SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING AND ATOMIC BLONDE REVIEWS AVAILABLE AT BUZZ MAGAZINE

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Recently I went and saw the new Spider-Man movie and my wife took me to a preview screening of the new Charlize Theron actioner Atomic Blonde. I’ve also watched Baby Driver, a film that has been carrying a lot of buzz. Alas I may not share the same enthusiasm for it that many do but there are things I appreciated about it. Maybe I’ll get to a review in time. I also hope to write about the return of the Brisbane International Film Festival which trust me is a cause for celebration. In the meantime I’ve been lucky to have Buzz Magazine publish my reviews for Spider-Man: Homecoming and Atomic Blonde. Links can be found here http://buzzmagazine.com.au/spiderman-homecoming/ and here http://buzzmagazine.com.au/atomic-blonde/ and I hope you enjoy.

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Based out of Victoria, Buzz Magazine was one the longest running street press magazines in Australia being published in print from 1993 to 2010. Some fine writers have worked for Buzz over the years and gone onto successful careers in media since and there is simply no way to measure the contribution the mag made to local music over its print run. With such words and minimal advertising on the website the impression could be taken that Buzz is now semi-retired. Yet the site is quite prolific with new write-ups on a daily basis, the ongoing interest of fans old and new and contributions from some very talented people indeed.

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I count myself very fortunate to have been able to submit 5 reviews there for the blockbusters Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Wonder Woman and now Spider-Man: Homecoming and Atomic Blonde.

Hope you’re all well.

-Lloyd Marken

 

 

 

 

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GAME OF THRONES TOP 10 COUNTDOWN: PART TWO AVAILABLE AT HEAVY

The Top 5 Moments of Game of Thrones are now up over at Heavy Magazine. It has been quite a thrill to write about these moments.

What are your favourite moments from the series? Feel free to comment on what you would include or omit.

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No. 5 Cersei’s Walk of Shame

No. 4 “They Won’t.”

No.3 Well It’s A Nice Day For A Red Wedding

No.2 “I Will Lead The Attack.”

No.1 Seriously I’m Not Going To Spoil That Here – You’ll Have To Click On This Link 🙂

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Heavy is an independent magazine and website that is all about the music and specifically heavy music and supporting the Australian music scene in general. Fortunately for me they do cover film as well and I am very grateful to have written this Top 10 Countdown for their website.  What a thrill to write about the world’s favourite TV show in a publication.

-Lloyd Marken

GAME OF THRONES TOP 10 COUNTDOWN: PART ONE AVAILABLE AT HEAVY

Winter is Here. The biggest show in the world, Game of Thrones, starts the beginning of the end next week and I’ve been lucky enough to put together a Top 10 Best Moments from the series online at Heavy Magazine.

There will be some surprise choices for many fans in terms of omissions and inclusions so if it provokes conversation then that is all part of the fun. Below are the following links for 10 – 5 with the rest to follow.

No. 10 The Night King Throws Down The Gauntlet

No. 9 “I Expect You To Serve The Realm.”

No. 8 Hodor Holds The Door

No. 7 Brienne Of Tarth Keeps Her Oath

No. 6 The Hound Loves Him Some Chicken

Feel free to write comments of your own personal choices or your hopes for what will be the final choices in the Top 5 on the posts over at Heavy. I can tell you No.4 is a personal favourite and No.2 involves my favourite character. No. 7 and No.9 may be unexpected but do involve fan favourites. There are many I assumed would be in there that I am surprised did not make the grade.

Heavy is an independent magazine and website that is all about the music and specifically heavy music and supporting the Australian music scene in general. Fortunately for me they do cover film as well and I am very grateful to have had this review published on their website. I fear the countdown was a bit rushed and may not be as polished as it should be but I hope you enjoy. What a thrill to write about the world’s favourite TV show in a publication.

-Lloyd Marken

INTERVIEW WITH THE LEADS OF ‘GREASE – THE ARENA EXPERIENCE’ AVAILABLE ON SCENESTR

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I did a Work Elective subject in my final undergrad year in 2004. There were about five of us and we did the Brisbane Writer’s Festival Newspaper in 2004. I was hardly the star of the team but I did get to interview some people which was a real thrill for me. Perhaps one day I’ll recap some of that. Almost 13 years later I downloaded a free app onto my phone to record interviews I might do for Scenestr.

Two weekends ago I finally landed a gig and interviewed performers Meghan O’Shea and Drew Weston who are touring Newcastle this month as Sandy and Danny in Grease – The Arena Experience. I spoke to them one at a time for less than 13 minutes each while struggling to contain nerves and excitement throughout. They couldn’t have been nicer and more thoughtful on what they see as strong points about the show, their co-stars and the arts in general. I’ve tried my best to honour that and to put across how charming and articulate they were over the phone onto the written page.

In addition to being the first interviews I have done for Scenestr, this piece has been printed in their Sydney magazine as well on the website. A digital copy of the printed magazine can be found here http://scenestr.com.au/read/NSW/2017/13-NSW/scenestr-NSW-13.html#p=27 where the piece is located on Page 27. The online version is here http://scenestr.com.au/arts/grease-is-the-word-in-newcastle and includes an extra paragraph that took us over the word limit for the printed version. It concerns a story Drew told when I was inspired to ask an impromptu follow-up question after listening to one answer. That was a nice little moment for me, Parky eat your heart out. I’m grateful my editor decided to keep it for the online copy.

Produced by Eyeball Media Enterprises Scenestr. is an online national magazine with local offices around Australia. With over twenty years of publishing history they’ve excelled at moving into the digital realm but they remain at heart from the streets. They also publish Scene magazine in print every month focussed mostly on music gigs, festivals, stand-up comics, fashion and interviews with local and international bands. If you’re into music they’re a great read but they do cover all of the arts.

What doing these things for these publications does for me, your continued support…. After I finished the first interview I walked up and down the living room for a few seconds and took some deep breaths. Then I focussed on doing the next one. I am not a brave man but not for the first time it occurred to me that the things that have scared me have always been the things that have been the most rewarding to have done. I am on a journey I guess, no idea where it will end up and that’s okay. Because it is the journey itself that I am eternally grateful for and I’m just enjoying it in and of itself. And…….. I am happy you are with me.

-Lloyd Marken

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LETHAL WEAPON REVIEW AVAILABLE AT HEAVY

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I’m excited to have had a chance to be published online at Heavy magazine again. Heavy has recently gone through some restructuring and is continuing to grow as a publication. Having been a few weeks since my last submitted to them, I was eager to do something again but was unsure of what. Inspired by the magazine editor’s suggestion of perhaps doing a review of a cult film I instead re-calibrated from cult to classic upon hearing that the movie Lethal Weapon was celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Intended as a reminder of why we fell in love with it in the first place and a little taste for those who may not be familiar with the old buddy cop classic you can read my review here https://heavymag.com.au/film-review-lethal-weapon-30-year-anniversary/

I hope you enjoy and I thank you all for your support. I myself have been not as prolific at reading or writing as I would like but work has kept me busy. We try to balance these things as best we can but I have been published once again which never stops being such a thrill for me and I look forward to reading up on you all soon.

Heavy is an independent magazine and website that is all about the music and specifically heavy music and supporting the Australian music scene in general. Fortunately for me they do cover film as well and I am very grateful to have had this review published on their website.

-Lloyd Marken

MINOR ROLES THAT HAD A MAJOR IMPACT – LUCY FROM GOING IN STYLE

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Going in Style is a pretty much average film overall, helped mainly by the charisma of its 3 venerable stars Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman and Alan Arkin. The film tells the tale of 3 retired workers who have lost their pensions due to nefarious corporate wheeling and dealing. Eventually they get around to making a decision to rob a bank, the same bank responsible for the deal that took away their pensions. As the heist kicks in the film does get a boost of energy with director Zach Braff capturing the action in some interesting ways but the film never really takes off.

SPOILER ALERT!

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During the heist Freeman’s character Willie becomes distracted by a little Asian girl and speaks to her while suffering an attack due to his ill health. It is the kind of cringe inducing narrative choices that infuriate me. Why would his character do this at that moment? They have got to get in and out of the bank quickly. You know narratively there has to be a payoff but you’re insulted by the lack of character motivation and sheer stupidity by people you’re supposed to be rooting for. Yet there is a payoff and against my better judgement I couldn’t help but approve.

Annabelle Chow plays the little Asian girl named Lucy who is there at the bank during the heist with her mother. The pay off is in a later scene she can identify Morgan Freeman’s character by his watch. Matt Dillion suspects our three heroes and hauls them in front of Lucy to have her identify them from the line-up. During his interactions with Lucy, Willie mentioned he had a granddaughter. Chow comes in as Lucy, stares down all the suspects and then is adamant that nobody present were the bank robbers.

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On her way out of the police station she walks past Morgan Freeman’s daughter played by Ashley Aufderheide. The camera goes into slow motion and as the two little girls walk past each other, Annabelle clutching a doll gives the most gangster nod to Ashley. Cheesy as fuck, predictable for a few but in that moment I tipped my hat to young Ms Chow. From the bank heist to her poker face during the line-up and then that simple gesture on her way out she gives a great performance. It’s pretty simple I admit but there’s something touching about the morality of a child. They are known to have sixth sense and something in her during the heist had seen that this man was not a threat and surrounded by adults suspecting she was lying and talking about the importance of the law she had come to a simple choice – this man has a granddaughter like me and I’m not taking her grandfather away from her. With that simple choice by Lucy perfectly conveyed by Ms Chow the sentiment of it all touched me. One of the most annoying things about a film had been redeemed. Sure they could have found another way to set it up better but thanks to Annabelle Chow I was happy enough. As a minor character she seals the fate of the main characters and their families and highlights some of the central values of the film. Not bad for what was a probably a couple of day’s work. Well done Annabelle.

-Lloyd Marken

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EXTRAS WHO ADD A LITTLE SOMETHING – JOHN B. DESTRY

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To tell the truth there’s a lot of Memorable Extras in the film Happy Gilmore with throw away visual gags. Try the middle-aged Asian lady (Helena Yea) who hears Happy serenading his long since departed ex-girlfriend over the intercom buzzer and decides I’m having some of that or the poor old lady (Helen Honeywell) who jumps on the bonnet of his car screaming to be broken out of the retirement community Gilmore is dropping his beloved grandmother off at. They’re great moments and great actors but for my money there is just something about the Zamboni Driver.

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Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) rookie golfer has arrived on a date with PR guru Virginia Venit (Julie Bowen). The whole thing is a riff on the classic scene from Rocky. He asks the Zamboni driver if he can have the ice skating rink to himself and the driver (in a reverse from the humble pay off of Balboa’s date) has Happy told “For Happy Gilmore – anything.” It turns out Happy has set up quite a few things with the driver or owner because soon Endless Love is playing and there is a little mood lighting illuminating the rink. After a heart to heart Gilmore then places a bet about scoring a goal to effectively score a goal with Venit. Virginia then scores the goal and with all the power in her court makes a move on Gilmore herself. It’s a nice scene in a frat comedy that I still enjoy. The reason why may be some of the absurd touches throughout, case in point – as we pull back from Sandler and Bowen sharing their first kiss with the cheesy ballad playing in the background we see the middle aged Zamboni driver mouthing the lyrics as if he’s starring in his own music video. Actor John B. Destry nailed this bit not over or underplaying the moment and it left an impact. Whether it was written or Destry came up with it on the spot the head bow and sigh at the end speaks volumes. A whole character’s world contained in a gesture. Funny but also touching.

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I’ve tried researching his exploits further but the most I can come up with is his credits over at IMDB. He’s been working steadily since 1989 to the present. He’s played variations of drivers (7 times) and security guards (at least 6 times) quite a bit along with the old venerable beat cop. He’s been cast regularly as a middle aged men in working class night jobs. I’ve watched 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), Capote (2005) and Watchmen (2009) but can’t recall his Marcus Tittlebaum, Pete Holt or Happy Harry’s Bartender from any of them.

That’s okay because Extras are meant to fade into the parts and not be recognisable like stars but I wonder if at the time he knew that there was something special about the gag he was doing in Happy Gilmore and that it would afford him some recognition. Who knows but he did a great job and may he continue to enjoy a long happy career in the arts.

-Lloyd Marken