Spin Out

My first thought upon watching this movie? I’m pretty sure I know these people!

Billy (Xavier Samuel), Sparrow (Travis Jeffery), Lucy (Morgan Griffin), and their friends are just your typical Australian country kids. Spin Out follows these characters as they gear up for another BnS (Bachelors and Spinsters) party. The BnS, as usual, is a legendary night full of good times with mates, loads of drink and laughter, a few nutty antics, and life decisions being made.

The overall storyline of finding, rescuing, and reaffirming love in its many shapes and forms is there, as seems to be a necessity for many movies. The shenanigans, slang, and competitiveness that are so stereotypically Australian also play a large part.

As far as the characters go, it’s nice to see that not everyone follows the basic outline for what many people think ‘country’ is. Mary, in particular, helps to shows that country doesn’t mean just one type of person.

Anyone who has spent time in a small country town can probably relate to at least some part of this story and its characters.



Storks used to deliver babies but, like the rest of the world, they’ve had to adapt to the changing times. Now they deliver for Cornerstore.com! One of the best delivery storks, and slated to be the next boss is Junior (Andy Samberg). He only has one thing to deal with first. Tulip.

Tulip (Katie Crown) was the last baby the storks were to deliver, but when her locator beacon was broken, they had no way of knowing where to delivery her. So she grew up among the storks. Unfortunately, as much as Tulip just wants to help, she causes more problem that she fixes. The last such problem being to promise delivery of a baby.

Now she and Junior must complete the delivery without anyone finding out.

The film itself is very cute in its animation with a few funny moments and some sideways comments about the online consumer market but not much else. Perhaps its most mentionable plot point is the reminder to spend time with your family while you can rather than putting it off for ‘another time’.

If something bright for the kids and easy for the adults to watch is what you’re after, this film will be a good choice.


Captain Fantastic

What is the best way to raise a family? It’s a question that has been asked countless times throughout human existence; and the answers and opinions continue to change.

Ben (Viggo Mortensen) has a path that he believes will be the best for his children. Living in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, the six siblings Bo, Kielyr, Vespyr, Rellian, Zaja, and Nai live by a strict regime to ensure their peak physical fitness and an incredibly high level of knowledge. If there is a book written on a subject, chances are at least one of Ben’s children have studied it at one stage in their lives.

Being so far removed from the outside world does have its downfalls. Lack of advanced medical facilities for example. The family’s mother has been in hospital for a while now and, when she passes away, it throws the children through a loop. They have to leave their small section of paradise to travel to their mother’s funeral, and on the way, they find out just how little they knew of the world. It’s not only the children who are affected. Ben himself has to see other people’s ways of life for the first time in a long time. The comparisons between how different people live their lives and raise their families are stark.

A particular point that stuck out to myself was the question of how much information a child actually needs. Consistently throughout the film, we see Ben answer any query his children have openly and without censorship. When put directly alongside another family who answer their children with part truths to protect their innocence a while longer, it paints a thought provoking image.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember while watching this film is to keep an open mind. There are so many differing opinions and points of view that it can be easy to miss the bigger picture if you don’t actively remember to look for it.

What is the point of philosophy and knowledge without the intricacies of the human race to apply them to?




On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 suffered dual engine failure due to a bird strike. Thanks to the skill and quick thinking of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the plane was able to perform a forced water landing. There were no casualties. All 155 souls on board survived.

While the public and the media hailed Captain Sully as a hero, an investigation was underway to assess whether the decision to land on the Hudson River had been the right one.

Right from the first seconds, this film is a masterpiece. Director Clint Eastwood has you tensed on the edge of your seat as you watch the events unfold.

The quiet of the opening scene is one of the few times I found a lack of musical score to not be a hindrance; it really allows the viewer to focus and try to process the magnitude of what they’re seeing.

Both Tom Hanks (as Sully) and Aaron Eckhart (Co-Pilot Jeff Skiles) have their considerable talents on display in this film. Skiles’ stead-fast support of his captain during the investigation is admirable to say the least.

There was one moment in particular for me when Tom Hanks reaffirmed his status as a brilliant actor. It has been a long time since an actor’s performance has nearly brought me to tears, rather than the story itself. Having been the last one off the aircraft, to the best of his knowledge, and rescued from the waters of the Hudson River, the captain requests a count, saying “155, that’s my number”. The palpable relief when Captain Sullenberger finds out that everyone on his flight lived? I have goosebumps just thinking about it.

The fear that must have been felt by passengers and crew alike as they heard the Captain’s instruction to “brace for impact” is simply unimaginable to me. And yet, throughout the decent, the focus of the captain and co-pilot and the constant mantra of the cabin crew to passengers, instructing them “heads down, stay down. Brace, brace, brace,” was right there, re-enacted for us by Eastwood, Hanks, Eckhart, and others. My words simply do not do it justice. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.


Bridget Jones’s Baby

Things have changed for Bridget Jones since we last saw her. But then again, much has stayed the same.

Still as cringe worthy as ever, Bridget (Renee Zellweger) stumbles her way through life. Her focus on being a single, career orientated woman is disrupted when she finds herself pregnant…. and unsure who the father might be. Bridget has to figure out how to break it to Mark (Colin Firth), her ex, and Jack (Patrick Dempsey), her holiday fling, that either of them could be the father.

With the almost constant flow of foot-in-mouth dialogue and awkward moments, most people are sure to have at least a cringing giggle at the movie.

The part-narration provided by way of Bridget’s diary entries are continued. Only now she’s entered the digital age! Seeing her tap away her thoughts onto an iPad is a cool little touch to show the passage of time since this saga first began in 2001.

Amongst the swirl of emotions, there are nonstop moments and questions that leave you unsure of who you hope the true father to be. It’s hard to see how this scenario can possibly have a happen ending for everyone involved.

I’m going to stop there, though. So if you want to find out if its Mark who’s destined to be with Bridget and bub, or if newcomer Jack is the thing Bridget has needed all these years, you’ll just have to check out the movie for yourself.


Secret Life of Pets

Every wondered what your pets get up to while you’re at work or school? Well now’s your chance to find out!

New York City is filled with so many different types of people; and just as many different types of pets. One such pet is Max, the little white and brown dog who lives with his loving owner. Max’s life is pretty good. At least is was. Enter Duke. This pound mutt wins the sympathy of Max’s owner and is brought home to live with them. As anyone with pets can probably tell you, the introduction of a new pet to a household doesn’t always go smoothly. Max and Duke are no exception. Adventure ensues when Max and Duke find themselves lost in the big scary city with no way home. Add some courageous friends and slightly manic bunny into the mix and you get a kids movie.

The film itself is visually attractive with bright colours and beautiful scenery. As far as storylines go, this one is quite cute, however it lacks a lot of the hidden jokes that often keep mum and dad entertained.

One of the this film’s best features has to be the soundtrack. The opening sequence to Taylor Swift’s Welcome to New York is bound to out you in a good mood. Not to mention the varying music tastes of the animals themselves.

While it’s by no means going to be comedy of the year, the Secret Life of Pets is a cute, fun movie to spend a couple hours on with the littlies, or if you’re just looking for something easy to watch.


Pete’s Dragon

It was once said that “it simply isn’t an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons.” While this isn’t the particular tale he was referring to, Tolkien’s words still ring true. Pete’s Dragon is definitely a worthy adventure.Director David Lowery brings this beautiful story to life, impressing audiences right from the start. The opening scene was excellently portrayed, showing the sadness of the events without being excessively graphic or traumatising. 

A great amount of credit must also go to the cast. Oakes Fegley is adorably innocent in the leading role of Pete, the young boy who has grown up in the woods with only Elliot for company. The stand out fact that makes this story all the more amazing? Elliot is a dragon!

Of course not everyone is going to react the same when the existence of said dragon comes to light. Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) is a park ranger who, with the help of her father, Meacham (Robert Redford), and her boyfriend’s daughter, Natalie (Oona Laurence) want to protect Elliot. On the other side of the coin, we have Natalie’s uncle, Gavin (Karl Urban). Gavin’s reaction upon discovering the dragon is to go hunting. 

We really can’t blame Gavin too much for his reaction. It seems, more often than not, that upon finding something unknown to us, our instinct as humans is to fear it. Stories generally tell us that dragons are something to be feared, so that is the view point adopted by Gavin and his friends.

Thankfully, as in most children’s movies, lessons are learnt and friendships made, so don’t despair too much.

The soundtrack was another facet to this film I really enjoyed. The mostly calming song choices kept the magical feeling throughout.

Lastly, but by no means least, we must address the elephant in the room; or rather, the dragon. Elliot’s mannerisms remind me of a large (ok, massive) green Labrador puppy. His excitement as he plays with Pete and the fear and sadness when he finds himself alone are very well displayed. Effects used to create this adorable, furry giant are fantastic in their quality and his personality is shown extremely well for a character who has no dialogue. 

For kids and adults alike, Pete’s Dragon is the perfect tale to put a little magic in your day.


Sausage Party

If you’re easily offended, stay away from Sausage Party. This latest brain child of Seth Rogen leaves no one untouched in its rude, politically-incorrect insanity. And it’s outrageous.

While I’ll be the first to admit I’m usually not one for offensive and crude humour, the simple fact that no one is left untouched in this nonstop run of insults and one liners did make me laugh.

Rogen’s frequent partners in crime, Jonah Hill and James Franco, ad their voice talents to this cinematic supermarket. And if you’ve watched anything else involving these men (This is the End is probably a good example) you might have a fair idea of what you’re in for!

Just when you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of vulgarity, the end of the film steps it up another notch, throwing you over a cliff. Please remember, even though this is an animated film, it has more than earned it MA15+ rating.

As far as storylines go, I was surprised to find that Sausage Party actually had one at all. The writers were quite adept at working in the stereotypes of many groups of people, all the while portraying and likening them to different foods.

Although I can’t say I’d watch this one again, if you’re a fan of Seth Rogen’s more outlandish work, or up for a laugh at some dirty jokes, Sausage Party is probably one for the watch list.


Suicide Squad

Releasing a bunch of convicted felons to military custody and ordering them to save the world? Sounds like a good idea to me!

DC’s Suicide Squad are the worst of the worst. They steal, destroy, maim, and kill. And they’re our only hope.

From the start, our views of these characters are brought into question. They’re bad guys, right? We’re not supposed to like them; let alone feel sorry for them. But that’s what begins to happen as soon as the screen comes to life.

Deadshot (Will Smith), Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), Captain Boomerang (Jai Courtney), and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) smash their way into our hearts as they smash some baddies.

Will Smith as Deadshot is awesome from his first appearance. With a quick tongue and a little cocky, some might think he’s all talk; but he soon proves he has the skills to back up that attitude.

Killer Croc is big, mean, and ugly. And he knows it. His character, I found, doesn’t show the major, out-right development that the others do, but it’s there. You just have to see past the scales.

El Diablo has already changed his ways by the time we meet him. From bad ass gang leader to pacifist, it’s quite the difference. He’s not interested in fighting. But obviously, that’s no fun in an anti-hero movie.

Aussie villain for the win! Captain Boomerang is an excellent role for the Australian born Courtney. While I admit I would have loved to see more of him during the fights, Boomerang as a character made me giggle more than a few times with his thick Aussie accent and cracks at everyone.

Of course we can’t forget our leading lady, the one and only Harley Quinn. Margot Robbie is wonderfully twisted in her role as the psychiatrist-turned-villain. Her backstory is definitely one that will invoke a little sympathy.

The other much anticipated character that cannot be ignored, is none other than Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker. Jared Leto plays this maniacal jester’s newest incarnation.

One of the biggest criticisms I’ve come across in regards to Suicide Squad is the lack of screen time the Joker has. In my humble opinion, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The film is about the Suicide Squad. Harley is a member, however unwilling; the Joker is not. So as much as I’m excited to see more of Leto’s Joker in the future, his use in building Harley’s story but allowing her to take the lead is fantastic. Having said that, I am in agreeance with many fans asking why DC and Warner Brothers used so much Joker footage in the advertising stage.

Between the quick paced fights and traumatizing flashbacks, the darker feel for the DC cinematic creation they started with Dawn of Justice is continued. These comic book character are not just for kids.

The soundtrack to this film is certainly something else. While it still does well to move with the action and emotions of the film, the selection of songs themselves feel a little list a playlist someone has put together as their own personal soundtrack to life. And let’s be honest, that’s exactly the egotistical thing some of these guys would do.

Hate to love them or love to hate them. It makes no difference in the end. Either way, you’re in for a wild ride when you check out Suicide Squad.


Image: Warner Bros. Pictures


Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Filled with sarcasm, jokes, and puns, each worse that the last, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a movie anyone can enjoy.

Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison) is the foster kid who doesn’t fit in. All his life, he’s been bounced from house to house, only to continuously get into some kind of trouble. As a last ditch effort, his case worker sends him to live with Bella (Rima Te Wiata) on her farm. At first it’s a big change for Ricky; there’s nowhere to get into trouble, and Bella’s husband Hec (Sam Neill) doesn’t seem very interested in him.

A very big theme throughout the film seems to be that there are lots of people who don’t care about foster kids. It’s something Ricky has come to understand and expect in his 13 years. Until he finally finds a home with Bella. Small gestures and constant effort on Bella’s part start to pay off. It’s both heartening and tragic to see how far a little kindness can go to changing one kid’s outlook on the world.

Unfortunately, it seems that even good things can’t always last. With Bella’s sudden passing, Ricky fears he will be lost once again in the foster system. Not wanting that to happen, he takes off into the bush. Knowing that a city kid like Ricky won’t survive long on his own, Hec goes after him only to be injured upon tracking the kid down. As so the story really begins. After spending a few weeks camping out to allow Hec’s leg to heal, the pair start their return to civilization to find that they have been the focus of a massive manhunt. From here, the movie picks up speed as Ricky and Hec continue to evade the authorities.

Director Taika Waititi does a wonderful job, covering all facets of Ricky’s story. Although the surface of the film is amusing in a way that is designed to make both children and adults laugh, Sam Neill’s character, Hec, is used very well in allowing the more mature members of the audience to see the real issues. Throw all that into the mixing pot with the beautiful scenery that is the New Zealand bush, and you have movie that is both intellectually entertaining and visually pleasing. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a definite must see.