A freelance writer and copywriter for over fifteen years, Helene has written for publications and brands all over the world and couldn’t imagine herself in any other job. A shameless film freak, her first onscreen experience involved a trip to Avondale’s Hollywood Theatre at the age of five to see Yul Brynner in The Ultimate Warrior and she hasn’t looked back since. A big fan of documentaries, she has interviewed subjects as diverse as Henry Rollins, Jimmy Choo and Beyonce Knowles, and also has her own beauty blog - which can be found at www.mshelene.com - for the purpose of raving about red lipstick, big hair and other essential indulgences.

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Film Fess by Helene Ravlich

25 Latest News Articles

The Punk Singer – Kathleen Hanna: Riot Grrrl, icon, wife

Posted on Monday 8/10/2015 August, 2015 by Rialto Admin


The Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s was essential to my youth, when I’d left West Auckland and (temporarily) the metal scene, and moved into the city to study at Auckland University. Modern feminist literature was top of my reading list, and I was a huge fan of author Kathy Acker in particular.

Another major Acker fan on the other side of the world was Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin and Le Tigre; and well-known punk feminist. Hanna soon rose to international attention as the reluctant but never shy voice of the Riot Grrrl movement, and she became one of the most famously outspoken feminist icons for a new generation of women and a cultural lightning rod.

Many years later her story has been told by Sini Anderson in tonight’s doco THE PUNK SINGER, and it’s a great  - and at times, sad – story at that. Boasting ample archive footage and insightfully intimate interviews, Anderson's film covers Hanna's battles against sexism, press misrepresentation, and (in its later stages) Lyme disease, all of which she confronts head on as she did hecklers in the mosh all those years ago. It is a great watch all round, and comes highly recommended.

Finding Fela!

Posted on Thursday 8/6/2015 August, 2015 by

Filmmaker Alex Gibney uses archival interviews and performance footage plus highlights of the Broadway production of "Fela!" to tell the story of Afrobeat music pioneer Fela Kuti in tonight’s FINDING FELA!. It’s a clever choice given the at times outrageous tales that lie behind the famous name, highlighting the good and bad sides of an often-controversial man.

Actress – a film about starring in the movie of your life

Posted on Thursday 7/30/2015 July, 2015 by

Variety very perceptively said (as they often do), “Few films have presented the notion of self-performance as perceptively or provocatively as Robert Greene's extraordinary ACTRESS…” – a documentary that begs definition. Is it a documentary, or is it fiction? And how much of our lives is a very clever mix of both?

It follows actor and mother Brandy Burre, but there’s also the woman known as “Brandy Burre” to discover - a distinction that becomes increasingly muddled throughout the course of the documentary

The Last Impresario – Michael White, international playboy.

Posted on Tuesday 7/21/2015 July, 2015 by Rialto Admin



THE LAST IMPRESARIO is a documentary about Michael “Chalky” White, a man who has been billed as “the most famous person you've never heard of”… He has also been called the unofficial mentor to fashion wild child Kate Moss, and I have to admit that prior to watching the doco, I’d never heard of him.

I am so glad that I have now however, for White really is one of the – to quote Morrissey –last of the famous, international playboys. An unashamed bon vivant and the man who they say transformed Britain’s cultural scene in the 1970s, his fascinating life story is the subject of Gracie Otto’s documentary, which gives us all an amazing look into the even more amazing life of the 'enfant terrible' of London’s theatre-land.

On Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia

Posted on Wednesday 7/15/2015 July, 2015 by Rialto Admin




He’s not one for sitting on fences, and the documentary GORE VIDAL: THE UNITED STATES OF AMNESIA is an unashamedly opinionated film about a shamelessly honest man and brilliant commentator.

Nicholas Wrathall’s admiring portrait of Vidal, who died in 2012 at 86, is a great introduction to his opinions for anyone wanting to know more, as well as a brilliant watch for fans (of which there are many).

IS THE MAN WHO IS TALL HAPPY? – Gondry on Chomsky, with interesting results

Posted on Tuesday 7/7/2015 July, 2015 by Rialto Admin


This week’s subject - IS THE MAN WHO IS TALL HAPPY? – was one of those cinematic outings that definitely fell outside my usually realm of viewing. It is a 2013 French animated documentary film by the amazing Michel Gondry about the philosopher and political activist Noam Chomsky, someone whose work I have read over the years in passing but never been all that taken by. It’s true the man has been lauded as a genius, but just not the kind of genius that catches my eye.

 

 

THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI – a look at the man and the motivations beyond the ring

Posted on Tuesday 6/30/2015 June, 2015 by Rialto Admin


It has been over 30 years since boxer – and living legend – Muhammad Ali first entered a boxing ring, but the immense frisson of excitement that greets his name has never waned. I personally have been a fan of the boxer (and the man) since I was a small child, encouraged by a boxing-mad dad who coincidentally was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at around the same time as Ali. I have never failed to follow his every move, but tonight’s documentary THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI uncovered another side of the man for me altogether.

Violet & Daisy – a film of two halves

Posted on Tuesday 6/23/2015 June, 2015 by Rialto Admin


Critically and publicly panned, the flirtatious and fun-looking VIOLET & DAISY could have been so much more. It is filled with so much joy and (that word again) fun – for a flick centred around a pair of violent little minxes – but unfortunately nails itself to the cross due to some cliché-ridden character errors and a little overcooking.

The Motel Life, a quiet masterpiece that ticks all the boxes

Posted on Monday 6/15/2015 June, 2015 by Rialto Admin

Before watching the film THE MOTEL LIFE, I did a little digging on its making – in particular the motives of actor Stephen Dorff to get it made and play one of the key leads, a role even he thought he wasn’t qualified to fill.

Way back in deepest 2010, qualified Hollywood Hunk Stephen Dorff found himself on the industry’s mega hot list after starring in Sofia Coppola’s quietly beautiful ‘Somewhere’, a drama about a Hollywood actor and his lonely daughter. Dorff said that he recalls a stream of offers at the time from a fickle business that he’s been navigating since he was 12. As he sifted through the stack of scripts that he’d been sent, he finally came across what he was looking for. “What the fuck is this doing at the bottom of my pile?” Dorff recalls asking his agent. The movie in question was THE MOTEL LIFE, and what a joy it turned out to be.

SPINNING PLATES – one hell of a culinary journey

Posted on Wednesday 6/10/2015 June, 2015 by Rialto Admin


“Spinning Plates is a foodie phantasmagoria and something more. ...an involving look at personal dramas that go well beyond the kitchen.” Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

This last weekend saw the Lewisham Awards take place at Auckland’s Shed 10, the night when the best of the city’s hospitality scene is honoured by its peers. Peer recognition is probably the most valuable accolade in any industry, but probably no more so than in hospitality where every man and his pup is a restaurant reviewer thanks to the internet and a location can be damned by a disgruntled customer on Zomato.

The event is also one hell of a knees up by all accounts, and one that brings the industry together to pat each other on the back for staying alive in one of the toughest businesses out there.

Which brings me to my subject this week, Joseph Levy's documentary about what it takes to keep a dining destination afloat –SPINNING PLATES. The fairly straightforward documentary takes a look at three very different restaurants and their respective owners, exploring their personal challenges and the strong ties between food and community.

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