Jason Matthews is about to embark on four years of college when he reluctantly agrees to help his friend Craig by accepting a package that contains thousands of MDMA. What Jason doesn’t realize he has been stitched up by his friend and is arrested and under mandatory sentencing laws, faces ten years in jail. His father, John Matthews (Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) owns a successful transport company and has a good life with a new family in a big luxury home. When he learns of Jason’s arrest and sentence, he pleads for leniency from Congresswoman Joanne Keeghan (Susan Sarandon). Keeghan, looking for re-election, stands on a platform of keeping drug dealers off our streets. She agrees to reduce the sentence if John Matthews works a sting operation with federal police to capture drug cartel ring leader Juan Carlos “El Topo” Pintera.
The crime drama inspired by true events and for the first half of the film it sets the plot perfectly and does enough to engage the audience but then it feels like it runs out of time to deliver the story and its message and rushes through, what is essentially the main climax, leaving you a little underwhelmed and confused as to why it went the way it did. The performances by the cast are adequate. Sarandon doesn’t really push herself in her role which should have played a more pivotal role. The Rock looked a little out of his depth a bit. Action dramas are more his cup of tea but his effort was A+. Jon Bernthal as Daniel James, Matthews accomplice in the sting is the standout in this movie with a gritty supporting role.
The movies central message is the inflexibility of mandatory sentencing laws in some states of the U.S but the rushed finish cheapens the impact of the message. Probably more of a DVD night in movie that a cinematic experience.
The Metro Theatre is one of Sydney’s leading venues hosting an array of notable and emerging local and international artists across a wide variety of musical genres and more. But once you step foot into the venue, categories and stereotypes are no longer existent. People begin to embrace the music and one another. This was evident on Friday night at Julian Marley’s Sydney show (son of reggae legend Bob Marley). The Metro presented with a diverse range of individuals from the youthful to the old timers, cultures, from all walks of life and there was such a great sense of unison. After all, that is the essence of reggae music – ‘One Love’.
I must mention that the lady who stood next to me at the front row told me ‘this is the first time I’ve ever heard reggae music, I got dragged along to this show and I’m fucking loving it!’. Music is powerful, but reggae music can change your mentality!
Upon arrival, Sydney based 10 piece roots-reggae band The Strides took to stage with songs from their album Reclamation. Still rocking out since we last saw them perform almost two years ago at Notes Live in Newtown.
After The Strides it seemed like a prolonged set up time for Blue King Brown, however, it was well worth the wait. The audience was greeted by the ladies of Melbourne-based reggae-roots band Blue King Brown, with an acoustic set featuring lead singer Natalie Pa’apa’a and vocalists representing West Papua. With only three vocalists I predicted that this would be an intimate and engaging experience, and we were immersed in the rhythm of the music as well as the message that they wanted to share. Natalie illustrated a song about a couple that were separated due to the hindrance of bureaucratic red tape, however they were reunited again. At the end of BKB’s set I was left with a resonating message “Free West Papua” which was clearly stated on Natalie’s acoustic kickbox.
The crowd was anticipating Julian Marley and as he entered the stage, it was apparent that his father’s spirit continues to live on. Marley shared his Rastafarian faith, knowledge, music and of course his father’s life and spirit. There was a sense of nostalgia growing up to the Marley’s voices in my cassette player. No doubt Marley is acknowledged as an individual artist, but he is also an inclusive collaborator with his 12-piece Uprising Band, performing some original tunes as well as father Bob’s hits. Some memorable songs were ‘Boom Draw’, ‘Babylon Cookie Jar’ and Bob Marley’s ‘Kaya’.
It was refreshing to join some of the country’s most thriving reggae bands alongside Julian Marley, and no doubt they were aptly chosen to support him. With a combination of ‘Worldwize’ humanitarian reggae-roots acts, it became an insightful and memorable show. Although I could see that a larger venue could have easily accommodated a larger crowd.
Click here to check out our photographs from Julian Marley’s Sydney show!
He has a voice of an angel, a razor sharp wit and swears so much it would make the demon blush a deeper shade of maroon. He is also an incredible entertainer. Paul McDermott‘s Sydney Comedy Festival show “Paul Sings” gives the diminutive artist a chance to reflect on his musical comedy career with a show revisiting some of those songs that showcased his amazing voice. Trailing back to the early days of Doug Anthony Allstars, through to his work within the Good News Week franchises and his short lived ABC series Sideshow, McDermott broke up the songs with anecdotal tales with comedic timing and full of belly laughs.
Haven taken the show around the country as part of the various cities comedy festivals, tonight was the final show and McDermott and his four piece band were “ready to tear this a new one!” I’ve always been a fan of Paul’s singing ability but hearing a bulk of his songs in one setting I discovered how clever he is as a songwriter. He proclaims during the show that he “wrote most of these songs on the Tuesday morning before a taping” and being devoid of any musical playing ability he would have to hum the melody to other musicians to write the music which normally “lead to us fighting for an hour and in the end we had a song”. But Paul, whether he likes it or not, is a great songwriter. His lyrics create strong imagery and he takes you through a story to each song and the deliverance is pure class as he adapts the ultimate frontman demeanour.
It wouldn’t be Paul McDermott without some insults and put downs and those who kept arriving late felt the wrath of McDermott in only a way he could get away with. (Tone fair to the group who came in with ten minutes to go should have probably not bothered) The funniest part of the night was his retelling of how he and Marina Prior met Paul Stanley from KISS while performing the musical Witches Of Eastwick and how he managed to dry hump the KISS frontman in front Stanley’s manager and girlfriend in a display of as an with no fear who enjoys pushing the boundaries to its tenth degree.
Not one to be content with the shows end, he took the band and audience into the foyer for an encore and then stuck around meeting with fans for some time after it was all said and done. The accomplished artist, comedian and singer could easily continue to add to this show and write more songs and establish a music career. An entertaining show that is part crooner concert, part comedy show, part variety cabaret sideshow. Whatever it is, it highlights the talents of Paul McDermott.
There’s something to be said of any band that can hop flawlessly from rock to reggae to drum and bass and back again and take a crowd of people along with them for the ride. And that is that they are undeniable rock stars. That’s just what I’d call New Zealand band Six60 who managed to effortlessly transition between genres this past Friday when they hit the stage at The Metro in Sydney to a sold out crowd.
Opening with their light hearted reggae anthem ‘Don’t Forget Your Roots’ the energetic 5 piece captivated the audience thanks to their boyish enthusiasm and playfulness on stage. Six60 made it clear that they love what they do. In return the crowd assured them that the feeling was mutual by singing (or screaming?) along to almost every note of every word of every song that they played throughout the show. It didn’t matter whether the guys were tackling honey-coated reggae or gutsy rock tinged tracks the crowd was with them every step of the way, and the atmosphere of the show felt a lot like one hell-of-a-party.
Lead singer Matiu Walters’ vocals remained flawless through out the show, despite the fact that he jumped around the stage with boundless energy for 90% of the show and the fact that he’s the only singer in the band – there’s no backing vocalists to help him out. I couldn’t help but ponder how much warmth extra vocals and harmonies would add to the bands sound, but Walters looked like he didn’t mind carrying all the vocal responsibilities at all. And I quickly forgot about my love of harmonies as Walters’ vocals gave more than most do; he was honest and subtle when required on the stripped back numbers but switched to bold and strong on command. All of this delivered with his cheeky devil-may-care attitude, which was perfectly in tune with the rest of the bands mood.
By the time the show got to its encore of ‘Someone To Be Around’, thanks to the crowds unusual chant choice of “Whoop there it is!”, Six60 had delivered a strong show that managed to have the dynamic energy of a stadium rock concert while maintaining the personable, down to earth vibe of your local pub gig. But as humble and carefree as Six60 may appear they are far more than just a pub band. Six60 make having the musical equivalent of split personality not only look easy, but very much like something that every band should take a stab at. After all why should we have to stick with one genre if we can enjoy a mash of them all in one show by one talented band? If Six60 keep dishing out their brand of rock-roots-reggae with a dash of dub then I’ll gladly keep making room on my plate for more of their treats.
Castlecomers latest single, ‘Rosie’ (directed and edited by Sean Dooley) expresses a fun and energetic foot tapping experience. Involving YouTube‘s famous comedian Superwog and a variety of different cultured people. This video will no doubt put a smile on anyone’s face and could potentially make you dance.
Starting the video with a question “how do you dance?” following through with some fun dance moves and psychedelic patterns to brighten up your day. To quote one viewer “it’s the kind of song I blast in my room while getting ready for uni, and dance stupidly on my bed!”.
This video clip definitely holds a sort of innocent and happy energy within it. This will definitely go viral quickly amongst the fans and fans-to-be of Castlecomers in the very near future. I can definitely see this clip spreading into the top 40 scene.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
Director Thomas Vinterberg introduces the audience to a masterpiece of powerful drama, violence and corruption brought upon an innocent man in ‘The Hunt’.
Lucas, stunningly performed by Mads Mikkelsen, is introduced as a humble kindergarten teacher, recent divorcé and loving father, desperate to gain equal custody rights from his ex-wife to see his son Marcus (Lasse Fogelstrøm) more often.
Following an emotional journey of virtue and hardship, Lucas struggles to reclaim his life after he is wrongly accused of sexually abusing with one of his students. ‘The Hunt’ focuses on the fine line between truth and fiction and how easy it is to blur the boundaries when you do not understand the consequences.
When Klara develops a crush on Lucas, she imparts her feelings by offering him a heart she made and kisses him during playtime at school. However, after Lucas explains that her actions were inappropriate and he cannot accept her gift, she falsely claims to the headteacher that Lucas made sexual advancements.
What I found to be the most intriguing aspect of the film was the focus on the child’s side of the story, presented as the truth. It was illogical and unfair for everyone, especially his best friend Theo, to immediately jump to conclusions without giving Lucas a chance to explain himself.
The small rural town in Denmark, where Lucas resides alone with his dog Fanny, becomes a dark and unforgiving place of brutality and hatred from his former close friends, work colleagues, acquaintances and the community. However, the arrival of Marcus and support from a close family friend gives hope to Lucas to surpass the judgement.
One of the most memorable and heartbreaking scenes of ‘The Hunt’ involved Lucas being repeatedly beaten and thrown out of the supermarket for wanting to purchase pork chops and other groceries.
The extent to which the community disowns and alienates him reinforces the fact that there is no justice once a white lie is spoken; it transforms into a chaotic overruling that blows out of proportion.
‘The Hunt’ is a must-see film that challenges your views on how significant one lie can be in affecting the life of another. Once the hunter becomes hunted . . . there’s no telling how far it will go.
It could be easy to write this band off as another Black Keys rip off, but that sort of ignorance will make you miss the beauty of this record. Yes, it has plenty of swampy bluegrass riffs we’ve all come to love from The Black Keys, but the execution of these songs will leave them lingering in your mind. On their third album, The Blackwater Fever have crafted tracks that requires you to listen to them over again and with each listen, you will pick up something different. Intentional or not, its a great tool that great songwriters have.
The two piece from Brisbane have really welded in various styles into their dark blues filled rock. There’s LO-fi garage mixed in with a bit of Nick Cave broodiness, some rock n’ stomp from old White Stripes and plenty of Deep South, whiskey vibes. ’Won’t Cry Over You’ is a stand out track that rattles the speakers, as does the album’s opener ‘When The Night Comes’. These tracks are then contrasted with the more brooding tracking such as ‘Over Broken Bones’ and ‘End Of Time’.
Listening to this record and the instrumentation used makes you wonder how a two piece can pull this off live with the use of guitar and organ to create the harmonies and drums and bass to lay the platform for the tracks. Then add Shane Hicks vocals, that has a blues trademark minimalism on top of that. The Depths is a solid record and I think the songs will translate even better live.
Liza Moscatelli was named Young Chifley Woman of the Year for her work in facilitating art workshops at Ted Noffs Foundation,
Since Judy Garland first explored the land of Oz in 1939, there have been many sequels and various different interpretations of the original. Sometimes ranging from the straightforward (Return to Oz, it is very dark though) to the wacky (Zardoz, Tin Man, The Wiz, the list is endless). Most of these films and stage performances take place after the events of the original film, in which Dorothy or some other young girl is swept off to the land of Oz.
But Sam Raimi (of Spiderman and Evil Dead fame) has created a story which I have always wondered about. It is that of the titular wizard. Oscar Diggs (James Franco), or Oz, as is his stage name, is working for a traveling circus in Kansas with his assistant Frank (Zach Braff). One stormy afternoon after a show, Oz is confronted by the circus’ strongman and escapes via a hot air balloon. However, this balloon proceeds straight into a tornado that transports him to the land of Oz (like there’s any other way to get there).
Once there he meets Theodora (Mila Kunis), a witch who lives in the Emerald City with her sister, Evanora (Rachel Weisz). They inform him of the prophecy laid down by the previous ruler, that a wizard would come to claim the throne and defeat the Wicked Witch. Evanora convinces Oz to go and defeat the Wicked Witch and also tells Theodora that Oz has left her for Glinda (Michelle Williams), who we find out is the Good Witch.
Once Oz discovers that Glinda is a good witch, whose father was murdered by Evanora, she convinces him to help defeat the real threat to the land. Meanwhile, Evanora has given Theodora an enchanted apple that will take away the pain of Oz leaving her. This also transforms her into the Wicked Witch of the West that we all know and love.
Oz must create an army that he will lead to the Emerald City. He does this with the help of his friends Finley (Zach Braff again), a not so scary flying monkey, and China Girl (Joey King), whose story arc is amazingly touching. He also has help from the people of Oz, namely farmers, tinkers and everyone’s favourite Munchkins (who are only permitted half a song). They all then march on the Emerald City for the final confrontation with the evil sisters.
It is worth mentioning that the first 15-20 minutes of the film is black and white and is not widescreen. This is a great callback to the original film and, like that one, once the land of Oz is reached, colour and widescreen are restored. There are a number of other references to the original film, such as a cowardly lion and many scarecrows. I was waiting for the trifecta of a Tin Man, but alas there was none.
Also, like in the original film, many of the character’s introduced to us in Oz have counterparts in Kansas. Finley is Oz’s assistant Frank and China Girl is a wheelchair bound girl who comes to watch Oz’s magic show.
One terrifying aspect of this film is the monkeys, as no trip to Oz is complete without them. If you were scared by the flying monkeys of the original, or even the nightmare inducing wheelers from Return to Oz (really horrifying stuff), there is no respite in this movie. Here, they are baboons with giant bat wings and are just plain terrifying.
Verdict: 4/5. A proper return to Oz, with all the elements of the original film (minus the singing).
‘Broken City’ seized the audience into a world of politics, corruption, crime and suspense. With director Allen Hughes and writer Brian Tucker assembling a stunning cast of powerful figures; Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg and Catherine Zeta-Jones in this thrilling political intrigue.
Throughout the beginning of the film there is an overarching notion of injustice that is overruling justice in the current law enforcement. Mayor Nick Hostetler (Crowe) represents a manipulative and malevolent character that acts in his own self-interest, determined to maintain control of the legal system by taking care of matters when “nobody gets justice”.
Whereas, Officer Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) performs his duties in the interest of loved ones and focuses on safeguarding New York City. Despite his flaw of not being able to see the best in people, Taggart is still fooled by distrust and misconception. When incriminating evidence appears for a prior case Taggart won, concerning the homicide of a teenage boy that was suspected of rape and murder, he is forced by the Mayor to quietly step down from his role as police officer.
The climax of the film comes to a turning point after seven years pass, where Hostetler is running against the new candidate Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper) for the re-election of Mayor. In an attempt to uphold his authority and manhood, Hostetler pays Taggart, now a private investigator, a total of $50,000 to uncover the identity of the man screwing around with his wife Cathleen (Zeta-Jones). Unable to refuse such an enticing amount, Taggart delves in deeper inside the chaos of a broken city, discovering more than he anticipated at a cost he cannot regain.
An interesting twist to the film was the juxtaposition between Taggart’s girlfriend Natalie Barrow (Natalie Martinez) sexual display with a co-star in her indie film and Hostetler’s wife secret meetings with Valliant’s campaign manager, Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler) caught on camera.
I found that the constant struggle between each of the characters effectively drove the plot and heightened the tension of suspense in the cinema, reinforcing the captivating performance of each of the cast members.
Towards the end of ‘Broken City’ we begin to understand in greater depth the trigger-effects of deceit between the protagonists and how powerful evidence can be in the determination of victory or catastrophe, in their fight for salvaging New York City and livelihood of its inhabitants.