movies: the maze runner

the maze runner
I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting a hell of a lot from The Maze Runner. I mainly wanted to see it because it stars Teen Wolf actor, Dylan O'Brien.

What I got was a movie that was a lot darker and had a much more interesting concept. And there also wasn't a single dud performance from the young cast.

And given that I recognised a lot of the cast from other things, which they've also been great in, I wasn't really surprised.

Alongside O'Brien there was Thomas Brodie-Sangster (most recently seen in Game of Thrones), Kaya Scodelario (from UK series Skins) and Will Poulter (who has been in a ton of things, but nothing I've seen... he's just got one of those instantly recognisable faces). And they all give remarkably mature performances in what is essentially a "young adult" movie.

I also have to believe that Brodie-Sangster is going to have a really long career playing all manner of interesting character roles... he does it so well, even more so since he's 25 but looks about 17.

Even the actors I hadn't seen before, particularly Ki Hong Lee and Blake Cooper were fantastic. At the beginning of the movie I kind of wrote Cooper's character off as the comedic sidekick, but he won me over very quickly after that... and without delving too much into spoiler territory, he's definitely the emotional heart of the movie.

The story, as I mentioned, it much, much darker than I was expecting, especially towards the end... but this is not a movie for kids, even younger teens might struggle with some of the themes, especially towards the end.

I have to taken some points off due to the fact that the book it's based on is the first of a trilogy (does anyone just write one book in the YA fiction oeuvre any more, or is everybody just automatically given a three book deal?), so the story doesn't resolve cleanly, it's very much the opening chapter of a much longer story. But it did make me want to go out and read all three of the books, although I hope this one does well enough at the box office that they'll make the other two.

And a quick look at IMDB tells me they're in pre-production on the second one, so that's good.

The other reason I have to remove points is because of the really, really shaky camera work from cinematographer Enrique Chediak... especially during some of the fight/battle scenes where it was impossible to actually tell what the hell was going on.

But to be honest those are really small niggles in an otherwise incredibly strong and mature movie.

yani's rating: 4 grievers out of 5

unseen theatre company: the last continent

unseen theatre company - the last continent
The Last Continent is our fourth outing to see the Unseen Theatre Company perform an adaptation of one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels.

Given that the original novel takes place in Fourecks (or Ecks, Ecks, Ecks, Ecks), a thinly veiled parody of Australia, Pamela Munt's adaptation manages to slide in even more Australian references than I remember from the novel.

A number of the stars of previous Unseen shows were back... the always watchable Hugh O'Connor, who does double duty as both Death and the wizard Ponder Stibbons, which is all the more amazing considering the vocal differences between the two characters.

And I always enjoy David Dyte as fellow wizard, The Dean along with a number of incidental characters... and Samm Blackmore's roles as the Island God and the Archchancellor of the Fourecks university were great.

Oh, and Michelle Whichello definitely deserves a shout out for her turn as The Librarian, an orang-utan who used to be a wizard... the costume wasn't exactly cutting edge, but she acted the living daylights out of it.

But the real star of the show was Chris Irving as the magical equivalent to the number zero, Rincewind the "wizzard". He definitely embodies the personality of Rincewind, although I have a feeling he's a much better dancer than Rincewind ever could be.

As always the sets were simple but effective, especially the red sand that filled three quarters of the stage, and the "fold out" jail cell which was brilliantly done. And it was nice to actually see the bullroarer from the story in action... I never quite understood it before, but it was quite a thing to see.

All in all, it was a good night out... and definitely a fun adaptation.

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sparce saturday shopping

This is either going to be a really, really short post or else I'm going to do it in stages...

Because there isn't a hell of a lot going on.

And there hasn't been much that was noteworthy going on this week, which is why I skipped my usual Friday post in favour of playing Assassin's Creed: Revelations...

The only real thing of note that happened during the week was yesterday when we did the training for our new web content management system at work. Not that we HAVE the new system yet, but it's a billion times better than the current system and once we really get in there and start using it, it's going to be able to do a bunch of interesting things.

Today has been somewhat anticlimactic really...

I got up, tidied up a little, got ready, headed downstairs... again, I literally got out to the street as Ma was pulling up in her car... always freaky.

And we did the usual supermarket thing... then did a wander around Target and I bought a couple of new shirts for work. Also, insert semi-regular complaint about Target not stocking plain, white crew socks in my size... I don't want none of that quarter or half crew nonsense, gimme the full crew.

Then we came back here, unpacked and kind of sat around looking at each other and poking ourselves in the eye since we're going out to a play tonight, but literally had nothing to fill in the day between here and there.

We thought about a couple of things, but I didn't just want to wander around shops and spend money, and I couldn't be bothered just "going out in the sunshine"... that shit is overrated anyway. So in the end, Ma packed up her car and headed back home to do her own thing for the day and she'll head back here around 4 or thereabouts so we can go and get some dinner and whatnot.

So, yeah, that's about as exciting as my day has been thus far.

Let's leave this post open and see if anything more interesting develops...

That was noon... now it's 11pm.

I pretty much spent a large slab of the day playing Assassin's Creed. And the Ma came down and we wandered down O'Connell Street to Tony Tomatoes, the new pizza place that's in the store that used to be the video shop back when people actually watched VHS videos.

And I happened to notice that the video store itself which moved across the street years ago had finally closed down, which is a bit sad... end of an era and all that... especially considering that my former flatmate, Ludo, and I used to go regularly.

Anyway, we had a really nice prosciutto pizza, which was essentially just prosciutto, cheese and one very lonely basil leaf. The pizza was ready really fast though, and I was impressed that they quite literally sliced the prosciutto fresh onto the pizza.

Then after dinner we wandered back to my place, got changed and headed out to The Bakehouse Theatre to see The Last Continent.

So a different day from usual given that we didn't do any of the things we usually do, but it turned out okay in the end.

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wandering saturday shopping with added jamie

stylish shopper
Around this time of year there are always a collection of Saturday's when we don't have any plans and we don't have any real shopping to do and those days can either go one way (boring as hell) or the other (surprisingly good).

I think, all things considered, this was the latter rather than the former.

We started off in the usual fashion... and we took my car to the supermarket again to give it a run.

The fact that the weather is warming up is problematic, as I may have mentioned last week, if only insomuch as I really have no idea what the hell to make for weekday lunches.

I have a vague idea of something I could make tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure there's going to come a point where I not only don't want to cook, but I don't want a hot lunch. I might have to investigate the idea of having my overly excited dinner salads cold...

Sorry, random brain dump there...

Anyway, we did the usual supermarket thing, wandered around Target somewhat aimlessly, and then came back here.

The need to refill both of our Sodastream CO2 tubes took us to Arndale, where I also found a couple of things for work (useful desk related things), and after a general wander around we didn't have any other plans so we headed into the city.

I wanted to call into T2 for a refill of my Liquorice Legs tea but ended up having a long chat with one of the girls in the store about similar kinds of tea (to be honest, I don't really think there is any tea that's similarly flavoured, but I let her drag me around for a bit and then she got the new boy to brew me some sample teas.

I do tend to dislike tea blends where they're all "hey, apple" and when you brew it it smells of apple, but just tastes like hot water.

But again I digress.

jamie's italian, adelaide
We then walked from one end of Rundle Street/Mall to the other and headed around the corner to the new Jamie's Italian restaurant.

As I said yesterday, the main aim of the visit was to have another piece of the Tutti Frutti lemon meringue pie... but also to have a general poke around and just soak up the ambiance.

I definitely have to give the ambience a big fat tick... much more so than the place in Sydney, which feels very dark and closed in... not really surprising since its narrow and don't have a lot in the way of windows. But the Adelaide venue is the old bank building on the corner of North Terrace and King William Streets, and it's full of art deco details, big windows and light walls.

The most fun is to be had from visiting the bathrooms though... they're downstairs in what used to be the old bank vaults (which basically everything I've ever read about the place mentions at least once)... and I'll admit I had a slightly different idea of it in my head than the reality (as per the bottom, right hand side)... it's all the little details I like, plus the fact that other than the stalls there aren't really walls, just the bars.

There was a bit of a wait to be seated (technically I think we could have just had what we ended up having sitting in the bar area, but never mind), the hostess originally said it could be 40 minutes, but I'm pretty sure it was less than half that.

We did get one of the trainee/freshly trained waiters (easily identified by the fact they're in t-shirts rather than the crisp white shirts of regular wait staff.

And I know I said it when we were in Sydney last time, but I want to find the person responsible for picking out the white shirt/dark tie/apron/chunky leather belt/jeans combo... and then kiss them right on the mouth. It's a fucking hot look.

Anyway, our waiter was relentlessly perky and a little bit camp (although he "flirted" with the young ladies at the table next to us like a champ)... one thing you can never accuse the Jamie's Italian restaurants of is an inattentive staff... thankfully they don't hover to the point of annoyance either.

We didn't want a ton of food to eat, so we settled on one of the antipasto planks, which was delicious! Especially the capers and chillies and the cheeses. Mmmmmm!

Although there was a little bit of a mix-up, where we got someone else's plank, a plank for one, by mistake... they did sort it out pretty quickly though, but had I not been curious about the portion sizes given we got the "for two" option, we could have been halfway to wolfing it down by the time they sorted it out.

And although by the end of the meal I was very full, I could definitely have eaten another portion of the plank, since it was all delish!

But we had to leave room for the Tutti Fruitti pie... which, yet again, is not a dessert, it's sex on a plate (which, when I said it to the waiter, made the girl at the next table smile). And this was without doubt then highest meringue I've ever had on one of their pies... at least a third bigger than Sydney.

So by the end I was a very happy but very full little bunny.

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photo friday: beach boys

tattooed surferwalking the beach

taking a breakbeach towel with beard

kiss my thumb at you sirripcurl guy

dragging the boardbondi runner
There is, once again, not a lot to report for this week...

I get up, I go for my morning walk (for three fifths of the week), I come home, I get ready, I go to work.

I spend all day at work, for four fifths of the week I don't even leave the office at lunch, I finish work, I walk home.

When I get home I pretty much just stay there. Such is my very dull life. Which of course, makes for a fairly dull blog... for which I apologise... especially since I pretty much gave up on Random Hotness Thursdays, my blog definitely feels very Friday/Saturday heavy.

And I feel like I've told some version of that story at least ten times now.

I didn't really even have work to spice up my week this week. Things have been a little too spaced out for most of the week, although there have been a few frantic elements just to get the old blood pumping.

I also finished Assassin's Creed II at the end of last week, which made me just want to replay AC: Brotherhood, but instead of diving into the next game or wading through the slightly more frustrating first AC game, I've put AC aside for now to have a good solid thrash at LA Noire. Sadly I'm not sure that I'll necessarily get the maximum out of that game since I suck pretty damn hardcore at the driving elements (I really do think that the driving mechanic is somewhat broken since the steering is WAY too sensitive and the cars get caught on things they wouldn't in the real world) and some of the action elements. But it's definitely an interesting and different game from anything else I've ever played.

But I am still a little itchy to dive back into the world of AC with AC: Revelations... so I don't think it will be too long before I climb back into the Animus and strap on the Hidden Blades.

It's also been wonderfully geeky because one of the girls at work, Herschel, was the reason I dived back into AC, and she and I have had a number of very nerdy conversations about both AC and Noire. Plus she went to Europe earlier in the year and when she was showing me photos this week, I kept having massive déjà vu that I'd climbed any number of the buildings, particularly photos taken in Rome and Venice. Yeah, I know, massive dork alert.

Dripgate continues... not so much with actual dripping, although one did reoccur on Monday night, very briefly between when I went to bed and when I got up again. I think most probably that was more to do with the wind than the actual rain, since it was blowing a gale. I'm still not prepared to move all my furniture back into its correct places yet though, just in case disaster strikes. And I still haven't heard back from my land agent after I messaged him on Tuesday asking if there was an actual ETA on when the repairs would start. He's always been excellent about getting back to me (other than perhaps once when I emailed him about something), so I'll need to get back in touch with him next week.

My chiro appointment was later than usual today, so I hung around work for a little while longer than normal and then went for a wander... dropped into Haighs for some chocolate goodness and then dropped in to the comic book shop for a random poke around.

On the way home I stopped to take a closer look at the new Jamie's Italian restaurant and check out the menu... and they do have the Tutti Fruitti Lemon Meringue Pie... so bonus there! We will definitely have to take a visit there in the very near future.

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movies: magic in the moonlight

magic in the moonlight
I have a little bit of a confession to make... although I consider myself a movie fan, I'm not really much of a fan of Woody Allen's work. I think the only one of his movies I've actually seen is Midnight in Paris (which, for the record, I quite enjoyed).

And my desire to see Magic in the Moonlight was mostly based on the fact it starred Emma Stone (and Colin Firth was a draw for Ma) and the fact it was set in the 1920's. I didn't even know that it was a Woody Allen movie until this morning.

I think Ma summed it up best when she said, right after the movie finished, "I think if it had been set in any other time period, I would have been bored".

Which isn't to say that Firth and Stone weren't great with what they were given. Firth is his usual slightly pompus, slightly stuffy persona... and Stone vacillates between the wide eyed ingenue and that slightly screwball comedy character she does really well.

But everyone seems to be either slightly over stylised in their performances or else they're given dialogue that doesn't sound natural.

I have a feeling the script is somewhat to blame... the story has more or less been done before and in much better ways... the character motivations, particularly Firth's major character shift midway through the movie, just seem to come out of nowhere at all, and Allen's attempts at screwball comedy dialogue and scenarios just seem to land flat on their faces.

One of the few shining lights is Eileen Atkins who could clearly play her character in her sleep, so naturally does it all come to her. And she's really the only one who doesn't seem to be trying to chew her way through the scenery.

I couldn't help continually comparing this to the 2009 movie, also starring Firth, Easy Virtue, and Moonlight definitely comes off second best.

yani's rating: 1 mental vibration out of 5

somewhat spendy saturday shopping

Today turned out to be much more of a spendy day than I'd intended.

Everything started out pretty standard, although when Ma got here we took my car to the supermarket instead of hers to give it a little bit of a run.

The warmer the weather gets, the less certain I am about things to make on the weekend for weekday lunches. I ended up grabbing some stuff to make quiche with, so that will suffice for this week, but once we get to summer I'm going to get a little bit lost.

After the supermarket we wandered around Target, I found some shorts that should be nice come summer. At least in theory, I tend to hate how I look in shorts, but these aren't bad.

They also had some ceramic money boxes that were clearly supposed to be Lego bricks, even though they weren't branded in any way... so that also seemed like a good idea. It will be a better idea once I work out where the hell to put it.

Once we got back here and unpacked everything we decided to head off to both IKEA and Harbour Town because clearly I'm a glutton for punishment.

I really want something I can store my vacuum cleaner away in, but I've yet to see exactly what I want, or else something that I can easily convert into something suitable and that doesn't take up all the possible room and cost all the possible dollars.

At present the front runner is a Billy bookcase, but I feel like that's really too tall. If only they made quarter height ones...

Instead the wander around IKEA mostly consisted of picking up some storage containers, a new frame to replace the one destroyed when the ceiling leaked and the black and white striped fabric I want to get turned into kitchen curtains.

I have a feeling the last item is going to end up costing more than I'd like but at least they'll be exactly the curtains that I want.

From there we headed down to Harbour Town. Mostly I wanted to have a poke around in the EB Games (which I did, albeit unsuccessfully), but it seemed like everywhere was having some bumper sale.

I picked a couple of things up at the Bonds Store which was having a 40% off sale... some new trackpants, a sweatshirt and a t-shirt... then Ma found a work bag she liked somewhere else and thanks to some quick thinking by me (well, quick thinking that lead to asking the right question) she got one in grey rather than black... then I picked up one of those clocks where the numbers drop on little flaps from Typo for $7 since it seemed to be the only one left.

Seriously though, the Harbour Town here in Adelaide is just too damn big... it's all one long row of shops, which does bend at one point, but just keeps going. And once you've walked all the way to one end, you have to walk all the way back again.

But at least we actually walked away with some stuff instead of what usually happens, which is all that walking and then nothing to show for it.

I am a little knackered now though...

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photo friday: brick bodies

lego spacemanlego captain

lego 1432lego stormer
This has been a much better week compared with last week, all things considered.

Sure, my apartment is still in a fair amount of disarray and I've had a stuffed up head all week long thanks to a head cold/clogged sinuses, but at least water wasn't falling out of the ceiling at all hours of the day and night!

However a distinct lack or substandard quality of sleep has been the majority of my issue this week. Some of it caused by the head cold and rampant water paranoia (especially earlier in the week), some of it self-inflicted from staying up until 2am playing Assassin's Creed II.

Other than that there's not a hell of a lot going on.

Last Sunday was my first Haircut Day since before Tink had the second Tink Jr... sadly I couldn't have a proper cuddle with the new baby since I was all full of lurgy, but it was still a fun morning just hanging out and finally getting my hair did. I have a feeling that Tink may have taken it a touch too short, but she was distracted by the fact that the baby wouldn't deal with not being held so she ended up putting her into a papoose and wearing her through the whole haircut.

I bought tickets for both the Stephen Fry Live: More Fool Me event ("live" in so much as the original event is live, I don't even think it's even live at the time we'll be watching it given the time difference) at Palace Nova as well as the next production from The Unseen Theatre Company at The Bakehouse Theatre, The Last Continent. I'll also be talking to Ma tomorrow about the Studio Ghibli Showcase that's on at Palace from last November to early December.

Because... events/experiences!

I also got my Legend of Korra t-shirts in the mail this week... and I have to say, just from a general t-shirt perspective, I'm loving Ript Apparel choice of shirts much more than just about any other company I've bought shirts from.

So, yeah, like I said, not a lot else going on...

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lurgy filled saturday shopping

i am the lurgy
Yep, I'm currently the president of Sick Town...

I woke up this morning to find my nose blocked and my head full of cotton wool.

The nose has improved a little, but the cotton wool remains.

I wandered around a little, then had a shower, got ready and called the RAA. I'd forgotten that they always tell you it's going to be "within an hour", so I was settling in for a wait, but I got the "we're on the way" SMS within about ten minutes, and he showed up maybe ten minutes after that.

Car started, I puttered on down the road to the mechanic, left my car with him and went over the road to join Ma at the supermarket.

Whenever I get sick I end up moving about half my regular speed, if not less, and today was no exception. It has been a very slow strolly kind of day.

After the supermarket we came back here, unpacked and then headed out to Arndale to kill some time before the nice mechanic man called me to come and get my car.

I've been looking for one of those racks to store my plates vertically instead of horizontally, but I haven't been able to find one anywhere I've looked thus far... clearly people don't do that with plates anymore.

Most of the way through our wanderings I got a call to say my car would be ready around noon, so since it wasn't that far off of that, we headed off to the car and Ma dropped me off at the mechanic, I had to sit around and wait for a bit, but he'd done all the servicey things and made with the charging of the battery, so all was good.

I puttered back to my place and Ma and I decided to head down to the new shopping mall on Churchill Road to take a look... they're in the process of building our first Costco out there, and the rest of the mall is a little ordinary, but it's all brand new and shiny and has a Kmart, so we happily wandered around for an hour or so.

By that point I was pretty much completely exhausted, so we called it quits for the day.

So not exactly the most thrilling day, but my head is too small and filled with cotton wool today for anything exciting.

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photo friday: water water everywhere

green curlbondi watcher

wave crashcontemplation

hidden surfertattoo tree
This has been a truly shiteful week.

So much so that it ranks up there with the way I always felt living at the old place and haven't really felt to any strong degree since I moved in here in January.

And once again, it's all about water... water in places it shouldn't be.

Monday I got up, didn't go for my walk for reasons that escape me now (I think I woke up late) but after I'd had my shower and was getting dressed, I either heard a dripping noise or I went over the close a window and discovered that the little bookcase by the door was dripping with water, the carpet was wet, all the shelves were wet... water, water everywhere.

The dripping water that had previously been 99% confined to the wall over the front door had gone on vacation, had wandered down the wall and was dripping from the wall over the bookcase for goodness knows how long (at the very least all night long, since I think it only started raining around midnight on Sunday).

So there was a mad panic to pull the artwork off the wall (IKEA cardboard backed frame, ruined... signed Tyler Oakley designed poster, thankfully okay), unpack everything from the bookshelf... DVD's, tchotchkes, books and papers... and drag the bookcase over to the kitchen. Thankfully there were only a couple of things that had any water damage... a few things were wet but dried out with no ill effects. But my back of Phase 10 cards are all a little wonky now, and the cardboard box my Scar mask was in from The Lion King musical soaked up more water than was good for it. But given everything that was in and around that area, it could have been a hell of a lot worse.

Even the bookcase made it out relatively free from issues, if only because it was tilted slightly forward and the water ran off the front and not off the back where the MDF/particular board was more exposed.

When I got to work I called my land agent, he called the strata people who informed him that even though I reported this issue back in May, they were still three weeks away from getting it fixed. And the fun and games of this week don't seem to have improved that time-frame at all.

My land agent was great though, he asked if I needed any buckets or storage bins to collect the water, or additional towels, all of which I said yes to, which turned out to be a good plan.

Then on Tuesday I woke up, got up to head to the bathroom and once again heard the ominous dripping noise. So I headed into the living room to check on the towel/storage bin combo, only to tread on wet carpet in the middle of the floor. It took me a minute or two to work out what the hell was going on, but it appeared that the water was on the move as it was now not only dripping out of the smoke alarm over by the window, but also it had filled up the light fitting in the middle of the room and the water was running over the top and dripping into the middle of the carpet.

And when I say filled up the light fitting, it's a big frosted glass bowl of a shade the size of a big salad bowl... and it was FULL of water.

Thankfully I pretty much NEVER turn on that particular light, otherwise I could have either electrocuted myself or blown the fuses for the whole house/building. In fact I was lucky that I hadn't done that the night before when the land agent came over, I turned on the light so he could see the dripping better, and did think at the time that the light looked odd. Turns out it was just a third full of dirty/rusty water at the time.

Then there was another call to the land agent on Tuesday morning, and he got a plumber out to see if he could at least attempt to temporarily seal some holes to stop the water from wandering all the way across the living room ceiling.

The dripping from the wall only held off between when we headed out to the movies and when I got home again, but so far (touch wood) the water hasn't returned to the light or the smoke alarm. But I also haven't moved the buckets from under either of them... just in case.

And if that wasn't bad enough, I woke up on Wednesday with the beginnings of a sore/swollen throat, which I think is my semi-annual bout of quasi-tonsillitis... not enough to knock me around or to cause me to miss work, but just enough to invoke a general malaise (which is one of the symptoms).

So my living room floor has been a disaster area all week long, with buckets of water arranged in strategic places just in case (although I moved them this evening since it's been fine all week), all my artworks stacked up against the bookcases and the whole north-western corner of the room stripped bare (but shoved into the rest of the room).

And there's water running down the wall... just in one spot, but still.

Then tomorrow I have to call out the RAA to get my car running so I can take it to the mechanic.

So believe me when I say with all possible verisimilitude... fuck this fucking shit in it's fuckitty fuck hole.

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movies: predestination

predestination: to save the future he must reshape the past
I don't think I have every enjoyed a movie where the plot was so blatantly obvious from almost the very beginning of the movie as much as I enjoyed Predestination.

It's a time travel story with twists and turns and reveals, as only a time travel story can do, so I don't want to go too far into the plot. Suffice to say though that I'd worked out 98% of them (or at least almost all of the major details, there were just a few little flourishes here and there that I didn't pick up on).

And, you know what, I don't even care.

Because more than being a time travel story, it's a very small, very intimate three person (actor-wise) movie, and that is what makes all the difference.

Nobody deserves the kudos for making this movie what it is more than Sarah Snook... in essence she carries the entire movie and if she hadn't worked, then nothing in the movie would have worked.

But boy, oh boy does she work.

I've also never been that fussed about Ethan Hawke as an actor one way or the other... and while he definitely doesn't have to do the emotional heavy lifting that Snook does, he has a couple of really great scenes.

Rounding out the trio is Noah Taylor as the head of the time agency who only has a few small scenes.

And for small, (and I'm guessing) independent movie filmed in Melbourne, they make excellent use of both the locations and their production budget. It might be a lower budget movie but it doesn't feel like it in any way... likewise, I've seen big studio movies who don't do with their production design what this movie accomplishes.

It's never flashy or glitzy or overly showy, and baring a couple of small scenes, there isn't much in the way of action sequences, however it's a great little movie.

Sure, the plot essentially screams the twists at you at multiple points along the way, but even so, it was very enjoyable.

yani's rating: 2 violin cases out of 5


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