Controversy erupted over the documentary The Red Pill when its Australian premiere was cancelled and banned in cinemas after a petition spread calling the film “misogynistic propaganda”.

The film’s director Cassie Jayne faced harsh publicity with news programs Sunrise and The Project slamming the feature without watching it before interviewing Jayne.

And what’s all the fuss?

The film follows feminist Jayne’s year with the men’s rights movement and interviews men’s rights activists and supporters. Its title makes references to the films Alice In Wonderland and The Matrix, when Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) offers Neo (Keanu Reeves) a choice of two pills – a blue pill (which when swallowed allows you to believe what you want to believe) or a red pill (reveals the truth).

Jayne sets out to investigate what she believes is a hate movement but soon discovers all is not what she expected. As she learns more about the issues men and boys face in society – mental and physical abuse, working in high risk jobs, crime, health issues and lack of reproductive rights – Jayne begins to question her own views on feminism.

This is a well-made, smart and insightful documentary dealing with issues facing modern man. The Red Pill has been dubbed a propaganda film but that is a judgement all viewers should make for themselves.

Director Jayne challenges viewers to broaden their perspectives on many significant social issues as she shines the spotlight on both women’s and men’s rights. Most interesting is watching Jayne document her own journey throughout the film as she video diaries her thoughts on the people she interviews and the impact this has on her own previously held views.

Don’t form an opinion until you watch this film.

Rating: 5/5 Stars



whitney houston 2

It’s been five years since the death of singer Whitney Houston. Her life is the subject of a new documentary from filmmakers Nick Broomfield (Tales of the Grim Sleeper, Aileen) and Rudi Dolezal (Freddie Mercury – The Untold Story, Michael Jackson) to hit the Sydney Film Festival.

The film’s title Can I be me? was Houston’s favourite expression, one she used so much that her band member sampled it to play at the start of rehearsals.

The documentary takes an intimate look into the Grammy winner’s music, drug use, questions about her sexuality, relationships with her family and her tempestuous marriage to ex-husband Bobby Brown.

The documentary features interviews with those closest to the singer, never-seen before footage and exclusive live recordings.

Directors Broomfield and Dolezal have a music documentary background. They successfully capture this intriguing woman who led a prominent life under the intense scrutiny of the public limelight until her tragic death at age 48.

The feature offers a raw insight into the stratospheric career of a star described as having one of the greatest voices of all time but who faced inner demons that destroyed her and her possible same-sex relationship with best friend Robyn Crawford.

Whitney: Can I Be Me is an incredible documentary, a fascinating and touching film about one of the greatest singers of all time. Fans of Houston and music lovers will find this enjoyable and respectful of the singer’s life.

Whitney: Can I Be Me is now screening for limited release. Check for listings.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Transformers: The Last Knight

Transformers: The Last Knight is the latest instalment of the Transformers franchise from director Michael Bay. After five films of the toy movie adaptation, you would think by now these robots would put their differences aside and hug it out, but the war between Autobots and Decepticons on Earth still continues.

Humans and Transformers are at war. To save the future of Earth lies buried in the secrets of the past and the hidden history of Transformers. It’s up to Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), Bumblebee, an English lord (Anthony Hopkins) and an Oxford professor (Laura Haddock) to save the world.

Meanwhile Optimus Prime has returned back to Cybertron to find the planet disassembled into pieces. Optimus confronts his maker, a powerful sorceress named Quintessa and she corrupts him to do her bidding to destroy Earth so Cybertron can live.

Mark Wahlberg is back as Cade Yeager, the hero from Transformers: Age of Extinction. Anthony Hopkins and Laura Haddock join the cast with Josh Duhamel and John Turturro reprise their roles from the first three films.

The cast is likeable, but their performances are not enough to save the film. There are a few uncomfortable humourless moments where Wahlberg, Hopkins and Haddock cracking jokes with Hopkins saying hip words like “dude”. The chemistry between Wahlberg and Haddock is beautiful but a cliche, their characters don’t get along when they first team up and bicker then later develop feelings for one another.

Transformers: The Last Knight is a headache to watch. There’s no doubt Bay can make a significant popcorn movie. The action is smashing, explosive with dynamite special effects but he always lacks focus in the story and character development. The narrative felt all over the place balancing so many characters and two storylines at the same time.

The editing felt jumpy and at times annoying to watch the aspect ratio continually changing during the 2D version.

Typical Transformers film, spectacular action and special effects with a lousy plot. Overall, this latest instalment of the franchise won’t disappoint fans.

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Last Week of TAFE

My last week of TAFE and I’m relieved the course is finished. These past few months has been a roller coaster juggling between study and work.  I spent practically everyday travelling to Central whether it was TAFE or work and getting up at different times for example I have to get up 4:30 in the morning to start work at 6:30 am and sometimes finish work at 3pm which is exhausting but still took the time to work on assessments after work.

I took a break from watching TV to focus more on my studies which is something I never did during my education life so I have a lot of binge watching during my break. Taking time off from TV made me a better student, I’m more focused and put more work into my assignments. Now I’ve finished all my assessments and delivered them on time.

I can take some time to relax before Diploma begins next time.

Taking the Next Steps: Episode 4

Thanks for joining us for part 4 of a series recognising Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week 2017.

In today’s podcast Certificate 4 Journalism students Belinda Palmada, Genevieve Doyle and Tatiana Pak discuss with artist and teacher Chico Monks the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art as a form of cultural expression and connection to past and present.

Eora’s annual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Arts Exhibition opens next week – you can find more info on their Facebook events page here.

Thanks and respect to Chico, to Director of Eora College Danny Allende, and to all of our hosts at Eora TAFE.

We would like to offer our respect and appreciation to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and also thank our brothers and sisters at Eora College for so generously offering us their wisdom and knowledge and for telling us their stories, many of which are so painful to relate.

Saying Sorry in song: National Reconciliation Week 2017

BY BELINDA PALMADA @filmfreakrevie1 AND TATIANA PAK @TheatreMusicon

Former Sydney TAFE Media and now music student, Pollyanna Thomson, performed the Sorry Song live at the Ultimo campus on National Sorry Day, May 26.

Pollyanna said it was wonderful to be given the opportunity to perform at such a momentous event.

The day kicks off National Reconciliation Week that concludes on June 3, the 25th anniversary of the landmark Mabo decision that paved the way for the Native Title Act. The week also marks 20 years since the Bringing Them Home report, and 50 years since the May 27, 1967 referendum that gave Aboriginal people the vote and allowed them to be included in the national census.

Singer, musician and Diploma of Music student Pollyanna Thomson. Photo: Belinda Palmada

“It was great because it means a lot to the people in the audience and across Australia,” Pollyanna said.

“It’s great to be able to deliver something that means so much. When I first heard the song and looked at the lyrics to learn it, I was quite shocked because it was about the fact children were stolen.

“It’s quite powerful and it felt really nice to perform for that audience. I hope it helps them get through it.”

She said for her the day represented an acknowledgement of Australian history, what had happened and “saying sorry”.

“It’s all about knowing what was done, knowing that things are wrong.”

Pollyanna, who finished high school last year and is now studying for a Diploma of Music at Ultimo, only had two days to prepare the song.

“I’m happy with how I performed and I’m happy it went well. I got good feedback from everyone and I really enjoyed it,” she said.

“We had ceremonies at my school acknowledging Sorry Day but I had not performed before for an event like this. It’s nice to be a part of it.”

Listen to the Sorry Song and our first podcast commemorating Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week 2017 here.