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Film Reviews

Did The Fabelmans deserve the Golden Globes? (Review)

At the 2022 Golden Globes The Fabelmans won Best Drama and Steven Spielberg won best director. Personally, I could not give less of a fuck about award shows and in particular the Golden Globes (I think that’s most people now anyway). Nevertheless, I think these results have a lot of people who are curious about this film. And since it was only just released in Australia, there is a huge market still waiting to be won over. So the ultimate question becomes did The Fabelmans deserve these awards or is it over hyped?

The Fabelmans is a drama/ coming of age that is based on the life of Steven Spielberg. It follows Sammy Fabelman as he falls in love with movies and struggles with his family and high school.

Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg have written a beautiful script. From beginning to end, I was glued to the screen. Since this is based on Spielberg’s early life, it adds a depth to these characters that a lot of family dramas are missing. As a result, it never felt like the movie slowed down. The pacing worked so well because of how layered these characters were.

The Fabelmans starts of as a straightforward Spielberg movie. But about halfway through, it transforms into a 50s style high school drama. The student characters became cliches and its even shot similar to Rebel without a Cause. Maybe I am on my own here but this sudden change in the style and tone kind of shocked me. I loved this aesthetic and allusion but just wished it really committed to it from the beginning.

What I did love about this film was the passion for filmmaking. Every scene that involved a camera reminded me why I love what I do – the desire for storytelling. Spielberg has such a deep and profound love for stories that he effectively imparts upon the audience. The scenes of him creating shorts as a kid and showing his family was some of the most relatable film content I have ever seen. I walked away from The Fablemans more motivated to make short films then I ever have before.

The performances in the Fabelmans were a little underwhelming. I loved Gabriel Labelle as Sammy Fabelman and Paul Dano as his father but everyone else felt kind of miscast. It’s not that they were bad I just think everyone seemed to be doing different things that tonally felt off. For example, Seth Rogen was doing Seth Rogen while Michelle Williams was trying to audition for Marriage Story. It made me feel a little lost in these characters and the tone of the movie.

(from left) Reggie Fabelman (Julia Butters) and Sammy Fabelman (Gabriel LaBelle) in The Fabelmans, co-written, produced and directed by Steven Spielberg.

I won’t spoil the end scene of the movie, but it is easily the best part of the film. In particular, the performances by Gabrielle Labelle and David Lynch. These two reminded me how excited I am for the rest of my filmmaking journey – something that is often clouded in negativity. That final shot displays clearly why Spielberg is one of the greatest American filmmakers ever. It so eloquently summarises the core themes of this film and perhaps his career – his love for stories.

Ultimately, I liked The Fabelmans. While it isn’t my favourite movie of the year, it was still extremely enjoyable. I think Spielberg did deserve those awards. Not only for his career achievements but also the bravery to be this personal with a movie in a way he never has before.  Now all we need is a sequel that dives into his early years making movies.

Should you see The Fabelmans?

Simply for the fact that this may be Spielberg’s last movie, I would definitely go see this in cinemas. While it follows a predictable plot, the writing and directing are still beautifully crafted and well worth your time. If you are into filmmaking whatsoever you will definitely like this movie.

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Film Reviews

The Best Movie of 2022: The Banshees of Inisherin Review

In 2022, there were two movies I was excited for above any other – The Batman and you guessed it, The Banshees of Inisherin. This excitement came down to one simple fact – the directors. Both Matt Reeves and Martin McDonagh are two of my favourite filmmakers in the industry. In particular, Martin McDonagh. He is undoubtedly one of the most ambitious and unique writers in the world. Every film he has made has hit me on a very profound level and changed how I view cinema and writing. So, when I saw the trailer for Banshees, I was surprised. It seemed very different from his previous work and style but nevertheless I was extremely excited.

The Banshees of Inisherin is set on a remote Island off the coast of Ireland. It is about two friends – Padraic and Colm – whose friendship falls apart and chaos ensues. The film is written and directed by Martin McDonagh and features performances by Colin Farrel, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon.

When you hear the plot of Banshees, you wouldn’t expect this film to be funny. But as usual, Martin McDonagh weaves in his dark humour effortlessly. The Banshees of Insherin is the funniest film of 2022 and perhaps one of the funniest movies of the last 5 years. Colin Farrel and Barry Keoghan have incredible line deliveries and comic timing that elevates the humour of this script completely. And you cannot talk about comic timing without mentioning Pat Short and Jon Kenny. Every time we visit the bar, these two make the scene hilarious simply through their mannerisms.

What really surprised me about the Banshees of Inisherin was how beautiful it was. In particular, the colours. The way the greens of the rolling hills popped against the coastline was incredible. Almost every frame is shot with this rough ocean in the background, further reminding us how desolate Insherin really is. Ben Davis (the DOP) does an amazing job at keeping the shots interesting with a very simple backdrop.

I truly believe the core cast of this film all deserve Oscars. Every single one of them creates these compelx and layered characters in a very stripped back script (an excellent decision by Martin McDonagh). Even with completely opposing perspectives, you somehow side with both our protagonists. As well as simply being funny, the subtleties of their performances reveal a loneliness and sadness buried so deep it is hard to see. Simply put, with a different cast, this movie would not work.

Before I move on, I must talk about Barry Keoghan. In the Banshees of Inesherin, Barry gives one of my favourite performances I have ever seen. In every scene of this film, he evokes a new emotion among the audience. Whether it’s comedy, heartbreak, despair, loneliness – Barry does it all. I have never seen such contrasting emotions in such a short amount of time and truly believe no one else deserves the Oscar as much as him.

One of the most incredible parts of the Banshees of Inisherin is the lasting effect upon the audience (or maybe it’s just me). As you are watching the film, it’s a funny enjoyable ride. Then it gets sad and then it gets really depressing. And after this, it stays in your head. The cloud of loneliness, regret and sorrow that surrounds this film kept coming back to me for the following days. I seemed to constantly be worrying about these fictional characters in a way few films have ever done. While it sounds cliché, it honestly felt like I was on that desolate Island with those characters. For anyone reading this who hasn’t seen the movie, don’t judge the Banshees of Inisherin upon the first watch. Wait a couple days and then really think about how this movie made you feel.

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Film Reviews

Is Avatar: The Way of Water underrated?  (Non-Spoiler) Review

I am pretty sure I am in the majority when I say I didn’t give a shit about the first Avatar, and I especially didn’t give a shit when they announced the new one. It’s not a hot take but this franchise never pulled me in or made me care. Nevertheless, I knew I had to see it. For the visual effects alone, I knew it would still be an entertaining and thrilling watch. But after seeing it in a packed-out cinema yesterday, I can safely say I was surprised…

James Cameron made an excellent decision going into this film that completely saved it for me – Avatar 2 isn’t about Jake Sully or Neytiri. Instead, it is about the kids. One of the worst parts about that first movie is how boring the protagonists are. They have no charisma and charm and have a super predictable arc. In this movie, we explore the relationships between the children and the reef clan. These characters are engaging and for once I care about these blue people on the screen. It truly saved the franchise and made me excited to see them grow up.

As the lights went dark and the film started rolling, I quickly settled into the world of pandora once again. Avatar 2 starts at a breakneck speed that I loved. It gets the audience up to date and doesn’t waste any time. What’s even better is that the film keeps this pacing. It bounces between action set pieces in a thrilling first hour. Then, we go into the Water Clan. Now I enjoyed the dynamics between the families and a lot of the underwater scenes, but it just goes on for about 15 minutes too long. In particular, the Tulkun set peices. I get it’s pivotal for the themes and arcs but some of it could be cut out.

You can’t talk about Avatar 2 without going into the Visual Effects. They are obviously incredible. I think they especially shine in the action scenes in the final act. The way the fire and water bounce of each other is astonishing. I also love the style of this film. Each shot has this super exaggerated lighting that is refreshing amongst a slate of grey action films. The colours pop and bounce and the Navi were never not convincing as real beings.

While all of these elements worked for Avatar, it still had some fundamental flaws. The main weakness (which has been said plenty) is that the story is predictable. It has no twists or turns and went the exact way I expected. Although it didn’t ruin the movie for me, this needs to change if they want to keep this franchise exciting.

Another core issue I had with Avatar 2 was the performances. Everyone kind of blended in together for me and didn’t stand out. It’s not that they were terrible it’s just a movie this big should have better performances. I truly believe it’s because James Cameron is so focused on the VFX and action that he doesn’t give his attention to the actors. Even Kate Winslet felt underutilised with her range. I know how talented these actors are and I would love to see them really attempt something bigger in the following movies.

SHOULD YOU SEE AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER?

Absolutely. Avatar 2 is a movie that must be seen in cinema for the Visual Effects alone. While the story is predictable, it is still a thrilling and entertaining ride that has incredible action set pieces.

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Article

The Best Christmas TV Show Ever Made: A Moody’s Christmas

Every single year, I rewatch the same Christmas show. From start to finish, it has become a tradition to binge watch this incredible series in about 2 days. It is one of my favourite Christmas pieces of entertainment ever made and more importantly one of my favourite shows ever created and I truly believe not enough people know about it. It is none other than A Moody Christmas.

A Moody Christmas was released in 2014 and created by Phil Lloyd and Trent O’ Donnell. It is a 6x20minute Australian comedy show. Each episode is set in a different year as Dan Moody returns home from London to celebrate Christmas with his very dysfunctional family. Before I continue, if you haven’t seen it go watch it so you can appreciate this show as much as I do.

The writing of this show is incredible. If you didn’t know, Trent O’ Donnell (one of the writers) has an extensive history working in comedy. The Chaser’s War, Brooklyn Nine Nine, New Girl, The Good Place, No Activity, Hacks and Ride the Eagle – fucking insane. But perhaps his talents shine most in A Moody Christmas. Trent and Phil create characters that are true to them and the audience watching it. On top of this, there is a joke in almost every single scene as well as heartfelt and touching moments. Trent and Phil have written a show that is a perfect balance of what we love about Christmas – comedy and family.

Directing comedy often goes unnoticed. Most audiences just assume you stick a camera on a medium and close up shot and let the actors and writing do the rest. But as I was rewatching a Moody Christmas for probably the 6th year of my life, I remembered how pivotal good directing is. Trent truly understands exactly where the camera needs to be and how it should cut together to make it as funny as possible. There is a one take in episode 1 that perfectly highlights each character in the space of 5 minutes. We understand the entire family and effectively feel as if we are stuck there with Dan – a perfect example of excellent directing.

A Moody Christmas has one of the best Australian casts I have ever seen. Every single actor in this brings an amazing comedic performance and timing to their character that just could not be replicated in America. In particular, Patrick Brammall and Darren Gilshenan create these hilarious characters that are so relatable to an Australian audience. Ian Meadows has this awkwardness and nervousness that feels so natural and Jane Harber bounces off this perfectly. In fact, it feels like everyone in this family is someone I know or have met before – a true compliment to the actors and director.  

There are many many reasons why I love this show so much. Good writing, directors, actors, editing. But ultimately, I think there is one core part that makes me obsessed with A Moody Christmas – it’s Australian. Seeing good Australian productions is always so satisfying and inspiring. It makes me want to keep making Australian content and as a result, is so pivotal in ensuring we are not always driven to make American shows. Shows like the Moody’s, Upper Middle Bogan and recently, Colin from Accounts have pushing the Australian film scene in the right direction. When people bag on about Australian TV or Movies it is often because they haven’t even watched shows like this.

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Interview

The Best Christmas Short Ever – Interview with Writer Tyson Yates

About 4 years ago, I went to the Brisbane Backyard Film Festival. Two films from that night stuck with me that I truly loved and have never stopped talking about. One is Follow that Taxi (I did an interview with Sam Monaghan this year) and the other is It’s Christmas. It is one of the funniest and most original short films I have ever seen and my favourite Christmas short ever. On top of this, it won the audience award at the Brisbane Backyard Film Festival. Before you read this interview, go and watch this film below, it is well worth your time.

Recently, I did an interview with the writer of It’s Christmas – Tyson Yates. Tyson is a Brisbane based writer and director. On top of this project, he has written Lemonade – a comedy web series – and wrote and directed Smashed – a comedy short which won Audience Choice at West End Film Festival. Read on for more.

DP David Aponas and Tyson behind the camera

What inspired the story of It’s Christmas?

“I used to work in journalism, but my number one thing was writing for film. One year I upped and left and do a year of film school. I plopped myself down in Brisbane and did a year at university.”

“The whole idea is just kind of a typical Christmas for me, I am from a small country town in Northern NSW. It was hot, sweaty, there was drama over the prawns. This one was just one of the first scripts that just flowed out of me. I don’t think I struggled to write that one at all. It was just taking tid bits from my family and inserting into the script. And also just who doesn’t love writing genre.”

What was your process writing for this and writing in general?

Kristie and Tyson Yates

“When you are writing you put a lot of pressure on yourself. I think the unspoken thing though is that no one has it right – even some established filmmakers and writers. There has never been this smooth process in writing. But I think the background in media and written journalism really helped the discipline of it. When someone is paying you to write a story you don’t have an option of not feeling it or having mental block – the deadline is 5.”

As someone who writes and directs did you find it hard handing over the It’s Christmas Script?

“I have directed the last couple of things I have done. I released smashed a couple of years ago and that was the first major thing I directed. I just decided to Direct to get it done in the exact way it’s in my head. With It’s Christmas, I must have been a terrible person to have on set because I was following the director around and buzzing around like a fly. I think in the future I will focus less on directing and more on script writing because it’s just a huge commitment.”

Tyson directing actors – Winnie Mzember (middle) and Kyle MacCallion

Are there any specific Christmas movies you love or are inspired by?

“I really love the tone of A Moody Christmas. It spoke so much to me and I think they were aiming for the same thing because it feels like a person experience of an Aussie family. I have had a couple Christmas’s in the cold, and you miss it when you’re not here. I also love genre Christmas movies like Krumpus.”

Were there any general movies that inspired it as well?

“Absolutely Sean of the Dead. Edgar Wright is a perfect example of a filmmaker who can take ridiculous concepts and squeeze sentiment into it.”

Tyson on sound with Nicholas Rowan (sound) and Mellisa Johnson (makeup)

Other Projects

Creating both Smashed and Lemonade, what have you learnt from both projects and would advise filmmakers about starting a web series?

“I am from the school of keep it simple. Everyone does their share house comedy, it’s low stakes. You watch some amazing comedies like Arrested Development and Scrubs, the comedy just comes from the simplicity and characters – something I am still learning. Don’t be discouraged by not nailing something. It was interesting at film school how many people wanted to be at the finish line already. I have resigned myself to the fact that it’s going to take a long time to learn but the best way to do that is to keep it simple.”

As someone who also did one year of film school, I was wondering your opinion on it and if think it’s worthwhile?

On the set of Smashed

“There are two different camps, I guess. I learnt a lot from film school and especially what not to do in a safe situation. You are at the mercy of whoever else happens to be in your cohort. It can be a bit of a scramble to get on top. I didn’t have that problem to much as I had some pretty set goals. There was also good teachers I learnt a lot from. But the reason I left was because the classes and lessons were starting to repeat themselves.”

What is next for you?

“I recently got a job in a production company so any of my film projects just stopped at that point. I had a hiatus for a few years and then recently we jumped back on board with the short stack guys and shot a short film in August. It’s very similar to smashed in that it’s a couple of locations and housemates together. We are just doing the assembly edit now so it’s looking good.”

If someone came to you with one film wish, what would it be?

On the set of It’s Christmas

“I don’t know if I would want to wish my way to the finish line. But me right now I feel I am still finding my way through writing and directing. I would be absolutely horrified to have a world class actor standing in front of me asking what do to. It would be something small like making an indie feature that is well within my means. I would love to have this indie gem of a film that is well regarded. And then I am happy to be sky rocketed into making a Marvel film, substance abuse, not seeing my family – you know, the Hollywood dream.”

Where do you want to see the Australian film scene in 5-10 years?

“I think I have never really put much thought into getting funding. “I guess i believe that a good script will have it’s time and eventually get made. I know people bang on about funding being political, but those people usually have a shit script. I like to believe that a good idea, a good script, will get picked.”

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Article

My Favourite Christmas Movies Ever

Every year, studios pump out these low budget Christmas movies that are absolute garbage and most of you haven’t seen. But amongst these, there is probably 10-15 good Christmas films. And amongst them, there is about 5 Christmas movies I genuinely enjoy and love watching. These are the films that every year I want to watch and am genuinely excited for. They aren’t just based off nostalgia or what critics love but instead movies that are genuinely good. Therefore, this list isn’t based on the classics or essentials but instead what I actually am excited to watch.

5.Office Christmas Party

(L-R) Kate McKinnon as Mary Winetoss, Olivia Munn as Tracey Hughes, Jason Bateman as Josh Parker and Jennifer Aniston as Carol Vanstone in OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, and Reliance Entertainment

I know this will trigger a lot of people but I love this movie. While it has some big faults, I think it is one of the few Christmas movies that I could rewatch again and again. It brings together an incredible comedic cast that carry a very basic script. Too many Christmas movies feel dated and aren’t actually funny but Office Christmas Party is one of the best modern Christmas movies.

4. Sunburnt Christmas

Most people reading this list have never heard of this film BUT hear me out – A Sunburnt Christmas is an amazing Australian Christmas film. It perfectly encapsulates Christmas in the outback and more importantly has an engaging plot. There are twists, good jokes and a refreshing Christmas story that feels new. While some performances are a little rough, I think this is definitely the best Australian Christmas movie ever made, it is 100% worth your time.

3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

A classic essential Christmas movie that is entertaining from start to finish. Although it feels a little dated and Chevy Chase drives me crazy, any time it is on Channel 7, you know you are watching the rest of that movie.

Chevy Chase stands at the head of the table in a scene from the film ‘Christmas Vacation’, 1989. (Photo by Warner Brothers/Getty Images)

 2. Home Alone

Now it’s time for the big dogs. Home Alone has this very specific feeling and emotion it creates that I will try my best to put into words. Essentially, it feels warm. Like Harry Potter, Chris Columbus makes you feel safe and at home every time you are in the McCallister home. There is no movie like Home Alone that makes you feel this in love with Christmas. The lights, decorations, trees, presents. Everything is exaggerated to make this holiday a perfect representation of how a kid views Christmas.

  1. Love Actually

Choosing number one and 2 was tough but ultimately, I just went with what I would want to watch on Christmas Eve. Almost every scene in Love Actually is rewatchable. It is just filled with these moments that make you want to go back and watch it again immediately. On top of this, the characters are perfect. You love the ones you’re supposed to and despise the rest. This is down to one of the best British Casts of all time. Love Actually is a movie I look forward to watching every year at Christmas and I truly believe never gets old.

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Film Reviews

Glass Onion Non Spoiler Review: The Best Movie of 2022?

Knives Out was one of the best movies of the last 5 years. It is one of the most entertaining and rewatchable movies I have seen in a long time and will undoubtedly be considered a classic in 10 years. So… the question becomes how do you top this and more importantly is it even possible? Can Rian Johnson improve upon one of the most loved and successful movies of the last 5 years? Truthfully, yes… Read on for more.

(Since this movie is very easy to spoil and I understand how easy it is to ruin it, I will keep it very broad and simple.)

Before I watched this, I was trying to work out what Rian Johnson could do to keep the audience guessing and surprised. As a filmmaker, it is embarrassing for me to admit that I had no ideas. Despite this, Rian creates a new and compelling that story that will keep you glued to the screen from the beginning. It goes in directions I didn’t expect at all and plays upon the traditional narrative perfectly. Rian Johnson knows exactly what the audience is expecting and manipulates it from beginning to end.

One of the best parts about the first Knives Out is the characters. They each feel completely different to the other and are addicting to watch. I truly believe Knives Out A Glass Onion has better characters. Each one is a very clever and refreshing take on the modern celebrity.  But what’s even more important is that they feel like real people. They have multiple layers that are revealed as the movie progresses and while they have flaws, you understand where they are coming from.

On top of this, they are cast perfectly. Everyone in this movie brings these characters to life. With a different cast, this movie is nowhere near as gripping and entertaining. I think lately films just load up on huge casts only to get ticket sales. But with Knives Out 2, it feels like each actor was chosen for the character and not for their level of fame. Cough Cough Amsterdam cough.

Before I move on, I have to talk about Daniel Craig. This character that him and Rian Johnson have created is one of the best movie detectives I have ever seen. He is this weird mix of being an idiot while also a genius that I love. It is a unique and refreshing character that I could truly watch an entire season of. Also, he is just very funny. No matter how simple the line is, he manages to always deliver it perfectly.

While I loved this movie, there was definitely a slump. About halfway through, I just found myself a little bit bored. I think in moments it treats the audience a little stupid and takes too long explaining things. It isn’t terrible it’s more just feels like the run time could be cut down by about 10-15minutes. Also, I think some of the humour doesn’t really work. It occasionally just feels forced and never seemed to get many laughs in the cinema.

One of the most important parts of a murder mystery is the twist. Now in the first Knives Out, the reveal never felt surprising or satisfying to me. In the sequel, I kind of feel the same way. But I think that’s on purpose. There are so many other twists and turns in this movie that the killer or killers doesn’t seem important. Instead, I think Rian Johnson wanted to focus on creating twists as the movie progresses instead of in the last few moments.

Should you watch Knives Out A Glass Onion?

Definitely. This movie is a very entertaining and enjoyable watch that will keep you guessing from the beginning. While the cinema run is over, watch it as soon as it’s out on Netflix so it doesn’t get spoiled for you.

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Interview

The Macfarlane Brothers Interview

Lachlan and Austin Macfarlane are two filmmakers based in Brisbane, Australia. For over 14 years, they have been making sketch comedy shorts with heavy VFX. Now they both work tirelessly on their TikTok and YouTube Chanel – racking up millions of views and even starting viral trends. Read on for more.

You both have been making short films and content for over 10 years, what created this attitude to just make stuff and get it done?

“I started making films just for the fun of doing them when I was like 10. It was just doing things for the fun of it. By the time I got to the end of school it was even more of an incentive to make videos. Also, when you’re at Uni you only make 7-8 things and I feel you want to finish with more than that.” – Lachlan

“I started getting into editing because I was making Marvel trailers. The reason I got into VFX was because I wanted to make Doctor Who intros. It harkens back to us being kids and having lightsabre fights and thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if we could make actual lightsabre fights.” – Austin

Across your careers, you can see how much your VFX has improved. Is this from school, University or just teaching yourself?

“I would say both but mainly self-taught.” – Lachie

“In year 8 and 9, every lunch time I would do a VFX shot. I would shoot it on my laptop, and I would do stuff like shooting a door and it would explode. Another day, my friend punched me and turned into a lunchbox.” – Austin

What’s your process in making these insane TikTok’s and reels you create?

“We will write, shoot, direct, star in, all ourselves. We split up the post tasks because we each have our own strengths. I will usually do the VFX while Lachlan will do the editing.” – Austin

“We will try to film as much as we can on the weekend and then work on it through the week and then get started on the next one straight away. It’s ultimately just about maintaining that repetition.” – Lachlan

“We both have so many ideas but unless it’s something we instantly jump at, we don’t even film it. Our sister is a good judge…. If we show it to her and she laughs it’s probably going to be good…” – Austin

Looking back on film school are you glad you did it or do you wish you did your own thing?

“There are way more people saying don’t do film school than there are saying do it. I would say it depends… When I went to film school, I found it hard to stand out from everyone else. It was difficult, I think at my school you needed a big personality and to be different from everyone. But ultimately it got kind of easier as you get to know people and I found it worthwhile in the end as I got heaps of connections who later got me a job.” – Lachlan

“I think for Uni you get out what you put into it ultimately. I work full time now as a junior online editor and I wouldn’t have got that job if I didn’t go to Uni, and the programs I use at work I learnt from uni.” – Austin

Can you explain the whole Michael Buble story?

“We love him and have loved his Christmas album since we were kids. We made this TikTok where we take him out of the ice for Christmas. I opened my phone the next morning and he had sent us a message on TikTok and commented it. I will ride that high until I die and we are very chuffed about that” – Austin

What filmmakers really inspire you.

“The Daniels definitely. It was very inspiring seeing how they went from small little sketch stuff to features. They are a team of two guys and we have taken a lot of inspiration from their style and we took on that comedic black comedy tone. Also, Edgar Wright and how he shifts your focus so well and so uniquely.” – Lachlan

What are some of your favourite films?

“The World’s End is one of my favourite Edgar Wright films because it has that emotional side. Also, any of Alfred Hitchcock’s films are incredible. Ours are both the same basically as well.” – Lachlan

“Swiss Army Man is my all-time favourite. Parasite, Psycho and the 400 Blows. I love Belfast, Little Women, Whiplash and Star Wars.” – Austin

Where do you want the Australian film scene to move?

“I would like there to be more. I am very new to the industry, but I would love the public to be more into it and proud of it. Also, shows that it doesn’t have to be about Australia.” – Lachlan

“I love how many productions are happening on the Gold Coast.” – Austin

What is next for you guys?

“We are going to make bigger short films. But for now, we are just doing TikTok and YouTube. Next year we are going to try for the Screen Queensland Skip Ahead program.” – Lachlan

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Film Reviews

Black Panther Wakanda Forever (Non-Spoiler Review)

I think I must be one of the few people in the world who didn’t love the first Black Panther. While the first two thirds were great, that last act was so terrible that I cannot rate the movie highly. But after seeing the trailer for Black Panther Wakanda Forever, I was excited for the sequel. It looked like a completely new direction for this series and the MCU entirely. But does it live up to the hype of the first movie? Read on for more.

Black Panther 2 is unlike any other Marvel film (the closest one I would compare it to is Winter Soldier simply for the pacing). It is a carefully crafted movie that takes it’s time with each character. While it does have some moments where it drags, the story doesn’t feel like we are trying to get from Point A to Point B but instead delves into some heavy concepts. In particular, the exploration of grief and vengeance creates one of the most emotionally layered and complex Marvel Movies. It effectively feels like such a breath of fresh air in the recent slate of formulaic films.

What adds to this excellent writing is a beautiful looking film. Each shot is vibrant and bursting with colours. The costumes, lighting and set design keep your eyes glued to the screen and add a depth to these incredible worlds. On top of this, the VFX look realistic. With the recent Marvel films looking like garbage, Black Panther 2 once again stands out. Only 2 shots in this movie look a little rough and that is completely respectable considering the scale of these set pieces.

The action in Black Panther Wakanda Forever never feels like the focus of the film. It is simply a backdrop for the story. Nevertheless, the few actions set pieces in this movie are very entertaining. Ryan Coogler weaves in his signature style to create fast paced and high stakes fight scenes. Each punch feels like it hurts and for once we see some people get stabbed.

What I loved most about this movie was the performances. Maybe it is because they are drawing from Chadwick Boseman’s passing but every actor is bringing 120%. In particular, Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett. How they portray their grief for T’CHalla’s death is some of the most outright heartbreaking acting the MCU has ever seen. I also loved the introduction of Tenoch Huerta as Naymour and Dominique Thorne as Ironheart. As usual, they have cast actors who are perfect for these roles, and you instantly want to see more of.

The final act of this movie had me on the edge of my seat. Not because of the suspense or stakes but simply because I thought they would botch the ending like every other Marvel film. But honestly, they didn’t. Ryan Coogler wraps up this spectacular film with an amazing action set piece and a touching conclusion for Chadwick Boseman.  

Should you see Black Panther Wakanda Forever?

Definitely go see this in cinemas. It is an epic story that deserves to be seen on a big screen. And if you loved the first film, this one is even better.

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Interview

Polyamorous – An Interview with showrunner Archie Waterson

At the beginning of this year, I interviewed Archie Waterson on a documentary he produced – The Diamond from Sierra Leone. Recently, the short doco was selected into the Heart of Gold Film Festival (a pretty big deal for a filmmaker so young). Once again, Archie is back with a brand new project he has been working tirelessly on. Polyamorous is a mockumentary web-series made in 8 weeks. After watching it once, I instantly went back and watched it again because I was amazed how much him and his team pulled off in such a short amount of time. It is funny, clever and most importantly, original. Read on for more.

Archie Waterson (right) on set with Hunter Smith

What is Polyamorous?

“It is a mockumentary story about 6 people in a polyamorous relationship and the highs and lows they go through trying to be free spirited. It follows the perspective of Mackenzie who is monogamous and is in denial who is following her partner who wants to join a polyamorous relationship to leave her.”

What inspired this story?

Tai Scott, Janice Devarakonda and Matthew Cieslar on set

“I was having a beer with my friend, and he told me he was in the dating game. He went on a tinder date and this girl who he got along well with and she said I’m in a polyamorous relationship. I didn’t know what this was and I kind of got obsessed with it and started watching a ton of documentaries. Through all these shows, I kind of discovered 6 architypes through it.”

What was the writing process and how did you go about it leading a writers’ room?

“The process came from fleshing out the story first. I wrote the character breakdowns, the log line, the pitch and all these characters so I knew who they were and what they would be like in this relationship. I wrote the pilot then I got all my writers and from there, each writer was linked to an episode, and we built this arch for Mackenzie, Jake and Tash and the rest of the relationship.”

How do you the test out the joke /comedy?

Lachlan Wormwell and Archie Waterson on set

“For me, it was weird because I never really wrote for the screen, comedy wise. I feel like if I’m in a social setting I am kind of funny and I make people laugh. I have always wanted to do comedy. What I found is that I try and give to people who I find funny and if they like it, I know I’m onto something.”

What has been the most challenging part of making a web series?

“Overall, it was an intense process we did in 8 weeks. The hardest part for me was finding confidence in myself at the start when I’m pitching it. The stress and anxiety of trying to appease 50 people was challenging. But other than that, it was a very smooth process and I didn’t find too many challenges.”

Are there any other plans to release it other than the festival run?

“Once this all ends, it will be released onto YouTube and Vimeo. I also want to take it to the ABC as a proof of concept to show them.

Do you ever have periods of self and lack of motivation and how do you combat that?

The crew of Polyamorous

“I have in my life. At this point, I feel weirdly motivated and confident which helped in the process. The pressure allowed me to always remain motivated. I feel like the way to get out of these slumps is to reassess why you do it and that creating is a blessing.”

Talking Movies

What movies and shows inspired Polyamorous?

“In terms of style, ‘’What We Do in the Shadows” and “The Office” were two big style guides. “Shameless (US)” for the dynamics between the characters and their chaos.”

What filmmakers do you look up to?

“I love Larry David. I just want to be one of those guys who seems effortless but really cares for the craft. I love Taika Waititi who is this creative inspiration, making stuff from a place similar to where we come from.”

What is the worst thing people do in the cinema?

“People chewing popcorn loudly. Some people are just loud chewers and it’s fucked.”

Tai Scott, Rowan Williams, Archie Waterson and Adelaide Lapere on set

The Future

Where do you want the Australian film scene to move?

“I want comedy to not be Australian cliches. I think people living in urban parts should have a voice because they are just as interesting as people in London and New York. I want there to be a blend where it’s not just tourism but beautiful Australian stories.”

Matthew Cieslar, Bianca Rapp, Janice Devarakonda, Abigal Waugh, Hunter Smith, Chris Nguyen and Archie

What is your one film wish?

“I would love to get coffee with Larry David. I would love to have a job comedy writing for a TV series.”

What is next for you?

“Probably the grad slate next year. Just writing again and getting back into the development phase again.

Anyone you want to shoutout?

“I want to shoutout Amy Lightbody, my producer on the show. She put in so much work and she just made the process super smooth for me.”

All photos taken by Sam Goldsmith and Felix Lovell.