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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FILMED IN SUPERMARIONATION – the legacy of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson

Posted on Monday 12/21/2015 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 12/21/2015 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 12/17/2015 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.


Posted on Tuesday 12/8/2015 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.


Posted on Wednesday 12/2/2015 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?

THE CULTURE HIGH – getting serious about getting high

Posted on Wednesday 11/25/2015 November, 2015 by

"This is why I look so good, after 41 years in the game..."
Snoop Dogg

Tonight’s documentary THE CULTURE HIGH is bought to you from the makers of the critically acclaimed 'The Union: The Business Behind Getting High', who clearly have found a subject they know well and decided to run with it for a second time. This time they bring you the profound exploration of one of the most prolific wars of our time, tearing into the very fibre of modern day marijuana prohibition to reveal the truth behind the arguments and motives governing both those who support and oppose the existing marijuana laws in the US in particular. 

The debate over the legalization of marijuana rages all over the world, but there is no disputing the fact that billions of dollars are spent on our so-called "drug wars" and that arrests for mere possession of the drug number almost a million annually in the US alone.

Using hard facts, documentary footage and interviews, director Brett Harvey gives voice to both sides on this issue, and includes such vital concerns as the power of media to devastatingly shape the war on drugs and the unending greed of pharmaceutical companies who push far more dangerous prescription drugs at the public every day. It comes as no surprise that presidents dating back to Nixon and Reagan and both Bushes have demonised the use of pot, but Barack Obama - under whose administration drug-war expenditures and medical-marijuana raids have exceeded those of any other president, surprisingly – comes under heavy fire for his indecision and contrary attitudes when it comes to a drug that could in medical terms alone, offer very real comfort for millions.

Those who appear on camera include Sir Richard Branson, rapper Wiz Khalifa, Al Jazeera's Cara Santa Maria, and comedian Joe Rogan, who broke my heart when talking about the special needs of his challenged little boy.

So in celebration of sativa, I’ve decided to rank my top stoner flicks, in no particular order…

MIRAGE MEN – so you think you know the “truth” about UFOs?

Posted on Thursday 11/19/2015 November, 2015 by Rialto Admin

Mark Pilkington’s 2010 book MIRAGE MEN has been lauded as one of the more credible takes on the topic of unidentified flying objects, and tonight’s documentary of the same name expands on exactly that.

Conversation about UFOs has been around as long as most of us can remember, peaking alongside interest in the space race and questions about whether there was really life beyond our own planet. Classic films like Invasion of The Body Snatchers and It Came From Outer Spaceexploited the average Joe’s fear of the unknown from the 1950’s onwards, then the likes of ET came along in the early 1980’s to spread the word to the kids that the stranger from another world might just be what we need to save us.

THE HUNTING GROUND – a discussion of college rape and the fight for justice

Posted on Thursday 11/12/2015 November, 2015 by Rialto Admin

One of my favourite time wasting, guilty pleasures is regularly checking in on the Jezebel.com website, which carries a mix of current affairs, celebrity news and comment, usually with a feminist bent. I have long been horrified by their constant reporting on the prevalence of rape and sexual assault within the confines of US tertiary institutions, which also happens to be the subject of this week’s documentary for discussion, THE HUNTING GROUND.

FOOD CHAINS – where food choices can influence basic human rights

Posted on Thursday 11/5/2015 November, 2015 by Rialto Admin

We are demanding a dignified life for ourselves...”

It comes as no surprise how bleak the livelihoods of agricultural labourers around the world have always been, as the vast majority live below the poverty line and are working all hours just to ensure the survival of their families. Tonight’s documentary by director Sanjay Rawal, FOOD CHAINS looks deeper into how dismal the situation in America has become with the rise of increasingly powerful supermarket corporations whose influence beggars belief. 

Executive produced by ex-Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria and narrated by Forest Whitaker, FOOD CHAINS is predominantly set in southern Florida, where a group of farm workers battles the global supermarket industry and reveals the abuse of farm labourers in the United States. These people work long days, full-time, and they lift about 4,000 pounds of tomatoes per day. For this, they take home about USD $40 a day, tops.

Double Exposure documentaries that turn their light on crime – and so much more

Posted on Thursday 10/29/2015 October, 2015 by Rialto Admin

'This is a story that's far from over...' director Nick Broomfield on his HBO serial killer docTALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER 

When I was given the task of reviewing this week’s Double Exposure documentary duo for Rialto Channel I was pretty stoked. The topic of both is essentially “True Crime”, but what was so amazing is that both films go beyond that genre into something that is so much more. But back to me! I admit I am an absolute freak for true crime stories both in print and on screen, and have been since I was a teenager. There is something so terrifying and yet so fascinating – for me, anyway – about real life horror, so much more so than the latest incarnation of SAW. That is how I approached the first film, tonight’s TALES OF THE GRIM SLEEPER, which explores the suspected crimes and subsequent arrest of one Lonnie Franklin Jr., a community figurehead in South Central LA by day and a brutal killer by night.

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