Thursday, 5 December 2019

Mystify: Michael Hutchence: DVD Review

Mystify: Michael Hutchence: DVD Review

Director Richard Lowenstein pulls together a relatively intimate portrait of the famed INXS rock icon, in a documentary that soars for the majority of its time before crashing into more sombre territory in its final 30 minutes.

Eschewing talking heads and having them provide soundbites over footage from the archives, concert moments and Hutchence himself gives the feel of a family album being narrated by mates and family around a good bottle of wine.

Mystify: Michael Hutchence:NZIFF Review

But Lowenstein's also smart enough to pepper the piece with moments of Hutchence himself, allowing the man's clear charisma to shine forth and illuminate the screen.

Vignettes from Kylie Minogue about their relationship and earlier lovers help build a portrait of a man lost in the world at some point - but also humanise Hutchence beyond the rock icon label that he's gained since his death at 37.

In some ways, Mystify: Michael Hutchence is a relatively formulaic doco presented in an albeit unusual way.

There's no denying the music still stands strong, and Lowenstein wisely uses only a smattering of the live footage to boost the appeal of the Aussie.

But the film hits a screeching halt and almost derails as it reveals the change in Hutchence after a head injury. It appears to echo Michael himself in that the tone shifts awkwardly from more hedonistic fare to an almost funereal pace that wonders dangerously close into mawkish territory.

And there's an odd feeling towards the end that veers dangerously into hagiography with various drugs issues mentioned, albeit fleetingly, and hinted at rather than doing anything to darken the appeal of Michael Hutchence.

There's a sense of being too close to the subject - but it's a double-edged sword, as without the closeness, there wouldn't have been the abundance of footage to present something compelling.

All in all, Mystify: Michael Hutchence is a fine tribute to the star, and one that explains the appeal to all, rather than just fans. 

New JAMES BOND 007: No Time To Die Trailer

New JAMES BOND 007: No Time To Die Trailer

James Bond No Time To Die
It's here - the very first look at James Bond: No Time To Die Trailer

The final Daniel Craig Bond outing is due April 2020, and the latest trailer gives a hint of what to expect next from Ian Fleming's spy.

In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

James Bond: No Time To Die (2020) is the new action movie starring Daniel Craig, Léa Seydoux and Helena Bonham Carter.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

The Farewell: DVD Review

The Farewell: DVD Review

Director Lulu Wang puts family drama and reunion squarely on the table in this piece which is based on an actual lie, as the opening title board points out.

Chinese born Billi (Awkwafina, in a muted and conflicted turn) lives in New York, with her mother and father, and is a struggling writer. When she learns that her beloved Nai Nai is dying, her immediate desire is to get back to China and help her cope.

But the family decides to withhold the fatal cancer diagnosis from Nai Nai, telling her she only has benign shadows on her X-Rays and that she's fine. However, they all decide to fly back to China under the pretence of a wedding for one final family reunion.

The Farewell: NZIFF Review

The clash of familial duty and the affairs of the heart comes delicately together in The Farewell, and is all anchored by Crazy Rich Asians' Awkwafina's rueful turn that brings together both the inner turmoil and deep emotions needed in something that projects her from the screen into the stratosphere.

But as the subtleties of familial relationships are poured through the prism of escalating tensions and imminent sadness of the loss of the matriarch, the film pivots on its ideas and never milks the emotion for easy drama.

East vs West is explored (obviously) and the family arguments and discussions are all set against some gorgeously shot scenes of dining and food.

It all means that Wang brings together the film in ways that are warm, earnest and also amusing. From Nai Nai's nagging to Billi about how she shouldn't wear earrings in New York as they'll be ripped from her ears to the reunion of the two brothers after twenty-plus years, this is a film that's rich in nuance and deep in feeling.

The Farewell is a nuanced take on family, one that balances perfectly on resonance.

It may be based on an actual lie, but its truths are universal and its performance by Awkwafina is delicate and complex, and well worth absorbing. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Doctor Who Series 12 to premiere New Year's Day

Doctor Who Series 12 to premiere New Year's Day

The brand new series of Doctor Who will premiere on New Year's Day 2020.

It's official: Doctor Who will return to our screens on New Year's Day 2020.
Doctor Who Series 12

As confirmed in the brand new trailer below, Jodie Whittaker's Time Lord will ring in the 12th series with a special two-part episode titled 'Spyfall' written by showrunner Chris Chibnall.

Doctor Who series 12 will consist of 10 episodes, and the show will air on Sundays much like the previous series in the UK.

Monday, 2 December 2019

The Good Liar: Film Review

The Good Liar: Film Review

Cast: Helen Mirren, Ian McKellen, Russell Tovey
Director: Bill Condon

Based on Nicholas Searle's book, The Good Liar's thrills mainly arrive in the form of watching Sir Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren interact, rather than the central so-called mystery of what's unfolding.
The Good Liar: Film Review

McKellen is Roy Courtnay, a con artist, who thinks he's found his latest mark in the form of Mirren's well-to-do widow Betty McLeish. Ingratiating himself in her life, Courtnay's swindle is under threat thanks to the uncertainty of Betty's grandson, played by Being Human's Russell Tovey.

Will Courtnay get away with a multi-million pound con?

The Good Liar has obvious twists that are relatively signposted from the start.

Not simply content to follow a fairly formulaic and perfunctory story, Condon rarely elevates Searle's story beyond an 80's UK TV thriller, with gradual revelations building to the kind of crescendo a finale would cover, and audiences would lap up.

However, times have changed now, and while the whole thing is nicely presented, the story's crippled by some flashbacks and a final act that feels flat and emotionally lacking, as the puzzle pieces slot neatly into place.
The Good Liar: Film Review

Thankfully, Mirren and McKellen make a masterful pair (and it's good to see Downton Abbey's Jim Carter playing a more contemporary role as Courtnay's partner in crime), but the film's script doesn't quite live up to their brilliance.

It's rare to see a film that relies so heavily on more mature leads, and it greatly deserves to be applauded; every scene with McKellen soars, and the film suffers in comparison when neither are on screen.

But ultimately, The Good Liar doesn't deliver a compelling enough twist or reveal to render any of what's happened previously potent; its final shots may be shocking in some ways, but that's only because of the actors' work.

Far better suited to a short run TV miniseries, The Good Liar may be masterfully shot, perfunctorily plotted and well-acted, but the truth of the matter is it lacks the gut punch to give the mystery the chance to soar, and the audience the chance to be utterly shocked and absorbed.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

The Addams Family: Film Review

The Addams Family: Film Review

Vocal cast: Charlize Theron, Oscar Isaac, Chloe Grace Moretz, Alison Janney, Nick Kroll
Director: Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon

Another do over for the Addams family, albeit in animated form this time around offers varied reasons to exist, but none strong enough to truly stand out in the cinema, proffering more TV bound fare than big screen thrills.

In the latest, when Morticia and Gomez are driven out of town on their wedding night by a pitchfork mob, they take up residence in one of the most hideous places they could ever imagine - New Jersey.

Moving into an abandoned asylum, the Addams' desire for a normal life is shattered when a home renovation TV show sets their sights on their home for a makeover...
The Addams Family: Film Review

Theron and Isaac make a fine lead duo but the ghouls' share of the grins go to Chloe Grace Moretz as Wednesday whose deadpan delivery makes a macabre treat that the script really doesn’t deserve thanks to lazy writing within.

Janney’s ghastly Reno TV mom is a ghoul of her own and adds an OTT counterpoint to the monochrome Addams, but the idea that assimilating into the ordinary and not standing out like the Addams do is not a new - or totally enticing - idea.

Equally Kroll's Fester is a delight but he’d hardly given enough to do and is confined frustratingly to the sidelines.

A few emo gags fly past here but are mostly lost in an animation that’s less than interested in embracing the gallows humour that the Addams Family is famed for and more interested in trying to push the idea that weird is good - something the target audience will already know and probably won't rock their world.

Ultimately, The Addams Family does just about enough to justify its existence, but not enough to sound a horn for a spooky and kooky revival that the series would have wanted.

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: PS4 Review

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: PS4 Review

Released by Activision
Platform: PS4

The latest first person shooter is the 16th installment of the Call of Duty series.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: PS4 Review

The sixteenth - meaning other iterations of the series have barely moved on from the first person shooter mechanics of the series.

Though this one also serves as a relaunch of the Modern Warfare series as well.

Set in modern times, it follows a CIA officer and Brit SAS soldiers as they take on rebels from Urzikstan (fictional, though it may not be) fighting Russians who've invaded. So far, so gung ho, and so slightly tapping into modern worries and fascinations.

However, that's also what's controversial about Modern Warfare, its villainisations and its desire to tap into tropes and stereotypes that could enrage if it was placed in a lazy campaign story. The problem is that the campaign is perhaps the best part of Modern Warfare, a tense and gripping series of orchestrated moments and sequences that compel you from beginning to end, even if they may slightly enrage you as well.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: PS4 Review

Slickly produced, the first person elements are the closest COD has ever really gotten to a grey area of gaming, a queasy mix of conscience and shooting.

The game's multiplayer is as ever, solid, but in a world where we're bombarded with arenas, battle royales and all kinds of shooters, it has to work hard to keep you engaged and not enraged when you're picked off.

Thankfully, the addition of extra maps in the game after launch has helped immensely - and with levels like Ground War and Gunfight really mixing things up for the casual player, it looks like, against all the odds, Infinity Ward's Call of Duty is strongly back in the game.

Friday, 29 November 2019

New in GTA Online: Vapid Peyote Gasser, Double Rewards on Biker and Nightclub Sell Missions, Heist Finales, Racing Modes, and More

New in GTA Online: Vapid Peyote Gasser, Double Rewards on Biker and Nightclub Sell Missions, Heist Finales, Racing Modes, and More

The all new Vapid Peyote Gasser is here to bring you retro edge, vintage style and the kind of old-school engine that sounds like a flaming bearpit. What this supercharged drag racing veteran lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in just about everything else.
The Vapid Peyote Gasser is available to purchase now from Southern San Andreas Super Autos.
So your mid-life crisis is in full-swing and you've bought yourself a chopper and a leather jacket. Maybe you've even fallen in with a roving pack of tattooed roughnecks. Modern outlaws pushing product through any owned Biker Business will be happy to learn that all Biker Business Sell Missions are dishing out 2X GTA$ & RP all this week.
Nightlife mavens are also set to earn a pretty penny: Nightclub Sell Missions will reap Double Rewards and Nightclub Income will be boosted to 2X until December 4. Don't forget to empty your Wall Safe on the reg to keep the cash flowing.
Those seeking to earn big scores hand over fist can tackle a trio of Heist finales this week for a serious pay bump - get a world-class wrecking crew together and take on the finale missions of The Fleeca Job, Humane Labs Raid and the Pacific Standard Job for 2x GTA$ & RP payouts.
If you prefer to ride solo dolo, pull down Double Rewards by taking on the first of 10 new Time Trials in Freemode or by burning some serious rubber in the Stunt Series.
The Lucky Wheel in the lobby of The Diamond Casino & Resort gives players the opportunity to win GTA$RPclothing and much more with a simple daily spin. This week's top prize is a heaving mound of true American muscle - the Bravado Gauntlet Hellfire.
After a hard day's work bringing home the bacon, grab a glass of Macbeth from the bar and stumble over to the Casino Store to peruse a rotating shipment of clothing from brands like Bigness, Broker and Blageurs, as well as works from artists so important that they only have one name. That's real power.
Startup costs and a swath of premium vehicles are discounted significantly this week - take advantage of deals on real estate properties, supercars and more:
Real Estate:

  • Casino Penthouse, Add-Ons & Renovations – 40% off
  • Biker Clubhouses, Add-Ons & Renovations – 50% off
  • Biker Businesses, Add-Ons & Renovations – 50% off
  • Facilities, Add-Ons & Renovations – 50% off
  • Nightclubs, Add-Ons & Renovations – 60% off
  • Hangars, Add-Ons & Renovations – 60% off
  • Arena Workshops – 60% off
  • Arena Workshop Add-Ons & Renovations – 60% off
  • All High-End Apartments – 60% off
  • All Yachts – 60% off

Racing Vehicles:

  • Progen Emerus (Super) – 40% off
  • Principe Deveste Eight (Super) – 60% off
  • Dewbauchee Vagner (Super) – 60% off
  • Übermacht SC1 (Super) – 60% off
  • Progen T20 (Super) – 60% off
  • Übermacht Revolter (Sports) – 60% off
  • Lampadati Viseris (Sports Classics) – 60% off
  • Annis Savestra (Sports Classics) – 60% off
  • Vapid Dominator GTX (Muscle) – 60% off
  • Vapid FMJ (Super) – 60% off
  • RC Bandito (RC) – 60% off

Military, Weaponized & Aircraft:

  • Mammoth Avenger & Avenger Upgrades– 60% off
  • Western Company Cargobob – 60% off
  • Western Company Cargobob Jetsam – 60% off
  • Mammoth Hydra – 60% off
  • B-11 Strikeforce – 60% off
  • FH-1 Hunter – 60% off
  • Volatol – 60% off
  • Mammoth Tula – 60% off
  • Buckingham Akula – 60% off
  • Buckingham Luxor – 60% off
  • Buckingham Luxor Deluxe – 60% off
  • RCV – 60% off
  • Mammoth Thruster – 60% off
  • Weaponized Declasse Tampa – 60% off
  • Declasse Scramjet (Sports) – 60% off

Twitch Prime members who linked their Twitch and Rockstar Games Social Club accounts can buy the Lago Zancudo Bunker and Fort Zancudo Hangar 3499 for a rebate on the base property after purchase, as well as an extra 10% off all of the vehicle and amenity discounts listed above and 60% off the Benefactor Terrorbyte. To ensure access to future benefits, make sure to visit Twitch Prime and sign up.
Stay tuned to the Newswire for more details on forthcoming GTA Online updates in the coming weeks, and head over to the Social Club Events page for all current special events, bonuses and discounts.

Thursday, 28 November 2019




Good afternoon,

In case you missed it, the latest Modern Warfare game update is available now on all platforms simultaneously, offering another slew of free content!

This update contains a variety of new content, including game modes, Featured Playlists, and three new Special Ops experiences you can play with friends via crossplay and cross progression.

As usual, in addition to the new content, developer Infinity Ward is releasing a number of quality of life, tuning, and play balancing updates. The patch notes are live on Reddit here.

Read the full blog post here.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Frozen II: Film Review

Frozen II: Film Review

Cast: Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Jonathan Groff
Director: Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck

How do you solve a problem like Frozen 2?
Frozen II: Film Review

The first film was such a mega hit, and resolved all of its issues, that making a sequel complete with earworm songs like Let It Go was always going to be a fool's game.

But six years on from when Frozen melted our collective cinema-going hearts, Elsa and Anna return to life in Arendelle.

In this latest, Elsa (Menzel) finds herself lost, compelled to answer a song she keeps hearing from an ancient forest in an enchanted land she remembers from her childhood...

So the gang ventures into the woods to save their kingdom and Elsa's soul.

More emotionally resonant and darker than the first film, Frozen II offers vicarious delights that may well be lost on some of the younger end of the audience.

Yet, both Lee and Buck may well be banking on the fact their initial audience has grown up more and is more willing to tackle the darker themes of maturity and what life's about - and yet they're still willing to throw in Olaf goofing around to keep the younger ones entertained, and to show Elsa busting out superpowers like an animated Captain Marvel.
Frozen II: Film Review

The film this time throws up some truly gorgeous animation, some scenes which technically excel - from a dancing darting water horse to an almost electric light-led power ballad from Menzel (Into The Unknown, one of the film's best), the animators aren't keen to rest on their laurels, even if some
of it may be lost on their audience.

While the songs have more of a Broadway feel this time, and are less interested in becoming the stuff of nightmares on car journeys, it's fair to note they're not as instantly memorable, even if they are enjoyably presented onscreen.

The film skirts with plenty of themes; it builds on the sisterhood from the first's subversion of true love, dabbles with climate change, and touches on colonialism.
Frozen II: Film Review

However, its biggest disappointment is with the flirtation with giving Elsa a girlfriend - her only solid interaction outside of the core group is with a native female from within the enchanted forest, and there are hints of more. But it's frustratingly left on the vine, and only for the subtleties to be picked up on.

Ultimately Frozen II may leave those expecting a redo of the first a little cold. But for those wanting something more epic, something that moves on from the whimsicality of the first, Frozen II more than meets the expectation and delivers.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Square Enix Releases Marvel's Avengers Official A-Day Gameplay Footage

Square Enix Releases Marvel's Avengers Official A-Day Gameplay Footage


Opening Level Features Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
in an Epic Battle on the Golden Gate Bridge

Marvel Entertainment and Square Enix® released the first official gameplay video for Marvel’s Avengers. Watch as Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, and Thor battle Taskmaster and his army of mercenaries in the opening level - a Hero tutorial where players learn the unique powers of the Avengers

Marvel’s Avengers is a story-driven, third-person action-adventure game. Players will reassemble and rebuild their Avengers roster in an original, cinematic single-player campaign, then battle solo or online alongside friends in new missions around the globe. They can also customize Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and harness their unique powers to defend the world from escalating threats for years to come.

Marvel’s Avengers begins at A-Day, where Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, and Thor are unveiling a hi-tech Avengers Headquarters in San Francisco — including the reveal of their own helicarrier powered by an experimental energy source. The celebration turns deadly when a catastrophic accident results in massive devastation. Blamed for the tragedy, the Avengers disband. Five years later, with all Super Heroes outlawed and the world in peril, the only hope is to reassemble Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Marvel’s Avengers will release simultaneously for the PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system, the Xbox One family of devices including Xbox One X, and PC on May 15, 2020.