FILM REVIEW: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (John Madden, 2015)

A few years ago, older audiences were given a rare gift in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. A fish-out-of-water story, set in beautiful India with a magnificent cast, it warmed the cockles of many a heart. So why ruin it? Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

FILM REVIEW: A Most Violent Year

A Most Violent Year (J.C. Chandor, 2014)

Still a relative newbie on the scene, director and writer J.C. Chandor has quickly proved he can play up there with the big guns. His feature debut Margin Call, a fictional take on the early stages of the global financial crisis, earned him an Oscar nod for best original screenplay, which he followed up with the one-man-on-a-boat thriller, All is Lost. Both involved potentially dull storylines (surely there’s nothing more boring than finance?) but somehow he managed to grab his audience by the balls and secure their undivided attention. His latest feature, A Most Violent Year, is exquisitely directed, and the dialogue is golden, but this time a dull story didn’t quite cut it. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: A Most Violent Year

FILM REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Ascending (Andy Wachowski & Lana Wachowski, 2015)

Nothing could have prepared me for what The Wachowskis (Andy and Lana) had in store for us this time around. After spellbinding audiences with The Matrix back in 1999, letting them down with the sequels, and then reclaiming some respect with Cloud Atlas (depending on who you talk to – I enjoyed it, but mainly because of the make-up), they have hit rock bottom with Jupiter Ascending. Five minutes in and I contemplated getting my money back (something I’ve never done) because it was clear from the get-go that this was going to be a monstrosity. If I hadn’t just seen Fifty Shades of Grey a few days earlier, this would have been the worst movie I’ve seen in years. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending

MUSICAL REVIEW: The Lion King

The Lion King (2015)

It’s been ten years since I first saw The Lion King, and the second time around was always going to be an improvement because there was no toddler behind me to ruin it. In 2005 some ignoramus had the brilliant idea to spend $100+ on a ticket for their three year old who persisted to ask questions throughout the entire show. This mainly consisted of “Mummy, when is the lion coming?” and “Why is the sky blue?” (I’m not even kidding). The Lion King is great for families, but for the love of Simba WHY WOULD YOU SPEND $100+ FOR YOUR TODDLER TO SEE A SHOW AND RUIN IT FOR EVERYONE ELSE? The lack of consideration for others is astounding. You’d be better off burning your money. But times have changed, and that kid will have grown up into a shitty teenager by now. Then again some things never change – like a Disney stage show. Continue reading MUSICAL REVIEW: The Lion King

Oscar 2015 Predictions

Oscars on Monday! (or Sunday for Americans). Same as last year – I’m giving you my predictions and wishes. Films I haven’t seen are marked with an asterisk (*). Who’s going to get the gold? Continue reading Oscar 2015 Predictions

FILM REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey (Sam Taylor-Johnson, 2015)

Billed as a love story released just in time for Valentine’s Day, Fifty Shades of Grey is anything but. Beginning as Twilight fan fiction, E.L. James’ Fifty Shades trilogy has titillated female readers the world over, and has made her a hefty fortune in the process, despite being atrociously written and disturbing in its message. In the first novel and now film, Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is seduced by the striking multi-millionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Christian tells Ana he doesn’t do romance, but wants her to be his ‘submissive’ to his ‘dominant’. Bondage sex ensues, with a good dose of emotional abuse thrown in for good measure. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Grey

THEATRE REVIEW: Jumpy

Jumpy (Melbourne Theatre Company, 2015)

The combination of Kath & Kim’s Jane Turner, Puberty Blues’ Brenna Harding, and Australian musical theatre darling Marina Prior in MTC’s Jumpy seemingly promised a wonderful concoction of Aussie comic delight. But then it turned out to be British. Bollocks. I understand that it’s by a British playwright, with references to the tube and beach holidays in Norfolk peppered throughout, and that Australian audiences are no strangers to productions relying on American or British accents. But when your stars are known primarily for their quintessentially Aussie performances, it’s almost disconcerting to hear them straining to sound British. All it would have taken was a few minor changes to the script and Jumpy would have transferred seamlessly to an Australian setting. If the Americans can make an – albeit crap – local adaptation of OUR Kath & Kim, then I don’t think I’m asking too much. Continue reading THEATRE REVIEW: Jumpy

FILM REVIEW: Selma

Selma (Ava DuVernay, 2014)

The world is a screwed up place with inequality every which way you look. But it’s worthwhile remembering how much worse it used to be, and that there is always hope for change. Ava DuVernay’s Selma documents Martin Luther King Jr.’s (David Oyelowo) fight for civil rights in 1965 Selma, Alabama, and the associated carnage care of a morally-depraved government and backwards law enforcement. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Selma

FILM REVIEW: Kingsman: The Secret Service

Kingsman: The Secret Service (Matthew Vaughn, 2014)

Some might meet the news of yet another comic book adaptation with an exasperated sigh, but there’s not a superhero in sight this time around. Following on from the subversive Kick-Ass, director Matthew Vaughn teams up once more with screenwriter Jane Goldman to bring another Mark Millar work to the big screen. Kingsman: The Secret Service may best be described as a mash-up of James Bond and The Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz/At the World’s End). The best of both worlds, it is espionage in the most hilariously violent fashion imaginable. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Kingsman: The Secret Service

FILM REVIEW: Still Alice

Still Alice (Richard Glatzer & Wash Westmoreland, 2014)

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to watch depressing films, I recommend that you RUN AS FAR AS YOU CAN away from Still Alice. But, if like me, you like to see films that yank at your heartstrings and possibly even leave you crying in the toilets afterwards, it is well worth a look. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Still Alice