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Long term readers may recall one of my first gigs for Scenestr magazine was reviewing a performance of the classic Australian play Cosi by the Beenleigh Theatre Group in 2017. This was followed by reviewing Anything Goes and Lord of the Flies and interviewing the latter’s director Bradley Chapman. Sadly I haven’t been to back to Beenleigh for a while, but over the weekend a last chance opportunity came up to attend High Fidelity on assignment with Weekend Notes.

We saw a Sunday afternoon performance which was in contrast to earlier Friday night attendance but I was pleased to see the cast give it their all and the audience really enjoy themselves. I do have some criticisms about the musical which had a brief run on Broadway but has found a second life in community theatre groups of the world.

I have not read the beloved book by Nick Hornby which spoke to a whole generation and still remains a classic. My best mate Mike recommended the film adaptation from 2000 as one of the year’s best starring John Cusack. I was pretty excited about this since his recommendation for the previous year was the excellent American History X. I am sad to report I was not as impressed but it may be time for a re-look. For me in a lot of ways the musical made certain improvements over the film and I was very charmed by the cast and the spirit of the piece.

You can read my review here

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.

-Lloyd Marken


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Kung Fu Panda 3 is a perfectly serviceable family animated comedy to take the kids to. The first sequel remains the high point of this series and hopefully this trilogy capper will see the series bow out. Visually arresting, with comedy of a lower denomination, the empowering message of the first movie is all played out and we’ve come full circle dealing with lead character Po’s past.


In this film a new even more powerful villain than the last one Grandmaster Oogway (J.K. Simmons) defeats the Spirit realm and returns to our Mortal realm to take on everybody’s favourite Panda Po. Po (Jack Black) himself in the meantime has taken on being a training master from his former teacher Master Shithru (Dustin Hoffman) who has committed himself to mastering Qi. What is Qi? Well in Chinese traditional culture Qi is important to defeating other kung fu practitioners in this movie. Also something about life force or energy or something. I would be more deferential to it if it wasn’t for the fact that the film is not. It’s a plot device in the form of Jade charms and nothing more.kung fu A bigger development comes in the discovery of orphan Po’s father Li (Bryan Cranston) who sets off a jealous streak within mother duck like foster father Ping (James Hong). Po, Li and Mr. Ping travel to a secret Panda village where Po sets out to learn Qi by being true to himself. Like Black himself, this series has always enjoyed revelling in fat jokes for Po while also making the powerful message that taking people on face value is a mistake. That all of us are capable of great things if we believe in ourselves. This series has literally had its five bowls of dumplings and eaten them too.

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The first film was fine enough diverting fare with the character of Ping being an original take on the loving father of a warrior.  The second film seemed to expand the series and the quality of DreamWorks animation, it was artsy using different animation style for a moving flashback, scoring a neat villain and even developing some of the relationships of the core group characters. By finally having Po meet other Pandas the film comes full circle and takes the character to a logical conclusion but the laughs aren’t as big, it’s getting harder to sell Po needing to train more to defeat an even more powerful villain than the last and the animation which has remained spectacular is only as good as what we have come to expect. There’s nothing wrong with that but there’s a difference between this and say Inside Out. It’s that difference that keeps an adult entertained at a kid’s movie. The kid, well they should love it.


-Lloyd Marken

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