— Freelance journalism.
I have over 5 years' experience in freelance journalism, writing hard news and feature stories for a range of publications including TimeOut, Junkee.com, FilmInk and Beat. I have written a whole variety of pieces over the years, such as:
Travel to Iceland is booming. According to data from the tourist board, 1.7 million tourists visited the island in 2016, contributing almost 360 billion króna to the economy. And, despite temperatures plummeting to below zero and daylight hours maxing out at 5 hours, figures show Iceland’s winter is only slightly less popular than its summer.
Rome may be one of the most conventional tourist destinations on the planet, with iconic attractions that have been world-famous for thousands of years.
But buried under all of those well-worn cobbled paths lies a Rome rarely explored. From a crypt exhibiting 4,000 decaying Franciscan monks to an archaeological site spanning several subterranean levels, this is the version of Rome without millions of other tourists.
Current affairs and politics
Being the most famous (see also: sexiest) astrophysicist in the world, Neil deGrasse Tyson often gets sidetracked into conversations about things that aren’t particularly astrophysical.
A prominent face in science news cycles, he’s become the poor guy on the receiving end of a lot of inane and irrelevant conversation — like the time he tore apart what we thought was the bulletproof science behind Gravity, the fact that he’s now more commonly known as a “Pluto-hater” than scientist...
Australia is one of two Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries left in the world without their own space agency. The list of have-nots has been slowly whittled down over the years -- New Zealand being the latest OECD nation to establish its own agency -- and yet, Australia has continued to stay out of the space race.
Without a space agency of our own, the developed world is quite literally leaving us behind.
Of the hundreds of thousands of horror movies out there, which do you line up this Halloween? Well, the sign of a truly great horror movie tends to be a powerful, inalterable image. You could go for Linda Blair’s scarred, vomity and putrefied face from The Exorcist, Norman Bates’ cross-dressing silhouette in Psycho or Danny’s first encounter with the creepy British twins in The Shining, all of them markers we’ve used to define the genre. Yet, while these images may have scarred our brains (and childhoods) forever, we seem to overlook the sound design built around them. These images alone are nothing without the atmosphere of claustrophobic diegetic sound and a moody score.
Movie reviews and features
Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2012 documentary, The Act Of Killing, had a profound impact on modern Indonesia. By having perpetrators re-enact their killings, the film shed light on the national perception of the 1965-66 communist genocide, in which nearly one million innocent Indonesians were brutally murdered. The film revealed a modern climate that celebrated these killers, who have faced no retribution whatsoever. The Look Of Silence is Oppenheimer’s companion piece to The Act Of Killing, the other side of the coin. It’s a devastating look at the continued suppression of the victims’ families and a country unwilling to take ownership for their past atrocities.
It’s not often that a supernatural horror movie leaves the “based on true events” claim for the end credits, but this is exactly the kind of no-frills, no-gimmicks approach that elevates The Witch to a place amongst the genre’s finest. First-time director Robert Eggers’s stripped back approach actually echoes the precision of The Shining, proving that the most effective horrors get under your skin by leaving the more grisly details to your imagination.
There is so much to gawk at in Godzilla, both in what you see onscreen and how it’s being displayed. Director Gareth Edwards hasn’t taken just a single leaf out of Steven Spielberg’s handbook, but the structure, tone and idiosyncratic touches of his entire blockbuster catalogue. For those who were weaned onto big-budget cinema with Jurassic Park or Jaws, Godzilla boasts all the essential touchstones. Walking a fine line between foreshadowing and straight-up tease, Edwards drip feeds the audience spectacle, doling out snippets of his gloriously rendered beasts like a disgruntled prison lunch lady.
Passing on any overwrought attempts at drama, Danish director Tobias Lindholm instead relies on superb technicality and his watertight script for the high seas and high stakes thriller, A Hijacking. Detailing the turbulent negotiations between Somali pirates and the CEO of the titular hijacked vessel, the film carefully avoids any semblance of a dramatic approach to the subject material. A Hijacking is the perfect embodiment of 'show don't tell' storytelling.
Like the Banksy-themed Exit Through The Gift Shop, Mistaken for Strangers puts an affable layabout behind a camera and has him film a notable proponent of pop culture. In this case, the proponent, Tom Berninger, just happens to be the layabout's older brother, lead singer of The National, Matt Berninger. Tom doesn't class himself in the same creative league as his brother - his only endeavours being a couple of homemade horror films - and their dynamic proves a refreshingly fun focal point for a music documentary.
Wholly biased and visually drab, what Blackfish lacks in technical appeal, it makes up for in tenacity. The film is, in more than one way, akin to a piece on A Current Affair - complete with amateurish animated interjections and a selection of interviewees with as biased a viewpoint as could be found. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite lays out the life story of 5,400 kilogram orca, Tilikum, whose continued captivity has cost 3 people their lives, including star SeaWorld trainer, Dawn Brancheau.
More a parody than the barebones horror its trailer suggests, You're Next has been marketed pretty poorly. The trailer was heavy on seriousness - lumping together extreme slow motion with menacing animal masks - and would have you believe that the movie would be a no-nonsense home invasion thriller. In a sense, You're Next is the complete opposite of that - it's all about the nonsense, bearing more than a slight resemblance to the original Scream.
Ain't Them Bodies Saints is a class act - a romanticised tale of love and loyalty that grounds itself in its fair share of gritty realism - but any discussion would be remiss without mentioning its distinct lack of emotional resonance.
Following a military coup in 1965, the Sumatran government undertook a horrific communist purge, slaughtering scores of men, women and children. The government utilised gangsters, constantly referred to as ‘free men’, to carry out the killings in whichever way they saw fit.
As fanboys/girls around the world have experienced repeatedly since 1983, a loving relationship with George Lucas is a heartbreaking experience. The Star Wars magnate had instigated, in spite of his most loyal fans, a tumultuous and violent affair with money and, like a beautiful lover with self-esteem issues, alienated those genuinely interested in him.
Less an exploration of cultism and more of the animalism in human nature, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master tackles such unanswerable questions beautifully, but incompletely. Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell, the instinctual, basest war veteran who meets Philip Seymour Hoffman's Lancaster Dodd, spiritual leader of The Cause and all-round egotistical maniac.
Jurassic Park has hit cinemas again, bringing with it an eerie sense of déjà vu for 90’s kids around the country. Breaking box-office records in 1993, Jurassic Park is currently sitting snugly in fourth place in this week’s takings, beating out the likes of the puzzlingly popular Oz: The Great and Powerful. It’s evident Steven Spielberg still holds the throne in the kingdom of Hollywood, with his trident of Oscars and impressive beard, beating back younger competitors like the perpetually irritating Michael Bay. The film’s original audiences are now adults with dangerous levels of movie-cynicism in their blood, who scoff at the thought of a fourth Transformers film or another Die Hard.
With characteristic naivety, Ansari’s character delves into the previously overlooked lives of his immigrant parents, his friends’ grandparents, his female friends and other Indian actors. As a result, each episode feels like a short film that tries to answer the question, “What’s up with that?” And, by removing himself from Master Of None’s spotlight, Ansari proves he’s a comedy writer to contend with the best of them.
We’re all familiar with the riotous, irreverent and often disturbing antics of the Cartoon Network’s weird cousin, Adult Swim. It’s the station responsible for the likes of The Venture Bros., Harvey Birdman, Children’s Hospital, Robot Chicken and those terrifying infomercials — you know, immature, dark and bizarre; those kinds of shows.
But one of those shows, while it is all of those things, layers on a moral and structural complexity you only really see on the prestige cable networks, while using itself as a platform for discussion about the place science has in contemporary society.
Before getting stuck into the finale of Go Back To Where You Came From’s third season, we all have to make a concession: this is reality television. Everything is bitchy exchanges, super dramatic musical cues, and emotions. So many emotions. It even encourages you to have fun in trying to figure out if Kim is simply ignorant or completely sociopathic.
The last thing you’d expect the new comedy series from Tina Fey to be is incisive, but that’s just what Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt seems to be. While 30 Rock tackled its fair share of contemporary issues, it did so somewhat half-heartedly. Head writer Liz Lemon’s journey through prejudice in the world of show business came with a sugar coated gleam, a discussion capped by the impermanence of the sitcom plot and a savvy smirk from Alec Baldwin. To its credit, that unwillingness to get bogged down in discussion at the cost of a gag is what made the show such an endearingly simple pleasure.
...and the subreddit one
At 9am on April 1, 2015, the reddit community was presented with a diabolically simple and mysterious social experiment: The Button. An enigmatic post from the reddit admins, the experiment was simply a button attached to a 60-second countdown timer. Once a reddit user presses the button, the timer resets. Each user only gets one press, and new redditors are barred from engaging in the experiment.
Its purpose remains a mystery, a dynamic that seems designed exclusively to thrust members into an existential dilemma. Do you wait to push the button, give yourself the chance to keep the timer alive when it most needs it?