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Animal Kingdom: the definitive review, by Chris Murray. Plus WIN DVD copies here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

If you are yet to see Animal Kingdom, you are missing out on possibly the most awe-inspiring Australian movie of our time. Animal Kingdom is a 2010 Australian crime thriller written and directed by David Michôd. It received global critical acclaim and was the recipient of the World Cinema dramatic Grand Jury prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Josie's Juice has two DVD copies to give away - courtesy of Madman Entertainment. Simply click 'follow', and send an email with your name and address to: josiegags@optusnet.com.au. First two entries received will win.

And below is the definitive review of Animal Kingdom, by Chris Murray. He is the reason I watched the movie - showcased by his film event company Popcorn Taxi (see http://www.popcorntaxi.com.au/) - simply by the way he recounted just how blown away he was. "Better than Mad Max," he said. I was hooked. I HAD to see it. I was not disappointed. See the highlights from the Animal Kingdom/Popcorn Taxi movie event here: www.popcorntaxi.tv/events/animalkingdom/

Read this fantastic review by Chris - written exclusively for Josie's Juice - and then seriously, go out and buy the DVD this second.

Animal Kingdom DVD review, by Chris Murray.

When was the last time you said with non-ironic confidence, “I’ve just seen the most incredible Australian film…”? Unquestionably, this is the film to break that drought or indeed pop your patriotic cherry.

Director David Michôd (a former critic and magazine editor for ‘IF Magazine’) has leapt off the starting blocks with a feature debut that puts most seasoned directors to shame with powerful storytelling and a true sense of cinematic engagement; two elements that lack in most offerings no matter what country you were born in. Yet Michôd is no virgin having directed the exceptional shorts, Netherland Dwarf, Ezra White, LL.B. and Crossbow that, as with the proverbial Italian road system, have all led to Animal Kingdom. In fact when watching Netherland Dwarf you’ll witness a visual style and downplayed grace Animal Kingdom casually hits out of the park. It concretes domestic realism and anchors to a place of familiarity uniquely Australian, yet universally obvious – family. Although the sibling unit of the Cody’s presented in the latter are neighbours you’d never want to dispute with.

Recently orphaned, adolescent ‘J’ (James Frecheville) finds himself in the care of his grandmother ‘Smurf’ (Jackie Weaver). Hers is a household of testosterone and tattoos as her extended brood are known thieves prone to violence and illegal activity. Craig is running on drug-fueled adrenalin (Sullivan Stapleton); Darren is misunderstood and somewhat calm amongst the madness (Luke Ford); Barry isn’t even a family member (Joel Edgerton), but his Solomon ideals and fatherly qualities elevate him to a respected leader… and the other, ‘Pope’ (Ben Mendelsohn) is the emotionally unhinged wild-card. Ever inherited a dog that was mistreated? No matter how much love you give the ability to trust is shattered and it’ll turn on you in a heartbeat should fear or indecision be smelt– it has it’s own agenda, survival. Pope is a cornered rat, and the fuzz are closing in – they don’t want to ‘chat’, they want to crucify him. The somewhat untouchable nature of this crime family is at threat not only from Pope’s bad aura, the Police (corrupt, dangerous and unpredictable) themselves are changing the rules of engagement. When bravado turns to cold-blooded action; it’s ironically the Cody’s who spring into action and appear the heroic bastion for male justice. It’s the Wild West: an eye for an eyelash and a jaw for a tooth… it’s not about winning anymore, it’s about how much damage can inflict as you draw your last breath.

But not every cop is bent. Enter Guy Pearce as ‘Leckie’ – a cop striving to reason with the unreasonable, but he too is merely another creature struggling to survive an unsaid ‘law’ that bares no badge. His mission to secure ‘J’ as a good person before he succumbs to his family’s legacy appears honest – but just who can you trust in this dog-eat-dog world?

Michôd has delivered a classic tale with Biblical consequence. There is no wastage. Every action has a purpose and a consequence… and every corner turned reveals a dark shadow not seen before it. These characters, just like us, are indeed animals striving to survive and feed their flock. At times sacrifice is in order – and while the decision may be malicious it serves a higher purpose. Jackie Weaver can never be looked upon again as the ‘bubbly little thing’ we’ve known to love. There’s a reason she’s beaming a smile while her young intimidate, steal and kill – she’s the true ‘King’ of this world, and don’t you forget it.

“You’ve done some bad things, sweetie…”

Yet it’s still Mendelsohn’s tortured soul who lingers in the mind long after the closing credits. From the trailer we hear the melancholic strain of Air Supply’s 'All Out of Love' and feel the weight of a dark premise laced with emotion; but when that track actually appears in context as Pope watches TV with such sad disgust and confusion, it’s a blow to the jugular that will leave you reeling, awkward and ultimately raises hair on your neck.

During the opening moments of this film we are witnessing the legacy of the outlaw – the CTV evidence that crime exists not merely on TV but in our street, our shops, our community. Then the slow reveal of a Copperart lion to the imposing and magnificently majestic score that commands your attention; buddy, you’re hooked, bagged and won’t look away nor at your watch for the next two hours. The crime genre doesn’t need $100m car chases, Scorsese rip-off dialogue, or indeed the fluff and tack of Underbelly-style romanticism. True crime cinema should make you clench your guts akin to being a passenger travelling too fast towards a busy intersection - your friend’s older, nastier, brother is at the helm. It’s out of your control and terrifying; but so fuckin’ exciting and REAL you wouldn’t change it for the world.

I used to believe that Mad Max was the most powerful Australian film ever made – now, I’m not so sure.

dappled dots

images via ilovewildfox, weheartit, cobrasnake, and jak & jil

These images have been sort of lingering around my desktop for several days now. Sometimes I just get hooked on certain photographs; they steal my attention. The first image, for example: Something about a gap-toothed smile charms me marvelously. And I thoroughly delight in the fact that Natalia looks like a glamourously tragic crow in the second. The third I just love simply because I want that damn AA dress. And the rich, contrasting colors in the last photograph are tantalizing. They way the little black dots dapple across her skin and hair...dreamy.

Okay hushing up now.
Smile, my darlings. Oh how I do adore you so.

Vogue Australia: Miranda Kerr, January 2011. Bloomin' lovely.

The much-talked about issue featuring the pregnant Miranda Kerr has finally hit the newsstands today and it was worth the wait.

In a glorious cover - and inside fashion spread - Miranda sheds her clothing and inhibitions for Vogue Australia, in many firsts for the publication.

It's the first time Miranda has appeared on the cover of the title (which is kinda surprising) and the first time the revered Aussie magazine has featured a pregnant woman on its cover. With stunning results.

Inside, the beautiful shoot - snapped by industry veteran, the very talented Carlotte Moye - features Miranda in various softly-lit profile shots, but the one to garner the most attention will be the black and white pic of Miranda wearing what she wore the day she was born: absolutely nothing.

In the interview by writer Damien Woolnough, she says: "Marriage has always been a tradition that I value. I love being married and sharing my life with someone."
See the behind the scenes video from the shoot: http://www.vogue.com.au/vogue+tv/

Another exciting article to read in this issue is the cover story "Beauty and the Blogs".

In it, writer Cleo Glyde talks about the rise of the beauty blogger and the impact they continue to have on new product announcements, and creating an underground buzz.

In the excellent article, Alice Hocking, communications manager at Estee' Lauder says: "Estee' Lauder will continue to invest and focus on social media. The media landscape has changed so much in the past 10 years that most businesses simply couldn't survive without it."

Marie Claire Australia: January 2011 issue, Elle Macpherson

The brand spanking new issue of Australian marie claire hits the newsstands this AM (I even spied a cute travel size at the newsagents just now - just perfect for slipping into the beach bag) and I am LOVING the bright, fresh cover featuring quintessential 'supermodel' Elle Macpherson.

There's something - well, lots - to love about Elle lately.

First and foremost, at age 47, she not only positively rocks that gold mini... she kills it.

And I am really charged to see she is leading the way for Australia's World Cup soccer bid. What's not love about a transcontinental woman who still calls herself an "Aussie" when we need her most.

In this month's issue of marie claire - and in a timely message for December 1, World Aids Day - the magazine asks: "Why is the Safe-Sex Message now Slipping Under the Radar?"

Writer Stephanie Osfield asks readers to recall the chilling Grim Reaper ad campaign with its brutal approach to AIDS awareness, and asks "Is it time we brought this ad back?" Three decades after the discovery of the first case of HIV/AIDS, the life threatening disease is killing two million people worldwide every year. Real life stories demonstrate why the message of safe-sex needs to be broadcast.

Amen to that.

Get yourself a copy - either size! - today.

Tights Tuesday: Ribbed

With the cold weather rolling in and the holiday season approaching, ribbed leg wear is a must. Not only do they keep the legs warm, but they also go well with a variety of looks weather the occasion calls for a holiday formal look or something more casual. Here are a few suggestions:

Student protests: Zombie-like mass mutism is the best way

Students should be seen and not heard
I understand that UK students protesting against tuition fee hikes have already been kettled by the cops close to Westminster Palace. Quite right. At least 200 of them went running down Whitehall in breach of an agreement with the Met, so what do they expect to happen? Ah yes, media martyrdom. Now listen to Madame.

A much more effective form of protest would be mass insolent mutism. Or the People's Silence. This would involve crowds of tens of thousands of students gathering as close to guilty buildings as legally allowed and just standing there saying nothing for hours on end. If the police ordered dispersal - because they have suppers to go home to -  protesters should refuse and lie down on the spot (still saying nothing) feigning death, whatever the weather. If anyone was injured it would be the fault of the police entirely as they attempted to drag protesting carcasses from a to b. Such a protest would require nerves of steel, iron discipline and cold fury.

On TV the effect would be chilling because mass crowds standing about silently is anti-nature, anti-expectation of youth; redolent of zombie movies. The lack of drama would serve to emphasise the pre-meditation and thereby communicate the contained fury: the best kind of psychological drama. Also, photographers would be deprived of police evidence or lucrative shots for their lizardy right-wing print editors.

Anger is a form of energy and must be controlled for effect, particularly against an establishment media, thuggish police and lying politicians. But I suspect anger is wasted on the young.

The Best Anti-Tobacco Ads

Tobacco advertising is the advertising of tobacco products or use (typically cigarette smoking) by the tobacco industry through a variety of media including sponsorship, particularly of sporting events. It is now one of the most highly regulated forms of marketing. Some or all forms of tobacco advertising are banned in many countries. On the other side we have, anti-tobacco ads that are the response to the moves of tobacco industry’s marketing campaigns. Anti-tobacco advertisements generate fear or sadness by showing the diseases caused by smoking are more effective in reaching youth, compared to ads that are funny and entertaining or focus on what is or isn’t cool.

These ads are very creative, attract attentions and won’t leave you untouched. A fantastic way to do a noble deed of preventing people from destroying their health and the health of others. Check out the best of anti-tobacco advertisements that will make any smoker want to quit this nasty habit and help themselves and the people around them.