 40-year-olds.artworks-000064885041-mowt8f-t500x500

Neato Burrito, essentially, resembles a workshop for Ebsworth to test new material, launch into inspired impressions, and gauge audience sensitivity. The light-hearted larrikin immediately picked up the vibe, acknowledging which gags landed better than others. Brushing aside muted reactions and loud heckles; his self-awareness keeps his confidence in check.

Ebsworth’s set provides a unique, heartfelt insight into his professional and personal lives. His routine puts a contemporary twist on relationship material, discussing the varying difficulties of the age gap in the shallow-gossip age. He is aware of their demographic, tearing down everything to do with the first break up, the in-laws, and the relationship’s many perplexing highs and lows. Similarly, his commentary/advice on men and women – gay and straight – rings with a hint of optimism.

Ebsworth reflects upon his childhood and the young-adult phase, aptly describing life in Perth for anyone between 4 and 26 years. From his parents’ yin-yang dynamic to his friends’ unhelpful relationship advice, the comedian’s paints a shockingly relatable and explicit picture of his coming of age. His standout material talked about the bliss of primary school, vividly comparing the classroom politics to gangland warfare and lunchtime in the playground to Shawshank Redemption.

Neato Burrito is one of Fringe World’s gems – an honest, hysterical, and haunting insight into Perth’s best and worst individuals, groups, and cultural touchstones.

Comedy Review: Ben Darsow 2016 @ Elephant & Wheelbarrow


Australian comedian Ben Darsow had a banner 2015, touring his breakout show, Now, before travelling and performing around the USA, UK, and Asia. His stand-up has launched him into the stratosphere, with comedy fans the world over eager for his brand of observational humour and pithy audience interaction. His 2015 Fringe World show sold over 1000 tickets and garnered immaculate critical acclaim.

bendarsowpromoshotHaving toured the Australian comedy circuit for several years, and mega-popular YouTube videos, Darsow’s name is up in lights. Ben Darsow 2016 hits four venues – Elephant & Wheelbarrow, Clancy’s Fish Pub, Comedy Shack, and The Balmoral Backyard – with his sharp comedic style this season.

Kicking off in Northbridge’s prestigious venue, he launched into several jabs about the return to Perth. Delivering an outsider’s perspective, his remarks against the city’s expensive café scene and thirst for fitness rang painfully true. Continuing his funny-because-it’s-true run of gags, the comedian’s anecdote – about a grocery store’s sign for $449 bananas and zero decimal points – sums up the city’s bizarre sense of self.

In true Darsow tradition, the comedian turned to the audience to ask a few modest questions. Chatting to the front row, he chatted heartily with two women about their professions, time in Perth, and the designated driver. His enthusiasm became a significant part of the set, leaping between genuine interest and witty repartee.

Chatting with two miners in the front row, Darsow recalled several baffling stories of his latest tour of the Goldfields. His stories seemed unfathomable, prodding everything from the loneliness of FIFO workers, to Occupational Health and Safety officers, to the mining boom’s impact on Perth prices. Despite forgetting a number of punch lines, his likeability and modesty pushed himself and the audience through.

Darsow’s set became a journey of personal discovery, launching into his professional and personal lives intersecting. His self-deprecating, ironic sense of humour helped him reflect upon his own life story. His stories of New York/Lafayette expenses, a drag queen/bingo night in Sydney, and speeding taxis in Malaysia drew us into the peculiar, unique exploits of a travelling comedian.

The Adelaide comic shared several out-there tales of life on the road and in the fast lane. His anecdotes revealed unique, intricate details about the differences between Australia and the rest of the world. The comedian, paying attention to each gag and response, discussed the success of each joke and anecdote in front of different audiences. His jabs against Ryan Crowley, Jared (the Subway guy), and deaths at Stereosonic elicited a ‘too soon…’ response.

show_page_display.1426490144The comic’s life story rounded out the set, reflecting upon his time as a single, young man. His relatable, self-conscious anecdotes – referring to texting as a single man, the number of sexual partners, awkward dating experiences, and being in long-term relationships – hit close to home for each male crowd member. The climax of the show did not disappoint, with Darsow opening up about several alarming experiences with drugs.

The finale tapped into his wacky side, with Daddy Cool’s Eagle Rock blaring over the speakers. As the audience whooped and cheered, Darsow and another bloke dropped their pants in beer-fuelled celebration, referring to a gag earlier in the set. His latest show is a laugh-out-loud celebration of his highs, lows, and everything in between.

Ben Darsow 2016 is playing across Perth throughout Fringe World – January 22nd to February 21st.

Cinema Release Round-Up: Spotlight & Room


Director: Tom McCarthy

Writers: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

Stars: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

11201558_ori


Release date: January 28th, 2016

Distributor: Open Road Films

Country: USA

Running time: 129 minutes


4½/5

Writer/director/character-actor Tom McCarthy has had a topsy-turvy career chock-a-block with unique choices. From festival hits The Station Agent and The Visitor to Adam Sandler flop The Cobbler, no two projects are the same. His most recent Oscar contender, Spotlight, is the complete opposite of The Revenant, The Big Short, Carol…essentially, everything else up for consideration this season.

Spotlight is a journalism drama/detective-thriller harking back to the old-school style of filmmaking (All the President’s Men, especially). Built from the ground up, the project, thanks to McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer, braves the backlash to discuss one of the past decade’s most arresting true stories. The plot follows The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team – the United States’ oldest operating print investigative-journalism division. The team – comprised of Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson (Michael Keaton), Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carol (Brian d’Arcy James) – drop everything to investigate cases of widespread child sex abuse by Roman Catholic Priests throughout Massachusetts.

Make no mistake; this story needed to be told. The events depicted in Spotlight earned the team the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Yes, this subject matter may deter audiences until its inevitable Netflix release. However, this docudrama deserves the big-screen treatment over January/February schlock. This is the perfect example of a terrific story treated respectfully thanks to talented writers, director, and performers. The team’s movements – watched over by editing staffers Marty Baron (Live Schreiber) and Ben Bradlee, jr. (John Slattery) – look and feel organic. Delving into the pen-and-paper, early 21st Century world of journalism and truth-seeking, each action and reaction is etched carefully into every awe-inspiring frame.

The screenplay and direction combine succinctly, creating a restrained and subtle insight into some of the past century’s most harrowing events. McCarthy’s direction makes a point without ever beating you over the head. Each major twist and turn interweaves efficiently, blending together the investigation, significant political events (9/11), and the characters’ backstories. Aided by cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi, McCarthy’s vision makes for a mise-en-scene/attention to detail lover’s dream. Above all else, its screenplay adds enough humanity and personality to every scene – making the most difficult events seem relatable. Depicting victims, conspirators, and everyone in between, it’s hard to fathom just how accurate and necessary this docudrama is (and will hopefully remain).

The cast adapts to McCarthy’s style, their true-to-life counterparts, and confronting subject matter with aplomb. Keaton, coming off a career-best performance in Birdman, is a charismatic force as a leader stuck between a rock and a hard place. Ruffalo and McAdams deliver lively impressions of their enthusiastic and determined real-life counterparts. Character-actors Schreiber, Slattery, James, and Stanley Tucci commit to consequential roles.

Spotlight will make you angry, highlighting just how evil the Catholic Church became over several decades (without hindrance!). This docudrama is a tight, taut, and detailed insight into journalism, a devastating socio-political issue, and a community in tatters.

Verdict: Necessary and impactful viewing.


Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Writer: Emma Donoghue (screenplay and novel)

Stars : Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, William H. Macy

large_large_bhPgko14727rF9tSpstSFumiZgl


Release date: January 28th, 2016

Distributor: A24

Country: Canada, Ireland 

Running time: 117 minutes


4/5

Room, not to be confused with cult-flop The Room, is a masterclass in single-setting, survival-thriller filmmaking. Compared to everything else blockbuster and Oscar related from 2015 (favouring spectacle slightly over substance), it is one of the more down-to-Earth big-screen experiences.

This drama is certainly not for the faint-hearted, dealing with subject matter the greater population chooses to ignore. The plot revolves entirely around Joy (Brie Larson) and her 5-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay)’s relationship. Confined to a single room, the two form a cohesive dynamic over an extended period. Later, as a sinister figure enters the room every night, the film reveals the full extent of their situation.

Room, like the other Oscar contenders this year, chronicles a relatable character trapped in a nightmarish situation. Based on screenwriter Emma Donoghue’s book, the story runs parallel to confronting new stories from the past decade. The titular space only takes up the first half, with Joy and Jack adapting to their predicament. Their behaviour – acknowledging everything within the room, Joy teaching Jack about the world outside, Jack’s development shifting from open-book toddler to hard-to-control child – all adhere to reality. The room becomes a being in itself, with the TV, bathtub, skylight, and kitchen key character traits.

Director Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did, Frank) has zero intention of making the same movie twice. Room, although more confronting and visceral than you would imagine, takes a sharp turn in the second half. After Joy and Jack’s escape from imprisonment, Abrahamson bravely balances plot and theme with strong emotional heft. As Jack discovers the intricacies of this big, blue marble, Joy suffers severe, disarming cases of PTSD, malnutrition, and depression. As her mum, Nancy (Joan Allen), dad, Robert (William H. Macy), and step-dad, Leo (Tom McCamus) step in, Joy and Jack are torn asunder by shocking spiritual, physical, and psychological hurdles. For they and us, it becomes almost too hard to cope.

Room, unfortunately, has several difficult-to-ignore inconsistencies and false notes. In particular, the score comes in at inopportune moments – drowning out dialogue and trying too hard to tug the right strings. However, Room also delivers the best set piece of 2015 – as Jack, initially shocked by seeing the outside world in person, pretends to be dead, jumps out of a pickup truck, and rushes for help in the space of a few seconds. It’s performances are similarly exhilarating, with Larson a she-in for this year’s Best Actress gong. Tremblay is a treasure, exuding equal amounts of charm and grief in every frame.

Room makes for a confronting experience, hitting close to home whilst finding the light within the darkness. Its tender craftsmanship proves less really is more in Oscar-season entertainment.

Verdict: A heart-breaking ode to the human spirit.

Deadpool Review: Blood-soaked Bro-down


Director: Tim Miller

Writers: Paul Wernick, Rhett Reese

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller

b4w8wlx


Release date: February 11th, 2016

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Country: USA

Running time: 108 minutes


 

3½/5

Review: Deadpool 

Review: Fringe World Fix – Beautiful Witness


Beautiful-Witness

Review: Fringe World Fix – Beautiful Witness

Interview: Alex McAleer (Fringe World)


thumb56739b556d560

Interview: Alex McAleer (Fringe World) 

Article: Hot List: Movies Coming in 2016


94226515-best-new-superhero-movies-2015-2016-a-list-of-must-sees-coming-up-cover1

Article: Hot List: Movies Coming in 2016

Steve Jobs Review: Man & Machine-Made Masterpiece


Director: Danny Boyle

Writer: Aaron Sorkin

Stars: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels

SJB_Tsr1Sht5_RGB_0818_1-780x1235


Release date: February 4th, 2016

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 122 minutes


 

4½/5

Review: Steve Jobs

Looking For Grace Review: Australian Beauty


Director: Sue Brooks

Writer: Sue Brooks

Stars: Radha Mitchell, Richard Roxburgh, Odessa Young, Terry Norris

Looking-for-Grace_poster_goldposter_com_1


Release date: January 26th, 2016

Distributor: Palace Films

Country: Australia

Running time: 100 minutes


 

4/5

Review: Looking For Grace

Cinema Release Round-Up: Carol & The Danish Girl


Director: Todd Haynes

Writer: Phyllis Nagy (screenplay), Patricia Highsmith (novel)

Stars: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler

Carol-Poster


Release date: January 14th, 2016

Distributors: The Weinstein Company, StudioCanal

Country: USA, UK 

Running time: 118 minutes


4/5

Romantic-drama Carol is one of the biggest Oscar contenders of 2015. From the outset, the movie packs a significant punch – featuring a socio-political/forever taboo topic, a stacked cast, and talented director. It fits the definition of a critical darling – resembling the type of drama people shower with praise during Oscar season.

Thankfully, with Carol, the wave of positive feedback and awards is warranted – benefitting the aforementioned pedigree, subject matter, and alluring narrative. The story is set in the 1950s New York City, illuminating the last era of formality and normality in US history. Aspiring photographer Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara) is struggling to be enthusiastic about her life. Working at a high-end department store, she instantly connects with single mother Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett).

The narrative, similarly to similar LGBT-related dramas/love stories (Brokeback Mountain), revolves around a touching, slow-build romance between polar opposites. Based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, the film illuminates the original text’s fascination with 50s-era existence. Thanks to Phyllis Nagy’s screenplay, the film relates issues of yesterday to today’s socio-political climate. Without overstating its welcome, the film makes for a startling reminder of society’s unease and disdain.

Focusing on the essential aspects, the central conflict revolves around Carol and Therese’s yin-yang dynamic. Director Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine, I’m Not There), avoids convention at every affecting twist and turn. In a nonlinear fashion, the story finds its focal point in the opening scene before flashing back to the beginnings of Carol and Therese’s connection. Haynes, handling similar material with Far From Heaven, depicts their relationship with reverence and restraint.

The performances solidify Carol’s emotional impact and socio-political resonance. Blanchett, with two Oscars for searing performances in The Aviator and Blue Jasmine, is undoubtedly one of contemporary cinema’s finest actresses. Stepping outside her comfort zone once again, the Australian icon immerses herself in this confronting role. If not for Brie Larson in Room, Blanchett would be picking up a third Oscar this season. Similarly, Mara portrays the tiniest details with careful precision. Matching Blanchett point by point, this still-rising star conveys her character’s inner turmoil with class.

Carol is a unique romantic-drama and character study – with Haynes, the screenplay, and the performers bringing humanity and dignity to a thought-provoking tale.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=679wr31SXWk


 

Director: Tom Hooper

Writers: Lucinda Coxon (screenplay), David Ebershoff (book)

Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw

danish_girl-2


Release date: January 21st, 2016

Distributors: Focus Features, Universal Pictures International

Countries: UK, USA, Belgium

Running time: 119 minutes


2½/5

The Danish Girl is chock-a-block with everything you would expect from an Oscar-bait docudrama. The director’s style resembles that ‘British’ style of period-piece filmmaking, the script ties itself too closely to a subject you cannot ignore, whilst the actors and performances reek of attention-seeking theatrics. From a mile away, this docudrama comes off like a template of everything done 1000 times before.

The Danish Girl is not as trite or idiotic as you would expect, but it is still not good either. The story examines one of the most inspiring transgender cases in modern history. It begins with the sizzling marriage between artists Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) and Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander) in mid-1920 Copenhagen, Denmark. Gerda, to attract attention from local art galleries, paints portrait paintings of Einer in women’s clothing. However, after a string of outings in the get-up, Einer reveals his inner self – a woman named Lili Elbe he has hidden for decades.

The film marks a cavernous rift between story, direction, and performances. This version of events, based on the 2000 novel of the same name by David Ebershoff, is only loosely based on the interesting, socially relevant true story. Being the first recorded case of gender reassignment surgery, these events deserve more than Hooper’s self-conscious, tepid interpretation. The screenplay, unsure of its intended audience, shows and tells throughout the film’s exhaustive run-time. After each revelation and emotionally gripping moment, the characters forcefully describe their thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Director Tom Hooper had similar troubles bringing The King’s Speech and Les Miserables to life. Like his preceding Oscar favourites, his style overshadows and eventually suffocates the intriguing central premise. His direction – based around ‘unique’ camera angles and movements – steals the spotlight. However, Hooper never confronts or delves into the significant social, cultural, and psychological themes.

Thanks to Hooper and Redmayne, the film presents timid versions of transgender characters. Redmayne’s repetitive, one-note performance is insulting – depicting Einer/Lili’s conflict by touching fabric, quivering, blinking uncontrollably, whispering, and wincing in every scene. Since his Oscar-winning performance in The Theory of Everything, the performer has shown limited range and subtlety. Vikander eclipses her counterpart, bringing personality and charm to a difficult role.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d88APYIGkjk

Article: Alicia Vikander – The Woman From S.W.E.D.E.N


maxresdefault

Article: Alicia Vikander – The Woman From S.W.E.D.E.N

Interview: Fringe World Fix – Ali Brice from Graeme of Thrones


graemeofthrones0401A

Interview: Fringe World Fix – Ali Brice from Graeme of Thrones 

The Hateful Eight Review: The Bounty Hunter…in the Kitchen…With a Gun


Director: Quentin Tarantino

Writer: Quentin Tarantino

Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins

5991860.jpg-r_x_600-f_jpg-q_x-xxyxx


Release date: January 21st, 2016

Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Country: USA

Running time: 167 minutes


 

4/5

Review: The Hateful Eight

Article: Sue Brooks and Radha Mitchell Go Walkabout with Looking For Grace


5. LOOKING FOR GRACE Radha Mitchell (Denise), Odessa Young (Grace)

Article: Sue Brooks and Radha Mitchell Go Walkabout with Looking For Grace

Review: The Rubens @ Fremantle Arts Centre


The-Rubens_New-General_LOW-Cybele-Malinowski-4

Review: The Rubens @ Fremantle Arts Centre

Interview: The Franklin Electric


tfe-2015-new-crop-color

Interview: The Franklin Electric

Article: 5 Stars that Will Continue to Rise in 2016


maxresdefault

Article: 5 Stars that Will Continue to Rise in 2016

Sisters Audio Review: Family Ties


Director: Jason Moore

Writer: Paula Pell

Stars: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholtz, Maya Rudolph

Sisters-1-sheet


Release date: January 7th, 2016

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 118 minutes


 

3½/5

Review:

The Revenant Audio Review: Dear Academy…


Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Writers: Mark L. Smith, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (screenplay), Michael Punke (book)

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter

revenant-leo


Release date: January 7th, 2016

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Country: USA

Running time: 156 minutes


3½/5

Review:

The Big Short Review: Wall Street Warriors


Director: Adam McKay

Writers: Adam McKay, Charles Randolph

Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt

the-big-short-poster-new


Release date: January 14th, 2016

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 130 minutes


 

3½/5

Review: The Big Short

Jessica Jones Season 1 Review: A Small-Screen Marvel


Creator: Melissa Rosenberg

Channel: Netflix

Stars: Krysten Ritter, Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Wil Traval

Marvels-Jessica-Jones-poster-min


Genres: Action, Detective, Drama, Neo-noir, Superhero

Premiere: November 20th, 2015

Country: USA


4/5

Best part: The dynamic performances.

Worst part: Not enough Luke Cage.

In 2015, the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut showed no sign of slowing down. The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man were fun, edge-of-your-seat thrill-rides performing on their own whilst setting up future installments. In addition, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD gained traction, responded valiantly to the events of the aforementioned blockbusters, and gained a bigger audience. However, the best Marvel properties belonged to Netflix, proving just how far the online streaming service has come this year.

Daredevil Season 1 expertly combined The Dark Knight Trilogy‘s ‘dark and gritty’ crime-thriller style/vision with tension-inducing chills and subdued performances. As The Wire meets Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the series became a binge-watcher’s dream for 13 straight hours. Its follow-up, Jessica Jones, took many significant leaps of faith. The show, pulling an obscure character out of the shadows, sets up its unique tone and establishes itself in the darker New York/MCU world.

Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) is a private investigator with a cynical edge and lust for vengeance. Infidelity and harmful actions are good for business, accentuating her status as one of few effective freelance PI offices left in Manhattan. After putting an end to her superhero career, she leaves her powers to roughing up thugs and lowlifes coming through her door at Alias Investigations. Witnessing university hopeful Hope Shlottmann (Erin Moriarty) murder her own parents, Jones is convinced her supervillainous arch nemesis/ex-boyfriend, Kilgrave (David Tennant), has returned to destroy her.

This mash-up of detective, neo-noir, superhero, and psychological-thriller tropes is one of 2015’s most transformative shows. Developed effectively by Melissa Rosenberg, the series provides a fresh, inspired take on drama narrative and socially relevant themes on screen. The first three episodes (AKA Ladies Night, AKA Crush Syndrome, AKA It’s Called Whiskey), in particular, apply neo-noir’s sickening atmosphere and aesthetic to its arresting character study elements. The show highlights each detail of Jones’ investigation, efficiently setting up the pieces before knocking them down spectacularly.

Jessica Jones, predictably labelled ‘feminist’ by people who don’t know any better, provides balanced versions of both genders. Unlike many superhero films/series’ etc., the female characters are given depth beyond their abilities. Jones is a survivor, brought to her knees by everything and everyone throughout her life. The lead is the series’ best asset – a well-rounded being succumbing to temptation (booze, sex etc.) and emotional connections realistically. On the other side of the conflict, Kilgrave is the MCU’s most enthralling antagonist. As an obsessive ex-boyfriend type, he preys on Jones’ issues (post traumatic stress disorder, assault etc.) with fearsome tenacity. Diverting from the urban, predator-prey dynamic of preceding episodes, AKA You’re A Winner! peels back the layers of Jones and Kilgrave’s pasts.

The supporting characters, throughout the confronting, visceral run, succinctly off-set Jones’ sickening, ever-increasing aura. Luke Cage (Mike Colter) is a well-natured, charming character with scores to settle of his own. Sadly, however, after several gruelling twists and turns, the character takes an extended hiatus. Jones’ friend/sidekick Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) is a force of personality, utilising her sarcastic wit and personal quarrels to significant effect. Her on-again/off-again dynamic with Will Simpson (Wil Traval) sizzles during the show’s more intimate moments. Carrie Ann Moss gives a strong turn as the lesbian attorney stuck in Jones’ circle of hell.

Despite the exhaustive number of episodes, Jessica Jones is a detective-thriller and superhero-action smackdown in equal measure. Despite the focus on darkness, violence, and heavy subject matter, the show’s performances, tone, and intricate attention to detail establish its merits as a stand-alone series and extension of the MCU.

Verdict: ‘Dark and gritty’ done right.

Article: Over it: Blockbuster Hype Has Outstayed its Welcome


batmanvsuperman-xlarge

Article: Over it: Blockbuster Hype Has Outstayed its Welcome

Franchise Fix: The Maze Runner & Maze Runner: Scorch Trials


Director: Wes Ball

Writers: Noah Oppenheim, Grant Pierce Myers, T. S. Nowlin (screenplay), James Dashner (novel)

Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter

3/5

Poster-Art-for-The-Maze-Runner


Release date: September 19th, 2014

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Country: USA

Running time: 113 minutes


The Maze Runner is yet another entry in the long, unending line of young adult franchise adaptations. Adapting dense, overwhelming content from stage to screen, cinematic YA series’ have to appease the desires of fans, studio executives, and authors. They go one of two ways: critically and commercially successful (The Hunger Games) or flat on their faces (Divergent).

The Maze Runner was seen as one of 2014’s biggest surprises. Overcoming the YA too-many-at-once stigma, this action flick surpassed the majority of YA fluff to deliver on its promises. The plot kicks off in the thick of the action, with Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) waking up in a steel cage being transported to the maze. After meeting key players, including antagonist Gally (Will Poulter), second in command Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), and Runner Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Thomas pieces together the system of operations (the ‘Glade’) along with his shattered consciousness.

As the contemporary version of Lord of the Flies, The Maze Runner is one of few YA flicks to connect with a wider audience. Along with our leads, the audience is trapped in the labyrinthine maze setting throughout the 113-min run-time. Like many YA adaptation, the plot relies on world building and exposition to break down its central premise. Giving every aspect a peculiar title (Glade, Grievers etc.), the film never strays too far away from YA convention.

The film is hindered by its third act, explaining the significance of the maze and its place in the dystopian world. However, it benefits from its action-thriller aura. From first-time feature director Wes Ball, the action sequences illustrate the scope and sense of danger the maze offers. As the ultimate obstacle course, the maze sequences add some much needed thrills and chills. Its cast of bright, young actors make the most the somewhat laughable material.

The Maze Runner, the opening chapter of a promising trilogy, is a fun YA adaptation perfect for a Saturday afternoon.

Verdict: A surprisingly enjoyable YA adaptation. 


Director: Wes Ball

Writers: T. S. Nowlin (screenplay), James Dashner (novel)

Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee

3/5

maze-runner-the-scorch-trials


Release date: September 18th, 2015

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Country: USA

Running time: 131 minutes


Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, the second instalment of author James Dashner’s franchise, was released at the tail end of 2015’s blockbuster season. Coming off a surprisingly fun first entry, the sequel could have gone either way. Thankfully, the sequel successfully continues this still-promising series.

The Scorch Trials picks up immediately after the events of the 2014 original. Rescued by an unnamed squadron, led by Janson (Aidan Gillen), Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), Minho (Ki Hong Lee), Teresa (Kaya Scodelario), Frypan (Dexter Darden), and Winston (Alexander Flores) finally feel safe. However, Thomas discovers that their new home is owned by powerful organisation WCKD (led by Paige (Patricia Clarkson)), tasked with testing children to find a cure for a deadly worldwide disease. Escaping from the facility, our leads must face the dystopian wasteland to find the resistance (called Right Arm).

The sequel doubles down on everything, delivering an increased amount of exposition, plot twists, flashbacks, and action sequences. The plot, in true blockbuster sequel fashion, lurches from one major set-piece to the next. This middle chapter merely delivers more of the same; carrying the difficult task of continuing the events of the original whilst building towards the third chapter (The Death cure, due for release in 2017). As an extension, this instalment aptly, but unremarkably, sets up the MacGuffins and conflicts for the future.

On its own, this instalment serves to depict the scope and increasing danger of the series’ dystopian setting. The film becomes an extended obstacle course – jumping between chases, gunfights, and fist-fights against WCKD personnel and zombie populations in the Scorch. Dylan O’Brien and Ki Hong Lee pull off the standard action movie running style. Our characters grow ever so slightly in between moments of awe and spectacle. However, with character actors including Giancarlo Esposito, Lili Taylor, and Barry Pepper joining the cast, screen time becomes scarce.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is a successful but ultimately underwhelming follow-up to the pacy original.

Verdict: A fun follow-up. 

Home Release Round-up: Seventh Son, The First Time & American Ultra


Director: Sergei Bodrov

Writers: Charles Leavitt, Steven Knight (screenplay), Joseph Delaney (novel)

Stars: Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander

2½/5

SS-A1S-IMAX-31-DEC

Based on Joseph Delaney’s novel, The Spook’s Apprentice, Seventh Son is the very definition of throwaway trash. Released to scathing reviews and even worse commercial traction, this fantasy-epic was thrown to the wolves by its studio overlords.

Seventh Son kicks off with the imprisonment of evil witch mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) by knight/monster hunter/badass (Spook) Gregory (Jeff Bridges) after their romance turned sour. The story jumps forward; Gregory – becoming the last of his kind – scours the land for similar demon-like creatures. After Malkin’s prison break, and his apprentice(Kit Harington)’s murder at her hands, hires aspiring local farmhand Will (Ben Barnes) to take up the mantle and save the kingdom.

Faced with an extraordinary share of production issues, Seventh Son is the by-product of blockbuster era gone by. The film languishes in forgettable fluff, once made whole by everything from Ridley Scott’s Legend and the original Clash of the Titans. Like the Clash remake, however, the plot lurches from one monster battle to the next. Lacking original story or character elements, the film goes through the motions.

Despite the dearth of emotion or intelligence, the action sequences – along with the CGi creations – are almost worth a watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. The actors all put on a brave face, with Jeff Bridges hiding behind a thick (British?) accent and overall charisma. Moore, coming off her Oscar-winning performance in Still Alice, chews up the scenery. Up-and-comers Barnes and Alicia Vikander handle themselves eloquently.

Verdict: A silly, forgettable fantasy-epic.


Director: Jon Kasdan

Writer: Jon Kasdan

Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Britt Robertson, Craig Roberts, James Frecheville

3/5

Layout 1

The First Time is one of few films focusing on that scary, interesting era in everyone’s life. After the initial boyfriend/girlfriend stuff, the first physical encounter can spell immediate success or instant disaster. The film takes it on with considerable care and thought.

The First Time, in true teen dramedy fashion, follows the hit-and-miss life of Dave (Dylan O’Brien). Dave is a high school senior pining after long-time friend Jane (Victoria Justice). Stuck in the deadening abyss known as the ‘friend zone’, Dave watches on as Jane hooks up with one guy after another. One night, at a sex-fuelled house party, Dave meets Aubrey (Britt Robertson) and his life takes an immediate turn for the positive.

This coming-of-age dramedy pays homage to 1990s independent filmmakers known for human moments more so than plot. Mimicking Richard Linklater and Kevin Smith’s works, the film works best during extended conversations between our lead two characters. Unlike most contemporary movies, it makes a point of focusing on dialogue, human interaction, and on-screen chemistry. Its highs and lows thrive on O’Brien and Robertson’s effervescent performances.

Writer/director Jon Kasdan, brother of Jake (Sex Tape, Bad Teacher) and son of acclaimed filmmaker Lawrence (Star Wars), clings onto his less-is-more approach a little too far. The supporting characters, including Aubrey’s older boyfriend Ronny (James Frecheville), are pushed into the background.

Verdict: A solid, harmless date movie.


Director: Nima Nourizadeh

Writer: Max Landis

Stars: Jessie Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton

2/5

AmUltra_ Poster

Director Nima Nourizadeh is an up-and-coming comedy director known primarily for Project X; one of the past decade’s most unlikeable movies. Writer Max Landis, known for Chronicle and a Man of Steel rant on YouTube, is one of contemporary Hollywood’s most divisive figures. Put them together and you get American Ultra – a derivative, pointless action-comedy.

American Ultra focuses on pot-smoking layabout Mike Howell (Jessie Eisenberg) in Liman, West Virginia. Mike, cared for by his girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart), envisions a better life via his collection of graphic novel illustrations. Meanwhile, at Langley’s CIA headquarters, agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) learns that Mike, sole survivor of a particular sleeper agent program, is to be eliminated by Adrian (Topher Grace).

Light on action, laughs or anything of substance, this action-comedy creates a fan-fiction-esque universe of bizarre, over-the-top plot points, characters, and actions sequences. Talking down to their audience, Nourizadeh and Landis present simplistic, juvenile depictions of everything including relationships, stoners, and, well, basic human traits. Mike and Phoebe are caricatures, defined only by ticks and forced backstories. However, Eisenberg and Start, two of the 21st century’s most divisive performers, elevate their roles with undeniable chemistry.

The film’s strange anti-establishment agenda paints a concerning portrait of American security agencies. Landis and co. restrict the CIA players to caricatures and cyphers, using operation titles like ‘Tough Guy’ and ‘Ultra’. Character actors including Grace, Britton, Walton Goggins, and Bill Pullman are restricted to unlikeable, incompetent characters illustrating the CIA as horrific, bloodthirsty morons.

Verdict: A messy, obnoxious action-comedy. 

Review: The Silent Deeds – Desert Town EP


12369183_477260945785820_333968970368393761_n

Review: The Silent Deeds – Desert Town EP

Article: WAM and the Rise of Kucka


speaker-sessions-kucka

Article: WAM and the Rise of Kucka

Article: 5 Artists Who Dominated in 2015


1sdQ4sTu9xpx

Article: 5 Artists Who Dominated in 2015

Point Break Review: Wipe Out


Director: Ericson Core

Writer: Kurt Wimmer

Stars: Luke Bracey, Edgar Ramirez, Teresa Palmer, Delroy Lindo

pntbr_poster4


Release date: January 1st, 2016

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Country: USA, China

Running time: 113 minutes


 

1½/5

Review: Point Break

 

Home Release Round-up: Hot Pursuit, The Longest Ride & Last Cab to Darwin


Director: Anne Fletcher

Writer: David Feeney, John Quaintance

Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara, Robert Kazinsky, John Carroll Lynch

hot_pursuit_ver2_xxlg-1308x19401/5

Last year, Reese Witherspoon earned yet another Academy Award nomination for her magical performance in docudrama Wild. Judging by Hot Pursuit, it is clear she may be an abysmal loser. This Road trip-comedy highlights a scary trend – that descent between an actor’s Oscar-calibre project and their paycheck-grabbing follow-up. It is an abysmal, insensitive effort fuelled by poor decisions and Hollywood power.

Hot Pursuit sees Rose Cooper (Witherspoon), benched after an unfortunate tasing incident, struggling to balance an intense work ethic with her personal life. Busting out of the evidence locker, she is assigned to protect a cartel informant and his wife Daniella (Sofia Vergara).

Despite the 87-minute run-time, Hot Pursuit reeks of a rushed production struggling for content. What follows is a ‘hilarious’ and ‘wacky’ assortment of sketches and set-pieces. Very little works about this bland, derivative road-trip comedy. Playing up to stereotypes, the film pulls out and dusts off every cheap, lame gag against women and Hispanic people.

Witherspoon, producing and starring in this mess, claimed the film was part of her company’s movement for strong female characters. Menstruation jokes and weird accent gags fail to warrant even a quick chuckle. Its lead characters are inhuman and insensitive, struggling to grasp human emotions and common sense.

Witherspoon and Vergara’s talents are thoroughly wasted here, with the Modern Family actress forced to wheeze out a Fran Drescher impersonation. Witherspoon Texan caricature is sure to offend, sidelined by cheap jokes about her appearance. Comedians Mike Birbiglia and Jim Gaffigan are stuck in unfunny, one-scene roles.

Verdict: A offensive waste of talent, money etc.


Director: George Tillman Jr.

Writer: Craig Bolotin

Stars: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin

the-longest-ride-poster3½/5

The Longest Ride is yet another instalment in the never-ending line of Nicholas Sparks romantic-dramas. Building upon his vast sums of money and followers from The Notebook and The Lucky One, his latest adaptation may be the best one by default.

The Longest Ride follows senior year arts student Sophie Denko (Britt Robertson). Forced out of her sorority dorm by her friends, she meets big-time bull rider Luke Collins (Scott Eastwood) at the local rodeo. Collins, one of the Professional Bull Riders on tour, is coming off a major incident at his last event.

This Sparks adaptation is divided into two familiar but effecting tales. One concerns the relationship between our two sparkling leads, featuring a cacophony of Sparksian clichés including shirtless people, the rain, and a late-night swim in a lake. The other delves into the deeper elements, chronicling a love story set in WWII-era America between Ira (Jack Huston) and Ruth (Oona Chaplin).

Both plot-threads intersect at appropriate moments, succinctly complimenting one another. Sophie and Luke’s conversations with the elderly Ira (Alan Alda) accentuate the film’s impressive performances. Director George Tilmman Jr. (Notorious, Faster) wrangles strong performances out of his young leads. Robertson, known for Tomorrowland, is the next blonde charmer. Eastwood, displaying his father’s charisma and good looks, is a worthy candidate for the next big superhero franchise.

Despite the tried and true formula, The Longest Ride is one of the biggest surprises of 2015. Tillman Jr. and co. provide a fresh take on the material for girls and boys to enjoy.

Verdict: A sweet, good-natured romantic-drama. 


Director: Jeremy Sims

Writers: Reg Cribb, Jeremy Sims

Stars: Michael Caton, Mark Coles Smith, Ningali Lawford-Wolf, Jacki Weaver

last-cab-to-darwin-poster3½/5

Australian cinema ranges typically between dark, brooding drama (Strangerland) and over-the-top comedy (The Dressmaker). Hollywood and foreign film continually give us works that sit in between these polar opposites. Last Cab to Darwin, at the very least, makes a gracious and worthwhile attempt to balance drama and comedy with ease.

Last Cab to Darwin chronicles the professional and personal aspects of taxi driver Rex(Michael Caton)’s life. The sole taxi driver in Broken Hill, New South Wales, his days and nights begin to blur together. By day, he drives around town helping everyone out. By night, he visits his local pub, chats with his mates, before listening to his records alone. His neighbour/lady-friend Polly (Ningali Lawford-Wolf) is his one true source of comfort.

Rex is told that his cancer, despite having previously been operated on, has spread throughout his body with a vengeance. Given three months to live, Rex takes up an offer from GP and euthanasia activist Dr. Nicole Farmer (Jacki Weaver) in the Northern Territory to be her first patient once the law comes through.

You guessed it, Rex takes his taxi across the country and over great, red plains to die on his own terms. Based on Cribb’s 2003 theatre production, Last Cab to Darwin is the outback cinema version of comfort food. The narrative hits the familiar beats, with Rex encountering a wide array of archetypes and situations putting his life into perspective. Bouncing off Tilly (Mark Coles Smith) and Julie (Emma Hamilton), Rex, thanks to Caton’s touching performance, is a determined, fascinating character.

Last Cab to Darwin, fusing familiar narrative with serious topic, is a defining contemporary Australian flick.

Verdict: A true-blue road-trip dramedy. 

Reshoot & Rewind’s Best Movies of 2015


720x405-Joy-InsideOut_Charlize-MadMax2015 was certainly an interesting year for politics, economics, art, and everything in between. The world was forced to watch on in horror as the forces of evil attempted to destroy our way of life. People lost their lives, cities were attacked, and the world’s governments came together to make a difference. We stood against those responsible, questioning their motives and responding to threats.

The year in cinema pushed boundaries and formed unique and invigorating works of art. Films including The Martian and Sicario, both of which I watched on the same day, proved the magic and majesty of celluloid can illuminate the globe. However, films including Fantastic Four and Chappie fell flat on their stupid faces!

For Reshoot & Rewind, the year delivered its fair share of hits. Covering a greater number of topics and formats, I aimed to take chances and deliver the best articles possible for my loyal followers. I hope to make 2016 an even better year for myself and the site. Thank you all for embracing the craziness – delving into the reviews, lists, interviews, news pieces, op-eds etc. I loved putting together.

Here are the best of the best:

1. The Martian

Director Ridley Scott returns to form with this testament to technology, ingenuity, and the human spirit. The Martian is a fascinating and fun action-adventure-sci-fi romp, bringing Scott and leading man Matt Damon back from the brink of critical and commercial failure. Every element –  including its gleeful lead characters, rousing set pieces, light-hearted direction, and positive message – establishes this rollercoaster ride as one of 2015’s most innovative and spirited works of art.

2. Sicario

Sicario marks the true power of Hollywood cinema, spreading its wings and utilising its resources to discuss a crucial socio-political topic. This crime-thriller, yet again, showcased the brilliance and resilience of director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins. Together, these power-house professionals paint a gorgeous, gritty, and confronting picture of the US-Mexico conflict. Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, and Benicio del Toro craft strong performances, bouncing off on another with style. The film draws the line between what is right and what is beneficial for the free world.

3. Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road is the year’s most invigorating and inventive blockbuster. Every ingredient of this post-apocalyptic actioner is awe-inspiring. Balancing between nostalgia and a contemporary vision, the film marks the glorious return of acclaimed filmmaker George Miller. A key part of 2015’s feminist angle, it bravely pushed it titular character to the side – crafting the most fun female action hero since Ellen Ripley from the Alien Franchise. In addition, any film featuring the line: “Fang it, schlanger” is alright by me!

4. 99 Homes 

99 Homes is a shocking and rousing account of middle America’s struggle against The Man. Shockingly, it’s based in the realm of reality! From its confronting opening sequence, the film delves head-on into the post-Global Financial Crisis wasteland. As a character study, 99 Homes excels thanks to efficient, brutal screenwriting and direction. As a performance piece, lead actors Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon deliver powerful, gripping performances as two sides of the same coin.

5. Bridge of Spies 

Steven Spielberg is one of few contemporary filmmakers still creating genuine works of art. Charging through a multi-decade career, the veteran genius returns to true form with Lincoln and Bridge of Spies. Bridge of Spies, teaming up Spielberg with Tom Hanks again, links a Cold War-era narrative with modern socio-political themes. The film fuses comedic moments with dark, searing drama, serving up one of the era’s least known but most enthralling true stories.

6. Creed

In the year of long-awaited/belated sequel/reboot/whatevers, Creed broke the mould, destroyed the competition, but was still gracious in victory. Easily eclipsing Jake Gyllenhaal-vehicle Southpaw, the film aptly harks back on the Rocky franchise legacy whilst heading on its own journey. Throwing their names into the Oscar buzz ring, leading man Michael B. Jordan and American treasure Sylvester Stallone deliver career-defining turns in a magnetic mentor-protege relationship. Creed was the biggest surprise of 2015.

7. Youth 

Unlike many ‘For Your Consideration’ projects, dramedy Youth acknowledges its foreign director’s style, allowing them to create a truly original achievement. The film simply would not work without Paolo Sorrentino’s outside-the-box vision and acute attention to detail. This dramedy ably comments on the highs and lows of celebrity and age. Lead actors Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel handle the balance between satirical bite, emotional intensity, and laugh-out-loud moments with ease.

8. Inside Out

As the modern version of Herman’s Head, Inside Out proves that a familiar idea can be reinvigorated and improved upon with the right people involved. Pixar Animation Studios, returning to form after a string of disappointments, showcases truckloads of imagination with this light, breezy effort. Featuring likeable characters and enjoyable set-pieces, Inside Out is a more exciting action extravaganza than Jurassic World, Terminator: Genisys, and Jupiter Ascending combined. In addition, its climax will have every viewer shedding a tear or two.

9. Selma

Robbed of success at this year’s Academy Awards, Selma is an emotionally affecting and necessary docudrama. Covering Martin Luther King, Jr.’s rise to prominence in America’s conscious state, the film documents a tough, gruelling time in modern civilisation. Covering important events and key issues, Ava DuVernay’s direction depicts the essential details with class and maturity. David Oyelowo, another British actor perfectly embodying an American historical figure, is worth the admission cost alone.

10. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Winning Best Picture and Best Director deservedly, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is a flawed but ultimately assured and detailed dramedy. Veering away from 21 Grams and Babel territory, acclaimed filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu crafts an outside-the-box analysis of contemporary cinema, celebrity, and fandom. He along with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki create many “How did they do that?!” flourishes throughout this thought-provoking character study. Michael Keaton is back with a vengeance!

Honourable Mentions:

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Amy, Dope, Mississippi Grind, The Program, The Lobster, Straight Outta Compton, The Gift, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Love & Mercy, Slow West, A Most Violent Year, Top Five, The Avengers: Age of Ultron 

Biggest Surprises:

The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Spooks: The Greater Good, Trainwreck, Ant-Man, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Partisan, Unfriended, Ex Machina, The DUFF, Still Alice, Furious 7, Run All Night, American Sniper, Focus, Pride, Kingsman: The Secret Service, The Longest Ride

Poltergeist (Home Release) Audio Review: Rotting Remake


Director: Gil Kenan

Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire

Stars: Sam Rockwell, Rosmarie DeWitt, Jarred Harris, Jane Adams

poltergeist-clown-movie-poster


Release date: May 22nd, 2015

Distributor: 20th Century Fox 

Country: USA

Running time: 93 minutes


 

2/5

Review:

Ricki & the Flash (Home Release) Audio Review: Miserable Meryl


Director: Jonathan Demme

Writer: Diablo Cody

Stars: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Rick Springfield

Ricki-and-the-Flash-Movie-Poster


Release date: August 7th, 2015

Distributor: TriStar Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 101 minutes


 

2½/5

Review:

The Voices (Home Release) Audio Review: Ragin’ Reynolds


Director: Marjane Satrapi

Writer: Michael R. Perry

Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver

thevoicesposterlarge


Release date: April 30th, 2015

Distributor: Lionsgate

Country: USA, Germany

Running time: 104 minutes


 

3½/5

Review:

Joy Audio Review: J-Law & Order


Director: David O. Russell

Writer: David O. Russell

Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Edgar Ramirez, Bradley Cooper

Jennifer-Lawrence-Joy-Movie-Poster


Release date: December 26th, 2015

Distributor: 20th Century Fox 

Country: USA

Running time: 124 minutes


 

2½/5

Review:

Dope (Home Release) Audio Review: High on Life


Director: Rick Famuyiwa

Writer: Rick Famuyiwa

Stars: Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, A$AP Rocky

Dope-movie-poster


Release date: June 19th, 2015

Distributor: Open Road Films

Country: USA

Running time: 103 minutes


 

4/5

Review:

We Are Your Friends (Home Release) Audio Review: Duf-Duf-Dumb


Director: Max Joseph

Writers: Max Joseph, Meaghan Oppenheimer

Stars: Zac Efron, Emily Ratajkowski, Shiloh Fernandez, Jonny Weston

934810777687ae5820a9234c340ffb8d_500x735


Release date: August 21st, 2015

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 96 minutes


 

2/5

Review:

Reshoot & Rewind’s Worst Movies of 2015


worst-movies-2015-pic2015 was certainly an interesting year for politics, economics, art, and everything in between. The world was forced to watch on in horror as the forces of evil attempted to destroy our way of life. People lost their lives, cities were attacked, and the world’s governments came together to make a difference. We stood against those responsible, questioning their motives and responding to threats.

The year in cinema pushed boundaries and formed unique and invigorating works of art. Films including The Martian and Sicario, both of which I watched on the same day, proved the magic and majesty of celluloid can illuminate the globe. However, film including Fantastic Four and Chappie fell flat on their stupid faces!

For Reshoot & Rewind, the year delivered its fair share of hits. Covering a greater number of topics and formats, I aimed to take chances and deliver the best articles possible for my loyal followers. I hope to make 2016 an even better year for myself and the site. Thank you all for embracing the craziness – delving into the reviews, lists, interviews, news pieces, op-eds etc. I loved putting together.

Here are the worst of the worst:

1. Pixels

Family action-comedy Pixels represents every single thing wrong about 21st century Hollywood filmmaking. This bland effort teams up a short-film premise with Adam Sandler and his band of merry morons. Director Chris Columbus sinks further into mainstream hell with this derivative waste of time and money. Talents including Michelle Monaghan, Brian Cox, Josh Gad, and Peter Dinklage are left stranded in unlikeable roles. This is Hollywood’s worst impulses stuffed into a hurricane force of mediocrity. F*ck off, Sandler!

2. By The Sea

Writer, director, activist, and actress Angelina Jolie was given free reign to produce and market By the Sea. The Result: a critical and commercial disaster of epic, Gigli-esque proportions. This self-indulgent, trite romantic-drama lambasts the very idea of marriage… despite being created by the most famous married couple on Earth (very strange, indeed). The plot is non-existent, the characters are unlikeable and childish, and Jolie’s writing and direction bang the same note repeatedly. First Unbroken, now By the Sea – go back to humanitarian work!

3. Taken 3 

Despite the cheap thrills of Run All Night, 2015 marked the sad, violent conclusion of Liam Neeson’s reign as Hollywood’s leading geriatric action hero. Taken 3, bludgeoning a dead horse, is somehow worse than the excruciating Taken 2. Lacking the original’s bursts of energy, director Olivier Megaton (Columbiana) delivers a sequel entirely for the sake of monetary gain. Gigantic plot-holes and a derivative man-on-the-run narrative further obliterate contemporary action cinema’s reputation.

4. Fantastic Four 

After the 2005 and 2007 Fantastic Four disasters, 2015’s ‘dark and gritty’ reboot needed only to improve upon its lackluster predecessors. Bafflingly, those flicks now seem more refined and unique compared to this clunker. This tone deaf, bizarre superhero flick lacks the energy, thrills, and even pulse of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and X-Men entries. Thanks to feuds between the studio and director Josh Trank, Fantastic Four is a confused and boring non-starter. Back to the drawing board, yet again.

5. Hot Pursuit

Reese Witherspoon, following up her latest Oscar nomination for Wild, destroys her reputation with Hot Pursuit. Producing and starring in this tired comedy, Witherspoon’s attempt at strong female characters fails spectacularly. She and co-star Sofia Vergara portray the year’s most annoying and insulting characters, tripping over one another thanks to bizarre accents and over-the-top pratfalls. The film’s attempts at edgy comedy also fall flat – adding menstruation jokes to almost every scene.

6. Chappie

Director Neill Blompkamp, following up his breakout hit District 9 with polarising blockbuster Elysium, further descends into the M. Night Shyamalan-writer/director doldrums with sci-fi-drama Chappie. His latest effort is a misjudged, over-the-top venture afraid to delve into any one discernible plot-line or theme. Shoving multiple feature film ideas into one narrative, this romp is a hollow mess of plot-holes, shallow characters, and a limited sense of style and vision.

7.  Jupiter Ascending

The Wachowski siblings, like Blompkamp, are on a downward slide from bad to worse to downright disgraceful. Are the failures of Speed Racer and the Matrix sequels, Jupiter Ascending finally puts the last nail in the coffin. This sci-fi flick stuffs seven TV episodes into one two-hour experiment – forming an irritating cacophony of exposition, one-note characters, atrocious dialogue, and laughable moments. Thankfully, the Wachowskis have now been banished to TV with Sense8.

8. The Last Witch Hunter

Vin Diesel, arguably the most famous Dungeons & Dragons player in history, was given all the power and money to adapt his adventures for the big screen. However, The Last Witch Hunter proves Diesel should only be allowed to do Fast & Furious and Riddick installments. This cliched, uninteresting action-adventure is a confusing slog through exposition and predictable plot developments. Dragging talents Michael Caine and Elijah Wood through the mud, Diesel’s latest project shows some people have too much power.

9. Entourage

Vinnie, E, Turtle, Drama, and Ari Gold return in a TV adaptation released at least three years too late. Unleashed four years after the series’ final season, this franchise extender lands smack-bang in one of Hollywood’s most progressive eras. Carrying the show’s wish-fulfillment elements, whilst lacking the first-two seasons’ satirical bite, the film is a frat-boy fantasy drenched in pure sexism, bitterness, excess, and self-indulgence. Jeremy Piven aside, the movie also features the year’s worst performances.

10. Knight of Cups 

‘Ambitious’ writer/director Terrence Malick, after Oscar-buzz magnet The Tree of Life and polarising drama To The Wonder, returns with Knight of Cups to diminishing returns. Although aided by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, this pretentious, befuddling effort offers little else than Malick’s signature flourishes on repeat. The film lacks any sense of narrative, character, or theme other than: “Hey look, sunsets are nice”. Worse still, its biggest crime is under-utilising Christian Bale’s talents.

Dishonourable mentions:

The Dressmaker, Vacation, Legend, Pan, Survivor, Hitman: Agent 47, Self/less, Paper Towns, Ruben Guthrie, Ted 2, Terminator: Genisys, The Loft, The Cobbler, Jurassic World, Unfinished Business, Dumb & Dumber To, Aloha, Home Sweet Hell, The Gunman, Get Hard, Unbroken, The Theory of Everything

Biggest disappointments:

Joy, Truth, In the Heart of The Sea, Spectre, Spy, Crimson Peak, The Walk, Black Mass, Everest, Southpaw, Minions, San Andreas, Gemma Bovery, Tomorrowland, Woman in Gold, Blackhat, Pitch Perfect 2, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Inherent Vice

Good Kill (Home Release) Audio Review: Hawke-eye


Director: Andrew Niccol

Writer: Andrew Niccol

Stars: Ethan Hawke, January Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood

good-kill-poster1


Release date: May 15th, 2015

Distributor: IFC Films

Country: USA

Running time: 102 minutes


 

3½/5

Review: 

Vacation (Home Release) Audio Review: Down Nostalgia Lane


Directors: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley

Writers: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley

Stars: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Skyler Gisondo, Steele Stebbins

Vacation-Selfie-poster


Release date: July 29th, 2015

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

 Country: USA

Running time: 99 minutes


 

2/5

Review:

Interview: Tim Milroy of Teij (Music)


406906-164314-14

Interview: Tim Milroy of Teij 

Survivor (Home Release) Audio Review: The Man from London


Director: James McTeigue

Writer: Philip Shelby

Stars: Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan McDermott, Angela Bassett

large_y2tVUTOOGiPHCyEmaeBpT1ljM3C


Release date: June 5th, 2015

Distributor: Alchemy 

Country: USA, UK

Running time: 96 minutes


 

2/5

Review:

Interview: David Lang (Composer) – RTRFM 92.1


David_Lang

Interview: David Lang (Composer) – RTRFM 92.1

Review: Christmas Cracker – Iron Man 3


Director: Shane Black

Writers: Drew Pearce, Shane Black

Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley

Photo(721)


Release date: April 25th, 2013

Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Country USA

Running time: 130 minutes


 

4/5

Review: Christmas Crackers – Iron Man 3

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Audio Review: A Newer Hope


Director: J. J. Abrams

Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, Michael Arndt

Stars: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac

Star_Wars_Episode_VII_The_Force_Awakens


Release date: December 18th, 2015

Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 135 minutes


 

4/5

Review:

Article: Fat Freddy’s Drop Back Themselves With New Material


fat-freddys-drop-51e3cb37dc32c

Article: Fat Freddy’s Drop Back Themselves With New Material

Pixels (Home Release) Audio Review: Game Over!


Director: Chris Columbus

Writers: Tim Herlihy, Timothy Dowling

Stars: Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Michelle Monaghan, Josh Gad

pixels-55c9a3ac30f2e


Release date: July 24th, 2015

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 106 minutes


 

½/5

Review:

Youth Audio Review: Age of Innocence


Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Writer: Paolo Sorrentino

Stars: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano

youth-movie-poster


Release date: December 26th, 2015

Distributors: Medusa Film, Pathe, Praesens-Film, StudioCanal, Fox Searchlight Pictures

Countries: Italy, France, Switzerland, UK

Running time: 124 minutes


 

4½/5

Review:

Article: The Franklin Electric Announce Australian Tour


tfe-2015-new-crop-color

Article: The Franklin Electric Announce Australian Tour

Mississippi Grind Audio Review: Two Kings


Directors: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Writers: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Stars: Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller, Analeigh Tipton

Mississippi-Grind-poster-2015


Release date: September 25th, 2015

Distributor: A24 Films

Country: USA

Running time: 108 minutes


 

4/5

Review:

The Rewrite Audio Review: Hugh Talkin’ To Me?


Director: Marc Lawrence

Writer: Marc Lawrence

Stars: Hugh Grant, Marisa Tomei, Bella Heathcote, J. K. Simmons

the-rewrite-2014-02


Release date: October 8th, 2014

Distributor: Lionsgate

Country: USA

Running time: 106 minutes


 

3/5

Review:

Review: Christmas Cracker – The Long Kiss Goodnight


Director: Renny Harlin

Writer: Shane Black

Stars: Geena Davis, Samuel L. Jackson, Craig Bierko, Brian Cox

190502-1020-a


Release date: October 11th, 1996

Distributor: New Line Cinema

Country: USA

Running time: 120 minutes


 

4/5

Review: Christmas Cracker – The Long Kiss Goodnight

Article: It’s A Trap: Star Wars Episodes I & II


star_wars_episode_ii___attack_of_the_clones_by_1darthvader-d6h1rtx

Article: It’s A Trap: Star Wars Episodes I & II

Article: Graeme Richards – Painting A Picture


dsc_0016a_edited-1

Article: Graeme Richards – Painting A Picture

Article: 5th AACTA Awards Wrap-up


during the 5th AACTA Awards Presented by Presto at The Star on December 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.

Article: 5th AACTA Wrap-up

Spooks: The Greater Good Review: Bourne Again Blockbuster


Director: Bharat Nalluri

Writers: Jonathan Brackley, Sam Vincent

Stars: Kit Harington, Peter Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Elyes Gabel

fid14778


Release date: May 8th, 2015

Distributors: 20th Century Fox, Saban Films 

Country: UK

Running time: 104 minutes


 

3½/5

Review: Spooks: The Greater Good

Truth Audio Review: Facts & Follies


Director: James Vanderbilt

Writer: James Vanderbilt (screenplay), Mary Mapes (book)

Stars: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid

Truth-Movie-2015-Poster


Release date: October 15th, 2015

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics 

Country: USA

Running time: 125 minutes


 

3/5

Review:

In the Heart of the Sea Audio Review: Punchered Vessel


Director: Ron Howard

Writer: Charles Leavitt

Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland

db1abf9fc30efdb760f96fe963ba2cf0


Release date: December 11th, 2015

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 121 minutes


3/5

Review:

Review: Joni in the Moon @ Courtyard Club, State Theatre Centre


HR_Landscape_Joni+Promo-0687+copy

Review: Joni in the Moon @ Courtyard Club, State Theatre Centre

Review: Jacob Diamond – Chum EP


12107106_1020455567976409_3158354299036014890_n1

Review: Jacob Diamond – Chum EP 

The Night Before Review: Naughty & Nice


Director: Jonathan Levine

Writers: Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Jonathan Levine, Ariel Shaffir

Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Michael Shannon

The-Night-Before


Release date: November 20th, 2015

Distributor: Columbia Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 110 minutes


 

3/5

Review: The Night Before

By the Sea Audio Review: For Pitt’s Sake


Director: Angelina Jolie Pitt

Writer: Angelina Jolie Pitt

Stars: Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud

by_the_sea_ver2_xlg-600x951


Release date: November 13th, 2015

Distributor: Universal Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 122 minutes


 

1/5

Review:

Creed Audio Review: Ready to Rumble


Director: Ryan Coogler

Writer: Ryan Coogler, Aaron Covington

Stars: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad

creed-poster


Release date: November 25th, 2015

Distributors: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 133 minutes


 

4½/5

Review:

Hollywood Retro Film Festival – Sunset Boulevard Review: Who Killed Joe Gillis?!


Director: Billy Wilder

Writers: BIlly Wilder, Charles Brackett, D. M. Marshman, Jr.

Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson

sunset_boulevard_xlg


Release date: August 10, 1950

Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 110 minutes


 

5/5

Review: Sunset Boulevard

Landmine Goes Click Review: Tick…Tick…Tick…


Director: Levan Bakhia

Writer: Adrian Colussi

Stars: Sterling Knight, Spencer Locke, Kote Tolordava, Dean Geyer

landmine-goes-click-poster


Release date: November 10th, 2015

Distributor: Terror Films

Country: USA

Running time: 110 minutes


 

3/5

Review: Landmine Goes Click 

Review: AC/DC, The Hives @ Domain Stadium


epa01688253 Australian hard rock band AC/DC singer Brian Johnson (L) and guitarist Angus Young perform on stage during their concert at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre (BEC) in Baracaldo, Basque Country, northern Spain, 04 April 2009.  EPA/MIGUEL TONA

Review: AC/DC, The Hives @ Domain Stadium

99 Homes Audio Review: …But a Bitch Ain’t One!


Director: Ramin Bahrani

Writers: Ramin Bahrani, Amir Naderi

Stars: Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Laura Dern, Noah Lomax

99_Homes_Movie_Poster


Release date: October 9th, 2015

Distributor: Broad Green Pictures

Country: USA

Running time: 112 minutes


 

4½/5

Review:

The Program Review: The Speed of Life


Director: Stephen Frears

Writer: John Hodge

Stars: Ben Foster, Chris O’Dowd, Guillaume Canet, Jesse Plemons

The_Program_poster


Release date: October 14th, 2015

Distributors: StudioCanal, Momentum Pictures

Countries: UK, France 

Running time: 103 minutes


 

4/5

Review: The Program

Cooties (Home Release) Audio Review: Bite Me.


Directors: Jonathan Milott, Cary Murnion

Writers: Leigh Whannell, Ian Brennan

Stars: Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Rainn Wilson, Jack McBrayer

fin02_cooties_payoff


Release date: September 18th, 2015

Distributor: Lionsgate Premiere

Country: USA

Running time: 88 minutes


 

2/5

Review:

Article: Ben Harper to Kick Off Headline Tour at Sydney Opera House


harper-ben--innocent-criminals-the-50355aaf4e9d7

Article: Ben Harper to Kick off Headline Tour At Sydney Opera House

Review: Teij ‘I’ll Never Be A Wife’ Single Launch @ Indi Bar


1a7e2ba8-02ce-412f-bc36-392ae32d02f5

Review: Teij ‘I’ll Never Be A Wife’ Single Launch @ Indi Bar

Secret in Their Eyes Audio Review: Secrets & Spies


Director: Billy Ray

Writer: Billy Ray

Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Dean Norris

SITE_022615_133.CR2


 

Release date: November 20th, 2015

Distributor: STX Entertainment

Country: USA

 Running time: 111 minutes


 

3/5

Review:

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 Audio Review: Floundering Finale


Director: Francis Lawrence

Writer: Peter Craig, Danny Strong (screenplay), Suzanne Collins (screenplay & novel)

Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson

Hunger-Games-Mockingjay-part-2


Release date: November 20th, 2015

Distributor: Lionsgate

Country: USA

Running time: 137 minutes


 

3/5

Review: