Me and My Left Brain Film Review

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What happens when you’re in love with someone and you don’t know how they feel about you, plus you have an audition in the morning and can’t sleep? This is exactly what happens to Arthur (Alex Lykos) in “Me and My Left Brain.”

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“Me and My Left Brain,” is Alex’s second feature film making his debut as a director. Malcolm Kennard plays Left Brain who Arthur airs out his insecurities to and Rachel Beck plays his best friend, Vivien. The three main characters play off each other well. Left Brain is intense with nice glimpses of bro-ish camaraderie between him and Arthur, which is appealing to watch. Alex plays Arthur who is down to earth and relatable; anyone who’s experienced insomnia and anxiety will see themselves in this character, like I have. There are wonderful similarities to Woody Allen in performance and style with Alex’s own intertwined into this feature, which is captivating and delightful to watch. Rachel Beck’s directed performance is outstanding. Many female audience members remarked afterwards how natural and effortless her performance was and how they loved her likeable yet fun loving character. There are many hilarious moments for audiences to enjoy!

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The screenplay is an original work written by Alex whose other credits include Alex and Eve (feature) and stage shows Better ManThe Negotiating Table, It’s War and the original musical Australia’s Game. Me & My Left Brain is an adaptation of the successful stage play A Long Night that celebrated two sold out seasons in Sydney and won several awards at the 2013 Sydney Comedy Festival.

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Alex has another feature and series in the works and is a writer / director/ producer of this generation and one to watch. Everyone should support such great talent, who is generous & gives a lot to the industry like he has.

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Me and My Left Brain is currently showing at Rtiz Randwick and selected Event cinemas.

7.5/10

The making of Me and My Left Brain

 

Me and my Left Brain with Alex Lykos

 

 

 

Diversity Spotlight: Interview with Sam Wang, starring in Skyduck (Belvoir St Theatre)

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Sam Wang studied film and law at UTS before training as an actor at Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School. His previous credits include The Chairs, The Mooncake & The Kumara and Hope & Wire. In 2019, he will be appearing in Runaway Millionaires, The Script of Life and Skyduck: A Chinese Spy Comedy as part of Belvoir’s 25A program.

  1. What made you want to be an actor?

S.W: By accident! When applying for uni, I picked a film and law degree as a joke for my third choice – thinking it’ll never come to that – and then ended up in it. Had no idea how to find actors for our first-year film projects so just acted in them and was hooked.

I then convinced my parents that taking acting classes would help my law career…it didn’t!

  1. Who were your role models growing up? 

S.W: Michael Jordan, Jackie Chan, Jim Carrey and Rowan Atkinson.

Also, can I say The Mighty Ducks and the Jamaican bobsled team in Cool Runnings? There was an Asian kid in The Mighty Ducks who was an ex-figure skater turned ice hockey player. As an adult, you’re like ‘well, that’s very different skillsets,’ but when you’re a kid, it’s like “he can do that jumpy-spinny thing! Of course he plays ice hockey!”

I think that’s why I ended up in the arts. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about playing with MOFO style! (Disclaimer: in a way that wouldn’t work in any other real-life situation)

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  1. What made you want to write your play & what was your inspiration?

S.W: Since reading the book See No Evil by Robert Baer which was loosely adapted into the film Syriana, I’ve become fascinated with the role and influence of intelligence agencies on domestic and international politics (and vice-versa). So I really wanted to write something on that subject but since I’m not a real spy – promise – and couldn’t ‘openly’ plagiarise someone else’s memoir, a historically accurate drama wasn’t really viable. So I went with the next best option – a historical parody where truth was optional…like contemporary politics!

  1. Can you explain a bit of the process of how you got your play at Belvoir?

S.W: We pitched Skyduck for 25A in the first year and didn’t get in. I was ready to scrap the idea but at their launch party, I met Christine, one of the festival directors at Crack X, who convinced me to pitch to their festival in Newcastle. We did, got in, and that forced us to actually make the show! It had a great run, we got some great footage and then, with a very convincing letter from Pierce, the other festival director, we were able to submit a much more competitive pitch to Belvoir this second time round and were lucky enough to get in.

  1. What is your dream role & why?

S.W: Probably a character like Abed in a show like Community. I just really like Community…like really, really, really like!

  1. What do you think about the current state of diversity in Australian theatre, tv and film? (and how can we make it better? Do u think one medium is better than the other?)

S.W: It’s hard to be objective but it definitely feels like some really, really positive things are happening. I think what’s really encouraging is that tastes are slowly shifting. Audiences are more and more exposed to stories that are diverse and some of them are developing a taste for it.

Is it enough to justify from a purely economic standpoint, a business case for investing in more diverse stories right now? Maybe, maybe not! But it’s still a business risk. Of course you won’t get a hit show simply by ticking off as many ‘diversity’ boxes as you can…but if your competition can, and they do it well, then they’ll be changing the game and you’ll be playing catch up.

I think this is already happening. It’s just a question of how far can it go and who’s voices are still being excluded.

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  1. Where do you think you will be in 10 years time? 

S.W: Hopefully still pursuing a career in this industry…fingers-crossed!!!

  1. What advice do you have for upcoming actors?

S.W: My favourite advice is that everyone’s running their own race…

Followed closely by stupidity is a very special quality…But then again, if you’re pursuing a career in acting…you probably have an abundance of it! Good job! And keep going!

Diversity Spotlight: Interview with Alex Lykos about his latest film, “Me and my left brain,” & his latest idea for the Oz film industry.

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Alex Lykos makes his directing debut, a new Australian comedy called Me & My Left Brain & is the writer of the successful Aussie movie – Alex and Eve.

Me & My Left Brain stars Mal Kennard as Left Brain (Catching Milat), Rachel Beck as Vivien (Hey Dad!), Chantelle Barry as Helen (Entourage) and Laura Dundovic as Sandra (Ruben Guthrie) as well as Lykos who plays the film’s central character Arthur – his second acting role after a brief appearance in Alex & Eve.

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J.H: What inspired you want to make, Me and my left brain?
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A.L: The making of Alex & Eve film wasn’t a pleasant experience for me. And coming from the theatre whereby we were putting on 2 shows a year, the process of filmmaking felt extremely slow. We spent 6 years in development and I thought that there has to be a better way. So for my next film I adapted Me & My Left Brain which I knew could be shot on a much lower budget and therefore get it made much quicker. 
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J.H: How did you come to choose your actors? (What was your casting process?)
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A.L: Being the writer of the film, I had a strong but abstract idea of what I was looking for. I put together a shortlist of names for each role and then met with prospective actors. For example, for the role of Left Brain, I planned to me with Mal Kennard for half-hour. Two-hours later, we were finishing each other’s sentences. The chemistry was instant. 
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J.H: Do you see a change in the TV and cinema landscape regarding diversity? 
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A.L: I think now there is a strong push at both the state level of government and an overall acknowledgement from the public that we are a diverse nation. And with more and more creatives from a CALD background, there is a shift in progress, which will gain momentum and down the road the shift will be exponential.
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J.H: You are one of this year’s judges for the annual Joy House Film Festival, what are you looking out for & what makes a great film? 
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A.L: I always gravitate to good story with interesting characters. Production values are nice but they do not make or break a film for me. If the story is good, I wont notice the production values. 
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J.H: You’ve come up with a great idea attracting the Australian public to come and see more Australian Films, what made you come to think of this and what is it exactly?
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A.L: The idea came to me as we prepare to promote our film. Whilst brainstorming ideas I thought, what if Australians could watch Aussie movies for free? So from there I thought of an annual government cinema voucher scheme.
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J.H: When is “Me and my left brain?” coming out, where can we see it? 
A.L: The film was scheduled for release 16th May. However, we understand that the federal election is going to be called for Saturday 18th May — which will make it tough as the country is distracted at this time.
We are speaking with cinemas for an alternative date in June. We are waiting to confirm this new date if it is possible.
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Alex Lykos video link:

Crazy Rich Asians review

Crazy Rich Asians poster

Crazy Rich Asians opened in Australia this week with a buzz. After making 25 million in its second weekend (U.S) it’s shaping up to be one of 2018’s best movies all year. The film has now brought in an estimated $76.8 million domestically, more than doubled the cost of making the film. A sequel is now reportedly in development.

Crazy Rich Asians is based on Kevin Kwan’s best selling novel of the same title and is the second film since Joy Luck Club with a majority Asian Cast. (That’s been 25 years!) Being of Asian descent myself, I’ve never felt so excited seeing an outstanding ensemble cast, with relatable characters, both lead and supporting, who I could identify with – especially the aunties in Singapore.

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This film has been celebrated as being ground breaking for everything being Asian-American in Hollywood to portraying strong, self assured female leads, challenging stereotypes about motherhood, womanhood and mother child relationships. Unlike Joy Luck Club, these women are not traditional, tiger mums or immigrant women, they are modern day strong women. I love the broad age range of these women portrayed on film and hope for more movies like this to be made, as it’s proved to be popular with the general public.

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It follows the life of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu) and Nick Young (Henry Golding) as they travel to Singapore for Nick’s best friend’s wedding. Little does Rachel know that Nick’s family are royalty in Singapore and about to experience his life of living insanely wealthy. The whole journey is an eye opener for Rachel who has lived modestly in America (New York) her whole life. Rachel then meets Nick’s mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh) who doesn’t believe she is good enough for Nick. Here trouble begins for the lovebirds…

Most of the best laughs in the movie come from Awkwafina (Ocean’s Eight)

and Ken Jeong (The Hangover) as Rachel’s college friend Peik Lin.

This was a wonderful feel-good Rom-Com, one of the best I’ve seen

for a long time.

 

I rate this movie a 9/10.

 

Crazy Rich Asians trailer

 

Photos by Jimmy Yang & Crazy Rich Asians & Kevin Kwan.

 

Diversity Spotlight: Interview with Andy Trieu (SBS)

Andy Trieu, is an Australian host, actor and martial artist. He was born in Canberra, Australia to Vietnamese parents. Originally a martial artist, Andy expanded his repertoire from competing in tournaments to performing in roles across stage and screen. He has acted and presented on the on programmes such as Kitchen Whiz as the Kitchen Ninja, minor role in Rescue: Special Ops and Crime Investigations. He has also appeared on SBS network shows Houso’s, Bollywood Star and is a current a host on SBS PopAsia. He also acted in the 2015 ABC TV comedy Maximum Choppage as Fury and has just finished a comedy series for Channel Ten called “Street Smart” which  airs in August.

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JOY: What made you want to get into the film/TV industry?

ANDY: Jackie Chan! I watched a lot of Kung fu movies.

I first got cast in a small Martial Arts film and I caught the performing bug from there. I also got my start being a Ninja on a kids TV show,  “Kitchen Whiz” . After 495 episodes there was no turning back… Ninjas don’t turn back.

JOY: Who were your role models growing up & why?

ANDY: Jackie Chan!

But when I started my career in presenting I looked up to Anh Do. He’s had a great career playing roles that suited his personality and skill sets and I guess I wanted that.

He was such a household name that you could tell people you were “Trying to Anh Do” if they asked you about future aspirations.

I also like a lot of the SBS presenters like Lee Lin Chin,  Marc Fennell, Jan Fran, Mark Humphries. They do great work and it’s very inspiring.

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JOY: How did you get started in your career?

ANDY: Well I had time and I said “Yes” A LOT. If anyone had something for me to do I would do it…hold a boom pole, be a camera assistant, dance like monkey… I would do it. I eventually built up a portfolio of work and got an agent and started landing work after every first audition.. BOOM! Just kidding…it took me more than 30 auditions before I could land an acting job and those roles were like “Asian Tourist Guy 2”. #livingthedream

Saying “Yes” and dancing like a monkey eventually helped me build contacts in the industry and I was given the opportunity to work on projects like Tomorrow When the War Began, Wolverine, Hacksaw Ridge, and finally Home and Away (Asian Tourist Guy 2). Getting my start in TV has been thanks to the good people I’ve met that believed in my weirdness. Those people for me were producers Matthew Boughen and Monica O’Brien who gave me opportunities on commercial networks and Maddy Fryer at SBS.

JOY: Do you think there’s a positive change in the TV/Film industries for more diversity?

ANDY: Yes! There is definitely a demand for ethnic stories and diverse faces on screen that reflect our community. It’s looking up every year, more contributions of a diversity of cultures to the continuing development of Australian society.

JOY: What are you working on now?

ANDY: I just completed a comedy series for Channel Ten called “Street Smart” which  airs in August! I’m also coming on my 5th year at SBS, hosting and creating segments for SBS PopAsia, Australia’s number #1 destination for Asian Pop and Pop culture. Other than that a Kung fu TV show in the pipeline 😉

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JOY: What is your dream role & why?

ANDY: Other than my amazing job right now I have two. One would be to lead an action Kung fu comedy show and the other would be to host a fun lifestyle travel program. I think boarding these two projects would seem like I had gone full circle.

JOY: Where do you see yourself in 10 years time? What do you think you’ll be doing?

ANDY: I’ll stil be here buddy…still here explaining to my parents why I don’t have a real job.

JOY: What’s your advice for graduates / up and coming actors trying to get in the industry?

ANDY: I would say take control. Start building a portfolio of work, whether that’s creating it for youtube or helping others with their projects.

Get out there and meet people. You never know, you might meet someone that recognises your potential and are willing to make sacrifices to see you get there.

Finally, work on yourself. Take Acting classes, yoga, gym, pilates, meditation, pole dancing….wait. Focus on staying positive and oozing good energy because that will make you amazing to work with!

Anyway hope to see you on set.

Photos courtesy of Andy Trieu.

Theatre Review: Going Down written by Michele Lee

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Michele Lee is to be congratulated for writing a brilliant play, Going Down which cleverly deals with topical issues in a comical way. The main one being whether writers from migrant backgrounds should be forced into writing migrant stories that don’t belong to them. That is something which Natalie Yang, (played by Catherine Davies) a Hmong-Australian writer, is faced with.

Natalie goes on a book tour all the way to rural Victoria to promote her memoir, Banana Girl which receives a lukewarm reception by her audience of three, who is horrified by the amount of sex involved. They point out how much they admire Lu Lu Jayadi (played by Jenny Wu), whose memoir about her experiences as a refugee has made her a literary icon and why doesn’t she do the same? Natalie rejects the migrant narrative and decides, while on a wild night out with her friends Tilda (Naomi Rukavina) and Matt (Paul Blenheim), to write about her sex life and makes the brash decision to write 100 cocks in 100 nights. 

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Catherine Davies is outstanding, playing super energised Natalie, which is like watching her run a marathon throughout the play, due to her highly physical performance. It’s not until the end when Natalie reunites with her mother that we see a softer, gentler, empathetic side to her character. Jenny Wu is also to be commended for her versatility in playing multiple roles that are distinctive – I loved watching her play Lu Lu Jayadi (Natalie’s arch-nemesis) to a poor homeless woman to Natalie’s mother. Naomi Rukavina gives a powerful performance as Natalie’s friend. A wonderful touching moment is when she mops up Natalie’s face after she’s just barfed up a donut – here the tone of the play changes to a more peaceful one. Josh Price is hilarious and adds additional comedic undertones to the play. Paul Blenheim gives a convincing performance as Tilda’s on again, off again boyfriend.

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I loved the clever set design by The Sister Hayes, with the pull out bed under the stairs of the stage and the projection of tweets and texts. Congratulations to Leticia Caceres for directing such a entertaining play – the performances of the actors and the staging were outstanding.

8 / 10

Photos courtesy of Sydney Theatre Co

Sydney Theatre Company’s Going Down is at Wharf 2 Theatre until May 5 

Writers Actors Talk about diversity and change with Joy Hopwood, Alice Pung and Aileen Huynh

Joy Hopwood’s interview with Michael Wang.

Video link below

  Writers – Actors Talk (documentary) 8 mins

 

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DOCUMENTARY DIRECTED BY MICHAEL WANG.

The purpose was to create something engaging, creative and shareable that would explore themes which were important and timeless. To better inform young Australians growing up of who came before them and what lessons they can learn from those who came before them. Recognising how paths in life can be challenged and different ways pitfalls can be managed to become successful in the performance arts, publication and film/TV industry.

Michael Wang is an online digital marketer who is born and raised in Melbourne. Working at his own consultancy Marketandpress.com he creates engaging video and advertising campaigns helping businesses improve their growth. For all this work is geared towards fulfilling his greater life’s purpose of becoming a feature-length filmmaker. He is a budding filmmaker who creates unique engaging stories and pieces of content and regularly enjoys uploading them to his personal portfolio at Huristic.com

A Very Lovely thanks to the Guest Speakers: Aileen Huynh, Joy Hopwood & Alice Pung.

Produced by the Victorian Multicultural Commission in Association with Swinburne University.
Special thanks to the team: Director Of Photography Jake Evans. Advisors Vincent Giarrusso, Helen Kapalos for you guidance.

Working with Us:
Michael Wang – Michael@MarketandPress.com
https://www.instagram.com/huristic/
https://www.facebook.com/huristic.com.au/

Jake Evans (jake_evans16@hotmail.com)

Joy Hopwood – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCd7E7HS4wYqGKrqisPGnHaA
https://www.instagram.com/joyhouseproductions/

Aileen Huynh – sydney@hansencreative.com.au

Helen Kapalos – https://www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/about-us/commissioners

https://www.instagram.com/multiculturevic/

Vincent Giarrusso – http://www.swinburne.edu.au/health-arts-design/staff/profile/index.php?id=vgiarrusso