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Review: Acolytes

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Acolytes is the tale of three teenagers who discover the buried body of a murdered girl in the woods and become involved in a dangerous game against a serial killer and a rapist. It’s also a cautionary tale of how a film can go astray when the filmmakers indulge in their own fancies rather than focus on serving the story. Read more [+]

Review: Strait Jacket

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At first the setting of Strait Jacket appears to be somewhere in the middle of the twentieth century. There are steam trains, industrial factories and lots of quaint architecture. But despite this homeliness, in the world of Strait Jacket magic is a common but vital technology that has been harnessed by humans and is used in everything from agriculture to medicine. It’s a potentially great concept and visually the world is well developed, seamlessly blending the technology and look of several decades from the twentieth century with the bulky metal of Japanese science fiction technology. But there’s a grave danger to using magic. It requires the use of a body shell called a ‘mold’ to prevent a magic user from mutating. If the mold fails, the sorcerer transforms into a monster called a demon. These demons are giant nightmarish creatures that kill everyone they encounter. On top of that, they aren’t harmed by conventional weaponry – but can only be killed by magic. Despite this risk, magic remains an important technology. In order to quickly destroy any demons who appear, there exists a combat squad of magic users known as Strait Jackets. Read more [+]

Review: Rock + Roll Nerd The Tim Minchin Story

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It’s hard not to like Tim Minchin, the awarding winning actor and comedian is a highly talented and personable individual who has been performing comedy and producing DVDs (in his current style) since 2005. This DVD however is NOT a taping of a performance with some behind the scenes stuff thrown in; it is a documentary detailing Tim’s life from 2004 to 2006 and contains only a handful of his songs and clips of stand up. Read more [+]

Review: Star Trek

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Star Trek first aired in 1966; several TV seasons, films and an animated series later, J.J. Abrams is directing the newest Star Trek film intended to ‘revamp’ the franchise – an aim which this film, simply titled Star Trek, fails at miserably. I should point out that I’ve never gotten into Star Trek, having only ever watched one episode. Yet you’d have to be living under a rock to be unaware of the basics of Star Trek lore; things like that ‘beaming’ means to teleport someone, that Starfleet are the intergalactic peacekeeping forces, that Kirk is Captain of the Starship Enterprise and other such things that will come to be over the course of the film. While some details are hardly explained (Romulan and Vulcans are both mostly human in appearance, but are distinct alien races) but Star Trek is a film that is accessible enough that anyone can watch it, understand it and be disappointed.

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Review: Monsters Versus Aliens

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DreamWorks is an interesting studio that seems to often achieve commercial success, but only manages to inconsistently grasp at creative success with their animated films. Once a producer of both 2D and 3D features, they ditched 2D after 2003 – which is a shame as The Road To El Dorado was, as they say, the bees knees. Post Shrek 2 DreamWorks seems to be a studio more about turning celebrities into cartoon animals and making pop culture and real world references than they are about telling good stories with their animation.  Only the term “facepalm” can describe my reaction to this scene in Shrek The Third – though I would advice not watching this film if you want to maintain respect for Led Zeppelin. Which is exactly why it was so good to see that DreamWorks’ latest animated feature, Monsters Versus Aliens, has a good story to tell. Read more [+]

Review: Watchmen

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I have to honest; Watchmen (the original graphic novel) was an incredible reading experience and try as I might, I cannot perceive this film on its own basis. So this review is primarily aimed at those people who have read Watchmen – though I will try not to isolate though who have not read Watchmen or reveal anything that would spoil the story or the experience. Read more [+]

Review: Zack And Miri Make A Porno

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Zack And Miri Make A Porno is an interesting, if dubious title. It tells you what the film is about as succinctly as Snakes On A Plane, but it also instils a worrying sense of: “uh oh, how well are they going to handle this idea?” You can safely assume that in this film two characters – one called Zack and the other named Miri – are going to create a pornographic movie. It sounds about as classy and subtle as film about a 40 year old man who has never had sex. But back in 2005 there was film like that – it was called 40 Year Old Virgin. That film was so much more than just its initial concept: it was funny, the characters felt real, there so many elements you could identify with and above all it was sincere. Now Zack And Miri Make A Porno is not as brilliant as 40 Year Old Virigin – but it is funny, it is honest and it is more than its premise. Read more [+]

Review: Transporter 3

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Three things come to mind when thinking of the Transporter series, they are gradually getting progressively worse, Jason Statham has the ability to break the laws of physics while on anything with wheels, and the man is the definition of beefcake. The third film in the series is no different, driver extraordinary Frank Martin is once again drawn into a job where he undoubtable gets screwed over, in the sense that his employers will try to kill him (with an exploding wristband) and he has the terrible job of towing around a sexy Russian girl who barely speaks English and has daddy issues. Poor Frank, no wonder he spends the first half of the movie frowning at everything. Read more [+]

Preview: J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek

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The other day I received an invite to a preview of the new Star Trek film directed by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Cloverfield). This was quite a surprise for a couple of reasons: firstly the movie isn’t premiering until the 7th of May 2009 and secondly because Abrams had so far been decidedly secretive about this difficult undertaking. And make no mistake it is a difficult undertaking, with the commercial and critical failure of the last feature film Star Trek: Nemesis and the TV series, Star Trek: Enterprise, the future of the Star Trek franchise didn’t look good. Nevertheless, in come Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman with a brand new script that has the ambitious task of taking the series back to its prime while reinventing it for a new audience. This is something the series has debatably needed for quite some time, as Star Trek has always been one of the least accessible Sci-Fi franchises. So they had a fresh script – but that alone doesn’t make a blockbuster. What they needed was a big name director to pilot this ship and who they got was J. J. Abrams. The young action director who helmed hits like Mission Impossible 3 and Cloverfield is the Judd Apatow of action directors; the current ‘it’ guy.

Being a long-time Trekkie (meaning I just watch and enjoy the show not the dressing up as a Klingon and being generally creepy) I went into the preview with my mind decidedly undecided and my anticipation set to partially stunned (like 20% stunning capacity). They opened with the trailer which I think was a mistake as they had been playing it in a loop on the TVs where we had been waiting for several minutes and I had just joked to Kyle, who also attended, that the preview would be nothing but that. Then Abrams appeared… disappointingly only on screen. He thanked us for coming to the screening and apologised for not being able to make it. He then went on to talk about why he decided to make this movie, admitting he has never been a fan of the franchise.  He never mentioned any reference to Australia, so I wasn’t sure if this was a specific introduction for us or just the stock one recorded for all the international previews. That being said he cheerfully and charismatically introduced the first of four scenes.

As mentioned, both Kyle and I attended the screening. While I’m a big Star Trek fan, Kyle’s experience with the franchise is having seen a single episode of Star Trek: Voyager. We’ll both be providing feedback on what we thought on each of the four scenes we witnessed.

Be warned that the following is a partial account of the scenes and may contain “spoilers”, however if you are still on the fence about seeing the new Star Trek film it may be helpful. Read more [+]

Review: Wall-E

The universe we live in is remarkable. It’s beautiful, massive beyond comprehension and is filled with wonder and mysteries. The fact that life even came to be is extraordinary considering the chain of events that occurred over billions of years for things to take on their present form: humans included. Yet, we can forget this. To quote Terry Pratchett: “…in a universe so full of wonders, they (humans) have managed to invent boredom.” Pixar’s latest animated feature film, Wall-E, is here to remind us how remarkable life, the universe and everything can be.

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