Fantastic Four Years

Four years ago, Escape launched with a gala party on the beautiful Sydney Harbour, attended by authors, readers, booksellers, friends, and family.

Since that time, our family has grown exponentially, and we’re so proud to have more than 100 Escape Artists writing across 14 subgenres, but all adhering to that so important happy-ever-after ending.

To celebrate, I revisited the five books that kicked it all off for us:


A romance about changing the game, finding the truth, and fancy footwork.

Reviewers said:

“Their journey is a really sweet and romantic one with a lot of depth and a great supporting cast, too” – USA Today – Happily Ever After Blog

“Keeper. New auto-buy author. Need I say more?” – BookThingo

“There’s a lot of great stuff in the book about the female/male dynamic; about the double standard; and about men respecting women. I appreciated seeing that addressed in a contemporary romance.  To complete the role reversal, the mates ask Alex what her intentions are toward Dan.  Mostly I loved watching Dan and Alex truly fall for each other. No insta lust. No wondering why these two belong together. By the end of the book, you know.” – Dear Author

Ainslie has since written seven novels for Escape, as well as self-publishing. Her latest novel is Incapable


A dark, violent, and devastatingly sensual erotic fantasy about the binding force of love.

Reviewers said:

“Erotic romance readers who are weary of porny positions and situations may find this book a refreshing change. Hill writes some hot scenes without trying to do to much. The focus is always on Lissa and Devadas rather than which body parts are participating in the action.” – Bookthingo

“The chain harness was a nice erotic touch, but one of the things that stood out for me was how much I liked Lissa. She grew and matured and changed quite a bit, rising to a new challenge and coming to realise that, much like in a democratic system, a leader is nothing without healthy, happy people to lead…” – Giraffe Days

“I love this sort of story and it was great in novella form.” – Sahara Hoshi

Keziah Hill also writes as DB Tait and has been focused on her crime novels since Escape’s launch.


A fresh and exciting debut novel introducing the Chronicles from the Applecross.

Reviewers said:

“Fast-paced and imaginative I really enjoyed this novel, I am already looking forward to the next installment and I urge fans of the paranormal fantasy genre to give Chaos Born a try.” – Book’d Out

Chaos Born was one of those books that, when finished, I was really happy I found it and read it.” – Vampire Book Club

“A fast-paced, well-written urban fantasy with a flawed but charming heroine. There isn’t much romance in this book, but if you like a lot of action and aren’t put off by a high body count—usually by decapitation—then it’s a promising start to a new series.” – BookThingo

Rebekah has rounded off the Chronicles of the Applecross series, and started a new series about Werewolf Bikers in Tasmania. She also has a YA novel, Threader, out with Harlequin Teen.


This Christmas, Santa is granting wishes these two friends never knew they had.

Reviewers said:

A quick Christmas read that pushes all the right buttons and won’t leave you looking puffy and red-eyed on the train.” – BookThingo

“Talli and Dean are fun characters with plenty of chemistry and I enjoyed how the sexual tension amplified throughout their day working together.” – Australian Bookshelf

“This one made me laugh out loud and sigh with happiness.” – The Smutty Kitty

Rhian has published several holiday themed romances with Escape, as well as participating in two Escape continuity series and pursuing other publishing opportunities.


She thinks she needs him, but she doesn’t know the secrets he keeps…

Reviewers said:

“This is a fabulous debut novel, expertly thought out and skilfully written with a passionate pair of main characters that both have hidden depths.” – 1 Girl 2 Many Books

“This is a great suspense romance with intelligent characters.” – Novels On The Run

“A seamless read and as close to a keeper as I’ve got with romantic suspense in the last few years.” – BookThingo

Lee Christine published two more Grace & Poole books, and has kicked off a new romantic suspense series, Dangerous Arrangements.

Bek and Char Review: Jason Bourne

bek and char

Movie Review: Jason Bourne

Char: Before venturing solo to the movies last night, Bek and I had a conversation that went something like this:

Char: I’m thinking of seeing Bourne.

Bek: It got 57%. Star Trek got 83%.

Char: I know. But I like seeing Matt Damon hurting people.

Bek: I already saw it. Two hours I won’t get back … I mean … enjoy ….

… Later…

Char: So, I wasn’t expecting much. And that’s what I got. Jason Bourne is the latest outing in the Bourne franchise, directed by someone called Greengrass (who also directed the second and third Bourne films). It’s got Matt Damon (which we have to say since the last one had JRen), Julia Stiles (for a little while), Tommy Lee Jones and a woman who suspiciously resembles the evil pharaoh from Stargate.


Char: Apart from this new character, all the actors look suitably aged, which I like. It’s nice seeing the wrinkles on screen, even if they don’t extend past Matt Damon’s chin …


… except where it means Tommy Lee Jones as the Director is channelling the emperor from Star Wars.


Char: I thought it was a lazy film outing. The first half is flat and dull. There’s a cool chase scene, but I smelt the whiff of the second Bourne film and thought, they’re going to kill Nicky. I know they are. AND THEY DO. Now, Nicky’s character is one of the most enigmatic in the whole franchise.

Bek: Humph. Like the latest James Bond movie, they cast aside the age-appropriate awesome actress in favour of someone young with thighs like a baby giraffes neck.

Char: Uh, YEAH. I’ve always been curious about Nicki – she has some skills, and yet we never get really anything about her. AND NOW SHE’S DEAD. And because they never allowed any romantic tension to develop between her and Bourne (except for that throwaway line in one of the earlier ones) her death really means little. She’s a device to bring Bourne back. AGAIN.

Bek: She got Refrigerated, man. Classic dick move.


Char: Yeah. Ho hum. Yawn. Even the intriguing power woman character of Heather Lee (Alicia Vikander) couldn’t quite save that.

Bek: Argh. Intriguing? Are you kidding me? The only thing intriguing about her was the question of someone who was supposed to be so smart, why is she wearing a giant 90s banana hair clip? TELL ME WHY.

Char: Oh yes. That fracking banana clip. I did spend a while wondering if they put it in just to give her a ‘thing’. You know, to stand in place of a personality. She was a pretty unreadable book. But, in the desert landscape that it was, I did find it intriguing that a young woman character is swinging with the big power dicks, and is shady, and you’re never sure whether she believes what she says or is just playing anyone.

Bek: I. Did. Not. Like. Her. At. All. Banana.

Char: But, enough of that. Where the film really got interesting is right around the half-way point where the ‘Asset’ (Vincent Cassel) starts going rogue, opening up a splinter in the CIA.

Bek: I lost interest when it became apparent he wasn’t taking his shirt off.

Char: Touché. It wasn’t until then that we really had a villain, and could open up the full throttle on hating Tommy Lee. But it’s all really haphazard and half-finished. The thread with the social network Deep Dream security bizzo is just kinda hanging out there awkwardly at the edges like a nutscape**. Why is Bourne bare knuckle fighting? Does he need money? DID MATT DAMON NEED MONEY?

**(look it up if you have to; NSFW)


Bek: I’ve got money for Matt *waves five dollar bill*

Char: Even Heather Lee, who is the most interesting character with the constant questioning of whose side she’s on—


Char: —ends up getting a pat ending.

Bek: I felt no emotional beats in this movie. Bourne discovers the real reason why his father was killed, but I don’t know enough about their relationship to care.

Char: Yeah, Bourne’s face is just a mask of I’m-dead-inside. I mean, even Daniel Craig’s Bond managed a kind of crazy-eye emoting in Casino Royale. Then there’s the stupid, stupid dialogue (“There’s a phone in the room. I can use it to delete the files”)—

Bek: Because accessing Black Ops files remotely is totally believable.

Char: —the convenient airbags (the Asset’s car crashes in the first chase, deploying said bags, but Bourne’s car goes through a demolition derby in Vegas with none in sight).

The one really interesting thing is that Bourne comes to his full arc, recognising that if he truly regrets the things he’s done, he can’t kill Tommy Lee. So Heather Lee does it—


Char: —And then they kinda ruin that insight by having him kill the Asset with his bare hands. WHAT?

Bek: And you just can’t kill that magnificent French man!!


Char: Mmmmm. He’s definitely got some of that grey fox going on. Anyway, despite the appeal of Bourne hurting people, the film ended up so, so dissatisfying. Maybe because Bourne has become such a bleak and tragic character. I think the second Bourne was so powerful because it dared emotional investment – Bourne had had a shot at normality and it had been snatched away. Now there’s nothing. He’s still got his wiles, but honestly, the man’s deserved that to mean something. This movie needed a big adrenaline needle of emotion and investment. Clear!


Char: 4 Rippling-Older-Man-Torsos out of 10

Bek: 1 Vengeful-Julia-Stiles out of 10

Feed Your Reader: first April releases


What’s a girl to do when she finds herself naked except for her stilettos and backed up against a cold mirror, stuck between a rock and a very hard man? 


From Rebekah Turner, author of the Applecross Chronicles series, comes a paranormal romance set among the biker werewolves of rural Tasmania.


Bek & Char Review: Spectre

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Bek: Directed by Sam Mendes, this latest Bond venture stars Ralph Fiennes (M), Léa Seydoux (Madeleine Swann), Monica Bellucci (random hot widow), Ben Whishaw (Q) and Naomie Harris (Moneypenny). Oh, and that guy. Whats-his-name.

In Spectre, a naked Bond fights a sexy octopus. Wait…my bad, that’s the open sequence, which is full of erotic tentacle love.


Char: Yeah, it was a bit disturbing, even by Bond standards. All that ink flying around was highly suggestive. I’ll add that I’m usually extremely impatient in Bond opening titles. I dislike the old-school thing of crediting everyone while we listen to some eurovision-level forgettable song and watch a stylised sequence that ends with Bond awkwardly shooting me from the hip. But I’m interrupting the context information. Keep going Bek.

Bek: As with all other Bond movies, Spectre is told in the usual detective story framework, where our manly-man’s-man hero goes rogue to chase a bad guy intent on taking over the world. Along the way: Bond has a helicopter fight, gets in car chases, flies to exotic locations and makes lame dad jokes.


Char: Ok, so I realised watching this film that I just about never follow the plot of any Bond film. To me, it’s like pow-biff-wham-explosion!! sexy times … oh, Bond’s in that city now, okay: pow-biff-wham! more sexy, now something’s being explained I think I—pow! biff! kaboooom!!! roll credits. So, the fact I sort of followed this one says that it might have been a little slow. Or maybe they’ve just gotten better providing flashbacks so that I can remember the small but important bits of banter that I miss that explains why Bond is suddenly in some frozen lake place when he was just in bloody Rome.

Bek: For Bond, this is all possible.

Char: All this and more, apparently. Because a few things bothered me in the logic … like, when Bond takes the DB10. And Q gives him 48 hours. It takes 18 hours minimum to drive to Rome (yes, I googled in the cinema. You can’t hate me. I was in the back row and I stood up for some people who came in to find other people had nicked their seats) … so, like, is that what he supposedly did? Drove 18 hours straight, then arrived fresh as a blue-eyed daisy to do his suave butt kicking? Hmmm.

Bek: I don’t think Bond and logic mix much.

Char: What? Actually you might be right. But I think this one was worse than the earlier ones. Anyway, this is also a film of women-you’ve-seen-in-other-movies, like that chick from Matrix Reloaded. And the one from Midnight in Paris. And the romance is possibly the laziest ever. I mean, so I thought that the Bond-Vesper love thing in Casino Royale was pretty well done. I believed it, much more than I believed it in the original Ian Fleming story. Now, in this flick, there’s one line to explain why Dr-French-accent is Bond’s perfect girl – because she’s the daughter of a spy, possibly the only one who can understand him. Ummm, yeah, OR MAYBE SHE’LL JUST HATE HIS GUTS BECAUSE OF THAT. It was lazy. Lee Child romance lazy.

Bek: Hey! I like Lee Child’s romance! (Jack Reacher, call me). I didn’t mind the love interest angle so much, but found issue with a distinct lack of sexual tension between Madeleine Swan and Bond. Unlike Monica Bellucci’s character, who sizzled onscreen. And was age appropriate. Why not cast her as the main babe? That, I would have liked to see.


Char: Good point. But isn’t that a thing with Bond? There’s always disposable girl before forever (read: for the next 5 mins) girl? There was that evil dude’s wife that Bond got with in Casino Royale, you know, the one riding the stallion down the beach (love a horsey metaphor).

Bek: The villain’s lair, naturally, is of course in a meteor crater and it is here that he wants to drill into Bond’s brain, because he has daddy issues. Or something like that. I found there was a lot less emoting in this movie than the past Daniel Craig ventures, and I kind of missed that. But it’s slick, with a healthy dose of nostalgia for the old Bond movies (white kitty, car ejector seats, etc, etc).


Char: You say nostalgia … I say it got a bit Austin Powers. I know Powers is parodying Bond, but when the parody has been out for years, it’s weird when you do the old thing in the new movies. The cat. The family connection. The evil-German-woman-in-the-evil-organisation thing. And yes, I definitely liked the more vulnerable Bond of Casino Royale. It was fresh, and I didn’t see enough of Bond being challenged with real stakes in this outing. He seems a bit too immune to what’s going on, a bit too lucky. I’ll freely admit I like blond men, and make them a slightly surly quasi-military type like Bond, I’m in. Just give me a reason to think he actually is a man, and not a robot (I draw the line at robots). Remember the torture scene from Casino Royale? See what I mean?

Bek: When the Bad Guy scratched Bond’s balls? Yeah. I mean, I don’t have any, and I still winced.

Char: Exactly. I mean, what kind of evil organisation is this?


Bek’s Grade: 7 Sexy Octopuses out of 10

Char’s Grade: 6 Evil Frauleins out of 10


For more from Bek, check out her books here.

For more from Char, check out her books here.

Escape Turns Three Today!

We got cake!

we got you cake!

We also have nostalgia. If you’re looking for something to read this weekend, may we suggest the five titles that kicked off this whole journey – perfect reads for every reader.


A romance about changing the game, finding the truth, and fancy footwork.

(find more titles from Ainslie Paton here, including her new release Incapable)


A dark, violent, and devastatingly sensual erotic fantasy about the binding force of love.

(Check out Keziah Hill’s sizzling addition to our Secret Confessions: Sydney Housewives series here)


She thinks she needs him, but she doesn’t know the secrets he keeps…

(Get more from Lee Christine here, including the whole Grace & Poole series and the kick-off to her new series, Dangerous Arrangements)


A fresh and exciting debut novel introducing the Chronicles from the Applecross.

(check out more from Rebekah Turner here, including the two follow-up books in the sexy, dangerous, Applecross trilogy)


This Christmas, Santa is granting wishes these two friends never knew they had.

(Check out more sweet, sexy holiday romance from Rhian Cahill here, just in time for December!)

Hallowe’en Mini-Series: When I Fell In Love With Angels (Fallen Ones)

By Rebekah Turner

Growing up in a religious environment gave me something of a thirst for writing stories with fallen angels, demons and everything in between. These are the kind of characters that populate my Chronicles of the Applecross books: creatures from other realms searching for redemption or peace. And along with reading Revelations more than a few times, movies also played quite a role in feeding my imagination. And behold! A list of my favourite fallen angel movies.

1. The Crow (1994)


The second movie I saw on the big screen was The Crow. Being a hormonal lunatic at the time, I was pretty hooked with the visual representation of an avenging angel, wreaking a terrible vengeance on his enemies. The role was played so beautifully by Brandon Lee, before he was tragically killed on set.

2. Constantine (2005)


Then there was Keanu Reeves in Constantine. While technically not a angel or devil, Constantine still owed his soul to the devil, so hey, why not raise a little hell? Not the best movie, but I’ll forgive Keanu plenty. CALL ME.
3. The Prophecy (1995)


This was another one of those movies that wasn’t very good, but caught my imagination. With Christopher Walken playing a very sinister angel in search of a soul to end the war in Heaven, it also starred Viggo Mortensen as the devil. The role was only small, but Viggo chomping on an angel heart was kind of hard to forget.

4. Dogma (1999)


Lastly, there is Dogma, starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as renegade angels trying to return to Heaven. I admit, I enjoyed reading the screenplay more than I did watching the rather pedestrian direction from Kevin Smith, but it was still a pretty cool movie. And Alanis Morissette playing God? I didn’t see that one coming.

Rebekah Turner wrote a very sexy fallen angel named Roman, and you want to meet himFor series purists – the trilogy is finished, so you can binge read to your heart’s content.

8211A fresh and exciting debut novel introducing the Chronicles from the Applecross.

Lora Blackgoat, smuggler and mercenary, has been lying low after a job gone bad made her a laughing stock in the industry. When a childhood friend turns to her for help, Lora leaps to restore her reputation and starts hunting a killer who is stalking the gas-lit streets.

She never expects that her path will lead her to the Order of Guides, a sadistic militant religious organisation – or to Roman, a deadly and dangerously attractive half-angel warrior who also hunts the killer.

When Lora discovers that the killer has broken fundamental laws of magic to enter the city, she also uncovers a conspiracy that leads back into her own dark past.

Bek and Char Review: The Martian

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Bek: Directed by Ridley Scott and based on the self-published novel by Andy Weir, this movie stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kristen Wiig and Sean Bean.

The Martian is a movie that follows astro-botanist Mark Watney (Damon) as he’s stranded on Mars and his struggle to survive until rescue.

Char: Yeah, I saw a joke on FB before I saw it that we’ve spent an inordinate amount of money rescuing Matt Damon (you know, Saving Private Ryan, Interstellar), but this one takes those things to a whole new level of realism. I will admit right from the outset that this whole movie was vicarious living for me – I studied mechanical and space engineering, used to do experiments in microgravity, went to the Mars Direct speeches and would have loved to go on a Mars mission (I still hear my old supervisor laughing – way to encourage dreams, man).


Bek: There were a few things I really loved about this movie. The first was the amazing screenplay by Drew Goddard, who made the science accessible to its audience, without dumbing it down. There’s also a nice range of huge diversity: hey, all sorts of people can do smarts! Not to mention moments of comedy that were quite hilarious. Overall, I found myself emotionally engaged with the story.

Char: Yes, drama and levity, they got that quite right. It had some high highs in comedy, and still rocked the emotional connection. That last-ditch part near the end when Mark is reacting to what’s about to happen – to the possibilities and the risks of it – man, that was so intense and so, so true. And when I am moved by Matt Damon, the movie has done something very right.


Bek: What I really found great with The Martian was the superb way cause and effect was used. Good story-telling will usually follow a logical sequence, and a clear escalation of events. Drive a story forward through action that flows naturally, with ever increasing obstacles and you’ll achieve get narrative traction, leaving your reader wanting more. And don’t forget: give the reader just enough hope before dashing them.

Char: Absolutely, which is why we’re all so devastated when Mark’s pootatoes (see what I did there?) are all wrecked. But he was doing so weeellll!!! Aww, no!! (And it was even able to rough out my technical head saying, hey, wait a minute. There’s one atmosphere of pressure difference between inside and outside, tops. Is that enough to produce the type of failure we just saw there? Oh, and if the poo in the beginning still had bacteria, why did that event suddenly destroy it all? Oh, and … wait a minute, who cares! It’s a good story!)

Bek: This movie reminded me of some great advice on storytelling I heard once from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park. Their advice went along the lines that if between the beats of your story, you can write: “and then“, it implies passive storytelling and you’re not pushing the story forward. Instead, what you should have between beats are: “therefore,” or “but“, which advances your story through decision or conflict. Cause + effect = action. The Martian showed those elements superbly.

Char: That’s a great way of putting it. And here, of course, you have the perfect motivator. I’m also really interested that this movie seems really tuned to the zeitgeist – we’ve come through an era of doldrums of interest in space, but now we’re coming back. People might actually be interested. Some of that’s undoubtedly being driven by NASA PR, but who cares! We need a bigger challenge then ourselves, which is who we’ve been fighting for the last 20 years.

Bek: Speaking of which, I liked that Jeff Daniels wasn’t a villain, but a man in charge of the bigger picture. He wants Watney home as well. In fact, there’s no villain. The conflict is the environment.

Char: Yes, it’s not an antagonist story. It’s a reminder that conflicts don’t have to be in the form of a person – some of the best advice on storytelling I ever got was that conflict = uncertainty – as long as the outcome is kept in the balance for the hero, all is good for the story. And in this case, the bald hostility of space is quite enough!

Char: In other random points, I liked the combination of actors in this. I wondered how Kristin Wiig would fit, but she’s perfect, as is the actress from Zero Dark Thirty as the commander. It feels more stylised than Apollo 13, but they’ve hit the tone just right.


Char: My only beef, which bothered me the whole time, was that Mars gravity is only just over on third that of Earth’s, and I wasn’t convinced of the lower gravity in any of the Mars scenes – when things fell, it looked like it does here. Maybe that’s technically hard, though, and the scenes on the Hermes transitioning from zero g to the artificial g of the rotating floor were very cool.

Bek: Yes. Yes. I was totally thinking the same thing. Not really. I was waiting for the next shot of Chiwetel Ejiofor.


Bek’s Grade: 9 Dapper Chiwetel Ejiofor’s out of 10.

Char’s Grade: 10 freeze-dried poo packets out of 10.

If you like their reviews, why not check out more from Bek and Char?

Rebekah Turner

Charlotte Nash

Bek and Char Review: Terminator – All of Them

bek and char



Bek: One of the greatest romantic movies of all time. Directed by James Cameron and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn, this is a love story co-starring a killer robot (Schwarzenegger). I had a huge crush on the hero of this movie, Kyle Reese (Biehn) when I was a teenager. I mean, how can you not fall for a hero who has the line: “I came across time for you.” I mean *sniff* there’s all the feels right there.


Bek: An original concept with the pace is fast and furious, the story compelling. And even better, because the movie is done mostly through Sarah Connor’s point of view, you go on the journey with her and feel involved in the story.

Char: Yes. I also loved Kyle Reese. He’s the ultimate tragic hero – selfless, tough, ruthlessly on mission, but undeniably and vulnerably human – and it’s easy to believe he’s from a starving and desperate future time. For a number of years, I’d turn it off before Sarah finds he’s died at the end, because it was too sad. I loved all the subtle depth in the romance that interweaves with the time paradox – the photo of Sarah that he carries for a time was given to him by John (his son, which Kyle doesn’t know) and it’s the same photo that gets taken of Sarah right at the end when she’s thinking of Kyle. I’ve always also been kinda bummed that it’s Sarah’s actions that ultimately kill him. *blubbers quietly in a corner*


Char: *sucks emotions back in* BUT! beyond that, the story is tight, the killer robot villain is an excellent example of “if your enemy isn’t stronger than you, there’s not much of a story”. Kyle even says, at the moment Sarah believes him and asks if he can stop it, “I don’t know. With these weapons? I don’t know.” Still gives me chills. Also, full points for the gritty 80s feel, complete with synth music, shaggy mullet cuts, tie dye, and Bill Paxton playing a punk at the start.

Bek’s Grade: 10 killer robots out of 10
Char’s Grade: 10 uzi 9mms out of 10


Bek: The blockbuster sequel that made Schwarzenegger’s career. Directed by James Cameron again, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong. This is the first movie I saw in the cinemas and it make a huge impact on me and my desire to tell stories.

Char: Yeah, I remember my friend’s dad taking us to see it at the drive-in, and it was the first movie I’d seen there. I would have been 11, maybe? Ahem. Anyway …

Bek: The Terminator is sent back to save young John Connor (that little snot, Furlong) from Liquid Assassin-Terminator. Meanwhile, Sarah Connor has been locked up for being crazy fit. I mean, just crazy. The Terminator and Little Snot rescue her, Liquid Man tries to kill them all.

the one, the only

Bek: What I thought was so great about this movie was how Sarah Connor was such a huge role: she’s strong, flawed, tormented and dynamite on-screen. She’s the type of complex female character I feel is missing in many modern action films, though recently we’ve seen a small surge in interesting women characters who can hold their own.

Char: Totally. Her transformation from the soft, vulnerable Sarah of T1 into the warrior mother of T2 (which Kyle describes to her in T1) is really believable. And the depths of her conversion often lead her to do somewhat desperate and stupid things, which actually undermine her objectives, and therein is the complexity. Plus, I spent years wanting to be able to do chin-ups like that.

Bek: There’s also heaps of repeat imagery from the first film, but with a massive budget for impact. Unfortunately, lacked Kyle Reese factor.

Char: Yes, it’s a different kind of movie. It’s a survival film, not a love story. Kyle actually does appear in the director’s cut (which actually is kinda nice, because it marks the transition from Sarah being a moth bashing herself on the inside of the prison walls to focusing her determination into clever, cunning, escaping Sarah – that sequence is one of the best pressure convergences I’ve seen in film) but otherwise, it’s about how Sarah deals with a huge responsibility, that she never wanted, all on her own.

That aside, it’s totally iconic (even with the corny lines), pushed visual effects of the time to new places, and again had a villain so much stronger than the heroes. Also launched Edward Furlong’s descent into the former-child-star-wasteland, which is a shame because of all the castings of John Connor, he’s the one I believe the most.

Bek’s Grade: 10 Sarah Connor chin-ups out of 10

Char’s Grade: 10 screechy Axl Rose theme songs out of 10


Bek: Third instalment. This time directed by Jonathan Mostow (Breakdown, U-571). This movie is set 10 years from where the last Terminator left off. Staring Claire Danes and some weedy kid, Arnold Schwarzenegger and some chick playing a new sparkly Terminator. In this movie, a new lady Terminator shows up to kill a grown up John Connor and … zzzz…..


Char: This movie can eff-off, quite frankly. They made so many mistakes. Claire Danes and the some-guy are terrible castings, they didn’t have Sarah Connor (she’s this franchise’s version of Ellen Ripley, so WTF? – her “death” wasn’t even canon), and they decided to make the villain a woman just because, it seems, we hadn’t done that yet.

Bek: The only thing I remember clearly about this movie, is when the Liquid Terminator Lady is pulled over by cops and she makes her boobs big to get away without paying a ticket. Lame. Worse than lame, this movie bored me to tears. And if there’s one thing guaranteed to upset cinema ushers, it’s weeping patrons.

exactly how I felt

Char: That’s what I remember, too, and that her “amazing weapon” (arm-rocket-thingie) gets disabled early. Double lame. She’s basically a hybrid of the original terminator and the liquid metal terminator – in being both, she is lesser than either. Awful villain. Boring movie. I was disappointed they didn’t all die at the end.

Bek’s Grade: 1.3 Bored Beks out of 10

Char’s Grade: 1 Judgement Day out of 10 deserved


Bek: Set in the year 2018, this is the fourth instalment and I don’t care who directed it. Follows the adult John Connor (played by Christian Bale) in the future as mankind’s salvation and … oh, sorry, I dozed off again there ….

Okay. This was a horrible movie. Two men and robots. No cool female characters for me to relate to, no brains, no plot. This movie was frustrating and it bored my pants off. And if there’s one more thing guaranteed to upset cinema ushers, it’s pantless patrons.

Char: Agreed. My anticipation of seeing a movie set in the post-Judgement Day future (which was always so enticing when shown in snippets in T1) made it even worse. Wasn’t Sam Worthington in it, too? How did that happen? Connor is also completely uninspiring – go find the guy who played Connor in the opening sequence of T2 and cast that guy. Bale is too soft! They’re all too soft!

I’m actually going to be heretical and say I didn’t mind the kid cast as a young Kyle Reese – I thought they’d managed a good likeness. But the script was horrible, like they wrote one draft and decided to film it. I succumbed to angry muttering in this film, which would have been angry yelling in my lounge room.

The old-and-new

Bek’s Grade: 1.1 Pantless Beks out of 10

Char’s Grade: 1 compound super-profanity out of 10


Bek: Fifth instalment of the franchise. Directed by Alan Taylor, and starring Emilia Clarke (From Game of Thrones – Khaleesi!), Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney and You-know-who (Schwarzenegger, for those who don’t). This movie is about Kyle Reese going back in time to save Sarah Connor. But everything is different now (I’m still not sure why) and instead of Sarah being a waitress in need of rescuing, she’s a gun-toting warrior woman.

I watched the first half through squinty eyes. Really, I say? That’s John Connor now? That’s Sarah Connor? Really?

not-kyle-reese and mother of dragons

Bek: Anyway, the movie has a super complicated plot with pithy techie explanations that I suspect would give the more science-savvy Char a rage stroke. Fortunately, about half way, I decided to just go with it and by the time credits rolled, I didn’t mind how everything was put together.

Char: I must admit I’m still anticipating my rage-stroke. Due to a combination of baby sleeping cycles and the unfriendly session times at my local, I’m yet to see this one. But that won’t prevent me passing limited judgement on a few things. Firstly, WTF is Jai Courtney doing as Kyle Reese? Did the humans discover some secret stash of protein powder and human growth hormone in the future? You’re supposed to be a desperate, starving freedom fighter, dude!

Really that guy

Bek: I also think this movie might have done better if they’d kept one very big spoiler out of the trailers, which I won’t reveal for those who are still going to see. But I mean, talk about giving a big twist away. Either way, it’s a reasonably good addition to the Terminator franchise.

Char: And I don’t mind the likeness of the Sarah Connor, but she’s awfully pixie looking. But those things aside, the trailer did look kind of interesting, and I’ve heard from die-hard fans of the series that they didn’t hate it. That sounds like at least a draw.

Bek’s Grade: 6 Mother of Dragons out of 10
Char’s Grade: [Witholding Judgement Day].

Bek and Char Review: Magic Mike XXL

bek and char


Char: So MMXXL was a bit like my first manuscript – weird, uneven, and in need of a good edit. But! It was also a shiny diamond amongst all those rough dialogue scenes, and like the first one, weirdly (dare I say) feminist. I don’t know if I should say such things.

Bek: There sure are a lot of interesting reviews out there, pointing out the feminist angle and that’s kind of amazing for a film about a group of men. Directed by Gregory Jacobs, this is basically a road movie starring male entertainers who like to talk about their issues (entrepreneurial frustrations) and are secure in their sexuality (drag-queen vogue-off!). Now, I’ve read a lot about the feminist angle of this movie, which is all very interesting. But something else struck me: the movie is totally body positive. The bigger sized women weren’t being laughed at. Some were used as pommel-horses, sure, but so were the regular sized women and hey, who wouldn’t bend over for Channing Tatum. Um… you know what I mean.


Char: Good point. It was all about the ladies, really, and feeling sexy because you know what you like, not because you’re size whatever.

Bek: Yeah. Curvy chicks rule. Because we all know the health dangers associated with thigh gaps: they’re bad for your balance and your pussy gets cold.

Keep Calm

Char: And let’s face it, what I want is Joe Man-I-Mean-Hello! who asks about my fantasy, which is clearly watching him S&M strip-tease to NIN’s Closer. Well-read, sir!

Bek: I’d say this movie is a cure for anyone who saw the Entourage movie. Or Mel Gibson in What Women Want. In Magic Mike XXL, the men discuss how women just want to be listened to, how they deserve to have the bedroom light on when their husband makes love to them. The men call the women in this movie ‘queens’ and ‘goddesses’. And there is sweet, sweet poetry.

Char: Yeah, though that was the bit I think should have been on the editing room floor. Waaay off track at that point.

Bek: And then there was Joe Manganiello humping a fridge of bottled water to make a bored cashier smile.


Char: True. All is forgiven then. Andie McDowell would certainly agree with me, after all, she gets the Joe. Another random road-trip scene that oddly worked.

Bek: I mean, sure, the narrative was a little loose, but I had to cross my legs a few times as I laughed and laughed. This movie treated people of different shapes, sizes and colour as they should be, like regular people, and not a punch line because they look a little different from the Hollywood norm.

Char: And when they’re high on Molly (I had to look it up – basically ecstasy, I think) and behaving like teenagers? I totally bought it. And having said all those positive things about the portrayal of women, I did like how Tates and gang were given additional dimensions. They’re not just strippers, ladies, they’re real people, too. Tates gets a history, and that tiny bit with Tarzan? The glimpse of vulnerability? That was—okay, wait, stop. It’s not going to win an Oscar, but you get the point.


Char: Overall, it feels like a respectful sequel, and I’d go so far as to say it’s a truly ensemble cast – Channing isn’t the only thing going on. They neatly cut out Tates’ fiancé and McConaughey’s characters from the first movie in practically one-liners at the start (code: there’s no movie if Tates is a douche, and we can’t afford McConaughey).

Bek: I thought Jada Pinkett’s character kind of filled the ‘over-the-top’, dangerous, wicked (-ly awesome) shoes that McConaughey left behind. Even though she wasn’t really playing the villain, just someone not to be trifled with (girl crush alert!).

Char: Yes! I spent a long time trying to work out what her job was, but, whatever, I want her house! Also, while we’re on the sets, I have to say that Tates’ workshop is very dimly lit at the start. How he gets any work done in there at night, I don’t know. But full credit for the bench grinding. Get it? Get it?

Bek: Cue music.

youre welcome

Bek’s Grade: 9 pommel-horses out of 10

Char’s Grade: 9 self-empowering strip routines out of 10

Bek and Char Review: Chris Pratt…errr…Jurassic World

bek and char


Bek: Directed by Colin Trevorrow (who?), Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, snotty kids and a Franken-saurus. I had heaps of fun watching this, even with the wobbly elements. For example, I found the ‘up-tight’ character of Claire boring, along with the clichéd suggestion she just needs a romp with Owen to work the kinks out (call me). I felt this subplot either needed more beef, or dropped altogether (see “Mad Max: Fury Road” for plot with male and female characters not hooking up but still being awesome *GASP*). I also wondered what the movie would have looked like if the gender roles had been reversed.

Char: Right, so Joss Whedon sorta asked the same question in a tweet, and you know, it’s Joss (all HAIL JOSS). So a gender reversal would be a stuffy dude with a military haircut heartlessly protects “assets” (which now I’m writing it here, sort of feels dirty) while a free-spirited yet brilliant safari lady bonds with the raptors? I think they did that with the T-rex in “The Lost World”. Or it could be the pitch line for some kinky erotica (makes mental note).

Bek: Someone already went there. It wasn’t pretty.

Char: Ah-hem. What we should really be talking about is what type of motorbike said role-reversed lady would ride, as Owen bad-ass Pratt rides a Triumph Scrambler (helloo, product placement). Actually she’d probably have saddles on the raptors. Now, there’s an image. I see the 1980s soft porn jungle flick Sheena, but with dinos. Someone please stop me.

Bek: No, no. I can see it now…

sheena-promo-pictures-not-in-the-movieBek: It was very interesting to note the film’s marketing featured Pratt’s character, but turns out this is Claire’s story. But because of the Ice Princess routine, I found it hard to care. You saw her in a different light, didn’t you?

Char: Yeah, so … Claire has a busy, demanding job. She’s basically the embodiment of the corporate goddess (plus I like Bryce Dallas Howard – she’s the chick from the M.Night Shyamalan movie that everyone hates but me). Then, she gets the nephews in free as VIPs and the parents are still down her neck? What gives. Why are the kids’ parents so keen to paste the guilt on Claire? She’s their AUNT. It was the kind of plot I expected from the classic divorced parent trope. You know, Jim Carey runs Jurassic World, and that chick from ER is like, dude, you never see your son. I don’t care how critical your job is you’re taking him THIS WEEKEND. Then, hijinks ensue. It’s one of the reasons I wonder if the script was originally for a male character, and they changed it up and had to bandaid over it. It honestly bothered me the whole movie.

Also, if the kids have passes to save them lining up for anything, then why are they lining up for the giant hamster balls? But let us not venture into the land of inconsistencies. There’s tall grass down there, and worse things than raptors.

Bek: Damn you, movie logic! And no one runs in HEELS. I’ll only accept ONE woman in the world able to do this.

Char: Ah, Scully. Yeah, that bothered me too. But then, Chris Pratt! Also, there was a bit of the funny in this movie. It was actually hilarious. People laughed at the jokes in the cinema. And not the pained kind you get in an Adam Sandler flick. Some competent person wrote those jokes. And did you spot the dude fleeing with two frozen margaritas? That’s classy.

Bek: Yes! And I loved the cynical Jake Johnson character in the Jurassic World control room, with his collection of toy dinosaurs. I wish he had featured more in the movie. He’s the meta voice of reason, and when he tries to hook up with his co-worker before his great sacrifice, her reaction is priceless.

Char: Ah, yes, that dude. He was responsible for a few funnies, including the old Jurassic Park t-shirt purchased from ebay. He reminded me of the character Wash, from Firefly. I even expected him to play with his toy dinos. He didn’t. But the evil dude from CSI did sweep them aside dramatically. That’s called a metaphor, kids.

Bek: And there was a blink or you’ll miss it shot of the Goldblum’s Jurassic Park character’s book on his desk, in one of the many nods to previous movies. I blinked and missed it, but in my defense, Pratt was onscreen. The internet assures me it was there.


Char: Yeah, that was nicely done. And I really enjoyed the vision of the park actually open. Seemed totally right. I’m curious too … so Jeff Goldblum was in Jurassic 1 and 2. Sam Neill was in Jurassic 1 and 3. Neither of them are in this movie. If you were going to cast them, who would they play in this film?

Bek: Maybe Sam Neill could play an absent minded engineer who’s got a bad feeling about this or is only one day away from retirement before becoming a dino-entree. My husband (a rabid fan of all Jurassics) has informed me you can never have too much Goldblum, in any shape or form.

Jeff Gold

Char: Gah! Looking away! But honestly, I had every reason to dislike this – I’ve never really liked the others (because I’m precious about the mucking they did with the novels, sniff). But this entertained me. It was weird and wibbly with all these subplots hanging off all over the place (divorcing parents! flying lessons! teenage girlfriends!), and it took a leaf out of George RR in topping characters at unexpected moments. But I say a hearty, well done big faceless studio, this one’s a keeper.

Bek: Agreed. Even with Pratt’s shirt firmly buttoned up all through movie (sad face). I will have to be content with a strange Chris Pratt Boot Scoot.


Bek’s Grade: 7 Goldblum Nipples out of 10
Char’s Grade: There’s an image I’m not losing … 9 Triumph Scramblers out of 10