Thursday, February 25, 2016

Film Stuff 25th Feb 2016

Enjoy this podcast taken from my film news and review spot on Radio CurtinFM 100.4 with the wonderful Jenny Seaton where I discuss this week's film stuff. You can subscribe or access this also on iTunes: iTunes or on Google Play by downloading the PodBean app and searching for Film & Book Google Play

   This has been an interesting week or so for my writing career. Since releasing Deadly Messengers last October, my books started to sell pretty well.  Being an independent author is a pretty tough gig. Then again, being an author is, at times, tough regardless.  You write stories, never knowing whether they are any good or if people will enjoy them or hate them.  So occasionally, I like to take stock and tell myself: Wow!

   When I wrote Deadly Messengers, I didn't think it was anything particularly amazing. It's a police thriller, which isn't even my genre, although the serial mass killings I write about are definitely my kind of thing to explore So I really thought it was just another book, not destined to be the book that would begin the snowball effect of selling all my books in the thousands every week, and so many readers worldwide finding my work and loving it. 
    Humbling, thrilling, overwhelming, and terrifying, too, because surely the next book will have all this expectation attached to it. Readers are actually waiting for it. Yikes! (It's coming everyone, later than I'd hoped, but April/May for sure).

Anyway, yet again, in the past week a couple of books rocketed up to the top #200's on the Amazon USA chart and a little short story Scenic Route knocked Mr. Stephen King off his #1 Horror Short Story perch again.  I jokingly say move over Mr. King, Queen May is taking the crown. That's a way off, though. Just for now, I glimpse a hope that one day it may come true.  
    So if you're one of the wonderful readers who've supported me by leaving a review, buying a book, or telling a friend, my heartfelt thanks. We are in this together, and I know that. As I always say: without readers, my stories are just words on a page.
  Now to my other great love ... the movies. Quite a few good ones this week, and varied. Enjoy, and see you next week.

13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI ✪✪✪½    (opens February 25 Most cinemas)
I went along to see 13 Hours with my fifteen-year-old son. He loves shoot-em-up games and this looked to be the film version of the games he played. Even though the reviews have been fairly scathing, I was in the mood for a military take-no-prisoners drama and American ra-ra. Michael Bay, director of the battling robots, Transformers, certainly delivered. My son thoroughly enjoyed it, as well. As it is a true recent story, it is a sobering film and hellishly violent. I don’t know how many people died in it, but they were dropping like flies. A day later, thoughts of it still crossed my mind. I like to rate films based on whether they deliver to their intended audience. I think this one really does, even though it’s not going to win any awards. If you are in the mood for a film like Lone Survivor, Hurt Locker, or Zero Dark Thirty, this one will do the trick.
Film Blurb
An American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S. compound in Libya as a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos. Based on a true story.

Gods of Egypt ✪✪✪½✪✪✪½    (opens February 25 Most cinemas)
   If you’ve seen the trailers, you will probably groan at the mention of this film. It looks B-Grade bad, right? However, Gods of Egypt pleasantly entertained me (and my fellow reviewers, and it had nothing to do with the muffins and Gold Class treat).
   It might surprise you to learn this polished adventure fantasy was directed by an Aussie Alex Proyas and made in Australia. It’s so Hollywood, yet it’s mostly populated with Australian actors. Brenton Thwaites (Home and Away, The Giver) is really making some inroads into Hollywood. Bryan Brown makes a brief but good appearance. Courtney Eaton (Mad Max: Fury Road) plays the love interest, and she’s a Bunbury girl. So, bravo, Australia!
   Aren’t we growing up in the film industry? Several more big films are being made here as well next year. The new Alien and the next Marvel Thor production, and don’t forget last year the next Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed on the Gold Coast. It’s the dollar and the quality of the talent here. Then there’s the $47 million grant the NSW Government has offered Hollywood studios to bring productions here. This is expected to create 3,000 jobs and generate more than $300 million in investment in Australia. Good move Mr. Turnbull.
   This is B Grade massive fun with good CGI and engaging characters. While it doesn’t advance the genre any, it certainly doesn’t detract. I even had some flashbacks to one of my childhood faves 1963 Jason & The Argonauts, which I actually saw at the cinema when I was a kid. Those skeletons coming out of the ground at the end terrified me and were pretty well done for the era. And yes, I know this is dating me. Go buy some popcorn and water (no Coke; filled with sugar), and have a Godly good time at Gods of Egypt.

Film Blurb
In this spectacular action-adventure inspired by the classic mythology of Egypt, the survival of mankind hangs in the balance as an unexpected mortal hero Bek [Brenton Thwaites] undertakes a thrilling journey to save the world and rescue his true love. In order to succeed, he must enlist the help of the powerful god Horus [Nikolaj Coster-Waldau] in an unlikely alliance against Set [Gerard Butler], the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt's throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict. As their breathtaking battle against Set and his henchmen takes them into the afterlife and across the heavens, both god and mortal must pass tests of courage and sacrifice if they hope to prevail in the epic final confrontation.

Deadpool  ✪✪✪½  (opens 11th February 2016 Most cinemas)
Deadpool opened two weeks ago, but last weekend was the first chance I could catch it. It’s very good, very irreverent, and a load of fun, if watching people get beaten to a pulp by a wise-cracking superhero is your thing. My family enjoyed it, but it didn’t scale the heights of other Marvel franchises for us. We all agreed it was entertaining, but there was something missing. It’s funny, but not hugely funny (not like Ant-Man), the CGI is a little wobbly, and the nemesis is not that scary; his super talent is not feeling pain (big deal). To me, the film felt like the pre-teenage, younger brother trying to hang with the cool big brother of Marvel hits and grab their attention by trying too hard. It works and is fun, but only just.  I am told by comic book geeks that it is very true to the comics. So it might be it was made for its core audience. Still you will enjoy if you are curious.

Film Blurb
Based upon Marvel Comics' most unconventional anti-hero, DEADPOOL tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. (C) Fox

Hail Caesar!  ✪✪✪  (opens 25th February 2016 Luna Cinemas)
Ah, now, I will state for the record, I am a huge Coen Brothers fan and, from the trailers, this looked like it would be one of their finest: an homage to old Hollywood and the business of filmmaking. I’m still hoping for another Burn After Reading (such black comedy it sucks in all light).
   While it is entertaining, it just doesn’t nail the premise. The Coens seemed to get very caught up in their star-studded cast and finding them small vignettes so they could be included. When you put them together, though, the pieces just don’t quite fit.
   We are talking the whos who of Hollywood here: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum, so it should be a five star winner. However, despite it being amusing and reasonably entertaining, it’s proof that an all-star cast doesn’t guarantee a hit. Good, but Coens, you can do better.

Film Blurb
Four-time Oscar-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, True Grit, Fargo) write and direct HAIL, CAESAR! an all-star comedy set during the latter years of Hollywood's Golden Age.
Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum, Hail, Caesar! follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer who is presented with plenty of problems to fix -  a slate of productions under pressure, a gossip-chasing columnist, temperamental filmmakers and a movie star that has been kidnapped by... The Future.

The Legend of Barney Thomson ✪✪✪✪
UWA Somerville:          Monday 29th February—Sunday March 6
ECU Joondalup:           Tuesday 8th March –12th March

Emma Thompson read the first page of this script, based on a series of books, and was in. I agree with her. It’s witty and dark English humor in the vein of Shallow Grave (I still think that’s one of the best British black comedies ever.) Robert Carlyle is so very good as poor Barney Thomson who keeps accidentally killing people. Ray Winstone as the cantankerous, weary detective who knows he’s got his man, but just can’t prove it.
   The real star performance, though, comes via Emma Thompson. She is just fabulous as Barney’s awful mother Cemolina who is more interested in playing bingo and going away for a weekend than helping her son. She’s just a nasty piece of work and has a few secrets of her own. If you are in Perth, do see this at Somerville or Joondalup outdoor cinemas. It’s one of the best films Lottery West Films has offered this season.

Film Blurb
Barber Barney Thomson (Robert Carlyle, The Full Monty) has a problem – his banter is so tedious that he’s become a liability at his Glasgow workplace. As events take a grisly turn and customers and staff start to disappear, Barney, with blood on his hands, turns to his bingo-loving mother, played by a near-unrecognisable Emma Thompson (Love Actually, Nanny McPhee) for help. A salty, Scottish black comedy, enhanced by Thompson’s macabre matriarch.

Bolshoi Giselle
Date: 26th Feb & Sun 28 Feb
Time:  10:30am Friday and Sunday  (check Luna Cinemas site for exact times)
Location: Windsor Nedlands Details and Booking

Giselle is one of the oldest and most beloved ballets opens  the spectacular new 2015-2016 season of Bolshoi Ballet  exclusively at the Windsor.  Captured live in high definition, the Bolshoi comes direct from the historic Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow

World-famous prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova dances the title role.  Her partner is Bolshoi guest Sergei Polunin, who featured last year in David Lachapelle’s video collaboration with pop star Hozier (13 million + views YouTube) Music Adolphe Adam | Choreography Yuri Grigorovich | Libretto Theophile Gautier and Jean-Henry Saint-Georges | Cast The Bolshoi Principals, Soloists and Corps de Ballet.

Moonlight Cinemas at King's Park
Moonlight Cinemas
Details and Booking
Date: December - March
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm  
Location: Synergy Parkland in Kings Park and Botanic Garden. Enter from May Drive.

Films of note this week: 
The Lady in the Van (Advance Screening) Fri  Feb 26
Triple 9  (Advance Screening) Wednesday March 2

Burswood Outdoor Community Cinema
Details and Booking
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.30pm Film commences 7:45pm
Location: Burswood, Bassendean, Mandurah, Murdoch.
Run by over 700 volunteers, they proudly donate all profits to kids charities. To date we've raised over $6 million for kids in a health or physical crisis.

Films of note this week
Spotlight Friday Feb 26
The Danish Girl   Sunday Feb 28 & Tuesday 1

Rooftop Movies
Details and Booking
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: City of Perth Roe St car park LEVEL 6 NORTHBRIDGE

Films of note this week: 
The Revenant      Friday Feb 26
Room     Saturday Feb 27
Camelot Outdoor Movies
Details and Booking
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: 16 Lochee Street, Mosman Park

Films of note this week: 
The Big Short  Thursday  Feb 25 & Sunday Feb 28             
The Lady in the Van  Wednesday March 2    Jazz & Oysters night  
Luna Outdoor Movies
Details and Booking
Date: Runs to April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8.15 pm
Location: 155 Oxford Street, Leederville (tickets & entrance Luna Cinemas)

Films of note this week: 
Hail Caesar! (most of the week)
The Big Short

Details and Booking
Date: 23rd November to 10th April
Time:  Doors open at 6.00pm Film commences 8pm
Location: Somerville UWA & ECU Joondalup Pines

Films this week:
The Legend of Barney Thomson (See review above)
UWA Somerville:          Monday 29th February—Sunday 6TH  March
ECU Joondalup:           Tuesday 8th March –12th March
Film Blurb
Barber Barney Thomson (Robert Carlyle, The Full Monty) has a problem – his banter is so tedious that he’s become a liability at his Glasgow workplace. As events take a grisly turn and customers and staff start to disappear, Barney, with blood on his hands, turns to his bingo-loving mother, played by a near-unrecognisable Emma Thompson (Love Actually, Nanny McPhee) for help. A salty, Scottish black comedy, enhanced by Thompson’s macabre matriarch.

UWA Somerville:          Monday 22ND February—Sunday 28TH  February
ECU Joondalup:           Tuesday 1ST March –6th March

Film Blurb
That giddy, all-consuming thrill of first love is conveyed with great empathy in La belle saison. It is 1971 and smart, young Delphine is bored at home on her parents’ farm in the verdant French countryside. She flees to Paris and immediately falls for older Carole (C├ęcile De France, In Harmony, 2016 PIAF), a leader in the emerging women's rights movement. La belle saison is many things all at once – a swoon-worthy love affair, a fascinating snapshot of the 1970s and a window to female friendships across a cultural divide.

ECU Joondalup:           Tuesday 23rd February –28th February

See my review Here: CLICK
Film Blurb
Teeming with ideas to swell the heart and dazzle the mind, this film relives the 1996 meeting-of-minds between author, David Foster Wallace, who was hurtling to unprecedented fame for Infinite Jest, and hotshot journalist, David Lipsky. During their road trip through the wintry beauty of the American Midwest, these two smart but fragile minds debate everything, from art, writing and ego to candy, TV and Die Hard. It was, in Lipsky’s words, ‘the best conversation I ever had’ and now, thanks to two enthralling performances, it has borne one of the best films of the year.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

How to dance like nobody's watching or my review of Matt Hale Comedy Hypnotist's Show

After I reviewed Matt Hale's fantastic show, I made a big mistake. I opened my mouth on air at CurtinFm last week and said I had half a mind to go back and try the show hypnotised to report back.  

"That would be great. You should do it," suggested Jenny Seaton, the on-air host. So then I mentioned it in passing to one of Matt Hale's publicist who is also a film publicist. 

"Let's get him to come to the station and hypnotise you on air," she said.

So somehow it's all come together and on 31st March at 2:10pm Perth West Australia time, I will be doing my movie review spot under Matt Hale's control. As you know, I ended up on the shoulders of a guy on a unicycle on a little stage during a La Soiree show recently (Story here). So now I'm wondering if I dare go out anywhere. 

Jokes aside, I'm a tad nervous. Check out this article and video of when Matt dropped into the afternoon show of Radio 94.5 to see what can happen to an on air announcer.   By the way, Matt, I don't speak Wookie! 

Should be great fun, so put it in your diary. Even if you're not in Perth, you can always tune in via digital radio to Hopefully, I can get an air-check to post up here, too.

Don't miss Matt's show if he comes to your city. He is so entertaining and truly amazing.
Matt Hale’s Website

100% Chicken Free - Matt Hale Comedy Hypnotist      
Fringe World Festival
Date: 10th February to 20th February
Time:  Various times in the evening. Check Website.  
Location: Soba Stadium @ Noodle Palace at Central Institute of Technology 

First up, as you read this review, you are becoming sleepy, and when you finish this review and wake up you will believe absolutely that Susan May is the greatest writer on the planet and will immediately buy all her books.

   The Fringe World Festival has been amazing this year. What I’ve loved is the pop-up areas, where local buildings and spaces have been turned into bars, show venues, and pulsating entertainment areas. Love it!
   To see Matt Hale, we climbed up a temporary two story staircase to find ourselves on the roof of the Central Institute of Technology, now temporarily renamed The Noodle Palace. It’s populated with various bars, DJs playing loud, thumping music, and hundreds of people enjoying the Perth open air. Lecture theatres and rooms have become venues, and you find yourself winding your way down fire escapes and through school halls to attend your event.
   The Soba Stadium is a lecture theatre, seating probably around 200 people. While the stage seems too small to squeeze in about 15 people, all willing to be hypnotized, Matt Hale’s huge personality certainly overcomes this minor challenge.

   It’s an amazing spectacle to be so close to people falling under his spell. You keep looking to see if it’s fake, but as he weeds out those who have not fallen into a deep trance (this took a good fifteen to thirty minutes), you realize this thing is really happening.
  His banter is amusing and professional and while those under his influence certainly do hilarious things, Hale shows them tremendous respect. Other than one guy dancing around every time music played, really it was more us laughing with the participants rather than at them.
   The one thing I really wished was that I could have been hypnotized myself. I did think about it (after all, I’ve already been on the shoulders of a guy on a unicycle on a tiny stage, so it couldn’t be worse), but then how would I review the show for you?
   I spent most of the show with my mouth agape in wonderment. It’s not expensive, and it’s a brilliant show. Do not miss it.

Theatre Blurb
   Do not miss this! Real hypnosis, real fun…and no chickens! Globetrotting, award winning Comedy Stage Hypnotist Matt Hale returns to Perth with his brand new show (suitable for all ages). After packed shows at 2015 Fringeworld, filming a new TV show, and touring internationally, Matt’s back with his modern brand of hypno laughs, hypnotising volunteers with hilarious (but tasteful!) consequences as their imaginations work overtime! Enjoy the show from stage or audience…the choice is always yours in this volunteers-only show. So, what will YOU do?!!!  Matt always ensures those who take part have the best time out of everyone.
And did we mention……100% CHICKEN FREE…GUARANTEED! Winner of 3 national comedy awards, Matt has hypnotised people all over the world from London to Vegas (where even Mike Tyson told him “You are AMAZING!”. He's appeared in media as diverse as the UK's tabloids, BBC, ABC, Today Tonight and has been included in the National Film and Sound Archive and Ripley's Believe It Or Not. He has also released his own range of hypnosis products.