Arts Features

Posted 9 Jun 2016 @ 10:41am

Most mainstream film festivals ignore horror cinema.


So do the majority of mainstream critics, in fact. They angrily decry horror’s ugly one per cent – the glossy, inane remakes of ‘80s splatter hits – while ignoring the extraordinary vision and inventiveness of the genre’s majority. Movies like The Babadook and It Follows get lumped into the same category as Platinum Dunes’...

Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 4:00pm

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?


That’s the question one can imagine Anthony Weiner was asking himself amid his 2011 scandal – one in which the then-member of the US House Of Representatives was caught out sending indecent selfies to a number of women. After all, when a man with the last name Weiner starts mailing out photos of his weiner, the headlines write...

Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 12:57pm

Throughout the history of the Power Rangers franchise, a wealth of different teenagers with attitude have been recruited to continue on the name and legacy, travelling through space, time and a plethora of cross-sectional mythologies.


It seems as though there is one sole constant – the presence of Tommy Oliver, as portrayed by Jason David Frank. Since arriving at Angel Grove...

Posted 8 Jun 2016 @ 9:49am

Welcome to the BRAG's weekly rundown of what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. It's every Sydney cinephile's favourite time of year - when the Vivid lights dim and the red carpets roll out for another massive Sydney Film Festival!


Naturally, being the square-eyed obsessive that I am, I've hunted down some...

Posted 2 Jun 2016 @ 10:21am

Hotel Coolgardie is to bogans what Jaws is to sharks.


The sometimes amusing, sometimes appalling documentary follows two young Finnish backpackers, Lina and Steph, as they weather a barrage of sexist and racist slurs while working for scraps in the eponymous Western Australian pub, colliding head on with the full force of ’Strayan philistinism in the process. 



Posted 2 Jun 2016 @ 10:00am

Renowned Australian playwright Justin Fleming is bringing the world of 17th century France to modern-day Sydney with The Literati.


An adaptation of the great Molière’s Les Femmes Savantes, this silly yet deeply poignant piece explores the relationship of two characters, Juliet and Clinton, in the face of disapproving, snobbish family members. Will love prevail or will our...

Posted 1 Jun 2016 @ 4:22pm

Homage is a hard thing to nail.


Take it too far and you’ll find yourself in dangerous rip-off territory. But fail to take it far enough and no-one will even realise you’re trying to tip your hat to your heroes. On that level alone, Tyler MacIntyre’s Patchwork, a gleefully gory riff on the Frankenstein myth, is an unmitigated triumph.


The film is jam-packed with...

Posted 1 Jun 2016 @ 2:36pm

“Do you want the answer that you want or do you want the truth?” asks James Marsters.


Being a serious and hard-hitting journalist, I have just asked my teenage crush what it was like kissing John Barrowman during his time on Torchwood. Marsters, also known as Spike from Buffy The Vampire Slayer, will be hitting Australian shores again this month for Supanova, so we’re chatting...

Posted 31 May 2016 @ 1:21pm

Welcome to the BRAG's weekly rundown of what's hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. That's right, we're back! After May's trailer BONANZA, I'm reining this beast in to a sedate and reasonable pace at five films a week, as is tradition.


American summer releases are slowing down, and June's off...

Posted 31 May 2016 @ 12:23pm

The ultimate don’t-give-a-crap FPS, DOOM is a game that seems to be as far away from highbrow arts and culture as you can possibly get. However, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne has proven otherwise.


This past weekend, ACMI hosted an exclusive streamed Q&A with the executive producer of id...

Posted 29 May 2016 @ 9:00am

The bigger things in life – love, death, family, friendship, sex – are hard enough to fully grasp in one’s adult years.


Imagine, then, what happens when it all comes hurtling at you with full force before you’re even legally allowed to drink. This, on the surface, is what Teenage Kicks deals with. Craig Boreham’s new independent Australian film, shot in and around Sydney, takes...

Posted 28 May 2016 @ 8:00am

Based upon the life of the legendary jazz musician Chet Baker, Born To Be Blue is a semi-fictional account of his tempestuous 1960s battles with drugs and the law, and his eventual comeback.


Writer, director and producer Robert Budreau explains that this is a story of ‘what ifs’, but it’s ultimately all about the music. 


“I’ve long been a fan of jazz. The very...

Posted 27 May 2016 @ 4:00pm

“I[didn’t] know what horror was till I had twins,” laughs Sean Byrne.


The lauded director behind the Australian cult classic The Loved Ones and his newest The Devil’s Candy is talking to the BRAG in a rare moment of peace, having just managed to get his two three-year-olds out the door to childcare. “It’s like going to war,” he says, joking. Kind of.


But Byrne...

Posted 27 May 2016 @ 10:00am

Necessity really is the mother of invention. Just spend any time talking to Australian playwright-turned-filmmaker Stephen Sewell and you’ll realise how much creativity can be born from restriction.


The lauded writer’s debut directorial feature, Embedded – a stripped-back erotic thriller screening as part of Sydney Film Festival – didn’t come into this world naturally. In fact...

Posted 26 May 2016 @ 5:09pm

The Australian Museum is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sit with Sir David Attenborough and experience the sheer beauty and majesty of the Great Barrier Reef.


And thanks to the magic of virtual reality, you can do it all without leaving your chair in Sydney. The director of the Australian Museum Research...

Posted 26 May 2016 @ 5:01pm

Homeground Talks, taking place at the Sydney Opera House this week, will feature two panels discussing First Nations issues and experiences.


One of these panels – Open For Business: Diverse Economies In First Nations Communities – will specifically delve into the long-term...

Posted 26 May 2016 @ 12:43pm

The story of Afghani immigrant Sonita Alizadeh – rapper, activist and would-be child bride – is as compelling as they come.


Screening as part of Sydney Film Festival, Iranian director Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami’s powerful documentary Sonita has collected prizes across the world, including the prestigious Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival. As well as...

Posted 26 May 2016 @ 11:57am

Our city will light up once again this Friday May 27 – Saturday June 18 as Vivid Sydney’s festival of lights, music and ideas returns for its longest stretch yet. 


Since its inauguration seven years ago, Vivid has become one of our city’s most popular times of the year – and certainly one of its brightest. Every night out at Vivid deserves to be special, so we’ve asked some of...

Posted 25 May 2016 @ 4:59pm

Three years ago, writer-director Ivan Sen stood in front of a sold-out crowd at Sydney’s State Theatre, where his latest movie, the outback noir Mystery Road, had been selected as Sydney Film Festival’s opening night film.


In just a few short weeks, he’ll return to the venue for the very same occasion – as will his Mystery Road protagonist, hard-edge indigenous detective Jay...

Posted 25 May 2016 @ 4:48pm

My Sydney Film Festival with Festival Director Nashen Moodley


My fifth year as festival director is the festival’s 63rd, with a theme very close to my heart. Six simple words: change your view, change your world. They describe the remarkable way that changing your frame of reference can alter your entire reality. I believe films can do this more effectively than any other...

Posted 25 May 2016 @ 4:40pm

Sydney Film Festival is back for 2016 with nearly 250 films screening at venues around Sydney. Check out some of our tips for the hottest tickets at this year’s festival below, and see the full program at sff.org.au.




Gimme Danger...

Posted 21 May 2016 @ 9:00am

Sebastian Maniscalco is a rising star in the comedy world, with a busy 12 months ahead on stage and screen.


Despite a packed calendar, however, he’s found time to head to Australia with his Aren’t You Embarrassed? tour. We catch up with the US comic to talk about his craft and where he draws his inspiration from.


“The material I’m going to be doing hasn’t been...

Posted 13 May 2016 @ 9:00am

In 2014, Red Line Productions took over the management of the beloved pub theatre at the Old Fitz.


In what feels almost like a homage, actors Andrew Henry and Sean Hawkins – Red Line’s artistic director and associate producer, respectively – are reprising their roles in one of the theatre’s favourites, Howie The Rookie, set in the city of Dublin. We chat to Henry about the play...

Posted 12 May 2016 @ 12:05pm

Essential Independents: American Cinema, Now is the brand new indie film festival launching at Palace Cinemas this week.


With a program spanning 32 films, including 14 Australian premieres, the festival represents American achievement in filmmaking both past and present. There are five different...

Posted 12 May 2016 @ 11:01am

What does it mean to forgive, and does moral ambiguity have a place within forgiveness?


This is the key concept explored in Griffin Theatre Company’s As We Forgive.


“It’s very grey and it’s very dark,” says legendary Tasmanian actor Robert Jarman. “Without giving away too much of the plot, you get introduced to three men throughout the course of the evening....

Posted 11 May 2016 @ 5:13pm

Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss has been making waves on the international circuit since he was 16 years old.


After receiving worldwide acclaim for his latest tour, he’s returning to Sydney Comedy Festival this month.   


“I’ve been coming across since I was 18 or 19, so it’s my seventh or eighth time here,” says Sloss. “I’ve got so many friends that I only see...

Posted 11 May 2016 @ 4:58pm

For the duration of Sydney Comedy Festival 2016, we’re bringing you a weekly round-up of the hottest tickets in town. Zanda Wilson reports.


Em Rusciano: Em Rusciano Is NOT A Diva

UNSW Roundhouse, Friday May 13 and Enmore Theatre, Saturday May 14


Posted 6 May 2016 @ 12:14pm

Who doesn't love a good music documentary?


There are few cinematic pleasures more acute than discovering the story behind cover art, or seeing legendary musicians stumble, ramble, educate and elucidate. Music documentaries feed our voyeurism - our desperate desire to know - but they can also be truly great art in their own right, depictions that become as powerful as the bands...

Posted 6 May 2016 @ 10:00am

Wil Anderson. Judith Lucy. Barry Humphries. Ask anyone to name their favourite Aussie comedians, and you’re likely looking at a substantial list.


And sure, we all know a slew of US and UK comics; from Seinfeld to Are You Being Served?, we grew up with them. But from the outside, Indian comedy is largely uncharted territory. Thanks to the viral success of All India Bakchod,...

Posted 5 May 2016 @ 1:35pm

The Taming Of The Shrew is arguably William Shakespeare’s most controversial play.


Rife with overt sexism and misogyny, it can be difficult to perform to modern audiences who bear such seemingly different values to those of the Elizabethan era. But has that much actually changed? It’s possible the emotions and opinions that Shrew invokes are more relevant than a cursory study...