From playing Spike in Buffy The Vampire Slayer to roles in Toruchwood, Hawaii Five-O and now The Runaways – James Marsters talked about it all at his Supanova 2020 panel and Subculture photographer Brock Wilson caught it all.
I have always found that pop culture and music go hand-in-hand despite people denying that is the case. Funnily enough a lot of my childhood memories revolve around the two together. Memories of sitting in my Dad’s car while he introduced me to the likes of Pink Floyd, Meatloaf and Alice Cooper are just as vivid as racing to get up of a morning so I could get my fix of Defenders On The Earth on television before I went to school.
Likewise at school I would sit with my friends at recess and trade my Batman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cards alongside my KISS cards. And of course that was another battle that my parents had everyday – bribing me with such cards in order to get me to wear my school uniform to school rather than my KISS or ABBA shirts.
Yes music and pop culture do work in hand-in-hand and it is for that reason that more music fans should be excited about Supanova, the pop culture convention that is happening at The Melbourne Showgrounds this weekend. It may surprise some to know that you will see just as many people there wearing Anthrax and Metallica T-Shirts as you will donning gear from Marvel or DC, largely due to the fact that this can be an absolute treasure trove if you a serious music lover.
I have picked up some absolute gems at the various stalls there over the years. From signed music merchandise through to hard to find KISS comics – even some horror film soundtracks that I thought were long gone as they were no longer listed items in any stores. Add to that some of the music documentaries I have picked up there on DVD over the years and it is easy to see why the event is becoming more and more popular with music fans.
This year it seems even the organisers of Supanova have picked up on the fact that the event is fast becoming a music and pop culture crossover because one of the biggest stars attending the event this year – is none other than James Marsters.
Many of you will remembers Marsters as the Billy Idol inspired vampire Spike in the hit television series Buffy The Vampire Slayer, a role he later reprised in the spin-off series Angel. Since then he has had major roles in shows such as Torchwood, Smallville and The Runaways.
What a lot of people may not know though is that Marsters well and truly has a musical side as well. A lot of Buffy fans were blown away by Marsters’ vocals on ‘Rest In Peace’ – one of his tracks from the music episode Once More With Feeling. The hard rock tracks saw Marsters in full flight and it was little wonder that he was such a natural when you realise that outside of acting he had also been a musician his entire life.
He had started his musical career doing covers of artists like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Neil Young in LA clubs before going on to form his first band. In 2003 he formed the band Ghost of the Robot who released a few singles, while many Buffy fans noted that some of the tracks were written about the characters they had come to know and love. The band disbanded in 2004 and Marsters continued with his solo career until Ghost of the Robot again reformed in 2010. Since then they have released a number of EPs while Marsters has toured around the world with his solo career appearing at a number of festivals and special events.
And that is where Supanova have jumped on board. Not only will fans have the opportunity to see Marsters host and number of Q&As this weekend and of course be signing a tonne of autographs, he will also be doing some special musical performances at the event as well. Yes, Supanova have realised just how many music fans attend the event and are now catering to them as well with concerts.
So if you are a music fan and you haven’t already got something planned this weekend then perhaps it is time to wander down to the Showgrounds and check out Supanova. You never know what kind of musical treasure you are going to pick up at one of the stalls… and you will have a chance to check out James Marsters belt out a couple of tunes as well.
The red carpets have been rolled away and the gowns are back on their hangers. The Academy Awards are won and done for another year, and while film journalists right around the world have dissected and discussed every winner, every nomination there is something that has become crystal clear in the wash up, this year might be the year where the Oscars finally see a change occur that is long overdue.
On the surface it appears that change may have already occurred, but has it? Read most of the headlines the morning after this year’s Oscars and they all labelled the fact that South Korean film Parasite won Best Picture as the dawn of a new time in Hollywood, a time when films from right around the world now have more than a slight chance of walking away with the top Oscars on Academy Awards night.
But is that really the case? Let’s call it for what it is – the Oscars for a long time now have been a celebration of American films, not a celebration for international films like many would have believed. Yes there has been a Best Foreign Language section for awhile now but that always felt like a token award because if you really scratched under the surface you would find that filmmakers had to hurdle over each other to even earn a nomination. That award is now known as the Best International Feature Film Award which does make more sense given that even films from English speaking countries outside of America could also be nominated in the category, but that still doesn’t fix the biggest problem of all with the category.
Isn’t the fact that there is even a Best International Feature Film Award part of the problem? After all the Academy Awards are supposed to be a celebration of film – yet the mere fact that there is a Best International category means there is an instant separation from the American films also in the running for awards. That divide becomes even wider when you realise that in order for a film to be considered in the Best International Feature Film Award that film has to be submitted by the country where it originated. That’s right if a country like Thailand makes two great movies in one year – tough luck only one can be selected. America on the other hand can have as many films nominated as they wish.
When you consider the great films that have come out of countries like France and Germany over the years that ‘one film submission’ rule seems like a joke, but perhaps the biggest losers because of the rule this year were Thailand and Australia.
Thailand’s submission to the category this year was Sitisiri Mongolsiri’s Krasue: Inhuman Kiss while Australia’s submission was Buoyancy a film shot in Thailand with all the actors coming from Cambodia and Thailand. Neither film ended up making the short list of nominations for the actual Best International Award, but it is here where the murkiness of the Award are exposed.
To receive its submission Buoyancy defeated The Nightingale, there is nothing wrong with that but when you look at how both films were received by other Award ceremonies and by critics you see just how unfair it was that both films couldn’t be in the running for the major award.
Buoyancy explores the human rights issue of young Cambodians being forced to work as slaves in the Thai fishing industry which meant it was a powerful film that received a lot of praise. The film won awards at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Awards (AACTA) as well as earning awards in Mumbai, Berlin and Oslo. On the other hand The Nightingale looked at the harshness of living in colonial Tasmania including the brutal murders of the local Aboriginal people. Like Buoyancy it also received a lot of five star reviews and found itself winning a plethora of awards including six AACTAs and eight Australian Film Critics Association Awards. There is little argument that both were great films and should have equally had the right to be nominated for Best International Film yet somehow weren’t.
If you dig a little deeper the whole divide between how American cinema and International films at the Oscars became even wider. If Parasite was in the end considered such a great film by the Academy then how come none of its cast found themselves nominated for Best Actor or Best Actress? That point was also not lost on fans of the film Buoyancy who wondered why actors Sarm Heng and Thailand’s Thanawut Kasro didn’t receive nominations despite being praised world-wide for their intense roles in the film.
The host of popular film podcast The Popcorn Conspiracy Kyle McGrath recently talked about Kasro’s Oscar snub and said. “When you look at the performances in Buoyancy and you take the performance of Thanawut Kasro in the role of a Supporting Actor he was miles ahead of where Brad Pitt was in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. That is not to say that Brad Pitt didn’t deserve it but if I was going to pick between those two actors who gave the better performance it would have been Thanawut Kasro over Brad Pitt, but with the way it works at the moment perhaps it needs a little bit more work on how the voting system works.”
Will that voting system ever change? I guess the best answer to give to that question is – perhaps. Certainly Parasite doing so well may open up more opportunities for Asian cinema right around the world. Even in the past few months it has been interesting to see how many cinema lovers around the world have been eagerly anticipating the release of The Cave (another film that Thanawut Kasro appears in), but for international films to finally receive the recognition that they deserve it is time for the Oscars to place all films on a level playing field no matter what country they come from rather than it just be a celebration of American cinema like it is now.
Well we’ve seen the worst… now here the best. Dave G takes a look at what his favourite films were for 2019.
Few films could match the power of The Nightingale this year. While described as a thriller Jennifer Kent’s film could easily been described as a Gothic horror. Brilliantly capturing the harshness of early Tasmanian settlement the film and allowing Sam Claflin to shine in the role of one the screen’s worst villains. The film shone as did its amazing star Aisling Franciosi.
In an era when films around fast cars usually involve epic stunts and a cast full of muscle Ford vs Ferrari did things a little differently. While the heart of the story revolved around the Shelby racing team having two of the greatest character actors of our era, Matt Damon and Christian Bale, acting opposite each other made it an audience’s delight and has rocketed it into Oscar contention.
What is it about playing the Joker that seems to make an actor lift their performance? After great performances in the role by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger here Joaquin Phoenix stepped into this origins story and suddenly DC Comics had an Oscar worthy film on its hands… cop that Marvel.
From first time feature director Rodd Rathjen Buoyancy explored the practice of human slavery in a brutal way. Shot almost entirely on the water in Thailand with a very under-experienced leading man this film should have been talked about more often during the awards season. Rathjen is a filmmaker to watch in the future.
When Quentin Tarantino makes a film these days it is not just a release it is a cinematic event. Once again Once Upon A Time In Hollywood showed what a serious filmmaker Tarantino can be as he creatively tells a story around the notorious serial killer Charles Manson. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt relished on a script that some thought was a little too talky.
While I wasn’t a fan of Hereditary Midsommar is the film that has really shown me that Ari Aster is a filmmaker that really knows how to hit his mark. Thought-provoking, creative and gruesome, what else do you want from a modern day horror film?
Nobody makes movies that critique modern day society the same way Ken Loach does. Once again Sorry We Missed You exposes what hundreds of thousands of families go through each day in a way that seems like a time capsule that can make you cry.
Brand new film from Australian director/screenwriter Matthew Victor Pastor telling the parallel story of a man living in a cuckhold relationship and a man who has recently been released from prison trying to fit into society. This is the film that should make Pastor a household name in Australian filmmaking circles.
An amazing film that mixed drama and comedy as it told the story of a young refugee coming to grips with living in Thatcher’s England. Uses the music of Bruce Springsteen as a back-drop this is one of the big surprises of 2019 and shows that Viveik Kalra is a young actor to watch.
Melanie Laurent continues to show that she is a filmmaker on the rise with the gritty crime drama Galveston. There is no way to pick where there movie is headed and it is only made better by a script that allows Ben Foster and Elle Fanning to put on two of the best acting performances of the year.
Jonah Hill makes his feature film directional debut with a film that Larry Clarke would have been happy with. Edgy and really captures the 90s… certainly show that Hill maybe someone to watch as a filmmaker in the future.
Largely overlooked in Australia The Public saw one of the best acting/directing performances from recent years with Emilio Estevez delivering pure perfection. The films biting commentary on homelessness certainly made its audience sit up and take notice.
You can’t do a comedy film about the Hitler Youth, right? Wrong. Director Taika Waititi returns to form with a film that will make you laugh and then make you cry. Sam Rockwell once again steals the show.
Another Australian film that is perhaps unlucky not to be higher up on my list. Heart-breaking and acting packed the film captures one of India’s darkest days with an amazing acting performance from Dev Patel.
Great British crime thriller from director Abner Pastoll. Very reminiscent of the gangster fills of the 1980s. Has cult film written all over it and has a brilliant performance from Sarah Bolger who deserves to be a star.
Brilliant Netflix drama about a couple going through a divorce. Brilliant screenplay and brilliant performances by Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. Could it be enough to get Driver an Oscar nomination?
One of the very few comedies to be released this year that actually had heart. Instant Family knew when to be funny and knew when to be touching.
Perhaps one of the most underrated films of 2019. Ben Is Back is everything that you don’t normally expect from a Julia Roberts film – gritty and totally engrossing.
This film may have divided audiences but at the end of the day you had to remember that it was a film from the legendary Jim Jamusch. With that in mind the film delivered everything it should – quirky humour and unexpected turns.
One of the most intriguing films of 2019. What seemed to be a heartfelt film about a teacher trying to help a gifted student had twists and turns that nobody saw coming.
Not only one of the action films of the year but one of the best action films ever made. Amazing stunts and brilliant fight sequences… surely there are no action film fans out there that didn’t love this?
One of the most important doccos made this year. Captures what really happens when Sea Shepherd goes up against the Japanese whaling fleet which made for a really interesting viewing.
Probably one of the biggest surprises for me in 2019. This looked like it was going to be light and fluffy but instead ended up being a film with grit that explored tough topics such as family separation. If you haven’t seen it, go out and grab yourself a copy.
The Guilty is easily one of the best foreign language films of the year. Claustrophobic and suspenseful this is another of this year’s must see films.
Danny Boyle once again at his creative best. Funny in parts, thought provoking in others, plus who would have known that Ed Sheeran would steal the limelight the way he did?
It is that time of the year when we reflect on what was good and what was bad in 2019. We start with the worst films of 2019.
The first dud from the Blumhouse house of horror. Black Christmas tried to be political with the gender game but ended up being so offense even the female audience found it deplorable.
This alleged comedy starring Regina Hall took the old ‘older person becomes younger self to learn a lesson’ Hollywood trope and completely killed it…unfunny in every sense.
Based on a hit novel doesn’t necessarily mean success and that was certainly the case for the teenage romance After. Good girl meets bad guy with a reputation but with zero chemistry on screen and a story so transparent anybody could see through it, this was a real stinker.
Will Smith and director Ang Lee teamed up with what should have been one of the action films of the decade. But the new crystal clear technology only damaged an already flawed film.
You can argue this was a film for kids and shouldn’t be rated so harshly. But even kids struggled with a film that made its lead character seem childish instead of the hero that she should have been.
A switch on the classic Mel Gibson film What Women Want. Re-make, re-boot… whatever this one was unfunny and missed its mark.
Once again Jordan Peele tried to be a little bit different with his horror film and once again it is left floundering with anything but a smart horror.
Another ill-fated comedy, this time starring Diane Keaton who tries to introduce a cheerleading team to her local retirement home. While the film tries to expose some of the downsides of retirement villages it completely misses its mark and become a nothing film.
Early on it promised to be a hard-edged horror film but then it just fell away to be an ordinary horror film that seemed to mirror the first film.
After the original film and Kong proved to be interesting this one just seemed to fall apart and become boring battle sequence after battle sequence with an out of the ordinary storyline that was nearly laughable.
Our resident film guru Kyle McGrath takes a look at the Top Five Tom Hanks movies.
Dave G, Harley Woods and Kyle McGrath from Subculture all went down to check out Mafest 2018 and they got to catch up Christopher Sabat about his latest film Dragon Ball Super: Broly, so what did you miss if you didn’t attend… well check it out right here!!
We have been lucky to see some amazing documentaries about famous actors over the past twelve months. There were the sensational I Am Heath Ledger and I Am Paul Walker now comes McKellen: Playing The Part, a documentary that celebrates the life and career of Sir Ian McKellen.
Know to modern day audiences for his portrayal of Magneto in the X-Men franchise and for his legendary role as Gandalf in the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit films a documentary about this amazing man’s life is a must see.
Opening in cinemas on the 4th October we are giving you the chance to win tickets to see McKellen: Playing The Part thanks to Icon. Simply go to our Facebook page, like the page and private message telling us what is your favourite Ian McKellen role and why.
If you’re an Aussie fan of The Walking Dead, then you will be on the verge of nirvana because two big things are about to happen in your world.
Not only are we only a few weeks away from Season 7 hitting the TV screens, answering the big question who exactly did Negan kill in that finale, but you have also Season Six becoming available on DVD/Blu-Ray/On-Demand on 21st September through eOne Entertainment.
Well we thought we would bring you this interview with Norman Reedus (the rough and tough Daryl Dixon) and Steven Yeun (Glenn Rhee).
With a hectic schedule away from the set of The Walking Dead, it seems only fitting that the best place to grab an interview with two of the show’s biggest stars is at a convention. Luckily that also meant Reedus and Yeun were in great moods after being presented to their fans and only too happy to talk.
So first of all, what are convention fans like when they run into stars from their favourite show? “They just freak out,” laughs Yuen. “They ask what’s going to happen next. I mean, they’re just [really] into the show. Like, I’m into the show. Sometimes I’ll go to the set, and I’ll watch things that I’m not in being filmed, ’cause I’m just so excited to watch them do it.”
Both men are also in unison when asked what makes the show so damn popular. “It comes down to the writing. It starts with what’s on the page, I think.” says Yuen. “Yeah I think it’s the writing,” nods Reedus. “I think it’s the writing and commitment to the stories that we’re telling. Nobody on the show gives less than 110 percent, ever. Ever.” Yeun adds, “And that goes to crew. That goes to cast. That goes to post.”
Staying on the top of the writing of the show, Reedus admits he doesn’t know how the creative team behind The Walking Dead do it so well. “You know, I’ve directed music videos, short films, I’ve edited them… it’s nothing like this show, though. This is such a juggernaut of — there are so many people that I can’t figure out how they do the dialogue so well, you know what I mean? But as far as my character and storyline, Scott’s always been collaborative. It’s always been a team.”
“There’s some times when I’m like, ‘No, I don’t get that. What does that mean?’, and he’s like, ‘No, no, this doesn’t mean anything, it’s just –‘ And I go, ‘Oh, oh, that’s so good!’ The talks we have at the beginning of the year especially, sort of the midpoint, really do help shape what we’re doing. I mean, Daryl, especially, is not a character in the books. And he was this little bit of this enigma. Jumping into it, I think he’s always been one of the most challenging characters because he’s such a guarded character. So how much do we show of him, and show off who he really is? And who he really is has been changing the whole time, too. It’s been exciting that as he’s been showing more of himself, that we’ve been able to show those changes involved.”
Touching on how deep Daryl is as a character brings the topic around to the fact that while the writers of the show have introduced a number of love interests for him along the way, he has never seemed to act on it. Does Reedus feel that fans or the show’s writers put pressure on for something to happen?
“The writers wouldn’t be pressuring. They would just pull the trigger,” laughs Yuen. “Fan-wise you watch these two groups battle each other, like the Bethels and the Carols,” explains Reedus. “But the amount of fan art that I get off me and Rick making out is… it’s like, ‘what is this?’, you know? Like, we should do a show, a proper art show of the two of us in the bathtub together – I mean, it’s insane. But, the thing is, are they looking for me to have a committed relationship with these people, just to bone them? Like, what am I doing? And the truth is, I don’t know that Daryl is ready to do any of that.”
“And, you know, it’s almost the same as, ‘Are you ever gonna cut your hair on the show?’ Why the hell would I cut my hair? ‘Are you ever gonna take a bath?’ Well, I’m just gonna get dirty again. You know what I’m saying? They go to war, and sometimes I feel bad for whoever. Because what’ll happen is those girls that – that other __ in the Daryl whatever’s – will get, sometimes, bashed. And I’m like, “That’s bullshit. She doesn’t deserve that. I remember when Carol got real badass – I saw this one, and it was like, ‘She doesn’t even need Daryl anymore. She can take care of herself. Daryl’s just a big man-child.’ These people go nuts. It could go on and on and on. But do I feel pressured? Nope.”
Yuen laughs and adds, “And I’d say, the characters on all — I mean, this is a guy who’s pretty damn guarded, and the fact that he now has family – he really does have a family with these people. He’s on a journey.”
Reedus nods and says, “It might not be the most obvious timeline to other people in their life, but Daryl has had a pretty wild life, pretty weird life.”
When touching on the deepness of the characters in The Walking Dead, the talk turns to whether or not ‘specialists’ are brought in to talk to the writers and the actors on how characters might react to the very dramatic circumstances they often find themselves on the show. “Season Three was a really rough season for most of us,” explains Yuen.
“Especially for Carl,” adds Reedus. “I remember Steven was talking about how emotionally distraught he was after the whole scene with the governor, with him, with Glenn and Maggie. It is hard for all of us. And after Carl killed his mom, just these scenes that you don’t remember much, they impact us, as people, so much. We’ve all been through really, really tough places, because of this show.”
Yeun nods and adds, “I’ve said this a few times – you know, there’s a lot of horror, there’s a lot of survival war, there’s a lot of really intense emotional things that happen on this show. And this show has gone on for six years.”
Of course, the guys couldn’t give away any spoilers but when asked about where the characters will head in the new season Yuen quickly answers, “Actually, all of these characters, you generally know where they started, ’cause we’re starting fairly close to where we ended. They’re gonna be very, very far away from that by the end of the season. So, you guys could easily do the math on that. I’m just saying, if you know where they start, they’re not going to be emotionally in the same place by the end of the season. None of these folks.”
So what can they tell us about this Team Rick/Team Morgan divide that seems to be happening? Is that a real thing or just in the fan’s minds? “Well, I will neither confirm nor deny,” laughs Reedus, “but I will say that there are conflicts within this group. I don’t know if Lennie was talking about it at this table or another table, but Lennie is – I mean, what did he say to Daryl? ‘All life is precious.’”
“He shows up at Alexandria, right after Rick has shot Amanda in the face. There seems to be a different approach coming head-to-head. And there’s other characters we know that have pretty strong opinions about all this. So, even if it’s not absolutely exactly Team Morgan and Team Rick, there are conflicts that we’re going to see.”
If you want to see whether Team Rick or Team Morgan come to the fore, make sure you grab your copy of The Walking Dead Season 6 from eOne Entertainment.