Train to Busan (2016) MIFF Review


Fund manager Seok Woo (Yoo Gong) has little time for his daughter, but does not want to give her up to his estranged wife. But the adorable child convinces him that, for her birthday, she wants to go to her mother, and so the two of them get on the train. But, unknown to them, there has been an outbreak of a mysterious disease – essentially, people are rapidly becoming zombies. And one of them managed to get on the train… it’ a problem for the rich and selfish businessman, the high school baseball team, the elderly sisters, the pregnant woman and her husband and, of course, Seok and his daughter.

I don’t think this is necessarily that different to most zombie films. Not that I’ve seen a lot… yet this one didn’t scare me like some others have in the past. I mean, I jumped and squealed a couple of times. But mostly it was a lot of violence and a lot of giggling – zombies can actually be really funny, given half a chance.

Train to Busan is paired with Seoul Station – both set in the world of a zombie outbreak in Seoul and surrounding areas.

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Filed under Film Reviews, Foreign Language Film

Miss Sharon Jones (2015) MIFF Review


If you don’t know the music of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, stop reading this, go to iTunes or your music platform of choice and listen to all of her music. All of it. Now. She is just amazing – I’ve been enjoying her live shows for years, so when I saw this doco was playing at MIFF, there was no chance I was going to miss it. And it broke my heart a little.

As I hadn’t read the blurb, I assumed it would be about her background – where she came from, how she got involved with Daptone Records, that type of thing. Instead, it followed her shortly after she had surgery for pancreatic cancer, and how she recovers and returns to performing. I don’t know how well it would go for someone who doesn’t know Sharon Jones and her music, but for a fan, it’s hardgoing but worth it.

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Filed under Documentary, Film Reviews

Audrie & Daisy (2016) MIFF Review


It seems to be increasingly common that teenage girls are being sexually assaulted and having evidence of this then spread via social media or text message. Boys too, I’m sure, and not just teenagers. Audrie and Daisy focuses on two such cases; one girl went on to take her own life, and the other battled for a long time to get some kind of legal action taken around the situation.

The way the documentary was put together, it was able to capture the gravity of what happened without sensationalising it, and for this reason I think it would be good for use in schools. It recognises that the girls had been under the influence and therefore, in some people’s mind, they had contributed to what happened to them. When this attitude is shown by those in law enforcement, especially the man (whose two young daughters are shown in the film) who is supposed to be investigating this sexual assault, the film audience reacted audibly – and a room full of people making sounds of disgust gave me some hope that the world may, one day, be okay.

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Ants on a Shrimp: Noma in Tokyo (2016) MIFF Review


What do you do when your Copenhagen Restaurant continues to win accolades for being the best restaurant in the world and is known for amazing experimental dishes and fresh flavours? Pack it all up and take it to Tokyo, of course! This documentary shows Rene Redzepi and his staff as they plan a six-week residency in a Tokyo hotel.

It was interesting to see them discovering new ingredients, trying new menu items, but I felt that there wasn’t really enough focus of the food – though it is perhaps hard to put into words, I’d have love to have heard the various chefs talking about why they used the ingredients in the way they did. What was created by adding ants to that shrimp? How did the creative process actually unfold? I’m glad we got a good look at the final product, though I would have loved a taster…

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Ghostbusters (2016) Film Review


Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) is trying to be taken seriously as a science academic, but is haunted by her past with Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) and their book that dealt with the possible reality of ghosts. So when she meets up with Abby again, now working with the weird and wacky Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) and they actually see a ghost, she has to reconsider many life choices. Then things start to get a bit out of control in the ghost world; they end up hiring a very handsome and very stupid secretary, Kevin (Chris Hemsworth), get a fourth to their group, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), become celebrities, but then quickly get shut down by Mayor Bradley (Andy Garcia) and… it continues.

Yes, there was a lot of talk about the remake of a classic film, and even more when it was revealed that the main characters would all be women. I understand the fear that the original, that so many of us grew up loving, might be tarnished by a remake. Well, I thought it was fabulous. It had much of the silly humour of the first, as well as a few of the scary shock moments. And what an awesome cast! I kind of wish that it had been more of a long-awaited sequel – I couldn’t be bothered with a whole origin story. But still, I just loved it. Especially the Holtzmann character – it’s been ages since I’ve seen such a fun 80s style crazy character.

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Captain America: Civil War (2016) Film Review


There are these superheroes who go around and save the world against terrible horrors – like giant alien worms and the like. And behind them, they leave destroyed cities, dead civilians and people are not happy about it. So, the world wants to set a restriction on them – make them responsible to a panel. Some of the heroes, notably Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) are for this – he is feeling particularly guilty from the last film. Others, like Captain America (Chris Evans) are against this, concerned that they would become puppets for bad guys. And then there are problems, and they all fight, and it gets exciting.

I love it. They’ve thrown in some new guys, like Spiderman (Tom Holland), and brought back loads of the originals. Notably, the Hulk is missing, and I want him back, but I’ll still enjoy all the fun and ridiculous stuff that this film gives me. And I’ll watch more in the future!


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Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid – Book Review


This is the second in the series that inspired the television show. Carol Jordan is working with a police team who are investigating a death that occurred in a factory fire. Meanwhile, Tony Hill is working with a group of officers that they are hoping to train up as the first key profiling team in the UK. But when one of his team discovers a link between several young missing persons and soon ends up dead, things get real. And horrible.

It’s not taken me long to get addicted to this series. Both main characters are flawed, but still immensely likable. You want them to recognise their connection and get together, but are also aware that this isn’t an American sitcom, and that there are an awful lot of hurdles to leap before there is any chance of a happy ending. Realistically, there is not going to be a happy ending for these guys, and that’s also ok.

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