‘La La Land’ Sweeps Oscar Nominations

With 14 nominations, it’s tied for most-nominated film in history.

24 Terrifyingly Bloody Films To Get You In The Mood For Halloween

You’ll be sleeping with the lights on after watching these horror flicks.

How Aussies Pay More For Digital Entertainment

Congratulations, if you’re one of the millions of Aussies who have purchased digital content from iTunes, Microsoft or Adobe, you’ve paid the suckers tax – aka The Australia Tax – and have possibly been overcharged more than 400 per cent for your digital content than residents in places like the US and UK.

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Now, if you’ve never heard of The Australia Tax I’m not surprised. It’s not exactly something big corporations like to boast about or even admit to. If you’d like some proof that we are paying more checkout this video of Shantanu Narayen – he’s the CEO of Adobe.

Back in 2013 he did his absolute best to avoid answering questions relating to massively inflated prices, specifically for Australian residents. It was almost comical the way he tried to pay dumb, but it’s our cold hard cash at stake here, so it’s really no laughing matter.

So what is The Australia Tax?

So, what is this mysterious Australia Tax? Well, remember how Australia basically dodged that global financial crisis thing a few years back? Apparently because we didn’t crash and burn, global corporations who specialise in digital content came up with a plan for Australians to fill their coffers.

The rationale behind this idea was that Australian consumers could afford to pay more than citizens of the US and other countries. So since then, any digital purchases made from devices with an Australian IP address are charged at what’s become infamously known as The Australia Tax.

How much more are Australians paying?

So just how much more are we paying? Generally it’s around 50 per cent more than people in other countries for exactly the same music, software and other digital content. So if you have a Photoshop subscription with Adobe, you’ll pay AU$9.99 per month while US residents only pay US$4.99. Now that may only sound like a few bucks, but if you add it up over a year or so, it soon mounts up.

Then there’s content which cost Aussies considerably more. For example, Aussie artist Sia’s album went to number one in the US. Why not here in Australia? Well despite being home grown talent, the singer’s album cost us 82 per cent more because purchases were from the Australian iTunes store not the US counterpart.

Unfortunately, it gets a heck of a lot worse. Apparently, Google Play charged Aussies 219 per cent more than US Netflix subscribers to watch the second season of Orange is the New Black. At the time, Aussies couldn’t get access to Netflix so Foxtel charged their beloved Aussie customers a whopping 431 per cent more for exactly the same content!

What’s been the result of The Australia Tax?

Instead of Australian authorities standing up for residents and putting an end to this consumer madness, it’s basically created a nation of pirates. That’s right, piracy in Australia has been linked to The Australia Tax. So what’s happened is that many Aussies are sick and tired of paying inflated prices for digital content, so their way around it has been to download content for free.

This is why we’ve had a new wave of piracy laws – it makes perfect sense really. Now this hasn’t abolished the Australia Tax and according to Choice magazine authorities who have implemented the piracy laws haven’t even acknowledged why rates of this illegal activity have skyrocketed over recent years. Instead, the publication strongly believes that a better solution would have been to remove the Australia Tax, which I’m sure most Aussies would agree.

Can we get around paying The Australia Tax?

The bottom line of this conversation is; can we avoid this notorious tax? Abso-frigin-lutley! But, you’ve got to do a little bit of homework. It’s not rocket science, it is legal (for how long we need to wait and see) and it will save you money on music, movies and even essential software.

The way the tax works is that it’s added when a purchase comes from an Australian IP address. Geo-blocking systems recognise that they have an Aussie sucker on the other end wanting to download some digital content.  You can get around this by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a DNS-based service.

If you aren’t tech savvy but are tired of paying more for your digital content, Choice have a great article called bypassing geo-blocked sites. It talks a bit more in detail about the Australia Tax and more importantly, how to by pass it.

So that’s The Australia Tax in a nutshell. How it’s legal for Australians to be charged more for the same content in the first place is a mystery. However, it’s time we fight back and bypass it whenever we can.

Image via

5 Films Every Mother-Of-The-Bride Should Watch

According to Runaway Dream, more than 120,000 weddings take place in Australia each year which means 120,000 mother-of-the-brides are helping their daughters out behind the scenes for her big day. However, being the mother of the bride comes with a great deal of responsibility and stress which is why it is a great idea to get the popcorn ready, put your feet up and watch a few helpful (and seriously entertaining!) wedding themed movies to give you some much needed inspiration, guidance and a good laugh along the way.

1. Mamma Mia

This musical, featuring the talented singing voices of Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried, is based on the story of a bride-to-be in search of her real father whilst her mother tries her best to cope with the reality of her daughter growing up and leaving home. This is a perfect choice for the mother of the bride because it shows the hardships that not only the bride has to face but also her loving mother. They sing ABBA songs the whole way through the movie so it’s a great sing-along option as well.

2. Monster in Law

If you’re not really sure what a mother-of-the-bride should be doing up until the day of the wedding, Bride Online will give you a better idea whilst Monster in Law will teach you the mistakes that you should definitely avoid! This is a hilarious movie about a fearless mother in law who makes it her life goal to destroy the relationship between her son and his new fiancé (Jennifer Lopez).

3. Father of the Bride

This comedy film about a father unwilling to let go of his beloved daughter is a great choice for both the father of the bride and the mother. The bride will need support from both of her parents and by watching this film, the mother will be more aware of the possible concerns the father might have about the wedding and vice versa. It’s a light-hearted film and one that the entire bridal party will love to watch.

4. Bride Wars

Despite the mother-of-the-bride not actually being present in this movie, it is still worth a watch because it emphasizes the importance of organization. According to the mother of the bride is expected to take care of certain tasks, such as the guest list. This involves gathering names and addresses from both sides of the family. Watching Bride Wars may give you some much needed inspiration and thoughts on organizing a wedding as you watch two brides (and former best friends) schedule their weddings on the same day.

5. Runaway Bride

This is a classic wedding movie favourite and displays the problem of ‘cold feet’ perfectly. It is based on a reporter (Richard Gere) who has to write a story about a woman (Julia Roberts) who has repeatedly left a number of finances at the altar. Spot the signs that your daughter may be second guessing her wedding before the big day and help calm her nerves thanks to the witty revelations of a soon to be bride.

Derek And Hansel For Valentino At PFW

So the rumours were true! Derek Zoolander and his nemesis Hansel took to the runway this week in true ‘blue steel’-style as the front row gasped.

The arch rivals sashayed their way down the catwalk during the Valentino show but it was a quick turn for the himbos, who were taking a small detour on their way to Rome to begin shooting Zoolander 2.

That didn’t mean there wasn’t enough time for the boys to mix it with fashion’s big guns, including Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

zoolander, anna wintour


Fifty Shades Of Grey: More Fizzle Than Sizzle

The film adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey is continuing to break box office records; and it very nearly broke me today. In fact, I did so much eye-rolling throughout the very overly long movie – it’s two hours and 25 minutes in all – that I’m surprised I didn’t injure myself.

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I joined a half-full cinema of mostly teenage girls, nannas and a few old men sitting alone (shudder!) to see the film, but then I shouldn’t be so judgemental, for I too was alone, after my clever husband refused to see it on his day off.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Fifty Shades Of Grey is based on the 2011 E L James erotic bestselling book about a virginal 21-year-old college gal’s sexual awakening thanks to the 27-year-old playboy billionaire she falls for, who loves a bit of rough play.

There’s more than a touch of Twilight about it, which makes perfect sense given E L James’s blockbuster actually evolved from the Twilight Saga fan-fiction she first wrote. Indeed, Fifty Shades Of Grey is kinda like Twilight with sex (er, and without the vampires).

Fifty Shades of Grey, erotic blockbuster, sex, movies

You see, in both Twilight and Fifty Shades Of Grey, the male protagonist is the archetypal bad boy who warns the female protagonist to “stay away” and “I’m not the man for you”. Yawn.

Of course, neither Twilight’s Bella nor Fifty Shades’ female protagonist Anastasia Steele can resist the dastardly charms and dark desires of their charming, yet extremely troubled leading men.

And for me, therein lies the big problem with the film – it was a case of history repeating itself, for I spent much of it willing Ana to dump the emotionally-damaged entrepreneur Christian Grey, just as I did when reading the badly written book.

Beautiful, young Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan both do a fine job of bringing Ana and Christian to life in the movie – indeed, the fact that Johnson in particular makes the book’s clumsy heroine likable and desirable is a credit to her – but it’s the material that’s the problem.

And so more than two hours was way too long a time to spend inside the mind of a control-freak lunatic like Christian Grey, who, while largely pleasuring Ana physically, causes her much more undue emotional unhappiness and distress; cue scene after scene of Ana’s upset.

NB ladies: good men don’t have anger management and/or intimacy issues and they don’t make you incessantly cry, order you around and treat your emotional needs and wants as expendable. And, they don’t bloodywell tell you what to wear, eat or sell your beloved vintage car, without asking!

There’s a line in the film, when Christian is explaining the supposed joys of being a submissive to Ana, when he says giving up your own free will can be liberating and “feel safe”.

To hell with that!? As a mother of two girls, this irked me to my feminist core. Emotional abuse and not being in control of your decision-making are never good relationship options.

It’s such a shame that Anastasia Steele, both in the book and the movie, isn’t a more powerful character. She’s not a happy or willing submissive either, but keeps going back to crazy and creepy Christian for more, despite the fact that he has the emotional depth of a pot plant.

What’s more, he displays an extreme lack of respect for her personal boundaries, space and privacy, randomly turning up everywhere she goes in the manner of a demented stalker.

Maybe I’m too alpha female and believe strongly in mutual relationship respect to see how any of this is hot, but for the most part, I was inwardly screaming at Ana: “What are you doing with him? Pull yourself together!”

I didn’t love the power imbalance either; Christian’s good looks, wealth, power, experience and propensity to buy Ana expensive gifts meant little when he’s such a neurotic, emotionally-stunted f***head.

Fifty Shades of Grey, erotic blockbuster, sex, movies

Now to Fifty Shades Of Grey’s approximate 14 minutes of sex scenes so lovingly filmed by Sam Taylor-Johnson – who’s notably a woman – and captured by cinematographer Seamus McGarvey: for the most part, they’re actually pretty good. Surprisingly so – I mean, sure it’s all vanilla, male-dominating stuff, but there is some beauty there, like as in Ana’s deflowering scene, whereby the camera lovingly captures tiny golden hairs on her thighs.

None of it is shocking or extremely erotic, which is somewhat of a failure for an erotic blockbuster film adaptation, but it’s not absolutely awful either. Again, it’s the shoddy book material to blame.

Of course, it helps that Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan have believable chemistry and both look amazing in the buff. I would have liked to have seen more of Dornan, a full-frontal even, to balance out all the Ana nudity.

But kudos to the cast and to the production crew whom, I believe, did their best to make Fifty Shades Of Grey palatable for the masses.

This is not the worst film you’ll see this year, I’d wager, but definitely leave your man at home and take a girlfriend or two along for a laugh just to satisfy your curiosity, if you must.

And muscled-up, former Calvin Klein model Dornan’s famed “golden torso” is pretty much worth the admission price.

And, speaking of, it was refreshing to see both Johnson’s glorious, full bush and Dornan’s ample pubic hair too – now, that’s something you don’t see every day.

As the movie finally came to a climax (pardon the pun), a man in my cinema audience excitedly yelled: “Oh, thank God!” I hear you buddy! I felt both that man’s pain and his sweet relief when it was all over too.

I give Fifty Shades Of Grey a rating of two out of five whips.

Fifty Shades of Grey, erotic blockbuster, sex, movies

Images, in order, via; and

Naomi Watts Opens Up About Diana

Naomi Watts was always anxious about the reception her new film Diana would receive – and rightly so. Weeks before the savaging critics bestowed on the film at the world premiere in London recently, Naomi hinted, “I might go into hiding. I might have to leave the country.”

She mightn’t have left the country but Watts did storm out of an interview with BBC radio presenter Simon Mayo when she became uncomfortable with his line of questioning regarding the film. Mayo tweeted “A first for me and @wittertainment as Naomi Watts walked out of an interview! She seemed a tad uncomfortable with the questions. Shame.”

The 44-year-old actress thought long and hard about taking on the role of the iconic late Princess of Wales. Watts knew the biopic, which focuses on Diana’s romance with London-based Pakistani surgeon Hasnat Khan, was always going to ruffle feathers.

Aside from the predictable onslaught from the UK press, Naomi had the Royal Family itself to consider, in particular Princes William and Harry.

Having lost a parent at a young age – Watts’ estranged father, sound engineer Peter Watts, died of a suspected heroin overdose when Naomi was 14 – and also being the mother of two sons Sacha, 6 and Sammy, 4, Naomi considered not taking on the role, wondering how the Princes would feel about it.

“That’s always the big thing in my mind, you know, would they approve?” said Naomi, in a recent interview.

In another interview, Watts said she “found herself constantly asking for (Diana’s) permission to carry on” in the film.

“I felt like I was spending a lot of time with her. There was one particular moment when I felt her permission was granted,” Naomi revealed in another interview.

Such is the obsession of all things Diana, Watts gained insight into the desperate lengths paparazzi would go to, simply to capture a precious, money-making snap of an actress playing a princess who died tragically 16 years ago, with her lover Dodi al-Fayed, when the Mercedes in which they were travelling slammed into a pillar in a Paris road tunnel, while being chased by paparazzi.

“It was definitely not normal.” Said Watts.

As one of the most famous women of our time, with every part of her life documented, scrutinised and watched, literally, under a media microscope, very little is known of Diana’s relationship with Hasnat Khan – a man who is described as her ‘real love’ by those close to the princess.

Khan has described the film as “completely wrong” and “based on gossip.”

Khan refused to participate in the making of the film, just as he avoided the media during his relationship with the princess and after her death.

Watts defended the scenes that take place between Diana and Khan.

“Someone was going to tell this story eventually. Liberties had to be taken and poetic licence. Actors bring nuance to it and, because it’s not a documentary, I think it was OK to do that.”

Diana opens in Australia on October 10. 

What do you think of Naomi Watts playing Princess Diana? Will you be seeing Diana the movie?

Angelina Jolie Visits Tamworth

Angelina Jolie is making Sydney her home for the next three months to direct her next film, and on Wednesday she made a surprise visit to Tamworth.

After arriving on a small Qantas Dash 8, the actress and her entourage drove to the small town of Werris Creek, 30 minutes away, to scope out locations for the World War II drama, Unbroken.

Local paper The Northern Daily Leader reports that Jolie “stopped in on Mark Woolfe and the crew at Creek Meats and spent time checking out an alley nearby which is believed to be of major interest to the filmmaker”.

Later, she visited a home in Punyarra Street, “charming all and sundry when she stopped to hug the kids and pose for photos.”

Jolie’s six children stayed in Sydney with minders, with Brad Pitt due to join the family in a few days after filming a movie in the U.K.

Photo: John Wooderson

Latest DVD Releases For A Girl’s Night In

Planning a girl’s night in with a movie and some nibbles? With so many new DVD releases, we feel like we’re adding a new DVD to our queue just about every day.We’ve paired our favourite new DVD releases with the perfect snacks and drinks.

Identity Thief

We just about died of laughter when we caught this one in theaters. You and your girlfriends will do the same if you pick this gem for your girls’ night in. Jason Bateman stars as an everyman who finds himself in a world of trouble when an identity thief – played here by the hilarious Melissa McCarthy – steals his info and goes on a shopping spree.

Best Paired With: A raucous comedy demands nothing more than junk food and beer. Pick up a twelve pack of brew and your favourite salty snacks and sweets.


Side Effects

This dark thriller had us on the edge of our seats. Starring Rooney Mara and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Side Effects tells the story of a woman who commits a heinous act after taking a prescription antidepressant. However, not everything is what it seems. If you’re not sold yet, this might seal the deal: it also stars Jude Law and Channing Tatum. Sorry, but there isn’t a good shirtless dance-off scene. Maybe next time?

Best Paired With: Pick up some quality wines and cheeses. An intellectual flick like this needs a grown-up spread to match.


Oz: The Great and Powerful

This one isn’t just for kids. With a star-filled cast (Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and the always dreamy James Franco), this Wizard of Oz origin story is as visually appealing as it is enthralling.

Best Paired With: A movie this colourful needs cocktails and fun snacks to match. Try crudités and fruity martinis if you want to serve a spread that’s as vibrant as the land of Oz.

What’s your favourite DVD for a girls’ night in? Tell us in the comments!

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