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

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THE CASE AGAINST 8 – great watch… and essential reminder

Posted on Thursday 4/02/2016 February, 2016 by Rialto Admin


By the time the documentary THE CASE AGAIN 8 was released, we had all followed the State of California after Proposition 8 was unveiled with great fervour. It was both infuriating and intriguing to watch for those of us on the outside, and it had been covered heavily in the press all around the world. With that in mind, how effective would the aforementioned documentary actually be – given that we knew all the details of the tale well in advance?

Bloody compelling to put it mildly, which is a testament to the amazing storytelling skills of its talented directors, Ben Cotner and Ryan White 



For those of you who may have been living under a rock – or on a news fast at the time to give you the benefit of the doubt - after the California Supreme Court ruled in May 2008 that same-sex couples could marry, a proposition was put to voters to amend the state constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. After that proposition – known as Prop 8 - was passed a passionate, well-informed group decided to challenge the constitutionality of the amendment. This documentary follows the efforts of the plaintiffs and lawyers over four years as the case winds its way through the courts, and it is fascinating stuff even if on screen legal battles aren’t your thing.

SWEET MICKY FOR PRESIDENT - how a nappy wearing popstar got Haiti’s top job

Posted on Thursday 28/01/2016 January, 2016 by Rialto Admin

"It's just so ridiculous, it's just one of the most ridiculous stories ever.”
Pras Michel on his documentary, SWEET MICKY FOR PRESIDENT. 

I love the brutally honest quote from the former member of the Fugees, above – having watched this quite bizarre and bloody interesting documentary I would have to agree. "You couldn't make it up,” he said, “if you wrote this script and you shopped it in Hollywood and they decided to make it, everybody would be like, 'Get the fuck out of here.'" 

THE TROUBLEMAKER – an unfettered glimpse inside the world of the U.N.

Posted on Wednesday 20/01/2016 January, 2016 by Rialto Admin



troublemaker
[truhb-uh l-mey-ker]
a person who habitually causes difficulty or problems, especially by inciting others to defy those in authority. 

Very few films have been made about the United Nations with good reason, but tonight’s THE TROUBLEMAKER is one of the exceptions – and well worth a watch for that reason alone.

Obtaining permission to film inside the U.N. is virtually impossible, but young director Roberto Salinas managed to gain unprecedented access to areas inside the U.N. where cameras had never made it before. How? It was access made possible with the assistance of Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, presidential chair of the General Assembly from September 2008-September 2009 and most definitely a troublemaker of the highest order (and in the best possible way).

THE DIPLOMAT’s Richard Holbrooke – politician, patriarch and power broker

Posted on Tuesday 12/01/2016 January, 2016 by Rialto Admin


When filmmaker David Holbrooke was a wee boy over forty years, his dad, Richard Holbrooke, was somewhat of an absent father, but given his role as the dominant American diplomat of his generation that was almost understandable. Even in the early years of his career the senior Holbrooke’s ambition burned hot, as did his confidence - Vice President Joseph R. Biden once called him “the most egotistical bastard I’ve ever met”.

A fantastic documentary by the younger Holbrooke, THE DIPLOMAT tells the remarkable story of the life and legacy of the Ambassador, whose impressive career spans fifty years of American foreign policy – as in, from Vietnam to Afghanistan. Told through the perspective of those that worked with him and his eldest son David, the film takes you behind the scenes of high stakes diplomacy where peace is waged and wars are ended. Utter compelling, to put it mildly.

TRANSCEND – Wesley Korir and a tale of two races

Posted on Thursday 7/01/2016 January, 2016 by Rialto Admin

Tonight’s film TRANSCEND is the amazing story of 2012 Boston Marathon Champion and former University of Louisville runner Wesley Korir, who not only won Boston, but then ran for parliament in Kenya as an independent candidate and won. That having been said, for fans of the sport the film also is about why they run, why they race, what motivates them, and shows the Kenyan running phenomena up close and personal like never before.



With a backstory that echoes many of his running countrymen, Korir grew up in Kitale, in Western Kenya. Like many people in the area, Korir’s family was very poor and lived far from the nearest town. It took a long time to walk anywhere near a town or city proper, so Korir would run to get there faster. Legend has it that every day, he ran five miles to school in the morning, and five miles back in the afternoon. And he also ran home for lunch and back to school again!

It wasn’t long befo

befo

FILMED IN SUPERMARIONATION – the legacy of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson

Posted on Monday 21/12/2015 December, 2015 by Rialto Admin

As a kid in the seventies (showing my age or what?) I fell in love with re-runs of the ‘Thunderbirds’ TV series, which was puppetry sure, but pretty damn impressive puppetry at that – along with rather clever storylines. This was a step beyond the likes of ‘Rainbow’ and into almost adult territory, with goodies and baddies and spies galore, as well as the smart, sassy Lady Penelope.

This was down to the animation technique – actually a form of puppetry - devised by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson in the 1960s. It was a world where the “dolls” were lifelike – they even edited in actual body parts for some shots, such as actions done by hands. Not only did the characters seem more human but they took us on all sorts of futuristic adventures in all sorts of amazing places. In other words, awesome.

 

THE KINGDOM OF DREAMS & MADNESS – inside the world of Studio Ghibli

Posted on Monday 21/12/2015 December, 2015 by Rialto Admin


This year marked the 30th anniversary of the founding of Studio Ghibli, possibly the world’s most revered animation house and one I had hitherto not known by name. After doing a little research I realized that I had actually seen a ton of their films, but not being too much of an anime devotee had no idea of the sheer impact the amazing creative powerhouse had actually had on popular culture at large.

Marking the anniversary has been called a bittersweet occasion, given that the company’s activities have been on a hiatus since last year – mainly due to the retirement of founder Hayao Miyazaki and the disappointing box office performance of several of its recent films.

FALLOUT – and the importance of Nevil Shute’s ‘On the Beach’.

Posted on Thursday 17/12/2015 December, 2015 by Rialto Admin

 

Published in June 1957 and an instant best seller, Nevil Shute’s On the Beach was one of the first “serious” novels my parents gave me to read. They were both obsessed by the possibility of nuclear explosion and even had a section earmarked for a ‘bunker’ in the long run, which at the time I thought was stark, raving bonkers. Once I read Shute’s book however, I started to understand why for people of a certain age at that time, the threat of atomic warfare was a very real thing.

On the Beach is the story that gave voice to Shute’s  - and many others - concerns about the possible destruction of humanity. Set in the city of Melbourne in the then near future, Shute’s novel occurs in the aftermath of a devastating nuclear war in the northern hemisphere and is terrifying at best. It was a huge hit at the time of its release, and before long director Stanley Kramer bought the film rights from Shute, and it became a film classic starring the legendary Gregory Peck, Ava Gardnerand Anthony Perkins.

The truly amazing ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS

Posted on Tuesday 8/12/2015 December, 2015 by

Bizarrely, 2014 saw not one but two full-length feature documentaries released detailing the meteoric rise and ignominious demise of 1980s schlock juggernaut Cannon Films.

The first, which was directed by Israeli filmmaker Hila Medalia, was called THE GO-GO BOYS, and was apparently a taster of sorts for those who had previously known little about the subject matter. Next came tonight’s documentary ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS, a far darker and more eccentric beast that makes for a damn fine watch.

The unmissable SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON

Posted on Wednesday 2/12/2015 December, 2015 by Rialto Admin


According to Leo Rosten, the Yiddish maven and author of the splendidly named The Joys of Yiddish, a "mensch" is someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being “a real mensch” is nothing less than “character, rectitude, dignity, and a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous”. No mean feat then, huh?

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