Tag Archives: Review

Hibiscus & Ruthless|”It’s Not That Much Magic, Just A Little Bit”

“It’s not that much magic, just a little bit.”

Please go watch the trailer and the film so the reference makes sense and isn’t nonsensical. Also, this film is a lot of magic. Truly.

New Zealand film Hibiscus & Ruthless, the second project of SQS (Stallone Vaiaoga-Ioasa) has been out in cinemas since January 25th. And I’m well aware that this review is very late, but y’all should’ve been at the premiere- I guess we all running on island time.

This is SQS’s follow-up to his big hit Three Wise Cousins and I’ve been eager to catch it on the big screen since the trailer popped up on my Facebook newsfeed. Following the life of Hibiscus (Suivai Pilisipi Autagavaia) with her best friend Ruth aka Ruthless (Anna-Maree Thomas), SQS directed a humorous film that evoked nostalgic memories of mum’s lectures, her hidings, the family events- I’ve never related so much with a film until now. Which I believe is one of the greatest things about SQS’s films. They’re a celebration of our culture and our people. He did this with Three Wise Cousins, and did it again with Hibiscus & Ruthless. It’s encouraging to be able to see people like me on screen. It’s uplifting. It’s empowering to have experiences similar to mine (and other Poly’s) on a screen in cinemas, selling tickets and drawing massive amounts of support. Yaaaaassss, I’m proud af.

And it’s the juxtaposition of Hibiscus and Ruthless that drew out my loud as laughs in the middle of The Civic- their friendship is something so familiar, so comfortable and so easy on screen. It made the film so enjoyable because it’s just natural. I’m encouraging everyone to go out and watch this film. Other than being a film that comes through with the laughs, it will appeal to all audiences. Check out the trailer below and my sister’s review- http://spasifikmag.com/hibiscusruthless18/





You’ve been warned.

Also from this point, my writing is going to be even more informal and whack so bear with me- or don’t. I don’t care tbh. My review, not yours.

Guys guys guys- I loved this film. I feel like I might’ve liked it a little more than Three Wise Cousins if their soundtrack was as catchy, but for now they’re pretty much on the same level. Both fantastic.

The children who featured in the film were too cute- And kicking off the New Year on the table, making ipu ki’s? Y IS THAT MY LIFE HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA Straight up, I remember being really young and wishing I was a part of a white family so we could watch our money burn and not think twice about it. Is that offensive? Slightly. Weh.

As soon as I saw Hibiscus’ disaster of a date with Mr. I Speak Success (aka Steven), I knew that things were gonna turn to kaka because of drama with a dude. And boy did things go to kaka.

Steven turns out to be a grade A douchebag which sucks because I was rooting for him from the beginning. Heck, I was rooting for him since the trailer. Bible I thought I would just marry him when Hibiscus said her favourite colour was red and he said, “Mine’s blue! Would you like to fight? Ha ha ha ha ha I kid, I kid. Just a bit of street gang humour there.” That line had me crying with laughter. Sorry, my humour is so dry guys.

Then that other dude who isn’t even a potential bae. I feel like he would’ve been the safest option though.

Hibiscus is spending all her fa’alavelave money on dresses for when she’s going on her dates with Anthony. But boy was sooo smooth, with his words and his dancing *fans self* *heart eye emoji* WEH!! When he took off his shirt and the band stopped playing? Had me crying in my seat, for real. Don’t worry Hibiscus, I’d spend all my imaginary money to look good for him, too. Hol’ up while I quickly contact my bank and ask whether I’m eligible for an overdraft HAHAHAHA I kid I kid. No man will ever have that power over me.

Things turned so ugly. They weren’t ready to be together. They were both at different stages in life. Honestly, Hibiscus just needed those experiences because she’d been so sheltered her entire life. Doesn’t it make you think that by sheltering someone so much, your efforts to protect them is for naught because they aren’t prepared for the real world? They haven’t lived or seen enough of the world to know how things work in order to handle it on their own. Not blaming the mother at all for Hibiscus getting hurt, but it’s a teaching moment. The world is hanging and people will always learn from their mistakes. Let them make mistakes. That’s one of the things I felt that the film conveyed.

The whole film is so much deeper than it seems. I had so many questions, like where’s Hibiscus’ dad? OH DAAAAAAANG! While writing this, I just realised how absent male figures were in this film?? The only ones we really looked at were Hibiscus’ potential baes. This film clearly celebrates women, Polynesian women in particular, so maybe they did this so our focus would just be on the women of the film and their lives? SQS, slick af.

Also where does Ruthless live? Especially since my favourite characters were Ruthless and good ol’ G-Ma- I was stuck trying to figure out more of Ruthless’ backstory because she was basically adopted into this small Samoan family, quickly adopting their culture and teachings. I feel as though this small Samoan family shaped her in such a significant way and the moment this really showed, for me, was when Hibiscus went off at her mother and Ruthless was sat at the table. In all honesty, Hibiscus’ meltdown was bound to happen. And so when Ruthless slapped her, I felt that had been because she grew up with them. It was her saying, “Don’t you dare speak to mum like that. Don’t blame anyone else for your mistakes. Don’t wallow in self-pity. You hurt me. Pull yourself together.”

When Hibiscus’ mother (portrayed by Nafanuatele Lafitaga Mafaufau Peters) had her heart to heart with her daughter, I had to blink back tears. It was slightly awkward and stiff, and I’m not sure if it was purposefully done that way, but it was realistic, for me, anyways. In my experience, our Samoan mother’s are headstrong and not overly emotional people (unless it’s anger because they so quick to show you their death stare lol). They don’t show weakness, they don’t coddle or baby us, and they always give it to us straight. And despite talking to her daughter who’s heart’s just been broken, who’s failed her last year of Uni and also let down her best friend, I didn’t feel like Hibiscus’ mother had suddenly become this super duper nice and totally not intimidating and strict parent. She just stopped being so harsh. She was sad about her daughter being sad, and that’s real. I don’t even know if what I just typed up made any sort of sense. Oh well.

This film was some next level stuff, and it really lived up to Three Wise Cousins. I walked out of the theatre trying to plan when I would next watch it. I also walked out and immediately went in search of the cast because I wanted selfies with them. I’m so cool.

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Don’t mind the quality, guys. I don’t know how to fix it.






Frickin Dangerous Bro | They’re Frickin Funny Though

If y’all are avid readers of our website/blog/whatever, y’all will know of Frickin Dangerous Bro, but this time you’ll know a bit more about them from me! We caught one of their Frickin Dangerous World Tour of Tāmaki Makaurau shows in Glen Innes at Te Oro.

Honestly, one of the best things I found about Frickin Dangerous Bro is their interaction with the crowd. Y’know how there are comedians who are mean to the audience? Well Jamaine, James and Pax aren’t like those other comedians who gotta belittle, harrass or embarrass their audience to get some authentic laughs. They’re funny without being mean, and that’s pretty cool.

Frickin Dangerous Bro’s sketches offer some on point social commentary.

I like that it wasn’t preachy, but also doesn’t overstep into being offensive for no reason- I for one am genuinely sick of unapologetically problematic comedians.

It’s refreshing and relatable ya know?

Although the crux of their shows are sketches, they manage to improvise and make other jokes.

Not even joking, they kicked off their show and had to restart three times because Jamaine wanted to mock the late comers (dw, it wasn’t in a rude way okay). The swearing was minimal and it could’ve been because of the 8 year old in the front row, or maybe they know that you don’t have to be crude to be funny as f%^&.

Please, go check out their show. Watch them mock and destroy stereotypes, and get turnt tf up. Also, they’re sponsored by Sprite sooooo they’re a pretty big deal.

Catch their shows that are $15 a ticket- but hurry y’all!! Before they raise the prices to $30 because they’re worth AT LEAST that much and also the seats are limited! I think y’all can also get a selfie at the end!!

September 30th – Birkenhead College, Northshore

October 6th – Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku, Mangere

October 14th – New Lynn

October 21st – Q, Auckland CBD

Get more information here on their Facebook page.


James, Motu, Jamaine, Mata and Pax. Jamaine said I’ve got jokes sooooo that basically means- catch me in the next show??? sk- just them. Source: FDB’s Facebook Page

Mata’s mentions:

Because you just can’t escape me.

  • The boys run the risk of over playing their sketches, too much of a good thing- you know? But nah I still pa’d my aka (you know if you translate that literally it means popped my laugh- but um a sensible translation would be ‘cracked up’) and I’ve seen a few of those sketches a few times
  • Comedic timing on point- even the adlibs lol
  • 4.5 Jawkwardlols out of 5 … they lost out on a .5 because- okay there’s no real reason tbh.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children | Film Review

Please note the following review does not contain spoilers. 

“It’s time for you to learn what you can do.”

Another exciting film to hit the screens this year by none other than director Tim Burton. A great mixture of boy meets girl, wry humour, spooky elements, and most importantly the theme of self discovery – because in today’s society, who are you and how do you fit in, if you don’t know yourself.

The clash of fantasy and reality makes the journey of this film mesh so well with the self discovery and hero element. It also has a good blend of dark and light elements, that won’t scare the kids too much. The film is 127 minutes long, but time flies as you are absorbed into the storyline.

The visuals and effects will amaze, however the only downside I felt the film had was the unexplored history of Abe. It’s something the adults will pick up on but kids will wash over. I feel like it would give more of an impact and make the film far more well rounded in its story telling. Also majority of the characters are touched upon, and it makes you question what really is the point of having all of them.

However… Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a great all rounder film, for all to see. Escape the ordinary and check out the trailer below. Oh and stay peculiar people, life is much more fun that way… you’ll see.


Independence Day: Resurgence | Film Review


Please note the following review attempts to not contain spoilers. 

“We sacrifice for each other, no matter what the cost.”

Twenty years after the first film, they are back. Independence Day: Resurgence, follows the storyline twenty years after the attack on Earth. It is filled with explosive moments, dramatic build ups, iconic monuments being destroyed, and alien verses human fights.

It is an action packed film from the onset, and throughout. The cast does an excellent job, but is let down by the script due to the constant duelling between the characters attempting to be the hero, and outshine one another throughout the film. In a sense, it’s good because you don’t have a single “hero” to stand behind, as it’s a fight for the entirety of the human race, however for any good story, you need that one individual, instead of having a divided focus. In the original Independence Day, we were all standing behind and rooting for Captain Steven Hiller (Will Smith), especially with his epic one liners.

The film has moved on from an American focus, and includes close up views of destruction across Earth, and has different nationalities portrayed. There is a bunch of new technology in the film, which is pretty epic as it reflects how far modern technology has come – especially within cinematic effects, which are pretty awesome for this film. We get to travel between Earth and the moon.

Independence Day: Resurgence is a great film, if you enjoy things getting blown up, millions of people dying, and a pretty predictable storyline. Parts of the film, feel like they were trying to reproduce the success of Independence Day. But with the great acting, and cinematography, the film isn’t all that bad overall. The film is in NZ theatres now so you can see whether or not the twenty years prepared us, and the longer than usual extended trailer is below for you to have a look over.


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.



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

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.]



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

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?



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

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

*service fee may apply