Articles in Category: Reviews

“Soul of the jungle, heart of the sun Run wild-cat, run” Rob Bruce’s Tanglefoot

By Ian Browne Shamrock News

“Soul of the jungle, heart of the sun Run wild-cat, run”  Rob Bruce’s Tanglefoot

Running into Rob Bruce means talking about Arabian horses; his journeys through Latin America, and then promptly purchasing his CDs. I have three of them, but Tanglefoot is my favourite.  Tanglefoot is dedicated to the sacred medicine of the four winds, Achuma, and to Hikuri, the Little Deer of The Huichol. A beautifully interwoven guitar-n-vocal set of bluesy-folk songs, Tanglefoot drifts into the Northern Rivers’ landscape while caressing you with the mysteries of Central and South America.  I think that’s what I like most about this album, it keeps you guessing. Is Rob Bruce talking about ‘here’, or ‘there’? Now he is singing about our beloved Channon. Oh, wait a minute, no; it’s Shenandoah, the fields of Shenandoah. 


Last Cab to Darwin - Review

VJ 311

Last Cab to Darwin - Review

Darwin Sunset: 7pm Nightcliff- ABC TV News comes alive amongst the sound of a swirling fan in my flat in Nighcliff-Darwin. View out to Mandora and harbour entrance. Longrass mob camp out in the mangroves here and barking owls call at night. I made use of the endless storm action from my front and back verandas in tropical Darwin.

Last Cab to Darwin…is a great geography lesson for those that think Darwin is Broken Hill, or Alice Springs….and I am not knocking either of the arid townships, as I have never been to BkH, and even though I only stayed in the Alice for a short spell, I enjoyed it, and a few of my friends from Sydney love the joint. However, for those that think the Top End is barren, well, I have never seen a water buffalo or crocodile in the desert as yet! While the film also portrays Darwin as being culturally accepting in comparison to the NSW desert town, but perhaps that too is a cruel cliché to the ‘Hill’ in itself. 


Tokyo Story - September 12

By Federal Films

Tokyo Story - September 12

A 1953 black and white Japanese film directed by Yasujiro Ozu, conveying the simple tale of an elderly couple’s trip to Tokyo to visit their children. This unique film is an unsentimental insight into the human condition, expressed through Ozu’s distinct and masterful direction. Every scene is meticulously composed to achieve what some critics have described as cinematic perfection. 

Ozu’s unique style of cinematography subverts many of the established rulesvv of filmmaking and makes his films instantly recognisable. There is a very photographic feel to his filmmaking, all scenes are shot with a 50mm lens from a kneeling position with the camera remaining still. There are no fade-outs, dissolves or dolly shots, and Ozu ignores many of the conventions of mainstream cinematography. 


Birdman - 08 August

By Federal Films

Birdman - 08 August


An invigorating experience in story, performance and direction, Birdman is an award winning black comedy about an ex-superhero actor trying to win back his integrity and the respect of his family in the lead-up to the premiere of his Broadway play.

“Sonic Bliss” World Music with Ren Waterfall

By Ian Browne

“Sonic Bliss” World Music with Ren Waterfall

During the Lantern Parade in Lismore, Ren Waterfall was busy within Rognvalds Lith Viking Encampment adjacent the Oakes Oval, playing medieval tunes with musicians Leif Larkin during the lunch feast, and Gerard Lynam during their dinner feast. During the afternoon he joined Orkeztar Lizmore for two performances that included locally written arrangements by Jude Magee and Mark Bromley.


I caught up with Ren after his usual Sunday morning gig at the relaxing and colourfully inviting Phoenix Rising Café, situated by the creek at the Nimbin Bush Theatre. Alongside local musicians Gerard, Laya, Rainer, Steve, Deborah, Raine, Kavi, Yolanda, Katrina, and many others... a diverse mix of enchanting world music, influenced from such places as India, the Middle East and from throughout Europe is presented.


A House in Bali by Colin McPhee

By Ian Browne

A House in Bali by Colin McPhee

Bali, what an island! I used to travel to this Hindu paradise from Darwin, but I never wrote about the place. Instead, I used Ubud and Amed as a hideaway to unwind from a busy work- life back home in even hotter Darwin. I also made friends with families, and was lucky in being welcomed to travel out to forest family abodes, those happy homes away from the usual tourist traps. But many years before myself, or even the cast from Morning of the Earth surfed their way around the island, Colin McPhee pondered life there.


Everyday Rebellion

September #300

A film by Arash T and Arman T Riahi 104 mins

Winner, Most Valuable Documentary, Cinema for Peace 

Winner, Most Valuable Documentary, Cinema for Peace 

Citizens across the world are rising up in creative solidarity. 

From the Occupy movement to the Spanish ‘Indignados’ to the Arab Spring and from Iran to Syria to the Ukraine, everyday people are expressing themselves through nudity, performance, silence, sound, creation and community.


Everyday Rebellion is a high velocity exploration of the power of ideas and the courage it takes to use the body as a non-violent tool in protest, showing us the infinite possibilities of people power in the imagination of a better world.

"Narrating the weed garden a painted herbarium", by Shelagh Morgan #258

If you want a visually delightful and interesting read, please try a copy of:

Shelagh set out to document, in a quasi botanical illustrator manner, all the weeds growing on her property in the Byron hinterland, northern NSW. The result is a delightful look at some of the plants that we usually don’t appreciate in our gardens! The book is on sale at the Barratt Gallery in Alstonville.

Film Review - "The Hunger Games" #274

Film Review - The Hunger Games

My god-daughter Miranda Jordan and I went to the midnight session of the opening of The Hunger Games on Wednesday 21st March in Lismore. I loved the film, knowing nothing about the storyline at all, but Mira has read the books and here’s what the 13 year old had to say:

H: “Miranda, for those people who don’t know a thing about it, in a nutshell, what is the storyline, without giving it away too much.”

M: “Ok, well it’s set in the future. There’s 13 districts and the capitol. They had a revolution in the dark days, and the 13th district didn’t want to behave or follow the capitol, so they blew it up and as a reminder and punishment for that they have the Hunger Games. This is where a girl and a boy between the age of 12 to 18, is selected once a year to fight in an outdoor arena until there is only one left alive. They are crowned the victor and get wealth and food and stuff, so for district 12 which is a poor district, then winning is a big thing.”

H: “So, there’s 12 districts, and there’s two kids from each district so it’s a battle of 24 kids with only one winner. Is that right?”

M: “Yes. There’s also a slight twist, where every 25 years they have something different, like on the 50th anniversary they put twice as many Tributes in, Tributes being the chosen children.”

H: “So how do the think the film compared to the book?”

M: “I actually thought that there were a couple of things that they cut out but you can’t have a book turned into a movie exactly spot on because it would be too long, but they did an excellent job of doing it by the book, it was 98% done by the book.”

H: “And so you liked it of course?”

M: “I loved it, I thought it was amazingly well done and I sort of expected it to be more like a teenage Twilight or Abduction or something like that but it was actually really well done with all the photography and the music and the costume designing. Oh my God, the team of costume designers were amazing and it was done with real quality.”

H: “And so it went for about 2 and a half hours, how did you feel about that?”

M: “I think it was a pretty good length. They crammed a lot in but in the book it’s pretty action packed anyway. If they’re going to do the other two books, I don’t know how they’re going to fit it all in to three films, they’ll prbably have to make four films out of it.”

H: “And so, did you have a favourite part of the film that you really enjoyed most?”

M: “My favourite part is always in the books and the movie, I have two bits, in the beginning with Gael when they’re hunting, because I’m a very bush person and I love that sort of thing, and also the bit where she is hanging out with Rue, the little girl who she teams up with, because I just love Rue, and how she climbs trees.”

"The Prez" By David Spiteri #274

 ‘’The Prez” by David Spiteri

‘Shovelling shit is no way to spend a Saturday morning, but that’s what Peter Winifred and his mate Brian Corrigan did when they were twelve’. And so, David Spiteri, long time Rosebank resident, begins his story about the formation of one of the first outlaw motorcycle clubs in Australia. Peter, known as Winnie, and Brian are already enterprising in their ability to make a few dollars collecting manure and selling it door to door to their neighbours. Little did they know then that in the not too distant future they would stop peddling manure and start distributing a different sort of shit, making more money than they could have possibly imagined. Big Kev and Ocker would join Winnie and Brian to become founding members of The Miners, one of the first outlaw motorcycle gangs in the country.

‘The Prez’’ charts the club’s growth from the early 60’s through to the mid 80’s. David’s down to earth, conversational prose paints lives where frequent, explicit sexual encounters, episodes of extreme violence and regular drug use was the norm. It also traces the beginnings of the now infamous and well documented links with the illegal drug industry.

There appears to be no shortage of women up for group sex in the bikie world. When a couple of off duty nurses accept an offer to visit the clubhouse with Winnie and Big Kev, Winnie assures them that the only thing that might happen to them that they won’t like is perhaps losing a game of pool. Despite this surfeit of female flesh, they mostly seem to settle down with one regular woman and interestingly their regular women for the most part don’t seem too bothered by their infidelities – or perhaps it’s an ‘’out of sight out of mind’’ thing.

While true stories of bikies and their clubs have been popular for years, this is the first one (as far as I’m aware) written by a former president and as such was a risky undertaking in many ways. David says that while recovering from an accident some years ago, well-meaning friends gave him some of these bikie books to read, none of which rang true so he decided to tell it how it how it really was. Of course all of the names and locations have been changed, for obvious reasons – but all events in the book are real.

Some of the violence is hard to read. There’s one scene involving socks and a blow torch that had me squirming. And if you’re looking for political correctness you best look elsewhere. One memorable party scene has a dwarf balancing a tray of cocaine on his head while muttering ‘’The pay’s good.”

What is apparent is that there is a strong code of behaviour that exists in outlaw motorcycle clubs. Winnie and the others formulate the rules for their club early on in the book. Loyalty to the club is paramount – with only loyalty to family more important. In this way, Winnie says, the club becomes family. How this loyalty is demonstrated and how retribution is delivered when loyalty goes astray kept me turning the pages.

By Lea Wilson

Purchase a copy from The Book Warehouse, tell them that you read the review in the Village Journal and go in the draw to win a $30 voucher.

"Stoker Munro Survivor" by David Spiteri

‘The Japanese commandant came out to address us; he told us we were going to heaven.  I thought, I’ll know the difference, as I’ve already been to hell.’

Stoker Munro was only seventeen when he went to war.  Over the next few years he survived the unimaginable, including the sinking of the HMAS Perth in 1942, imprisonment in Changi and the living hell of the Thai- Burma Railway.  The atrocities and deprivation came thick and fast, yet Stoker, like lots of men of his generation, was a bloke not given to talking about his experiences.

Over time, local writer, David Spiteri persuaded Stoker to tell his story.  A former sailor himself, they had shared a few stories and drinks at the local club for over twenty five years, yet David had no idea of Stoker’s extraordinary history until a mutual friend mentioned it. 

What becomes obvious in the telling of Stoker’s story is that through all the horror; firm friendships, loyalty to mates and humour became the tools of resilience for this generation of men.

In a tale, simply told, David Spiteri invokes another world and another time.  Stoker Munro was a boy who went to war and returned a hero, although he certainly didn’t consider himself to be one.  By recording Stoker’s story, David has added another dimension to our understanding of the trauma of war.

By Lea Wilson
– The Book Warehouse, Lismore


Be the first to bring a copy of this review and receive a free copy of ‘Stoker Munro Survivor’.

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"

Australian Premier

Venue: Regent Cinema Murwillumbah

Date: 23rd February 2012

Verdict: Sometimes seriously funny, heart wrenching, brilliantly acted, stunning Indian backround.

Judi Dench leads an all-star cast in John Madden’s new British comedy-drama about a group of British retirees of varying class, who travel to Jaipur, India. Their inspiration to leave England vary from person to person, but the final hook is to take up residence is what they believe is a newly restored hotel.

The hotel turns out to be a dilapidated mansion run by the son of an upper-class, over-bearing mother who refuses to accept her son’s relationship with a gorgeous local girl from a call centre.

From the opening sequences of glum and dreary scenes and lives in England to the exotic, colourful ones in India, the 7 main characters have experiences and relationships that change their lives. Judi Dench and Celia Imrie as contrasting widows; Maggie Smith as a dour cockney; Bill Nighy and Penelope Wilton as a bickering couple; Tom Wilkinson as a gay high court judge; and Ron Pickup as an aged lothario; all progress through the chaos to a happy ending, for most, if not a little predictable.

The movie and event was very well presented and executed by the owners of the Regent Cinema in Murwillumbah, as a fundraiser for eradicating polio in India. From the guests being greeted on arrival by Indian hawkers, snake charmers and dancers (played by the local Doublemask Youth Theatre), to lovely nibbles and champagne cocktails on the terrace, a great night was had by all.

Evelyn Allan


The lady, a piano; her devotion Lisa King Light By

To my Northern Rivers letterbox the CD arrived. Lisa is a friend of a friend, a Wollongong talisman. I first heard Tina Arena sharing the keyboard with Megan Washington; I was too busy drifting within its subjugated ease to notice any religious message. Okay, songs of praise may not be the usual accompaniment to my musical safari, and perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea, but while we are talking ‘chai’ who knows what Hindi wisdoms fall into my ears with the trancey Indian sounds I love so much. In a part of the world, where in many respects Lord Krishna or Buddha are a more desirable appetence, at first glance this message may seem hard to sell beyond the Christian community. “Not so!”… Lisa King is a Triple J ‘Unearthed’ talent and has been shortlisted for the Tamworth Music Festival. Her message transcends religion; it is about care and respect.

Her appeal crosses all borders; her music is far too beautiful not to.

Lisa has a somewhat sombre yet seductively melodic voice that sooths the days end with a gentle hug. The 2nd song on Light, Constant begins with a hippy-folk feel. She draws out subtle, hollering notes with the journeying of piano, singing her undying love to the Lord of all… “You’re my constant.” I like how the piano within ‘You won’t let me go’ tumbles in, whilst ‘I will lift your name’ begins like the curtain raiser to a film classic, perhaps a Jane Campion drama. “I will rest in you, I will lift your name and I will lift you high”…honourable sentiments. This is a 5-track CD you know you will search out once again. It will give you goose bumps; make you blush at bitter, corrosive thoughts you may harbour towards others. It is a moment put aside to find inner peace and honour to a higher, protective purpose. It will feather many, like me, not overly religious, yet who definitely identify with the inner beauty of humility.


 Lisa King may be a friend of a friend, but I would like very much to meet this talented, gentle person; gather in her thoughts and desires before the world snaps her up, and her word becomes known to us all…..LIGHT.

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