This week on That’s Entertainment Dave Griffiths joins Ed Phillips to chat about new films Kingsman: The Golden Circle, The Lego Ninjago Movie, Mother! and Pattie Cake$.
Sony Pictures have just released a brand new trailer and cast image for the upcoming film Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle.
In the brand new adventure Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the tables are turned as four teenagers in detention are sucked into the world of Jumanji. When they discover an old video game console with a game they’ve never heard of, they are immediately thrust into the game’s jungle setting, into the bodies of their avatars, played by Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, and Karen Gillan. What they discover is that you don’t just play Jumanji –Jumanji plays you. They’ll have to go on the most dangerous adventure of their lives, or they’ll be stuck in the game forever…
Starring Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale & Rhys Darby. Directed by Jake Kasdan.
IN CINEMAS DECEMBER 26, 2017
Warner Bros. have given us the first glimpses of the new Tomb Raider film overnight with the release of not only the film’s first trailer but with a special Becoming Lara Croft featurette as well.
Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he’s truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death.
Going explicitly against his final wishes, she leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad’s last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. But her mission will not be an easy one; just reaching the island will be extremely treacherous. Suddenly, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Lara, who—against the odds and armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith and inherently stubborn spirit—must learn to push herself beyond her limits as she journeys into the unknown. If she survives this perilous adventure, it could be the making of her, earning her the name tomb raider.
TOMB RAIDER is directed by Roar Uthaug and stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander in the lead role, Dominic West, Walton Goggins and Daniel Wu.
TOMB RAIDER releases in Australian cinemas on March 15, 2018.
Monster Pictures’ Grant Hardie chatted to Heavy Radio’s Dave Griffiths about what the people of Perth can expect this weekend at Monster Fest Perth 2017.
Perth genre fans will get a taste of Monster Pictures’ annual Melbourne-based genre film festival Monster Fest this July thanks to the continued partnership with Event Cinemas to present MONSTER FEST TRAVELLING SIDESHOW at Event Cinemas Innaloo on September 15-17th, 2017.
MONSTER FEST TRAVELLING SIDESHOW is a mix of horror-centric highlights around the globe and will feature some select Australian and Adelaide premieres!
Opening our festival is the Perth premiere of Tyler MacIntyre’s brutally hilarious slasher TRAGEDY GIRLS, followed by the Australian Premiere of surreal sci-retro-tech horror SEQUENCE BREAK and the claustrophobic Spanish suspense-driven thriller THE GLASS COFFIN will also have its Australian Premiere. Following their acclaimed Lovecraftian feature SPRING, writer/directors Aaron Moorhead & Justin Benson’s THE ENDLESS will have its Perth Premiere, making its Australian Premiere is Colin Minihan’s zombie apocalypse game-changer IT STAINS THE SAND RED while Italian horror maestro Dario Argento’s 1977 masterpiece SUSPIRIA will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a presentation of the all-new stunning 4K restoration.
Another 4K restoration making its Perth debut is David Lynch’s TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME, a window into the last seven days in the life of Laura Palmer. Australian mockumentary and recent Fantastic Fest official selection, TOP KNOT DETECTIVE will have a hometown screening along with a filmmaker Q&A. In association with Umbrella Films, we are proud to present tribute screenings to George A. Romero with the undisputed 1985 classic DAY OF THE DEAD and Tobe Hooper with THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE.
Single Session Tickets
Make sure you grab your tickets from www.monsterfest.com.au
Performer Jason Triggs chats to Harley Woods and Dave Griffiths from Subculture about his brand new show 25: Voices that will be held on Saturday 16th September for two very special performances as part of the 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival.
Take a listen to the interview and Dave and Harley talk to Jason about how the show was conceived and how he learnt that he could do so many impressions.
You can listen to the interview right here – Listen to “25 Voices Subculture Special” on Spreaker.
Summary: When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 31st August 2017
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Screenwriter: Kenya Barris, Tracy Oliver, Erica Rivinoja (story)
Cast: Deborah Ayorinde (Simone), Ricky Bell (himself), Donna Biscoe (Delores), Michael Bivins (himself), Mariah Carey (herself), Morris Chestnut (himself), Kyle Clements (Officer Sims), Mike Colter (Stewart Pierce), Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs (himself), Common (himself), D-Nice (himself), Gabrielle Dennis (herself), Ronnie DeVoe (himself), Ava DuVernay (herself), Kenneth ‘Babyface’ Edmonds (himself), Aadyn Encalarde (Riley), Estelle (herself), Faith Evans (herself), Kevin Frazier (himself), Doug E. Fresh (himself), Johnny Gill (himself), Lara Grice (Bethany), Tiffany Haddish (Dina), Carla Hall (herself), Regina Hall (Ryan Pierce), Melissa Harris-Perry (herself), Lalah Hathaway (herself), Sunny Hostin (herself), Charreah Jackson (herself), Queen Latifah (Sasha Franklin), Alona Leoine (Sonya), William Levy (himself), Mase (himself), Maxwell (himself), MC Lyte (herself), Terry McMillan (herself), Robert Miano (Hobo Bob), Ne-Yo (himself), Shrey Neil (Vikram), Jaina Lee Ortiz (herself), Jannette Sepwa (Rhonda), Jada Pinkett Smith (Lisa Cooper), Kofi Siriboe (Malik), Tonia Stewart (Aunt Marian), Larenz Tate (Julian Stevens), Lorraine Toussaint (herself), Ralph Tresvant (himself), Iyanla Vanzant (herself), Kate Walsh (Elizabeth Davelli), Ricky Wayne (Ted), Cayden Williams (Austin)
Runtime: 122 mins
Comedies aimed at a female audience have proven to be very popular at the box office over the past few years. Some, like Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect have been on song (excuse the pun) and worked wonderfully well. Then came Rough Night, the film that Hollywood hoped would be a female version of The Hangover, but it flops badly. Following on with that same goal we now have Girls Trip… a film that is head and shoulders above Rough Night.
In a story of friendship we meet The Flossie Possie – made up of the world’s new Oprah, Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall – Scary Movie 4, Law Abiding Citizen), almost-bankrupt gossip columnist Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah – Living Single, Chicago), boring divorced mother Lisa Cooper (Jada Pinkett Smith – Collateral, Scream 2) and the fun loving but very violent Dina (Tiffany Haddish – Keanu, Meet The Spartans).
The Flossie Possie started out in High School but have drifted apart over the years, but now they are back together and heading to New Oreleans where Ryan is the keynote speaker at a conference while her agent Elizabeth (Kate Walsh – Grey’s Anatomy, The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) works on a business deal that will see Ryan and her husband Stewart (Mike Colter – Luke Cage, Million Dollar Baby) become one of the richest celebrity couples in America. But with their marriage not as perfect as first seems and each of the members of the Possie dealing with their own demons this could turn out to be a very interesting weekend indeed.
As a film Girls Trip does hold up. The characters are instantly likable and for once a comedy gives you just enough back story for each of the characters to seem real, and even more importantly is there a no clichéd characters here. These important things all working with the screenplay and for director Malcolm D. Lee (Undercover Brother, The Best Man) means as an audience you find yourself barracking for these characters straight away.
What also works with the screenplay is the relationships between the characters. We get that there is tension between Sasha and Ryan without the screenplay having to spell it out in plain English for us. The script also allows for an interesting development between Ryan and Stewart by introducing his mistress, Simone (Deborah Ayorinde – Luke Cage, Game Of Silence) and then introducing a potential love interest for Ryan in the form of the almost perfect bass-player Julian (Larenz Tate – The Postman, Ray). The twisted four-way relationship never feels forced, which the screenwriters need to be congratulated about, and once again draws the audiences interest.
However, the major flaw of Girls Trip is that it feels like the screenwriters were never one hundred per cent sure what kind of comedy they were looking to make the film. There are witty lines and great moments of comedy that will make you laugh, Dina’s exchange with her boss as she is being fired is hilarious, but then when you suddenly find yourself watching a women pee on a crowd beneath her while she is on a zip line or another giving fellatio to a banana you find yourself wondering what are they trying to achieve here. These kinds of gags work in films like American Pie or The Hangover because they are constant, but there they seem out of place. Ironically it is when this film is showing moments of true heart and feelings between its characters that it works, that makes the outrageous comedic moments seem like an even stranger fit.
One of the main things that does work in favour of Girls Trip though is the performances of its cast. Everybody comes together really well and together Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish are one of the best comedic ensembles that we have seen in quite a while. Hall brings are sensitivity to the film, Latifah brings heart and Haddish is there for the more outrageous moments. Then you have the utility – Smith who does a mixture of whatever each scene calls for. Then there is Larenz Tate who must be itching towards a headline role in a film soon, while Kate Walsh also delivers some of the film’s most funny moments.
Girls Trip does have a little issue with its comedic tone but for the most part this is a film that works pretty well. There are moments that will make you chuckle, which is more than you can say for a lot of comedies these days, while there is enough heart to win over any audience. If you’re looking for the perfect girls night out then Girls Trip should be number one on your list.
Bridesmaids pretty much set the standard for the R-rated raunchy girls misbehaving comedy, and we have seen a lot of these female centric versions of The Hangover. But subsequent films in this subgenre, like the recent Rough Night, Bad Sisters and even Sex And The City 2, have continually lowered the bar. And now we get to Girls Trip, an African-American variation on the girls behaving badly formula. But this is a dreary, offensive and largely unfunny comedy which, quite frankly, scrapes the faecal matter off the bottom of the barrel.
As with Rough Night the basic plot centres around the reunion between a group of female friends who were once tight in college, twenty years ago, who get together for a wild weekend. Known as the “flossy posse” they were known for their hard partying ways. Over the course of time though they drifted apart and haven’t seen each other for five years.
Ryan (played by Regina Hall) is now a successful author and self-help guru who supposedly has it all. She is married to Stewart (Mike Colter) a former football star and is about to sign a lucrative deal to host her own nationally syndicated television talk show and book deal. She has been asked to deliver the keynote address at the annual Essence Festival in New Orleans. So, for some reason she decides to get the flossy posse back together to share in her success.
Sasha (Queen Latifah) graduated with a degree in journalism but, strapped for cash, is now reduced to writing for a low rate gossip blog. She dishes the dirt on celebrities. Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith) is a conservative, straitlaced divorcee, a helicopter mum who tries to protect her two children. She plays it safe and leads an unadventurous life and has to be talked into going to New Orleans with her former friends. And Dina (Tiffany Haddish) is still the wild child, the sexually aggressive hard partying type who hasn’t really changed her behaviour. She is unable to hold down a job because of her brash manner and a series of wrong choices.
Once the quartet hits New Orleans the ladies cut loose. However, before too long old resentments, lingering tensions and new revelations threaten the friendship and test their bonds. Sasha learns the truth about Stewart, who has been cheating on Ryan with seductive and well-endowed Instagram model Simone (Deborah Ayinode), and she has to choose whether to publish her scoop or remain silent out of loyalty to Ryan. Dina’s wild ways get them thrown out of a luxurious five-star hotel and they find temporary accommodations in a two-dollar hooker hotel. Cue plenty of drinking, brawling, crass sexual innuendo, and some frank dialogue, but little of it rings true.
Girls Trip has been written by a trio of writers, including Erica Rivinoja, who hails from a background in television and animated films; Kenya Barris (Barbershop: The Next Cut, and lots of tv work including Blackish); and Tracy Oliver (Barbershop: The Next Cut, etc). Directed by Malcolm D Lee, better known for Barbershop: The Next Cut and Scary Movie 5, Girls Trip gets the tone wrong from the start. As with Rough Night, I found it hard to believe that a successful character like Ryan would hang out with these losers by choice, especially at such a pivotal point in her career. This is fairly formulaic stuff, with plenty of the gross out humour and crude dialogue that we have seen before.
Most of the main characters are an unlikeable bunch, and the time spent in their company is tiresome. At an overly generous 122-minutes, the film is way too long for what it wants to say. Although this ode to sisterhood delivers some positive messages about friendship, female bonding, the joys of being single in the 21st century, and staying true to yourself, we have to sit through nearly two hours of dreck to get there. The film also explores issues of race, class and gender politics.
There is some surprisingly strong chemistry between the four leads though. Girls Trip reunites Latifah and Pinkett Smith twenty years after the both appeared in the heist thriller Set It Off. Hall delivers her usual solid performance here. Latifah always has a brash style and plenty of attitude, but here she often seems uncomfortable and doesn’t exactly bring her A-game. This is a breakout performance from Haddish, who delivers a volatile and scenery chewing performance as the unpredictable Dina, and she does bring some energy to the material, and virtually steals the film.
There are also lots of star studded cameos though from celebrities playing themselves. Girls Trip is a sub-Apatow like comedy, but it is largely unfunny, with too many flat spots and many supposedly humorous moments that are misjudged. The film hits a low point with a tasteless sequence set on a flying fox over New Orleans’ famous Bourbon Street that sets a new low for this kind of comedy.
Other Subculture Entertainment Girl’s Trip Reviews: You can also listen to Dave’s Girl’s Trip review from That’s Entertainment on 31/08/2017 right here.
Some actors, for one reason or another, are forced to direct films outside of their personal interests or preferred genre. Have you been lucky enough to only work within the genre, and your preferred type of film?
I wouldn’t say I have a preferred genre in terms of film. I love drama, because you have a lot of emotional rope to play with. I love comedy because it’s so much fun - I trained at UCB and the Groundlings and I like playing and improvising and making people laugh. And the last few features I’ve done, Like Phoenix Forgotten, have happened to be horror films, or at least had a horror element to them. It just worked out that way – and I also happen to be a horror fan, both as a viewer and as an actor. I love movies like Peter Jackson’s early film Dead Alive. Shaun of The Dead is another favorite, and I loved this year’s Get Out and Ingrid Goes West (which I would totally describe as a horror movie though I realise that’s contentious!). In horror movies the stakes are heightened – and that’s a really fun world for an actor to work in. And I think the best horror movies have moments of both comedy and drama – so you get the best of both worlds.
How soon before filming did you get involved?
I had worked with Justin Barber (our director) and T.S. Nowlin, our writer, on some other projects prior to this one, so I was lucky enough to be involved with this movie right from the initial test shoot. I didn’t know if the project was going to get to be made into a feature, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to even audition for the role I ended up playing, there are always so many variables in the process of making a film. Obviously in the end I did get to audition and it worked out for me! I’m very grateful I got to be a part of the film from beginning to end, that was a really special part of this experience for me.
How long has it been since it was completed? Was it an anxious wait for the release?
Going into this project the goal was for it to feel like you’re watching a documentary my character, Sophie, has made about her brother’s disappearance. So we had a great script that our director Justin Barber co-wrote with our writer, TS Nowlin (who also wrote The Maze Runner Trilogy). But going into pretty much every scene we also improvised a version of it – so it felt like real moments from real people. This meant that the film changed a lot as we made it – because obviously in improvising you’re not planning what you’re saying, and you’re finding new stuff on the day. In a documentary you never know exactly what you’re going to get – you shoot all your stuff and you sift through and it all comes together in the edit. However, with a real documentary you just have to use whatever you end up with after you film – if you are making a narrative feature you get to go back and shoot anything you feel like your story is missing later on! So we had a couple of re-shoots right up until right before the release date – I think it was a month or so. I had already seen a couple of cuts of the film so I wasn’t anxious – just excited to see it come out.
Did it turn out as you envisioned it would?
Because in a way we were approaching this film as you would a documentary, that set a really high bar for our acting. Approaching this role I felt really committed to being grounded and subtle and making sure Sophie felt three dimensional and believable. One of the things I think is so cool about this film is that we weave fact and fiction together – there are actual real people in the film who we interview about some of their real experiences. So personally my goal was to live up to the example set by the wonderful moments we got out of our real interview subjects. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a great cast and I think everyone did an amazing job – so yes, in that sense I think what came out of that is a movie that feels like the real doc my character would have made, and that’s what I had hoped for and envisioned going in.
Were any scenes of yours lost in the editing room? Any moments you remember filming?
My character initially had a love interest, who was the brother of one of the other kids who goes missing. Dan still made it into the movie but he and Sophie didn’t end up getting their walk off into the sunset together - which was the ending of an earlier edit! Sorry Sophie!
How much say did you have in how the film was marketed?
I can take zero credit for that – that was not my department.
Do you get to approve stills that you feature in?
I think so? That wasn’t a huge issue for me on this one.
Have you been lucky enough to work with a filmmaker that involves you in the entire process – right up until release?
Well this project was an especially collaborative one. Not only with all the research and preparation we all did separately and together, and the collaboration and improv on set, but usually you don’t get to see initial edits and stuff on a project like this. With this film I got to see several cuts before the final version, which I actually love. Some actors don’t like watching themselves but I kind of feel like it’s like an athlete watching tape of themselves swimming or playing football or whatever – I like watching it with an analytical eye and seeing what went right and where I can do better. I’m a weirdo like that! I will say though, I also like seeing the film by myself first, before I watch my giant feature film sized face in a theater in front of everyone I know. Just so if something didn’t come out how I wanted I can work through it in my alone time and then watch it in public without feeling traumatized.
VOD or theater. Where, if you had your choice, would you prefer your movies – not just this latest one, but all of them – be seen?
I love the accessibility of VOD, and I think in terms of movie watching, it means I’m more open to watching something I maybe wouldn’t necessarily risk trying out in the theater. But you can’t beat going to the movies. To me there’s nothing like sitting in the dark with your buddies, with your popcorn, all experiencing the same thing. I think VOD encourages a solo viewing experience, and I think going to the movies makes it a group experience, so that’s the difference for me. I think there will always be a place for movie theaters, for just that reason.
Where do you think the future is headed as far as film distribution is concerned?
It’s no secret less people are going to the movies, so it looks like it’s headed in a digital direction. I can see moviegoing becoming more of an event-movie only thing – we only go see the big budget marquee movies in the theaters and we save the little indies, and the smaller comedies, and the more subtle dramas for watching at home. But that does make me sad. I think seeing films on that big screen with great sound – no matter the movie, that’s the environment the filmmaker was hoping you’d see it in – you’re seeing it at its best.
Do all these extra channels and platforms open doors for actors? More work?
Well it seems like VOD has ushered in this amazing time for television we’re experiencing now. I think shows that might previously have a more niche audience or might not have rated well on Network Television – the audience for that stuff now has easier access to it. So yeah there are new outlets, which means new shows, and I also think shows have the potential to stick around longer, which is all good for actors. And my theory is that it’s good for filmmakers too – there’s far less cost associated with digital distribution than there is with a theatrical release. So this is by no means based on expert knowledge perhaps it becomes easier for a “riskier” film to get made – you can make it for less money and there’s also less pressure for it to succeed at the physical box office.
If your movie was an answer to a question in a trivia contest what would you like the question to be?
What was that great found-footage alien movie that famous actress Florence Hartigan was in?
Beyond the Trek, available on VOD this week from Screen Media, was inspired by an article about human genetic modification, explains writer/director Ian Truitner.
Some filmmakers, for one reason or another, are forced to direct films outside of their personal interests or preferred genre. Have you been lucky enough to only work within the genre, and your preferred type of film?
I’ve been fortunate to work mostly within genres that I love. Sci-Fi is my favorite genre, so to have been able to make one was a phenomenal experience. Sci-Fi is the land of limitless possibilities, so the imagination can really run wild without being burdened by convention or preconception.
How long did it take to put together the film – in terms of scripting, financing and casting – before shooting it?
The concept for Beyond the Trek began in 2013 based on an article I read about human genetic modification, which, by the way is no longer science fiction but is actually happening. Financing was attached, plus the production company had a sound stage, but since the budget was limited we had to be very creative with how we put everything together. As an indie film, one has to use intriguing themes and suspense rather than expensive special effects.
How long has it been since it was completed?
Not long. Beyond the Trek had its premiere at Sci-Fi London Film Festival in spring of 2016, and was officially released in the UK in January 2017 under the title Deep Space.
Is the film indicative of your original vision for it?
Yes, very much. There are nearly always variables that force a deviation from the original concept, sometimes creative but mostly budget limitations. However, if one read the first draft of the original script it wouldn’t be much different than the film overall.
Did you have to trim much from it in the editing room?
The first rough cut came in at about 100 minutes and the final version is 90 minutes. Cuts were made mostly for pacing, but didn’t remove anything critical to the plot.
How much say did you have in how the film was marketed?
Most definitely when it came to festivals. Not so much on the international side as the distributors know their own markets. The name has been changed numerous times. It started as Teleios, but has since been renamed Deep Space, Teleios: Enlose Angst and Beyond the Trek.
Do you get to approve poster artwork?
Not approval, but I was asked what my thoughts were. Fortunately I loved the poster the sales rep came up with!
Have you been lucky enough to work with a distributor that involves you in the entire process – right up until release?
Screen Media has been awesome. They’ve taken the time to listen to my thoughts and suggestions and I’ve been in regular contact with them.
Who did you originally intend the film for and have you discovered another segment or demographic that – maybe even to your surprise – enjoys the film just as much?
It’s a Sci-Fi film, so it’s definitely played very well to fans of that genre. I was surprised that some people found a spiritual element in the film as well. Overall, I’m hoping the film stands up as just a solid film with interesting characters and themes regardless of genre preference.
VOD or theater. Where, if you had your choice, would you prefer your movies – not just this latest one, but all of them – be seen? Beyond the Trek had a phenomenal festival run, screening in theaters around the world and winning over a dozen awards. Though I would have preferred a public theatrical release since the film is very immersive on the big screen, I feel the festival screenings compensated for that.
Where do you think the future is headed as far as film distribution is concerned?
Currently big studio films with large marketing budgets are the only kind of films that profit from theatrical releases. I hope that changes and there is a indie film revival at some point, but the existence of multiple VOD platforms offering a lot of content conveniently streamed into your home or connected devise makes that unlikely.
Do all these extra channels and platforms open doors for indie filmmakers?
It broadens the canvas to allow for more paint strokes, but a big canvas doesn’t necessarily mean the painting will be better. It’s great to have options, but the economics are pushing budgets of indie films significantly downward.
If your movie was an answer to a question in a trivia contest what would you like the question to be?
What is the only movie to explore the convergence of Artificial Humans and Genetically Modified Humans?