Jun 012016


Though it was a quieter month at the cinema – just four trips – I got through a heap of viewing at home. Some of this viewing was in preparation for Sydney Film Festival. Some of it was catching up on films I missed at the cinema, on digital platforms. I ended up watching 29 films and 15 episodes of TV. But, more importantly, I finished two projects I had been working on for months. The first: Bond. I watched all 24 James Bond films and ranked them here. The second: Goosebumps. In one of the most ambitious and foolish things I have ever attempted, I re-read all 62 of the original Goosebumps novel series, and ranked and wrote about each one. The idea, to spark some nostalgia and to take once R.L. Stine fans through each novel and give the experience of re-living them. Also, it serves as a guide on which ones to never ever read again.

In addition to all this I recently began reading Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. Tremendous work, but deeply scarring. I have read over 400 pages in a short amount of time, and am struggling to emotionally process some of this beautiful, but distressing story. On the TV front I have been addicted to The Thick of It, a perfect tonic to a long tough day at the office, but haven’t really given much time to anything else. Albums of the month go to Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool and James Blake’s The Colour in Everything. 

Coming up in June: Sydney Film Festival. Check back in regularly for reviews and a series of diary entries. Some thoughts on fresh watches after the jump:

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May 042016


So, in April I decided to pick up the viewing pace after a slow month prior and ended up with 33 films viewed and 16 episodes of TV. Only six of these were cinema visits (of which I reviewed three). The home viewing was split between March/April DTV releases that interested me, Bond films (I caught five, and now only have three left to watch), and John Carpenter films. The Prince of Darkness, which I had only ever seen lukewarm reactions for, turned out to be my favourite film of the month.

Goosebumps update: I have now read 48 of the original 62, so that was another 26 in April. Keep an eye out for an article about this very interesting experience, and every Goosebumps book ranked, in mid May. Other books read this month included Jonathan Ames’ very funny Wake Up Sir and Charlotte Wood’s punishingly bleak The Natural Way of Things. 

I finished the remarkable Uncharted 2, and completed a good chunk of Uncharted 3. It’s solid, but it has some clunky shooting mechanics and a far less compelling story. Kanye’s The Life of Pablo and Kevin Morby’s Singing Saw would be my favourite new albums this month.

Coming up in May: the completion of some projects – Goosebumps and Bond, notably – and hopefully a stack of pre-Sydney Film Festival screeners to enjoy. Check out my thoughts on the new-to-me films after the jump:

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May 032016


April was a great month for rewatches. I watched Toy Story 1, 2 & 3 again, after meaning to for years. I also rewatched Cloud Atlas and Only Lovers Left Alive – two of the best films released in the past 5 years. It’s so satisfying to revisit these films and find that no only do they hold up, but they even get better. On the new release front, it was a mixed bag. I was less keen on The Jungle Book and Captain: America Civil than others seem to be, but I utterly adored Midnight Special.

I watched three new films towards my #52FilmsByWomen challenge, one of them is one of the best so far (and a highlight for this month), while another could possibly be the worst of the 25 films I have seen. April round-up is after the jump.

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Apr 022016

Peter Sarsgaard plays social scientist Stanley Milgram in Experimenter. </em

I had a much quieter month of viewing in March – 20 films, and 20 episodes of television. Thankfully most of what I watched was pretty decent, which was a nice change from February’s film mediocrity. I also passed my reviewing goal in March. One per week.

I finished several substantial novels, including ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ and ‘The Goldfinch’, the latter which has been sitting unfinished on my shelf for a long time. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it. One of the most extraordinary novels I have ever read. I have also, rather foolishly, embarked on a quest to read all 62 of the classic Goosebumps books (in order). I have missed a few so far, but I read 22 of them in March. At the conclusion, if I make it, I will be writing about my experiences.

I also got addicted to the ‘Uncharted’ series on PS4. I am deep into ‘Uncharted 2’, which is living up to the widespread ‘Greatest Game Ever’ acclaim. I look forward to continuing the series in April. While I did cull back TV, I did regretfully miss a few theatrical releases I was keen to see: 10 Cloverfield Lane, Eye in the Sky and Kung-Fu Panda 3. I hope I will be able to still catch them in the coming weeks.

My thoughts on all of my fresh film viewing in March after the jump: Continue reading »

Mar 312016


March was a pretty average month overall on the film front, but damn there was some fine TV. From the 28 films I watched, I would classify quite a few as ‘meh’ or just okay. Thankfully films like Sherpa, Zootopia, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure ensured there was still some good viewing had. Film highlights included the three aforementioned films, along with thrilling bunker adventure and a couple of princesses out of the town. On the TV front, two BBC miniseries and the 5th season of an American comedy series topped. Check out my March monthly round-up after the jump.

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Mar 012016


In February I watched 28 films and 21 episodes of TV – not bad, considering most of them were around the 60 min length). I was also trying to review one film per week, which I maintained until the final week. Honestly, there wasn’t much I felt inspired to write about. I watched a lot of average films this month. I also read Jonathan Franzen’s ‘Purity’, Ernest Cline’s ‘Ready Player One’, most of Anthony Doerr’s ‘All the Light We Cannot See’, and for a step back into the past multiple of the classic original ‘Goosebumps’ series.

Like January, I haven’t been to the cinema very often – only Hail Caesar! and Concussion outside of the three media screenings, content with watching semi-new and older content at home. I had either seen most of February’s big releases already (Brooklyn, Jobs, 45 Years), or they simply didn’t interest me (Deadpool).

Coming up in March – some hotter screenings, including 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Witch, A Bigger Splash and Sherpa – and a well-deserved break at Easter. I have an ambitious reading goal in mind, and I would like to spend a little more time gaming. Though I am looking forward to continuing on with 11.22.63 and starting American Crime Story, TV will be culled.

My thoughts on most of my new viewing after the jump: Continue reading »

Feb 012016


I started 2016 off with a lot of goals. I pledged to watch more films that were made before I was born, I pledged to read 52 books, and I pledged to watch 52 films directed, or co-directed by women. It is interesting how much these goals have shaped what I have consumed this year. January is a quiet month for films (since I am lucky to have seen most of the January releases in 2015), so I have visited the cinema less, and watched films at home more. We now have an Apple TV set-up, and that has helped significantly in sourcing films and in being lazy and staying home, rather than going out to the cinema. I only saw 22 films in January, but I watched a decent amount of TV and read 11 books. It was a good month. Check out my significantly expanded monthly round-up after the jump.

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Jan 312016


In January I watched 27 films, completed 3 full seasons of television and read 6 novels. The latter is a much-better-than-expected start on a goal I have set myself in 2016 – to read 30 novels. I have been enjoying the balance, actually finding myself more comfortable in the world of Ancillary Justice or The Price of Salt than in the cinema.

What I expect to be one of the highlight events of the year, a Hateful Eight Q&A screening with Quentin Tarantino, Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson in attendance, came on the back of seeing the film at a Roadshow screening the night before. I can’t think of the last time I saw the same film in a cinema two nights in a row. Especially one projected in 70mm. And one that warrants immediate repeat watching, like this does.  We also attended a special screening of Birdman, with live accompanying percussion score from Antonio Sanchez. A terrific experience, as Sanchez introduced the screening and told of his friendship with Inarritu and how he came to be a part of the film.

With very few other cinema visits I have been raiding Netflix, iTunes and Dendy Direct for film and TV, catching up with a few acclaimed films I missed out on last year and working through new seasons of True Detective and Bored to Death, in addition to the excellent first two seasons of Halt & Catch Fire, which no one talks about.

Check out my thoughts on all first-time viewing (film) after the jump: Continue reading »