All posts by Mata

Mata is an inveterate TV addict, chronic Bibliophile and is also a full-time journalist for a Pacific Magazine. As a co-founder and the editor of JawkwardLOL she gets to review TV shows, books, plays, music, films and anime.

Your Name Review | visually stunning, emotionally stimulating

Makoto Shinkai’s (5 Centimeters Per Second, 2007, and The Garden of Words, 2013) latest offering, Your Name, is a stunning piece of animated film.  It takes you on a whimsical YA body-swap adventure that somehow manages to be grounded in reality in spite of the sheer imagination required for such a storyline. Despite pulling on your heartstrings, Your Name doesn’t exactly break it and leaves you satisfied but still wanting more.

Mitsuha and Taki are two total strangers living completely different lives.

But when Mitsuha makes a wish to leave her mountain town for the bustling city of Tokyo, they become connected in a bizarre way- somehow connected to the meteor shower we see at the very beginning of the film.

Mitsuha finds herself in dreams of being a boy living in Tokyo while Taki dreams he is a girl from a rural town he’s never been to.

What does their newfound connection mean? And how will it bring them together?

In its exploration of the line between the beginning and the end, from minute things to the heavier questions of life, the film juxtaposes new and old, the urban sprawl and rural life alongside their male and female counterparts while allowing the audience both healthy doses of laughter and poignant moments of heartache.

It’s almost like being a daydream yourself, however everyone is speaking Japanese and of course it’s animated, not live-action.

The J-Pop soundtrack is lit, drawing you into the film straight away and complimenting the visual brilliance of the landscapes and forces of nature quite brilliantly.

Check it out when you can, it’s great to see on a huge screen I tell ya. Find out where, in NZ, and go see it! The film opens for a limited screening run on Dec 1st.

I’ve heard people compare Shinkai to Hayao Miyazaki, calling him Miyazaki’s heir apparent, but I can’t say the comparison is fair. Shinkai’s work is its own beast, and Your Name has a quality to it that isn’t Miyazaki but that’s a good thing in that we should be allowed quality work that isn’t cut from the same stone, or that follows a similar kind of format.

You’ll be thinking about the film’s plot and trajectory long after the vividness of the the painted cityscapes have faded from the screens, they become etched in your mind along with thoughts of ‘what next’ after that final scene.

Watch the trailer below, beyond the trailer are our honourable mentions RIFE with spoilers so continue at your own risk!

Honourable Mentions:

  • Just one because I’ve talked enough: Taki, you had ONE job just before twilight hit and Mitsuha disappeared. Write your name on her palm but instead he writes “I love you” and as cries and smiles before saying, “Idiot…I can’t remember your name with this…” I’m sitting in the theatre trying not to yell out TAKI YOU HAD ONE JOB. ONE JOB!
  • Huh and who’s have thought it was also a time travelling tale on TOP of the the body-swap?
  • Every time they’d wake up in each other’s bodies and Taki kept getting snapped fondling Mitsuha’s boobs was always a crack up- each time you think… nah he won’t this time, zoink the door opens he’s like: mdvdrif

Three Wise Cousins | Review

So the Three Wise Cousin’s DVD is now out, check out our review of the film and where you can get a copy of it for yourselves or your own wise cousins who’ve yet to see it.

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Film: Three Wise Cousins
Director: Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa aka S.Q.S

DVD’s Now Out: Order from MadMan NZ Entertainment!

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As Three Wise Cousins opens up in Hastings, Dunedin, and Palmerston North from today I figured I should write a review about the filmNot because I’m Samoan, or because it’s what everyone’s talking about, but because it’s good. Despite only being shown at a handful of cinemas across New Zealand the self-funded, grassroots, comedy has grossed about US$200,000 in the last two weeks.

And it’s about to head over across the ditch to Australia, with a Samoan premiere also set for the end of February.

The film has an engaging storyline, offers plenty of laughs, the characters are memorable, and there’s a universal message behind it that doesn’t just apply to Samoans or Pacific Islanders.

It follows a young New Zealand-born Samoan Adam (Neil Amituanai) as he heads to the motherland in an attempt to impress his crush Mary…

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Mua O! Macbeth by Black Friars Theatre Company | Review

Something wickedly amazing this way comes.

The Black Friars Theatre Company is founded on the ideal of breaking down preconceptions and stereotypes by retelling classic literature in a way that’s relevant to Pacific communities in South Auckland- and in a wider NZ context.

Comprised of young Pacific talent, they’ve been retelling Shakespearean plays in a Pasifika context for the past 10 years.

Their latest endeavour, a magnificent, dynamic and distinctively Pasifika re-imagining of Macbeth is not only a resounding success but an experience that manages to fuse together various Pacific cultures and classic literature in an impressive hour and a half of enthralling theatre.

Under the direction of Billy Revell and Michelle Johansson, Shakespearean prose and dark magic is blended seemingly with Pacific language, music and dance within a Pan-Pacific Hawaiki.

An innovative re-staging of the traditional Shakespearean classic for Pasifika in Aotearoa set against a backdrop of imagined Hawaiki, musical direction (Siosaia Folau) and choreography (Theresa Sao) is impressive and Viola Johansson’s costumes are amazing to behold.

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While Macbeth and Lady Macbeth actors Lauie Tofia and Denyce Su’a gave wonderful performances, which rendered the audience charmed, it was the three witches played by secondary school students Vitinia-Gabrielle Togiatama, Akinehi Munroe, Irene Folau (winner of the Stand Up, Stand Out vocal solo) who absolutely stole the show.

Although at times it can feel like the 14-strong choir is almost shouting into your ear, the harmonies and raw talent made up for the loudness.

Not many LOLs due to the fact that it was a tragedy, however it was a unique and well-executed production that you’d want to experience at least once.

Nish Kumar | Back With A New Show Review

Nish Kumar’s (no relation to JawkwardLOL’s Jess Kumar) show at the Civic this Comedy Fest has enough polysyllabic words to make you feel like a real intellectual when you can keep up. Yeah, take that everyone who said my undergraduate English Lit and Political Studies double major arts degree would go to waste.

He’s well-researched, well-presented and despite a few outbursts rather polite. Sounds more like a guest lecturer than a comedian, but for real he’s pretty hilarious.

Don’t be alarmed, he may use big words but his jokes aren’t so overly complicated that you miss the punchline because you’re too busy trying to make sense of it.

Kumar takes some difficult topics, like ethnic divides, gentrification (Jess’s favourite topic/buzzword ever), existential crisis, and colonialism, and relays his thoughts on them in a witty way that doesn’t alienate his audience.

Even if he’s talking about how if a white British guy turned up in a country, everyone there who wasn’t white were screwed…to a room full of white people. He’s not confrontational, but he’s prone to political rants that walk a tightrope between hilarious and hard-hitting.

However at some point he forgets a primer for a closing joke that he deftly (questionable) manages to work back in in order to close the show with somewhat off on a high. Was it on purpose? We don’t know, maybe? But if it didn’t slow the momentum of his show down then sure, some might say it was an avant-garde way of anticipating and quelling a lull.

Random thoughts during the show:

  • Jess is definitely the drummer from Coldplay- that’s why she’s so money ballin’.
  • Must remember the name of the documentary – damn it something…forgotten. But seriously if you’re reading this and can remember the name of the documentary he talked about, please tell me.
  • Hmmm are hipsters a trend? More a fad, no? (Here’s that one postgrad class on popular culture kicking in.) Unless it has lasting effects on culture it isn’t a trend- it’s a fad. Kik, bebo and myspace? Fads. Social media? Trend- because it’s a fundamental change on how we communicate. But Hipsters well- crap I missed a joke, OR the name of that documentary- either way I lose- I gotta stop having boring internal monologues like this.
  • I was too drop sacks to whoop when he said long reads, but I get down to long reads. I’m all about that long-form journalism. It’s what I do for a living, after all.
  • Shit that was funny and pretty enlightening- everyone should get to one of his shows.

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BACK WITH A NEW SHOW

WHEN: Sat 23, Tue 26 to Sat 30 Apr, Tue 3 to Sat 7 May
WHERE: The Classic, Auckland
GET TICKETSTicketek
TICKET PRICES:

Monday – Thursday $25.00
Friday & Saturday $30.00

*service fee may apply

 

 

Frickin Dangerous Bro | G.O.A.T Review

Frickin Dangerous Bro, or rather ‘three brown guys who make funny’ (my words, not theirs), the sketch-comedy trio comprised of Jamaine Ross, James Roque & Pax Assadi started their G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) comedy fest show off with a bang at the Basement Studio.

The premise is simple enough, three guys on stage performing live sketch comedy written by themselves for an hour. They’ve got props, excellent scene-setting music and of course themselves.

Does it all work like a well-oiled machine? No.

But is it funny? Heck yeah.

Sure they may have rehearsed but the only way in which that comes across is when they get a sketch going they know what’s happening in that sketch.

Otherwise you’ve got them checking their own set list and helping each other remember next lines should they be forgot. And expect a a fair few forgotten lines, missed cues, character breaks and mistakes, friends.

It’s all part of the charm of the show, they bounce off each other and off the audience and daaaamn it’s lucky they’re quick-witted or the audience might not have let them survive. Especially Assadi and Roque who manage to shut down a heckler without coming off as onstage bullies ha. Ross is caught between calling the other two out and not wanting to be excluded from their fun.

Their different personalities make for good group dynamics, both when bantering with the crowd, each other and during their skits.

The skits range from slice-of-life type storylines to wtf-did-I-just-watch type storylines. While I wouldn’t say the writing is altogether solid, jokes (which often work by subverting stereotypes and messing with what’s expected) do hit their mark if sometimes get stretched a bit thin and repeated a few too many times.

But through it all you’re frickin’ laughing and that’s all that frickin’ matters.

Random thoughts during the show: 

  • Lol I can count how many brown people I see in the crowd on one hand.
  • The ‘We like Billy T’ lady had the most perfect timing of the evening tbh I’d go to another show just to see if another audience member tops her- and also because the show’s hilarious and I doubt each night will be completely the same.
  • Is that an Avondale College tie?
  • Not for nothing but one of my favourite sketch comedy makers are the Laughing Samoans… just saying, for no reason related to the show or anything. [Side eyes emoji.]

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FRICKIN DANGEROUS BRO

WHEN: April 23-Saturday April 30th 7.30pm (No shows 25th & 26th April 2016)
WHERE: Basement Studio
GET TICKETS: iTickets 
TICKET PRICES: 

Full Price $18.00
Concession $15.00
Group 4+ $15.00
Cheap Wednesday $14.40

*service fee may apply

 

Rose Matafeo | Valley of the Lols Review

Rose Matafeo has an hour of lols, in her Auckland show Valley of the Lols, for anyone interested this comedy fest. We loved the name, no matter the backstory.

The 24-year-old Matafeo’s set, full of a somewhat-prepared list of musings-disguised-lols, is delivered with all of the bravado of, well, Rose Matafeo.

She takes the audience, of which she banters with quite a bit, on a rollercoaster of anecdotal jokes that have an unpolished feel yet hit home each time. Jokes range from lols of singledom and loneliness to self-deprecation where you think- I hope she knows she’s not alone. Which is the beauty in the set, because she’s not alone- it’s why the jokes hit their mark each time.

To varying degrees people in the audience can empathise, or at the very least sympathise, with her stories which makes it easy to laugh at her jokes. I mean maybe we’re not butterchicken, or even a spicier curry, (see the show to get the reference) but at some point most of us have put our best faces forward when all we wanted to do is go home and lie in bed.

There’s a seasoned quality about the comedian that goes beyond her seeming comfort on the stage. It’s the comfort of someone who uses and exposes her own insecurities on stage so that people can laugh on a regular basis.

The comfort of someone who can con a crowd into feeling like at some point in their life they’ve experienced a similar thing and maybe they have, or maybe they haven’t but the point is the audience laughed.

To paraphrase and butcher German philosopher Nietzsche, Matafeo’s set could be described as staring into an abyss to find it staring right back atcha. And the longer you watched the more you laughed.

So was the hour a valley of lols? Yes, each joke whether aided by props and some ace music was delivered with the deadpanned way that pulls a laugh out of you whether you want it to or not.

And if that’s not what you want from a comedy show, what the bloody hell is wrong with you?

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VALLEY OF THE LOLS

WHEN: April 23-Saturday April 30th 7.30pm (No shows 25th & 26th April 2016)
WHERE: Basement Theatre
GET TICKETSiTickets
TICKET PRICES: 

Full Price $24.00
Concession $18.00
Group 6+ $20.00
Cheap Wednesday $19.20

*service fee may apply

 

 

 

MOVE | Review

Kinetic Wayfinding’s latest project, dance-theatre MOVE, combines dance, theatre, music and digital media to convey messages of hope and address issues rarely talked about in Pasifika communities but which greatly affect Pacific youth.

The central story revolves around a brother and sister, Mark and Lupe played by Isaac Ah Kiong and Jennifer Perez, whose lives are rocked by the death of their father.

Ah Kiong plays a convincing young character whose situation sees him move from worried teen to ‘man of the house’ as his romantic relationship with their friend Diamond, played by Darren Tanuie, unfolds scene by scene.

Perez, whose first role was in Kinetic Wayfinding’s Digital Winds, brings a heartbreaking quality to Lupe’s character who goes from average insta-obsessed teenager to battling inner demons.

Inner demons like depression- leading to thoughts of suicide. Perez’s portrayal of a girl fighting against the these emotions is mesmerising to watch.

The cast, though a tad green, was solid. Granted there were some slip ups but you can easily put it down to first performance jitters.

On top of the three friends, there are also embodiments of creative muses; Creativity (Valentino Maliko), Word (Mosese Ah Hi), Dance (Maxine Kalolo), and Music (Sisi Patea). Their performances were stirring, from their fluid dance moves to beautiful singing.

And really once they got into it, and the cast gained momentum together, the show’s pace quickened and the audience is pulled through different emotions along with the characters.

There were a couple of scenes that seemed to stifle the pace a bit, leaving the audience guessing as to the purpose of it,  however overall it was an engaging piece of theatre, executed by a young up and coming cast.

MOVE makes good use of multi-media with random inserts of digital YouTube/vlog type videos by Diamond, shown on a screen beside the stage, serving as comic relief.

The mash-up of popular songs with beautiful original music, not to mention the elements of Pacific music mixed in too was rather beautiful.

The following song was written and composed by Patea, and beautifully performed by her and Maliko during the performance.

 

 

MOVE 

Written and Directed by Iaheto Ah Hi and Leilani Clarke
Moving image and costumes by visual artists Cee Palalagi and Onesian.
WHEN: April 22-Saturday April 30th 7.30pm (No shows 25th & 26th April 2016)
WHERE: Te Oro in Glen Innes
GET TICKETS: Eventfinda or at the door (Adults: $20.00, Concessions $15.00.  Groups (6+): $15.00, Youth 14yrs and under $10.00.)