Review: Olivia Newton John: Hopelessly Devoted to You – Part One

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Image credit: Channel Seven

At some point during the two hours of this part one Olivia Newton John bio, A young Olivia Newton John (played by Morgan Griffin) finds a review about her album with the now infamous quote “If white bread could sing, it would sound like this.”….

Needless to say, that white bread is what we’re being delivered up in the first part of this ONJ biopic that literally speed-balls through two decades of her career within the blink of an eye, bypassing the darker, meatier topics that could have added a bit of wholegrain to the loaf.

Hopeless Devoted to You opens with one of ONJ’s most iconic film moments, the transformation of Sandy in Grease with her ink black leggings, figure hugging corset and hair tizzed within an inch of it’s life singing ‘You’re the one that I want’.  She’s riding a wave of praise with the world at her feet at the movie’s premiere wondering “how did I get here?” before we’re thrown all the way back to Melbourne 1965 with 16 year old ONJ  (Morgan Griffin) about to get her first break with boyfriend TV presenter Ian Turpie (Will Ewing) by her side.

A move to London, a failed attempt with her first single and movie plus a new boyfriend in Bruce Welch (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) from the band ‘The Shadows’ and suddenly ONJ is 22 years old and she’s beginning to make a name for herself with thanks to her boyfriend and manager Welch.  There’s a slight hint within this first part that attempts to look at Welch’s jealousy of ONJ has her career begins to soar (he left his band to manager her) but because that might delve a bit to deep into the dark side it’s quickly brushed aside and ONJ moves on.

White bread.

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Image: Channel Seven

It’s a full 45-odd minutes before the Delta Goodrem version of ONJ re-appears just as she’s about to sing her first mega hit “I Honestly Love You” with new boyfriend by her side, Englishman Lee Kramer (Todd Lasance) who, also happens to be her new manager.  And very much like before with lover/manager Welch, ONJ finds herself struggling with the jealousy of Kramer as her lover/manager as her career continues to keep going higher and once again, she lets him go before we get into the meatier parts of their relationship.

White bread.

The nitty gritty of this part one is that there is none.  It’s simply white bread and in all honesty there is really nothing wrong with it as it makes for a nice and pleasant viewing filled with some hit songs and a couple of broken hearts.

As a young ONJ, Morgan Griffin shines, giving us the doe eyed soft spoken Aussie girl about to take on the world with her music though as this is the Delta Goodrem show, she’s brought in to play ONJ in her early 20’s and that may not have been the best move as Goodrem is too present, too self aware, too…well…Delta Goodrem.

Sure Delta and ONJ both embody the ‘good girl next door’ image but the similarities between the two end there and I had to remind myself constantly that this wasn’t a Delta singing singing ONJ’s greatest hits special and that’s through no fault of her own.  Delta is just too big a name, face and brand to easily morph into someone else – someone just as well known in the form of Olivia Newton John.

When you compare this to 2014’s Michael Hutchence/INXS biopic, Luke Arnold, while known, did not have the same status as Goodrem which allowed the actor to become Hutchence to a point the two were eerily alike but then again, there was more substance and darker, personal material being explored in that movie.

Part two, which airs the following week, delves into the more recent(ish) and more tabloid ONJ era with crazed stalkers, the Xanadu years, battle with cancer and a lover missing at sea.

Don’t expect too much depth from this part one, if we’re talking white bread it’s a cucumber sandwich made to look like a cheese sandwich but we still can clearly see it’s a cucumber sandwich.  Enjoyable but sadly not satisfying that hunger.

Olivia Newton John: Hopelessly Devoted to You – Part one airs Sunday, May 13th at 8:30pm on the Seven Network.

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The MKR Grand Finalists Have Been Revealed!

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Image – Channel 7

After 5 long months (including a 4 week hiatus for the Commonwealth Games), we finally know which of the 16 teams have made it through to the My Kitchen Rules grand finale airing this Sunday night on Channel 7.

Victorian mums Kim and Suong who have powered through with their cyclone-in-a-kitchen traditional Vietnamese cooking, will battle it out against Gold Coast couple Alex and Emily who have proven strong with their Mexicali fusion cuisine, for the $250,000 winning prize.

The road to the finale has been a tough one for viewers with the ousting of fiery friends Hadil and Sonya after their abusive outburst while fan favorites Henry and Anna, along with Olga and Valeria failed to impress the judges enough to make it through to the semi-finals.

Leaving just four teams to cook off, brothers Nic and Josh and friends Stella and Jezzey both missed the final hurdle leaving the last two teams of Alex and Emily and Kim and Suong to cook off on Sunday night.

Who will win?  Find out this Sunday on Channel 7 and leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

Sonya and Hadil Revealed as MKR Booted Contestants.

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Hadil goes on the attack in tonight’s MKR.  Image: Channel 7

“Assholes!”  It’s the final vitriolic word screamed out across the table from My Kitchen Rules contestant Sonya before judges Pete Evans and Manu Fidel stepped in to defuse the situation by finally kicking Sonya and Hadil from the Ultimate Instant Restaurant table.

That shocking moment had been milked for advertising the show by the 7 network even before the current series had started back in January of this year and was the final blow up event that had been building up between the Jordanian besties and sisters Emma and Jess over the course of the year.

After a minor altercation the night prior at Henry and Anna’s ‘super instant restaurant’ in Tasmania, tensions between the two teams came to an explosive conclusion when Sonya and Hadil went on the attack once again, with their sights set firmly on the sisters.

Starting off with under-the-breath-but-loud-enough-for-all-to-hear quips about the sisters still being in the competition it wasn’t long before Emma and Jess had stopped biting their tongues and bit back leaving other teams stunned silent.

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Pete and Manu were clearly unimpressed by the antics.  Image: Channel 7

Stella, Jazzey and Josh even attempted to step in and call out Sonya and Hadil for their poor behavior before finding themselves on the receiving end of a tongue lashing resulting in Sonya stating “I will come for you, and you and you” pointing her witchy poo finger at the three.

Meanwhile, poor Kim and Suong, the night’s cooks, are left standing in the kitchen unable to serve their quickly cooling mains as the drama unfolded.

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Kim and Suong are forced to wait to serve their mains.  Image: Channel 7

It was only when Jess had excused herself from the table and Sonya began to call everyone a bunch of “assholes” that judges stepped in and removed Sonya and Hadil not only from the table, reminding the teams that the focus should be on the cooking and not the drama.

So will Sonya and Hadil be back for the next Ultimate Instant Restaurant?  Find out on the next episode of My Kitchen Rules!

Sound off in the comment section about your thoughts on Sonya and Hadil’s booting from MKR!

 

Review: Roseanne Revival Coming soon to Network Ten

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Adam Rose / ABC

We’re strong into the era of the ‘reboot’ where the feelings of days gone by nostalgia is breathing new life into shows long forgotten.  Sometimes it works a treat and sometimes it leaves us with a nasty sour taste in our mouths.  Will & Grace came back with a force, molding itself into modern era culture and The X-Files continues it’s bumpy sci-fi ride traipsing through aliens and government conspiracies.  2009’s Melrose Place reboot lost viewers the moment anything relating to the original series was thrown out the window while Gilmore Girls Netflix revival seemed to have lost it’s quip and heart.

So where does Roseanne sit on the reboot/revival scale?  

Well, the ‘working class’ family comedy that debuted 30 years ago was biting in its humorous take on the less than glamorous, shining a light on everyday family problems from teenagers to low income, unemployment and health care though its final season embraced ‘jumping the shark’ culture with the Connor family winning millions in the state lottery and killing off Roseanne’s husband Dan (John Goodman) with a heart attack.

This Roseanne revisit needed to fix the wrongs of the past and does so using familiar techniques as seen very recently with Will & Grace, using one line quick quips to glaze over what we knew and wipe the slate clean for those old enough to remember how things left off.

This cleanse leaves us with a Connor family at war within itself in 2018, some of which being the result of the diabolical political state America is currently enveloped in.  Jackie (Laurie Metcalfe) has been pushed aside after a voting clash with Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), Darlene (Sara Gilbert) has moved back home as a recently divorced mother of two, DJ (Michael Fishman) has returned home after a stint in the army over in Syria and brings with him his young daughter and Becky (Lecy Goranson) is a struggling single who can’t seem to keep away from her childhood home.

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Familiar and new faces in the Roseanne revival

In general, almost everything looks the same about Roseanne from when we last saw them (albeit older and including a sweet nod to ‘other Becky’ Sarah Chalke, who guests in the first few episodes) though there are some minor ‘token’ attempts to pull the show into current times with DJ’s bi-racial daughter and Darlene’s gender fluid son Mark, who takes center stage in the revivals’ second episode that features some semi-touching moments pinched between some grimacing looks from Dan early on in the piece.

In a move similar to that of the Will & Grace revival, Roseanne’s first episode back is a very politically charged episode, commenting on the current landscape with Trump in charge but unlike Will & Grace, Roseanne proudly voted for Trump and plays as the reason why she and Jackie have had a falling out.  Thankfully though, politics seem to take a back seat for the next few episodes and putting that topic in the hip pocket allows the show finds that magical stride, balancing brutal cutting humor with heart warming touching moments the show was known for.

So again, where does the Roseanne reboot sit on the scale?

After a heated first episode that feels unfamiliar and a questionable second episode, Roseanne settles in nicely to produce one of the more welcome returns to television after being revived from the crypt.

The Roseanne revival begins with a double episode starting Sunday April 30th on Channel 10.

 

Queer Eye, Nailed It and More get Second Season Netflix Order!

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Streaming giant Netflix has given us all an early Easter present with the announcement of new seasons for some of our most binge worthy non-scripted shows!

Dope, Drug Lords, vintage toy docuseries The Toys That Made Ushilarious baking show Nailed it! and the Queer Eye reboot have all been given an additional series order by the service.

“These series are indicative of what we’re trying to accomplish for Netflix unscripted: working with world-class producers to create the best unscripted shows on television,” Bela Bajaria, vice president of content at Netflix, said. “These series elevate the genre with innovative takes on familiar formats. They deliver immersive and nuanced stories. They elicit so many emotions from viewers, from tears of laughter to tears of joy – and that’s just ‘Queer Eye.’”

No news as yet when we can expect the new episodes however The Toys That Made Us’ will have four more episodes from season one to drop shortly!

 

Which Team Get’s the Boot on My Kitchen Rules 2018?

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The kitchen heats up on My Kitchen Rules.  Image Credit: Channel 7

My Kitchen Rules, the cooking competition show that’s become more known for its on-screen dramas and love-to-hate contestants than for any form of cooking, have been proudly advertising for weeks on end that for the first time in the shows long run, one team will been kicked off the show for ‘inappropriate behavior’.  As we’re nearing this huge moment, what’s not being said is just which team is getting the boot so it’s time to do some investigating!

Looking back at reports when the news first broke back in December of 2017 and January of this year, they all say the same thing : Production on the show was temporarily shut down while Channel Seven investigated an altercation in which sources said the contestants “crossed a line” involving an all-female team.

The altercation being noted is a ‘physical altercation’ with another team in a Tasmanian hotel during filming with several reports stating that the other team (which they had been feuding with prior to) was an all-male team.

So let’s break it down….

The very last promo for MKR before it’s 4 week hiatus showed a fiery clash with brothers Nic and Josh along side sisters Emma and Jess going against Sonya and Hadil which leads to the booting.

As it stands, the all-female teams remaining in the competition include Russian friends Olga and Valeria, fine dining friends Sonya and Hadil, life-long friends Kim and Suong, sisters Emma and Jess and waitresses Stella and Jazzey.

Recent promos advertising the elimination cook-off between Kim and Suong and Davide’ and Marco stated “one of the teams at the table would be kicked off” leading us to believe as Kim and Suong were cooking and not at that table, it’s not them.

As recent as late February, well into MKR’s run (and when we’ve gotten to know the teams), sisters Emma and Jess were being pin-pointed as the team but Jess has been quick to deny this saying while they were involved in the incident, it actually happened to them….”We’re just taking the fire, but we know the truth and it will come out very soon.”

In Tuesday’s most recent episode (April 17th) Sonya and Hadil began to get out of control, attacking Jess and Emma’s comments on their turn in the ‘Super Instant Restaurant” round leading to the all out fight.

So who gets the boot?  Let’s look at the suspects.

Stella and Jazzey:

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(c) Channel 7

The waitress best friends have been mostly clear of any drama thus fur in the competition with Stella focusing all her attention on single hottie truffle farmer Henry.  They have though been very vocal towards Sonya and Hadil when they go on the attack.

Boot likelihood: 1/10

Olga and Valeria:

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(c) Channel 7

The Russians made a memorable entrance to the show in round two of the instant restaurants, fast becoming the ‘team to hate’ but, once the show kicked into gear after the instant restaurant rounds, the girls have found themselves fitting in nicely with the other teams.

There’s been no real issues with other teams since the instant rounds but that’s no to say their fiery attitudes won’t burn up again!

Boot Likelihood: 4/10

Emma and Jess:

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(c) Channel 7

The sisters butted heads with now eliminated team Roula and Rachel (yay!!) and started their MKR journey off being very outspoken and not very likable but just like Olga and Valeria, the sisters have merged into the competition nicely with only a few minor spats with members of team two.  Reports state that they have direct involvement with this ‘incident in question’ but they were on the receiving end of it.

More recently, the sisters have been one to not shy away from calling out Hadil and Sonya when they go on the attack.

Boot Likelihood: 6/10

Kim and Suong:

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(c) Channel 7

The Vietnamese mums have been on the receiving end of some not-so-casual racism during their run (Jess’s ‘domestic animals’ comment, Emily’s ‘magpie on the BBQ’ comment and Sonya’s ‘can’t afford fine dining’ snark) and Suong has clashed heavily with both Sonya and Hadil of recent weeks.

Suong it seems, has struggled more than Kim when it comes to the politics and games of the show and seems to be a main target for Sonya and Hadil though she has maintained a level head when on the defense.

Kim and Suong were also absent from recent promos advertising the “which team” will be booted they were cooking.

Boot Likelihood: 1/10

Sonya and Hadil:

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(c) Channel 7

The ‘stylish’ friends came out strong as the team to beat in round two, but even though the girls manage to continuously deliver outstanding dishes, they’ve become more known for their higher-than-though attitude and constant attacking of the groups in team one.

They have clashed with both Emma and Jess and Kim and Suong on more than one occasion showing they are not afraid to take down anyone they deem not up-to their level.  The very last promo previewing the upcoming episode where it all goes down showed both girls going on into mega attack mode, with their sights firmly set on Emma and Jess and Nic and Josh.

Boot Likelihood: 9/10

Check out the promo for the “Super dinner parties” round and the fight that will see one team kicked out of the competition!

 

So there you have it.  Based purely off the contestants left and earlier reports of what happened, my guess is Sonya and Hadil.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Sound off in the comments section!

THE episode airs Wednesday night, April 18th at 7:30pm on Channel 7

Update – check out what happened in this post

 

Will & Grace Extended a Third New Season and More Episodes!

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The dream run of Will & Grace’s reboot continues with the announcement by NBC at PaleyFest that it has committed to a third season of the revived sitcom or its 11th season overall.

Along with this news, it’s been announced the comedy’s second season (or tenth season) has been extended a further five episodes bringing the run up-to eighteen episodes in total and this is before production has even begun on the next season.  The newly announced extra season will also have an eighteen episode run.

NBC’s faith has not been misplaced. Season-to-date, the new Will & Grace ranks as the networks No. 1 comedy and the No. 2 comedy, overall, on TV.

Will & Grace currently streams new episodes on STAN Australia.

 

Pinterest Fails Come to Life in Netflix’s “Nailed It”

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When good cakes happen to bad bakers.  Image: Netflix

In the era of modern technology and instant ‘moment sharing’, cooking failures in the kitchen are no longer restricted to shamefully tossing out the food abomination one has created.  Pinterest Fails and #NailedIt hash tags allow us to poke a little fun at our kitchen disappointments and now, Netflix have gone one step further with a new fun filled baking show filled with ‘bakers’ just as inept at baking as most of us are.

Nailed it’, hosted by Nicole Byer, salutes all the wrongs we do in the kitchen by pitting three willing home chefs against each other in a two round bake-off where the aim is to re-create decadent and over-the-top baked goods (in what I feel is a very restricted amount of time), all for the chance to win $10,000 and the Nailed It trophy cup.

From kit kats in the microwave (when the recipe requires melted chocolate) to unflattering self portrait cookies to a President Donald Trump cake that looks like it has come directly out of your nightmares, Nailed It celebrates the fun in failing.

While the format is nothing really new and the contestant introductions feel like they’re on a daytime infomercial spruiking the latest in kitchen utensils, it is Nailed It’s judges that inject the life and festivity to the show.  Host Byers along with renowned chef Jacques Torres and an episodic special guest judge play along with the frivolity of the show and aren’t afraid to laugh at the baking results so much so, I believe the title of the show should actually be “I don’t mean to laugh but – “

While there is laughter at our bakers and their skills, there is no nastiness whatsoever.  Byers, Torres and the guest judge are encouraging and are even able to be called up to offer advice if one of the bakers press their allocated ‘panic’ button.

In the end, our bakers know they’re crap in the kitchen.  There’s no egos, no arguments and no casting of the villain role (hello MKR).  These bakers are here to have a good time, get some baking pointers and have a crack at possibly fluking a challenge to win the $10,000 prize.

Nailed It is currently streaming on Netflix Australia.

 

Netflix’s “Mortified Guide” is the Affirmation that we were all weird in High School.

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Netflix: Mortified Guide

We’re all freaks, we’re all fragile, and we all survived.  This tagline for Netflix’s docuseries ‘Mortified Guide’  rings true for all us 30-something year old’s who can remember the awkward, angst ridden life we all lived ‘back in the day’ of our teen years and the dairy entries that accommodated those life defining moments.

The six episode series takes heed from a generalized topic such as “The Mortified Guide to Fitting In” and “The Mortified Guide to Pop Culture” among others and puts willing participants on stage, in front of a live audience, to read aloud actual diary entries written in the moments of rage, love, happiness and oblivion.

Think of it as a live action, modern day version of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.

The beauty behind Mortified Guide is just how affirming it is to know that what we experienced and felt and believed all those years ago, mimics that of pretty much everyone else and that is in thanks to how Mortified Guide is presented.

This is about the celebration of our awkward years, the celebration about how inept we all really were about love and sex and family and well….pretty much life in general and the celebration of how we all saw this and interpreted it into written form.

Each of the six episodes offer plenty of standout diary moments including a re-telling of a very erotic story written about an encounter with Jon Bon Jovi in the high school corridors, a star trek obsessed lad who wrote his diary entries in the form of ‘captains logs’, one girls attempt to get popular with online fanfic readers with her clueless homo-erotic Harry Potter fan fiction and my personal favorite – episode one’s closing of two life long friends re-enacting their old MSN chats where being friend-zoned is painfully hilarious.

There’s so much warmth to this awkward humor, so much so that you’ll be encouraged to pull out your own teenage journal from the back of wardrobe and cringe a little less than the last time you read it.

And so rings true it does, the shows tagline “We’re all freaks, we’re all fragile, and we all survived.”

Mortified Guide To is now streaming on Netflix Australia

 

The History Behind Iconic Toys in Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us.

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Star Wars toys remain a big draw card for kids and adult collectors.

Every year around early December, it becomes clear that there is that one ‘must have’ toy that needs to under the Christmas tree ready for opening on December 25th. From Furbies to Tamagotchi’s to last years ‘Hatchimals‘ and to this years current fad of ‘LOL Surprise Dolls‘ these toys bring in big money for the toy companies that make and sell them and while hugely popular they may be, they don’t hold the interest or the market nearly as long as some iconic toy lines did in the early 80’s to the mid to late 90’s.

The new Netflix documentary series The Toys That Made Us takes a long hard and sometimes dark look behind a collection of the most iconic toys that helped shape companies like Mattel and Hasbro to what they are today.

The eight episode season one (four episodes are currently live for streaming with the following four to come in early 2018) offers a look at the early stages of mega lines like Barbie, GI Joe, He-Man and Star Wars and the sometimes chaotic and spur of the moment thinking that brought about some of our childhood’s most beloved characters, designs and the brilliant marketing behind these that made these toys still as relevant today as they were when they started out.

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Barbie’s origin is explored in depth and it’s quite racy!

Each episode (that runs at about the 45 minute mark) features vintage adverts, interviews with creators, designers and many many others involved with the creation of these toys with each episode (aired so far) showcasing the numerous minds behind these lines and the confusion (or difference of opinion) everyone seems to suffer from on just who should be credited with the creation of these toys.

The next four episodes are scheduled for early 2016 and feature Transformers, Hello Kitty, Star Trek, and LEGO with a second season already in the planning stages though what will be covered is still unknown.

Some suggestions though for season two:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Playmates / 1988 – present.

Original Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Originating as a comic book series, the action figure line by Playmates featuring four ninja trained turtles and their news reporter friend became a mega hit with kids and saw the company hit gold, releasing countless waves of variations of the four main characters and almost every single side character ever featured in the comics, animated series and live action movies.  Today, mint carded original figures sell for big dollars.

The X-Men: Toybiz / 1991 – 1998

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 After acquiring an exclusive license to Marvel Characters in 1993, toy company Toybiz set about releasing the first ever in-depth line of X-men and Marvel action figures that featured everything from 6″ figures to 10″ figures, vehicles, playsets and 12″ fashion dolls.  Characters like Wolverine saw 7 different variations, Storm featured a light up lightning bolt on her chest and so big was the line, lesser known characters like Kylun (who featured *barely* in the pages of X-Men side comic Excalibur) were even produced.

Value in original carded figures remains steady – pending the figure – at around the $20-$40 mark.

Celebrity Dolls: Mego / 1976 to 1978.

8861676521_e88590a1e7In 1976, Mego Corporation saw an opportunity to finally take on the massive Barbie market by producing a line of 12″ celebrity dolls with the first two off the ranks being Sonny and Cher dolls to coincide with their hugely popular Prime Time Variety Show.  The Cher doll featured an incredible 32 piece wardrobe designed by Bob Mackie and became the number one selling doll that year.  Off that success, other dolls including Captain and Tenille, Laverne and Shirley, Dianna Ross, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Suzanne Somers were all released.  After shifting their focus to electronic toys in the late 70’s to early 80’s Mego filed for Bankruptcy and closed in 1983.

Original boxed Cher dolls, fashions and playsets can fetch anywhere between $60 to $400.

The Toys That Made Us is now streaming on Netflix Australia.

Movies, TV, Comics, Toys – Pop Culture