DVD Review: Robin McLeavy Knocks ‘Em Dead in ‘The Loved Ones’

Chicago – Sean Byrne’s “The Loved Ones” is one of those cinematic curiosities so gleefully depraved and unapologetically looney that it appears to have been conceived in an insane asylum. There is no logical reason why this picture should work at all, and yet it has been made with such conviction that I couldn’t help watching it in a state of slack-jawed awe.

The premise is resoundingly simple: boy meets girl, boys rejects girl, girl kidnaps and tortures boy in the secluded privacy of her home. What’s strange is that the girl, Lola (Robin McLeavy), isn’t given any proper setup. She has only a single line of dialogue before her true nature is revealed, though McLeavy delivers it with such painfully vulnerable sincerity that she somehow manages to establish a fully realized character in a matter of seconds.

DVD Rating: 3.0/5.0

Of course, it becomes clear that Byrne
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Keith Urban, Beccy Cole reign at Australian Country Music Awards

Keith Urban, Beccy Cole reign at Australian Country Music Awards
The winners of this year's Country Music Awards of Australia have been announced. Keith Urban and Beccy Cole each took home two Golden Guitar gongs at the 40th anniversary of the Aussie music ceremony, held at Tamworth's Regional Entertainment Centre last night. According to Aap, Urban was named 'Male Artist of the Year' and also won a prize for his album Get Closer. Cole won 'Female Artist of the Year' and was also honoured for 'Vocal Collaboration of the Year' for her duet with Kasey Chambers, 'Millionaires'. Urban told his fans via video link: "Thank you so much. The biggest thank you to all you guys out there who bought this record. I appreciate that so much. Have a blast in Tamworth." Cole, who beat nominees such as Kirsty Akers and Katrina Burgoyne in her category, said backstage (more)
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Shane Nicholson "smitten" with baby daughter

Shane Nicholson has revealed that he is "smitten" with his new baby daughter. The Australian musician, whose famous singer wife Kasey Chambers gave birth to Poet Poppin' last month, said that he will miss his family when he heads off on tour later this week. Nicholson told The Daily Telegraph of the new addition: "She lies around looking cute all day. The boys, Tal and Arlo, are smitten with her too." He also revealed that he and his family would be relaxing until next year, when he said that he and Chambers might write some more music together. "There (more)
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Kasey Chambers, Shane Nicholson welcome baby girl named Poet Poppin'

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson have welcomed a baby girl called Poet Poppin'. Award-winning Australian singer Chambers, who already has sons Talon and Arlo with her musician husband, gave birth to her first daughter last Thursday afternoon. Chambers wrote on her official website: "Talon and Arlo picked the middle name because she was always 'poppin' around in my belly like popcorn. All went well and she is doing great. "I'm feeling really good and although I was only just getting the hang of raising boys when the universe threw me a curveball with a baby girl - I literally cannot wipe the smile off my face. Shano is absolutely over the moon of course and Tal and Arlo are overprotective and fussing over her already." Chambers later posted a photograph of the baby on her Facebook page, writing: "Just a quick update for ya. 'Poet (more)
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Australian country singer Kasey Chambers reveals eating disorder agony

Kasey Chambers has revealed that she used to suffer from an eating disorder. The Australian award-winning country musician, who is married to fellow singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson, said that her weight plummeted to only 44kg in 2006 as she was working on her fourth album Carnival. Chambers - who details her experiences with an eating disorder in her autobiography A Little Bird Told Me - told The Daily Telegraph: "I was in total denial for such a long time. The disorder really came out of wanting control because everything in my career felt like it was out of control. "I thought [not eating] was keeping me sane but it was making me crazy. Shane and I had just married and having got through that in our first year of marriage, we can get through (more)
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Angus and Julia Stone win top Apra awards

The 2011 Apra (Australasian Performing Right Association) Music Awards took place in Sydney on Tuesday night. Angus and Julia Stone won both the 'Songwriter of the Year' award and the 'Song of the Year' prize for hit single 'Big Jet Plane'. They have previously won an Aria for the song and it has topped Triple J's Hottest 100 chart. Jet scooped the 'Most Performed Australian Work' and 'Rock Work of the Year' gongs for 'Seventeen', while Megan Washington was named 'Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year'. John Butler could not attend the event but won the 'Blues and Roots Work of the Year' award for track 'Close to You'. In a video link, he described songwriting as a "mysterious woman in [his] life". Kasey Chambers picked up the 'Country Work of the Year' prize (more)
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John Butler Trio leads Apra music award nominations

The John Butler Trio has received five nominations for the upcoming Australasian Performing Right Association (Apra) Music Awards. The Australian group made it into the shortlist for the 'Blues and Roots Work of the Year', 'Most Played Australian Work' and the 'Song of the Year'. Their single 'Revolution' will go up against Angus and Julia Stone hit 'Big Jet Plane', Kasey Chambers's 'Little Bird', Sia's 'Clap Your Hands' and Birds of Tokyo single 'Plans'. Birds of Tokyo have also been nominated in the 'Most Played Australian Work' and 'Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year' categories. Powderfinger picked up two nominations with track 'Burn Your Name' for the 'Rock Work of the Year' and the 'Most Played Australian Work', while Katy (more)
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Kasey Chambers: 'Morning sickness is a battle'

Kasey Chambers has revealed that she is suffering from severe morning sickness while on tour. The Australian singer, who is expecting her third child with fellow musician Shane Nicholson this October, said that she has never struggled juggling pregnancy and tours before. Chambers told the Herald Sun: "[It is a] constant battle [to keep food down]. I have always toured while being pregnant, but clearly this baby has other ideas! "Strangely the only thing that seems to help is eating all the time, so I've been eating everything in sight. Thank goodness I've got my husband with me to carry the guitars." (more)
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Kasey Chambers wins global songwriting prize

Kasey Chambers has won the world's most prestigious songwriting prize. The Australian singer and songwriter, who has sons Talon and Arlo with fellow musician Shane Nicholson, said that she feels very proud to have beaten 15,000 composers from 115 different countries to win the International Songwriting Competition. She said that her winning song 'Beautiful Mess' was inspired by the challenge of parenting and dedicated to her children. Chambers told The Daily Telegraph: "I honestly can't believe it. When I entered the competition, I didn't think I even had a chance being up against songwriters from all over the world but I thought it'd be a fun to enter anyway. "Winning with (more)
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Nicholson, Chambers love taking kids on tour

Shane Nicholson has revealed that he and his wife Kasey Chambers love to involve their children in their music careers. The Australian singer, who has won joint Aria awards with fellow musician Chambers, said that 8-year-old son Talon and 3-year-old son Arlo are excited about going on tour with them at the end of this month. Nicholson told The Australian: "When we're working together they come with us. That's the best part because they are involved in it. We're fortunate that we are doing something that is our passion. We're always aware of that. "To be able to share that with the kids as they grow up is even better. They (more)
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Jimmy Barnes To Release Charity Album For Australian Flood Relief

Australian rock legend Jimmy Barnes is putting the final touches to a brand new charity album to support victims of his homeland’s devastating floods.

Flood waters have now reached the city of Brisbane, leaving at least 12 people dead and 70 missing as rain still lashes the country.

Barnes has banded together with family members to lay down tracks for the album, which will be titled Flood Light, with songs from his brother-in-law guitarist Diesel, his son David Campbell and daughters Mahalia and Ej. Singer Kasey Chambers will also feature.

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Stars Help Raise Cash For Australian Flood Victims

Millions of dollars were raised during a special celebrity charity telethon last night for victims of Australia’s devastating floods.

Stars such as Hugh Jackman, Simon Baker, Terri Irwin, Bindi Irwin, The Veronicas, Kasey Chambers, Tina Arena and X Factor Australia winner Altiyan Childs supported the telethon, hosted by Eddie McGuire, Leila McKinnon and Karl Stefanovic.

The two-hour telethon ran 90 minutes overtime, with phone lines crashing after a few minutes. This didn’t stop over $11 million being donated during the program.

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Frightfest 2010: Review of The Loved Ones

Year: 2009

Directors: Sean Byrne

Writers: Sean Byrne

IMDb: link

Trailer: link

Review by: Ben Austwick

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Australia was well represented at Frightfest this year, with Primal and Red Hill both popular films offering differing but nonetheless successful styles. The crowd's noisy appreciation was saved for a late night screening of The Loved Ones though, a gory horror rollercoaster that while maybe a little crude and predictable is perfect for the horror festival circuit.

Brent is the high school heart throb, a cool but troubled young man asked to the high school dance by mousy redneck Lola. Brent of course has a girlfriend already, his casually polite rejection unwittingly condemning him to a terrible fate, as he is kidnapped and tortured by the unhinged but resourceful Lola with the help of her doting father.

Robin McLeavy's brilliant portrayal of Lola is at the heart of The Loved Ones' success.
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Susan Boyle Covers We'd Like To Hear

Saying you're disappointed in Susan Boyle's debut album is kind of like complaining to your grandma about how lame you think her local weatherman is. You could do it, but what's the point?

Susan Boyle was not meant for you. Despite racking up hundreds of millions of views on YouTube since April, the infamously dowdy Scottish singer has released a full-length album I Dreamed a Dream that is laser targeted to the over-40 demo. When I unwrapped the disc last week, I have to admit I was excited. I'd heard her cover of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" and I was blown away by the depth of emotion and richness of Boyle's voice.

But by the time I slogged through predictably schmaltzy takes on "How Great Thou Art," the forgettable Madonna tune "You'll See" and — ugh — the Monkees' "Daydream Believer," I began to wonder if mentor Simon Cowell had not missed a grand opportunity.
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CDs -- Matthew Sweet: Back In Bed With Susanna Hoffs

Is there something in the air? Not since the Sixties has there been such an explosion of duet albums (at least in rock and roll). Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward with She & Him. Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson. Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris. And of course Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles with their second duets album, Under The Covers Vol. 2. "That's true," says Sweet, who chats away by phone, excited to be talking with Huffington Post since he's a political junkie. (Not to mention a tech junkie, he can talk at length about software and is already itching for an iPod tablet.) "I immediately thought of Robert Plant and Alison Krauss because what they did was so interesting. As far as Sue and I, if we thought about all the...
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Midnight Oil reignited for tsunami benefit

Midnight Oil reignited for tsunami benefit
SYDNEY -- Australian rockers Midnight Oil will reunite to headline the country's second major fund-raising concert to benefit victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. The "Wave Aid" concert will be Jan. 29 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Others on the bill include Nick Cave, Silverchair, Powderfinger, John Butler Trio, Kasey Chambers, the Waifs, Tim and Neil Finn, Missy Higgins, Pete Murray, and the Wrights; the latter is a "supergroup" featuring members of Jet, the Living End, Grinspoon, Powderfinger, Spiderbait, You Am I and Dallas Crane. Organizers hope to raise US$1.3 million. The first major benefit, held Jan. 8 at the Sydney Opera House, raised US$15 million.

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