American Assassin Review “

Words Glenn Blomfield
American Assassin, stands for action-thriller-blockbuster starring new cinema heart throb Dylan O’Brien, in a more mature role than his previous ‘Maze Runner’ films. Also staring the ever cool Michael Keaton, acting up a storm, or should i say “hamming up a storm”, and God bless him, he is always a pleasure to watch. Alright, let’s get straight to the point. This is an ok, passable action thriller film, not inventing the curve here, but it just feels like another Jason Bourne style film.
The film actually kicks off, really well, with an effective opening scene, which is reminiscent of a real terrorist shooting at a resort beach. Our lead Protagonist played by Dylan O’Brian, his life is turned upside down, loosing a loved one, pushing him into deep depression of revenge. A special unit of the CIA, take interest in him, and take him under their wing, and turn him into the perfect AMERICAN ASSASSIN. This is where Michael Keaton comes in, the perfect assassin trainer, and he is a delight to watch, overplaying with perfect finesse.
AMERICAN ASSASSIN is a political thriller action film, that can feel a bit convoluted hiding itself in what is a shallow storyline. To put a spanner in the works there is the villain like that seen in a James Bond movie, played by Taylor Kitsch (John Carter, Battleship), an assassin that was once trained by Michael Keaton’s character, but works now as a rogue dark individual, with deadly disturbed intentions. By the end of the film I was in hokey-ville, i.e. suspension of belief thrown out the window as the action steps up to over hyped levels.
Nothing new here as in action thriller blockbuster films go, just try and enjoy the ride. I am sure they are going to make more in this franchise, sequels to come. Lets just say it didn’t really float my boat, but thats ok, I enjoyed the popcorn.

American Assassin Review “Try To Enjoy The Ride”

Words Glenn Blomfield
American Assassin, stands for action-thriller-blockbuster, starring new cinema heart throb Dylan O’Brien in a more mature role than his previous ‘Maze Runner’ films. Also starring the ever cool Michael Keaton, acting up a storm, or should I say “hamming up a storm”? and God bless him, he is always a pleasure to watch. Alright, let’s get straight to the point. This is an ok, passable action thriller film, not inventing the curve here, but it just feels like another Jason Bourne style film.
The film actually kicks off, really well, with an effective opening scene, which is reminiscent of a real terrorist shooting at a resort beach. Our lead protagonist played by Dylan O’Brien, his life is turned upside down, losing a loved one, pushing him into deep depression of revenge. A special unit of the CIA, take interest in him, and take him under their wing, and turn him into the perfect ‘American Assassin’ . This is where Michael Keaton comes in, the perfect assassin trainer, and he is a delight to watch, overplaying with perfect finesse.
American Assassin is a political thriller action film, that can feel a bit convoluted, hiding itself in what is a shallow storyline. To put a spanner in the works, there is the villain, the type seen in a James Bond movie, played by Taylor Kitsch (John Carter, Battleship), an assassin that was once trained by Michael Keaton’s character, but works now as a rogue dark individual, with deadly disturbed intentions. By the end of the film I was in hokey-ville, i.e. suspension of belief thrown out the window as the action steps up to over hyped levels.
Nothing new here as far as action thriller blockbuster films go, just try and enjoy the ride. I am sure they are going to make more in this franchise, sequels to come. Lets just say it didn’t really float my boat, but thats ok, I enjoyed the popcorn.

Mountain Review “You’ll only feel high after seeing it.”

Words Amy Mansfield

Well, let’s just cut to the chase: Go see this movie. Whether you’re feeling up or down or roundabout, you’ll only feel high after seeing it.

What makes it?
It’s the poetry of it: in words and cinematography and music.
Words first (call me biased; I know it’s an unexpected start). Willem Dafoe does a damn fine job of narrating Robert Macfarlane and Jennifer Peedom’s script, with just the right lilt and croak in his voice. Not the voice of authority, but of simple truth, older than even the mountains.

These mountains are pretty damn old, and if you are worried you might feel just a wee bit insignificant in the face of them, watching others quite literally, quite precariously on the face of them, you should do. But that is part of the high. Willem’ll tell you all about it.

The cinematography is extraordinary. It’s hard even to imagine how many hours of footage and love have gone into this aspect of the film. It is close up, it is far away, it is time-lapse, it is space-lapse (I made that up but believe it!). It takes you through seasons and storms at speed, on speed, in slow-mo, fast-mo and all the other mos. There are moments of quiet and many of drama. There are changes of tempi and crescendi in what we see, in the boil of lava from and the bubble of clouds around them, them mountains.

And the music. A big fat tick to the Australian Chamber Orchestra and musical director/composer Richard Tognetti. They nail it. There’s quite a bit of Baroque in there, with Vivaldi and his glorioiusly relentless Four Seasons getting the lion’s share. It is, after all, an undeniable piece of music. But we get some serene contemporary piano too as a person walks across a tightrope spanning a mere canyon, and some full orchestral action once the strings have been thoroughly and deftly milked. It’s compelling. It’s “the symphony of the earth”. It’s available on Spotify.

It’s edited like a boss. Seriously. You can’t not get caught up in its rhythms.
There are moments of pathos. Let’s face it, people die climbing these things. Tourism and its garish ski-wear are detracting from the beauty and solitude of them. Willem calls such devotees part of “the modern industry of ascent”. My mum, my companion for the screening, called them “nutters”. These are not the focus of the film but are not entirely ignored in the narrative.

But the narrative is mainly about the awe and the quest. Maybe (probably) this is a Western kind of look at mountains. Imperialism does get a passing mention: the cartographers and their will to “grid, girdle and name the upper world”. The footage takes in the mountains and nations of the world, but the narrative is universalist. We see locals performing rituals but don’t hear a lot of how cultures intimate with the mountains imagine them. If I’m not mistaken the flag raised at the top of Everest when the topic of the first “conquering” of it is discussed is a British one. Somewhat jarring to a kiwi eye accustomed to the currency of Sir Ed having summited “the bastard”. Are some facts quietened in the name of this film’s particular poetry? I daresay.

I guess documentary-makers take large dollops of poetic licence along with their facts. We forgive them this.
Still, the arguably not-all-that-Western idea of a relationship is touched upon, of the mountain having a persona, perhaps one indifferent to humans.

Understandable. They are immense while we are but specks. They are in the business of moving the earth – hell, they are the earth moving. We’ll be gone tomorrow, you and I. Before you go, though, see this.

Success Review “Enjoyable From Start To Finish”

Words Wal Reid

Success is a strange beast of a play, and one that pleasantly surprised me. I mean, I’m no theatre fanatic or musical zealot, but now and then like to partake in a bit of the dramaturgical. Kiwi playwright Stephen Sinclair’s wears a myriad of hats, his latest show Success is a precocious jab at the comedy fraternity while exploring the kindred connection between three comedian mates, Derek, Jules and their famous friend Carl.

This comedic story has mass-market appeal written all over it and like previous Sinclair outings Blowing It & the Full Monty-esque Ladies Night has franchise potential. The scene is set in the living room of two mates, comedians Derek Turnbull (Daniel Pujol) and Jules Donovan (Karlos Wrennall), both regulars on Auckland’s comedy circuit, they find out their best friend Carl Evans (Paul Roukchan) returns unexpectedly on their doorstep from a very successful tour of the USA.

Evans touted as the biggest thing since “The Flight of the Conchords”, is forced to tell them why he’s on the run and the story quickly escalates from there – drug use, call girls and a tirade of expletive-deletives all add to the authenticity of the story, without glorifying its inherent demons.

Roukchan perfectly portrays his overweight, narcissist alter-ego to a tee. His bold as brass personality giving gravitas to the role as we find out the pickle he’s in. Giant Papier Mache Boulder’s Pujol as Derek is great in tandem, the peacemaker of the trio is inadvertently knocked back by the very cynical and by the ‘rule book’ Jules, stoically played by Karlos Wrennal.

Success seems hell-bent on replicating some of that International interest that has seen favour with Sinclair’s other shows. The trio play their individual parts convincingly to the end, their unabashed personalities executed well amongst the furore of the performance, which is nicely resolved at the end.

The only quibbles I had were Wrennal’s loose lines, forgetting or tripping up is probably a thespian’s worst nightmare, I don’t know if it was nerves or not but he did make up for it later, also the small audience didn’t help for a comedy club backdrop as the crowd interaction was minimal when the guys in the club scenes.

Lets hope Success emulates some of the attention of its namesake – it’s a novel premise to an interesting story that is enjoyable from start to finish

Success Review “Enjoyable From Start To Finish”

Words Wal Reid

Success is a strange beast of a play, and one that pleasantly surprised me. I mean, I’m no theatre fanatic or musical zealot, but now and then like to partake in a bit of the dramaturgical. Kiwi playwright Stephen Sinclair’s wears a myriad of hats, his latest show Success is a precocious jab at the comedy fraternity while exploring the kindred connection between three comedian mates, Derek, Jules and their famous friend Carl.

This comedic story has mass-market appeal written all over it and like previous Sinclair outings Blowing It & the Full Monty-esque Ladies Night has franchise potential. The scene is set in the living room of two mates, comedians Derek Turnbull (Daniel Pujol) and Jules Donovan (Karlos Wrennall), both regulars on Auckland’s comedy circuit, they find out their best friend Carl Evans (Paul Roukchan) returns unexpectedly on their doorstep from a very successful tour of the USA.

Evans touted as the biggest thing since “The Flight of the Conchords”, is forced to tell them why he’s on the run and the story quickly escalates from there – drug use, call girls and a tirade of expletive-deletives all add to the authenticity of the story, without glorifying its inherent demons.

Roukchan perfectly portrays his overweight, narcissist alter-ego to a tee. His bold as brass personality giving gravitas to the role as we find out the pickle he’s in. Giant Papier Mache Boulder’s Pujol as Derek is great in tandem, the peacemaker of the trio is inadvertently knocked back by the very cynical and by the ‘rule book’ Jules, stoically played by Karlos Wrennal.

Success seems hell-bent on replicating some of that International interest that has seen favour with Sinclair’s other shows. The trio play their individual parts convincingly to the end, their unabashed personalities executed well amongst the furore of the performance, which is nicely resolved at the end.

The only quibbles I had were Wrennal’s loose lines, forgetting or tripping up is probably a thespian’s worst nightmare, I don’t know if it was nerves or not but he did make up for it later, also the small audience didn’t help for a comedy club backdrop as the crowd interaction was minimal when the guys in the club scenes.

Lets hope Success emulates some of the attention of its namesake – it’s a novel premise to an interesting story that is enjoyable from start to finish.

iPhone X, Tesla vs Hurricane Irma, Voyager update from Seeby Woodhouse, Europe vs US Tech companies – NZ Tech Podcast 355

This week, Apple’s iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, Apple TV 4K, Apple Watch series 3, Tesla vs Hurricane Irma, Voyager update from Seeby Woodhouse, Europe vs US Tech companies, Xiaomi’s Mi Mix 2, Vodafone security woes.

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

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

Midnight Oil Review “Midnight Oil’s love affair with Aotearoa.”

If someone had told me in 1989 that I would lose my sacred long locks and sport a coiffure like singer Peter Garrett, I would have balked at the idea. But this was the predicament I (and others in the crowd) faced watching one of Australia’s most iconic bands on their The Great Circle Tour.

Held in the same esteem as classic acts Cold Chisel, Aussie Crawl or Hunters & Collectors, the band’s political and social injustice oozed from their songs, as Garrett’s imposing figure dominated the stage with his trademark algospasmic dance moves, perfecting the art of ‘cool’.

The band wasted no time jumping into Redneck Wonderland, Read About It, Put Down That Weapon & the timeless Truganini. “Kiaora Everybody” he motioned from the stage, he had the Kiwi vernacular down pat, saying they had always known they “Would be back” while noting being back after such a long time “Does have something special about it”.

Running the gamut of songs from their albums spanning four decades, the show peppered with Garretts self-deprecating humour, including his fear of “Playing on cruise ships,” and an anecdote offering a Trump voter his You’re Fired Trump tee shirt asking “Would you wear this tee shirt with pride?” adding, “Usually they would change sides straight away.”

Midnight Oil’s love affair with Aotearoa continued as Shipyards of New Zealand and Hercules, a song dedicated to “The people of New Zealand, and those who were on the Rainbow Warrior”, rang out across Auckland’s Spark Arena.

Rob Hirst kicked off their acoustic set, the sleeveless drummer showing his talent singing lead on When the Generals Talk, a fusillade of rhythm. Kiwi Bones Hillman strutted his acoustic bass guitar, while guitarists Martin Rotsey and Jim Moginie duelled away to “soar & swing” as Hunters & Collectors’ Jack Howard replied with tasty brass bits.

The band back after last playing here in the early nineties at Mountain Rock Festival was the call up for fans after their notable absence. References to “Aotearoa” and our ‘hongi’, even rattling off place names such as Gisborne, Hamilton & New Plymouth, seemed ex Labour MP Garret had more of a feel for this country than our own politicians.

The magic of the 80s was relived as one lone Australian flag flew in the Arena, the audience had to wait briefly to hear the classic radio hits of yesteryear, as the as the crowd bandied for a sing song including The Dead Heart, Power and the Passion, Blue Sky Mining & Forgotten Years, then Garrett parted with “Until we rub noses again”.

The band couldn’t help themselves as they replied to the crowd’s chants of “encore” with a passable Counting the Beat, by The Swingers, a subtle River Runs Red, and ending with Dream World and Best of Both Worlds. It was an excellent end to a fantastic night highlighting the band’s longevity from their humble beginnings in Narrabeen, Sydney in the early 70s.

If Peter Garrett was third option for preferred prime minister for this country, he’d get my vote – even with his anti-Trumpism and pro Greenie leanings, he’d win hands down. Now, about that citizenship Pete?

IT Review “The Goonies meet Freddy Kruger- but darker”

Words Wal Reid

Argentinian director Andy Muschietti has done a wonderful job of revamping Pennywise the “dancing clown” into the 21st century, the likes not seen since Tim Curry played the circus performing maniac in Stephen King’s nineties miniseries of the same name.

Is he scary? You bloody bet. I was a bit dubious of Atomic Blonde’s young Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård pulling this one off, but my worse fears were allayed as the opening scenes cemented this performance as one of the best scares I’ve seen in a long time. Think of it as ‘The Goonies meet Freddy Krueger’ – but darker.

It was 27 years ago since the miniseries and this is the first film adaptation, coincidently, the release date nicely fitting the storyline of Pennywise the child eating clown, who reappears every 27 years in the town of Derry, Maine to entice little kids by way of their worst fears. The cast of relative unknown is also refreshing, and for some will propel them to stardom.

Some solid performances by the mostly under-16 kids in the “Loser’s’ club who plot to bring down and rid the town of the horrific clown scourge. Actress Sophia Lillis is a Hollywood find. Her role as Beverly Marsh stood out for me, her nubile charm had an Amy Adams resonance to her, while TV’s Finn Wolfhard who plays Mike Wheeler from Stranger Things, didn’t seem too out of place on this film as Richie Tozier who has the best lines & pottiest mouth on a teen.

The film adaptation of the book is probably the best around and will be hard to knock off, it will also no doubt, resurrect clown phobia panic thanks to the menacing Pennywise. If you haven’t read King’s book or old enough to see the miniseries, no problem, this film as well as being a great scare is easy to watch as you find yourself absorbed for a couple of hours, transfixed into the life of the teens from Derry.

I was looking forward to the film and wasn’t disappointed. The thought of this country being led by a National government for the next four years isn’t as scary as Pennywise, but scary none the less (now that would be Sh-IT). Good to see also that there is another film in the making that will reunite the Loser club as adults – got to milk that franchise tap. Yep, the Terror is REAL.

NZ Gaming hits $100m, China’s 4000km/h train, 2degrees vs Spark, Ring Floodlight Cam – NZ Tech Podcast 354

This week a CropLogic Agritech, China vs Hyperloop with a 4000km/h train, 2degrees battles Spark for best big data plan, Kiwibank burns $90m on failed project, Vodafone exiting email hosting, Sky faces more drama, Ring Floodlight Cam, NZ Gaming exports hit $100m, introducing Process Street (and a discount)

Hosted by Paul Spain (@paulspain) and this week’s guests: Greg Hutana and Stephen Knightly.

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

Process Street

My team have been using Process Street since 2016 as tool to help my company Gorilla Technology (and our associated entities such as NZ Tech Podcast) improve the consistency of the services we deliver, speed up staff on-boarding and to capture our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).

We’ve not found any other Software as a Service (SaaS) offering that comes close to the ease of use and general user satisfaction of Process Street and hence we decided to establish a partnership. I’m proud that Process Street have agreed to support NZ Tech Podcast as a sponsor.

If you sign up (it’s free to get started) via our Affiliate Link will gain a lifetime discount of 10% should they wish to convert from the free plan to a paid plan.

Click here to access Process Street for free and get access to future discounts. We also suggest you email us (process.street@nztechpodcast.com) to let us know you’ve registered so:

  • We can confirm the discount is applied to your account (for initial users and any future users you add)
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Thanks,
Paul Spain (@paulspain)