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

CITIZENFOUR

Posted on Tuesday 9/22/2015 September, 2015 by Rialto Admin


“…the gripping Snowden documentary offers a portrait of power, paranoia and one remarkable man.” The Guardian

More gripping than your average blockbuster thriller and twice as worthy, Oscar-winner Laura Poitras’ documentary CITIZENFOUR is as stressful to watch as it is to ponder, post-viewing. It even begins in an intriguing way, when after Poitras receives encrypted emails from someone with information on the government's massive covert-surveillance programs, she and reporter Glenn Greenwald fly to Hong Kong to meet the sender, who turned out to be the now-legendary Edward Snowden. It sucks you in from the get go, and then spits you out the other side, horrified, paranoid and ever so slightly despressed.

The Internet’s own boy: the story of Aaron Schwartz

Posted on Thursday 9/17/2015 September, 2015 by Rialto Admin


THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY was always going to be a hard watch. For those familiar with the subject at its core the process serves as a reminder of the dangers of the online world and the machine behind it, and for those unfamiliar? The early ‘reveal’ is heartbreaking at best.

Opening with the sad news of Internet "hacktivist" Aaron Swartz's untimely death at the age of 26, the documentary traces the rise and fall of a tech industry prodigy. Interviews with his friends and family emphasise Swartz’s still very young career as a martyr of freedom of information, and they celebrate his brave fight for the public's right to access tax-funded academic and scientific research, culminating in an emotionally devastating two-year Federal lawsuit.

DINOSAUR 13 – when David meets Goliath, paleontology-style

Posted on Tuesday 9/8/2015 September, 2015 by Rialto Admin


The documentary DINOSAUR 13 certainly starts on a joyful enough note. Then it descends into frustration, absurdity and the realm of just plain bloody annoying. Annoying as in the ridiculous stream of events that took place in the early life of a dinosaur fossil named Sue, in this most definitely David vs. Goliath-type tale that will have you shaking your fist at the tele before you know it.   

Described  by the esteemed Roger Ebert as “’Kramer vs. Kramer’ for paleontologists”, it is an absorbing documentary that recounts a torturous, decade-long “custody battle” over the amazingly well-preserved skeletal remains of a Tyrannosaurus Rex that were discovered along a remote stretch of the South Dakota prairie.

THE FORECASTER – Big Brother was most definitely watching him

Posted on Wednesday 9/2/2015 September, 2015 by Rialto Admin




“The Forecaster is as serpentine and fascinating as a John le Carré novel...“ LA Weekly  

In September Rialto Channel is working with NZ Listener magazine to present their weekly Thursday night documentaries, which this month have been titled ‘'Big Brother”. The season could not kick off more perfectly then than with tonight’s documentary, THE FORECASTER, an astonishing piece of filmmaking about a very wronged man (or was he?).

20,000 Days on Earth and Nick Cave – man, myth and legend

Posted on Tuesday 8/25/2015 August, 2015 by Rialto Admin


Talking about Nick Cave ‘pseudo documentary’ 20,000 Days on Earth was always going to be a stretch for me. For one, I am an unabashed, unashamed, long time fan bordering on obsessive. Prior to writing this I had seen the doco around five times, including at last year’s NZIFF and when it was shown again later in the year when Cave toured New Zealand and presented a Q&A before the screening. To say I was excited would be putting it mildly - I pretty much had a touch of the vapours for days before and afterwards.

NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC – an album, a time and a place

Posted on Tuesday 8/18/2015 August, 2015 by Rialto Admin


NAS: TIME IS ILLMATIC tells one hell of a tale – of a great moment in hip hop, of a grim turn in the history of growing up poor in New York and of a generation of young black men who disappeared into the judicial system en masse following the arrival of crack cocaine.



At its heart is hip hop legend Nas, and it takes the form of a feature length documentary film that delves deep into the making of his 1994 debut album, Illmatic, and the social conditions that influenced its creation.

Twenty years after its release, Illmatic has become a hip-hop benchmark that encapsulates the enduring spirit and collective angst of a generation of young black men searching for their voice in America. It was a line in the sand at the time and still is, and it lives as a touchstone and a distinct turning point in New York hip hop.

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.

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