Film Review by Wal Reid
The Stolen

The Premise
Charlotte Lockton, a wealthy, upper class, English immigrant, chooses to forgo all of her home luxuries to find her kidnapped baby son. She navigates her way through the unruly and wild world of the gold rush in 1860’s New Zealand, finding unlikely friendship amongst the hustlers, whores, Maori Warriors and Chinese Miners. But in the end, she must face the man who took the boy – and become the woman she never thought she’d be.

The Review

Producer/writer and star of the film, Emily Corcoran’s The Stolen had me at ‘Kiwi period film’ and of course with its lavish list of Hollywood actors plus our own Stan Walker (Maori tracker) & Thor star Cohen Holloway, it was a local yarn that was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Directed by Niall Johnson (White Noise) its a gritty tale about a mother’s hope as she sets off to find her kidnapped baby son, set against the harsh backdrop of colonial Aotearoa, aka New Zealand during the Gold Rush days – with no sealed roads and the rampant lawlessness prevalent in those days, this was easier said than done.
While this may be an ambitious tale to bring to the big screen, its not without its own technical niggles.

The movie sports a strong and wonderfully female cast, with English actress, Star Trek’s Alice Eve (Charlotte Lockton) playing the role as the distressed mum to a tee. Her emotional continuity & onscreen maternal strength should be lauded, however, the film did occasionally wane from its plot and technically felt stilted here & there, but continued to hold my attention to the end.

Was it just me or did the sight of singer Stan Walker seem out of place? Quibbles aside, I did enjoy the film, but Stan Walker in the role of Matai the Maori tracker made me chagrin more than a few times, he wasn’t bad by any stretch, but possibly another face could’ve made it more palatable for me.

A few references of the giant “Weta” bug and women protesting the right to vote in this country were nice touches, and Stan’s song at the end was a fitting finale to an otherwise solid Kiwi Spaghetti Western. International stars Outlander’s Graham McTavish, Pirates Jack Davenport & the stunning Gillian MacGregor were solid in their roles, and the Kiwi’s didn’t disappoint either – Thor’s Cohen Holloway, Rocky Horror’s Richard O’Brien & Kiwi/American Mikaela Rüegg the pick of the bunch.

The Verdict

Eve’s emotional continuity & onscreen maternal strength should be lauded, however, the film did occasionally wane from its plot and technically felt stilted here & there, but continued to hold my attention to the end.
If you like your period dramas with bite and grit with a local flavour, then The Stolen will be up your alley, however, like I say, it’s not without its nuances and niggles and just finds its mark – Saying that though, as a film, I enjoyed it more than the Michael Fassbender Western shot here Slow West.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 23rd November 2017
Rating: M – Contains Violence, sexual references & offensive language
Duration: 95 minutes
Genre: Drama
Starring: Alice Eve, Graham McTavish, Jack Davenport
Director: Niall Johnson (Films)

The Stolen Review “Yeah, Nah, Yeah (Just)

Words Wal Reid

The Premise

Charlotte Lockton, a wealthy, upper class, English immigrant, chooses to forgo all of her home luxuries to find her kidnapped baby son. She navigates her way through the unruly and wild world of the gold rush in 1860’s New Zealand, finding unlikely friendship amongst the hustlers, whores, Maori Warriors and Chinese Miners. But in the end, she must face the man who took the boy – and become the woman she never thought she’d be.

The Review

Producer/writer and star of the film, Emily Corcoran’s The Stolen had me at ‘Kiwi period film’ and of course with its lavish list of Hollywood actors plus our own Stan Walker (Maori tracker) & Thor star Cohen Holloway, it was a local yarn that was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Directed by Niall Johnson (White Noise) its a gritty tale about a mother’s hope as she sets off to find her kidnapped baby son, set against the harsh backdrop of colonial Aotearoa, aka New Zealand during the Gold Rush days – with no sealed roads and the rampant lawlessness prevalent in those days, this was easier said than done. While this may be an ambitious tale to bring to the big screen, its not without its own technical niggles.

The movie sports a strong and wonderfully female cast, with English actress, Star Trek’s Alice Eve (Charlotte Lockton) playing the role as the distressed mum to a tee. Her emotional continuity & onscreen maternal strength should be lauded, however, the film did occasionally wane from its plot and technically felt stilted here & there, but continued to hold my attention to the end.

Was it just me or did the sight of singer Stan Walker seem out of place? Quibbles aside, I did enjoy the film, but Stan Walker in the role of Matai the Maori tracker made me chagrin more than a few times, he wasn’t bad by any stretch, but possibly another face could’ve made it more palatable for me.

A few references of the giant “Weta” bug and women protesting the right to vote in this country were nice touches, and Stan’s song at the end was a fitting finale to an otherwise solid Kiwi Spaghetti Western. International stars Outlander’s Graham McTavish, Pirates Jack Davenport & the stunning Gillian MacGregor were solid in their roles, and the Kiwi’s didn’t disappoint either – Thor’s Cohen Holloway, Rocky Horror’s Richard O’Brien & Kiwi/American Mikaela Rüegg the pick of the bunch.

The Verdict

Eve’s emotional continuity & onscreen maternal strength should be lauded, however, the film did occasionally wane from its plot and technically felt stilted here & there, but continued to hold my attention to the end.

If you like your period dramas with bite and grit with a local flavour, then The Stolen will be up your alley, however, like I say, it’s not without its nuances and niggles and just finds its mark – Saying that though, as a film, I enjoyed it more than the Michael Fassbender Western shot here Slow West.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 23rd November 2017
Rating: M – Contains Violence, sexual references & offensive language
Duration: 95 minutes
Genre: Drama
Starring: Alice Eve, Graham McTavish, Jack Davenport
Director: Niall Johnson (Films)

MY TASTE OF THIS YEAR’S VNZMA’s

Words Yulia Podrul. Pics Brad Holland Vault Media Photography

The VMNZA is officially here! Lots of buzz excitement in the air and artistically invaded Spark Arena by local artists, including Swidt , Maala, DevilSkin of course, Tomorrow People, Dave Dobbin and many many other talents.

That’s not your typical red carpet which you normally have high expectations for. It’s extremely casual, laid back, funky. Traditionally not so much glamour, not so many crystals, and no formal attire whatsoever. At the end of the day that’s your music Award night in New Zealand, so you got to be creative and color your hair red or green to stand out. I’m just kidding. Once you get to know your musicians, they are incredible young talents. One of them is my favorite Lorde.

We are shifting into the heart of Spark Arena. Lots of lights and glitter here, that I can tell! VIP tables are occupied by glory and fame. Even Jacinda Adern honored her presence at VMNZA. We have 21 awards to give away to only the best.

The opening kicked off with incredible breathtaking Moana soundtrack performance by Opetaia Foa’i. That performance touched me. It made me realize how much I love pacific and the country we all live in!
The first award for solo artist was given away to Lorde, and I can not wait to see her performing on stage tonight.

The first award for solo artist was given away to Lorde, and I can not wait to see her performing on stage tonight. Her attitude is incredible, her energy is massive and yet she seats relaxed absorbing all the vibes. I love this.

Theia is a nominee for people’s choice award. Her costume did outperform her singing though. Creative and brave.

My favorite band The Koi Boys took the best album reward. They truly deserve, incredible guys with great hearts, just like Kings took out his award for Vodafone highest selling single.

MY TASTE OF THIS YEAR’S VNZMA’s

Words Yulia Podrul. Pics Brad Holland Vault Media Photography

The VMNZA is officially here! Lots of buzz excitement in the air and artistically invaded Spark Arena by local artists, including Swidt , Maala, DevilSkin of course, Tomorrow People, Dave Dobbyn and many many other talents.

That’s not your typical red carpet which you normally have high expectations for. It’s extremely casual, laid back, funky. Traditionally not so much glamour, not so many crystals, and no formal attire whatsoever. At the end of the day that’s your music Award night in New Zealand, so you got to be creative and colour your hair red or green to stand out. I’m just kidding. Once you get to know your musicians, they are incredible young talents. One of them is my favorite; Lorde.

As we are shifting into the heart of Spark Arena, there are lots of lights and glitter here. VIP tables are occupied by glory and fame. Even Jacinda Adern honored her presence at VMNZA. We have 21 awards to give away to only the best of NZ’s music.

The opening kicked off with incredible breathtaking Moana soundtrack performance by Opetaia Foa’i. That performance touched me. It made me realise how much I love the Pacific and the island country we all live in.

The first award for solo artist was given away to Lorde, and I can not wait to see her performing on stage tonight. Her attitude is incredible, her energy is massive and yet she seats relaxed absorbing all the vibes. I love this.

Theia is a nominee for people’s choice award. Her costume did outperform her singing though; creative and brave.

My favorite band The Koi Boys took the best album reward. They truly deserve, incredible guys with great hearts, just like Kings took out his award for Vodafone’s highest selling single. The VNZMA’s presented a night full of surprises and great artistic souls that truly deserve their awards. Well done.

LORDE WINS SIX TUIS AT THE 2017 VODAFONE NEW ZEALAND MUSIC AWARDS

Photo Brad Holland Vault Media Photography

Lorde continues her reign on top of New Zealand music by claiming six Tuis at tonight’s 52nd Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards at Spark Arena in Auckland.

The 21-year-old, who performed her hit ‘Green Light’ during the show, claimed the Godfrey Hirst Album of the Year for her second album Melodrama, Vodafone Single of the Year for ‘Green Light’, Three Best Solo Artist, and The Edge Best Pop Artist. Her global success was also recognised with the International Achievement Award – a record extending fourth time she has won this award.

Lorde also won the coveted Vodafone People’s Choice Award, with the New Zealand public voting for her as their favourite artist from the past year.

With tonight’s haul, Lorde now has 18 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards to add to her brimming trophy cabinet which already includes two Grammys.

After bursting onto the New Zealand hip hop scene with SmokeyGotBeatz presents: SWIDT vs Everybody, SWIDT were finalists at the Awards last year.

This year, the Onehunga-based hip hop crew have been making bigger waves with the release of its debut album Stoneyhunga. Packed with humour, throwbacks and a personalised tour into what it was like growing up in Onehunga, SWIDT’s personality is what has seen them take home two Tuis tonight for Best Group and Best Hip Hop Artist.

New Zealand’s rising star Aldous Harding claimed Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Best Alternative Artist, following the release of her 2017 album Party and subsequent local and international touring.

She is currently performing in the United Kingdom before heading home for four shows at the end of November in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

All eyes were on Sharon O’Neill tonight as she received the Legacy Award and was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame. The celebration was emphasised by a stunning rendition of her hit song ‘Maxine’ by eight-time Tui winners Stellar*.

Alongside Lorde, songwriter and lead vocalist of Te Vaka, Opetaia Foa’i, was recognised with an International Achievement Award for his work on the soundtrack for Disney’s smash hit film Moana.

His music on the soundtrack was led by the single ‘We Know The Way’ and he contributed significantly to all the music within the film. Earlier this year, Opetaia was also presented with the Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Pacific Music Awards.

Devilskin has been recognised as New Zealand’s Best Rock Artist for 2017. The band’shigh energy performance of ‘Pray’ rocked Spark Arena at tonight’s ceremony.

The band’s 2016 album Be Like The River reached #1 on the Official New Zealand Music Chart and has received critical acclaim both in New Zealand and abroad.

Teeks (Ngāpuhi, Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui) has been awarded the Te Māngai Pāho Best Māori Artist. He is recognised for his debut release The Grapefruit Skies EP which is filled with his soulful style and reached #10 on the Official NZ Top 40 Albums Chart.

Last year’s summer smash hit ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout It’ by Kiwi hip hop artist KINGS has been celebrated again, winning the Tui for both Vodafone Highest Selling Single and New Zealand On Air Radio Airplay Record of the Year.

This year, The Koi Boys have achieved phenomenal success with their debut album Meant To Be. Released in October 2016, the album has skyrocketed to the top of the sales chart as 2017’s Highest Selling Album.

After releasing her debut album in 2008, Ladi6 has remained a strong staple of the Kiwi music scene. This year she has earned the top spot for Best Soul/RnB Artist following the release of her six-track EP Royal Blue 3000.

New Zealand electronic duo Truth have received the Tui for Best Electronic Artist, while reggae musician Israel Starr was named the Best Roots Artist after a strong year of touring his new album The Producers Chair Dancehall, Vol. 1.

Curate Music won Best Worship Artist for their work on the album These Eyes, while Best Classical Artist was awarded to the NZTrio after the release of their album Sway.

Recorded Music CEO Damian Vaughan said 2017 has been another phenomenal year for New Zealand music, with a number of notable achievements internationally and here in Aotearoa.

“The sheer calibre of Kiwi musicians at the moment is astounding, we’re particularly thrilled to see such strong female representation amongst the finalists and the winners. Across all genres and musical styles, the sound of Aotearoa continues to evolve to encompass our diverse communities and reflect our identity as a country.

“The great number of first time finalists this year is a great sign for the bright future of Kiwi music. Today we’re celebrating each Tui win, but we’re already looking forward to seeing what our talented musicians are planning next.”

The 2017 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards were hosted by comedians Jono and Ben and featured performances by Lorde, SWIDT, Devilskin, TEEKS, Theia, Opetaia and Olivia Foa’i performing ‘We Know the Way’ from the Moana film and a special tribute by Stellar* for the 2017 Legacy Award recipient Sharon O’Neill.

Tui recipients who received their awards during the year are:

Best Jazz Album: Jonathan Crayford – East West MoonBest Folk Album: Guy Wishart – West By NorthBest Pacific Album: Aaradhna – Brown GirlBest Children’s Album: Anika Moa – Songs For Bubbas 2Best Country Music Album: Jody Direen – Shake UpBest Album Cover: Henrietta Harris – Otherness (Grayson Gilmour)Best Music Video: Joel Kefali – ‘Got It Bad’ (LEISURE)Best Engineer: Clint Murphy – Be Like The River (Devilskin)Best Producer: Ben Edwards – Preservation (Nadia Reid)

LORDE WINS SIX TUIS AT THE 2017 VODAFONE NEW ZEALAND MUSIC AWARDS

Photo Brad Holland Vault Media Photography

Lorde continues her reign on top of New Zealand music by claiming six Tuis at tonight’s 52nd Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards at Spark Arena in Auckland.

The 21-year-old, who performed her hit ‘Green Light’ during the show, claimed the Godfrey Hirst Album of the Year for her second album Melodrama, Vodafone Single of the Year for ‘Green Light’, Three Best Solo Artist, and The Edge Best Pop Artist. Her global success was also recognised with the International Achievement Award – a record extending fourth time she has won this award.

Lorde also won the coveted Vodafone People’s Choice Award, with the New Zealand public voting for her as their favourite artist from the past year.

With tonight’s haul, Lorde now has 18 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards to add to her brimming trophy cabinet which already includes two Grammys.

After bursting onto the New Zealand hip hop scene with SmokeyGotBeatz presents: SWIDT vs Everybody, SWIDT were finalists at the Awards last year.

This year, the Onehunga-based hip hop crew have been making bigger waves with the release of its debut album Stoneyhunga. Packed with humour, throwbacks and a personalised tour into what it was like growing up in Onehunga, SWIDT’s personality is what has seen them take home two Tuis tonight for Best Group and Best Hip Hop Artist.

New Zealand’s rising star Aldous Harding claimed Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Best Alternative Artist, following the release of her 2017 album Party and subsequent local and international touring.

She is currently performing in the United Kingdom before heading home for four shows at the end of November in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland.

All eyes were on Sharon O’Neill tonight as she received the Legacy Award and was inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame. The celebration was emphasised by a stunning rendition of her hit song ‘Maxine’ by eight-time Tui winners Stellar*.

Alongside Lorde, songwriter and lead vocalist of Te Vaka, Opetaia Foa’i, was recognised with an International Achievement Award for his work on the soundtrack for Disney’s smash hit film Moana.

His music on the soundtrack was led by the single ‘We Know The Way’ and he contributed significantly to all the music within the film. Earlier this year, Opetaia was also presented with the Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Pacific Music Awards.

Devilskin has been recognised as New Zealand’s Best Rock Artist for 2017. The band’shigh energy performance of ‘Pray’ rocked Spark Arena at tonight’s ceremony.

The band’s 2016 album Be Like The River reached #1 on the Official New Zealand Music Chart and has received critical acclaim both in New Zealand and abroad.

Teeks (Ngāpuhi, Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui) has been awarded the Te Māngai Pāho Best Māori Artist. He is recognised for his debut release The Grapefruit Skies EP which is filled with his soulful style and reached #10 on the Official NZ Top 40 Albums Chart.

Last year’s summer smash hit ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout It’ by Kiwi hip hop artist KINGS has been celebrated again, winning the Tui for both Vodafone Highest Selling Single and New Zealand On Air Radio Airplay Record of the Year.

This year, The Koi Boys have achieved phenomenal success with their debut album Meant To Be. Released in October 2016, the album has skyrocketed to the top of the sales chart as 2017’s Highest Selling Album.

After releasing her debut album in 2008, Ladi6 has remained a strong staple of the Kiwi music scene. This year she has earned the top spot for Best Soul/RnB Artist following the release of her six-track EP Royal Blue 3000.

New Zealand electronic duo Truth have received the Tui for Best Electronic Artist, while reggae musician Israel Starr was named the Best Roots Artist after a strong year of touring his new album The Producers Chair Dancehall, Vol. 1.

Curate Music won Best Worship Artist for their work on the album These Eyes, while Best Classical Artist was awarded to the NZTrio after the release of their album Sway.

Recorded Music CEO Damian Vaughan said 2017 has been another phenomenal year for New Zealand music, with a number of notable achievements internationally and here in Aotearoa.

“The sheer calibre of Kiwi musicians at the moment is astounding, we’re particularly thrilled to see such strong female representation amongst the finalists and the winners. Across all genres and musical styles, the sound of Aotearoa continues to evolve to encompass our diverse communities and reflect our identity as a country.

“The great number of first time finalists this year is a great sign for the bright future of Kiwi music. Today we’re celebrating each Tui win, but we’re already looking forward to seeing what our talented musicians are planning next.”

The 2017 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards were hosted by comedians Jono and Ben and featured performances by Lorde, SWIDT, Devilskin, TEEKS, Theia, Opetaia and Olivia Foa’i performing ‘We Know the Way’ from the Moana film and a special tribute by Stellar* for the 2017 Legacy Award recipient Sharon O’Neill.

Tui recipients who received their awards during the year are:

Best Jazz Album: Jonathan Crayford – East West MoonBest Folk Album: Guy Wishart – West By NorthBest Pacific Album: Aaradhna – Brown GirlBest Children’s Album: Anika Moa – Songs For Bubbas 2Best Country Music Album: Jody Direen – Shake UpBest Album Cover: Henrietta Harris – Otherness (Grayson Gilmour)Best Music Video: Joel Kefali – ‘Got It Bad’ (LEISURE)Best Engineer: Clint Murphy – Be Like The River (Devilskin)Best Producer: Ben Edwards – Preservation (Nadia Reid)

Justice League Review “Rewarding Popcorn Movie”

Words Glenn Blomfield aka Blomf
Now straight off the top I need to get this out on the table, I am not the demographic who loves comic book superhero movies, I find films like The Avengers a convoluted mess. Though saying that, I prefer the DC world over the Marvel, and Justice League I feel is a lot better than The Avengers series. What I prefer with the DC Superhero movies, is the darker tone. Scratching deeper at the surface of the psychology of the characters, making the Drama stronger. Creates a more foreboding feeling, the characters have struggles more on a personal human touching level, if that is a possible thing with super human strength and super abilities. But hopefully you can see where I am coming from. The most grounded human battling character is Baman, we now see him challenged when standing amongst the Justice League group, he is ironically the most fallible, as he doesn’t have a superpower, but pure will. He is ageing, he takes the hard knocks, but he proves to be a leader.
The Director Zack Synder, has made what I thought was an excellent superhero movie Watchmen (2009), when at the helm, Synder creates a strong visual world, his stylings are graphically strong and grand, perfect for just a film like Justice League. The film is not over all dark in tone as we have seen with the previous outings, eg BATMAN vs SUPERMAN. This film Justice League allows for humour, and some light on characters that let them be vulnerable in a more charismatic way. It even may comes across as corny, and there is those moments, but hey they play out as fun and entertaining, in the whole context of things that make up the film.
So what of the Justice League team, on the script writing we have Joss Whedon, the Director and writer behind the Marvels The Avengers first two outings, and the cool tv series Firefly, and Buffy. Whedon has brought the fallible rogue, and the fun too this film. The characters feel solid if not with the traditional episodic way of introducing each one. We have Ben Affleck, as husky speaking Batman, knowing ironically he is out of his league. The stoic and amazonian beauty Gal Godot as Wonder Woman, which is proving to be the real key and soul of the team. Aquaman Jason Momoa muscles bulging at the seems, having a presence amongst an already impressive line up, his dry wit and masculine charm is able to shine through. The most dramatic actor and character is Cyborg played by Ray Fisher, also the most CGI enhanced role. With a welcoming comic and joyful character in the League team is the Flash played by the efficient youthful Ezra Miller, giving light to what can be a dark troupe of Superheroes.
I am sure when it comes to a comic book movie, like Justice League, I am not writing a review to an audience that does not know anything about it, I am quite safe in thinking they know all the characters, aware of the comic books etc, what I am assured they want to know is it any good, well put plainly, I think it is. Though there is some issues with the revival, ‘SPOILER ALERT‘ of Superman from the dead, it just seemed rushed over, but heck when you have multiple key characters, and action to keep moving on with, I guess its what you get with such a film, keep the entertainment and Popcorn flowing. I do find as with other films of this genre, the Villain can come across formula and stereotypical, and Steppenwolf, is no different, basically he is only a threat to keep the plot moving along. Ok I will stop my niggling judgements here, and just say I ate the Popcorn, little salty, but not enough to leave a bad taste.
POP: popular blockbuster film that is loud, bombastic and proud of it. CORN: corny lines of diatribe, and surprisingly tongue in check moments in the narrative, especially as it comes to the finale. In summary: Great fun rewarding popcorn movie.

Justice League Review “Rewarding Popcorn Movie”

Words Glenn Blomfield aka Blomf

Spoiler Alerts: Now straight off the top I need to get this out on the table, I am not the demographic who loves comic book superhero movies, I find films like The Avengers a convoluted mess. Though saying that, I prefer the DC world over Marvel, and Justice League I feel, is a lot better than The Avengers series. What I prefer with DC Superhero movies, is the darker tone, scratching deeper at the surface of the psychology of the characters, forcing stronger drama. This I feel, creates a more foreboding feeling, the characters have struggles more on a personal human touching level; if that is a possible thing with super human strength and super abilities. Hopefully you can see where I am coming from. The most grounded human battling character is Batman, we now see him challenged when standing amongst the Justice League group, he is ironically the most fallible, as he doesn’t have a superpower, but good ol’ pure will power. He is ageing, he takes the hard knocks, but still proves to be a leader.

Director Zack Snyder, has made what I thought was an excellent superhero movie Watchmen (2009), when at the helm, Snyder creates a strong visual world, his stylings are graphically strong and grand, perfect for just a film like Justice League. The film is not all dark in tone as we have seen with the previous outings, eg BATMAN vs SUPERMAN. Justice League allows for humour, and some light on characters that lets them be vulnerable in a more charismatic way. It even may comes across as corny, and there are those moments, but hey, they play out as more fun and entertaining, in the context of the story that defines the film.

So what of the Justice League team? On the script we have Joss Whedon, director and writer behind Marvel’s The Avengers’s first two outings, and the very cool TV series Firefly, and Buffy. Whedon has brought the fallible rogue, and the fun to this film. The characters feel solid, and comes with the traditional episodic way of introducing the characters to each other. Ben Affleck, as husky voiced Batman, knowing ironically he is out of his league. The stoic Amazonian beauty Gal Godot as Wonder Woman, which is proving to be the real key and soul of the team, Aquaman Jason Momoa muscles bulging everywhere, is a presence amongst an already impressive line up, his dry wit and masculine charm shines through. The most dramatic actor and character is Cyborg played by Ray Fisher, also the most CGI enhanced role. With a welcoming comic and joyful character in the League team, we have the Flash played by the efficient youthful Ezra Miller, giving light to what could be perceived as a ‘dark troupe’ of Superheroes.

I am sure when it comes to a comic book movie, like Justice League, I am not writing a review to an audience that knows nothing about the film. I am quite safe in thinking everyone knows the characters and are aware of the comic books. What I am assured of, is that they want to know if it is any good? Plainly put, I think it is. Though there are some issues with the revival, ‘SPOILER ALERT’ of Superman from the dead, it just seemed rushed over, but heck when you have multiple key characters, and action to keep moving on with, I guess it’s what you get with such a film. I do find as with other films of this genre, the main villain or baddie can come across very formula and stereotypical, and in this movie Steppenwolf is no different. Basically he is only a threat to keep the plot moving along. Ok I will stop my niggling judgements here, and just say “I ate the popcorn”, a little salty, but not enough to leave a bad taste.

POP: popular blockbuster film that is loud, bombastic and proud of it. CORN: corny lines of diatribe, and surprisingly tongue in check moments in the narrative, especially as it comes to the finale. In summary: Great fun rewarding popcorn.

Flying Cars, Nest in NZ, US$300m Ransomware sting, a suggestion for iPhone X v2 – NZ Tech Podcast 364

This week we tried Alphabet’s Nest, NZ Police and Facebook launch Amber Alerts, Uber’s ‘flying cars’ could arrive by 2020, photographing the whole planet daily, the sting of ransomware is costing some businesses US$300m, EV update and a tweak for the next iPhone X?

Hosted by Paul Spain (@paulspain) and this week’s guest: Theo Gibson.

Listen to the Podcast here:

You can keep current with our latest NZ Tech Podcast updates via Twitter @NZTechPodcast, the NZ Tech Podcast website or the facebook page. Published by World Podcasts and Podcasts NZ

Greg Johnson & Mel Parsons Together & Alone Review

Words/Photo Wal Reid

If you haven’t heard Southland singer Mel Parsons sing My Friend then you probably haven’t heard the best of Mel Parsons. Don’t get me wrong, I like her in full-throttle band mode, but tonight was her opportunity to turn out as she called it a “sad” song in tonight’s set of bouncy feel-good numbers. After seeing her earlier this year at Auckland’s Galatos, I’m inclined to feel a little nostalgic.

She came armed with a Lorde story (or two) and with the talented Greg Johnson in tow, a dynamic duo of New Zealand’s musical landscape, a musical marriage that just made good bloody sense. Him, a prolific singer/songwriter and a damn good raconteur, Johnson’s knack at writing a good catchy tune didn’t go unnoticed during the 90s, and together with singer/guitarist Ted Brown and millennials, drummer Jed Parsons and Josh Logan on bass, gave the timeless hits a 21st century rejuvenated kick in the arse.

The affable Mel Parsons was on form. I love her bling dresses (does she not wear pants?), her relaxed story telling heeding to her melodic nature, her set list flowed seamlessly, as if birthed for this occasion. A couple of moments in the set seemed a tad stilted, maybe from traipsing the same musical territory, but never waning.

Her music enveloping the audience in waves, with the faithful few dancing up the front, even I was surprised by how many songs I recalled from her previous gig. Greg Johnson joined her on stage for the closing numbers, whipping out his trumpet got the crowd back to its feet, bobbing their heads in time with the music, the band solid and visually enjoying the dynamic of Johnson’s presence.

Johnson also had his time to shine, as the onstage banter flowed thick & fast, Johnson was quick to retort with the band as he jived with Mel’s rhythm section, singer/songwriter Ted Brown was invaluable, backing with his tight harmonies and guitar finesse. At one stage the subject of Christchurch’s Wizard popped up with Johnson asking if anyone knew where he was, even suggesting bassist Josh was his son. It was all done in jest and added a light-hearted vibe to the night.

Mel’s end of year tour with Greg Johnson is the perfect way to take in a night of good healthy dose of MOR (middle-of-the-road), Johnson on keys and a penchant for a good melody, while Mel’s catchy acoustic tunes seem to hit it off together. Go see ‘em at a town near you, it will be a bloody good night of dance and song from these two creative muses.