Twitter connects Australian farmers

Apostle birds, Gulargambone, NSW. Photo: Brett Donald/flickr

 

BY AMANDA PARKINSON

Farming is changing. Most farmers are used to the tweeting of birds on their land, but Australian farmers are doing a lot of the tweeting themselves.

Farming group AgChatOz is an organisation whose aim is to use social media site Twitter to connect rural communities with one another. Targeting specific rural concerns, co-founders Sam Livingstone, Tom Whitty, and Danica Leys moderate weekly conversations online, coordinating participants using Twitter’s hashtag (#) feature.

“The goal is to have farmers discuss their issues and attempt to close the city – rural divide through social media,” Whitty said. Started in July 2010, the group has more than 800 followers and continues to gain momentum, using topics chosen by its followers and correlating them to topics trending on Twitter.  

“One of the biggest successes we’ve had has been our ability to engage with key organisations ranging across the industry and government,” Whitty said. Organisations regularly involved in AgChatOz conversations are the RSPCA, Lifeline, NSW Irrigators, and West Australian Farmers Federations. One tweeter, @pollyemj, wrote: ‘#agchatoz is great because it’s created a community…it’s easy to connect with our industry’. AgChatOz founders hope that a close virtual community will provide support for isolated farmers, allowing them to discuss concerns freely and implement change.

Technology is continuing to change the farming culture. Farmers manage their finances electronically, some capture their rainfall data using computers, and others use more advanced GPS and robotic systems to manage livestock and fields. There are iPhone applications designed to make managing farms easier, such as TankMix which calculates the amount of a product needed to treat a specific area of land.

“Farmers are definitely using technology in the fields,” AgChatOz’s Sam Livingstone said. “There are automated spraying tractors now where you never have to touch a steering wheel or accelerator.

“But the biggest problem farmers face is lack of equality. The infrastructure and technology in rural areas is substandard compared with the city.”

People living in rural areas are stuck with slow, unreliable, and expensive Internet connections. Some farmers report waiting for more than a month for Telstra to repair malfunctioning communication services. “There are a lot of not-for-profit organisations working on educating farmers, but the government really needs to step up,” Livingstone said. People working the land also need to be able to raise problems without being labelled ‘whingeing farmers’ by journalists, he said. “The media always focus on the struggling farmer, but there is a lot of innovation in farming too.

“We need to find a way to make farming sexy.”

Jonathan Dyer, a grain farmer from Kaniva in Western Victoria has embraced the new social media platforms. “When I started tweeting and blogging, I was really aiming to paint an accurate picture of modern farming to help people in cities understand agricultural life,” Dyer said. “The best thing about AgChatOz is connecting with other like-minded people.

“Rural life can feel isolating. Twitter counteracts that.”

AgChatOz hosts weekly discussions on Tuesday nights from 8-10pm at #agchatoz on Twitter

LINKS:

AgChatOz on Twitter and Facebook

Founders Sam Livingstone, Tom Whitty, and  Danica Leys

Red Riding Hood: a big, bad disaster

Breathtaking: Amanda Seyfried as Valerie in Red Riding Hood. Photo by Kimberly French, courtesy Warner Bros.

 

REVIEW BY KATE DAWSON

Fairy tales have been adapted for the screen many, many times over the years, sometimes successfully, sometimes not. Red Riding Hood belongs in the latter category.

When interpreted for the 21st century, fairy tales are an alluring form of cinematic escapism. They allow us to leave our real-life troubles behind and picture ourselves as a modern-day Cinderella or Prince Charming. Think films like Ever After, A Cinderella Story, Ella Enchanted, Enchanted, and even Shrek.

This year more big-screen fairy tales will be made. Beauty and the Beast adaptation Beastly stars Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Hudgens and Mary-Kate Olsen, and The Sleeping Beauty features Australian actress Emily Browning. A trilogy of films based on the tale of Snow White will begin production this year. Intended for adult audiences, Snow White and the Huntsman will star Hollywood-hot-property Kristen Stewart as the fair heroine and Charlize Theron as the evil queen. 

Production companies see real potential in the genre. Red Riding Hood’s array of talent includes director-of-the-moment Catherine Hardwicke, producer Leonardo DiCaprio, and a cast worthy of a beauty pageant. How could it all go so wrong?

Ok, so it’s not all bad. Amanda Seyfried is a genuine talent. In Mean Girls she was the ditsy but endearing airhead Karen. She won our hearts in Mamma Mia! with her glowing smile, surprisingly good singing voice, and the ability to hold her own next to veterans Meryl Streep and Colin Firth. In Jennifer’s Body she provided a box office bomb with its only redeemable quality. In Chloe she successfully seduced both Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore. In Red Riding Hood Seyfried is breathtaking as the lead, Valerie, who is caught in a whirlwind of overwhelmingly dramatic situations, from her unwelcome betrothal to metal smith Henry (Jeremy Irons’ promising son Max) and secret love with childhood friend Peter (a smouldering Shiloh Fernandez), to the mysterious and frightening threat of “the wolf,” who seems to have taken an interest in her. Unfortunately Seyfried’s gifts are smothered by too many close-up shots of her wide-eyed and breathless with terror, which instead of adding drama, fall flat. The dialogue, awfully executed by David Johnson, is frequently cringe-worthy, and includes lines such as: “I could just eat you up” and the laughable “Grandmother, what big eyes you have!”

Shiloh Fernandez is another of Red Riding Hood’s few saving graces. His piercing gazes and physical intensity add most of the sizzle to the movie. The highly-charged sexual chemistry between the two leads is one good reason not to walk out of the cinema early. The young Max Irons is a welcome breath of fresh air and gives a solid performance.

From the first moment to the final credits, Red Riding Hood is visually stunning. The colours are vivid and the snow-covered dreamy forest and picturesque village of Daggerhorn simply gorgeous. It is a beautifully realised image of a magical and mysterious environment, equal parts romance and horror. The musical score is hauntingly beautiful, a dark and ominous presence sublimely engineered by Brian Reitzell and Alex Heffes. This movie is very pretty to look at, and lovely to listen to. And that’s where the good ends.

Gary Oldman’s contribution here is unnecessary. The respected actor is embarrassing as the poorly-constructed and creepy Father Solomon, who arrives at Daggerhorn to help rid the village of the wolf. Oldman sports terrible hair and a peculiar accent and his awkward attempts to add more mystery to the plot only lend another layer of befuddlement to an already chaotic storyline. The casting of Billy Burke as Valerie’s father Cesaire is just wrong, wrong, wrong. His acting is atrocious, but he also plays the father role in The Twilight Saga. Burke’s part is only one of many Twilight references Catherine Hardwicke has used throughout Red Riding Hood, and it’s shudder-inducing. The initial wide-shot used in the opening credits looks like Hardwicke simply ripped off images from her own directorial work on Twilight and dumped them into this film, CGI-ing a mythical village in the middle of it. Sure, it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but we’ve seen it before. This doesn’t convince the audience of consistency in film-making style. It’s repetitious, unoriginal, and lazy. Hardwicke has made other critical casting errors too, using the same Twilight-esque formula to sex up a classic fairy tale with a love triangle cliché, over-protective parents, bitchy “best friends,” and men who morph into werewolves. Daggerhorn is just another Forks, Valerie a blonde Bella in a red cape.

The most disappointing thing about Red Riding Hood is the simple fact that the story is a totally muddled and warped adult interpretation of the fairy tale, with the emphasis on trying to make it accessible and exciting to a young audience. This movie is not exactly confusing, but it’s confused. It’s hard to understand what Hardwicke was trying to do. More difficult to fathom is how on earth Leonardo DiCaprio got roped into a producer credit. The moral of the story: stick to the brilliance of the original material. The reason other modernised fairytales have worked in the past is that filmmakers paid due respect to the roots of the story, and gently wove in their own touches. In this case, obscure additions have been deposited clumsily right on top of a perfectly good fable, and it doesn’t pay off.

Director: Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Lords of Dogtown, Thirteen)

Starring:  Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, Gary Oldman, Billy Burke, Max Irons, Virginia Madsen, Lukas Haas, Julie Christie

Theatre release: March 2011

Studio: Warner Bros.

Rating: PG-13 (violence and creature terror, and some sensuality)

Sofa away from home

Couch surfing: “A great idea that makes the world seem a smaller place.” Photo: Dave Austria/flickr

 

BY JUSTIN LUND

 

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”- Mark Twain

 

After travelling for six months in South America, Felicia Verkerk is another victim of a serious illness: the one inflicted by the voracious travel bug.

“I can’t stay in one place too long,” said Felicia, known to her friends as ‘Flip’. “Once you do a little bit of travelling, you want to do more and more.” She was so hooked after her South American trip that she saved more money and headed straight to China.

 “I had to save up for around a year,” she said. “That meant a lot of hours in a lot of shitty jobs. But working hard for holiday makes the holiday that much sweeter.” For young travellers, often students working for low wages, it can be hard to fund their adventures. But Flip found a way to experience something different week in and week out at home in Sydney, which also cut her travel accommodation costs: couch surfing.

 “Couch surfing is where you stay at somebody’s house, and sleep on their couch for free,” said Flip, who also welcomes couch surfers into her home in Sydney.

“It’s far more than just free accommodation,” said Flip. “It’s an amazing idea that just makes the world seem a smaller place.

“I think you get a better taste of the culture of another country if you stay with the local people, rather than staying in a hotel or hostel.”

Couch surfing is an international non-profit network operating in 230 countries and territories. Travellers join the online network for a $20 fee. Once the couch surfer locates a couch he or she would like to stay on, they send a request to the host via email, or via the couch surfing network. The host may then accept or decline the request.

Each member on the network has a profile page, and the site employs a feedback system similar to eBay’s. And like eBay, the network verifies its members so people can’t make up false names or accounts.

“I’ve haven’t had a bad experience with a couch surfer who has stayed at my place,” said Flip. “They’ve all been really appreciative. One guy from Italy even cleaned my whole house while I was at work.

“There have been some language barriers a few times. which makes things interesting. But I’ve had a lot of fun with all my couch surfers, had some great conversations, and learnt a lot.

“I think couch surfing has taught me that you can build a good friendship in a short amount of time, and that you relate to anyone no matter where they’re from.”

More information about the Couch Surfing network: http://www.couchsurfing.org/

Live exports dead on arrival

Beef Cattle. More than 40,000 sheep also died in 2008, while being exported from Australia to the Middle East. Photo: Brad Smith/flickr

 

BY STEPHANIE MANKINN

The RSPCA is demanding the Australian Government release the cause of death of 263 cattle on board the MV Ocean Shearer, destined for Egypt earlier this year.

“A 1.6% mortality rate at sea is very high for cattle and the RSPCA urges the Australian Government to release the details of what happened as soon as possible,” said RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil.

This is the first consignment of Australian animals since the live export trade ban was lifted.

“The live cattle trade with Egypt should never have been reopened,” said Ms. Neil. “While the closed loop system they will be processed in is an improvement, cattle will still face cruel death in Egypt, not only through the use of inhumane restraints, but also because they are not stunned prior to slaughter.”

It is also reported on the RSPCA website that 40,241 sheep died in 2008, while being exported from Australia to the Middle East.

The live export trade also results in thousands of workers in the meat processing industry being laid-off due to a shortage of animals.

“It’s quite confronting when you hear from people in the industry that there’s an abattoir where literally the trucks with the live animals drive almost past the abattoir to the live export port and the abattoir is struggling to keep jobs open because there are not enough animals to kill,” said RSPCA’s Scientific Officer Melina Tensen.

According to Ms. Neil, Australia’s beef exports were worth five times more to our economy than live cattle exports in 2009. “Every animal we send overseas for slaughter takes Australian jobs with it and for little economic reward,” said Ms. Neil.

“Egypt has proven it will take Australian chilled and frozen meat over live animals, so we should be working on growing our processing capacity, not increasing live exports.”

The Block looks to a new future

BY AMANDA PARKINSON

Aunty Simone calls the kids in for dinner. Silence falls over the street. Looking around, only few homes are lit; most are boarded up, the residents gone. In mid-September The Block‘s 75 residents were issued with 60-day eviction notices as developers prepare to demolish and rebuild the site.

The Block is bound by Eveleigh, Hugo, Hudson, and Caroline Streets, and has become renowned for crime, a thriving drug trade, and the 2004 riot after the death of teenager Thomas “T.J.” Hickey, who was impaled on a fence while being followed by police.

Resident Simone Phillips was born in The Block and has never known another home. Her family has lived in the area for more than seven generations. “We don’t hate change,” she says. “We just want it to be fair.”

With less than six days to find a new home residents fear they may never be able to return.

The $60 million Pemulwuy Project will include 62 apartments and 9000 square metres of commercial space, including shops and a redevelopment of the iconic Eloura Tony Mundine Gym.

NSW Premier Kristina Kenneally, Deputy Premier Carmel Tebbutt, federal member for Sydney Tanya Plibersek and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore all support the planning approval. But neither state nor federal government have agreed to fund the development. Aboriginal Housing Company Chief Mick Mundine told The Australian: “People say to me, ‘Where (will) the money come from?’ I don’t know yet.”

Everyone who lives there agrees The Block needs upgrading, but not everyone is in favor of how it’s being done. After the redevelopment fewer than half the number of existing homes will be rebuilt. Many families are afraid there won’t be room for them to return.

“We didn’t make the earth or the trees, we don’t control the ocean or the wind but God did put us here first,” Ms Phillips says. “We just want to know our elders will be taken care of. They’ve done nothing wrong.”

The Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) has assured residents that those who are not involved with drugs or other crimes in the area will be free to return when the development is finished in 2013.

Mr Mundine says the only people upset by the plans were “those known to cause trouble”.

Ms Phillips says: “We aren’t upset about the plans, but this isn’t about drugs either. If they want to crack down on drugs they should be going to The Cross, or Block 9 (in Punchbowl), or Chinatown. This is just about getting the original people out of here.”

Sydney developers have shown keen interest in the site due to its prime location and market value. “What it boils down to is sheer greed, the hunger for money,” says Ms Phillips. “That’s exactly what they’re doing here turning everyone against each other, just for greed.”

Tony Mundine and the members of Eloura Gym support the redevelopment, and the gym will close its doors in November. Like the rest of The Block it will be boarded up and eventually demolished in January. The iconic flag painted on the side of the gym will be destroyed. Gym owners are considering purchasing a warehouse on Eveliegh Lane which will not be demolished in the redevelopment.

The gym has given hope to the community since the early 1980s, and through all the conflict residents and ‘outsiders’ could find refuge together. Gym users are able to train, lift weights and spar together. Not long after the 2004 riots the NSW State Government cut the gym’s funding. For the past six years it has run at a loss but gym owners, block residents, and inner city locals have rallied together to keep it running.

Gym member Matt Carling travels from Erskineville to box at Eloura. “The gym is a great place, we don’t tolerate racism of any kind, drugs or anything else, we all just come here to work out, get fit and believe in something better,’ he says

Simone explains that the people who call The Block home hope for a better life for their children. ‘They are good kids,” she says. “They can read and write and that, some of them are dancers, artists. We want them to know where they came from – we want them to be proud of that.’

Hold onto your hats: Top Cup fashions

Models at Myer Fashions on the Field. Photo: avlxyz/Flickr

 

BY ASHLEY DYER

This season. trends are straight from the track: hoofs, heels, and hats. The Spring carnival isn’t always about what’s racing on the track but who’s leading the pack with the newest spring trends. Dresses lined with lace in feminine neutrals coupled with unique 1950s accessories are making a comeback.

This year is about the modest lady. More is less. So accentuate your curves with a classic swing dress, or mix it up with frilled top and pencil skirt. Think 50s-style knee-length hems, the classic black dress,  and fitted waists. But don’t think that your outfit has to be boring! There are still loads of popular colours and floral prints this season.

When it comes to shoes, dress for the occasion. Ladies, listen up! If it’s a cold rainy day don’t wear your new 10-inch stilettos. They may make your legs look slimmer and longer, but they’ll do you no favours on the grass. A sensible heel or wedge is a good choice if the track is dead.

You can’t go to the Melbourne Cup without some sort of flower, fascinator veil, or hair piece. It’s all about the accessorising feathers. Netting, hats, and jewels are also popular. But for something distinctive, contemplate making your own head adornment using mixed materials such as feathers and beads. It will be individual and also kind on your wallet.

One important note is to not go over top with makeup. If you have bright lips don’t overdo it with smoky eyes – it’s one or the other. Remember to balance your hat with your make up. Use similar tones but in lighter shades and you will have heads turning.

For those who are moving to the dark side and braving a fake tan, remember not to go too many shades too dark as you may end up looking like an oompa loompa. If you’re doing a home job, rule number one is to exfoliate and moisturise 12 hours beforehand for a natural-looking tan.

Keep accessories to a minimum if you’re going big with the dress. Big this season are nude colours: whether in a clutch purse or a neutral pair of heels, they match everything and are a must-have in the wardrobe.  

Fashion doesn’t stop with the ladies. Gentlemen: send your suits to the drycleaners, because this year it is strictly tailored trends. For the typical bloke who is struggling with what to wear, you can’t go wrong with a traditional black suit and open-collar shirt. Stay clear from multicoloured suits – leave the colours to the ladies. For all those metro-sexual men, grey and navy suits are popular, with fitted jackets and leather dress shoes. If you need to funk it up with some colour, scarves and specs are the equivalent of your fascinator.

Now everyone is dressed and looking gorgeous, it’s important to maintain the class, by going slow on the champagne and beer. Bosses won’t be fooled by a sickly hangover over call on post-Cup Wednesday.

Usain to Bolt onto Australian tracks

XII IAAF World Championships in Athletics, August 2009, in Berlin. Photo: José Sena Goulão/LUSA/flickr

 

BY KRISTY COLMAN 

In less than a week the fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt, will hit Australian tracks. The 100m and 200m world record holder, Bolt will be in Sydney for the much anticipated Athletic All Stars meet.

The main event of the program is named in Bolts’ honour, and is set to be a huge night for athletics fans. The featured Gatorade Bolt will star the fastest men from all four football codes over 100m in a quest to find Australia’s fastest footballer. Other events of the night include a Celebrity 4x100m, past present future 400m, Battle of the Discus Champions, Flying Kangaroo Long Jump.

Celebrities such as NRL players Jarryd Hayne, Greg Inglis, boxer Danny Green, cricketers Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson will take part along with a list of other household names. Alongside Usain Bolt other world class athletes competing include Fabrice Lapierre, Danny Samuels, John Steffensen, Jeremy Roff and Tamsyn Lewis. 

 Usain Bolt has rewritten all of the history books over his career. Hailing from Jamaica Bolt currently holds the 100m and 200m at 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds respectively. He is also part of the world record 4x100m relay team. Bolt has broken the 100m world record three times and the 200m record twice. In Beijing in 2008 he became the first athlete to ever win the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay all in world record time at an Olympic meet.  

The night’s entertainment will showcase DJs, dancers and Justice Crew, winners of the recent series of Australia’s Got Talent. 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Urban playground under siege

Facelift: Barangaroo, formerly known as The Hungry Mile. Photo: “The Gate” by genericavatar/flickr
 

 

BY AMANDA PARKINSON

Skaters and local council have united to push for a skate park in the $6 billion Barangaroo redevelopment. But local opposition has forced the proposal to be refused twice now amidst fears it would spark antisocial behaviour and noise complaints.

Locals fear their community will be ‘tagged’ with graffiti and become a local hangout for juvenile delinquents. However Rebecca McLoughlin, a resident of Waterloo and parent of a skater disagrees. “I see people in suits out at the skate park,” she said. “It’s a complete fallacy that it’s only ratbag kids on skateboards.”

In Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, Waverley Council has minimised graffiti at the beachside Bondi skate park by encouraging local artists to paint murals. This has also encouraged the skaters to take pride in and responsibility for their park.

The proposed site at Barangaroo is a wasteland but it is about to undergo an expensive facelift. Proposed for the site are three theatres, an Aboriginal art gallery, a commercial tower, residential apartments, numerous retailers, a passenger terminal, and now a skate park.

Local skaters sat down with developers from the Barangaroo Development Authority to plan a state-of- the-art skate park that would attract international and interstate tourism. Bill Vertucci, General Manager of SkaterHQ says Sydney has long needed a skate park near the CBD because of the poor design of those already in existence. “We completely support the Barangaroo skate park. It’s well designed, and meets the needs of today’s skaters,” he said.

Those who also agree with the proposal are City of Sydney’s local councillors: Irene Doutney, Phillip Black, Marcelle Hoff and Meredith Burgmann. Cr Doutney said: “With 56,000 skaters living within a 20km radius of the CBD, it’s obvious that there is plenty of interest in a CBD skate park.”

Councillors have also indicated Barangaroo would entice people to use public transport when heading into the city due to its urban location. Currently local council is working with the Barangaroo Development Authority and NSW Government to look at implementing the proposed skate park.

New chic, Sherlock

REVIEW BY SIAN LEE DABIN

The last twelve months have brought us a steady stream of movies and television shows based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. However, none of them are quite the same as the BBC series Sherlock, created by Mark Gattis and Stephen Moffat, executive producer of Doctor Who.

Sherlock gives the classic Conan Doyle stories a new twist, with Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson being brought to life in modern day London.

Gattis and Moffat have created an amazing world in Sherlock, slotting the Holmes stories flawlessly into the present day, with tie-in websites, John Watson blogging and Sherlock Holmes communicating and solving cases with just about any mobile phone he can get his hands on.

Benedict Cumberbatch (Hawking, The Other Boleyn Girl) falls easily into the role of the intelligent, Asperger-ish sociopath Holmes, while Martin Freeman (The Office, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) co-stars as Holmes’ sensible friend and partner Dr Watson. The chemistry between the two leads is undeniable; with Cumberbatch and Freeman taking the friendship to a new, hilarious and bromantic level.

The series is three one-and-a-half hour episodes, and will air on Channel Nine later in 2010.

Kick-Ass: No powers? No problem!

Chloe Moretz stars as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass. Photo courtesy Marv Films/Lionsgate 

 

BY KATE DAWSON

The cover of this DVD contains two quotes, one from Empire magazine and one from The Sydney Morning Herald. Empire says: “Five stars. Ridiculously entertaining”, and the SMH says: “Monumentally cool”.

To be honest, that about sums it up. However, that’s not to imply that there’s nothing more to say about this movie, because believe me, there is. This film caused such a stir leading up to, upon, and after its release earlier this year that if you haven’t heard of it, you obviously live under a very large, heavy rock.

Kick-Ass is based on a series of comic book by Mark Millar and John S. Romita Jr. The story has been warped a fraction for the big screen, but for the most part stays true to the original plot. The comics had the tagline “Sickening violence, just the way you like it!” printed on each cover, so it’s no surprise the film followed a similar pattern. The great thing about Kick-Ass is that it omits nothing. Where other action films have played it safe, Kick-Ass dares to throw the violence in your face, much like your average Tarantino flick. Right here and now you should note that if you don’t enjoy a little Kill Bill-style blood and gore, then chances are you won’t be able to sit through this. Consider this your forewarning.

Here’s the basic rundown: Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) is the token nothing guy at your high-school, meaning he’s not a complete loser but he definitely isn’t popular. As he explains in the film, “I’m not saying there was anything wrong with me, but there wasn’t anything special either … like most people my age, I just existed.” Dave and his two buddies Marty (Clark Duke) and Todd (Evan Peters) hang out at Atomic Comics after school and they’re obsessed with comic books and superheroes. One day, Dave directs a question at his mates: “How come nobody’s ever tried to be a superhero?” Soon enough he’s ordering a green wetsuit on eBay and begins his training. All Dave wants to do is help people and catch bad guys, so calling himself Kick-Ass is pretty much self-explanatory. But before he knows it, he’s involved in something much more dangerous than he anticipated. Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit-Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) are a fearless and highly trained father-daughter crime-fighting duo, and they have their own agenda involving crooked mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong). Dave soon realises he’s in too deep, and tries to find a way out with the help of new-found friend and another wannabe superhero, Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). All the while, Dave’s got school to deal with, his father’s concerns, and trying to impress the girl of his dreams, Katie Deauxma (Lyndsy Fonseca). From the above information, this may seem like your run-of-the-mill action rom/com but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

First off, there’s the humour. This isn’t a movie you want to put on while babysitting the neighbours’ kids for a myriad of reasons, but straight off the bat you’ll see that the comedy aspect is one of them. Think Superbad’s dark and dirty witticism. It’s smart, hilarious, and always inappropriate. If you care enough to tally the number of swear words throughout the film, you better have an A4 sheet of paper on hand. And it’s not just the amount, it’s the content. Think of the worst possible word and it’s in there, spoken by an 11-year-old girl no less. Then there’s the violence. When this film came out in theatres, many were quick to express their disgust at the slaughterous nature of it. There is blood. A lot of it. Some people like it, some don’t. Your decision to watch this movie should be based on that, otherwise you’re setting yourself up to be mortified and possibly nauseated.

In short, this movie is awesome fun if you enjoy some sensationalised and somewhat glamourised bloodshed. It’s Superbad, Spider-Man and Kill Bill all rolled into one, so if that appeals to you then this is your Friday night movie booked in.

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Mark Strong, Chloe Grace Moretz and Nicolas Cage

Theatre release: April 2010

DVD release: August 2010

Studio: MARV/Universal

Rating: MA 15+ (strong violence, coarse language and sexual references).