Category: Reviews

Dr Blake Mysteries S5

The Doctor Blake Mysteries: Explosive Return Exceeds Expectations

Sunday the 17th saw the return of the popular Australian murder mystery, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, set in late 1950s Ballarat. The first installment of the much-anticipated fifth season more than lived up to expectations.

Centred around a boxing match turned deadly, the episode balances the thrill of the murder case with the unfurling drama in the private lives of the characters.
The protagonist, Lucien Blake (Craig McLachlan), blends the perfect amount of cheeky mischief and dad-charm, with a healthy helping of genius. This season promises to feature his will-they-won’t-they relationship with his straightlaced housekeeper, Jean (Nadine Garner). And apparently, they will, to the delight of fans of the show.

The star of this episode, despite adorable glimpses of the lead couples flourishing romance, has to be Sergeant Charlie Davis. Portrayed by the gorgeous Charlie Cousins, his backstory is explored when family come to town only to be embroiled in the investigation. A masterful performance utilises Cousins’ range; simmering tension and an older brother-turned-father role giving way to betrayal and conflict in a nuanced and graceful performance.

As ever, the narrative moves through beautiful shots of Australian scenery, dancing across the suburban and country landscapes and through cultural landmarks of an earlier decade. Classic cars and challenges of a bygone era artfully evoke nostalgia for a time most don’t even remember.

A compelling beginning to the season, the first episode paves the way for an explosive final season of the ABC original show. The Doctor Blake Mysteries airs Sundays 8:30, ABC 1.

From the Press Release:

Doctor Lucien Blake and his long-suffering housekeeper and confidant Jean Beazley now face a new future together, full of possibility… but life has a few more surprises in store for the both of them.

Once again they’ll be confronted by murder and mystery at every turn. From the boxing ring to a new French bistro, from an exotic camp of travelling Romani gypsies to the local Debutante Ball…

And amongst all of this, loyalties will be tested, friendships will be strained and faith will be challenged. Will Blake and Jean finally find the happiness they so richly deserve? Is Charlie ready for more responsibility at the Station? How will Rose work with two generations of the Tyneman’s? And who is the avenging nemesis from the past?

Doctor Blake is ready to solve a series of strange and shocking crimes. But he’s about to discover that each and every one of his actions has consequences. And no good deed ever goes unpunished…

Production Credits: A December Media Production in association with ABC TV and Film Victoria. Producers George Adams and Tony Wright. Executive Producer Stuart Menzies and Associate Producer Craig McLachlan. ABC Executive Producers Brett Sleigh and Alastair McKinnon.



ADVANCE FILM REVIEW: Stephen King’s IT (2017)

High-brow horror at its finest

Stephen King, one of the most prolific writers of the modern era (having penned over 50 novels and 200 short stories), is one of the touchstones of modern fiction. The mastermind behind some of the most successful and iconic stories of recent history (classics such as Carrie, The Shining, Misery, The Green Mile, and The Shawshank Redemption), many of King’s novels have made the successful leap into cinema, to critical and commercial acclaim. Such is the case with 2017’s ‘It’. Read more …



Gifted is an unusual movie in the contemporary film landscape, it is a character driven melodrama with heart and moral ambiguity, where the principle characters are all easily relatable. The choices Frank (Chris Evans) has to make are truly heartbreaking, especially with the betrayal that comes later on.

On the surface, Gifted could easily be seen in a cynical sense of the merging of several genre tropes crammed together, the single parental figure raising a child against all odds, a custody battle mode (cue Kramer vs Kramer) and the lowly maths genius from the wrong side of the tracks who feels alone and trapped by circumstances until a kindly teacher tries to improve their life (Good Will Hunting); only this time the young maths genius is actually a seven year old girl. Read more …


GIG REVIEW: The Jungle Giants @ The Croxton Bandroom

Touring for their 3rd studio album, Quiet Ferocity, The Jungle Giants brought power and energy to the stage all night long. The Croxton Bandroom was pumping on Sunday night, filled with fans and friends alike of the acclaimed indie-rock quartet. Before the acts began at 8:30, everyone was already getting down to even the background music played through the room, as we awaited the start of the real party. The band’s new record promised a synth-based dance party for the night ahead – and true to form, they did not disappoint. Read more …

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Gig Review: The xx at Splendour in the Grass

“I knew it’d be good, but I didn’t think it’d be this good,” said the lady standing next to me, a grey fox some may call her. Her hubby, also donning salt and pepper hair, was dancing around trying to figure out how to record on his iPhone 4.

Since their first album ‘xx’, the British trio have released another two, and are now touring their latest release ‘I See You’, which came out at the beginning of the year. I made a significant claim that their first album ‘xx’ was one of the most cohesive contemporary albums. And, that’s what this British band master – consistency. After releasing their third album ‘I See You’, Romy, Oliver and Jamie xx travelled to Australia to play their one and only show at North Byron Parklands’ Splendour in the Grass. By the end of their set I remembered why I had made such a claim and why I am still keeping my word, but I had a stark realisation. Read more …


MUSIC REVIEW: The Best of New Releases (August 2017)

August is an inherently odd month. In London (the city where I am currently reliving Orwell’s Down and Out), August is the tinder date with clearly photo shopped images, masquerading as a “Summer Month” – but whose distorted hips and rainy afternoons are not fooling anyone. In Melbourne, August takes the role of a thirteen-year-old attempting to convince you he is emerging puberty early into the golden months of sun – though is similarly foiled by the immaturity and attitude of its own climate.

August is an identity crisis. August is you up at 3am planning a personality overhaul you’ll never commit to. August is hope for change – whether that hope be naïve, sincere or a mixture of the two. Something that unites the selected tracks in today’s playlist is that they each embody a different element of August’s indecisiveness, anxiety and courage.  Read more …

The Wall


Guns, Mind Games, and a Battle for Survival

Doug Liman’s new film, The Wall, is an intense character drama focused on Allan “Ize” Isaac’s struggle to survive while taking sniper fire shortly after the Iraq War. Following the killing of a number of American contractors working to construct infrastructure as the military presence in Iraq winds down, Matthews (John Cena) and Isaac (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) are sent to investigate the remote desert site. The events of the film are kicked off with the shooting of Matthews, who lies in the open, while the protagonist shelters behind a dilapidated stone wall, attempting to stay alive and fending off the Iraqi sniper who has hijacked his radio. Read more …


ALBUM REVIEW: 明 (Akira) by Black Cab

Lost in a Blade Runner-esque soundscape that Vangelis would be proud of, I’m sitting here with my eyes closed, headphones on. Lost in a cyber-punk world of Tokyo noir and dystopian motifs. The album begins with a panic-stricken urgency of synths and traditional Japanese Taiko drumming by Toshi Sakamoto. Black Cab’s latest offering, Akira (明) is a tour de force of theme and style. It is a concept album in the tradition of the great experimental/electronica/progressive rock artists of the past like Rick Wakeman, Mike Oldfield and the aforementioned Vangelis. Read more …

The Big Sick

FILM REVIEW: The Big Sick (2017)

The Big Sick is a heartwarming and thoroughly entertaining film. While it may not leave you with a extraordinarily visible emotional reaction, there is no doubt it will melt away your internal cynicism until you are – pardon the cliche – all ‘gooey inside’. In fact when it comes to a genre that is ridden with stereotypes and predictability, curing and pardoning the cliche is where The Big Sick triumphs.

Read more …


FILM REVIEW: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ (2017)

Review written by Guest Contributor Lucy Jacobson and Connor Johnston


Hope is a weapon. Survival is a Victory. 

Christopher Nolan’s war epic Dunkirk starring Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance as well as a series of other enormously talented actors, takes place during the evacuation of 400,00 men on the shores of Dunkirk during World War 2. An event so pivotal to the outcome of the war warranted a film that captured the scale, ferocity and brutality of Dunkirk; a film that Nolan no doubt delivers.  Read more …

Zookeepers Wife

FILM REVIEW: The Zookeeper’s Wife (2017)

Since it first began operations in 1928, The Warsaw Zoo has continued to be one of the most diverse and visited zoos in all of Europe seeing in excess of over one million patrons annually. From 1939 and throughout the 1940’s however, the zoo was visited by a far smaller crowd of people – who despite their numbers flatten all records since in terms of their significance.

Directed by Niki Caro; The Zookeeper’s Wife chronicles the sacrifices, challenges and heroism of the Jan and Antonina Żabińska – the park’s owners, who used the zoo to save and house hundreds of Jewish people from the horrors of the Holocaust. In its depiction of World War II, The Zookeepers Wife offers a deeply considered and unique perspective on the conflict that sources its power from its characters and their strength. Read more …