Words for Life podcast

“Words for Life” for Sunday 17Jun18 was by Rev Kevin Pedersen of Ormond Anglican Church here in Melbourne. His talk title is “The king of forgiveness”. Talk time is 24 minutes.

Songs of Hope website

Film review: ‘PANDAS 3D’, by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’

Pandas 3D continues the fine tradition of IMAX nature documentaries, this time looking at China’s panda preservation program. Narrated by Kristen Bell, the film introduces us to the very cute Qian Qian, a female panda selected for a program designed to help pandas born in captivity transition to the wild in the huge national park known as the Chengdu Panda Base.  Leading this project is American biologist Dr Jake Owens (who addressed the audience prior to the screening) who works with Chinese researchers and bear guru Ben Kilham whose pioneering work with American black bears forms the basis for Dr Jake’s approach with Qian Qian.

The IMAX format is perfect for these sorts of documentaries as it captures the wonderful expansive landscapes in a way a conventional screen can’t. The 3D format also makes the experience more immersive here taking us into the stunning steamy forests of the Chengdu Panda sanctuary.

The documentary features adorable scenes of panda cubs capering around exploring their environment and chewing on everything in sight including Dr Jake’s head. There are a few dramatic moments when Qian Qian is in peril but there’s nothing here that will upset children.

A bonus is the soundtrack curated by DEVO’s Mark Mothersborough who includes ZZ Top’s ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ and the Ramones’ cover of ‘Do You Want to Dance’.

Like most IMAX films Pandas 3D skims over a lot of the scientific issues and oddly says little about broader environmental concerns but as an insight into these playful but sadly endangered creatures this is a delight.

Nick’s rating: ***1/2

Genre: Documentary.

Classification: CTC.

Director(s): David Douglas, Drew Fellman.

Release date: 15th June 2018.

Running time: 40 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. http://subcultureentertainment.com/2014/02/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-film-show


Film review: ‘OCEANS 8’, by Nick Gardener from ‘Built For Speed’

The Ocean’s 11 etc movies are one of the less likely film franchises. Conceived in the 1960’s as a Vegas lark for the Rat Pack, the concept was resurrected in the 2000’s for George Clooney and a gaggle of his bros to play criminal hepcats ripping off casinos. With Ocean’s 8, the Ocean’s concept, like Doctor Who has reappeared in another form, this time with an all-female cast. While the gender switch is a welcome and redolent of the #MeToo era, this formulaic effort fails to genuinely excite.

Sandra Bullock essentially steps onto the George Clooney roll as Danny Ocean’s sister, Debbie. Recently released from prison Debbie sees going straight and living a nine to five grind as out of the question. Her five years in prison have been spent planning the biggest score of her criminal career, the theft of multimillion dollar necklace at the famed New York Met Gala ball. To pull off the heist she needs an expert team, cue quirky character recruitment montage. Her crew consists of Lou (Cate Blanchett), expert hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna), pickpocket Constance (Awkwafina), fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter), diamond expert Amita (Mindy Kaling) and logistics wiz Tammy (Sarah Paulson). Their ‘mark’ in this heist is vain, self-obsessed movie star Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) who will drape herself in the outrageously expensive diamonds at the gala.

The crime caper itself is reasonably elaborate and well-constructed even though we’ve seen the same sort of thing many times in the other Ocean’s films and even the National Treasure franchise. Still, set amid the New York glitterati the film offers additional thrills for those enamoured of high fashion world and the Met gala ball also provides a sparkling setting for the heist.

Unfortunately, despite its star-studded cast the film lacks the necessary zing. Where it really falls down is in the lack of chemistry between the characters, particularly it’s Oscar winning leads Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett. They’re simply bland, unmemorable characters, a problem partly brought about by flat dialogue but also because of Bullock’s excessively laid-back and hesitant performance. Cate Blanchett also isn’t given much to work with apart from a general brief to look cool and slightly androgynous, a little like a cross between a 70’s rocker and Darryl Hannah’s android from Blade Runner. Sarah Paulson, who was so memorable in The People Versus OJ Simpson has something resembling a substantial role as she concocts much of the caper. Rhianna also brings some welcome street smarts to proceedings. Most of the other stars are given precious little to do especially Helena Bonham Carter and Mindy Kaling who have only a few scraps of dialogue.

The film briefly springs to life when James Corden appears as a relentless insurance investigator who gets in everyone’s faces the way Corden does in his TV interviews. Some more of the quirky energy he brings to the film would have been welcome.

Oceans 8 is a tolerable time passer but given its stellar cast it’s a lost opportunity.

Nick’s rating: **1/2

Genre: Action/ comedy/ crime caper.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Gary Ross.

Release date: 7th June 2018.

Running time: 110 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. http://subcultureentertainment.com/2014/02/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-film-show



WRITE NOW – for anyone who wants to attend the launch of Liz Porter’s latest book: Crime Scene Asia when Forensic Evidence becomes the Silent Witness, which is on Wednesday 20 June at 6pm for 6.30pm at Readings in Ackland Street, you need to RSVP

by emailing:  carmel@shute-the-messenger.com

The book is brilliant and you can listen to last night’s interview with Liz, on Write Now via radio on demand. Gaytana


What’s on ‘Built For Speed’, Friday 15th June 2018

This week ‘Built For Speed’ tells you all about the latest instalment in the Ocean’s movie series, ‘Oceans 8’ which stars Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett.  For something a little different we’ll also have a look IMAX nature doco ‘Pandas 3D’.  There’s plenty of magnificent tunes as we revisit some of the alternative rock favourites from the first 15 years of the millennium and enjoy a feast of classic rock from the 1970’s.  We’ll hear our final picks in the all time favourite album-fest, this time all 70’s albums and Nick will divulge his top 20 albums. Don’t forget our regular preview of gigs and TV for the week.  Check out ‘Built For Speed’ Friday 8-10pm on 88.3 Southern FM.

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