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Demolition

Summary: A successful investment banker struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. With the help of a customer service rep and her young son, he starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th July 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jean-Marc Vallee

Screenwriter: Bryan Sipe

Cast: Madison Arnold (Ray), Stephen Badlamenti (Mickey), B Bastian (Jennifer), Blaire Brooks (Amy), James Colby (John), Ben Cole (Steven), Chris Cooper (Phil), Polly Draper (Margot), Brendan Drooling (Todd), Jake Gyllenhaal (Davis), Royce Johnson (Secuirty Marty), Tom Kemp (Dr. Brodkey), Judah Lewis (Chris), Heather Lind (Julia), Alfredo Narcisco (Michael), Wass Stevens (Jimmy), Naomi Watts (Karen),C.J. Wilson (Carl), James Young (Ahmed)

Runtime: 101 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR DEMOLITION REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

For me as a critic ‘Demolition’ is like a five star explosion. The director, Jean-Marc Vallee, received five stars from me for his last two films – the heart-gripping drama ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ and the visually spectacular ‘Wild’, while leading man Jake Gyllenhaal has garnished the same scores for his recent films – ‘Prisoners,’ ‘Nightcrawler’ and ‘Southpaw.’ I would be lying if I said I was expecting something brilliant from ‘Demolition’ and this time I was disappointed.

‘Demolition’ is the story of a broken man. To the outside world Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal – ‘Nightcrawler’) is a man who has everything. He has an amazing looking home, a successful career in finance and the perfect marriage to Julia (Heather Lind – ‘Mistress America’). But then when Julia is killed in a car accident he re-accesses his life through a series of letters to a convenience machine company and soon he finds himself wondering whether or not he really loved Julia and also suddenly discovering a need to want to demolish everything. These letters also bring him into contact with the emotionally damaged Karen (Naomi Watts – ‘The Ring’) and her troubled young son, Chris (Judah Lewis – ‘Deliverance Creek’)… something that causes an even big rift between Davis and his father-in-law, Phil (Chris Cooper – ‘American Beauty’).

It’s not a cliché that I normally like to use but ‘Demolition’ really is one of the movies of the year, in fact it is a lesson in filmmaking (from the screenwriting up) to any young filmmaker out there. Screenwriter, Brian Sipe (‘The Choice’) doesn’t waste a single second of screen time. He sets up the relationship between Davis and Julia in less than a minute and as the film delves into the life of a man falling apart the audience are kept guessing exactly what is going to happen next in that special form of character driven suspense… something that we previously have only got to experience in special films like ‘The Safety Of Objects.

‘Demolition’ is one of those amazing films were the director really understood what the screenwriter was trying to do and captures the vibe from the page and brings it to the screen in a remarkable way. So many lesser directors would have taken Sipe’s script and tried to make everything painfully obvious to the audience but here Vallee keeps his audience guessing. There are a tonne of questions that need to be asked about the brilliantly written and edgy character of Chris while the will they/won’t they tension between Davis and Karen is ever present without ever becoming clichéd or cheesy. That also leads to a second level of suspense as the audience waits to see what happens with Karen’s ‘boyfriend’ Carl (C.J. Wilson – ‘The Intern’).

Sipe’s screenplay also allows the cast to put in some amazing performances that are deserved of any awards that they should pick up. As we saw in ‘Nightcrawler’ and ‘Southpaw’ Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance goes to a whole new level when he is asked to play a character who is falling apart and here Gyllenhaal certainly brings his A-Game. Whether it be a scene where he is mentally breaking down while demolishing his home with a sledgehammer or sharing a touching emotion scene with Judah Lewis… his performance is truly captivating.

Follow in Gyllenhaal’s footsteps in Naomi Watts who has sadly been wasted in woeful films like ‘Allegiant’ and ‘Diana’ recently. But here as Watts is given a meatier script and able to play the drug affected Karen she really comes to the fore and reminds audiences just what a fine actress then she really is. Then there is the arrival of Judah Lewis. This young actor seems to relish playing a young character struggling to cope with his sexuality and the fact that his drug addicted mother is not paying enough attention to him. Lewis breezes through even some of the more difficult scenes and he really announces himself as a young actor to watch in the future.

In a cinematic world where bigger is considered better and every film released seems to what to out do it’s predecessor’s special effects it is a real relief to be able to sit down and watch a film like ‘Demolition’ – a film that relies on the fact that it has a brilliant screenplay and actors who are at the top of their game to pull it off. ‘Demolition’ is one of the films of the year and also shows why Jake Gyllenhaal now has to be considered one of the best actors of our generation.

 

Stars(5)

 

 

 

Greg King:

Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a hot shot financier whose wife is killed in a car crash. He goes into denial and his life goes into melt down and he begins to alienate everyone around him. Including his father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper), who also happens to be his boss.
A minor incident involving a vending machine in the hospital though is the real catalyst for his frustration. He writes complaint letters to the company, which attract the attention of Karen Moreno (Naomi Watts), the sympathetic customer service representative. She finds something about the personal revelations in his letters of complaint that intrigues her. An unlikely relationship slowly develops. But it is his relationship with her troubled delinquent son Chris (newcomer Judah Lewis), who is struggling with his own sexuality and identity, that really starts the healing process. Davis becomes something of a surrogate father figure for the wayward adolescent.
Davis also finds release through demolishing things, from household appliances up to his own house. Wrecking his own beautiful, architecturally designed house with a sledgehammer proves cathartic, but it is also a heavy handed metaphor for leaving his old life behind and moving on. Ironically, in one of his letters Davis writes: “For some reason, everything has become a metaphor.”
Written by Bryan Sipe (who also penned the recent adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ The Choice), this is a rather downbeat and unpredictable drama dealing with death, grief, and the process of moving on.Demolition has been directed by French-Canadian filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallee, who directed Matthew McConaughey to an Oscar in Dallas Buyers Club. Demolition is full of some of his trademark stylish flourishes – such as dreamlike shots, slow motion flashbacks and looped images – that give parts of the film a similar surreal quality to his enigmatic Cafe de Flore. Music has also been an important element in Vallee’s films beginning with the coming of age tale CRAZY, and here he has compiled a great soundtrack that mixes older acts like Heart and Free with indie bands like Cave and Half Moon Run, and some classical music.
Demolition has been shot by his regular cinematographer Yves Belanger, and there are some crisp and striking images. But this vaguely disappointing tale attempts to explore similar territory to that Vallee essayed in the more successful Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon as a woman trying to find herself through an arduous physical experience.
There are solid performances all round, particularly from the charismatic young Lewis who brings a spark of energy to the film that contrasts with Gyllenhaal’s downbeat and quietly compelling reading of his grieving character. The always reliable Gyllenhaal appears in virtually every scene, and he anchors this quirky but ultimately flawed drama, delivering another of his intense, edgy performances as the self destructive and emotionally stunted Davis. Cooper brings his usual stoic, gruff and world weary persona to an underwritten role, while Watts delivers another strong performance as a woman who is also dealing with her own emotional issues.
But despite the emotional content and late bursts of sentimentality, Demolition is a film that will not have broad appeal. However, it should do well on the festival circuit and in art house cinemas.

 

Stars(2.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Demolition (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Demolition reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

2016 MIFF

Down Under

Summary: A black comedy set during the aftermath of the Cronulla riots, it is the story of two carloads of hotheads from both sides of the fight destined to collide.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 11th August 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Abe Forsythe

Screenwriter: Abe Forsythe

Cast: Fayssal Bazzi (D-Mac), Josef Ber (Sgt.Bryce Halliday), Chris Bunton (Evan), Ruby Burke (Destiny), Suppakorn Chuwongwut (Nutt), Arka Das (Steve), Michael Denkha (Ibrahim), Harriet Dyer (Stacey), Alexander England (Shit-Stick), David Field (Vic), Damon Herriman (Jason), Josh McConville (Gav), Marshall Napier (Graham), Henry Nixon (Sgt. James McFadden), Julia Ohannessian (Rashida), Lap Phan (Terry), Robert Rabiah (Amir), Rahel Romahn (Nick), Justin Rosniak (Ditch), Anthony Taufa (Taufa), Christiaan Van Vurren (Doof), Lincoln Younes (Hassim), Dylan Young (Az)

Runtime: 90 mins

Classification: TBC

 

OUR DOWN UNDER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

John Noonan:

Sometimes the best comedy is the darkest. In Duck Soup, The Marx Brothers’ led Freedonia into a good old fashioned knees up to celebrate the oncoming war that will swamp the country. The terrorists in Chris Morris’ Four Lions are shown to be petty, back stabbers that argue about Mini-Babybels and struggle to align their separate ideologies. And now we have Abe Forsyth’s Down Under, a violent, gut-bursting farce set against the backdrop of the Cronulla Riots.

We follow two separate groups of men chomping at the bit to get into a boot party. In the Cronulla corner, we have family man Jason (Damon Herriman) and Ned Kelly’s biggest fan Ditch (Justin Rosniak) on the prowl for anyone looking vaguely middle eastern. And vague is the operative word, as at one point it becomes apparent that they’re not even sure who they’re really after. To bulk up their numbers, they drag along dope head Shit-Stick (Alexander England) who would rather watch Lord of the Rings with his cousin from Nimbi, Evan (Chris Bunton)

Playing for the Sydney West team is the fiery Nick (Rahel Romahn), insufferable beat-boxer D-Mac (Fayssal Bazzi) and deeply religious Ibrahim (Michael Denkha). Tagging along with them is Hassim (Lincoln Younes), whose brother went missing the day the riots started.

Neither group is treated as the heroes of Down Under. Instead Forsythe highlights how their need to bash people because of a perceived difference really comes from the same misguided rage. And in the film, as in real life, this rage only begets more rage until no one is listening to anyone. It’s interesting to note that the director never allows the violence committed by the men to be diluted by the comedy. Each punch and bat swung connects viciously, there’s consequences to what they deal out. Instead, he bursts their bubbles by highlighting their naivety and hypocrisy, such as when Jason takes a break from bashing to get his pregnant girlfriend a kebab, or when Nick’s bravado reveals a violent resentment of immigrants. Other times, Forsythe soundtracks his characters’ actions to inappropriate pop songs from the era, including a rather wonderful rendition of Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn.

Where Down Under falls flat, at least for me, is Nick and Hassim’s interactions with drug dealer, Vic (David Field). Vic’s lascivious advances towards Hassim whilst surrounded by well-oiled, well-muscled young men feels trite and, in a film that lampoons stereotypes, feels, well, stereotypical. Because despite how the film’s trailer portrays them, these aren’t stupid men. Sure they say stupid things, but they’re clearly caught up in the chest beating and hubris that’s permeating in the streets. One of Jason’s team is revealed to have a white collar job, whilst Hassim is shown from the off-set to be studying for uni. These are not all thick men, and that’s what makes them scary. They’ve found an opportunity to release they deep-rooted beliefs.

With an ending that will pull the rug from under you, Down Under exposes the underbelly and idiocy of racism through laughter, violence, copious amounts of swearing and B*Witched songs. Sure to be controversial, you need to see it.

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Down Under (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Down Under reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

Your Lie In April

Summary: A piano prodigy who lost his ability to play after suffering a traumatic event in his childhood is forced back into the spotlight by an eccentric girl with a secret of her own.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 6th July 2016

Country: Japan

Director: Takehiko Shinjo

Screenwriter: Naoshi Arakawa (manga)

Cast: Ryan Bartley (Megu (voice)), Robbie Daymond (Saito (voice)), Erika Harlacher (Emi Igawa (voice)), Carrie Keranen (Hiroko Seto (voice)), Erik Scott Kimerer (Takeshi Aiza (voice)), Wendee Lee (Saki Arima (voice)), Max Mittelman (Kousei Arima (voice)), Erica Lindbeck (Kaori Miyazono (voice)), Erica Mendez (Tsubaki Sawabe (voice)), Kyle McCarley (Ryota Watari (voice)), Stephanie Sheh (Nagi Aiza (voice)), Julie Ann Taylor (Nao Kashiwagi (voice)), Cristina Valenzuela (Koharu Seto (voice))

Runtime: 12 x 22 mins episodes

Classification: PG

 

OUR YOUR LIE IN APRIL VOL 1 REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Harley Woods:

Your Lie In April is a Japanese animated series, based around a coming-of-age / first-love story intermingled with competitive musical ambitions. Volume One is released on DVD and BluRay in Australia by Madman Entertainment.

This series hits with immediate impact. The first thing we see is a girl, Kaori, following a cat around. This is both endearing and amusing but also features some interesting animation that already raises expectations on the quality of the series. We cut to the titles and are treated to yet another catchy theme tune – Hikaru Nara by Goose House.

Soon after, we are treated to exceptionally animated sequences done with 3D models and rotoscoping and sharp camera movements. This really livens the scene and makes it present, even as we will see sweat fly off of characters as they perform with all their might. These sequences become something you eagerly await throughout the series as they are so passionate and reflect the power of the music being played. Artistic licence is taken to colour and light the scenes so that you can follow what is happening to the colours emotionally and mentally.

In a word: impeccable.

This is one of the most engaging stories I have been privileged to watch, filled with identifiable characters and relationships. I wept several times – particularly during concert scenes where characters’ emotions come out in their music. That said, this is a complex and emotional story where layers are peeled off piece by piece, with foreshadowing of what is to come reflected in what has already been.

I have not been touched by or connected with a story so instantly as I have with this one.

Plenty of anime humour and dynamics are used throughout the story to even out the emotional intensity and balance out the high quality animated sequences. This is as much to keep the series to a deadline and budget as much as it is to entertain and not overwhelm the audience.

The characters were recognisable instantly and initially laid out simply, but layers of details and dimension show more and more with each episode. Arima Kousei is the voice and heart of the series and I could connect instantly and even see a mirror for myself. This is a highly immersive experience.

The voices are very suitable but also have that typical anime feel, but this is good to heighten things a little and ad the entertaining elements as counter for the highly internal and reflective feel that marks this series.

The production is an interesting blend and this is set-up in the first episode (showing the different elements and styles involved throughout the story). Character movements seem real, which are then raised with CG / rotoscoping for the intense musical performance scenes. Again, this is countered by the heightened moments of manga-style humour and exaggeration to lighten the drama. Beautiful music and imagery throughout the show keep you locked into this world; transfixing.

This DVD set, being only the first half of the series, is not over-endowed with features. The usual textless opening and ending credits are included (which is fine, as I had Goose House’s theme stuck in my head, and now have it on my phone). These sequences are actually quite a joy to watch in themselves, so it is forgivable not have more features included as the real experience is the story itself.

However, this leaves me really eager to see volume two and I, for one, cannot wait to grab it up as soon as I can!

I highly recommend this series, with 4.5 out of 5 stars.

(Mind you, I may only have taken half a star off as I’m dying to see the rest of the show!)

 

Stars(4.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(4.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Your Lie in April (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Your Lie In April Vol 1 reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

Wolf Girl And Black Prince

Summary: About Erika who claims that popular boy, Sata is her boyfriend. She has no choice but to make him her fake boyfriend. Unfortunately,he may look like a sweet person, but he is actually an ultra sadist and treat her like a slave.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 6th July 2016

Country: Japan

Director: Kenichi Kasai

Screenwriter: Ayuko Hatta, Sawako Hirabayashi

Cast: Yoshimasa Hosoya (Takeru Hibiya (voice)), Kanae Ito (Erika Shinohara (voice)), Matsuoka Yoshitsugu (Nozomi Kamiya (voice)), Takahiro Sakurai (Kyouya Sata (voice))

Runtime: 12 x 24 mins episodes

Classification: M

 

OUR WOLF GIRL AND BLACK PRINCE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Harley Woods:

Wolf Girl & Black Prince is a Japanese animated series, revolving around an off-beat high school romance. It is released on DVD and BluRay in Australia by Madman Entertainment.

I found this series to be an enjoyable watch despite, or perhaps because of, my constantly conflicting feelings about the main pair’s romance. This romance is centred around Erika (the lying ‘wolf-girl’) and her ‘black prince,’ Kyoya.

What, at times, seems like an abusive relationship (or, at least, a pretend relationship) is complicated by sudden glimpses of care and sweetness throughout that keep you building hope in a happy outcome; just as Erika does as she realises the truth of her feelings and confesses her love to Kyoya.

By raising these conflicting feelings within its audience’s minds the story successfully manages to put us in Erika’s place. At times we want her to just end it; it’s a ridiculous situation to be in. And then we suddenly think that there’s more to it, and more to him, and maybe we want to give him another chance…

It’s just like a relationship – especially one that may not be good for us. Still, you do have to wonder why Erika does put up with it and this could be a question that makes you wonder if you want to keep watching once you are past the halfway point and our protagonist is still putting herself through emotional heartache.

However, the truth of the situation is that Erika constantly lands herself in the thick of it with her lies and exaggerations but ends up finding numerous friendships – which is what she set out to do in the first episode of the series as she starts her first day of high school. Find rewards like this is what really makes the show attractive and enticing.

A great array of supporting characters and interrelationships are shown throughout the series. Some characters could have benefited by more screentime, or a longer series, but as the story is Erika and Kyoya’s relationship this would have been extraneous to the main plot and dragged out the painful parts of the relationship to the point where you would probably stop watching.

A lot of time is spent hoping for more details into Kyoya’s past and reasons for his actions which  are hinted at but held very close to the chest until the end, unfortunately. It would have been nice to put a bit more of this information in along the way, but it is worth pursuing to the end to get more pieces of the puzzle, despite the harder moments of character ‘sadism’ in the series.

This DVD is only presented in the original Japanese audio with English subtitles (which I prefer, anyway). The characters work with suitable voices that fit the usual archetypes and stereotypes, setting suitable tones for each moment of drama, humour, romance and so on. It is this voice work and the additional characters that keep the entertainment going and lighten the more emotionally draining moments.

This is a well-made series, done in the typical style with the primary focus on exaggerating Erika’s rollercoaster of emotions and highlighting important moments such as the flashbacks to Kyoya’s childhood.

I like that the production team did not resolve every little thing for each and every character, as this is how it is in real life. Despite some heightened drama, you walk away believing in the relationships and characters’ personal / internal dramas; like a window into a single chapter of someone’s life.

Focus is given to the romance and relationships and getting that to a certain point without wholly and conveniently fixing everything in everyone’s lives.

This is a ‘lite’ DVD set, with the only features being the usual textless opening and ending credits. I like this, however, as the theme tunes got stuck firmly in my head. Being a short, complete story I did not feel the set suffered from not having further features, as the real experience is the story itself.

This series is available in stores now from Madman Entertainment.
Stars(3.5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating:  Wolf Girl and Black Prince (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Wolf Girl And Black Prince reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

A Letter To Momo

Summary: Clinging to an unfinished letter written by her recently deceased father, young Momo moves with her mother from bustling Tokyo to the remote Japanese island of Shio. Upon their arrival, she begins to explore her new habitat, meeting local children and learning their routines and customs. However, it’s not long before several bizarre occurrences crop up around the previously tranquil island. Orchards are found ransacked, prized trinkets start disappearing and, worst of all, each morning after her mother leaves for work, Momo hears strange mumblings coming from the attic of their home. Annoyed by these creepy goings-on and her mother’s refusal to believe them, Momo embarks on a strange and supernatural adventure to discover the source of the mischief, which leads her to a trio of troublesome imps: the flatulent lizard Kawa, the childlike Mame and their hulking ogre leader Iwa. Momo also learns that her visit to the island is in some way connected to her father’s mysterious letter.

Year: 2011

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 6th July 2016

Country: Japan

Director: Hiroyuki Okiura

Screenwriter: Hiroyuki Okiura

Cast: Daizaburo Arakawa (Kazuo Miyaura (voice)), Frank Ashmore (Great Uncle (voice)), Bob Bergen (Mame (voice)), Kota Fuji (Yota (voice)), Kanoa Goo (Yota (voice)), Katsuki Hashimoto (Umi (voice)), Mia Sinclair Jenness (Umi (voice)), Karen Miyama (Momo Miyaura (voice)), Yuichi Nagashima (Mame (voice)), Toshiyuki Nishida (Iwa (voice)), Takeo Ogawa (Koichi (voice)), Amanda Pace (Momo Miyaura (voice)), Yoshida Sakaguchi (Great Uncle (voice)), Philece Sampler (Great Auntie (voice)), Stephanie Sheh (Ikuko Miyaura (voice)), Dana Snyder (Kawa (voice)), Ikuko Tani (Great Auntie (voice)), Fred Tatasciore (Iwa (voice)), Kirk Thornton (Kazuo Miyaura (voice)), Koichi Yamadera (Kawa (voice)), Yuka (Ikuko Miyaura (voice)), Rick Zieff (Koichi (voice))

Runtime: 120 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR A LETTER TO MOMO REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Harley Woods:

A Letter To Momo is a Japanese animated feature, produced by Production I.G. and directed by Hiroyuki Okiura. It is released on DVD and BluRay in Australia by Madman Entertainment.

A Letter To Momo is a beautiful story and very true-to-life in it’s character portrayal and relationship aspects. This then melds with the fantastic and supernatural as Momo meets her ‘guardian angels’ who have taken unique forms from an old comic she was reading.

Shocking and hilarious moments ensue as she tries to deal with an unreal situation on top her own emotional ordeals after the death of her father and sudden move to a new home.

As we settle into life at the same time as Momo we experience childhood again and feel her bashfulness as her mother tries to force a friendship with local children (only to embarrass Momo) and relive all of the typical moments of childhood.

The real stirring begins when we learn what has brought Momo and her mother to this new life and how deeply the impacts of recent tragedy still play on this child’s heart and mind. The natural and ‘everyday’ way that the storytelling works is something the director and writers should be commended for.

The characters are brilliant – the humans are believable and ‘true’, while the otherworldly are fantastic and engaging and lovable despite their mischief.

One cannot help but care for Momo and want the best for her in each situation. A few moments I wanted to cry for the emotional jolts and later again for the pure joy and enjoyment I took from this movie.

As usual, I watched the production in the original Japanese which I think is an absolute must for this movie. The portrayals are true for each character and not ‘hightened’ like mass media anime. This is a real character piece with honest emotion and performances which I think would be harmed by dubbing over language and mannerisms of an entirely different culture.

The honesty in which it is played makes for a unique and touching experience.

The production overall was, in a word: beautiful.

The unique style, much different than the usual anime ‘manga style’ adds to the believability and draws the viewer more deeply into the story. The production staff have made every effort to bring the audience into the story.

Beautifully painted backdrops, realistic characters and a realistic sense of movement in the animation show just how great the thought and effort has been in the making of this film. The simpler character style and painting creates a more realistic look than expected, with the more predictable and fantastic stuff left for the supernatural figures.

Great direction and storytelling has paid-off for a highly rewarding and encapsulating viewing experience.

This is a great DVD from Madman, which includes Featurettes on the making of the production (which is really great to watch to see how this splendorous movie came to life from concept to completion).

Also included are an art gallery, test clips and trailers. All of these make for a value-packed DVD and an intensely enjoyable and uplifting experience which has quickly become one of my favourite movies.

 

Stars(5)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(5)

 

IMDB Rating:  A Letter to Momo (2011) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Black Butler: Book Of Murder reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

Black Butler Book Of Murder

Summary: At the behest of the Queen, Earl Ciel Phantomhive hosts a lavish dinner party attended by several of the finest members of polite society—as well as struggling author, Arthur. But as the party reaches its high, a terrible murder takes place and none other than the Earl himself is suspected of the crime.

As a violent storm rages on outside, the death count continues to climb. The Phantomhive household and their eminent guests find they must cooperate in order to solve this mystery before they too fall prey to the mysterious murderer. However, it seems that not even the perfect butler, Sebastian Michaelis, is safe from this horror.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 6th July 2016

Country: Japan

Director: Noriyuki Abe

Screenwriter: Yana Taboso

Cast: Shintaro Asanuma (Arthur (voice)), Yuki Kaji (Finnian (voice)), Emri Kato (Mey-Rin (voice)), Ryohei Kimura (Charles Grey (voice)), Jamie Marchi (Irene Diaz (voice)), Mana Miyamoto (Irene Diaz (voice)), Daisuke Ono (Sebastian Michaelis (voice)), Maaya Sakamoto (Ciel Phantomhive (voice)), Shinnosuke Tachibana (Soma), Eiichiro Tokumoto (Grimsby (voice)), Hiroki Yasumoto (Agni (voice)), Koji Yusa (Lau (voice)),

Runtime: 58 mins per ep

Classification: M

 

OUR BLACK BUTLER: BOOK OF MURDER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Harley Woods:

Black Butler: Book Of Murder is a 2 part miniseries, originally shown in Japanese cinemas, which acts as the fourth instalment of the ‘Black Butler’ anime franchise. It is released on DVD and BluRay in Australia by MadMan Entertainment.

The story revolves around a dinner party at the Phantomhive manour, as ordered by the Queen. Ciel Phantomhive is the Queen’s ‘watchdog’ and although just a boy he always carries out his orders and protects her majesty with the aid of his demonic butler, Sebastian.

In this instalment his loyalty is under scrutiny so the Queen order Ciel to host a dinner for her cousin, where trouble is expected. The trouble in question takes the form of an old-style murder mystery, of the kind seen in classic British mystery novels of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle and Agatha Christie. This genre has been recreated particularly well, with the added twist of grand scheming and devilry that one expects from the Black Butler series.

Although this very genre-specific story is a slight departure from the usual style of the series, it is a faithful follow-on to the previous 3 instalments. A few inferences in the plot do incorporate details from the previous chapters, so knowledge of these makes for a more rewarding viewing. I found the story to be highly engaging with plot developments that keep you on the edge of your seat to discover the resolution.

Great characters fill this tale with most development being given to the guest cast, being that this is a finite miniseries. The regular cast have already been well developed so it is more important in this instance to get the bit-players across in a way that rounds their characters enough to understand their reactions and behaviours in the context of the narrative. That said, there does seem to be a little more impetus for Ciel to function on his own without relying on Sebastian.

I think the only loss in this regard is not seeing more of the Phantomhive staff have their unique character moments which usually come out more towards the end of each series as a bit of a surprise twist, but this time is incorporated from the start in more subtle ways. However, this leaves little wastage and things proceed naturally toward the ultimate resolution.

The Japanese voice cast are always impeccable and this is how I choose to view my anime. However, I did take the take to check out the American dub for the sake of this review. I don’t think a lot of the voices fit the characters too well – Sebastian for example sounds a little too old and less smooth as his character is often revealed to be.

However, props should be given to the American cast for taking the time and effort to provide suitable accents for each character and their background (predominantly British, with Chinese and Germanic characters). I appreciate that level of effort as it would be otherwise jarring to the audience who are supposed to be immersed in a drama in old England.

The art and animate was brilliant as usual, and the creators have successfully made reference to past elements and tied loose ends. This allows the series to move forward in a new chapter where they can, perhaps, create a new feel or a new beginning.

The characters are unique and their styles and those of Victorian London have been well presented and recreated, with a little bit of ‘anime flair’ to spice it up.

The settings are interesting and beautiful and help to immerse the audience in the world being presented. Action and animation are top quality and always a joy to watch. It’s always hard to look away, especially when Sebastian and the Phantomhive staff get into action.

The DVD is lite on special features, being more of a ‘special miniseries / movie collection’ rather than a full series in its own right. Included on this DVD release are the US trailer and Feature commentary on the second instalment by members of the US voice cast.

The commentary is good for those who watch the dubbed version and enjoy these performers, but for someone like me who enjoys the original soundtrack and the production as a whole it might have been nice to have a featurette or something.

On the whole, this is a very enjoyable anime, and I give it 4 out of 5.

Stars(4)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(4)

 

IMDB Rating:  Kuroshitsuji: Book of Murder (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Black Butler: Book Of Murder reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

Batman The Killing Joke

Summary: As Batman hunts for the escaped Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime attacks the Gordon family to prove a diabolical point mirroring his own fall into madness.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd July 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: 3rd August 2016

Country: USA

Director: Sam Liu

Screenwriter: Brian Azzarello, Bob Kane (characters), Bill Finger (characters), Jerry Robinson (characters), Brian Bolland (graphic novel), Alan Moore (graphic novel)

Cast: Kevin Conroy (Batman/Bruce Wayne (voice)), John DiMaggio (Francesco (voice)), Robin Atkin Downes (Detective Bullock (voice)), Brian George (Alfred (voice)), Mark Hamill (The Joker (voice)), JP Karliak (Reese (voice)), Andrew Kishino (Murray (voice)), Nolan North (Mitch (voice)), Maury Sterling (Paris (voice)), Tara Strong (Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (voice)), Anna Vocino (Jeannie (voice)), Rick D. Wasserman (Maroni (voice)), Ray Wise (Commissioner Gordon (voice)),

Runtime: 76 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Few movie/television franchises have evolved as much as Batman has over the years. For those of us older enough we grew up watching the campy Adam West led series that saw Batman’s violence limited to ‘POW’ and ‘KAPOW’ being placed on the screen as Batman almost playfully put down his enemies. For anyone that had never read the original Batman comics and graphic novels there was no hint at all at just how dark this series could be. Tim Burton touched on it with ‘Batman’ and ‘Batman Returns’ while Christopher Nolan fully embraced with his Batman trilogy. Now however comes what is possibly the darkest ‘Batman’ adaption to ever grace our screens – the animated cinematic event that is ‘Batman: The Killing Joke.’

Loosely based on the Brian Bolland/Alan Moore graphic novel of the same name ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ sees the successful duo of Batman/Bruce Wayne (voiced by Kevin Conroy – ‘The Office’) and Batgirl/Barbara Gordon (Tara Strong – ‘Ice Age’) pretty much keeping Gotham City crime free. But things sour when their relationship turns sexual and it seems to Barbara that Bruce still wants to treat her like a child. As she decides to quit the Batgirl role both her and her father, Commissioner Gordon (Ray Wise – ‘RoboCop’), are attacked by The Joker (Mark Hamill – ‘Star Wars’) who is determined to prove that anyone can break the way he did.

Anyone who is expecting that ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ is aimed at children because of the fact that it is animated is in for a very rude shock indeed. I say that because those have read the graphic novel know that the treatment that Barbara and Commissioner Gordon receives from The Joker is extremely violent and adult orientated and here director Sam Liu (‘Green Lantern: The Animated Series’) doesn’t hold back. And while Liu doesn’t tone things done ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ is far from the perfect film.

Liu and his screenwriter, Brian Azzarello (‘Batman: Gotham Knight’) actually do a pretty good job making this a Joker origins story and while they produce a great insight into how the Joker ended up the way he did and what he is capable of doing there are also weaknesses in the plot. The opening scenes which show Batgirl and Batman trying to bring down Paris Franz (Maury Sterling – ‘The A-Team’) are massively too long. As a film this should be a Joker origins story but having a whole early sub-plot of having Paris develop a crush on Batgirl before the Joker is even properly introduced makes the film feel clumsy and awkward as it suddenly switches from being a Batgirl movie to a Joker movie… not a great move when you know what the Joker does to her here. It’s also a weird thing to say about a film that only runs for 76 minutes but that added Batgirl story makes the film seem over-long.

Perhaps the worst crime though that ‘Batman: The Killing’ commits though is its rushed ending. Liu does a great job setting up what appears like it is going to be an epic battle between Batman and The Joker after Joker has tortured Commissioner Gordon in an old fairground. But alas the battle is never as epic as you expect it to be and the ending is just ever awkward as you see Batman and Joker laughing together… something you would never expect to see when you know what Joker has just done to Batgirl. Anyone that knows Batman would know that this would never be his response to such an act and it feels dangerously out of place here.

The darkness of ‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ does ring out the best in its voice cast. Anyway who says that Mark Hamill has had a ‘nothing’ career since ‘Star Wars’ will be silenced by his eerie and manic portrayal of The Joker while Kevin Conroy is his typical smooth self voicing Batman. The other star here is Tara Strong who gets the benefit from the added Batgirl storyline and she reveals herself to be one voice artist who really knows how to get emotion out of her voice.

‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ does have its weaknesses but they are somewhat overcome by the fact that this is one of the darkest Batman stories that we have ever seen on the big screen. While it may be animated it certainly doesn’t lessen the impact of the darker scenes and the filmmakers behind it need to be congratulated for not toning it down. Well worth a look if you are a hardened Batman fan.

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):   Stars(3)

 

IMDB Rating:  Batman: The Killing Joke (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Batman: The Killing Joke reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

T2 Trainspotting

Sony Pictures Entertainment have just released the T2: Trainspotting teaser trailer. The film is directed by Danny Boyle and has been adapted from the Irvine Welsh novel, Porno, by John Hodge.

The film also sees the return of key cast members Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller and Ewen Bremner and will be released in Australia during Febuary, 2017.

You can view the T2: Trainspotting trailer below:

 

Comic Con

Well Comic Con is over for another year and once again we have seen some amazing trailers released to fans at the con. Let’s take a look at the films that trailers premiered.

 

WONDER WOMAN

Wonder WomanSummary: An Amazon princess leaves her island home to explore the world, and becomes the greatest of its heroes.

Director: Patty Jenkins

Stars: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, David Thewlis

Release Date: 1st June, 2017 (Australia)

 

KONG: SKULL ISLAND

Kong Skull IslandSummary: An action/adventure story centered on King Kong’s origins.

Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts

Cast: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Johnson

Release Date: 9th March, 2017 (Australia)

 

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

The Lego Batman MovieSummary: A spin-off of The Lego Movie centering on Batman.

Director: Chris McKay

Stars: Will Arnett, Ralph Fiennes, Rosario Dawson, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Mariah Carey

Release Date: February 2017 (Australia)

 

DOCTOR STRANGE

Doctor StrangeSummary: After his career is destroyed, a brilliant but arrogant and conceited surgeon gets a new lease on life when a sorcerer takes him under her wing and trains him to defend the world against evil.

Director: Scott Derrickson

Cast:Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Tilda Swinton

Release Date: 27th October, 2016 (Australia)

 

KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD

King Arthur Legend Of The SwordSummary: Feature film version of the classic King Arthur story.

Director: Guy Ritchie

Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Eric Bana, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou

Release Date: 23rd March 2017 (Australia)

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find ThemSummary: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Director: David Yates

Cast: Ezra Miller, Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Ron Perlman, Jon Voight

Release Date: 17th November 2016 (Australia)

 

THE WOODS (BLAIR WITCH)

Blair WitchSummary: After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his sister’s experiences in the cursed woods of the Blair Witch, Blane and a group of friends head to the forest in search of his lost sibling.

Director: Adam Wingard

Cast: Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson, Valorie Curry

Release Date: September 2016 (Australia)

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Justice LeagueSummary: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.

Director: Zack Snyder

Cast: Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Amber Heard, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Ezra Miller, J.K. Simmons, Jeremy Irons, Willem Dafoe

Release Date: 16th November 2017 (Australia)

MARVEL_STUDIOS_LOGO

This weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige took the stage in Hall H for a panel to showcase the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, hosted by Chris Hardwick.

These are the films that were looked at:

MarvelBlack Panter

BLACK PANTHER is in U.S. Cinemas February 16, 2018 / Australia release date TBC, 2018

The panel kicked off with surprise guests from BLACK PANTHER, including cast members Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye) and director Ryan Coogler, making their first official appearance as a cast.

 

MarvelThor Ragnarok

THOR: RAGNAROK is in U.S. Cinemas November 3, 2017;  Australia release date October, 2017

Chris Hemsworth (Thor) from the upcoming THOR: RAGNOROK didn’t want to be left out of the Comic-Con fun despite being mid-shoot in Australia and sent a video highlighting what Thor has been up to since the last Avengers.  An in-production sizzle reel gave the audience in attendance a sense of what’s to come.

 

MarvelDoctor Strange

DOCTOR STRANGE is in U.S. cinemas November 4, 2016 / Australia release date October 27, 2016

For the first time, fans were introduced to the cast of DOCTOR STRANGE: Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Mordo), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Rachel McAdams (Doctor Christine Palmer), Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius) and Benedict Wong (Master Wong) along with director Scott Derrickson and treated to brand new never-before-seen footage from the film.

 

MarvelGuardians Of The Galaxy 2

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is in U.S. Cinemas May 5, 2017/ Australia release date April, 2017

The panel was taken over by the Ravagers from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, and Kevin Feige announced the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! (more information below and attached) attraction at Disney California Adventure, followed by a surprise appearance from returning cast members Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Michael Rooker (Yondu) and new additions Kurt Russell (Ego), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) alongside director James Gunn. They treated fans to exclusive footage from the film. The following pieces of art were also revealed.

MarvelGuardiansArtMarvelGuardiansArt2MarvelGuardiansArt3

More about Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! 

Debuting in summer 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! will take Disney California Adventure park guests through the fortress-like museum of the mysterious Collector, who is keeping his newest acquisitions, the Guardians of the Galaxy, as prisoners. Guests will board a gantry lift which launches them into a daring adventure as they join Rocket Raccoon in an attempt to set free his fellow Guardians. The new attraction will transform the structure currently housing The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ into an epic new adventure, enhancing the breathtaking free fall sensation with new visual and audio effects to create a variety of ride experiences. Guests will experience multiple, random and unique ride profiles in which the rise and fall of the gantry lift rocks to the beat of music inspired by the film’s popular soundtrack.

 

MarvelCaptain Marvel

CAPTAIN MARVEL is in U.S. Cinemas March 8, 2019 / Australia release date TBC, 2019

As a final surprise, Kevin Feige introduced the brand new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Brie Larson, who will be playing Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers in CAPTAIN MARVEL.