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Bad Moms is a very pleasant surprise. It is the best broad comedy out of Hollywood this blockbuster season and while that could be a low bar to clear it is still an achievement in its own right. Maybe the writing was on the wall when Kathryn Hahn was listed in the cast, that woman has never failed to be good in any of her work yet and this could elevate her star status even more.TOBIS Film comedy mila kunis kristen bell christina applegate

Mila Kunis stars as an All American Mom Amy Mitchell trying to do it all, raise the kids, keep the house running, please the hubby and hold down a good job. Like many women trying to do it all she finds herself constantly enroute to the next crisis she needs to respond to noting she’s constantly late wherever she is arriving. One day she comes home and finds her husband Mike (David Walton) may not be present at the dinner table conversations but he is presently masturbating to a computer screen that has a woman skyping on the other end of it. The lout can’t even muster up the decency to have a proper affair in person with his mistress.

Kicking him to the curb Kunis finds her already full workload overflowing. At the end of a very long day she arrives at the Parent Teachers Association Meeting a wreck and gets mentioned scathingly by the PTA President Gwendolyn James (Christina Applegate) the kind of well off immaculately coiffed individual who sits in judgement of everybody else. Revolutions have been born from such moments and so it is here. Kunis tells Applegate where to place her gluten free, sugar free, fat free cupcakes and steals off into the night to grab a drink at the local bar. God knows where her kids are at this late hour but at the bar she meets Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell). Image result for bad moms gifsKiki and Carla are the two extremes of Amy’s psyche, a repressed housewife who never talks back to her husband and suffers in vain as her children run her down and Hahn who barely remembers she has a child, sees men as expendable sex objects and doesn’t give two gluten free cupcakes about what anybody thinks of her.

A million subtexts and questions abound in such a mainstream comedy. Kunis’s daughter Jane (Oona Laurence) is a little stress bunny because statistically speaking young girls apply themselves more at school then young boys whereas Kunis’s son Dylan (Emjay Anthony) cracks the shit because breakfast isn’t made for him which means that Mommy has to sit him down and tell him that he has a sense of privilege and he better start doing for himself. Meanwhile Mommy decides that she’s going to drive Daddy’s car while he’s living out of a hotel. While stereotypes exist for a reason, Kunis does a lot for her daughter including taking her to a day spa and getting her on the soccer team, meanwhile Daddy goes to a counselling session where he gets told sexual favours were not on offer because he never did any housework and the little boy gets the privilege of learning to do his own breakfast which should set him up well for later in life. Meanwhile Mommy spends a lot of time blowing off all her responsibilities, by the way this film is written and directed by two men Jon Lucas and Scott Moore who did The Hangover. Walking out to the car park afterwards I turned to my wife and said all the male characters were either losers or ideals, how would you like it if you saw a movie with female characters that only fit in those two boxes? She just smiled and replied “That’s every other movie Lloyd.”TOBIS Film comedy mila kunis kristen bell christina applegate

There’s a nice message in this film about not having to measure yourself by other people’s or society’s expectations. That doing your best, loving your kids and enjoying life is enough. True to the spirit of not tearing other women down the ending strikes the right note. As a another fellow blogger pointed out having Kunis trying to eat spaghetti while driving from one appointment to another is a bit unrealistic but whatever sins or faults the film has they can be forgiven when there are so many laughs on offer.

Image result for jay hernandez sexyJay Hernandez makes a bigger impact here as idealised widowed Dad Jessie than he did in Suicide Squad. Applegate has her own pair of partners played by Jada Pinkett Smith and Annie Mumolo. They get some funny lines and Applegate seems to be having a ball. Image result for bad moms It may not be intended but the film plays as a mirror to the current U.S. election. Kunis as the outsider running for PTA President saying that we don’t have to live up to expectations and change is needed in the system, Applegate as the long term insider who desperately wants to win. The ending almost feels like what happens when the revolution is won and the rebels start to be corrupted as leaders like they always are. May be I’m reading too much into it.

Plot inconsistencies abound, the kids or babysitters are referred to when needed and disappear when that is necessary too. Only commercial comedy would suggest these people are middle class and then have them to proceed to not worry about money during a divorce. It’s okay, we’re at the movies and we’re not watching a documentary. Kunis, Bell and Hahn share a nice chemistry in this film with Kunis holding it all together as the lead, Bell doing some inspired physical comedy and Hahn stealing the show by doing whatever the hell she wants. A late scene where she explains motherhood to Kunis gives the film heart and a message. All the best gross out comedies have these two qualities. There’s been a few comedies released this year, none of them had the audience laughing as much as Bad Moms. Do yourself a favour.

-Lloyd Marken

P.S. I really enjoyed the credits scene with the actresses and their real life mothers. You did a great job ladies and it made me think of how much I appreciate my Mum.

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Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French made the first sketch for AbFab 25 years ago about PR Manager Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and her best mate Magazine Editor Patsy (Joanna Lumley). Running as a BBC TV series for a couple of seasons Saunders bowed out with the show Absolutely Fabulous at the height of its powers in 1996. She then re-worked ideas for another show with the same cast into a revamp in the new millennium. Personal reflections recall that series of specials and telemovies not being nearly as good but time apart (a short series 2011-12 were the last)can make the heart grow fonder. The movie plays like a ramped up greatest hits of the show on a bigger budget with little new added and yet it’s fun to be back with these women in 2016. filmHaving started out as middle aged women behaving badly in a superficial youth orientated industry there was always something rebellious about the character and socially critical about the show but now with the characters creeping to the end of middle age they have become even more poignant with their fears and hopes. Maybe the fact that they have not grown up and daughter Saffy (Julia Sawalha) is quietly still enduring them with her own daughter now called Lola (Indeyarna Donaldson-Holness) and a new wet blanket of a man should be sad, don’t these people ever grow and learn from their mistakes? Yet they’ve survived, they’ve endured and they haven’t changed because they like how they live and there’s a kind of power in that. Why the hell do they have to conform with any expectations?


Fans of the series will find a lot of familiar beats in the plot, Edie and Pats find out they don’t have any money coming in anymore and Edie looking to land model Kate Moss as a client inadvertently pushes her into the Thames River where its believed she drowns making the two of them pariahs. Barring some fantastic pole dancing in The White Stripes cover of I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself

I have never understood the fascination with Kate but she seems to be a big deal in Britain and she’s a good enough sport in this film. In fact she’s only one of several amusing star cameos with Jon Hamm proving once again he’s up for anything. The fact the film comes jam packed with so many cameos is a reflection of the love people have for this show.

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Almost every single gag will be recognised from the series including Patsy getting in drag, Eddie finally breaking down and admitting all her failings and asking for forgiveness, Patsy spewing venom at Saffron about being an inconvenience,  Safi having to overcome a tough crowd by doing something extroverted and against her nature, mocking any new trend in the world of fashion and making fun of any new technological device. This time though it is done on a grand scale culminating with the girls heading out to Cannes in the south of France and featuring a neat little car chase. The originality and bite of the gags when first seen in the 90s may be more predictable here but there’s also a kind of warmth in the familiarity. It’s nice to have the gals back even if for one last glory run. You know it is fun to be in the Riviera, it’s fun to sing karaoke at a gay club, it’s fun to have women misbehaving past 60 and mocking the double standard for men of the same age and it’s fun to be taking the piss out of self-important fashion labels and celebrities. The whole film is just fun if not terribly inspired and with a glass of Tanqueray gin there are worse nights out to be had. If you’re staying in though grab a copy of the original series from the 1990s.

-Lloyd Marken

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“You’re cleverer than you look Q.” says Bond.

“Still better looking than clever you are.” Replies Q.

-Die Another Day

I wonder in such a witty exchange who the makers of Sausage Party see themselves as?

Sausage Party is the anti-Pixar film, a delicious concept in itself and arrives with low brow humour and social commentary. Rogen and his pals understand it’s nice to have some meat on the bones to get people invested; they make their characters likeable and try to say something deep about the human condition along with all the dick jokes. They half succeed. Their ambition here is laudable and the finale really goes for it but I doubt a year from now we’ll be talking about this as a classic of the comedy genre. They’ve fared better making fun of their own celebrity in This is the End and taking shots at Kim Jong Il in The Interview.

A bunch of Weenies (amongst them Seth Rogen as Frank [geddit]) sit in their packets on a supermarket shelf waiting to be bought by the Gods (humans) and taken to the great beyond (the sliding doors at the front of the store) so they can live happily ever after snuggled inside the buns (amongst them Kristen Wiig as Brenda Bunson) next to them. They’ve sat around the store their whole existence waiting to do this. Then one day on the eve of July 4 celebrations, a bottle of Honey Mustard (Danny McBride) comes back talking about horrendous things the Gods do to food having been returned to the store as faulty. Mustard isn’t going back and as the buns and weenies get purchased he seeks to escape the shopping trolley. In the ensuring chaos the food gets separated and so begins a long night of some trying to return to the store and others trying to find out the truth of existence.

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Lots of food types of national origins stand in for potshots at those races and culture. The filmmakers are criticising stereotypes and making fun of them too. Commentary about faith ensures, homophobia, slut shaming, the rule of the mob, a Lavash (David Krumholtz) and Bagel (Edward Norton doing an amazing Woody Allenesque voice) don’t know how to share their aisle while the weenie off to the side casually asks “Isn’t there enough aisle to share it?” The West Bank has a square area of 5,640km2, the state of Palestine has a square area of 6,220km2, Israel has a square area of 22,072km2 and the United States of America has a square area of 9,833,517km2. I don’t know why I mentioned that. There’s a Taco voiced by Salma Hayek who might be into buns as much weenies are and a Douche (Nick Kroll) with roid rage who gets his strength from doing things that he wants to be clear don’t make him gay. Some of this is dumb and some of this is smart and even some of it is funny.

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When taking the piss out of themselves or genres the film is fairly effective but it ultimately has nothing deep to say. It’s akin to someone pointing out things and saying how silly it all is which is observant but without really offering any insight and solution. Not many of us have answers anymore anyway so that’s fair enough but the best comedy will do that. In the meantime, I’ll come clean I’ve laughed my ass off during the already infamous finale. I remembered a story Mel Brooks once related about what he was told during the making of Blazing Saddles “In comedy if you’re going to go up to the door and knock on it, make sure you’re prepared to step through.” These guys have well and truly entered the house of bad taste and even though I didn’t always laugh throughout I can’t help but applaud them for their audacity.

-Lloyd Marken


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X-Men: Apocalypse appeared in a crowded market of sequel s and comic book films this summer. The series was coming off a high of X-Men: Days of Future Past which combined the cast of the original run of films from 2000-2006 with the reboot X-Men: First Class kids ala like a Marvel Avengers team-up film. Intended as a trilogy capper to the young First Class crew, the scale of this X-Men film is bigger than any previous efforts with real world ending threats and yet the film is quite underwhelming. Where other films however muddled have felt fresh this year, this X-Men outing feels like a call back to better earlier trips. Even James McAvoy pointed out on Graham Norton “Charles goes bad again, I try to appeal to his inner humanity again.” That’s not what the main problem is though, Apocalypse is to put it mildly A bit of a fuckin mess. Too many characters, too many plot strands, an underwhelming villain and a finale that looks impressive at first but ends up like they always do being a big overblown cartoon that makes the audience feel no impact nor sense of stakes in the choreography. That is not to say it is without merit though. Their biggest mistake here is to not give closure to their cast of characters instead choosing to leave open the door for more profit-I mean storytelling.

Picking up from the events of Days of Future Past which was set primarily in 1973, Apocalypse takes place in 1983 with everybody fairly happy. Prof Xavier (James McAvoy) is running the School with Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) and doing a bang up job. There are some particularly gifted students in attendance in the form of Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) who we all know will become Cyclops and Phoenix. Jennifer Lawrence who proved the be the big break out star of this franchise due to her own one The Hunger Games, is back as Mystique rocking a leather jacket and being a bit of a symbol for mutants world-wide. She rescues them and is still fighting the good fight of mutants against humans who would hate, enslave or murder them or you know just humans in general. After almost killing the President, Magneto went back to Poland and raised a family. Image result for x-men apocalypse magnetoThese early scenes with Fassbender are low key and enjoyable. It feels like a natural progression for the character in middle age having fought the war for mutant rights and decided to go back where he came from, to where it all started and try to live a simple life as a man. The problem is we all know where this will end so it’s hard to get too involved with characters that will be the fate of an inevitable plot development. At least though there is something dialled down and interesting going on in Poland. Quicksilver is back in this film too which makes you think something inevitable will happen there too since he mentions Magneto is his father. Inexplicably this does not take place and I think it has less to do with character motivation and more to do with copyright legislation.

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Added into this mix is the villain En Sabur Nur or Apocalypse, a very old mutant maybe the first who used to make life tough back in the day for Egyptians and now has returned to……Sigh. You know it really doesn’t matter. You’d be better off seeing Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year Image result for a most violent yearor Inside Llewellyn Davis or Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook or James McAvoy in Filth or Tye Sheridan in Mud or  Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones or Evan Peters in American Horror Story or Olivia Munn in The Newsroom or Nicholas Hoult in Mad Max: Fury Road or Michael Fassbender in any movie he made with Steve McQueen or Lucas Till in……actually this is probably Lucas’s Till’s best work. Still you get the point, there are better movies out there but I guess this one is not bad.

Look back in Egyptian times there was a mutant who ruled over the world with four deputies which allude to the Four Horsemen of the Biblical Apocalypse. I’ve heard Highlander the TV series did this idea more justice than this movie…… let that sink in for a moment. Awakened in modern times Ennie Sabie No feels a bit out of sorts and decides this old world of ours needs a bit of a renovation sensation which coincidentally includes our annihilation. How a victim of the Nazi’s final solution gets on board with mass genocide is beyond me but little Magneto has had a rough time of it. Image result for x-men apocalypse gifsA startling close up of Isaac describing our world while connected to a TV is oddly compelling but sadly his motivations or how he draws in his followers of four is less convincing. There are some tantalising Meta jokes, references to past relationships but no real payoff. Hoult and Lawrence had a nice chemistry in First Class and it would have been nice to develop their love story to some resolution in this film. Image result for x-men apocalypse magnetoMore inroads are made with Rose Byrne and McAvoy but still no cigar. There is another stand out Quicksilver sequence which has less impact this time around but there is a good joke with Peters and Lawrence. En Zanzi Bur is a powerful figure with immense power but without a proper motivation the finale lacks emotional power. Things blow up, pixels play across the screen, and some actors even go flying through the air on wires but ask yourself in 3 months if you remember any of it. You’ll remember Han Solo on the bridge a damn sight better or even Superman throwing that Kryptonite Spear into Doomsday.

Yosub Kim, Content Strategy Director x-men purple olivia munn swordMake a good film and everybody will beg you to be the only one to do a sequel, make a less than great film and everybody says it’s time to put the franchise to bed. Both are knee jerk reactions that don’t necessarily hold true. Bryan Singer has directed some fine films and been with these characters a long time, for me the best remains X-Men 2 which was 14 years ago. I wish him and 20th Century Fox well with the franchise and any choices they make in the future. In the end this could be as good a time as any to end this part of the story but if not, the directive should be simple – make it good. X-Men Apocalypse ain’t bad though.

-Lloyd Marken


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Sully is an American hero. We should cherish that simple reassuring fact until the end of time that such things can be true and real in this day and age. Yet Chesley Sullenberger is also a man, a quiet professional of considerable skill and talent but a human being with flaws and doubts like the rest of us. Clint Eastwood’s film accepts both these truths can co-exist but has something to say about how each responded to the events of January 15, 2009.

On January 15, 2009 Flight 1549 took off from La Guardia airport in New York City. At 2,000 feet before levelling out of ascent multiple birds struck the aircraft disabling both engines immediately. They never got higher than 2,800 feet with the major urban population of New York City beneath them. In 200 seconds the plane had landed on the Hudson river, a feat of piloting in itself which was truly extraordinary. From the point that the plane hit the water to the point where all survivors were on the pier was 24 minutes. To have had anybody survive such a landing would have been remarkable. It was in the dead of winter in the northern hemisphere, the conditions meant that the odds of at least somebody perishing were extremely high. Five individuals were injured or hospitalised but no one perished. All 155 souls on board survived the water landing and immediately the story of the Miracle on the Hudson raced across the world. The incident was the inverse of September 11, 2001. An incident involving an aircraft and New York City where good prevailed, professionalism and heroism saved the day, people were rescued not murdered.

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At the centre of it all an airline pilot who had served in the United States Air Force, a Texan who had learnt to fly at 16 in a crop duster over clear prairie skies and had that cool 70s moustache from the golden age of air travel. In other words-America. Knee deep in casualty reports from Afghanistan and Iraq, and the fall out from the Global Financial Crisis here was the story New York, America and the world could feel good about. The movie Sully understands this but also understands that the word survivor is not used randomly, everybody on board went through an ordeal and they would happily have never gone through it if given the choice.

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Saying Tom Hanks portrayal here is his most low key does not give credit to his Captain John H. Miller or Jim Lovell but Sully is a very shy man at heart and Hanks embodies that. Not a perfect physical match for the real man American’s favourite everyman movie star was the inevitable choice and the role comes at the right moment for his age and in his career. There could’ve been more interesting choices but none better. The rest of the cast is superb, Aaron Eckhart is so laid back as co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles that it may be taken for granted how good his performance is. Looking more like his real life counterpart than Hanks, Eckhart is laidback but more expressive than his co-star. Skiles had only just qualified on the Airbus but was a Captain in his own right demoted due to airline cutbacks (basically experienced and overqualified for the job he was doing). A lot of focus and attention has gone the way of the man who said “My aircraft” and took the controls and not much to the co-pilot and Skiles has weathered that with good humour and grace but Sully will be the first to tell you there were two men in that cockpit that day and both did their jobs superbly. I was pleased to see Skiles as a buttress of support in this film and a calm assertive figure in the narrative. Watch a scene where Skiles makes it easy for Sully to meet him downstairs. Eckhart is so natural as the character that beneath a brown moustache long term fans of the actor have failed to recognise him. Possibly too low key for an Oscar run hopefully some lauded film critics society will tap Eckhart for his performance here and give him an award.


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Eastwood always an actor at his best when dialled down gets similar performances form a wealth of character actors including Molly Hagan, Ann Cusack, Jamey Sheridan, Valerie Mahaffey but Laura Linney who shined against type in Mystic River is wasted here. Reduced to playing scenes of calling each other across the other side of the country Hanks and Linney do well. We get that his wife is part of his strength, we feel their isolation and we see how disruptive the investigation and media attention was to the family. These scenes convey a lot that is important to know but they are conventional wife scenes in these kinds of films. It would be fair to suspect there was more to it in real life; Sully’s wife is in her own right a strong, layered and inspiring woman. Image result for sully filmYou won’t get half of that from this film and that’s nothing against Linney. Faring not much better are the air hostesses who played the biggest role in evacuating the plane in a timely and safe manner. Their professionalism is conveyed in telling body language. As the lights fade out in the plane they move forward with a smile telling people to keep their seatbelts on before surmising to each other we’re turning back. But blink and you’ll miss just how important it was that Doreen Welsh (Molly Hagan a long way from Herman’s Head) wounded by the crash with water streaming into the back of the plane got passengers to turn around head out through the forward exits. More justice is done to the calm professional and earnest work done by FAA Air Traffic Control Specialist Patrick Harten. Harten’s scenes are done with minimal fuss and lots of close ups on the actor Patch Darragh. Calm, professionalism, minimal. Those words get used a lot to describe the actions and demeanour of people in a crisis who come through. It’s difficult to not repeat them throughout a review of this film or a recollection of this story. These people were calm and professional and did their jobs with a minimum of fuss.

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As filmmaker Clint Eastwood’s films often bear these hallmarks too, the ‘action’ sequences cut all music, bear few flourishes with camera movement but have a grounded real world approach. Compare the nightmare Sully has at the beginning to the actual water landing later in the picture. There is no music played, the insides of the aircraft have been painstakingly recreated to be as true to what was there on the day as possible. The effect is to put you in that moment as best they can and to not do anything that will remind you – you are watching a film. Weeks after Suicide Squad, it is a joy to see effects in service to story and action that is both moving and involving. If the special effects house has done a decent if not mind blowing recreation of the flight then several practical effects cannot be faulted. Considering how difficult it is to recreate such a scene that few saw the achievement of the effects is in keeping with the tone of the film.

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Clint Eastwood is 86 years old this year and it’s fair to suggest maybe that every film he makes he is putting forward his views on the world as a parting message. The director has been doing that since at least Unforgiven and maybe even all the way back to Play Misty for Me and he’s rebelled against expectations again and again. White Hunter Black Heart was not a jovial biopic about a beloved Hollywood director making his greatest film, at the height of Rambo mania Heartbreak Ridge was mostly a service comedy and surprisingly romantic, Gran Torino which promised Eastwood reclaiming his star persona had something to say about the cyclical nature of violence and Million Dollar Baby was not just a heart-warming sports movie. Sully is not just about two pilots landing a passenger jet on a river. Clint Eastwood is not a director known for his subtlety but his images have haunted throughout the years. He chooses exactly the second the first ferry arrived to rescue the first passenger off the wing to play music. There wasn’t a dry eye in the theatre I attended at that moment, subtle can be overrated sometimes. Hanks plays Sully’s relief at hearing the magical number of survivors in the hospital with a noticeable turn of his face and holding back tears. Yet look afterwards when Hanks walks over to a window and holds his tie around his shoulders like a man finishing a long day at the office.  Image result for sully and skilesSee Eastwood line up a shot of Hanks ascending the ferry stairs with the plane in the background. Some of these choices are more nuanced and when they are not they are truly moving. The adults are making a blockbuster today kids so just sit back down and learn a thing or two.

A couple of themes resonate, Eastwood celebrates the human factor of what the cockpit crew did, when technology failed them, rather than going through the PAM or worrying about the odds Sullenberger ‘eyeballed’ it. Eastwood wants to celebrate a man making the call in the heat of the moment and backing himself and places the Safety Board investigating the landing as villains who don’t know what it is to have been there. Their hard 180 reverses throughout the film are the kind of black hat obviousness that Eastwood is famous for, you may recall how repugnant Hilary Swank’s family was in Million Dollar Baby.

Eastwood also plays up the dichotomy of a man being celebrated in the media as a hero as he is being torn apart behind closed doors with his reputation, pension, career and life’s work on the line while trying to quietly endure post-traumatic stress. You get the sense despite Katie Couric’s presence that Eastwood doesn’t think much of the media. At one point a journalist stands on the river and reports live to the camera that the people on the plane located behind him “Have minutes to live.” It’s a subtle dig by Eastwood standards but the message is clear “Look at you standing there doing nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt once said “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly.

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Eastwood clearly celebrates Sully as the man in the arena but he places alongside him Skiles, Welsh, Donna Dent, Diane Higgins, Harten, the ferry crews, every passenger on that plane, the members of the NYPD, FDNY and USCG, the nurses, doctors and ambulance staff. The best of New York, of America, of humanity. These are things to be cherished and not to be lost as people who grew up in dustbowls, defeated Nazis and built the jet age give way to a generation who have never known the Middle East without war, the proliferation of unstable employment, reduced economic growth and social isolation. The world is troubled, as it was and always will be but we can meet any challenge if we remember who we are. At our best we’re Chesley Sullenberger and his team. Heroes.

-Lloyd Marken



The town flag of Barce. Copyright Lloyd Marken.

The artillery unit at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera Qld is 1 Regiment Royal Australian Artillery. They have deployed gunners over the past decade on secondment to the British Army in Helmland Province, Afghanistan. 105 Battery is part of the Regiment which fired in support of 6RAR at the Battle of Long Tan. The regiment has a long proud history dating back to World War One. However their lines are named Barce and in a building within those lines hangs a flag in memory of victory won long ago in another war. 2/1st Field Regiment was raised on 31OCT1939 in Ingleburn, NSW. They were the namesake of 1 Field  Regiment from World War I which saw action at Gallipoli and in France. 2/1 Field were sent to North Africa to fight with the 6th Australian division which was the first of the Australian divisions to be raised and sent to fight in this new war. It was in North Africa that something truly unique took place for an artillery unit.


05FEB1941 D Troop was sent forward to occupy a position with an OP overlooking the town of Barce and the coastal road. Its object was to engage any enemy moving westward from Barce but htat escape route was devoid of all signs of life. The town of Barce was alive though and the troop commander Captain Vickery looked in vain for the customary white surrender flag. He bracketed the town, one round plus, one round minus, still no white flag. He shortened the plus range a little, fired and up went a white flag. Lieutenant Lester and four O.R.s (Other Ranks) clambered down the escarpment, and were met by a group from the town carrying a white and the town flag which they handed to our boys, they in turn accepted the surrender on behalf of 2/1 FLD Regt and the Army of the Nile. That town flag resides at the Barce Lines today.

Later on a more formal surrender was taken by the 2 I/C Major Young. At 7:3opm the town was handed over to 6 Div Provost Company. During its short period of control, and with only the threat of its guns somewhere up on the escarpment, the Regiment supressed a Bedouin uprising. It also took great delight in arranging a formal welcome for the infantry, the 2/8th Battalion, when they entered the town. Barce was the last town of any size to be taken before Benghazi.

The story that circulated in the regiment, was that this was the first time in the history of the British Empire that Regiment of Field Artillery had captured and taken surrender of a town without any assistance from any other branch of the armed services.

Disputing or confirming this is irrelevant to the true significance of the battle.

Bardia which was Australia’s first major battle of World War II had just taken place and 2/1st Field Regiment had served on the gun line throughout the entire battle. Taking Tobruk from the Italians had been next. 2/1st Field Regiment would go on to fight in Greece and through two campaigns in New Guinea. By war’s end 77 members had been wounded and 33 members had died.

But as the men of 2/1 Field Regiment went to bed on the night of the 5th of February, 1941 they could sleep having taken a town with no deaths of their own, the enemy or civilian.

It was a great victory.

-Lloyd Marken

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Bir Asluj, Palestine, 12th May 1940. Guns of 2/1st Field Regiment during practice shoot. Courtesy of Australian War Memorial.

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Near Bardia. Gun Grew of No. 3 Gun, E Troop, 2/1st Field Regiment, Relax after Christmas Dinner. L to R, Gnr Trouville, Gnr Morrow, Bdr Hitcher, Gnr Sing. In front are Bdr Elliot and Sgt Firth. Courtesy of Australian War Memorial.


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Near Bardia, Cyrenaica. Underground Command Post of I Battery, 2/1st Field Regiment before the Battle of Bardia, December 1940. Courtesy of Australian War Memorial.


Christmas dinner at their gun site, near Bardia. Christmas Day, 1940. L to R: Sgt D. A. Jack, L Bdr Lopez,  Gnr W. A. Moss, Bdr Wood, Gnr T. H. O’Neill and standing Gnr Roach. (Negative F. Hurley.)


“E” Troop, 2/1 Field Regiment in position near the Bardia Front. (Negative by F. Hurley.)


No. 5 Gun. E Troop, near Bardia Christmas Day 1940. Gnr Hillcoat, Gnr O’Sullivan, Bdr Frankfort, Gnr Krumback. Courtesy of Australian War Memorial.

Haywood, E.V. 1959. Six Years in Support : History of the 2/1 Field Regiment. Angus and Robertson.


CFY Sunshine Blogger award

I consider myself very lucky and grateful to have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Alan over at Content For You. Alan’s Blog is a great source of information, predominantly full of entertainment industry news, film reviews and interesting pieces of trivia about films and those that make them. Always eager to reblog something he enjoys from another blogger, his site allowed me to learn of the work of not just him but other fellow bloggers whose work I’ve come to enjoy. Please check out his answers here.

The aim of the game with the Sunshine Blogger award is to answer 11 questions Alan asked of me and then write my own questions for 11 Bloggers I nominate to answer. Thanks once again Alan, you’re a champ. I hope to avoid asking too many questions people have already received from previous nominations.


First up Alan asks the following 11 questions, any other readers please put your answers in the comments section

  1. You are on a desert island for a year, you can only take 3 movies with you, 1 action, 1 comedy and one drama, what would they be? I humbly submit Thelma and Louise could serve as a perfect example of all 3. Off the time of my head let’s throw Lethal Weapon and About Time in there too.
  2. Pick your favourite actor who played Bond? Sir Sean Connery. Accept no substitutes.
  3. Name a movie which you love but hardly anyone else seems to like? Only my wife and I seem to have seen About Time. What is wrong with you people?
  4. An actor or actress who no matter how bad the movie is you still want to watch it because the actor or actress is so good? I’ve followed Harrison Ford through some dog shit and loved him in it.
  5. What would have been the greatest decade for most high quality movies released? I don’t think you can beat the 1970s for American movies. I’m still hoping to see so many titles from that era and of course I grew up in the aftermath of that period that influenced so many of the movies I went and saw. I’ve noticed lately I’m getting nostalgia for films from the 90s more and more and I think that has to do with what the time meant to me as much as anything but it’s the 70s kids.
  6. What movie do you never want to see again, even if your life depended on it? If my life depends on it, I’ll see it okay! I will say the worst movie I ever saw was Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Movie for Your Colon or something like that. Ten minutes in I treated it like an endurance test and a matter of pride to sit and watch the whole thing. Years ago I watched the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre believing it was more than based on actual events. That dinner sequence at the end was excruciating but at least I can see the craft and success in what Tobe Hooper achieved there. Aqua Teen Hunger Force just sucked. I hated, hated, hated it.Image result for aqua teen hunger force movie for colon
  7. Of the current crop of teen and 20s actors-actresses who will still be a big star when they are 55? There’s no doubt in my mind that Elle Fanning and Emma Watson are fantastic actresses. Whether they’re big in 30 years is a crapshoot. Hollywood has no rhyme or reason and we’ve got a long way to go before there’s more roles for women over 40. Is it bad that girls came to mind. I thought of Felicity Jones immediately but she’s in her 30s. I think Aaron Taylor-Johnson had a moment in Kick-Ass. I’d like to see him still around too.
  8. For every one movie you watch in a theatre how many do you watch at home? That’s a tough one. Maybe 4.
  9. If you could spend one hour with a movie star past or present who would it be and why? James Stewart. Part of it would be that he is a Vet. Why I don’t’ know. I mean I’m not going to ask him about the war. I’d like to pick his brain though. Oh who am I kidding, it would be Jennifer Garner. I’d just sit there and drink it in. Maybe David Letterman, Johnny Carson, Christopher Reeve, Harrison Ford, Robin Williams….you get the idea.Image result for jennifer garner dinner texas buyers club
  10. Apart from your own, what is your favourite non commercial hobby movie blog? I have a few favourites. If you’re one of the 11 I chose I’d say you’re one of them. But if it has to be one, it’s Cindy Bruchman. She’s given me confidence in my own blog and there’s never post on her’s I skip. No post is ever too long or too short and they’re about subjects that interest me.
  11. How many movies do you think you watched in the last 12 months? Including ones I’ve already seen I think it could easily be over 400.

I nominate       Cindy Bruchman

GP Cox

Beetley Pete


Paul S

Windswept and Interesting

It Rains…You Get Wet

A. Gray

Assholes Watching Movies




Image result for james lipton where were you born? gifs

Anybody familiar with the excellent Inside the Actors Studio will recognise some of the questions below but they’re still interesting to ask them of you and the rest I came up with myself.😛

  1. Where were you born?
  2. What sound or noise turns you on?
  3. What sound or noise turns you off?
  4. What is your favourite curse word?
  5. What is your favourite late night talk show host?
  6. What is the attribute you’ve admired most in a long term partner?
  7. When you arrive at the pearly gates, what do you hope God will say to you?
  8. What was the first James Bond you saw at the movies and was he your favourite Bond?
  9. What is one of the sexiest things somebody ever did for you?
  10. Did you or somebody close to you ever serve in the military?
  11. There is no such thing as an ugly person only somebody who doesn’t see how beautiful they truly are. Nonetheless out of modern celebrities who do you find the most attractive? Screen persona can inform this as well as the obvious physical attributes.