Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's an Inescapable Fact... Ultimate Roomscape is Brilliant

And now for something very different

Ultimate Roomscape
   Do you believe you are good at puzzles? Do you watch mystery movies or T.V. shows and imagine: I could solve that? Do you watch Survivor and think that puzzle stumping them doesn't look that hard? Well, do I have a fun entertainment treat for you to try in Perth. 
  Until last week I had never heard of escape rooms. Apparently they began in Japan and are sweeping the globe, popping up everywhere. In Sydney and Melbourne there are now quite a few, and now Perth has a top class room escape venue. 
   What the heck is it, I hear you ask? It's actually a very innovative opportunity for you to pit your mind against the puzzle makers who've created themed rooms from which you have one hour to escape. Currently there are two rooms operational at Ultimate Roomscape with another opening shortly and two more on the way soon after.
   My family and I had the fabulous opportunity of trying both rooms, Viral Outbreak and Cat Burglar, last Sunday. It's hard to review, because I don't want to give away any clues at all. So if I sound vague it's for your own benefit. Each room has wonderful surprises in it and both are obviously themed very differently. The puzzles involve not only solving word and number puzzles to move on to the next clue,  but you also must hunt for objects among the props, and even get physical with items. 

What happens?
   You are given no clues at the beginning, other than the Games Master narrating what has just happened in the scenario. Then your countdown clock is set to one hour and off you go, madly hunting for your first clue (which you must read carefully). Each time you solve a clue you move on to the next clue, but some are frustratingly cryptic at times. You are allowed two hints, whereby you press a button on the wall and in comes the Games Master to give you a hint on where to go next. The hints are good. They don't tell you exactly what to do, but just suggest what something might mean. You need to use your hints wisely, but you don't want to stay too long on any one puzzle because that clock is ticking down quickly.
   Some puzzles require you to really think outside the box. We got absolutely stuck on some and needed a clue. Even though our kids are only twelve and fourteen, there were a few puzzles they worked out to help us along. So they enjoyed the feeling of being puzzle-solvers and weren't just third and fourth wheels in there.
   There's a tremendous sense of exhilaration when you're the one to solve a puzzle and move the game along. There's also a real thrill at the first viewing of the rooms. Cat Burglar is quite thematic and so well put together. Our family was split on which one they preferred. I loved both of them equally.

Who would enjoy escaping?
   The guys who own the centre are very enthusiastic, and you can see they get a real thrill out of introducing people to this new concept. The two parties from each room before us came out glowing with enthusiasm. When I asked them what they thought, they replied with "brilliant" and "fantastic fun." Both those teams completed the rooms and escaped. Apparently, the success rate on Viral Outbreak is 40% of partakers completed in an hour and only 10% for Cat Burglar. One team had six adults who looked like parents with adult children and the other group were four adults in their thirties.  The owners tell me they get all sorts of groups going through: corporate team builders, families, teenagers, twenty-somethings, couples.  I do recommend going with at least four people. It helps to have those extra brains working on the puzzles. 

Did We Escape?
  And did we escape, I hear you ask? Sadly, no. We got through 85% of Viral Outbreak, but it was our first room, so we didn't really know what we were doing and spent too long second-guessing ourselves. We managed 95% of Cat Burglar and were very close to the last puzzle being solved. I wonder if we'd gone with other adults if we might have escaped, but I wouldn't have missed seeing the thrill on the kid's faces as they solved a puzzle or were looking for clues.
   We are absolute fans now of this concept. It is fabulous fun and, in a way, another form of storytelling. The owners create the scenario and invent the puzzles and you really do feel as if you are inside a story. You are doing battle against their minds. The countdown clock adds that extra challenge and thrill. My family cannot wait for the next room to open. This place gets a 5 out of 5 stars from my whole family. Trust me, that is a rare event. This is definitely the ultimate entertainment experience. I'm in love with the concept and Ultimate Room Escape delivers it brilliantly.


More info & to make a booking


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Film Stuff 22nd May 2015

FILM REVIEWS

Woman in Gold  3/4 
(Opens 22nd May most cinemas)

   Woman in Gold is a very entertaining film. You can't go too wrong with Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.  It almost nudged a four star for me, but I found it was trying very hard to move me at the end, and I didn't feel hugely moved. Still I did find it very enlightening and, as you always do watching films about Nazi war crimes, it caused me to again fathom how this could have happened. How could the Austrian government could attempt to stop Maria Altmann from taking back paintings that rightfully belong to her? 
   The performances of the actors in the flashback story within the modern-day story were fantastic, the sets very authentic, and the storyline well dramatized. I also really like Daniel Bruehl (He played Niki Lauder in Rush) as their Austrian ally. He's a versatile actor with great screen presence. 
   As a fellow reviewer commented this does sit between arthouse and big studio commercial cinema.  If you like the look of the trailer, then you will absolutely love this film. A common comment from those at my screening was 'loved it.'  I was close to loving it.
 Film Blurb 
   WOMAN IN GOLD is the remarkable true story of one woman's journey to reclaim her heritage and seek justice for what happened to her family. Sixty years after she fled Vienna during World War II, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Mirren), starts her journey to retrieve family possessions seized by the Nazis, among them Klimt's famous painting 'Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I'. Together with her inexperienced but plucky young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Reynolds), she embarks upon a major battle which takes them all the way to the heart of the Austrian establishment and the U.S. Supreme Court, and forces her to confront difficult truths about the past along the way. (C) TWC
Spy  
(Opens 22nd May most cinemas)
   
   You may not want to take my advice on this film. I did not find it hugely funny, even though everyone around me was laughing, and I see it has been reviewed positively. I did love Jason Statham's character and his complete send up of his tough guy persona. I did laugh out loud at him. 
   Melissa McCarthy, yep, I have this idea that she is a very funny person. However, her last few films have left me wondering why. She's really cute, but she does play exactly the same character in every film. Where I found her refreshingly hilarious in Bridesmaids, I now find her persona ho-hum. So if a film is going to hang its hat on her being herself with her style of slapstick, then I've probably moved out of the key audience demographic.
   To me it felt a lot like a nineties comedy spoof, and I think that would be my other criticism... I've seen a lot of it before. You know, handsome guy has unattractive assistant who loves him madly, then she comes in to save the day, and he then sees how valuable she is. And the baddies are idiots, of course. I do think it is almost worth seeing just to see Jason Statham. He truly is the high note.
  This James Bond spoof treads where every other comedy quoting on the poster that the  director or producers had something to do with Bridesmaids has trodden before. I spy with my little eye, nothing new here, folks, but I guess you can tell that by the trailer.
 Film Blurb 
   Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst, and the unsung hero behind the Agency's most dangerous missions. But when her partner (Jude Law) falls off the grid and another top agent (Jason Statham) is compromised, she volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global disaster. (C) Fox


WILD TALES   ½
(Showing at Luna Cinemas from 21st May)
   I loved this dark and twisted sextet of short stories. Be prepared to be shocked, mortified, but ultimately entertained by the dark humor and ironic twists in these tales. The Spanish have a black sense of humor, and this is a perfect example of everything wonderful in this language’s foreign films.

   What is unfortunate is that the opening story centers on a plane and its passengers and a tragic accident. It’s a little too close to home with the recent Germanwings tragedy. Don’t let that put you off, though. Book your tickets now for this particular film, and maybe, also, indulge in a few of the other offerings. You will not be disappointed.
Film Blurb 
   Director Damián Szifrón has executed a wonderfully entertaining revenge film comprised of six rebellious vignettes that are nothing short of what the title suggests - WILD. A deadly case of road rage, a wedding gone wrong, accidental manslaughter…everyday situations in which the darkest side of good people shines through and proves there is an animal in all of us. 
   Described by Variety as “wickedly delightful”, this compendium of stories ooze the blackest of humour by demonstrating how everyday people can be pushed to their farthest limits. The superbly drawn characters are embodied by the brightest stars of Argentinian cinema including, Ricardo Darín, Darío Gradinetti and Erica Rivas.

NEWS

Red Dog comes home again
Work has begun on the prequel to Red Dog, the 2011 hit film. The film entitled Blue Dog  has begun filming in the Pilbara after completing internal shots at the ABC studios.This film tells the story of Red Dog's adventures when he is growing up on a cattle station in the Pilbara. Australian actors Bryan Brown and John Jarratt, join the cast, alongside British star Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy of Harry Potter fame). Blue Dog is due for release next year, 2016.  Credit: West Australian Website

SPECIAL EVENTS


Back To The Future 2 - Event
Details and Booking

Date: Sunday 24th May
Location: Luna Cinemas
Time: 9pm

Monkey Collective and Luna Palace Presents Back to The Future 2 Experience! Screening on May 24th  at Luna Leederville. Pre-screening entertainment from 8PM, film screening 9PM.
   2015? You mean we're in the future? Time to Celebrate!! So where are our damn hoverboards and self lacing shoes?!

   We’ll travel back… then forwards...then back again in TIME!!!!  To the futuristic year of 2015! 
   With great gadgets, amazing fashion choices and obscene product placement!

This is no Ordinary Screening....... Tonight you are IN the film!! Your goodie bag packed with items and chants to play along with through the screening. From 8pm you can grab pre-show drinks, hop in the Delorian Photobooth and witness Actors run amok in the foyer.

Elaine Page: I’m Still Here
Exclusive  Alternative Live Content  Captured Live in HD. 


Showing only at Windsor Cinemas  More Info and Tickets
Three screenings only - Wed 27th May 6.30pm, Sat 30th & Sun 31st May  1:00pm

Join us on Wednesday May 27 from 6.00pm for a celebratory evening at Windsor featuring Brown Brothers Prosecco and Brown Brothers Sparkling Moscato Rosa courtesy of MGM Wines before the  screening at 6.30pm

   The incomparable Elaine Paige brings her sell-out Farewell Concert  ‘Elaine Page: I’m Still Here’ A 50th Anniversary celebration from the Royal Albert Hall to the big screen accompanied by a live set featuring special guests.
   Filmed for cinema, the concert features the BBC Concert Orchestra, with Elaine performing the highlights of her extraordinary 50 year career, including Memory, I Know Him so Well and As If We Never Said Goodbye. 
   Full of great musical memories the evening will finish with a pre recorded Q&A and an intimate performance from Elaine, with special guests (which are soon to be announced),  as Elaine creates all-new memories, performing and chatting live from London reflecting on her illustrious career.


Catch an Oldie

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 

Info on Saving Private Ryan

Date: Monday June & 
Location: Backlot Studios 
Time: 2pm

   Accessreel.com is proud to present SAVING PRIVATE RYAN in a stunning digital presentation at The Backlot Perth on June 7 at 2pm. 
Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Geremy Davis, Matt Damon, Ted Danson and Paul Giamatti.
MAY AUSTRALIAN REVELATIONS 

WAKE IN FRIGHT

Date: Monday May 25th 
Location: Backlot Studios 
Time: 6.30pm for 7pm 

   As per the majority of Australian Revelations screenings, their April screening of Newsfront. sold out, so get in early for their May screening of Ted Kotchiff's bona-fide classic Wake in Fright. Australia's own Heart of Darkness this brilliant film delved into outback Australia in a way that shocked and confronted Australian and international audience. 
   With a career defining role by Donald Pleasance, Wake In Fright is a must-see film and indeed sold out a 700 seat house at Rev 2009. The film comes fully restored - which in itself was an enormously complex and painstaking process...but well worth the effort. Each Australian Revelations feature screening will be accompanied by a Western Australian made short film, providing opportunities for local filmmakers to have their work seen by new audiences. 
And now for something very different

Ultimate Roomscape
More info & make a booking
   Do you think you are good at puzzles? Do you watch mystery movies or T.V. shows and imagine: I could solve that? Do you watch Survivor and think that puzzle stumping them doesn't look that hard? Well, do I have a fun entertainment treat for you to try in Perth. 
  Until last week I had never heard of escape rooms. Apparently they began in Japan and are sweeping the globe, popping up everywhere. In Sydney and Melbourne there are now quite a few, and now Perth has a top class room escape venue. 
   What the heck is it, I hear you ask? It's actually a very innovative opportunity for you to pit your mind against the puzzle makers who've created themed rooms from which you have one hour to escape. Currently there are two rooms operational at Ultimate Roomscape with another opening shortly and two more on the way soon after.
   My family and I had the fabulous opportunity of trying both rooms, Viral Outbreak and Cat Burglar, last Sunday. It's hard to review, because I don't want to give away any clues at all. So if I sound vague it's for your own benefit. Each room has wonderful surprises in it and both are obviously themed very differently. The puzzles involve not only solving word and number puzzles to move on to the next clue,  but you also must hunt for objects among the props, and even get physical with items. 
   You are given no clues at the beginning, other than the Games Master narrating what has just happened in the scenario. Then your countdown clock is set to one hour and off you go, madly hunting for your first clue (which you must read carefully). Each time you solve a clue you move on to the next clue, but some are frustratingly cryptic at times. You are allowed two hints, whereby you press a button on the wall and in comes the Games Master to give you a hint on where to go next. The hints are good. They don't tell you exactly what to do, but just suggest what something might mean. You need to use your hints wisely, but you don't want to stay too long on any one puzzle because that clock is ticking down quickly.
  Some puzzles require you to really think outside the box. We got absolutely stuck on some and needed a clue. Even though our kids are only twelve and fourteen, there were a few puzzles they worked out to help us along. So they enjoyed the feeling of being puzzle-solvers and weren't just third and fourth wheels in there.
   There's a tremendous sense of exhilaration when you're the one to solve a puzzle and move the game along. There's also a real thrill at the first viewing of the rooms. Cat Burglar is quite thematic and so well put together. Our family was split on which one they preferred. I loved both of them equally.
   The guys who own the centre are very enthusiastic, and you can see they get a real thrill out of introducing people to this new concept. The two parties from each room before us came out glowing with enthusiasm. When I asked them what they thought, they replied with "brilliant" and "fantastic fun." Both those teams completed the rooms and escaped. Apparently, the success rate on Viral Outbreak is 40% of partakers completed in an hour and only 10% for Cat Burglar. One team had six adults who looked like parents with adult children and the other group were four adults in their thirties.  The owners tell me they get all sorts of groups going through: corporate team builders, families, teenagers, twenty-somethings, couples.  I do recommend going with at least four people. It helps to have those extra brains working on the puzzles. 
  And did we escape, I hear you ask? Sadly, no. We got through 85% of Viral Outbreak, but it was our first room, so we didn't really know what we were doing and spent too long second-guessing ourselves. We managed 95% of Cat Burglar and were very close to the last puzzle being solved. I wonder if we'd gone with other adults if we might have escaped, but I wouldn't have missed seeing the thrill on the kid's faces as they solved a puzzle or were looking for clues.
   We are absolute fans now of this concept. It is fabulous fun and, in a way, another form of storytelling. The owners create the scenario and invent the puzzles and you really do feel as if you are inside a story. You are doing battle against their minds. The countdown clock adds that extra challenge and thrill. My family cannot wait for the next room to open. This place gets a 5 out of 5 stars from my whole family. Trust me, that is a rare event. This is definitely the ultimate entertainment experience. I'm in love with the concept and Ultimate Room Escape delivers it brilliantly. 

If you enjoyed this musing, do hop over and register for my very random newsletter. Straight away you will receive two fantastic short stories FREE. You'll also be the first to know when I have exciting news to share like free books (international) and film ticket giveaways (Australia). Hop over here: http://eepurl.com/3P-Wz


If you find value you in my reviews and film blurb, then buying an ecopy of any of my books is a great way to say thanks, and keep me in coffee. My latest Back Again is only $3.99, less than a coffee. Click here to choose.

Time Lapse - It's Time for You to See it

I saw this film about a year ago now at the Perth Revelation Film Festival. It is still one of the best time travel films I've seen. Many people agree as it has gone on to win so many awards at so many festivals. Now you can see it easily because it's available for download from loads of online outlets. In many countries you can just grab it from iTunes.

Where to grab it:             Click here
Purchase from Amazon: Time Lapse film

I'm championing this film because I'm an independent author, just like the filmmakers of Time Lapse are independent filmmakers. When you are out there on your own, sometimes, just knowing that there are a few people who really get what you're doing, gives you such a boost. I've had that thrill with wonderful reviews for my books from complete strangers, and so I like to pay it forward.  


Now go get Time Lapse and watch it. It will blow your mind.



   Time slip is one of the toughest genres to pull off. There are so many tropes around this sci-fi sub-genre that writers can easily fall into a plot-hole black hole from which their story cannot return, and they will be criticized for its implausibility. Time travel is implausible, but it holds so much opportunity if written right that we are happy to go along for the ride. Usually, though, the studios worry little about these issues when it comes to the latest science fiction offerings, casting mega-stars, spending a fortune on special effects, and little on the script. Then they blitz with a twelve month pre-launch marketing campaign, and we go along expecting “wow” and, instead, receive “woe” for our box-office dollar.
   So you wouldn’t expect that a small indie release would blow you away with its script and originality, but that is exactly what happened at the Revelation Film Festival in Perth, Australia when viewing Time Lapse, a film directed by Bradley King and produced by BP Cooper, both of whom wrote the script. Think classics like Memento, Triangle, and Donnie Darko, where the story twists your mind with its complexity, and the minute you’ve finished you want to rewatch to spot the clues. Time Lapse is currently doing the rounds of film festivals, and winning awards at them. It may not be at your local cinema yet, but keep looking and asking for it.
   Three friends (Danielle Panabaker, George Finn, Matt O'Leary), living in and managing an apartment complex, stumble upon a strange machine in a mysterious neighbor’s home. It’s pointed at their large living room window, and they realize that, somehow, it takes photos 24 hours into the future exactly at 8pm. Posted around the machine’s room are hundreds of photos of them. Initially, the machine provides a prosperous opportunity as they send messages, to their 24 hour earlier selves, on horse race winners. However, things turn dark and sinister quickly when they start to believe that they need to perfectly recreate the scene in the photograph the following day or face dangerous consequences and possibly death.          
   It’s one of those films that you wish would go on forever. With each new photograph revealed, you’re thinking—just like the characters—what’s the story behind the photo? What’s going to happen in 24 hours to make it come true?
   First time director King and co-writer Cooper have produced a well-imagined film and worked wonders with a small set and budget. Keep an eye on these two. Something tells me we will be seeing big things from them in the future. Do not miss this film when it comes to your local theatre or on the click of a button download sites. It’s a science fiction classic gem.


Purchase from Amazon: time lapse film
Other Outlets: http://www.timelapse-themovie.com/news/where-to-watch/

If you enjoyed this musing, do hop over and register for my very random newsletter. Straight away you will receive two fantastic short stories FREE. You'll also be the first to know when I have exciting news to share like free books (international) and film ticket giveaways (Australia). Hop over here: http://eepurl.com/3P-Wz



It's my birthday, and I'll smile if I want to

Thought for the week

It's my birthday this week. I don't enjoy celebrating my birthday much. Yeah, yeah, I know I should and all that, but I don't like my life interrupted by all the shenanigans. Oddly, too, especially if you know me with my outgoing personality and my want to happily get up and give speeches before hundreds of people if need be, I just don't like being the centre of attention in a small group.
  This year I've decided I shall give in to it all and I've agreed to go out for dinner with my family. It's a bit of a milestone birthday... another thing I hate, too. Why is one more important than another? I've decided, though, that I'm so grateful to have made it to this age and to be enjoying such a wonderful life filled with my lovely family, so much diversity, and so many great people that I'm going out to celebrate that. 
   Thanks to my late life career change to writer (during another milestone year five years ago), I now have fascinating friends across the globe who have achieved some amazing things in their lives. I've got a friend who just attended the Mad Men wrap party and whose book is being made into a big Showtime series, another friend in New York who has won two Oscars, more friends who are New York Times bestsellers, a bestseller author friend in the U.K., a director whose film has won countless awards in film festivals. (Yes, I am living vicariously through my talented friends.) Then there's  some close to home fabulous people in film, television and publishing who sit in darkened cinemas with me every week and have become my pals. Of course, there's my forever suffering husband (trust me you don't want to live with a writer) who is my soulmate, my encourager who knows me like nobody else, my beautiful sister, my old friends who aren't part of my writer life, but have simply won my heart by being loyal and true. What a life to have all this abundance of friends.
   It's been thirty years since my father passed away and thirteen since my mother, also, passed. I sometimes wish my dad were still here, so I could share my writing career with him. He was always such a book worm and encouraged me to write when I was young. He knew my heart was in the storytelling world.   My mum was a real go-getter and a world champion table-tennis player. She would have loved what I'm doing, too. Even though, I'd love to share with them what I've achieved since they left us, I think the thing they would be most thrilled about is that I found my way to happiness.
  And that's what I'm going to celebrate on my birthday, not that I was born let's say twenty-five years ago (that's my line and I'm sticking with it), but that I'm happy and grateful to be contented with my lot in life. I like getting older. I don't like the wrinkles or the achy joints, but I like the perspective. So on my birthday, I'm not going to celebrate how many years since I was born. I am going to celebrate that through all the ups and downs of those years I've managed to navigate my way to happiness and to find what I love to do... writing. Happiness... that's the most wonderful gift and achievement  I could ever receive on my birthday. 
   Happy happiness day, Susan. May you live long and prosper.

How do you feel about your birthday?

If you enjoyed this musing, do hop over and register for my very random newsletter. Straight away you will receive two fantastic short stories FREE. You'll also be the first to know when I have exciting news to share like free books (international) and film ticket giveaways (Australia). Hop over here: http://eepurl.com/3P-Wz