A Conversation with Birdeater directors’ Jack Clark and Jim Weir.

Jack Clark and Jim Weir are Australian filmmakers who recently created their debut feature film – Birdeater. The film has won awards at festivals around Australia and is now going international. After months waiting to see it, I was finally able to watch it at the Brisbane International Film Festival. Birdeater was one of my most anticipated movies of the year and it did not disappoint. It was a harrowing and hilarious experience that perfectly encapsulated young Australians. Read on for my conversation with Jack Clark and Jim Weir.

FRAZIER: “I have read about how challenging the shooting was with weather, actors changing and funds running out so I wanted to ask how you maintain motivation when all things feel hopeless and over in production?”

JACK: “You really must rely on each other. We had our worst moments when we were in ourselves and not communicating. To establish the tone of a set is such a big part of being a director that is often overlooked.  We realised that if we established the tone on set it would spread across everyone. Ultimately, the crew and cast were the biggest support for us. Especially people like Roger Stonehouse (Director of Photography) who were shooting every single day.”

JIM: “For upcoming filmmakers, follow through is important. Doing the entire life cycle of a project is where you really learn. It’s a common trap we saw at film school where when you start a project and it gets tough, they would throw in the towel. Another one is when you have a project that might get made, people will just start thinking of the next thing. Just having the discipline to ride the life cycle of a film.”

FRAZIER: The paranoia game, these men always wearing masks in front of their partners, it all felt like I was watching people I knew. Can you talk about creating these very specific but relatable moments and characters for an Australian audience?

Jack Bannister as Charlie, Mackenzie Fearnley as Louie, Clementine Anderson as Grace, Ben Hunter as Dylan, Shabana Azeez as Irene, Alfie Gledhill as Murph, Harley Wilson as Sam.

JACK: “It was all about bringing an audience to the bucks night. Irene and Grace come to the party which is something that girls aren’t usually present for. We felt like that was enough for the characters to panic and reveal their paranoias and insecurities. The paranoia game just plays into all this.”

JIM: “Something we used as a rule of thumb is start with an archetype where the audience will instantly form an opinion of them. Then, add dramatic contradiction that opens them up to being more interesting. Like Dylan, he is this party animal and antagonist that is desperate to have a good time but also is deeply lonely and sad.”

FRAZIER: What did the writing process look like for both of you?

Clayton D Moss and Jim Weir

JACK: “We are both writers since film school. It has taken a while to build up a regularity with writing. They always said it at film school that you need to write everyday, and it felt very daunting but slowly it did become a regularity. It is a lot of shit ideas I feed Jim that sometimes work and are exciting. We were always writing. We were writing on the day; we were writing narration on the last day in case we needed it. It is just a constant thing. Then you get the actors on board and if they are good, they will have their own opinions.”

JIM: “Actors will see something in their character that is there but is usually a small part of the character that they latch onto. Most of my day-to-day job is being available for conversation and being able to talk through ideas and try to work out what we are trying to say. I will just sift through 1000 ideas Jack throws at me and I will just say what is good”.

FRAZIER: So the core focus is just on chipping away everyday together at it?

JACK: “It is definitely hard. I remember I used to get nice notebooks. A big change for me was getting really shit notebooks because then they aren’t precious about what is on the page. I also like the process of writing it because you are already editing it from physical to digital.”

FRAZIER: “So you don’t do the first draft by hand? It is just writing all your ideas down first and then bringing it onto the electronic document.”

JACK: “If my writing was more legible, I would trust myself. But honestly I would just focus on not being too precious.”

FRAZIER: “I won’t ask you again about Wake in Fright but I did hear you both talk about the Celebration, Nashville and Mishima, but more specifically this period of watching just the weirdest films you could in AFTRS. How important do you think this period was and its effect on you as filmmakers?”

Clementine Anderson and Jack Bannister

JACK: “A lot of the movies we watched in film school were probably above my paygrade. I probably latched onto a cool dolly. It’s more the process of realising how many different and unique perspectives are out there. It is realising that if you want to make something that is cutting you have to overwhelm yourself with content. There are still so many areas I haven’t even scratched yet.”

JIM: “It is crucial. Slowly building up that film literacy is important because when you are stuck you will have a catalogue of great movies in your brain. An example would be we have seen so many movies with a character having a quiet moment reflecting in a bathroom mirror. We had the idea that in this bathroom there is no mirror because it denies the girls a moment of reflection.”

JACK: “You will come to a scene and shooting its coverage and straight away you will think “I know how to shoot this scene.” You have to forcibly stop yourself and realise you have taken that movement or shot from something else. You just have to be aware that you have taken it from something else.”

JIM: “Something we are quite conscious of is having as many references as we can outside of the genre and especially not taking references from recent films that are doing the same thing. That is when you have work that feels derivative. You have to go further back. People say Birdeater feels original but that is because so much of it is stolen from films people haven’t seen.”

FRAZIER: “Yeah I remember you saying Jim that if you just watch enough films you will shoot in the way you watch.”

JACK: “It is tough as well and a question people in film school need to ask themselves. If you want to make narrative content, do you like movies and do you watch them.”

FRAZIER: “I know Jim you have said that the best advice is to just keep making shorts and eventually they will look like what you watch, but I was wondering if you both had any specific advice on the ability to keep the film dream alive when it doesn’t feel like anyone cares and what your making isn’t receiving attention?”

Shabana Azeez and Mackenzie Fearnley

JACK: “It comes down to a method thing. There will be a day when it looks like what you want to make or maybe even better. But then another questions arises which is do I really care about this? Now that you can do it is it something you truly want to say. When you are young you can focus on learning how to make films but then be aware that the harder challenge is what to do with that.”

JIM: “From a more practical perspective it is easy to get caught up in the trap of the filmmaking success being where you get your joy in life. I think the challenge is what can I do to be happy in my life as a struggling filmmaker. If you aren’t happy struggling, you won’t be happy successful. Getting good reception to a movie, everyone is surprised by how little that does for you on self-perception and how happy you are in life.”

JACK: “There was a big trap in film school where people thought their third-year film was going to be “it” and the best thing they have made. But it should just be a process where you are looking ahead.”

FRAZIER: “There has been this recent shift in the last 5 years with Australian films and the direction they are moving. I was just wondering your perspective on where it’s going and where you want the film scene to move and explore?”

JIM: “I am feeling very optimistic. I have met a lot of aspiring filmmakers and directors who have such interesting things to say. There is a trend of filmmakers playing with different genres which is something I definitely want to see continue.”

JACK: “I want to see something we didn’t do and that is more stuff in cities. Maybe it is a self-defence thing, but we push our movies away where there is nobody else. I saw films shot in Sydney and I was so excited to see films shot here. A good Sydney drama would be nice and I will be happy. But I am very excited because there are so many young filmmakers coming up.


A Conversation with the Crew of My Tai

A few months ago, I saw an Instagram account promoting a feature film in Brisbane. I instantly followed it and started seeing more and more behind the scenes photos. In each post, it seemed like a new location, more actors and more incredible set pieces. I was so intrigued by what this film was about that I knew I had to get an interview with the creators.

Jake Ashton (left) and Ruben Wilkinson (right)

Hannah Smith is the director of My Tai. She has worked on countless feature films like Love and Monsters, Godzilla vs Kong and the Portable Door. In 2021, she created the short film The Empyrean which was a selection for the St Kilda Film Festival.

Jake Ashton is the writer of My Tai and plays Noah, one of the leads. He was also a lead in the show Friends of Atticus and voiced AJ the Rooster in Cluck!

Abdul Mateen (A.M) also known as Kash, is the producer of My Tai.” He is currently in post-production on his graduate short film – Welcome to the Esh Life. He also created the short film Disconnected which follows a First Generation immigration struggling to find his identity.


FRAZER: Could everyone just go around and introduce themselves, and their roles in this film?

JAKE: I wrote the film and I play one of the two leads – Noah. Also, I am a producer…

HANNAH: With the indie life, it makes him a producer.

JAKE: My two producing credits are this and Dune.

HANNAH: I am the director and producer #indielife. Jake and I are unwilling producers but AM is the actual producer.

AM: I got to produce for these two amazing humans.

FRAZIER: I feel like I should say I am a producer now as well.

AM: The gofund me is still live if you want to be one…

Mathias O Neil (left) Kash (right) with Bear (dog).


FRAZIER: Jake could you just give me a rough log line about My Tai?

JAKE: My Tai is about a bartender named Tai who is trying to make a masterpiece cocktail. He is named after a Mai Tai cocktail which his grandfather made. As a result, he has lived in the shadow of that his whole life. With a tropical cyclone coming in to destroy his beachside bar, he only has a couple of days to figure out the cocktail.

FRAZIER: For you Kash and Hannah what really grabbed you about this project?

Ruben Wilkinson on set

HANNAH: I was able to read it through the lens of Jake and Ruben. I knew without a doubt it would be a hilarious project. But for AM he had no choice.

JAKE: Yeah we had actually kidnapped his family. Their safe return was quiet the incentive.

AM: It played a small part… But what actually grabbed me was that I just sat there and instantly read through 40 pages of the script. The script was just so fucking entertaining.

HANNAH: It is refreshing to have an Australian comedy that’s a genuine comedy.

FRAZIER: I have seen the BTS photos, and I truly have no idea what is going to happen.  But just taking it back a little, I want to dive into your writing process Jake and how you got a screenplay completed?

JAKE: It was January 20th, 2022. I had ten days while we were working from home because of COVID, and I wanted to write a movie in ten days. I wanted to write a script for Ruben because he is so funny and charismatic.  I got it done in ten days, printed it off and gave it to him and was like “dude I wrote you a movie.” I didn’t think about it again. At the time, I was also writing a movie for Hannah. She ended up reading the script and messaged me saying we should make this.

FRAZIER: I can’t even get something written in a month…

JAKE: The biggest help for me in order to get something written quickly is to say to yourself “this can be terrible.” Just let it be terrible, who cares.

Jake Ashton (left) and Hannah Smith (right) on set

FRAZIER: For you Kash, what were some of the biggest problems you faced and overcame in producing an indie feature film?

AM: Locations were our biggest challenge initially. We didn’t know what the bar was going to be or where it was going to be. Huge shout out to Darrin Smith, one of the best construction coordinators in Australia. Not only did he build us an incredible bar with his team but also did it inside his home, allowing us to use his space to comfortably film. Another massive challenge was our preproduction time which was less than 2 months. We were just trying to make it work in the 2 months that we had. If the crew wasn’t passionate about getting this to life, it wouldn’t have happened.

FRAZIER: Hannah, how do you balance keeping true to the script while allowing for improv?

HANNAH: As long as I get a take I am happy with, I am totally happy to throw the script out the window. Jake and Ruben are really good improvisational comedic actors. I also like not calling cut and letting a scene sit for way too long because then magic always happens.

FRAZIER: For you Jake and Hannah, what were some film inspirations when you were re writing the script?

JAKE: Anchorman, Zoolander, Naked Gun, Flying High, Top Secret. We talked a lot about how it felt like a live action cartoon like the Simpsons. I love comedies where it’s just machine gun jokes.

Hannah smith (left) David Aponas – DP (right)

HANNAH: Naked Gun is like my favourite. Any Leslie Nielsen movie was just perfect.

FRAZIER: Hannah do you have a specific style for shooting, or does it change depending on the project?

HANNAH: I think I am consistent in what I like and now I’m more confident on a set I make sure I push for it. I love my wide shots and I really love delving in and building a world from the ground up, so I think stylistically a film is built from the ground up as well!

Jake Ashton (left) Hannah smith (right)

FRAZIER: I was just wondering if I could get everyone’s core piece of advice after completing the shooting of a feature film?

AM: Getting the right people. It will help you conquer any challenges. We had a 17 page shoot day and having the right people made it work and made it successful.

HANNAH: Momentum. In our early days, we had a meeting 2 months out. We were debating whether to push it back till the following year or do we keep the momentum going. We chose to keep it going and it was truly lightning in a bottle.

JAKE: We also never set out to make a movie that was the most popular genre. We didn’t want to appease anyone but ourselves. You must make the thing your passionate about – no matter what the story it is. Just surround yourself with good people and make what you want to make.


FRAZIER: What is your one dream film wish?

JAKE: When the movie wrapped, we all went to see Barbie, so getting to work with Greta Gerwig would be the dream.

Hannah (left) Jeffrey Walker EP (middle) Jake (right)

HANNAH: I would love to work with Del Toro because he is my hero. Also working on a Spiderman movie. But I have a feature of my own that represents everything I want to put out into the world. I have always said that “if I can make this one movie, I don’t care what happens after that.”

AM: There is a project I would love to create and show run. It is a series that is superhero oriented. It would be a mix of the Boys and Invincible. It would be low scale series that would slowly become bigger. Another core dream is a Bollywood film that becomes global. It would encompass everything I have learned growing up in all these different places.

FRAZIER: Where do you all want the Australian film scene to move in the next 5 to 10 years?

Jake Ashton (left) Ruben Wilkinson (right)

JAKE:  I think the future of our industry is built entirely on us being inclusive of all people in our community. To make sure we are not just pidgeon holing the type of work that people from all communities are able to make. The idea that anyway from minority group are being told “yes they might be able to make something” but only specifically this. I hope the future includes all group while allowing them to make every type of film.

HANNAH: I think introducing more genre and bigger budget into Australian film and Television would be great! There is a shift coming and our content is already changing, but I feel like, generally, our stuff is very safe and we can go much bigger and much bolder.

AM: They are trying harder to say they are being diverse, but these stories aren’t diverse. It’s very specific formulaic storytelling. I did a test with my international friends a few years ago. I played different movies form UK, US and Australia. I asked them to tell me which movie was from which country and unless a film was set in a desert with a strong accent they didn’t know it was Australian. I hope Australia embraces its multiculturalism and explores stories from cultures and perspectives we’ve never seen or heard from before.

The Crew of My Tai

Below is the link for the films Go Fund me if you want to support this incredible project!

All photos taken by Dylan Robbins

Film Reviews

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 (No Spoiler) Review

The first Guardians of the Galaxy movie came out almost 10 years ago. It was an instant hit and loved by Marvel fans and normies alike. However, I don’t think this film gets the praise it deserves. GOTG changed superhero and action blockbusters forever. Due to its critical and commercial success, studios were suddenly willing to take more risks on weirder properties. On top of this, countless other franchises took heavy inspiration from Gunn’s comedic tone, colours and soundtrack. Thereby, the question becomes does Gunn’s style still hold up or has it been ruined by the onslaught of MCU films?

James Gunn has written perhaps the best script the MCU has ever seen. It is a touching and heartbreaking story that has very powerful themes behind it. The film focuses on compassion for all living things but comes from a place that’s feels earnest and genuine. At no point in Guardians 3 did I feel I was being beaten over the head with exposition or characters trying to tell me what the film was about.

What is perhaps even more challenging is balancing these themes alongside humour. Unlike most MCU movies, Guardians of the Galaxy 3’s jokes never feel draining or quippy. Instead, it uses the characters personalities to create humour. I love this decision to hold back on the jokes because when they were in the film they felt that much more effective and punchy. In my cinema at least, no line ever missed the mark and was always met with laughs.

As you have seen from the trailers, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3 is a story about Rocket Raccoon. We dive into his creation with flashbacks throughout the movie. These scenes were a constant gut punch that always touched the right heart strings. It transformed this pretty two-dimensional character into one of the most layered and complex heroes in the MCU. All of this was accomplished through amazing voice acting by Bradley Cooper and some astonishing VFX work.  

While diving into the backstory of Rocket, Gunn still manages to balance the rest of the Guardians. Chris Pratt made me care for StarLord once again. He has an excellent arc that wraps up his previous mistakes while showing why he is the leader of this group. Zoe Saldana displays how different this Gamora is through her rage and morality. I also loved how Gunn doesn’t try to transform her back to her old self but sticks with this version of Gamora.

But for me Dave Bautista as Drax and Pom Klementieff as Mantis stole the show. They are such talented comedic actors that make every scene they’re in 10x better. This duo just have a brilliant chemistry that I would watch in movies that aren’t linked to the MCU. I do think there could have been more time contributed to Groot as he deals with some heavy emotions. He is a core character who never really got as much of an arc as I would have liked (I know it’s probably cause of how expensive he is).

On the other side of our heroes is the villain. It goes without saying that superhero films have a track record for weak villains but in GOTG 3 it is the complete opposite. Chukwudi Iwuji plays the High Evolutionary and delivers a stellar performance. He is an awful and delusional man who you truly despise. I think Gunn understood that too many MCU movies have villains who have good intentions and thereby wanted to go the complete opposite direction. The High Evolutionary maybe a simple villain with basic ambitions but he is a man you will truly hate.

Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is the most unique MCU movie I have ever seen. Amongst what I have said earlier, I think that there are two core reasons for this. Firstly, the designs. Every single movie Gunn makes gets weirder and grosser, but GOTG 3 is at the top of that list. The costumes, set designs and VFX all lead to this disgusting world that feels so refreshing amongst the MCU. Now at times, the VFX don’t hold up but it never took me out of the movie.

The second reason this film feels so unique is the violence and action. Guardians of the Galaxy 3 utilises gore and horror in a way even Raimi didn’t do. Some scenes were so brutal it had people in the audience looking in the opposite direction. But Gunn always brings us back to that fun and playful action he is famous for. In particular, there is a one take action scene unlike anything I have ever seen. It is easily one of the best marvel fight sequences and a brilliant achievement by Gunn and the crew.

While the Guardians movies are famous for their comedy, action and characters there is something perhaps that tops even this – the music. Those first two movies use music in a way that filmmakers have been copying ever since. But truthfully, this films music did not live up to the hype. While I love a lot of the songs in GOTG 3, it did not have the same tone and impact as the other movies. It honestly just felt like a few songs Gunn loves instead of a soundtrack that match the characters.

James Gunn has finished this trilogy off with the best film in the series and perhaps the best Marvel movie yet. It balances different themes, genres and styles but never feels like it loses its focus. Guardians of the Galaxy 3 is a three-hour movie that feels like 2 and is perfect for the cinemas. It’s ending made me realise how much I will miss these characters and value James Gunn as a filmmaker. His movies just get better and better and if I am Marvel I am shaking in my boots for the future of DC.

Film Reviews

Beau is Afraid (Non Spoiler Review)

Ari Aster has certified himself as one of the best directors working right now. With only two films under his belt, there is nothing he makes I wouldn’t see. Thereby, Beau is Afraid was one of my most anticipated movies of 2023. Like everyone else, I had absolutely no clue what it was about, but I trusted Ari. So, on a Sunday night I went to the cinema to see an 8:30 screening of this film. I had heard some things about Beau is Afraid but nothing could prepare me for those next three hours.

I will be honest. I don’t even know where to start with this film. There are so many different layers of themes, subtext and motifs that writing this review scared me. So, let’s start with the basics…

Beau is Afraid is a very entertaining and gripping movie. As soon as the lights went dark, I was invested in this world and character. Despite having absolutely no clue what was happening for 80% of it, I was intrigued by this adventure. But there is a core problem with the movie that is being brought up a lot – the run time. You truly feel the weight of those three hours. It has scenes that stretch on for too long and a lot of that fat needs to be trimmed. I understand Ari Aster wants to put you in the protagonist’s shoes but for a lot of this movie I simply wanted it to move on.

Ari Aster introduces a completely new type of horror. Beau is Afraid is about feeling what our protagonist feels. Ari wants the audience to feel as trapped, afraid and confused of the world as Beau does. He accomplishes this expertly through horrific imagery, a chaotic plot and evil characters. Even sequences that seem normal have this uncanny and upsetting vibe to them – a perfect representation of Beau’s anxiety.

Something that isn’t being talked about with this film is how funny it is. Throughout Beau is Afraid, there are these simple lines or props that instantly made my audience laugh out loud. In moments of high tension, it was an excellent break that made the 3-hour run time feel slightly shorter.

The performances in Beau is Afraid are incredible. Joaquin Phoenix can paint 15 different versions of fear and anxiety across his face in a way I have never seen done before. Even when Beau seems at peace there is this subtle neurotic nature that is bubbling below the surface. Joaquin just makes this very heightened and exaggerated world feel real through an earnest and sincere performance. On the other hand, I love how the other actors felt so over the top and exaggerated. In particular, Patti Lupone, Nathan Lane and Kylie Rogers all bring something new to these insane characters. As a result, it once again makes us feel Beau’s anxiety towards the people around him.

In a conversation between Martin Scorsese and Ari, Martin kept mentioning the technical skill of Ari Aster in Hereditary and Midsommar. In Beau is Afraid, it is at an all-time high. The angles, slight pans, blocking, production design, editing and lighting are truly ahead of their time. Every single detail of this film amplifies that anxious and muddled vibe. It is so effective in making the audience feel on edge that I drove home feeling uneasy. Every crew member of Beau is Afraid has added to building a world not to dissimilar from the Shining.  

Ultimately, Beau is Afraid is about evoking a feeling in the audience. I think a lot of viewers will get too wrapped up in an explanation or a deeper meaning. However, I think Aster wants one simple thing with this film – to impart his own anxieties and therapy sessions onto them. It is about understanding the psyche of Beau and so many other people struggling with serious mental health issues. To me, Aster has one goal with this film and accomplishes it perfectly.

Should you watch Beau is Afraid?

Beau is Afraid will be the most divisive film of 2023. If you don’t know how crazy this film is going in, I don’t think you will enjoy it. But if you go in embracing the strange elements and long run time you will love it like I did.

Film Reviews

Does AIR deserve the hype? (Review)

Air is a 2023 Drama written by Alex Convery and directed by Ben Affleck. It is set in the 1980s as Sonny Vaccaro and Nike attempt to pursue Michael Jordan for a shoe deal to change sports culture forever. Now I love basketball, but when I saw the trailer for this film it didn’t seem that interesting. Nevertheless, reviews started popping up saying this film was incredible. So as usual, I trekked out to the cinemas on Easter with a bag of snacks and a drink in my hand to see Air two days after its release.

Air has a solid script that kept me entertained throughout the entire film. But truthfully, I think it kind of stops there. The film is fun and light but just doesn’t have the same impact as other sport films like Moneyball. It wants to have these deeper themes of systemic change and the process but never feels truly there. I think it comes down to the goal of its core characters. Unlike Billy Beane’s drive to change baseball in Moneyball, Air’s core characters simply want to make more sales for their company. Essentially, Air just doesn’t have the same stakes and weight as other sport dramas.

FILE PHOTO: Chris Messina, Marlon Wayans, Ben Affleck, Viola Davis, Matt Damon, Julius Tennon, Jason Bateman, and Chris Tucker attend the world premiere of “AIR” at Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 27, 2023. REUTERS/Lauren Justice

What carries this film is the cast. Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris Tucker and Jason Bateman are extremely entertaining to watch on screen. Their banter, wit and charisma is what makes this film fly by. But as I said before, these characters simply lack any real development. I am sure it was a purposeful decision to not explore these men in too much detail but I really believe it negatively impacts this film. Even our main character – Sonny Vaccaro – feels very two dimensional and bland. Except for a small story by Jason Bateman, none of them have any moments that feel heartfelt and earnest.

An artistic choice of Ben Affleck was to not have Michael Jordan’s face or voice in Air at all. Now I get what they were going for when you have Voila Davis in the film. She is an incredible actor who gives a tough and steely performance but this decision felt very weird. Every time Michael was in a scene it completely took me out of the moment as they awkwardly cut around his face. I get the story isn’t about him, but I think a different choice would have been much more natural.

Incredible performance by Chris Messina.

Should you see Air?

Air is an enjoyable film that will keep you entertained from start to finish. It has great performances by some big names that carry the film over the line. However, it is lacking that extra layer of meaning that a truly exceptional sport film requires. I would see this film in cinemas if you are looking for something fun and simple to watch.

Film Reviews

Dungeons and Dragons: Honour Among Thieves Review

When I saw the trailer for the new Dungeons and Dragons film I completely dismissed it. It looked like a standard Hollywood cash grab with no passion or love behind it. But then I started hearing more about this film. In particular, the fact that John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were behind it. These two had huge roles in Game Night, Spiderman Homecoming, Horrible Bosses and Vacation – movies that are genuinely funny and extremely rewatchable. And then, the reviews came out. Dungeons and Dragons was doing well both critically and commercially and I instantly knew I had to see it.

Dungeons and Dragons Honour Among Thieves is about a thief and a band of unlikely adventurers embarking on a quest to retrieve a lost relic. The adventure goes awry when they run into the wrong people. The film stars Chris Pine, Hugh Grant, Michelle Rodriguez and is written and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.

The two Johns have spoken a lot about how they knew the script needed to be incredible for this film to work. They spent years reworking it to make sure it appealed to the fans and captured that sense of friendship that is pivotal to the game. It completely paid off because it is a brilliant script. The movie balances 5 characters that each seem to get a real and honest development over a standard runtime.  Everyone in the group has their own voice that makes them that much more hilarious on screen. On top of this, the plot is refreshing and doesn’t follow the same beats as a standard fantasy film. It even maintains an excellent pace that never feels dragged out.

What really surprised me about Dungeons and Dragons was the emotional beats. I did not expect this film to include such well written and performed scenes that were genuinely heartfelt.  Each member of the band has a moment that has some serious dramatic weight and adds more depth and layers to these characters. Without these beats, this film would simply be a solid action comedy.

The casting for this film was truly perfect. Victoria Thomas has chosen each actor perfectly to play these unique characters. Chris Pine is doing what he does best – being extremely charismatic and entertaining on screen. I love that Michelle Rodriguez is doing something new and leaning into a comedic tone. Justice Smith has mastered that awkward comedy and Sophia Lillis has this intensity that makes me want to see her in more films. Finally, Rege Jean Page and Hugh Grant really stole the show for me. They were so incredible in their roles that every time they were on screen it felt like their movie.

A lot of action in Hollywood blockbusters can feel very repetitive. You have occasional films like Everything Everywhere All at Once and John Wick 4 reinventing this, but most action movies are just two people shooting lasers at each other. The two Johns clearly understand this. Each action sequence introduces new elements and devices that feel refreshing. Every character uses their skillsets in engaging ways that isn’t just some karate and punching (cough MCU cough). I just love how different each action set piece feels in this film and to other movies being made.

Should you see Dungeons and Dragons Honour Among Thieves?

I honestly believe that this film may be one of the best blockbusters of the year. It is so entertaining and fun from start to finish. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to go and see it again which is exactly what you want from an action comedy. Definitely go see this film because it’s well worth your time.


Writer / Director Felix Lovell on his upcoming short film

Felix Lovell on set

When I started interviewing people, I had the singular goal of finding filmmakers who are out there making short films no matter what. Whether it’s shot with their friends or with no budget, I wanted to focus on artists who are extremely passionate about their craft. Felix Lovell embodies this. He has been making quality short films for years, is a very talented photographer and is constantly working on other peoples projects. Now, he is focusing his efforts on a short surreal drama called The Scatterer.

Talking his Upcoming Short Film

What is The Scatterer about?

“The Scatterer follows a professional ash scatterer named Arthur who encounters a mysterious figure in the outback and is tasked with scattering their ashes. Memories start blurring with the present as he seeks answers for unanswerable questions.”

How long has this idea been stuck in your head for?

“I would say September/ August 2022. Looking back on it, I could see a lot of things in my life influencing what I wrote. I wrote it around when my grandpa was dying and also, I wrote the first draft while in hospital with appendicitis. Subconsciously, all these feelings were being put into the script.”

Felix on the set of Kudzu (2022) with

Your process day in and day out writing?

“I have a massive list in my notes app on my phone. Any inspiration, things I have heard people say or things I have seen go into it. My ideas come from looking at that list, finding common themes and collating them into a story.”

“For the writing, I map out a story arc before I start writing on the script. I only write when I am actually feeling inspired since it is a passion project. When I write I also like to act out what I am writing. Whether it be blocking it or talking to myself, it helps me visualise the story a lot more.”

Before shooting starts, what is your biggest concern?

Kudzu (2022)

“The first concern was location because it was far away and set in the desert. It’s almost been solved by a lot of research and a cinematographer (Elliot Deem) who suggested Lightning Ridge. Another thing we are struggling with now is casting. We are casting two demographics I am not super connected with but luckily our casting director (Shanay Warren) is helping a lot. It’s also just a blessing to have Eleanor Somerville as the producer because she just has this ability to get things moving.”

Kudzu, Somnium, Malingee have such a specific style and tone, is there a filmmaker you are inspired by?

“David Lynch is my number one. Also, Yorgos Lanthimos even though my films don’t reflect the tone of his. I love any filmmaker who is bold enough to do something that might not make any sense immediately but it sticks with you. I also love Robert Eggers, Ingmar Bergman and Andrei Tarkovsky.”

Talking movies

4 of your favourite films?

“Eraserhead is my number one all-time favourite film. You love it or you hate it. Also, Stalker, the Lighthouse, and the Killing of a Sacred Deer.” 

Talking the Future

Where do you want the Australian film scene to move?

“It’s great having these classic Australian stories like The Dressmaker but having films that are willing to experiment and do something different is important. I was lucky enough to work on Angus Kirby’s new film. He isn’t afraid to do something that doesn’t fit the standard Australian drama structure. Good examples of this are Nitram and Babyteeth.”

What is your one film wish?

“I want Lynch to release one more film. I think he has one more project in him. I really hope he doesn’t die. Actually, maybe that’s my wish, to keep David Lynch alive.”

What film are you most looking forward to in 2023?

“Beau is Afraid I am very excited for. In terms of someone pushing boundaries, Ari Aster is constantly doing just that. It just looks crazy and I’m here for it.”

Make sure to go and watch Felix’s short films on his Youtube Channel and follow The Scatterer on Instagram. If you believe in this project as much as I do make sure to donate to their Go Fund me here

Film Reviews

John Wick 4 (Non Spoiler) Review

The John Wick series is one of the biggest and best action franchises in Hollywood. I loved the first film and thought the sequels were solid follow ups that built on the world and expanded the lore. The fourth John Wick film is one of the most hyped movies of the year. Critics and audiences are loving it, and this is reflected in the box office. Nevertheless, I went into this film worried it would just repeat the previous Wick movies. So, did this movie use its 2hr 50min run time successfully or was it a recycle of its predecessors?

I think everyone going into John Wick 4 has an expectation when it comes to the action. The one takes, close combat and headshots are all staples of this franchise. Forget all that because John Wick 4 completely reinvents the wheel. The locations, camera angles and stunts are phenomenal and some of the best action of the last 10 years. This film builds up each sequence perfectly and even when you think it’s done, they level it up. I just have so much respect for the stunt coordinators and stunt doubles who keep improving on every film.

Now with every action movie, there comes the scenes in between the set pieces that can sometimes just be fillers. With John Wick 4, it wasn’t awful, but I did find myself getting a little bored. Characters seem to repeat what’s at stake and constantly saying poetic or “badass” lines just to sound cool.  When the run time is almost 3 hours, I think a lot of the scenes could just be cut down by a few minutes. Honestly, I would have loved if the first 20mintues were all exposition and character building and then the next 2 hours were straight non-stop action (maybe that’s just me).

The world that Chad Stahelski (Director) and Jonathan Stela (DOP) have created is beautiful. Every shot has this specific style and feel that accentuates the gothic underworld of John Wick. Even though the lighting is over the top and exaggerated it feels natural for these characters. It’s so refreshing to see blockbusters that are doing engaging things with the shooting that isn’t just a grey scale colour grade (MCU).

For the first 30minutes of John Wick 4, I was thrown off by the actors. What I mean by that is that they are all giving such exaggerated performances that it surprised me. Eventually, I settled into them because I realised this was all on purpose. Keanu Reeves, Donnie Yen and Lawrence Fishburn are trying to be over the top because they know that it fits the genre. In addition, Bill Skarsgard and Scott Adkins were amazing in this film. They perfectly embodied these sinister characters and were extremely entertaining to watch on screen.

Shamier Anderson as Tracker in John Wick: Chapter 4. Photo Credit: Murray Close


The ending of John Wick 4 felt a little unsatisfying. It felt like the whole film was building to something big and surprising, but nothing ever really changed. The duel between Donnie Yen and Keanu Reeves was not entertaining and a disappointing way to wrap up the film. I would have loved if it was an actual fight sequence between Bill Skarsgard and Keanu Reeves. Personally, it would have been a massive twist if he was this incredible fighter who was actually on the same level as Wick.


Absolutely. John Wick 4 will be remembered as one of the best action movies of all time and is definitely worth seeing on the biggest screen possible. While it drags in parts, the action is truly incredible and the film looks beautiful.

Film Reviews

The Scream Film I want to see… (Review)

After seeing Scream 5 I was completely sucked back into this franchise. While the film wasn’t anything new, it was still an excellent sequel and a very entertaining movie. For the first time in maybe forever, I was excited for a Scream film. It had a great cast, good directors and most importantly a new premise. But Scream 6 surprised me in multiple ways I didn’t except – some for the best and some for the worst.

What I love about this franchise is simply how entertaining they are and Scream 6 is no exception. From the beginning to the end of this film, I was glued to the screen because there was never really a slump. It was such a fun and enjoyable ride that reminded me why I love these films so much.

A big push for this film was how aggressive and dangerous the new Ghost Face would be (something that really interested me). Now there is one scene early on where they do feel more threatening – the killer is killing randoms, twisting knifes deeper and using new weapons. But the rest of the film, it essentially reverts to the same old ghost face. I would have loved to see this continue, with a ghost face that’s even more unhinged (maybe torturing victims or fucking with them more).

Building on from this, I think the horror in Scream 6 is perhaps some of the worst it’s ever been. There was never any point that felt like it was really trying to be scary. Maybe it was intentional because the directors wanted to move in a more action focused genre, but I never felt tense like in previous Scream movies.

Something I didn’t expect from Scream 6 was to love the core cast as much as I did. In number 5, I found a lot of them annoying and over the top but in this film, they feel a lot more dialled back. Just like Drew Barrymore, Samara Weaving stole the opening of this film and I instantly wanted to see more of her. I also loved Melissa Barrera because she felt more dangerous than the killer and had this refreshing intensity to her. Finally, Mason Gooding really stood out with a natural charisma that makes me want to see him in everything.

I think an underlying issue with this franchise is they feel each one must repeat some core tropes – the group stuck in a room being killed, someone breaking down the rules of horror movies, the killer being revealed at the end blah blah blah, its boring and repetitive. None of this needs to happen for this franchise to be successful and loved. What was engaging to me about this movie was the new direction they allude to but which they didn’t follow through with. So thereby I present to you, the


As soon as I finished the film I was very excited to write about how I would have made it (no offense intended). The best scenes from Scream 6 were when the protagonists were out in the streets of New York. Now I understand that the budget wasn’t huge, and they wouldn’t be able to afford it but hear me out…

Imagine this film but completely set in one night on Halloween. You have Melissa Barrera starting off with a huge group of friends as they slowly get taken out. Like Die Hard, she gets more and more injured but because its Halloween no one takes notice. Having the ghost face masks everywhere is an amazing psychological horror element that wasn’t utilised enough in this film.

Melissa Barrera (“Sam Carpenter”) stars in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream VI.”

Melissa has this physicality to her of a true action star that should be explored. Imagine Escape from New York or the Purge 2 but a Scream Edition. It could have been an excellent action / horror film that completely revamped this franchise. You don’t even need to have one singular killer but instead have a group of Richie loyalists all out for revenge against Melissa (like the Batman).


I feel bad for the writers because trying to pick a killer who the audience doesn’t immediately suspect is near impossible. Nevertheless, this one felt particularly bad. It’s basically the most obvious guess you could have because they just did Scream 2 again. In my head, I was sure it was Mathew Lillard but that’s probably because I just wanted it to be (I pray they are saving him for the next one). While there were certainly some great twists, I don’t think the ending was as satisfying as previous films.

The Future of Scream

In Scream 5 and 6 they allude to Melissa Barrera being some sort of serial killer. In Scream 7, I know they will probably tap into this a little more, but I think the whole film should be about her having this violent streak. They can’t just do the same thing again or this franchise will fall off. Maybe a film about her taking on the mantle and killing anyone who is associated with the killers would be refreshing. While she is doing this, someone is chasing her down and trying to kill her (Mathew Lillard). I just think there is so much more potential for this franchise that isn’t being explored.


Interview with Writer / Director Josh Allan

Josh Allan is a Brisbane based writer and director. Recently, he released a short film called 2:32AM which has won multiple awards and screened at countless festivals. It is truly an incredible short-film about human connection and finding your place in the world. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to grab an interview with Josh. Read on for our conversation about his short film, movies and his future.

On 2:32Am

What is 2:32Am about?

“It’s a short film about two lonely strangers learning to find that deeper connection that they’re both missing. Titus is this sort of rough around the edges, charismatic character that has an internal conflict he needs to address. Whereas Caleb is more of that reclusive Uni student who hasn’t made close friends.”

What was your process writing this short film?

Josh Allan on set of 2:32Am

“I find writing challenging. My process is kind of all over the place. It starts with messy feelings or ideas that I will start to write into a script. I have also learnt to integrate feedback a lot. My main process is trusting my intuition while also reaching out for help.”

What were the biggest challenges of creating an indie film and how you overcame them?

 “I found that on set we had a limited time to shoot. It was difficult trying to work to a schedule while trying to preserve the quality. What I am always learning is to trust yourself, the material and the people around you. Trust amid the stress is key.”

How do you run your set?

“To me a lot of problems that you need to solve during production start in pre-production. I like to have in depth discussions before I get on set. Most of the tension on set comes from a lack of creative alignment. If someone is stressed or angry I just try and see it from their perspective.”

How you battle lack of motivation?

“The thing that helps me is if I am stuck on one project, I jump onto another temporarily. I am a filmmaker and I also do music, so I swap between them.”

Cast and Crew of 2:32AM

Talking Film

What filmmakers inspire you

“Richard Linklater. I find the way he wrote stuff – from a very personal / semi-autobiographical place – very interesting. Rather than having an overt plot, conversation becomes the plot. In interviews for the Before Trilogy, he was saying the connection is cinematic enough.”

“Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. While they don’t influence my style, they inspired me to make films.”

Can you list four of your favourite movies?

Josh on set

“Manchester by the Sea I really like because my Dad and I connect through it. Short Term 12 I could watch that movie forever. One that has stuck with me and ignited something within was Whiplash. It showed me that a story based in the real world can be more anxiety inducing than a horror. Also, Kramer vs Kramer I clicked with it because my parents got divorced when I was that age.”

The Future

What’s next for you?

“I am one of the producers of an up-and-coming indie film studio. We have been making some micro short films and we have a drama/ thrill coming out called Sparring. It’s like a Whiplash style psychological thriller about a military guy being interrogated by a dictatorial figure.”


Where do you want Australian movies to move?

“Truthfully, I am not that wired into the Australian film industry and the trends. For me, I don’t feel much pressure to try and represent the whole country. It’s fine for filmmakers to make something that doesn’t have to be distinctively Australian. Also, I think filmmakers worry too much about what the market wants and appealing to a demographic.”

All photos by Millie Lawyer