Monday, September 9, 2013


Tonight I emigrate to Dublin.

I've always remembered "Adventure is out there!" and now it's time to head Up and off on my own expedition to the Emerald Isle.

This may come as no surprise, especially if you happened to catch my final appearance with the wonderful Linda Mottram on 702 ABC Sydney - when, bless her, she let the cat out of the bag with this:

So yes, my man and I are bustin outta here (with much less angst than this music video!) to take up residence in Dublin. In a twist on James Joyce, we've been referring to ourselves as "Dublinees" - though this was topped yesterday when my darling niece asked when we were moving to "Goblin".

Today is the day! It's all systems go for Goblin.

I can't wait to revisit the sights and discover the cinemas that Dublin has to offer. Any tips on either, please do shout. this space... writings, reviews and The Spoiler Guys will continue, international-style.

And so it seems The Plot Thickens...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Limelight Magazine: What Maisie Knew

Seen through the eyes of a six-year-old, this film about the spectre of divorce makes for haunting viewing indeed. Directing team Scott McGehee and David Siegel (Bee Season) deftly transpose the 19th-century England of Henry James’ novel What Maisie Knew to modern-day Manhattan, and craft some remarkable gilded cages for their pint-sized protagonist (Onata Aprile).

Maisie might want for nothing materially, but the emotional vacuum created (or preceded?) by the increasingly vicious separation of her parents – fading rock star Susanna (Julianne Moore) and British art dealer Beale (Steve Coogan) – is nothing short of suffocating. This abandonment is put into sharper relief by the hasty remarriages on both sides, where the new, much younger partners Margo (Joanna Vanderham) and Lincoln (Alexander Skarsgård) are each quite literally left “holding the baby”.

Keeping the camera low to align the audience with Maisie’s perspective, McGehee and Siegel capture an absolutely astounding performance from young Aprile. Devastatingly natural, her largely observational role is complemented by a similarly compelling supporting cast. Moore in particular is blisteringly good in her rendition of a narcissistic rock chick, and while Coogan’s Beale is just as negligent, it’s a film that is fascinating to discuss and find out where your personal judgments fall.

4 Stars
Published in the August 2013 issue of Limelight Magazine
Australian release date: 22 August 2013

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Limelight Magazine: Upstream Color

A visceral, mind-bending curio, Upstream Color isn’t for the faint of heart... or stomach! But for those brave souls willing to wade in to auteur Shane Carruth’s willfully enigmatic, narratively fractured story, you will be rewarded with a spine-tinglingly unforgettable voyage.

In a film that leeches into
 you like watercolour on canvas; the less you know about the 
story going in, the better. But in broad brushstrokes, I can reveal that Carruth co-stars alongside 
a spellbinding Amy Seimetz, 
and the pair play two troubled strangers, mysteriously drawn together by forces beyond their control. As Kris, Seimetz’s physical transformation is harrowing at times, at others, thrillingly triumphant. And it’s a testimony to Carruth’s staggering visual and sonic artistry that Kris’ vulnerability reaches straight out from the screen and fuses with your own anima.

Indeed, as a sensory experience, Upstream Color might find a more appreciative audience as an art installation. And yet the comforting cave of the cinema provides a welcomed sight, especially when the
 lights come back up and you’re grappling with what on earth you’ve just seen!

Buoyed by captivating performances and a palpable spirit, Carruth leads us into deep existential waters, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be gladly swept away.

4 1/2 Stars
Published in the August 2013 issue of Limelight Magazine
Australian release date (limited) 22 August 2013

Always nice to get a pull quote: 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: The Way Way Back

The Spoiler Guys love a good teen coming-of-age film -  just take a listen to our Perks of Being A Wallflower episode. So did The Way Way Back make the grade?

Mosey over to iTunes to download the ep, or check out Soundcloud below:

To read my interview with Sam Rockwell, click HERE.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: The Wolverine

Are you buff enough?

Don't worry, mere mortals like us aren't expected to show down with The Wolverine. Hugh Jackman on the other hand? Nicest guy in showbiz (head to The Spoiler Guys site for further proof).

There are muscles and metaphors a plenty in this flick, so head over to iTunes to hear our take, or stream via Soundcloud below:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: Only God Forgives

I love this shot. In fact Only God Forgives looks just divine. As for the rest of the film...? Well you'll have to tune into The Spoiler Guys podcast to find out.

Please subscribe to us over on iTunes, or you can stream via Soundcloud below:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: This is the End

Did you get 'raptured' by This is the End?

Did you BYO Milky Way bars? I did when we recorded our Spoiler Guys episode, so you can snack and giggle along with us over on iTunes or via Soundcloud below:

You might also fancy reading my interview with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg over on TheVine.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Spoiler Guys Podcast: Pacific Rim

With Marc on holidays, it was left to Giles and I to attempt a neural handshake and drift into our review of Pacific Rim.

Was there a meeting of minds? Head to iTunes to find out, or stream via Soundcloud below:

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Interview: Amy Acker (Much Ado About Nothing)

What would you do if you were given a 12-day vacation in the midst of directing a $220 million blockbuster? Take an epic power nap? Not if you’re Joss Whedon.
It seems there’s no rest for the wickedly talented, as Joss – along with his architect and producer wife, Kai Cole – instead opted to invite a bunch of friends over to their house to shoot Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.
As you do.
Talking to actress and Whedon regular Amy Acker - who plays the film’s feisty and delightful Beatrice - the film is an extension of a well-established tradition of Shakespearean readings over boozy brunches at the Whedon residence. It’s also something of a professional homecoming for Acker, whose first theatre role was that of Hero, and she fondly remembers coveting the part of Beatrice – Shakespeare’s caustically hilarious heroine who launches a “merry war” of wits with Benedick (wonderfully played by Alexis Denisof). Acker also fondly remembers learning Shakespeare at school; a rare experience not shared by her co-star Nathan Fillion, who she admits wanted to chicken out of making the movie.
So although Acker has always had a soft spot for The Bard, she can appreciate how Whedon’s joyful, wine-drenched adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing might just help win some more fans over to the Shakespearean cause…just in time for Whedon’s next break during the shooting of Avengers 2….
I understand this whole thing kicked off at brunch. And ok, I eat eggs at brunch, so can you walk me through how Shakespeare works as a side dish?
[Laughs] They started doing the [Shakespeare] readings before I became a part of Angel, so I think I heard they started in Season 3 of Buffy. Joss found a group of people who all seemed to be as nerdy as him and liked to read Shakespeare on a Sunday afternoon and he would just find parts, and make some parts for the play and call everybody over and have a spread of delicious food, and people would sit outside and drink wine and read Shakespeare.
Wow. That’s better than eggs. I think I need to step up my brunches!
[Laughs] Well, you’ll have to come. We’ve been telling Joss he needs to do another one but he hasn’t had time recently because he’s been so busy with The Avengers [2] – so for the next one you’ll have to make a trip.
Of course I will!
Now the Benjamin Franklin saying goes that houseguests are like fish: they smell after three days. So I’m wondering, how did you all fare after 12 days?
[Laughs] I think the thing that I love most about watching the movie is that it feels a lot like how we felt when we were making it. It was just such a fun [experience]. People were there all the time, but something about their house, and Kai, [Joss’] wife’s energy, and their kids, it was like – I mean, she built the house - and it was almost like she’d built it to be filled with that many people.
We would come in in the morning at 6 or so, and you would walk through the kitchen and people would be setting up lights, and then their kids would come down and be getting cereal out for breakfast. [Laughs] They just kept going with their own lives; it was like there wasn’t a whole film being shot in their house.
That’s brilliant. And actually, my Mum is an architect.
Oh really?
Yeah, and I think once you’ve dealt with tradesmen and builders in your home at 6am because they need to get started, I wonder if a film crew just isn’t that different.
[Laughs] That may be the case! That makes a lot of sense. Maybe that’s why Kai was so used to it.
And the house is so beautiful; it’s really a character [in of itself]. You could film the house and not have anyone talking, and it would be a great movie. Especially for an architect.
Yes definitely. I’ll have to take my Mum along to see the film!
I must admit, I'd never seen a Shakespearean commando roll before. How did you, Alexis and Joss come to bring such wonderful physical comedy to the film?
I mean, when we started, we didn’t have any idea anyone was ever going to see any of this. I kind of thought it was going to be Joss filming it on his camera or something, and you know, at best, maybe it would be on the internet one day. So there wasn’t a studio or anyone telling us what we couldn’t do, so everyone mainly was just trying to make everyone else laugh. I think it just kind of gave it a freedom, and we were all having fun and everyone felt so comfortable because we’d all worked together before, and we’d all spent time at Joss and Kai’s home, and worked with Joss. And so there was just a lot of freedom to play around and make silly choices.
There was a couple of times when Alexis was doing his calisthenics to impress me that Joss was like, “I don’t know about that!” [Laughs] But luckily he ended up coming around and being like, “Yeah that is really funny.”
That was hilarious! And of course you have an impressive pratfall down the stairs.
That was very fun.
Can we reminisce about school days for a minute? Is the American system like the Australian, where you suffer through mind-numbing Shakespearean recitations in class? Was that your experience in school?
I had an amazing English teacher and theatre teacher in high school, who somehow knew how to make it accessible and fun and interesting. But when I’ve heard other people in the cast – like Tom [Lenk] and Nathan [Fillion] – saying how they’ve been scared of Shakespeare since high school. And I think that hopefully that’s something this movie will show, is that, you know, the thing is it’s meant to be performed. [Shakespeare] didn’t really write the plays to be read, he wrote them for actors to perform them. So when you’re sitting in an English class reading the pages with people who don’t want to be there in the first place, you really lose a lot of what you’re supposed to get from them. And I think that we all just had so much fun bringing it to life, that we all loved the plays and love this play in particular. I know for me it’s a part I’ve been wanting to play for a long time.
Yes because I understand you played Hero…
I did. That was my first job out of college, I played Hero. So I think that when you first start doing something, and it was my first real professional theatre job, and I looked up to the actress playing Beatrice so much, and I looked at the role and I thought, “That’s what I want to be when I grow up.” [Laughs] So it was always something where I was like, “One day I want to play that part.” So I think that that’s why, if no one had ever seen the movie, if we had just done it in Joss’ back yard, it would have been a great experience. But the fact that we’re getting to share it with everyone is so exciting.
Has it been interesting to come back to the play then? Has your perspective changed? Was it that back then Hero made a lot more sense, and these days you can totally get your head around Beatrice?
Yeah completely, I mean in college I always found myself like, “Oh I feel like I’m Hero. I could be that part.” And I wouldn’t have even thought that [playing Beatrice] was a thing I could try to do at that point. So I think it is definitely something that you grow into, when you’ve changed as a person and as an actress.
Shakespeare has created the ultimate screwball comedy - but I'm curious, was there an idea of creating a new rhythm for modern audiences?
You know I think a lot of how we did it came out of doing the readings at Joss’ house, with the brunches, because the readings would be some actors – if someone was in town they could just read a part – [but] there were [also] writers, there were editors, whoever wanted to be part of it read a part, and everyone kind of read it as themselves. I mean sometimes people would bring funny characters that they had thought of, but it was really conversational and just casual and relaxed, the whole thing. So I think going in to making the movie; [Joss] said so often, “I wish we could share these readings with people.” And so I think we always knew this film version was an extension of that casualness and that experience that we’d had doing the readings at the brunches. So it wasn’t a conscious effort to make it more of that, but that was kind of always what we’d experienced together over all these years.  And we knew that’s what [Joss] wanted it to be, and what we wanted it to be.
Now there’s a fair bit of red wine in Much Ado About Nothing. Do a few glasses of Shiraz help the Shakespearean medicine go down?
[Laughs] I think it helps. Joss made a great observation with the play, because so much of the deception of the play is really that you have to stretch to believe that it’s happening. [But] if there’s a party that’s going all night long, then [laughs] you start to understand how people’s minds get, judgement is blurred, vision is blurred, and everyone starts to easily accept things that are said. And I think it makes a lot of sense for this play, and setting it in modern times.
I like it; the further you get into your cups, the sketchier the decisions.
Yes exactly!
It's not too long a bow to draw to say Joss Whedon is a wordsmith like Shakespeare. But what’s it like pairing them? What’s the magic of Joss Whedon plus Shakespeare?
Well I mean I think if you have watched Joss’ work, you can see how much he admires Shakespeare in plot, in character, and in writing style. And the thing I always love about being part of Joss’ shows is that he’s not afraid to jump from different genres and different tones within an episode of a show. Not just over the period, [but] even from scene to scene. And I think, kind of like what you were saying about Much Ado, that Shakespeare does the same thing in these screwball comedy, hysterical things, with people falling all over the place, and then the next scene is kind of heart wrenching, shameful; all of those hurtful, sad moments, that they just go between the tones so quickly and so seamlessly. And I think that’s something that Joss does really well.
Yes, the seamlessness of the tonal shift. That’s interesting in terms of Beatrice decrying her powerlessness to affect change [in the “Oh that I were a Man” scene] – and especially as a modern woman. Were you able to get some feminist readings in there as well?
[Laughs] You know we had talked about it as well, and that scene [“Oh that I were a Man” Act V Scene I] was one of the scenes that kind of was like, I’d be sad about it in so many different ways, [but] the part that I really love about that scene, is that there are so few of Shakespeare’s men, who, at the end of the scene, like, Alexis is willing to say, “I believe you, and I’ll do anything that you need.” So seeing the change that that whole speech brings about in [Benedick] in him, I just love how from that point on the movie takes a turn in tone.
So in that way Beatrice does actually affect change.
But I do love that Beatrice and Benedick still get a balcony scene.
[Laughs]. Joss knew he wanted that moment, where he shot that scene through a window, and we were trying to kind of figure out how the scene leading up to that point played, and then we were like, “Wait! There’s a balcony! We have to do this!”
So it was that freewheeling and organic a shoot?
It was. That was the great thing. And so much was happening so fast too, that sometimes Joss would come up to me and be like, “Oh go outside and look at that place, I just had an idea.” For instance, when we were sitting around and Alexis was roasting marshmallows, we were just throwing out random ideas of, “Why would we all be sitting here? What could be happening?” So yeah, that was my favourite part of doing it, is that cooperation with Joss and Alexis and I, and just getting to come up with ideas, and one idea playing off of the other, and just all doing it together.
And of course this all came about with Joss on break from The Avengers, so I have to ask if there was any talk about how Beatrice and Benedick would fare if they met The Avengers?
[Laughs] I think they could hold own!
Yeah they could verbally joust with Tony Stark, and the rest would be wondering why they were bickering so much?
They would probably just confuse them so much they’d give up. “Make it stop!” [Laughs]
Now please tell me, was this a proof of concept? Can we hope for Much Ado About Nothing being the beginning of a box set?
It definitely was a lot of fun, and I know Joss has a lot of plays that he would be excited to explore further. So I would be interested to see myself. I’ve heard him mention things, well, everyone wants to do Hamlet, so, I figure maybe that one could be happening, I don’t know. [Laughs]
Wow! Let’s make that happen!
Yeah well since he’s making Avengers 2, he’ll probably need a vacation afterwards, so, it’s a good excuse.
I hope if it ever happens again, obviously it would be a different experience, because when we made this one – as we’ve said so many times - we really didn’t have any expectations of what it would be. So that’s really captured in the movie, that everyone is doing it because they love each other, and love the play, and love Joss, and love the house.
Certainly no one was making any money, and Joss was actually spending his own money, so it was all just to be together and do something that we were excited to do.
So I should ask if you’ve made a shout out to your English and Theatre teachers who have given you such a love of Shakespeare?
I have. I got to go to Dallas. [The film was playing at] a film festival at Dallas where I grew up, and they both got to come and see it at the festival, which was so exciting.
Nice! What are their names?
Well the English teacher is Mr. Wood, and my Theatre teacher is Nancy Pointer.
And did you ever regroup with Nathan Fillion and the others scarred by Shakespeare in high school? Has the therapy worked, are they cured?
[Laughs] I think so. It has been funny going to different places with Nathan, because he’s so funny anyway, but he tried to chicken out of doing [the movie].
Did he?
Yes. Initially. Then he went and read it and he thought, “I don’t know what this means. I don’t know what I’m saying.” And Joss basically said, “Well, I don’t have a Plan B, so you’re doing it.” And I mean he’s just so funny in it and if he hadn’t done it I really don’t know what the movie would have been.
So he wanted to chicken out because he’d been scarred at school?
Well yeah. He just thought, “I don’t like Shakespeare. I don’t know anything about Shakespeare.” He’d just always been like, “Why?” – he had never really gone to the readings that much. He was like, “This is not my thing.” [Laughs] And he loved the movie!
So it’s actually been really fun seeing [the movie] with people who have been like, “Look, I’m going to support you, because you asked me to go, and you’re in it, but I don’t like Shakespeare, or understand it or anything.” And they’ve come out and been like, “That was actually really funny! And I really understood it!” [Laughs]
I love it, you’ve been transforming people into Shakespeare lovers the world over!
I hope that people enjoy it and see it in a different way and get re-excited about it, or excited about it for the first time.

Published on TheVine
Read my 5 Star review here

Monday, July 22, 2013

Limelight Magazine: Much Ado About Nothing

How do you recover from shooting a behemoth like The Avengers? Well, if you’re writer-director Joss Whedon, then you invite some friends over for 12 days and make Much Ado About Nothing.
In this context, Whedon’s infectiously playful adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy is even more endearing. This film is literally homemade, and it’s all the richer for it; as familiar faces from Whedon’s TV shows – Buffy the Vampire SlayerDollhouse, and Firefly – romp around the big screen in an eye-wateringly hilarious display of wit and wordplay, with a few pratfalls and commando rolls to boot!

Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof revel in their roles as the Bard’s famously cantankerous lovers Beatrice and Benedick. Their scathing flirtation is balanced by the sweetness of Claudio (Fran Kranz) and his affection for Hero (Jillian Morgese). But when the dastardly Don John (Sean Maher) undermines the marriage of the young pair, all appears lost, until the hapless constable Dogberry (a scene-stealing Nathan Fillion) stumbles upon the truth.

Super-charged with giddy enthusiasm, Whedon’s ensemble brings Shakespeare to life in a riot of boozy passion and slapstick giggles. The dialogue dances across the black-and-white screen with dazzling vibrancy, making Much Ado About Nothing nothing short of sublime.

Published in the July 2013 issue of Limelight Magazine
Australian release date: 11 July 2013
Read my interview with Amy Acker over on TheVine

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Interview: Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)

Armie Hammer is no stranger to double trouble. The actor’s big break came when he seamlessly played both of the Winklevoss twins (the Winklevii) in David Fincher’s Facebook portrait The Social Network. He’s since stolen a few scenes from Leonardo DiCaprio in J Edgar, and now Hammer has paired up with Johnny Depp, as the two square off in Gore Verbinski’s remake of The Lone Ranger.
Sitting down with TheVine, the affable Hammer enthuses about playing Cowboys and Indians with Depp, jokes about kicking the shit out of his scene-stealing horse, Silver, and learns a little about the Australian quality of taking the piss out of yourself…
Getting paid to play Cowboys and Indians – and with Johnny Depp no less. So is that it? Are you done?
Yeah. As far as I’m concerned I could never make another movie again and be totally happy.
It’s over. That’s it.
Well yeah, the pinnacle has been reached. What am I going to do after this?
The Lone Ranger and Tonto are the archetypal odd couple, so how did you two go about reinventing the archetypes for yourselves, and also for a new generation?
We spent a lot of time thinking about and working on the character and the relationship these two guys have. And one of the most important things for us was getting to like each other, and, you know, appreciating each other, and then really being able to work that. To go from, “I hate you!” to, “You know I think we really make a good team together.”
So does that mean off screen there was some bonding going on? What where the boys’ activities?
Oh, you know, the ush [sic]. Be both love music, we both play the guitar, so all that kind of stuff.
There’s such a rich history to The Lone Ranger – 80 years and counting – so at what stage did it come on your radar?
Maybe when I was eight, seven, somewhere around there. My dad grew up watching the show, so it was a big part of his childhood. So when it would come on TV – which wasn’t very frequently – he would say, “Armie, get in here! Watch this!” And there’s me watching it going, “Why is he wearing a baby blue vest? I don’t get it! What’s going on here?”
And I don’t think it’s any spoiler to say that your horse Silver was quite the character in this film.
So were you ok with letting Silver steal so many scenes?
Yeah, yeah, cause I still knew at the end of the day I got to kick the shit out of him when I wanted to! [Laughs]
Plus it’s your name on the poster.
Yeah. I think he got paid in oats and carrots too. So he really got ripped off, he just doesn’t know it.
Speaking of stunts, what really struck me about the film is that it felt like silent cinema in those set pieces. It almost felt like Buster Keaton…
Interesting. Yeah, yeah.
So is that something you were aware of with the physical comedy?
Some of it. Some of it we talked about. There’s [sic] some great old movies, like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance: that was one of the examples that we watched and appreciated. And it’s almost similar to the character of The Lone Ranger, especially when you see [James Stewart] at the end - walking down the street in his apron - not ready, but knowing he doesn’t have a choice but to do this, that’s kind of how the Lone Ranger gets into it.
Acting by its nature is a transformative experience – but it seems to me that you’re up for pushing that physical transformation to the limit: doubling yourself in The Social Network, or aging yourself in J Edgar. Do you look for that that extra challenge?
Not really. No. I kind of just look to see…first of all, I’m not trying to choose these things. I didn’t go, “I’d like to play the Lone Ranger!” I heard that Gore [Verbinski] was making the movie, Johnny [Depp] was going to be in it and Jerry [Bruckheimer] was producing, Disney was the studio behind it, and it sounds like one of those things, like “This is a dream job.” A dream opportunity, and you’ve just got to chase those kinds of things.
Fair enough. Just say “yes”.
And after Mirror Mirror, did you ever think you’d have to look at another crazy headpiece, and then you saw Johnny Depp’s one here?
Yeah. [Laughs] Well put! No, I didn’t consider it.
Because those head pieces Tarsem Singh created [for Mirror Mirror] were extraordinary!
Totally. And Eiko [Ishioka] created all the costumes, and she was just incredible.
And what interests me about your performance here is that you can play the handsome, straight-laced, dignified man, but you can also – for want of a better term – take the piss out of yourself. Is that something you like to find in a character?
Yeah yeah. Nobody likes somebody who takes themselves too seriously. Like that guy’s not fun to talk to!
It’s a very Australian quality, actually, to take the piss out of yourself.
Oh it is? Well I feel like I’m a local. And I want to live here, I mean, this place is great. I love it.
You’ve got to be able to be self-deprecating. And that seems to be something new that you’ve brought to the Lone Ranger…
Well yeah. The old show came out of necessity. There was the Korean War conflict going on, so America just needed an easy hero that they could watch; someone who they would know would make the right decision in a crazy-ass world. And you can’t do that anymore, you’ve got to make them human, you’ve got to give them dimensions. So that’s what we tried to do.
Then playing against you is Johnny Depp – another actor who loves to transform himself, and very much physically in this role.
Is that fun to observe?
Oh yeah it’s so much fun to watch. It’s also really funny because we dealt with each other…for ten months, he was always in the make up and I was always in the hat and mask, and that was just the deal. So every time since that we’ve seen each other it’s been like, “Hey! You look so different! Man it’s good to see you.”
So what was the wrap party like? Did all the make up come off?
Yeah yeah, we had several wrap parties, they were great.
As you mentioned, this is of course Gore Verbinski and Jerry Bruckheimer reuniting. So if one was the Lone Ranger and one was Tonto, who do you choose?
I don’t think you could. Their relationship is so symbiotic, because no one can handle large-scale movies like Gore can, and no one can make large-scale movies like Jerry can. So it’s just kind of the perfect partnership.
So you wouldn’t say one was more The Lone Ranger and one was more Tonto?
Nuh uh.
You can just stay on the fence there.
Because I don’t know which qualities you’d attribute to which, like, Gore carries a pistol with him everywhere, so maybe that makes him the Lone Ranger…
Wait, for reals?
No [laughs].
I’m so gullible, but hey, they can do that in America, can’t they?
[Laughs] In some places! Yeah.
Maybe in Texas…which reminds me, the locations were just extraordinary in the film. How long were you on location?
We were probably on location for five or six months.
And are you just pinching yourself looking at your surroundings?
No! I didn’t want to wake up. I was like, “If I’m dreaming, don’t you dare pinch me!” I want to stay here forever.
Published on TheVine
Australian release date: 4 July 2013
To hear The Spoiler Guys podcast, click HERE

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Spoiler Guys Podcast: Lone Ranger

I like the bit with the horse...and I said as much during my interview with Armie Hammer.

But, alas, much of the rest of the Lone Ranger - including Johnny Depp's ultimate 'put a bird on it' performance - left me scratching my head.

It makes for a fun Spoiler Guys session though, so head over to iTunes to download our ep, or you might fancy streaming via Soundcloud:

Monday, July 8, 2013

Spoiler Guys Podcast: Man of Steel

Have you taken to the cinematic skies with the Man of Steel? Does that mean you want someone to join you in swooning over Henry Cavill*?

Then check out the Spoiler Guys podcast over on iTunes - where I promise the discussion is much more than "oohhh muscles!". For starters, there's Russell Crowe as an awesome hologram, the exposition laden Michael Shannon, and the wonderfully age-appropriate Amy Adams to consider.

You can also stream via Soundcloud:

*Though I did manage to keep cool during our interview.

Australian release date: 27 June 2013

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Number 5 (is alive!)

The Plot Thickens turns five today! 

I always forget that I kicked off this blog on the 4th July. It would be funnier if Independence Day was to blame, but instead we can point the finger Australian cinema, and my (now rather embarrassing) thoughts on cultural cringe

What a wild five years it has been! Films, festivalsTV, radio, and now of course I'm having too much fun producing and hosting The Spoiler Guys podcast. I've adored having Friday on My Mind, and these days I'm thrilled to be running my own Film Club at AFTRS

Freelancing is such a roller coaster - filled with so many wonderful opportunities, and more than a few 'character-building' disappointments - but through it all, I still manage to sink into a cinema seat with a smile of giddy anticipation. Over the past five years my admiration and appreciation of cinema has only deepened. 

I think it's true love.

Now, change is most certainly in the air. In the coming weeks I shall have come exciting announcements - so watch this space. 

The plot thickens...

(In the meantime: anyone else now super keen to  revisit Short Circuit?)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

TheVine: Epic

Epic: now that’s a big call in the title department.
And I can’t in all honesty say Epic lives up to its name, but don’t let that unfortunate overreach get in the way of enjoying this delightful animation.
Released in time for the school holidays and in the wake of big studio sequels: Monsters University and Despicable Me 2Epic might not have the pedigree (or, indeed, the name), but it certainly has a punchy spirit. The simple story follows in the well-trodden footsteps of Gulliver’s Travels and FernGully, with an added dash of Honey I Shrunk the Kids to bring us the story of M.K (voiced by Amanda Seyfried), a plucky 17-year-old who awkwardly reunites with her daffy scientist father (Jason Sudeikis) and becomes quickly exasperated by his obsession with tracking a tiny race of forest soldiers.
Geez, Dad, lame much?
In short order (sorry) M.K. finds herself shrunk down to join the pint-sized people, and to protect the future of the forest from the evil Boggans, lead by the suitably dastardly Mandrake (a great choice in Christoph Waltz).
So yes, the plot couldn’t even fill a cocktail napkin, but then again this is a kids’ film, and moreover, it’s a loose adaptation of William Joyce’s children's book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs – ah, hence the name change.
But though the story may be slight, the film is stacked with brilliantly colourful characters, a fabulous voice cast and simply spectacular animation. Beyoncé proves she can literally walk on water (albeit in animated form) playing Tara, the queen of the forest, while Colin Farrell delivers one of his most enjoyable characters since In Bruges (and you certainly can’t show the kids that!) as Ronin, the Queen’s ardent protector and leader of the Leafmen army. Now of course M.K. has to have a beau, and he comes in the form of Ronin’s rapscallion young charge Nod (Josh Hutcherson). If anything though, Nod is a little too good looking. The animators have gone to town on his cheekbones, and in some scenes I was left wanting to scrub the digital rouge off his cheeks. But he certainly delivers in the dreamboat department.
You can’t have an animation filled with forest creatures without serving up some serious anthropomorphized fun. And Epic delivers it in slimy spades with the inspired double-act of Aziz Ansari and Chris O’Dowd playing a slug and snail respectively. These two would run away with the film if their slow-moving creatures were capable of it, but as it is they manage to juggle both the kid-friendly slapstick scenes, and the more adult level chuckles with impressive ease.
However the real scene-stealer in Epic is the animation. Director Chris Wedge (Ice Age) and his team at Blue Sky Studios have no problem living up to their name in a film filled with glorious aerial sequences. Ronin and his Leafmen travel on hummingbirds, and weaving through the forest with them is a 3D delight of, ok, almost, epic proportions. And like his onscreen hummingbirds, Wedge keeps up a speedy pace, with action, heart and jokes coming at an enthusiastic rate. Pace itself becomes an in-joke, with difference between the whip-fast forest creatures and their slow-mo ‘stomper’ human-sized counterparts playing out in a fun echo of The Matrix bullet-time.
For anyone with young kids in tow, the real standard upon which to judge Epic is whether or not it’ll hold up to the inevitable, interminable repeated viewings demanded by your own pint-sized people. In fact, perhaps that’s the true meaning behind Epic? Because, yes, this shiny and fun-filled forest adventure will doubtless entertain on every trip. 

Published on TheVine
Australian release date: 27 June 2013
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