Resistance Film Review

Resistance Film Review

Words Glenn Blomfield

History knows Marcel Marceau as the greatest Mime Artist of all time. His dedication to the Performing Arts is known the world over, and he is recogniseable everywhere and, every country. Director/Writer Jonathan Jakubowicz’s film Resistance, gives light to what many may not know, Marcel Marceau was also a War Hero. Helping to save hundreds of Jewish children while fighting with the French Resistance, the film concentrates on this period of Marceau’s life while he fought under Nazi occupation.

Hollywood actor Jesse Eisenberg (that accent!) takes on the enigmatic role of Marcel Marceau. Playing the role of a Jewish Boy Scout, he takes care of young Jewish orphans, and eventually ends up joining the French Resistance. Through the art of mime and entertaining children, Marceau helps the children navigate through the difficult Nazi occupation of France. The important part of this film is of course is Eisenberg’s portrayal of the famous ‘silent clown’. I must admit, I was surprised see Jesse cast in this role, but it doesn’t feel to me like the right choice. Actually, something inside me wishes it might’ve been better to have had a French actor. I wasn’t fully convinced of the nuance of Eisenberg as Marceau, to me he seemed too neurotic in candour and performance!

Now, if we can put aside these comments then there is a film here that is a rather poignant, dark and somber tale. There are a couple scenes that really have emotional punch, they play a reminder of a very dark time. It is definitely interesting to have a story of a man that is renown for enlightening the human heart through the craft of Mime, and then have a film that shows frankly the opposite, the despair and sadness of War. That being said, the film provides a direction towards hope, if not maybe a bit on the melodramatic. I am not quite sure the film gave me enough bite to know the person Marcel Marceau, but we do get the inkling of a War Hero, and the presence of some very troubling times. 

Resistance is a conundrum of a film for me, I actually learnt things I did not know of Marcel Marceau, his amazing background, his Jewish heritage, how he got the name ‘Marcel Marceau’. His mindblowing story of being a war hero, and helping save the lives of hundreds of orphaned Jewish children is great to watch. From such despair, to a man that brought so much joy to thousands upon thousands of people throughout his life, is admirabe, but yet, I am left feeling I did not get the ‘real’ person of Marcel Marceau. There is an incredible story of a man, that deserves recognition. The film succeeds in revealing the horror of the Nazi forces and the atrocities committed during that time, but this wasn’t fully elevated by the portrayal of Eisenberg’s character. This brings me back to Jesse Eisenberg as the actor, the two do not fully combine to work in the narrative. The ‘resistance’ unfortunately was more a feeling on my behalf than the film’s intended box office effect.

The Assistant Film Review

The Assistant Film Review

Words Wal Reid

“The Assistant is a hard watch to maintain. If you thought Level 4 lockdown was difficult, then be prepared to meet your match”

Australian born film maker Kitty Green’s ‘fly on the wall’ film, revolves around central protagonist Jane (Julia Garner) a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer. She’s just landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul – yep, smacks of “50 Shades of Weinstein” here, however, that’s where the comparison ends and the drama unfolds.

While Jane goes about her daily routine, the camera scrutinises her every move, whim and emotion. Green’s keen camera-eye leans into the tropes of both Documentary & Drama genres. For the most part this works, but by the end of the film it leaves you empty pining more.

Ozark’s Julia Garner is sublime as the potty-mouthed Ruth Langmore opposite Drug Boss Jason Bateman. Here she is not given much of a template to work with, the canvas restrictive and dialogue is kept to a minimum, all which seem to suit the mandate of Green’s film.

Jane’s day is much like any other assistant – making coffee, ordering lunch, arranging travel accommodations and taking phone messages. But as Jane follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the abuse that imbues every aspect of her workday.

Garner’s character is emotionally perturbed as she balances her conscience against the typical degradations happening in the work place. Bullying, sexual coercion, sexism, emotional abuse etc.. How that plays on the viewer’s own moral ethics is left open at the end of the film to maybe pontificate.

The Assistant is a hard watch to maintain. If you thought Level 4 lockdown was difficult, then be prepared to meet your match – the movie could probably do with some assistance in that regard.

My Rembrandt Film Review

My Rembrandt Film Review

Words Glenn Blomfield

“Convoluted as the story gets, an unsettling narrative sets in, just like a Rembrandt master with all its awe and mystery..”

Well, that turned out to be an unsuspecting surprise watch. What initially feels to be a pompous art world film, where snobbery, wealth and class is at the undertone of the Art World Society, turns out to be quite the opposite. Rembrandt’s paintings being a pedestal of ownership, the mystical and highest order of famed painters are regarded masterpieces. Rembrandt has been created into a religious icon, a spiritual endeavour and enigma to unlock, so of course this discourse with all its prestige played out, exposes the inevitable monetary wealth ownership.

Art Dealers, Historians, Collectors, Museums, all bidding their worth and power, as they battle with knowledge, class, power of prestige, and their unheralded power of monetary control. The lines then start becoming blurred; what is a masterpiece painter, without its created narrative? Is a Rembrandt just as important and powerfully beautiful, without its bidding war of ownership, money, and ego?

As you move delve into the documentary, the film pieces particular characters into the story start to stand out, and a jigsaw puzzle starts to come together that shakes the reality of the foundations of the Art World. Convoluted as the story gets, an unsettling narrative sets in, just like a Rembrandt master with all its awe and mystery, as is the Art World and critics created around such a painting. What is real, what really is the importance of the story? The importance of the creation of the painting, the importance that eventually comes into monetary wealth and ownership.

It is a conundrum that has you scratching your head at what really the Art World is about. Who says what, and who says this and that, what does this mean? etc, the quandary of what is a fake painting, and what is a fake Art World narrative, they work side by side. The old addage really does become the argument, it’s in the ‘eye of the Beholder’. The documentary focuses nicely on the Art World characters in Netherlands and France. The film includes interviews with people who own Rembrandts, they of incredible wealth, family prestige and pedigree. A deceitful world of Art Dealers, Art Museum Curators, Art Historians, all becoming a political world of exclusivity.

The documentary story builds, manifesting back and forth into a political PR communiqué. It certainly pulls you into mystical Art World that is rarely seen, beyond simply a Rembrandt painting hanging on a wall. The characters are of wealth and privileged, questioning why the fuss and importance. ‘My Rembrandt’ is an inconspicuous watch. It’s a very interesting perspective, it’s involving and mystifying, and definitely raises more questions than its worth.

Bait Film Review

Bait Film Review

Words Glenn Blomfield

Bait is an extraordinary film to review. It is difficult to box the film into a category to recommend to an audience. I will try describing it as an Art House Film, experimental in nature/style, but very nostalgic in its process, i.e golden age of silent, black & white films.

Bait feels raw, simple, you could be excused from saying it looks ‘amateur’, though don’t be fooled. For the first 15 or so minutes, you are trying to decipher the film, take it in and put together the pieces to make a coherent story, it’s a journey rewarded by the end. It takes a the crowd on a trip that encapsulates the film with visual poetry. It may feel surreal, like a dream, but Bait has potency and power.

The basic premise of the film is about two brothers, fishermen, struggling to make a living in their home village in Cornwall. They have inherited the family heritage of fishing from their dead father, but modern times are tough. Both brothers have alternative views, one can’t let go of the ‘fishing’ way of life, the other uses the fishing boat for tourism, visiting the village to make a monetary living.

“As you further delve into watching Bait,  its cinematic language absorbs you into a beautiful moving experience”

When I say the film is “raw and simple”, I’m coming from a technical point of view. Director Mark Jenkin made the film using a 16mm Hand wound Bolex Camera using Kodak Black & White film. Sound wasn’t able to be recorded on set, all audio was dubbed later in post. To describe the look of the film, is like describing it found in a vault from the 1920’s. You can see flicker in the film, hair that was trapped in the gate of the camera, dirt contaminating the film negative. This old nostalgic look and style does not not distract from the film, actually I feel it enhances it.

It adds visual poetry, there is nostalgia that works as theme and tone, the film’s narrative and plot doesn’t rely on expository explanation. Its quietness and imagery subjected to subtext. As you further delve into watching Bait, its cinematic language absorbs you into a beautiful moving experience.

I conjure films of influence and comparison like Ingmar Bergman, Nicholas Roeg, even contemporary modern film ‘Witch’ and ‘Lighthouse’ from Director writer Robert Eggers, would make a great companion piece to this film. Bait is told like an old Fisherman’s tale, but set in a modern day world.

The two brothers are in conflict, separated by different views, both lives metaphorically ‘float lost at sea’. It is a microcosm of a world the brothers live in. The film world of Bait moves no further from the seaside tiny Fishing Village. There is the local pub, and the small harbouring shore, a frugal community. It’s a small existence, that has been disturbed by ‘outsiders’ bringing tourism dollars to their simple economical life. The word ‘community’ becomes a complicated expression.

“The drama is strong, its long lasting effect resonates like a dark haunting ode”

The drama is strong, its long lasting effect resonates like a dark haunting ode. Bait is a fresh breath of old sea air, it reminds me of the power of film and filmmaking. I was genuinely taken in. Surprised of its reminder retaining the magic, the mystery and power of film that still can found in minuscule budget, compared to mainstream movies. All achieved with outdated or lack of modern technology too. A beautiful and poetic marvel. Out in cinemas May 21st.

Interview With Grace Kelly

Interview With Grace Kelly

words Wal Reid

Rising New Zealand country music singer, songwriter and musician Grace Kelly released her debut EP entitled Before on Thursday 26 March. The talented Kiwi songstress burst onto the scene after a remarkable opportunity set her on an epic path of amazing experiences in a very short period of time.

Last year was a whirlwind year for her, with Californian city San José choosing her song San José as their theme song and pushing her further into the limelight. The song has now hit over 50,000 streams on Spotify.

Wal Reid caught up with her recently (phone – of course in this Covid new-norm) to ask her a few questions and how she got to open for country music giant and television personality Blake Shelton.

WR: Hey how you going Grace? Just cruising around at home I’m guessing?

GK: I’ve got instruments galore and just time, it’s beautiful. I’ve already written an isolation song. The first of many, yes. Locked Up is the initial title. The concept was if you had to be locked up in a house that you’d be with a said person – sort of a love story. But if you were locked up with this person, it would actually be ok if you had to stay inside.” Even if you’re with people you love and care about, it’s not going to be that bad. I’m just here with my family and it’s been a lot of laughs.

So, is Grace Kelly your real name or stage?

I know, it’s a lot to live up to. The name thing definitely turns some heads. Usually if I start a school year and if the teachers are all older, that’s the classic comment, “Oh my god, do you know there’s a princess with the same name?” I’ve gone seventeen years and I’ve never known. (laughter). I lived in the States for six years. My dad got a job over there when I was eight, we didn’t move over there, but I’ve spent a lot of time living in the US. My older siblings were in high school, for me it was a lot of trips going over there for long periods of time. I was living in two countries for a while so it became a fun place that escaped your usual Auckland happenings with school and whatever. It became a playground to me as a young person.

How did your song San José get picked up over there?

I did a recording in Nashville which was very exciting and after that went back to San José to visit a couple of friends; you’re in America so you do the rounds while you’re there. I met the CEO of the Tourism Board there Karolyn Kirchgesler, she’s been a massive believer in me. She was like, “You should write a song about San José. It’s kind of the classic throw away comment when someone finds out that you write songs. I never thought anything of it and then once I was back home I got the idea for the initial line I just had this rolling in my head, “San José, nah nah nah. That’s ok we’ll roll with it,” we pumped it out in one night. I then emailed it to her and she didnt get it for a few weeks, then she called me, “We want to fly you out, and we want you to record a music video and we’ll use it for the tourism campaign”. I thought it would be like, write a song about San José and I’d send it to her and she’d be like, “Oh I love the song” and then that would be it. It just snowballed and became an epic stepping stone.

What about you meeting Country Music giant and television personality Blake Shelton?

I was staying at my Mum’s house and Dad came over at four in the morning with this hectic knock. Everyone was like, “What is going on, why are you here?” and then he read out the email from the Country radio station that played my song KRTY, it was from the station manager. “We were wondering if Grace wanted to be one of the opening acts for Blake Shelton.” and it was like, “Let me mull that one over”. I still can’t believe that happened, it was the coolest day in my life opening for him.

I read you’ve played with Taylor Swift’s songwriter Liz Rose, how was that?

As a Country music fan I got to sing You Belong To Me which was bizarre. She was at this winery where I was playing with four other Country artists. In the middle of the set she was like, “Is Grace still here? Cool, can you come up and help me sing this song?” Oh my god I’m freaking out, I had no idea that she was going to ask me. “I hope you know the song, if not you’re going to fake it real well.”

Has Before been released yet?

The live shows have been postponed, yeah it’s out. Everyone’s just siting at home what are you going to do? I’ve also done live streaming. I guess it’s just adjusting to this ‘curve ball’ of life. Lots of song writers I love in Nashville, that’s what they’re doing also.

How was recording your E.P. Before, are you happy with it?

So happy with it. First track is called Before and After and was recorded in 2018 and I redid the vocals last year. it’s been a super fun journey because I was lucky enough to record twice in Nashville, 2016 and 2018. For no other purpose than to get studio time and get comfortable in the studio, listen to my songs and have a fun project that family could listen to. Everything shifted when I got older my song writing got better so my Dad and I went back to Nashville and I was recording for the purpose of releasing an E.P, it was so much fun. It was cool to record with those guys because they’re so lovely so down to earth, everyone plays with everyone in Nashville, it’s so chilled and kind of the norm to be playing with these huge artists, so when Steve King who was touring with Keith Urban prior to playing on my songs was coming in, producer Bill Watson would go, “Steve’s coming in and laying down tracks with the keys, he’s been touring with Keith Urban”, and I’m like, “Oh, ok.” They’re all so down to earth.

What’s your best Covid-19 advice?

Stay calm, stay kind. There’s so many negative things people are talking about, like being stuck inside. One of my biggest things is; look how amazing this is going to be for the planet. I’m a big Earth gal, so its nice to be able to pause. Find time to do the things you love. For me it’s music, so I’m trying to write a song every day and find new artists I love. It’s about making the best of the situation.

Young Auckland singer-songwriter Grace Kelly officially makes her mark with the release of her debut EP ‘before.’, delivering five catchy, upbeat tunes of feel-good country songs and heart-felt ballads.

Infectious lead single ‘That Girl’ is a sparkling blend of catchy effervescent pop and classic country music and, accompanied by a gorgeously simple video that encapsulates Grace’s easy charm.
WATCH ‘That Girl’ HERE

Devilskin Red Album Review

Devilskin Red Album Review

Words Mike Beck / Photo David Watson Photography.

Having a thick skin in today’s surreal times is more than a necessity, so it’s good timing that Hamilton hard rock/metal unit Devilskin have just put out their 3rd studio record; Red. Released in multiple formats (you’ll dig the colour-matching vinyl) today Arpil 3rd, Red is described by founding member/bassist Paul Martin to be; “laying ourselves bare”, with “personal subject matter.”

“The verdict – Musically lush & textural, with high production standards & visceral content”

The songs- Orwellian forecasts & loss of freedoms are prevalent in Do You See Birds & We All Fall Down, while Blood & Bone explores being alone/isolated in nature but staying connected. Be Like The River, also the title of their last studio long player, offers independence & a philosophy akin to Bruce Lee; to stay on course & be yourself.

Corrode Video Devilskin

Sweet Release deals with the underlying epidemic of suicide, Martin penning the tune in honour of Nicky Stevens, who took his life while in care of mental health services. A close to home story (the Tron), highlighting a system broken.

“Fans can rejoice in this heart offering, newcomers get in there also; this is your angle of entry”

The band – Impressive on Red is D’skin’s synergy as a unit, they sound like a band bonded. Father & son rhythm section Paul (bass) & Nic Martin (drums) are kicking in full noise, complemented by Nail Vincent’s creative gat layering. Vincent’s acoustic guitar coda on Eyes Red Heavy is deeply personal, & will be explored in its entirety on the next record.

Lead vocalist Jennie Smathers is in full voice on Red. She’s got plenty of grunt & power, mixing trademark guttural styles with soaring feminine runs; take note of her self-penned Eyes Red Heavy & Corrode.

A record of depth, Martin encourages listeners to immerse themselves in the ride. Fans can rejoice in this heart offering, newcomers get in there also; this is your angle of entry. The verdict – Musically lush & textural, with high production standards & visceral content, Red is Devilskin’s best yet.

*with thanks to Paul Martin for an online Q&A

The Way Back Film Review

The Way Back Film Review

Words Sarah Kidd

Everybody likes a good drama; a film that has a little emotion, a little feel good factor and a protagonist that despite his flaws an audience will end up rooting for by the end credits.

The Way Back is that kinda film.
Originally scheduled for release back in October last year, the new Ben Affleck vehicle has now been given a March release date. Whether this will work in their favour in regard to box office takings or not considering some of the recent issues in larger countries remains to be seen.

Nevertheless, director Gavin O’Connor [The Accountant] delivers a palatable movie, that – while it offers up nothing new – is very balanced, a touch of humour thrown in for good measure.

Ben Affleck plays Jack Cunningham, a construction worker who it is soon revealed has a liking for alcohol. Separated from his wife, he spends most of his time at the bar when not at work but is endeavouring to keep a stable connection with both his sibling and mother despite their obvious concerns for his habit.

Approached by the local high school to coach the basketball team (a small group of kids who haven’t won a game in so long that it is just accepted as the standard) due to the fact he is a bit of a home town hero in that area of sport as well as a former student, the film follows the journey of both Jack and the boys.

Written by Brad Ingelsby, the story starts out with a softer approach to addressing Cunningham’s alcohol problems, slowing ramping it up in regard to consequences as the movie progresses. The repetitive nature of one particular scene however, where Cunningham sits at home rehearsing a phone call he needs to make, provides some insight into the ritualistic elements of addiction that in time proves to be one of the hardest things for most people to break away from.

While Cunningham’s addiction is not hidden it is not dwelled upon either; it is an integral part of the protagonist’s character, his major flaw and the cause of his downfalls, but he is high functioning. He continues to carry on going to work while also coaching the team.

The basketball team bring about their own charms, from the Casanova-type who is hilariously taught a lesson about respect through to a more in-depth storyline between a boy and his father, one that Cunningham it would seem, can relate to.
While there are no major plot twists, information is introduced throughout the movie that fills in the holes in Cunningham’s character and gives the viewer an insight into what has brought him to this pivotal point in his life.

The way back itself however is not one of redemption but of evolution. Cunningham along with many of the people around him learning to grow through embracing past mistakes rather than trying to correct them as some words and actions just can not be taken back.

The project itself was one that was deeply personal for Affleck, the actor citing it as a form of therapy following his own stint in rehab. This does seem to have coloured his performance, Affleck turning in a character study that is realistic with none of the usual Hollywood bravado filter.
A solid movie, The Way Back may come across as standard fare, but scratch beneath the surface and there is actually a bit of a small carat diamond hiding underneath.

Electric Kiwi Billy T Jams Review

Electric Kiwi Billy T Jams Review

Words Glenn Blomfield

Soon this year’s International Comedy Festival season will kick off. As a precursor, we got to see five nominees for the Billy T James award, shinning stars of NZ comedy take the stage, having the opportunity to be the new participants of winning the coveted ‘Billy T James Award’, a seal of NZ comedy gold approval. Five finalist nominees, have a ten minute stand up show each in front of a live audience, they will be judged, the winner will be later announced. The five nominees are Lana Walters, Josh Davies, Brynley Stent, James Mustapic, and Ray O’Leary. All of them are also part of the comedy line up in the upcoming comedy festival.

MC for the evening was previous Billy T James nominee, Kura Forrester, taking the task of setting the mood and livening the audience announcing each nominee for the evening. Kura graced the stage with welcoming confidence, heartening the room with relaxed laughter priming us for the acts to come. We were definitely in safe hands, happy to be there and laughing ready for more comedy.

Kura forrester

First to hit the stage was Josh Davies, using his near blindness disability as his comedy act, exploring his world which may seem uncomfortable to laugh at, he had us laughing along with the craziness and irony of his view of the world. Definitely funny and insightful.

Next was Ray O’Leary, awkward and oddly relatable wit, dressed in what maybe his grand dads suit, his weird and odd views on the world have you giggling and laughing out loud. His quirkiness draws you in, he reminds me of ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ a character from a cult comedy film. Very Funny man. 

Things took a change when Brynley Stent took the stage, the only sketch act of the evening, using normal situations that take you on crazy journeys, silly and absurdly wonderful, you’re not sure how to take it, though you can’t help but laugh. Unique and awkward, comedy combo.

Storming the stage comes openly proclaiming his gayness James Mustapic, meek in stature, large in comedy bravado. Using his stand up as a ‘coming out’, his personal anxieties, his life, being gay, and how her see the world growing up. James was hysterical and lyrical.

Final nominee Lana Walters, stand up act using her personal problems as comedic expression. She is accessible, and a breath of fresh air, in using her uncomfortableness for funny enjoyment.

Tom Sainsbury

A special guest round up for the evening show, was Tom Sainsbury, using his funny awareness of fellow New Zealanders, from his travels of the country scouring the internet of kiwi news and comment sections, holding a mirror up to of the vey funny lives we live, and views we have on our daily lives in Aoteroa. Who would of thought the Tauranga Travel website would be treasure trove of hysterical comments, and the local council and peoples responses to the absurdity we live in?

Overall very funny and enjoyable evening. NZ comedy is in very safe hands. Everyone in tonights show, was worth the show’s admission alone. Sure there were some stand outs, but each one of them deserves to be seen and heard during the upcoming Comedy festival. Support the local talent and get amongst it.

3100, Run And Become Film Review

3100, Run And Become Film Review

“Going into watching this documentary was for me the fascination of why we as humans take on such a quest”

Words Glenn Blomfield

The documentary is about the 3100 mile self transcendent marathon, created by Sri Chinmoy a Guru that found enlightenment through the meditation of running. Lets get this into some perspective, 3100 miles is 4989km, the mind boggles at running that amount of distance.

The runners have 52 days to complete the distance, they must cover 60 miles per day, that is 96 1/2km a day. Running around a half mile (0.80km) block. A day of running is from 6am to midnight,18hrs a day on feet. Most consume 10,000 calories per day.

Now get this, there is no prize money, there is a trophy for the winner. This all takes place in Queens, New York City. Temperatures can be around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, extreme hot conditions, running in all weather conditions. With that information, and a perspective of what a 3100 mile event is, the big question that lingers on the mind is the “why”? The documentary attempts to answer that question, but the “why” is not a simple answer.

“The runners have 52 days to complete the distance, they must cover 60 miles per day”

As the reviewer, has some type of insight and understanding, as I myself have run what is known as Ultra-marathon, as of writing this, recently completing a 104km Ultra-marathon. Yes it does pale in comparison to 3100miles. But the question that often asked of me is the ‘Why’, and it certainly is not an easy or simple question to answer. Something I even question myself. So going into watching this documentary was for me the fascination of why we as humans take on such quest.  

The film focus around a runner Ashprihanal Aalto a Finnish runner, who has a very nondiscript delivering papers, he lives a very humble frugal existence in a one room shack abode. He lives life through meditation. He has run the self transcendent 3100miles, an incredible 13 times, 8 x winner, holds the world record for the fastest 3100miles. He certainly is not the physical specimen of a runner, small in stature. Nor does he follow any athletic training nutrition regime.

What makes him so remarkable is, and what the documentary attempts to reveal, is through his meditation, spiritual focus and mindfulness, Ashprihanal Aalto runs on mental agility. Running this type of distance, becomes about the person on a spiritual self journey as you go to such extremes.

It is not about the body anymore it is about the mental toughness. You run not to win a race, but to go beyond yourself. A more transcendent self, a spiritual awakening, by the end you definitely will be a changed person. The documentary helps enlighten those questions with some other cultural examples.

In Japan Mt Hiei, an ancient order of Buddhist monks traverse up to 60 miles a day for 1000 days in quest of enlightenment. The practice is known as Sennichi Kaihogyo (circling the mountain). Mt. Hiei is strewn with graves of failures. The long walking hike is described as ‘praying with feet’. In contrast Navajo Native Americans consider running as prayer.

Making a spiritual connection with the land. African hunters tracking their prey, can be running for a day, it is part of life and their cultural survival.
Will this make you a ultra-marathon runner? I cant answer nor can this documentary answer that for you, it is your ‘why’ to find out. As for me I will be heading out for a run soon

From running long distances, I know of the suffering and the pain. There is no plan that can avoid this, experiencing exhaustion, heat, but you will not give up. I cannot fathom running 3100miles, the documentary does put perspective on the ‘why’. It fascinates me to be able to run beyond perception and find yourself. With that in mind, the film puts a new perspective on running, something hidden with a spiritual enlightenment.

Win Tickets to The Invisible Man, an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will have you checking over your shoulders. In cinemas February 27.

Win Tickets to The Invisible Man, an edge-of-your-seat thriller that will have you checking over your shoulders. In cinemas February 27.

What you can’t see can hurt you. Emmy Award®-winner Elisabeth Moss (Us, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale) stars in a thrilling modern tale of obsession inspired by Universal’s classic monster character.
Trapped in a violent, controlling relationship with a wealthy and brilliant scientist, Cecilia Kass (Moss) escapes in the dead of night and disappears into hiding, aided by her sister (Harriet Dyer, NBC’s The InBetween), their childhood friend (Aldis Hodge, Straight Outta Compton) and his teenage daughter (Storm Reid, HBO’s Euphoria). Win one of five double passes by registering your name and phone number to go into the draw on Monday March 2nd. Email meadowbank1968@gmail.com and you could be a winner!

But when Cecilia’s abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House) commits suicide and leaves her a generous portion of his vast fortune, Cecilia suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of eerie coincidences turns lethal, threatening the lives of those she loves, Cecilia’s sanity begins to unravel as she desperately tries to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.

THE INVISIBLE MAN appears in cinemas February 27.

Working Woman Film Review

Working Woman Film Review

Words Wal Reid

With the #MeToo movement spurred by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment scandals, long time feminist filmmaker Michal Aviad’s gritty drama about a young Israeli mother returning to the work force and putting up with her boss’s sexual advances, is as topical as it is provocative – Does any of this smack of familiarity?

“It’s a polarising subject that is overly reported time after time in the news. The sexualisation of women in the work force”

It’s a polarising subject that is overly reported time after time in the news. The sexualisation of women in the work force. The premise revolves around young Mum Orna, (played by the brilliant Liron Ben Shlush) the mother of three lives a frugal existence while her husband struggles to start his own restaurant. Her fragmented narrative matches the movie’s pace and the mood of the picture, unfurling its lucid storyline.

To help fund her family, Orna returns to the workplace landing a job with Benny, expertly played by Menashe Noy who is a successful real estate developer. His character epitomises the macho Svengali-like predatory boss, who under the guise of an ‘helping angel’ is nothing further from the truth. To be honest, I just wanted to throttle the guy.

While she embraces her new job and tries to balance its demands with her home life, she begins to experience escalating sexual harassment from Benny which compromises her belief system and relationship with her husband Ofer (McMafia’s Oshri Cohen). Under the strain of the tense work place situation, Shlush delivers her performance with gusto while duping the audience into believing her character, this respite in the film helps her gather some much needed self-confidence.

I thought her performance was well handled and she has a pensive dead-pan expression that would leave Garbo for dead (if she was still alive) Now and then I found the film meandering but not to the point of finding myself switching off. I mean it was an easy watch so that’s a big thumbs up (short attention span here) that coupled with its surprisingly redemptive outlook was another reason to like this.

The film delivers. It’s job exposing the underbelly of a sexist society while tapping into the sentiment of the viewer. This simple truth resonated with myself even though it was subtitled, it’s message engaging. It is a powerful reminder that not all is well with the world, however, the film’s sanguine ending should serve as a timely reminder that now and then, we can restore our faith in humanity.

Gladys Knight Gig Review

Gladys Knight Gig Review

words Wal Reid

The Legendary “Empress of Soul” Gladys Knight, breezed into Auckland last night under the radar for the start of her New Zealand Tour. As a youngster I fondly remember watching her on our old black & white television set. Gladys Knight & The Pips’ music piped through the feeble non-existent tv speakers, it seemed a world away. I know I’m showing my age here, but so too, were most of the crowd – it was definitely a generation thing.

Her emotive music and soulful voice has transcended the decades, she even bagged a Grammy Award for her solo work on the 1989 James Bond theme song License To Kill. She quietly mentioned she “nearly didn’t record this song” as she doesn’t “like guns”. However, there was no going ‘undercover’ tonight for the legendary RnB Diva, she had the crowd dancing in the aisles and out their seats. The band played with a hiss and a roar, but that only incited the crowd as her backing singers tore down the roof, especially on Carole King’s (You Make Me Feel) Like A Natural Woman.

“Donned in muted sparkly black attire, her outfit trailing her as the band played in her slipstream. “I love you, I love you, I love you,” she screamed over the cheering of the crowd”

Tonight the seven-time Grammy Award-winner wasted no time leaving an indelible mark on the auspicious Civic Theatre. It was incredible seeing her live strutting the stage but her voice, her God-given talent, ageless, flawlessly singing as if a role she was born to fulfil. Probably doesn’t hurt she looks ten younger than her stated years as well. She shared her earliest memory singing as a four year old adding, “back then you got whipped” she recalled. One of her most well known songs I Heard It Through the Grapevine almost never made it. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine’ means you weren’t there”, further adding. “It’s gossip, as Mama would say”.

As her career came on the rise in the early ’50s, she released numerous songs to her name. Her breakout hit Every Beat of My Heart was followed by a string of successful singles before the release of Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye)—a soulful album which earned Knight her first Grammy Award. Then another for her smash hit Midnight Train to Georgia, before picking up another for her collaboration with Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Dionne Warwick for the iconic hit tune That’s What Friends Are For.

Donned in muted sparkly black attire, her outfit trailing her as the band played in her slipstream. “I love you, I love you, I love you,” she screamed over the cheering of the crowd. Her narrative in-between songs was like taking a guided tour. The colourful raconteur rattled off story after story, of her amazing life surrounded by the calibre of talented people like vocalist James Ingram & “little brother” Marvin Gaye. Song writer Jim Weatherly also featured as his song Midnight Train To Georgia was received with raucous applause.

“Hard to believe she has quinquagenarian-plus fan boys and fan girls, but they revelled and screeched their way through her set like teenagers seeing their idol for the first time”

Her rambunctious outlook added a maternal warmth, as she found her way into the hearts of the audience – how could you not warm to her? “I’ve waited a long time for this night,” she proceeded to tell the crowd. It was her first tour of the country in over two decades, so there was generous leeway given on the crowd’s behalf since her last visit here. With her nine-piece band in tow, she performed most of the hits she is known the world over, including Ed Sheeran’s earworm Perfect & Sam Smith’s beautiful Stay With Me. Both given the ‘Gladys’ treatment to the delightful squeals of the audience.

Hard to believe she has quinquagenarian-plus fan boys and fan girls, but they revelled and screeched their way through her set like teenagers seeing their idol for the first time. Her band were absolutely stunning, tight, soulful and robotically in sync. If you want ‘church’ Gladys will give it to you. You want to hear the hits and more, Gladys has that covered also. Today’s RnB/Soul singers lack that vital ingredient; the style and vibe of those austere times emulated through her music. You can’t replicate that unless you’ve lived through it. She waxed lyrical about the importance of “communication”, “you’ve got to have the grit and the meat to make it real” she implored. It was a lesson in life as much as it was an engaging music concert, but I think all of us were just in awe at witnessing this living legend sing her song – and that you can never replicate either.

Set list.

  1. Love Overboard(Gladys Knight & The Pips song
  2. Nitty Gritty / Shake Your Body Down to the Ground
  3. Every Beat of My Heart(Johnny Otis cover)
  4. Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me(Jim Weatherly cover)
  5. Stay With Me(Sam Smith cover)
  6. Save the Overtime (For Me)(Gladys Knight & The Pips song)
  7. Never Too Much(Luther Vandross cover)
  8. Part Time Love(David Gates cover)
  9. I’ve Got to Use My Imagination(Gladys Knight & The Pips song)
  10. I Heard It Through the Grapevine(Gladys Knight & The Pips song)
  11. Licence to Kill
  12. Midnight Train to Georgia(Jim Weatherly cover)
  13. If I Could
  14. Why I Love You(Major cover)
  15. One Hundred Ways(James Ingram cover)
  16. (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman(Carole King cover)
  17. The Way We Were(Barbra Streisand cover)
  18. Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye)(Jim Weatherly cover)
  19. Baby Don’t Change Your Mind(Gladys Knight & The Pips song)