Red Dwarf X

Creator of Wild Horse and self confessed “target audience member” Rowan Roff leaves the despair squid behind and just goes with it in his discussion of the long awaited Red Dwarf X.

After Roger Federer’s disappointing loss to Andy Murray in this year’s Australian Open, many critics have begun saying his glory days are behind him. He’s too old. He doesn’t have the hunger anymore. He’ll never return to world #1 and he’ll never win another “Grand Slam” tournament. But if Roger is still playing quality tennis and still making a living doing something he loves, why would he stop playing? Oh wait, this is a Red Dwarf review.

The Red Dwarf series is now in its tenth season. It’s been almost 25 years since the show first aired and over 13 years since the last proper season aired. Red Dwarf X maintains the usual setting of being 3 million years in the future on the Red Dwarf mining ship where Vending Machine Service Technician Dave Lister is joined by his usual gang of misfits: The hologram of his immediate superior Arnold Rimmer, the fabulous-feline creature known only as Cat, and a rescued service mechanoid Kryten. (Sadly, the on-board computer Holly is absent completely and, not-so-sadly, so is female crew member Kristine Kochanski).

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In America for a period just over a decade a series of devilish prank calls were made to grocery stores and fast food restaurants where the caller manipulated workers into varying levels of sexual humiliation, under the guise of an authority figure – managers or police usually. The hoax came to an end in 2004 with arguably the most serious of the cases wherein a young female McDonald’s worker was accused of theft, detained in the office, strip searched and eventually sexually assaulted, all entirely by the power of manipulation and the manager complying without question to the requests of the “police man” on the phone. Compliance is based on this situation, and it is a subtle, powerful, beautiful and utterly uncomfortable and compelling film.

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Gangster Squad PosterIt’s 1949 in Los Angeles and while the young men have finally come home, the war is not over. Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) is a Jewish boxer who has risen up the ranks of the mob, and has his sights set on taking over all of California. Sadistic and brutal, and with the manner of someone who has taken one too many hits to the head, he doesn’t care how many policeman he has to bribe or rivals he needs to murder to get what he wants. With Cohen’s money and influence trickling through politicians and the police force like blood down a gutter, what seems like the only six honest men left in LA band together to form a vigilante group to bring him down: the Gangster Squad.

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you may have missed the boat on: HARPER’S ISLAND

Harper's Island

What is it?
Harper’s Island is the ideal location for a wedding retreat if you overlook the gruesome killing spree that took place there seven years earlier. For everyone other than Abby,whose mother was one of the original victims, enough time has passed and they can just shake it off like a bad ghost story. The murderer is long dead, the week is just starting, and hey, Cousin Ben probably just missed the boat. It takes them a while to notice that the party’s numbers are gradually dwindling, one by one…

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Life of Pi brings a whole new meaning to the nautical term “there’s no room to swing a cat,” with the bulk of the film being centred around the 227 days protagonist Pi (Suraj Sharma) spends trapped on a boat with a tiger named Richard Parker. It sounds like it could be boring. It sounds like it could be preachy. It sounds like it could be a film pretentious people go to see so they can tell their other friends how cultured they are. But it is not. It is an engaging, strange tale interweaved with at times breathtaking visual elements.

The story is structured in a vaguely Titanic-esque way. Writer finds man to tell him about his infamous shipwreck story, which he has been told will “make you believe in God”. From the comfort of a well-lit and cosy living room, Pi begins his story through a long flashback.

Pi is a boy named after a swimming pool and who follows three separate religions, much to his father and brother’s amusement. Having spent his childhood growing up in a zoo in Pondicherry, French India, his father decides to sell up and move the family and a few animals to Canada, which is how Pi finds himself on a Japanese ship in the middle of the Pacific as a storm is about to hit. Forced into a lifeboat, Pi is the only survivor, bar a hyena, a rat, a zebra with a broken leg, an orangutan, and a tiger. Continue reading

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I sure do love chocolate Hubba Bubba

I sure do love chocolate Hubba Bubba

Full disclosure, I am not a massive Tolkien fan. I tried to read Lord of the Rings and put it down after several chapters due to excessive boredom. I have seen the trilogy of films and really enjoyed them but never went full fan-boy.

Yesterday I ventured out of the safety of my quiet, dark house and went to the cinema which appeared to be under attack by hordes of teenagers. Avoiding their stench of aura of self-entitlement my friend and I purchased two tickets, dropping over $50 to see the 48 FPS, 3D xtreme-Screen magic. (Cinemas take note: this is why people download movies).

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Marriage can be hard and getting married young and trying to maintain the same ideals as you grow as people is understandably a tough thing. Young love can’t maintain a lifetime of responsibilities, but at the same time it is difficult to lose your best friend as well. Walking into a film I assumed was going to be a quirky little indy romantic comedy, with the always lovely Rashida Jones and reliably affable Andy Samberg, it was a refreshing surprise to leave having just witnessed the emotional unfurling of a woman who didn’t know how to handle having everything she wanted, and struggled to remain solid amid the crumbling of her world. Continue reading

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