TOP 5 BEST THINGS ABOUT THE ROCKY MOVIES AVAILABLE AT HEAVY

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This is my fifth Top 5 for Heavy and my seventh Countdown. With the release of new season of Game of Thrones last year I went all out with a Top 10 Countdown where each piece averaged over 500 words and was published separately counting down to the telecast of the first episode. It was a lot of work that I was happy to do but can’t maintain as a side gig with all the other work I do. A Top 5 of Tom Hank’s best films followed which was a lot shorter and I decided doing something akin to that format was sustainable. It also appeared to be really popular. When it came time to do another Top 5 on Stranger Things Season 2 I found there was too much to choose from and decided to do a Top 10 instead. Top 5s have continued though with Thor: Ragnarok, Star Trek: DiscoveryBlade Runner 2049 and now A Top 5 of the Best Things about the Rocky film series which you can find here https://heavymag.com.au/top-5-best-things-about-the-rocky-movies/

In the summer of 1993 heading out of primary school into high school I got out from my local video store what was at that time all five Rocky films and I fell in love. Even as a child I knew number one was the best and it has stayed with my throughout the years. The great regret of my life possibly is that I did not pursue boxing as a sport in my youth. Rocky is not really about boxing though, as the great film critic Roger Ebert once wrote “It’s about heroism and realizing your potential, about taking your best shot and sticking by your girl. It sounds not only cliche but corny-and yet it’s not, not a bit, because it really does work on those levels. It involves us emotionally, it makes us commit ourselves.” The sequels continued the story with diminishing returns until Rocky Balboa salvaged some dignity and went out on a good note. Then came Creed by Ryan Coogler which was even better. Now there is Creed II and I hope it’s good but also that this closes the door on this franchise. We shall see.

It’s been a while since I’ve published with Heavy magazine due to other commitments and time constraints but it is always a pleasure and I hope you enjoy. Feel free to comment on the site of what would be your picks. I look forward to doing a few more in the near future.

Heavy is an independent magazine and website that is all about the music and specifically heavy music and supporting the Australian music scene in general. Fortunately for me they do cover film as well and I have been fortunate to have a few things published there.

-Lloyd Marken

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THE GRASS IS DEAD ON THE OTHER SIDE REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I saw my second of my five shows I am scheduled to review at Wonderland Festival for Scenestr magazine on Sunday afternoon. Following on from going with friends to see Love/Hate Actually on Saturday night I am so far having a fantastic Wonderland 2018. I also by chance ran into Vashti Hughes of Larry’s Odyssey who said they liked my review. A real joy to have had that happen.

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The Grass Is Dead On The Other Side is created by and starring multiple talent threat Anisa Nandaula who amongst other things is a champion slam poet. The premise of the show is particularly strong as two siblings face isolation and displacement following a zombie apocalypse that has all the hallmarks of colonialization, corporate plundering, re-writing history, and national displacement.  There is no limit to how much further this piece could be developed but with very little in means of production here and led by powerful performances the show proved moving. On our way out I ended up behind Anisa and told her “You were fantastic.” and I meant it. Definitely people to watch, you can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/the-grass-is-dead-on-the-other-side-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2018-20181127 There were only two shows running on Sunday for the whole festival and both reportedly sold out.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria! every month too.

-Lloyd Marken

LARRY’S ODYSSEY REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I am in my current second year as a freelance writer with Scenestr magazine and starting to enjoy a second ride on some wonderful Merry-Go-Rounds. This is true of the Wonderland Festival which a year ago I was completely unaware of. A heady mix of cabaret, music, comedy and burlesque acts from around the country all performing for two weeks at the Brisbane Powerhouse (an old 1920s powerstation, closed in 1971 and renovated and re-purposed in 2000 as a cultural hub). Last year I considered myself very lucky to cover five acts for Scenestr who were just tremendous – Randy Writes A Novel, Wasteland, Love/Hate ActuallyNath Valvo and Heroism and Sidekickery. I also went and saw There’s Something About Mary(s) after interviewing star Cassie George for Scenestr. This year in another stroke of luck I get to cover five shows again which I really don’t take for granted. I’m really looking forward to Two Man Tarantino and going to see Love/Hate Actually again with my friends.

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Outside the Graffiti Room. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

On opening night though of Wonderland 2018 I went to see Larry’s Odyssey, a brave type of performance with lots of audience interaction. The performance was in the Graffitti Room, a space I hadn’t attended before and proved perfect for this show. You can read my review here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/larry-s-odyssey-brisbane-review-wonderland-festival-2018-20181123

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Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria! every month too.

-Lloyd Marken

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INTERVIEW WITH ‘HEDDA’ DIRECTOR PAIGE RATTRAY AND ‘HEDDA’ REVIEW AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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It was a pleasure to get to speak to director Paige Rattray ahead of the debut of her new play Hedda for Scenestr magazine. It had been a while since I’d done an interview and I was lucky to speak to such a passionate creative who was excited about her latest work. Seeing the play last Thursday a couple of weeks after her interview I found a lot of her hopes for what audiences took away were certainly on my mind following the performance.

An adaptation by Melissa Bubnic by the original Henrik Ibsen classic I attended with my wife Karen who had seen and studied the original at university. It was interesting to talk to her about the differences and similarities as someone who is not too familiar with the original. The ensemble cast was first rate too led by the daring and talented New Zealand star Danielle Cormack.

You can read my interview with Ms Rattray here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/hedda-queensland-theatre-contemporises-a-classic-production-20181116 and my review of Hedda is available here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/hedda-review-queensland-theatre-20181116 I hope you enjoy.

This brings me to 75 published posts with Scenestr as well which I am really proud to have reached.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. Celebrating 25 years in 2018 of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They still publish magazines in print for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and now Victoria! every month too.

-Lloyd Marken

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SPITFIRE REVIEW AVAILABLE AT X-PRESS MAGAZINE

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It has been a while but I was fortunate enough to be sent a screener of Spitfire to review for X-Press Magazine which amongst other things has been screening at the British Film Festival. Recounting the making of the legendary aircraft and its important role in the Battle of Britain it also tells the story of those few who flew it. You can read more of my thoughts here http://xpressmag.com.au/spitfire-gets-7-10-taking-flight/

X-Press Magazine was established in 1985 and at one point was Australia’s highest circulating free weekly entertainment publication with over 40,000 copies reaching 1,000 outlets every week.  On the 24th May, 2016 Issue 1527 (the last one in print) hit stands. Like many publications of its ilk X-Press Magazine is now foremost an online magazine engaged globally and making the most of the possibilities that new digital technology offers. It’s roots though are tied to its home city, love of local artists and productions and music which it supports wholeheartedly. Perth a capital city most isolated from all the other capitals is continuing to grow and develop culturally and artistically with its own identity and talent. X-Press has always been there to capture this growth and will continue to do so.

-Lloyd Marken

KING OF THIEVES REVIEW AVAILABLE ON WEEKEND NOTES

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I am fortunate to have another review published with Weekend Notes this time for the new Michael Caine movie King of Thieves. The British Film Festival run by Palace Cinemas is currently doing the rounds across Australia, Palace Cinemas either in partnership or by themselves are responsible for several similar film festivals throughout the year. As cinema attendance shrinks, attendance at film festivals increases and as a long time film buff I enjoy attending them. Karen got me in to attend two films at this British Film Festival, My Generation (starring Michael Caine and produced by him) and King of Thieves. Of the two I preferred the documentary My Generation which saw Caine interviewing contemporaries and discussing what it was like to be part of Swinging London. King of Thieves is not without good intentions but I would suggest there have been better capers films such as the original The Italian Job. You can read my thoughts on King of Thieves here https://www.weekendnotes.com/king-of-thieves-film-review-british-film-festival/

Caine has long reached an age where we treasure his continued output and marvel at his work ethic. In My Generation he notes youth is not a time in life but a state of mind and it just seems to hint at his continued relevance. In My Generation there are shots where he driving in busy London in an expensive Ashton Martin and the camera includes wide shots to show he is driving and I like to imagine the producer Caine making a point to have these to show he is driving. I highly doubt it but I like to think it because he remains a man so capable so why not capture it. Lacking structure, the more My Generation goes on the less entertaining it becomes but there is some fascinating recaps of the time and the players involved and Caine remains Caine. A cockney boy who became a movie star, a movie star who remains a legend. God bless Mr Mickelwhite.

Weekend Notes are a growing online magazine with a wealth of contributors based out of several cities across the United Kingdom, Australia and New York. Articles are leisure related and can include a wide variety of subjects from rainforest hikes to cultural festivals, from what hot new play is on at your underground theatre to a ultra trendy eatery. Writers are paid for their work based partly on how many views their articles get so please feel free to stop by and show some love.

I feel very lucky to have reached in my first month the milestone of five reviews with Weekend Notes following my reviews for Woman at War, Ash Is Purest White, Arctic and Chasing Smoke.

-Lloyd Marken

THE BIFF IS BACK – BIFF 2018 PART V

 

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THE CAMERAMAN: I’m not an expert on Buster Keaton, having only seen The General many years ago at BIFF 2005 but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check out another one of his films screening at BIFF 2018. Arriving solo on an early Saturday morning 20OCT2018 at the Gallery of Modern Art South Bank I quickly saw a line backed up outside the entrance to the 11am session. Clearly I was not the only who thought this was a good idea. On the 80th anniversary of The General I watched the great organ player Ron West accompany live, and here on the 90th anniversary of The Cameraman I was to see David Bailey play the gallery’s 1929 Wurlitzer which came up out of the stage just beneath the screen. The audience was amused by his inventive addition of the iconic Jaws theme amongst other playful choices.

The Cameraman was a crossroads for Keaton, the silent era was fading, he lost creative control in his ventures and his personal life was about to go through an upheaval. In some ways The Cameraman is the last great Buster Keaton film despite him going on for quite some time after. The audience was full of all types of people drawn to the opportunity to see something as unique as a silent film. The print had long been believed lost and the film survives today as a mesh between two old prints. In some ways Keaton’s old movie seems more grand now, in an era of CGI effects I heard one youngster marvel they must have built that whole set for such a short gag, Keaton’s stunt work and balletic grace remains impressive even if it is reported he was not allowed to do them all himself this time around. Some things have dated its true, you can see the construction of how we’re meant to feel but the reason why these films remain timeless is the same reason they had such broad appeal back in the day. The characters were archetypes, the story simple and the gags broad because that is what it makes them universal. Seeing The Cameraman at BIFF 2018 was a treat. Afterwards David Bailey received an ovation.

 

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IN THE AISLES: The next day Karen and I went and saw at 3:45pm at New Farm Cinemas In The Aisles which was in a way a choice made jointly by Karen and I after she got Arctic and I got Ash Is Purest White. From Germany and starring Sandra Huller, Franz Rogowski and Peter Kurth it tells the story of a night shift at a retail store in Germany. A few things came flooding back to me of my time working at BIG W as a young man, the veteran who knew all the good hiding spots, the jittery movements of using a power pallet jack for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect with In The Aisles a romcom that turns dark maybe but instead I got a powerful character piece about three people. There is so much care in every frame and shot of this film from Thomas Stuber that perfectly creates the geography of the store and being out of it. Delicate dialogue that says enough of the characters thoughts but not all of it and the way that the people who knew you at work know you in a way your family never will and vice versa. That they are a family of sorts. I don’t know if it will create the buzz needed but it would be no injustice if this received a nomination for Best Foreign Film at this years’ Oscars. I also noted that seeing a film at an old cinema like the New Farm Cinemas made it feel more like BIFF for me and reminded me the Old Regent Cinemas.

BIFF 2018 for me at least will go down as a particularly rainy BIFF. Also my suggestion would be to move the dates back to the traditional late July Early August run rather than having BIFF running the same time as the Byron Bay Film Festival and I wouldn’t mind seeing Palace as one of the venue partners in future. However I saw some fantastic movies at BIFF 2018 which was a relief since there were so many good ones on offer. I didn’t cover the globe as much but I saw 7 films, two from Australia, three from Europe, an American classic and one from Asia. Only one of them bad. Still have not gotten around to seeing an Iranian film at BIFF yet and there were plenty on offer this year. I couldn’t help but notice there were lots of callbacks to earlier BIFFs and earlier films I had seen there, that is the nature of film festivals I guess. One thing I am very excited about is Artistic Director Amanda Slack-Smith continuing in the role and seeing what she comes up with next year.

-Lloyd Marken