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Missing Link Film Review “Hook it up for the hols”

Words Mike Beck

The cool thing about animated films nowadays, is that they’re written to cater for adults as well as the kids. Missing Link is one of those ones, with lots of subtext, innuendos, & adult humour to keep the grownups invested & entertained. But not only that, the sheer spectacle of technical animation wizardry delivered here will keep both camps more than happy.

Missing Link is a story of part adventure, & many parts discovery; of myths, journey of the self, & a finding of place in the world for all its central characters. The versatile Hugh Jackman provides the voice for Sir Lionel Frost, a kind of posh Indiana Jones who resides in an era sometime around early 20th century, who’s on the search for all those creatures of the mythical variety. Loch Ness being one of the usual suspects, you get the picture.

The title will give you a clue to the one found & focused on in this little tale, but it also acts as a double-entendre for character & societal faults, which there are a few of on show here. & this is what gives Missing Link its added value, as there are many cleverly inserted nods, references & winks to the documentation of historical events & theories, all the while inquiring to the validity of its inclusion, or exclusion (Darwinism, the ruling class, corruptive institutions, & even flat earth theory).

“It’s one of very few animated films to only include adult characters”

Written & directed by Chris Butler, whose credits include; Coraline, Corpse Bride & ParaNorman (in a variety of roles), Missing Link continues his lineage of stop-motion animation, & brilliantly combines this more traditional technique with the latest in 3D computer animation. This not only makes for much viewer inquiry into figuring out what technique is used where (especially for techies), but also provides so much interesting mise-en-scène, such is the attention to detail in background sculpting.

A timely release for the school break, Missing Link is definitely a plus parent flick. It ticks along, & is very well written. Interestingly, it’s one of very few animated films to only include adult characters. This device sets up a provoking dynamic, a platform to which allows the study of human behaviour & its maturity to be incorporated strongly in its themes (along with relationships & social/cultural constructs). Hook it up for the hols.

Video Podcast. Chatting With Marcus Powell Guitarist With City Of Souls

Auckland’s post-alternative rock kings, City Of Souls, will headline shows in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch this July with support from Melbourne-bred progressive alternative rock juggernaut, Circles. Watch Wal chat with the energetic guitarist, also played with Kiwi Rock groups Blindspott & Blacklistt here.

Watch City Of Souls Guitarist Marcus Talk About New Tour & Single The Ferryman

Auckland’s post-alternative rock kings, City Of Souls, will headline shows in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch this July with support from Melbourne-bred progressive alternative rock juggernaut, Circles. Watch Wal chat with the energetic guitarist, who has also played with Kiwi Rock groups Blindspott & Blacklistt.

Posted by NZ Entertainment Podcast on Friday, April 19, 2019

Matt Corby Gig Review “Pleasant to the ear”

Words Wal Reid

Whether tinkering the keys on new album Rainbow Valley tunes, Light My Dart Up, playing the drums on Better or traipsing the stage in bare feet with flute in tow at Auckland’s historic Civic theatre, Australian multi-instrumentalist Matt Corby was pure, unadulterated, sonic bliss.

There was nothing to suggest it was problematic for the Queensland native, as he wooed the packed crowd with his brand of lucid, funked-infused acoustic Soul; the trill of his smooth voice mesmerising as it was pleasant to the ear.

Corby’s songs have spanned a vast career. Achieving commercial breakthrough with his EP, Into the Flame in 2011, going on to achieve 6 × Platinum. His Aria Award winning singles Brother & Resolution were given consideration and treatment, sounding as punchy as their recorded siblings. Keeping his band at bay, they waited on cue, Corby frequently sat marinating on songs, eyes closed, in the zone oblivious to his surroundings.

Scanning the audience and perusing the room, I was cognizant of the fact that I was clearly the wrong demograph. Being a Maori man, clocking up a ‘half century’ and not a teenage Pakeha girl screaming “Take your shirt off” didn’t at all make me feel marginalised or deter me enjoying the concert. In fact quite the opposite.

“The trill of his smooth voice mesmerising as it was pleasant to the ear”

The guy has grown up, recently had a kid and now lives on a bucolic rural setting in Queensland, while it seems, most of his audience are getting younger and youthful; such is his artistic pull and dare I say – sex appeal. As Corby coyly remarked on Miracle Love, he should’ve got us “up to dance sooner” – opportunity missed, but a nice way to end a fabulous night, as he closed out the set to rapturous applause.

Corby has a penchant for building intensity on riffs, songs like the lull of All Fired Up have an impromptu jam vibe to them, percolating to perfection as the band come together to add spice in the mix. The barbed Blues riffing of Souls A’Fire from his 2011 Into The Flame EP, sounding heavy-as-stink in a live setting, or the unusually cool song choice of Roy Ayers’ classic Everybody Loves The Sunshine, satisfying the most ardent Corby fan.

Rattling off songs off his new album Rainbow Valley, Corby’s Bohemian hippy look betraying his Funk Soul roots. It’s a diverse album accentuated with slower jams with tasty soulful rhythm that combines elements of acoustic guitar with the Jazz Funk fusion of Jamiroquai but without singer Jay Kay’s bloody annoying vocals.

Matt Corby @ Palais

Also to note, was the fantastic talent of MANE supporting Corby. The Adelaide artist aka Paige Renee Court was outstanding. Her brand of self proclaimed dark Pop piqued my interest, adding up to a satisfying night of Aussie music. (yep, sorry but can’t bags these guys) Her latest singles Chasing Butterflies and Save Yourself had a maturity belying her youthful gaze. Her unique low dulcet tone a perfect complement to her Indie fueled music style, reminding me at times, of our own Lorde (no, they can’t bags her either).

If you want to catch two of Australia’s most exciting musical live acts, then this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Even if you haven’t heard their music, there is enough ‘first time’ appeal listening to the songs to ensure a bloody good night out. Tonight April 20th, they play Wellington’s Michael Fowler, then Christchurch’s, Isaac Theatre Royal the following night April 21st. Recommended.

The Curse Of the Weeping Woman Film Review “Plenty of ticks”

Words Mike Beck

When determining the measure of a good horror flick, one would be wise to borrow the question asked in that classic scene in Beetlejuice; “can you be scary”? The good news is, that The Curse Of the Weeping Woman definitely is.

Brought to you by the production stable of Oz/Asian wonderkid John Wan (director of Saw, The Conjuring, & Aquaman), The Curse Of The Weeping Woman looks great, has a script that keeps the story moving briskly, & contains an abundance of thrills & scares, while also providing splashes of humour to keep you entertained & invested right up to its conclusion. Director on debut Michael Chaves deserves plenty of ticks, as he’s quickly picked up the ball off Wan, proving to be a fast learner.

The Curse Of The Weeping Woman draws on a bunch of the horror archetypes, the most significant & key ingredient being the dark forces & entities of the supernatural. Yes, the film is under the influence of that big daddy of that sub-genre, The Exorcist. There are many nods to it, some being; the church & the rogue priest who deals with those more challenging assignments, the weaponry to battle evil (holy water, crosses etc), & the timeline parallel that this film is set in 1973, the same year that The Exorcist was released.

Fresh from her great turn in the best film Oscar winner Green Book, Linda Cardellini plays Anna Garcia, a social worker who quickly finds out that protecting her own children (& others in her care) are beyond her capabilities. The weeping woman is a force to be reckoned with, so much so that specialized help is needed, & quickly. That’s where ex priest come shaman Rafael Olvera (played by Raymond Cruz) comes in.

The Curse Of The Weeping Woman employs all the traditional tricks in the horror filmmaking book; the moving curtain, the attic door ajar, the close framing, the juxtaposition of foreground & background action, low lighting, & the ‘silence to scream’ utilisation of sound. There’s also much claustrophobic tension built with the confinement of enclosed spaces, & the threat of an external antagonist penetrating all security.

With water being an ever present motif (I won’t tell you why), you’ll feel at times like this is Jaws on land.
Stock up on popcorn for this one, The Curse Of The Weeping Woman is full of seat tense moments, & injects just the right amount of laughs to keep you entertained & escaped for an hour & a half.

Apple Airpod 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Buds, Chorus exploitation in the spotlight, Artificial Intelligence for Truckies – NZ Tech Podcast 435

Apple Podcasts

Amazon free Music, Apple’s $500m Arcade, Microsoft Surface earbuds, Chorus promises improvements, Kiwi truckie fatigue monitoring, Sky TV vs Spark Sport, Rocket Lab’s satellite platform, Samsung Galaxy Buds vs Apple Airpod 2, Slingshot routers for charity

Hosted by Paul Spain and this week’s guest: Leonardo Law.

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

The post Apple Airpod 2 vs Samsung Galaxy Buds, Chorus exploitation in the spotlight, Artificial Intelligence for Truckies – NZ Tech Podcast 435 appeared first on NZ Tech Podcast.

The California Honeydrops Gig Review “Blues by the bucketful”

Words Wal Reid

There aren’t enough expletive deletives to describe the awesome, sanguine Californian Honeydrops.
Best described as if you were going to a gig with Grayson Hugh, Simply Red or the American Roots sound of Pokey Lafarge on the same bill. The California Honeydrops celebrate their 10th year together with the release of their 7th studio album, this was an afterthought as they tore the roof off Auckland’s Tuning Fork.

Led by powerhouse vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski, and drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the Honeydrops were as energetic as they were colourful on stage, there is a humbleness and honesty to their music, which was refreshing in this social media fuelled industry.

Every bit the seasoned performers, the Honeydrops have a rich and varied pedigree, supporting the likes of Blues legend Bonnie Raitt on her North America release tour—and in the past privileged to support the likes of B.B. King, Allen Toussaint, Buddy Guy, and Dr. John. These guys are no slouches, as they weaved through their gratifying set list one punter was heard shouting “Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You”, Wierzynski remarked; “They want the classics”.
The Honeydrops have come a long way since guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzynkski and drummer Ben Malament started busking in an Oakland subway station, but the band has stayed true to that organic, street-level feel. Listening to Lech sing, it can be a surprise that he was born in Warsaw, Poland, and raised by Polish political refugees.

He learned his vocal stylings from contraband American recordings of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong, and later at Oberlin College and on the club circuit in Oakland, California. With the additions of Johnny Bones on tenor sax and clarinet, Lorenzo Loera on keyboards, and Beau Bradbury on bass, they’ve built a powerful full-band sound to support Wierzynski’s Soulful timbre.

It was an intimate and fun night with the crowd pretty much in ‘party-mode’ dancing their way through most of the set to the delight of the band. There was enough crowd interaction amongst the musical melee, but the real satisfying thing about the concert was the music. The H.C’s are a ‘party’ band, its almost as if by design they can coerce the most staid & stiff concert goer to groove to the cool Jazzy Blues vibe emulating from the stage.

More like a party than a traditional concert, their shows feature extensive off-stage jamming and lots of crowd singing. They don’t make set lists. They want requests. They want crowd involvement, to make people become a part of the whole thing by dancing along, singing, picking the songs and generally “coming out of their shell”. Well, they got that by the bucketful tonight, I only wish they didn’t have to finish so soon.

Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Film Review “Innocence & creativity of childhood”

Words Shawn Moody

Five years since the first Lego Movie told us that ‘everything was awesome’ (apologies for getting that song stuck in your head again), a lot has changed. Both in terms of the franchise and in my life.

I watched the first film, partly due to having nothing else to do on a rainy day and partly due to intrigue, spurred largely from nostalgia, and was delightfully surprised by the meta-reflexive, slyly subversive dose of eye-candy that I was served up. It can be argued that it was a filmed aimed at adults rather than children, I the underlying message being to embrace your inner child and, in doing so, allow your children to be, well, children. The corporate satire was great too.

Moving forward in time, I now ventured into the theatre with a fiancé and a five-year-old in tow, a wholly different affair. I was not only here for myself, but for my family, and as such was far more attuned to things like the films message and educational value.
My expectations bar for The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part was also far higher than it was for the first, and while enjoying the movie immensely it didn’t quite clear it with the same ease as its predecessor did. Though in all fairness, that was an almost impossible task.

Lord and Miller’s meta-reflexive humour works as well as you expect it to, and this gorgeously animated film comes packed with more than enough pop culture irreverence to keep even the most reluctant parent (or teen) happy.

It’s a good film, Chris Pratt (voicing Emmet) and Emily Banks (voicing Lucy) do a great job building on their characters, while Will Arnett (voicing Batman) steals every scene he’s in. The storyline, and underlying message, more layered and this time targeted squarely at the kids (at its best the film celebrates the innocence and creativity of childhood, and reminds children that working together and building people up, rather than breaking them down, is a beautiful thing to strive for).

Though enough of me – here’s what the five-year-old thought:
Logan didn’t want to go to the Lego movie. It was raining and he wanted to stay indoors and watch unboxing videos (the bane of every parent’s existence) on YouTube. He didn’t have a lot of experience with Lego (more of a Duplo kid up to this point).

He was a little upset in the car, but was less so at the idea that I would buy him an ice cream if he was a good boy.
The moment that change things for Logan was seeing the spaceman “with fire coming out of his butt” on the movie poster. He now decided that this looked like “a fun and silly movie” and he was “actually quite excited to watch it.”

Sitting in the theatre, his eyes absolutely lit up at the small bags of Lego piled on his chair (we gave him ours too), “for me!? Are these toys all for me?”. The kids was in a good mood. One that lasted all the way to the credits.

“It was a special movie, and a special surprise for me… the best movie ever!”
He sat, eyes fixed to the screen, enthralled by the dazzling colours. He laughed at the jokes, especially “the silly spaceman”, and loved watching the characters interact with the Lego blocks while building their world around them (something that he requested we do as soon as we got home).

As the movie reached its climax he was fully invested, at points loudly (and unnecessarily) explaining plot points from his cinema chair: “Those dinosaurs are flying the spaceship, isn’t that silly!”, “He’s actually the baddie, I didn’t think he was but I do now! Do you know that he’s the baddie?” (it was cute and fortunately no-one seemed to mind).

Coming out of the film I pressed him on what he thought of it (secretly looking for some sort of validation that I didn’t spoil his weekend). “I loved it so much, it was funny and silly and cool and was the best movie ever. It was a special movie and it was a special surprise, and I also really loved all the Lego toys they gave us!”
Phew.

Video Interview: Talking Arts and Music – Revolution Creative With Irwin Van Asbeck

Talking Arts and Music – Revolution Creative is all about how they can better support artistic and cultural connection and enterprise. Wal chats to Irwin Van Asbeck about the initiative leading up to the official Revolution Creative launch in June! If you are involved in The Arts or Music then check out the website which is now live www.revolutioncreative.co.nz

Click here to watch the interview

Talking Arts and Music – Revolution Creative is all about how they can better support artistic and cultural connection…

Posted by NZ Entertainment Podcast on Friday, April 12, 2019