Category: Documentary

MIFF 2014



Shep Gordon was a casual drug dealer whose job caused him to collide with the music world in strange ways: he became the legendary manager of Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd and Blondie, and masterminded some of the music world’s most notorious stage antics. He lived the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll life to the extreme (while also being a close friend of the Dalai Lama and inventing the ‘celebrity chef’ concept!), earning a reputation as a hedonist who could be sweet and generous beyond compare.

Featuring contributions from Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Willie Nelson and more, this is the directorial debut of comedian Mike Myers, who spent 20 years trying to get Gordon’s blessing to make a documentary about him

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Beth Aala, Mike Myers

Screenwriter: Nil

Cast: Tom Arnold (himself), Alice Cooper (himself), Michael Douglas (himself), Shep Gordon (himself), Emeril Lagasse (himself), Anne Murray (herself), Willie Nelson (himself), Derek Shoof (himself), Sylvester Stallone (himself)

Runtime: 85 mins

Classification: CTC




Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Supermensch: The Legend Of Seth Gordon review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #91



IMDB Rating:  Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon (2013) on IMDb


Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Supermensch: The Legend Of Seth Gordon′: Nil.


Once My Mother

Summary: When Australian filmmaker Sophia Turkiewicz (Silver City) was seven years old, her Polish mother, Helen, abandoned her in an Adelaide orphanage. Sophia never forgot this maternal act of betrayal. Now in middle age, and with her mother in her twilight years, Sophia begins to examine her troubled relationship with Helen.

She discovers the miraculous story of Helen’s life – an orphaned childhood on the streets of Poland, a wartime escape from a Siberian gulag and an enforced march of thousands of kilometres across a war-torn Eastern Europe to the shores of the Caspian Sea in Persia, before finding a peace of sorts in refugee camps first in Africa and then Australia. With Helen sliding into dementia, Sophia must confront her own demons. Did she ever truly know this woman who became her mother? Does she have it in her heart to forgive her for her abandonment? And is it too late?

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia, Poland, Ukraine

Director: Sophia Turkiewicz

Screenwriter: Sophia Turkiewicz

Cast: N/A

Runtime: 75 mins

Classification: PG




Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Once My Mother review on




Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)


IMDB Rating:  Once My Mother (2014) on IMDb


Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Once My Mother′: For our full Once My Mother review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #89.



Summary: Brothers Tas and Ben Pappas, two boys from Melbourne who took the skateboarding world by storm, defeated Tony Hawk and were crowned International World Champions within a year. Skateboarding came naturally to the Pappas brothers, but success was a different story. In this unflinching, never-before-seen account we witness the dark consequences of Tas and Ben’s rapid success, their intense fraternal bond and their journey from the pinnacle of their sport into a downward spiral of self-destruction. From the makers of award-winning documentaries Exit Through the Gift Shop and Senna and featuring fascinating interviews, first person accounts and archival footage, All This Mayhem is a searing account of what happens when raw talent and extreme personalities collide and tells of a tragedy too incredible to believe.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 10rd July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: UK, Australia

Director: Eddie Martin

Screenwriter: Nil

Cast: Tommy Caudill (himself), Lance Conklin (himself), Dom Kekich (himself), Danny Minnick (himself), Ben Pappas (himself), Tas Pappas (himself), Henry Sanchez (himself), Greg Stewart (himself), William Weiss (himself)

Runtime: 97 mins

Classification: MA15+



Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s All This Mayhem review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #87



David Griffiths:

The sporting world is littered with fallen stars. Names such as O.J. Simpson, Diego Maradona, Mike Tyson and Ben Cousins are all heroes that reached the pinnacle of their sports only to then find themselves on the front page of newspapers for their drug fuelled criminal indiscretions rather than their feats in their sporting careers. Two more people whose names should be added to that list are Ben and Tas Pappas. Sure the names may not been much to people outside of the skateboarding world, but after watching director Eddie Martin’s new documentary All This Mayhem they are names you will never forget as this harrowing documentary becomes etched in your mind.

This isn’t just another sports docco this is aA warts and all look at the rise and fall of Ben and Tas Pappas the two young Australian skateboarders who travelled to the United States and stole the World Championship Crown from world #1 Tony Hawke. All This Mayhem chronicles the rise to this point but then also follows as both brothers begin a decline due to a drug addiction that has ended up resulting in jail, depression, murder and suicide.

Too often these kinds of documentaries will look at the highs of a sportman’s life and then just briefly mention the lows, or look the lows but make sure there is a high to go out on. Martin’s All This Mayhem though isn’t that kind of documentary. Yes he watches as the two boys from suburban Melbourne break out of their rough lifestyle and conquer the world but he also stays with the story when both brothers finds themselves facing jail time for drug smuggling and ultimately watch their careers go down the drain.

What makes All This Mayhem such a captivating watch is the time and effort that Martin has spent in gathering and putting together some of the footage to create this story. From the handheld footage captured by a family friend while the Pappas brothers were learning to skate in the late 1980s, through to the moment they took the crown from Tony Hawke and then the harrowing footage of watching Ben facing court for drug smuggling and facing a murder investigation. Somehow Martin even found footage of the pair appearing very, very wasted on the set of the family entertainment show Hey, Hey It’s Saturday. It’s footage like this that clearly shows the audience that something is going horribly wrong and stays with you.

To Martin’s credit he doesn’t leave any side of this story untold, he has gone through hundreds and hundreds hours of footage that was captured by the Pappas brothers’ friends when they growing up and then has even in depth interviews with Tas while he is in prison and manages to uncover some home truths about the normally untouchable Tony Hawke. Martin is a good enough director to allow the story to evolve as he discovers more while talking to some of the Pappas Brothers’ friends and associates but also knows not to let it deviate the documentary from telling the story it is supposed to tell… that of the demise of the brothers themselves.

All This Mayhem is certainly not just another skateboarding documentary, this is a hard hitting film that takes a look at just how a sportsman can really fall from grace. It not only shows the dark side of a sport that many would consider to be a clean sport but also shows a dark side of humanity. It reveals what can happen when success really gets to somebody and is so hard-hitting it deserves to be mentioned alongside great sporting documentaries like Senna.



Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(4)


IMDB Rating:  All This Mayhem (2014) on IMDb


Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘All This Mayhem′: For our full All This Mayhem review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #87. You can also read Dave Griffiths’ All This Mayhem review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.



Tim's Vermeer

Summary: Tim Jenison, one of the giants of video and post-production software for home computers, is always in search of new projects and simple solutions to apparently complex problems. After he read Philip Steadman and David Hockney’s hypotheses about Vermeer and his alleged use of optics, Jenison built his own camera obscura and decided that there was one missing component. He then put his theory to the test, which drove him, step by step, to his grandest and most obsessive project ever. Jenison built a “set” in a San Antonio studio that recreated Vermeer’s “The Music Lesson” one painstakingly crafted object at a time, from the ceiling beams to the jug on the carpeted table. In the process, he taught himself to paint.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 3rd July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Teller

Screenwriter: Teller, Penn Jillette

Cast: Eric Armitage (himself), Colin Blakemore (himself), Ankie Bonnet (herself), Bob Groothuis (himself), Mike Hayes (himself), David Hockney (himself), Claire Jenison (herself), Leslie Jenison (herself), Luren Jenison (herself), Natalie Jenison (herself), Tim Jenison (himself), Penn Jillette (himself), Danielle Lokin (herself), Martin Mull (himself), Prof. Philip Steadman (himself), Ruth Steadman (herself), Teller (himself), Graham Toms (himself), Nicola Vigini (herself)

Runtime: 80 mins

Classification: M




Adam Ross: You can check out Adam’s Tim’s Vermeer review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #86



Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Tim’s Vermeer review on



Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)


IMDB Rating:  Tim's Vermeer (2013) on IMDb


Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Tim’s Vermeer′: For our full Tim’s Vermeer review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #86


The Last Impresario

Summary: Australian filmmaker Gracie Otto profiles perhaps the most famous person you’ve never heard of: Michael White. This larger-than-life theatre and film impresario single-handedly transformed the cultural scene of 1970’s London. Amongst the glitter and endless parties, White brought risqué productions such as The Rocky Horror Show to the stage, Monty Python’s The Holy Grail to the screen and introduced dance legends Merce Cunningham and Pina Bausch to the British masses.This is a fast and entertaining documentary with a stellar cast of famous friends and ex-lovers to boot including John Cleese, Yoko Ono, Naomi Watts, John Waters, Barry Humphries, Anna Wintour and Kate Moss.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th June, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia, UK, USA, France

Director: Gracie Otto

Screenwriter: Gracie Otto

Cast: Lou Adler (himself), Joanne Benjamin (herself), Michael Billington (himself), Gael Boglione (herself), Nell Campbell (herself), John Cleese (himself), Miranda Darling (herself), Peter Daubney (himself), Jessica de Rothschild (herself), Erro (himself), Harry Fane (himself), Alan Finkelstein (himself), Robert Fox (himself), Mirian Safia Haley (himself), Lyndall Hobbs (herself), Barry Humphries (himself), Jean-Jacques Lebel (himself), Rupert Lycett-Green (himself), Lorne Michaels (himself), Spike Milligan (himself), Kate Moss (herself), Michael Morris (himself), Richard O’Brien (himself), Bill Oddie (himself), Yoko Ono (herself), Gracie Otto (herself), Jean Pigozzi (himself), Nigel Planer (himself), Patricia Quinn (herself), Peter Richardson (himself), Julian Sands (himself), Jim Sharman (himself), Robert Shaye (himself), Meryl Tankard (herself), Jeremy Thomas (himself), Barnaby Thompson (himself), Brian Thomson (himself), Colin Vaines (himself), Leonie Van Ness (herself), John Waters (himself), Rachel Ward (herself), Naomi Watts (herself), Joshua White (himself), Michael White (himself), Anna Wintour (herself), Alan Yentob (himself), Richard Young (himself)

Runtime: 85 mins

Classification: TBA




Greg King: You can check out Greg’s The Last Impresario review on



Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s The Last Impresario review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #85



David Griffiths:

Michael White… ever heard of the name? If you are honest then the answer would be no, unless you have memorised a website like IMDB off by heart. It’s the premise that Michael White is the most famous person you’ve never heard of that actress turned filmmaker Gracie Otto uses to promote her first feature documentary The Last Impresario.

For those not in the know Michael White is a man who can walk into the Cannes Film Festival and instantly have members of the elite film groups fawn all over him. There is little chance that any serious film, theatre or television fan hasn’t seen at least one thing that he has produced at one stage in his life. From working with the likes of Yoko Ono on small alternative theatre pieces to producing the show that would eventually turn into the mammoth that we know as The Rocky Horror Picture Show it seems like Michael White has been there and worked with everyone. His work on some small theatre pieces and then television shows and films such as Monty Python also has many labelling him as one of the forefathers of modern comedy.

The White that Otto catches on film though is not the Michael White that once partied all night with the likes of Mick Jagger and Kate Moss. No the White we get to meet is a mild-mannered old man who series of strokes has left him with a speech impediment and has been lowered financially to the point of having to auction off some of his prized possessions including letters from the likes of John Cleese and Laurence Olivier. He is even coy about whether or not he still owns the rights to some of his best productions including The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

As a filmmaker Otto does a good job with The Last Impresario. Certainly any film or theatre fan is going to sit captivated as she tells the story of a man you almost feel guilty about not knowing. And while interviews with the likes of Barry Humphries, Kate Moss and John Cleese do give you a wonderful view inside both the business and personal life of Michael White you do start to get the feeling that Otto has perhaps relied too much on talking head interviews… especially when you consider just how flamboyant White was with his life.

Another really annoying trait of this documentary, and I know this is being really picky, is the way in which Otto asks the questions to White during his interviews. Because she hasn’t got a microphone near her for most of the time she simply yells the questions out. Yes it sounds like a small thing to have a gripe about, but it does become increasingly annoying and is certainly something that the top documentary film makers of our time would never, ever do.

Still The Last Impresario is a good documentary that will be loved by those who enjoy to learn a lot more about the cinema and theatre they have grown up. Cudos must be paid to Gracie Otto for being able to put together such an A-List of interviewees as well as being the first person brave enough to bring the Michael White story to the big screen. This is one for all the cinephiles out there.


Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3)

IMDB Rating:  The Last Impresario (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘The Last Impresario′: For our full The Last Impresario review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #85


Gardening With Soul

Summary: Following four seasons in the life of irresistible gardening nun Sister Loyola Galvin, director Jess Feast unearths sage gems from the nonagenarian on everything from compost to Catholic Church sex abuse scandals. The cycles of Wellington’s weather are charted via its influence on Loyola’s Island Bay garden, from the 2011 snow to flax-drunk tui.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th May, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: New Zealand

Director: Jess Feast

Screenwriter: Jess Feast

Cast: Sister Loyola Galvin (herself)

Runtime: 96 mins

Classification: G



Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Our Gardening With Soul review on www.filmreviews,



Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Our Gardening With Soul review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #81



Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)


IMDB Rating:  Nil

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Gardening With Soul′: For our full Gardening With Soul review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #81


Last Resort

Summary: In the early 60s a bunch of kids met playing in the extreme wilderness of New Zealand. The adventure they discovered in mother nature changed their lives – and the world. A 45 year quest for paradise and adrenaline told in stunning original footage.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th May, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: New Zealand

Director: Clive Neeson

Screenwriter: Clive Neeson

Cast: Allan Byrne (himself), Jeff Campbell (himself), Ton Deken (himself), A.J. Hackett (himself), Clive Neeson (voice), Biggie Smithers (himself),

Runtime: 100 mins

Classification: CTC


David Griffiths:

Extreme sports ‘doccos’ are a dime-a-dozen. It seems nearly every week our cinemas get a fresh batch of films showing people hurtling down mountainsides, surfing the waves or doing things even more extreme. However the weakness of these films is that they don’t show anything else, it’s usually just action shot after action shot with pumping music playing over the top. If you aren’t a surfer or a snowboarder then you can forget about getting anything deep out of the experience at all.

That is where new ‘docco’ Last Paradise is very, very different. The film has been put together from footage shot by filmmaker Clive Neeson over the past 45 years of his life – during which time he has always been looking for the next adventure, which along the way has seen him and his friends create a lot of the different extreme sports that are the norm today.

Neeson went from growing up in Africa where his parents worked as filmmakers capturing the wildlife of the continent. From there he went to New Zealand where kids didn’t have things such as televisions or video games, no they created their own fun. This saw Neeson and co coming up with things such as wake-boarding and bungee jumping, while also being some of the forefathers of extreme skiing and surfing.

To his credit though Neeson has not just made this a vanity piece about himself, no he is a good enough filmmaker to go further than that. Using footage that has been restored by legendary director Peter Jackson’s visual team Neeson tells the story of how some of these sports were invented but also shows how our natural environment has also been put at risk for the younger generation, something his own family experienced when their home was hit by a tornado only a couple of years of ago… something that was virtually unexpected in Australia or New Zealand at the time.

The footage that Neeson has been able to put together is absolutely amazing. From the early shots of wakeboarding to the beginning of the surf phenomenum in Australia right through to one of his crazy friends doing one of the first ever public bungee jumps – an illegal jump from the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Then there is also some great visuals of skiing on an active volcano and also shots of Surfers Paradise before anybody even knew it existed. It seems when it comes to extreme sports Neeson was there and caught everything on film.

The science talk towards the end of the film does bog it down a little for ten to fifteen minutes but Neeson overcomes that with a strong finale that really exposes how urban development and environmental damage has ruined a lot of the areas that were playgrounds for him when he was growing up.

Last Paradise is a good little docco that shows some of the never-before-seen stories of extreme sports. It’s well worth a look if this is a lifestyle that you enjoy.



Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(3)

IMDB Rating:  Last Paradise (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Last Paradise′: Please check our full Last Paradise review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #79


Seduced And Abandoned

Summary: Alec Baldwin and filmmaker James Toback are on a mission: to remake Bernardo Bertolucci’s legendary 1972 film Last Tango in Paris by setting it in Iraq in the mid-2000s. Hobnobbing their way around Cannes, the wisecracking duo meet up with a who’s who of the film industry , including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ryan Gosling and Bertolucci himself, as they try to find money, a script and a cast for their impossible idea.

Seduced and Abandoned is the delightful and utterly uncategorisable new pseudo-documentary from veteran director James Toback. A riff on the harsh economics of modern film turned unlikely buddy comedy, it’s a glimpse into the funny film business and a gleeful homage to a lost time when film was made for film’s sake.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 8th May, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: James Toback

Screenwriter: James Toback

Cast: Alec Baldwin (himself), Berenice Bejo (herself), Bernardo Bertolucci (himself), James Caan (himself),Neve Campbell (herself), Jessica Chastain (herself), Francis Ford Coppola (himself), Scott Foundas (himself), Ryan Gosling (himself), Charlotte Kirk (herself), Diane Kruger (herself), Todd McCarthy (himself), Roman Polanski (himself), Ben Schneider (himself), Thorsten Schumacher (himself), Martin Scorsese (himself), Jeremy Thomas (himself)

Runtime: 98 mins

Classification: MA15+


David Griffiths:

Seduced And Abandoned is a hard documentary to explain. Not just for this lowly reviewer but you get a feeling that even the guys responsible for this film may have some trouble trying to pinpoint what the exact focus of this documentary actually is. This reeks as the kind of film that may have sounded like a good idea when a group of friends got together over a few drinks, but sadly when it reaches the big screen it becomes a meandering film that was well deserved of the walk outs it received at the screening I was at.

At the heart of Seduced And Abandoned are film director James Toback (Tyson, When Will I Be Loved) and actor Alec Baldwin (Blue Jasmine, TV’S 30 Rock) who have come up with the idea of remaking the classic Last Tango In Paris but setting it in Bush-era Iraq. It seems the original concept of the documentary was show them travelling to the Cannes Film Festival on a mission to receive backing for the film, but somewhere along the way the film got railroaded and ended up becoming a look at the history of the Film Festival itself and also how the likes of Ryan Gosling, Roman Polanski and Martin Scorsese got their starts in Hollywood.

One of the things that makes Seduced And Abandoned such a strange documentary is that seems that Baldwin and Toback really wanted this to be the kind of film that really celebrates cinema. Certainly that seems to be what is happening when they sit down and talk to Polanski, Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Bernardo Bertolucci, but during the film it actually begins to show the darkside of the industry – a side where people such as Neve Campbell and Oscar winner  Berenice Bejo find themselves as being described as ‘unmarketable.’

If Toback and Baldwin wanted Seduced And Abandoned to showcase themselves in the realm of a vanity piece then they certainly failed in their mission. Instead Toback comes across as a pushy director who believes that he deserves to be credited alongside the Scorseses and Coppolas of this world while Baldwin seems to be an actor who refuses to acknowledge that he is no longer a Hollywood leading man. At times this comes across as a poorly directed and cheaply edited wank fest, although it is kind of fun to watch as Baldwin gets put in his place by several producers and even an Australian film distributor.

Having said that though there are some highlights during Seduced And Abandoned. Hearing the likes of Ryan Gosling and Diane Kruger talking about what it means to be an actor in Hollywood these days is an interesting piece of cinema, as is hearing some of the legendary directors that we all look up to talking about their careers and what film-making means to them. Those interviews are absolutely priceless for young filmmakers out there.

Seduced And Abandoned ultimately fails at its major goals and is only made watchable by a couple of interviews that touch on some cinematic magic.


Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(1)

IMDB Rating:  Seduced and Abandoned (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Seduced And Abandoned′: Nil.



Summary: A mix of live performances and behind-the-scenes footage from the televised benefit concert to raise relief funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 1st May, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Amir Bar-Lev

Screenwriter: Nil.

Cast: Jon Bon Jovi (himself), Steve Buscemi (himself), Eric Clapton (himself), Roger Daltrey (himself), Tony Danza (himself), Michael Dempsey (himself), James Dolan (himself), Dave Grohl (himself), Jake Gyllenhaal (himself), Mick Jagger (himself), Billy Joel (himself), Alicia Keys (herself), Chris Martin (himself), Paul McCartney (himself), Keith Richards (himself), Chris Rock (himself), Adam Sandler (himself), Bruce Springsteen (himself), Michael Stipe (himself), John Sykes (himself),, Quentin Tarantino (himself), Pete Townsend (himself), Eddie Vedder (himself), Roger Waters (himself), Charlie Watts (himself), Harvey Weinstein (himself), Kanye West (himself),
Runtime: 106 mins

Classification: M


David Griffiths:

It was the night that was put together to help aid the New Yorkers that were suffering in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, what it became was one of the biggest concerts held in music history. It was the night that saw Paul McCartney technically become the lead vocalist for Nirvana, the night that Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder put his Jimmy Fallon Show faux-pas and performed with the legendary Roger Waters, the night that REM’S Michael Stipe joined forces with Coldplay’s Chris Martin and to top it off the night when legends like Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel and The Who looked down off the stage and saw a pit filled with the unlikely combination of Chris Rock, Quentin Tarantino, Kristen Stewart, Miles Teller and Michael Chiklis… just to name a few.

The good thing for music fans that couldn’t be at Madison Square Gardens for the 12-12-12 Hurricane Sandy relief concert is the fact that former Beatles front man Paul McCartney knew that something big was going on and had the foresight to capture the night on video. Teaming up with documentary filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev has seen McCartney end up being the executive producer of one of the most interesting and entertaining doccos that is likely to hit the screens in 2014.

12-12-12 isn’t simply just a re-run of the concert footage that went to air on the night of the concert, no Bar-Lev goes a lot deeper than that. The docco itself almost tells three stories, it shows the horror of the night that Sandy touched down in New York, it then tells the story of those that put their own safety last and reached out to help those affected in the tragedies aftermath and then shows all the hard work that the likes of Harvey Weinstein went into putting together this massive concert in just three weeks. The fact that of all us is intermixed with some brilliant live performances by some of the world’s greatest artists makes this a touching human interest documentary that is also likely to enthral any serious music fans.

Bar-Lev skills as a filmmaker are clearly on show for all to see in 12-12-12. Most directors would have simply just inserted some Hurricane Sandy footage into the concert footage and delivered it to the masses, but Bar-Lev goes deeper than that even showing the frantic pace that all involved in this concert went three in the days leading up to it and on the actual night. He shows the meltdown of some of the staff when it is realised that so many credit card donations are being made per second that the whole computer system is crashing, he shows the cool and calm owner of Google stepping in to fix the problem when nobody else seems able to. He also captures moments when stars became star struck themselves, moments like when Quentin Tarantino goes into complete surprise meeting Reggie Jackson and Chris Rock standing looking at the stage like a small child looking up at a Christmas Tree. Then there are the amazing interviews of those who survived Sandy, the volunteer firefighters who watched their own homes burn not being able to do a thing and an amazing insight from Tony Danza into what it means to be American. They are the things that most filmmakers would have overlooked… not so Bar-Lev.

12-12-12 is a documentary that no music fan should miss, it is also the kind of film that anyone who needs to renew their faith in mankind needs to see. It’s a film that looks at how community should pull together in the face of a tragedy whether they be your average Joe on the street or a wealthy musician… oh and this is a film that also shows us that Adam Sandler can still be funny when he wants to be. This is one documentary that shouldn’t be missed.


Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(5)

IMDB Rating:  12-12-12 (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘12-12-12′: For our complete review of 12-12-12 please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #77.


Aim High In Creation

Summary: Determined to stop a new gas mine near her Sydney home, director Anna Broinowski (Forbidden Lie$) goes to North Korea to learn from the masters of propaganda cinema. In a worldwide first, Pyongyang’s top directors, composers and movie stars take her to script rehearsals, Taekwondo stunt fights, group dances, drunken picnics, and a film shoot on a real-life captured US spy ship – to teach her Kim Jong Il’s techniques. Back in Sydney, Anna’s fearless cast follow the North Koreans’ instructions to produce a didactic socialist melodrama, full of song and kick-ass fights, in which “heroic workers” rise up to defeat the “evil, gas-fracking miners.” Through the shared love of cinema, AIM HIGH! forges an astonishing new bond – between North Korea’s hidden filmmakers, and their collaborators in the Free World. Revealing an unexpected truth about the most isolated nation on earth: Filmmakers, no matter where they live – are family.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th March, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan

Director: Anna Broinowski

Screenwriter: Anna Broinowski

Cast: Kathryn Beck (Sally), Anna Broinowski (herself), Peter O’Brien (Riccard), Susan Prior (Karen), Elliott Weston (Al), Matt Zeremes (Mitch)

Runtime: 94 mins



Greg King:

You can check out Greg’s The Raid 2 review on


David Griffiths:

There have been a number of documentaries made over the years that explores the problems associated with ‘fracking.’ The leader in that pack of documentaries was the magnificent Gasland that not only shows the environmental impact that fracking causes but also the major health problems caused by people who sadly live near the sites where this practice is being conducted.

Now comes Aim High In Creation a docco put together by Anna Broinowski who decides to tell the world about the fact that fracking will soon be conducted in some residential parks in the New South Wales captiol of Sydney. Anyone who has seen what fracking can do will quickly realise that this is a time bomb waiting to happen, so really Aim High In Creation should have been a powerful documentary that Broinowski could use to educate the people of Australia about what was to happen. Sadly though Broinowski seems to lose her way a little and the film never really gets its message across as powerfully as it should have done.

There are moments where Broinowski does deliver some powerful scenes of the environmental damage and health issues that fracking have called to Australians over the years but then when she realises the best way to get her message across is to follow the style of the North Korean propaganda films that have been pumped out of the country over the past few decades.

Broinowski’s idea does seem like a good one… on the surface. Sure the idea of cramming in information about fracking as well as showing what life is like for those living under the conditions of the North Korean regime might make the docco a little heavy. That doesn’t happen though because somewhere along the way Broinowski almost seems like she becomes a ‘groupie’ of the North Korean film industry and almost forgets about what the docco was meant to be about in the first place.

Getting acsess to being able to film in North Korea could have allowed Broinowski to have made a strong comment on the countries style of propaganda filmmaking and the dangers associated with it. Instead Broinowski seems to champion the way the North Koreans make their films, so much so that they are soon asking to her appear in one of their films. While the information shared about the North Korean film industry is interesting to cinema lovers it does seem to steer Aim High In Creation well and truly away from the topic it was supposed to be looking at – fracking.

Broinowski and her cast of actors, known names such as Peter O’Brien and Matt Zeremes, that she plans on using in her fracking short film spend a lot of time trying to capture the North Korean way of doing things, but watching them do so at times does lead to the audience losing interest in the film, especially when it seems like it just can’t stay on topic.

Somebody needs to make a serious film about the dangers of fracking in Australia but sadly Aim High In Creation just isn’t that documentary. Broinowski tries to use creative license to get her point across but this vanity piece seems to lose its way so much that in the end it just doesn’t end up getting many points across at all.


Average Subculture Rating (out of 5): Stars(2.5)

IMDB Rating:  Aim High in Creation (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Aim High In Creation′: For our full Aim High In Creation review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep 73.