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toxiemite

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64 reviews in total 
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Impressive directorial debut!, 12 April 2015
8/10

UNDER A KALEIDOSCOPE marks the directorial debut from writer Addison Heath, who previously wrote CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY VANILLA. My love of that film is no secret and I've been banging on about it all year. With that film doing the festival circuit, picking up awards and being praised wherever it goes its success can be equally attributed to Addison's incredible script alongside Stuart Simpson's immaculate direction. No sooner had CSV wrapped, Addison had announced that he was working on a brand new feature film and that he was going to direct it. That's no small task and with a team of dedicated friends and fellow filmmakers behind him he set about making UNDER A KALEIDOSCOPE. What an achievement. To my knowledge Addison had only previously flirted with one short, which makes this debut feature length film all the more impressive. It tells the story of Caleb, an agoraphobic filmmaker who spends his days tripping on acid, who befriends an abused neighbour, Beatrice. Communicating through the wall dividing their apartments they form a friendship and Caleb finds himself confronted with a violent and repulsive underworld. Beatrice's husband is a notorious criminal figure known for butchering his victims with a hatchet and Caleb is caught trying to protect his new friend from the barbaric hands of her brutal husband. Addison Heath has delivered an accomplished psychedelic thriller that is beautiful and reprehensible in equal measure. His story is a no holds barred trip into exploitation. With a hallucinogenic set design, the story unfolds in a surreal and eclectic narrative and teeters recklessly between the realistic and the fantastic. The players are all great with Kristen Condon pledging her most sincere and heartfelt performance to date. She really dug deep and tapped into something honest. Aston Elliot is also a show- stealer with his hideously reprehensible character of Roger "The Hatchet Man" Smith. If you've seen CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY VANILLA then you will recall Elliot playing the equally repulsive character, Rocko. Surely Addison gets a perverse kick out of writing these roles for Elliot and the poor bloke dug in and relished every morbid moment. I love the guy. UNDER A KALEIDOSCOPE announces Addison Heath as a dangerous and exciting new filmmaker on the scene. His two feature film scripts are worlds apart, sharing few similarities. He is clearly a filmmaker with an ability to shift between genres effortlessly and isn't allowing himself to be pigeon holed into any one formula. God only knows what he will come up with next and I sure as hell cannot wait to find out!

From FakeShemp.Net

3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Folklore and exploitation collide, 10 December 2014
8/10

So many filmmakers have me eating my words lately. I've been vocal about my distaste for the found-footage genre and yet over the last couple of years there have been some wonderful little films that have impressed the heck out of me... THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE PILLIGA is one of them. We follow two guys (Dylan & Jay) as they drive through a remote area in the northern regions of New South Wales. Dylan is a cameraman filming his mate Jay, who is a colorful, bumpkin trucker and they meet two drunk girls who agree to a late night new years eve adventure in the bush. Their escapade finds them venturing into the Pilliga National Park where things take a sinister turn and a local legend comes out to play. Director Dane Millerd has crafted his film with blood, sweat, tears and a hell of a lot of precision. While it presents itself as "found footage" the film actually evolves throughout its course and you become so enamored with the characters, particularly Jay, that you forget about the format. Each of the players deliver convincing and sincere performances and none more mesmeric than Brendan Byrne who plays Jay. This guy terrified me. At first I thought him to be more of a caricature of the Aussie "bloke" but as the film played out I kept having flashbacks to folks I've met in rural Australia over the years... and it's fair to say that this is no caricature. He might not be a villain in this story but his outback Aussie-redneck-tendencies make him one scary mother who could've easily been the love child of Mick Taylor and Chopper Read. The film's style, pacing and payoffs are all strong and Millerd effectively strings the first half of the story along at a meandering pace, allowing us to get comfortable with these characters so that when they are thrown into their hellish night of horror we are right there beside them. He also provides a believable reason for these people to venture out into the bush and avoids all of the contrived and clichéd tropes of the genre. THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE PILLIGA is a strong, formidable and welcome genre-film that toys with exploitation and unearths a folklore that has been screaming to be told. Wherever you watch this fantastic new film, do it right... IE a dark space with maximum volume and total engagement!!

Throwback (2014/II)
5 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
Vernon Wells.. that IS a throwback... Yowie!, 2 December 2014
9/10

"Throwback" is one of my favourite references when discussing films and therefore you can imagine my anticipation when I first heard about a new film called THROWBACK! On top of that the film is about the mythical creature The Yowie (Australia's answer to Sasquatch) and has been promoted with one of the best damn movie posters I've seen in years... yep, I was sold before I even saw it. The film tells the story of two fortune seekers who hike into the depths of a far north Queensland rainforest in search of a lost treasure. The legend has it that a notorious outlaw went in with a fortune but never came out again... and so our two antagonists walk, paddle and climb their way into the dense wilderness and unbeknownst to them the area has also been at the centre of multiple disappearances. Before long they find themselves pitted against each other before being separated, hunted and terrorized by the terrifying yowie. Throw a female park ranger and an undercover homicide detective (Vernon Wells) in to the mix and you've got a winner on your hands. THROWBACK impressed the hell out of me. Right from the get go it's clear that we're in the hands of a filmmaker who knows what he's doing. With an eye for bold, cinematic wide shots and beautiful panning it becomes obvious that the makers of this small low budget film had big things on their mind. Director Travis Bain has used the picturesque landscape to his every advantage to help ground his schlocky story with a foundation of credibility. He makes no secret of the fact that THROWBACK is a tongue-in-cheek affair and yet amongst the farcical nature of the story is a deeply seeded horror and an effective use of suspense. Where most films of this nature would keep their creature hidden in the shadows, Bain has brought him out into the light. It's a ballsy move on his part with the risk of the film's credibility at stake... but he pulls it off and manages to present a convincing monster and a suspenseful story with the assistance of solid performances and a fantastic score. The music was composed by Amotz Plessner and the legendary Richard Band (Re-Animator, From Beyond) and it will be a real deal breaker for a lot of viewers. Their score is truly wonderful. It adds bucket loads of suspense and elevates the film to a whole other level. As the film's title would suggest Travis Bain has crafted his film with a deep seeded love for genre films and he pays homage to a whole lot of them. From a nice reference to THE LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK to an overall cue taken from CREATURE FROM BLACK LAKE... his film is one of nostalgia and it's a whole lot of fun. It has played all around to the world at various film festivals and I was lucky enough to catch it at the 2014 Monster Fest. I can say, without any reservation, that THROWBACK was my favourite film of the festival. What it has accomplished on a small budget is nothing less than extraordinary.

5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Exceptional independent film., 29 September 2014
9/10

With a provocative name like THE SUICIDE THEORY and little knowledge of its story, I had no idea what to expect from this new independent Australian feature film. Suspecting something gratuitous and/or deeply disturbing I was surprised and relieved to be confronted with a unique and original film, which was dramatic and comical in equal measure. It tells the story of two men who are both dealing with unimaginable grief. One of them (Steven) has harnessed his darkness by becoming a gun-for-hire while the other man (Percival) is desperately suicidal. Percival believes himself to be cursed when no method of suicide actually works and so he employs Steven to kill him. The two men form an unlikely bond when Steven's attempts to kill Percival all fail. The story is complex and to reveal any more would be to ruin it for you. So good is this film that I uncomfortably held in one of the biggest pisses I've ever had to take. I kept waiting for a moment to quickly duck out but the film was so gripping that I couldn't leave. Every beat seemed important and to have left the cinema, even for a moment, would have ruined the film. I am struggling to find any criticisms with THE SUICIDE THEORY aside from the fact that the title may be off putting to many people... however it is a very appropriate title. Director Dru Brown has crafted an amazing looking film with rock-solid performances from every single player. Leo Cain and Steve Mouzakis are fantastic as the two leads and their on screen chemistry is undeniable. Both deliver sincere and outstanding performances. The script is good too and moves from beat to beat without drooping and it keeps the story moving at full steam ahead. The film is shot well, lit well and edited well. It's an accomplished film, which will stick with me for some time. I am already wanting to watch it again and cannot wait to see what good things Dru Brown moves onto from here. This is an exceptional film.

From my website FakeShemp.Net

Provocative, Unique & Raw, 22 September 2014
9/10

I write most of my reviews within an hour of watching the films. Writing is often my way to process what I have just seen and you can read my thoughts as they unfold. Doing this is not so easy with a film like MADE IN Australia. I need time to let this film sink in. I need to comprehend what I have just seen. It was made by a Melbourne filmmaker named Matthew Victor Pastor and he also stars as himself. It tells a semi-autobiographical story in a strange and curious way. In fact the story is more of a thought process of its own. Using an unconventional narrative Pastor recounts various relationships in his life, which have all imprinted on his psyche. His examination of these affairs is existential and his method explores different facets of surrealism. There are moments when he talks directly into the camera and then there are strange and beautiful fantasies. Not only has Pastor thought outside of the box to produce this beautiful piece of work but he has attempted to look back inside through every nook and cranny. The result is an impressive debut feature film that is challenging, confronting and passionate. Sincerity flows out of Pastor's character as he reaches into a deep place to evoke a raw and emotional performance. The rest of his cast are exceptional too, with several of the actresses pushing themselves to incredibly vulnerable places. Technically the film seems immaculate. The cinematography is strong and controlled, with varying styles being exploited depending on the locations. Shot in both Melbourne and Hong Kong the film also has an international appeal and feels bigger than what it is. Pastor is clearly a director with filmmaking in his blood. MADE IN Australia is a film made by a man who has a lot to say and has a resolute ambition to say it on screen. I hope you will all have a chance to see this film and perhaps, like myself, you will need to see it more than once. I am still reflecting on it. Still working it all out. This film sticks.

From my website www.fakeshemp.net

28 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
It's not where you end up, its how you got there., 19 January 2012
8/10

This is a great little film and I hope you all get a chance to see it. A woman whose life is falling apart gets into the back of a New York cab and tells the driver to "just drive". She falls asleep and wakes up on a highway in Pennsylvania. The cabbie is a guy who's life isn't any better and he uses her instructions to "just drive" as a means to easy money. That's the premise and the whole movie is spent on the road. Two people lost, desperate for something new. This movie really appealed to me from the get-go and there's so much to like about it. While we know exactly where the story is headed, the fun is all about getting there. It's an 'in-between' movie. This story of love unfolds slowly and it's refreshing to see a bond form gradually as opposed to the heightened whirlwind romances that dominate the rom-com genre. The lead actor, Sam Jaeger, also wrote and directed the film and the main actress is his real-life wife... and so the chemistry is solid between them. This is my type of romance story and I love when a movie leaves me with a massive smile... this one left me feeling really perked and as I said, getting to the end point was what the movie was all about. Well written, really well performed and beautifully shot throughout the vast stretch of emptiness between the east coast and west coast of America. Yay for this movie!

Better than the first, 23 June 2011
7/10

With the upcoming Fright Night remake getting closer I thought it a good idea to catch up on the original and it's sequel. Fright Night is one of those classics from the 80s that everyone who remembers it, loves it. Its a great campy vampire flick. I just finished watching part 2 and in my opinion it is better than part 1 in just about every way. Its takes itself more seriously, its darker and the vampires are much scarier. Most people think that Stephen Geoffrey's and Chris Sarandon were the best things about the first movie but I think the sequel is much stronger without them. It's a shame that this flick has fallen out of distribution because its damn hard to come by these days.... hopefully it will get a re-release with the new remake just around the corner. Verdict: a great 80s fright flick!!

Sanctum (2011)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Generically fun, 23 June 2011
5/10

Sanctum kind of hovers around the middle. I saw in on DVD and really regret not seeing it at the cinema in 3D. I think that would have been a deciding factor... but in regular 2D its nothing new. We're seen it all before, in fact so many times that it's almost a genre unto itself. The script it derivative and hokey and Richard Roxburgh delivers one of the kitchiest roles of his career... but he's Richard Roxburgh and he can do that. The man is a legend... but at the end of the day its a no-brainer popcorn flick. It looks good and it's exciting.... the pace is tight and ultimately is entertaining enough to recommend. Wish I'd seen it in 3D though.

Yogi Bear (2010)
Better than the average remake, 23 June 2011
6/10

CGI updates of classic cartoon favourites have been deplorable. The poor kids of today have no idea what Garfield or the chipmunks were really like.... thank God for Yogi Bear!! I loved this movie. The cartoon comes to life with everything in tact. Its the same goofy scenarios played out just like they were in the good ol' days. Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake are great as the voices of Yogi and BooBoo and Tom Cavanagh and Anna Farris provide solid support characters... but the show stealing performance comes from Andrew Daly (from Eastbound and Down) as the shifty mayor. He's hilarious. So ignore the critics... if you loved the cartoon, then the movie delivers the goods. Fun fun fun!

9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
Apocalypse Strel, 21 October 2010
6/10

This is one of the most bizarre documentaries I've ever seen. Its not a well made film by any means. It looks rather amateur and it is edited and executed like they've just cracked the box open on Final Cut Pro. But the strange thing about this doco is that it's entirely compelling. It chronicles one middle-aged man's determination to swim the length of the Amazon river... a fete never attempted. Its a river full of countless dangers; piranha, anacondas, alligators, parasites, whirlpools and Amazonian natives to name just some. The film begins in a very hokey manner which basically has it's subject, Martin Strel, prancing around like a drunken imbecile. I found this irritating as if they're declaring to the world "We're from Slovenia, aren't we weird?"... but once the marathon swim begins, the movie is captivating. As days begin to meld into each other the story begins to resemble something from Apocalypse Now as Strel slowly slips into madness and delirium. A lot of the editing is forced and unnecessary but the overall journey is well worth watching. As the end credits began to roll it was strange to see Olivia Newton-John's name pop up as a producer. I am guessing she came on board after the fact to help fund it's distribution. Whatever... its a really peculiar movie!


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