Category: Crime

Sucker

Summary:  A young teenager teams up with an aging scammer and his daughter after he fails a High School exam.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 15th January 2016

Country: Australia

Director: Ben Chessell

Screenwriter: Ben Chessell, Laurence Leung

Cast: Eddie Baroo (Stu), Chris Broadstock (Andy), Ferdinand Hoang (Leo), Jacek Koman (Riley), Lawrence Leung (himself), Yang Li (Uncle Sam), John Luc (Lawrence), Shaun Micallef (Harry), Sophie Ross (Joy), Linda Scharagger (Mai-Ling), Dalip Sondhi (Rashid), Timothy Spall (The Professor), Jacinta Stapleton (Alice), Kat Stewart (Emma), Lily Sullivan (Sarah)

Runtime: 90 mins

Classification: CTC

 

OUR SUCKER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Normally when you think of a heist film you think of big stakes and huge amounts of action. It’s how modern day cinema has programmed us with films like Oceans 11 and The Fast And The Furious pushing the boundaries of the genre with every entry into their franchise. But now comes a heist movie with a real difference. Low budget film Sucker takes a look at the smaller heist and scams that probably go on around the world every single day. Hell, you’ve probably been a victim of them and not even realised.

The man pulling the scams is the aging rip off merchant who names himself The Professor (Timothy Spall). He has been successfully (and sometimes not so successfully) scamming people right around Australia for most of his life. Sure it might just be $50 here or $100 there but it pays the bills and keeps him going, he is more than happy. For the last few years he has also had his beautiful and skilful daughter, Sarah (Lily Sullivan) by his side. While she makes the scams easier she also causes The Professor pain as it makes him remember when he was blindsided himself with his ex-wife.

Then along comes Lawrence (John Luc who many would know as Youtube sensation MyChonny) a naive young Asian teenager who has just failed his family by being caught on his end of year school exams. Eager to make a change in his life (and perhaps just to escape his family for a while) Lawrence becomes intrigued by the world that The Professor lives in and decides that he wants to be his protégé.

Anyone expecting Sucker to compete on the same par as the above mentioned franchises is in for a big shock. Rather than you dazzle you with a massive amount of special effects and huge named stars Sucker is much more a well told character tale. Aside from the whole narrative idea of going along with the idea that this is comedian Lawrence Leung’s life story (or is it?) most of Sucker actually works pretty well.

The screenplay which comes from the pens of Lawrence Leung and director Ben Chessell (who has made his mark with directing hit television shows like Rush and Offspring) actually ends up working on a number of levels. There are a number of moments of comedy which do actually make the audience laugh but the power in this script is the basic yet interesting scams they have managed to include throughout the film.

Yes you do start to care about what happens to Lawrence, especially when the young virgin starts to develop feelings for Sarah, but what really holds your interest is just how basic and simple these various scams are and just how well they work. From scamming chess clubs to finding ways to make money while visiting country pubs these scams are really basic but as an audience you can’t wait to see what the reveal is or whether or not the characters get away with it or not.

Like a lot of Australian films there are some cheesy moments in Sucker but largely the good outweighs the bad. As I mentioned the film does have an emotional level, it’s not just scam after scam or trick after trick. As an audience you do actually invest an interest in the romance between Lawrence and Sarah, especially when you realise what a convincing con artist she is and you can’t help but wonder whether her affection is real or all part of another big scam. You also find yourself concerned about The Professor. The back story of his broken heart adds another element to his character but once again you are never one hundred per cent sure whether you can trust him or not. It might be a subtle kind of suspense that the filmmakers have come up with, but it is certainly there throughout the film.

The legendary Timothy Spall laps up this script with clear actor’s delight. Many of The Professor’s scams involve him pretending to be intoxicated and Spall takes these scenes and runs with them over-acting to his heart’s content. As an actor though he is also smart enough to know when to rope this character again and also gives The Professor moments of deep emotion and also cruel anger. Spall is well backed up by young Lily Sullivan who backs up her sensational performance in Galore to show why she should be considered one of Australia’s most promising young talents… it really is only a matter of time before Hollywood notices her. Making up the team is John Luc who despite his inexperience as an actor never gets blown out of the water by his much more experience co-stars and he reveals himself to be a future comedic force in the Australian film industry.

Sucker is a low budget gem that will have you laughing one moment and then deeply concerned the next. The film is made even more special by the acting talents of Timothy Spall but is well conceived scams that the screenwriters have come up with that will keep you watching.

 

 

Stars(2.5)

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Sucker (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Sucker reviews: You can listen to our full Daddy’s Home  review on a future episode of  The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show. You can also read our Sucker review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Sicario

Summary: When FBI Agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), her partner Reggie (Daniel Kaluuya) and her boss, Jennings (Victor Garber) accidentally uncover a Mexican drug cartel’s house of death Kate suddenly finds herself thrust into a brand new, very dangerous world.

With Jennings’ blessing Kate finds herself recruited to join a black-op mission led by special Agent Matt graver (Josh Brolin) and a Columbian operative known only as Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). The mission soon sees Kate very much in the middle of the borderland drug war in a word where there seems to be no rules whether you are on the side of good or evil.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th September 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Screenwriter: Taylor Sheridan

Cast: Edgar Arreola (Guillermo), Jon Bernthal (Ted), Emily Blunt (Kate Macer), Josh Brolin (Matt Graver), Julio Cedillo (Fausto Alarcon), Benicio Del Toro (Alejandro), Laurence Scott Deveraux (Alex Driver), Jeffrey Donovan (Steve Forsing), Victor Garber (Dave Jennings), David Garver (Bob Fisks), Maximiliano Hernandez (Silvio), Daniel Kaluuya (Reggie Wayne), Lora Martinez-Cunningham (Jacinta), Jesus Nevarez-Castillo (Eliseo), Hank Rogerson (Phil Coopers), Bernardo P. Saracino (Manuel Diaz), Boots Southerland (U.S. Marshall Keith), Adam Taylor (U.S. Marshall Kevin), Matthew Tompkins (Jessie Garza), Raoul Trujillo (Rafael), Kevin Wiggins (Burnett)

Runtime: 121 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR SICARIO REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

No I’m not chucking in my card to the Comic Book And Cult Film Lovers Association but one of the films I was most looking forward to this year was Sicario. Yes I am not too embarrassed to admit that the fact that a certain director is at the helm of a movie is sometimes enough to make me wanna see a film and that was certainly the case here. See to me Denis Villeneuve’s last film was a cinematic masterpiece. I can watch Prisoners over and over again and find something new that I like about each time, add that to the fact that Villeneuve was directing a borderland crime film starring Josh Brolin and yes Sicario had me at hello. My biggest fear for Sicario was that Hollywood would have claimed Villeneuve and that he would decide to rope in his grittiness and harshness, luckily that certainly isn’t the case here.

Many have labeled Sicario a blockbuster for this year, yet that title just doesn’t seem to fit comfortably with this film. This film is harsh, bloody harsh and it’s not hard to see that the popcorn set are going to struggle with the film’s brutal opening in with Kate finds a house that contains more dead bodies than your local morgue. And in typical Villeneuve fashion he doesn’t make it easy watch for its audience, no as he goes in for the close-up on a decaying man’s face you are well and truly aware of the fact that while he is making a Hollywood film he certainly hasn’t been claimed by Hollywood.

Visually Sicario is a blessing. Villeneuve along with DOP Roger Deakins have made this movie look like some kind of modern day western with it’s yellow tinge and cinematic aerial desert shots, and somehow that works wonders with Brolin and Del Toro cruising around like modern day Sherrifs seeking vengeance. Sadly though Sicario’s screenplay isn’t always as good as the visuals the audience are being treated to. Unlike Prisoners this film has some weak points that leave the audience shaking their head, nothing major but little moments like Kate picking up the Police Officer in the bar… isn’t it just too much coincidence that her partner would just happen to be good friends with the guy?

Still there are powerful moments in Sicario, moments that are so powerful that they will stick in your mind for ages. From the fact that this is a very much anti-Mexican tourism video as Villeneuve takes you past bodies hanging from Mexican border-town overpasses to suspenseful scenes such as the border battle which will have any cinema lover watching with baited breath. Then there is the magnificent finale with Del Toro and a dining table… I’m not going to say anything else but that as I don’t want to spoil the film… but hell it is one of the most suspenseful scenes you are going to see in cinema for a long, long time. Adding to the suspense all throughout this film is the pounding soundtrack that simply becomes a character upon itself.

Now you may have heard some people criticize Emily Blunt’s acting performance in Sicario. Don’t believe it. She puts in a great effort and those complaining about her performance are simply looking for something that doesn’t need to be there. Kate is not Lara Croft in a Police uniform. She’s a very innocent but good at her job cop normally used to dealing with hostage situations who suddenly finds herself thrown into a world she just doesn’t understand. Anyone that goes into this film expecting Blunt to be the gun-ho character she was in Edge Of Tomorrow is going to be disappointed, it’s just not what Kate is.

Then there is Brolin and Del Toro who knock their performances out of the park. Brolin is gruff and rough as you expect him to be and is well backed up by Del Toro who has an air of mystery about him from the moment he first appears on the screen here. Some of the Del Toro’s performances have been a little questionable recently (no I still have not recovered from that scene with him, Diaz and a windshield in The Counselor) but here he bounces back with a brutal performance and for once he doesn’t over act his way through it. He’s just on song.

If you’re a fan of Denis Villeneuve’s past films you are certainly not going to be disappointed by Sicario. It is brutal, rough and in-your-face, just the way a crime thriller should be. Brolin and Del Toro bring their A-Games and this is one film that is a must see for 2015.

Stars(4)

 
 

 

 

Adam Ross:

You can hear Adam’s full Sicario review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #147

 

 

 

Stars(4)

 

 

 

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Sicario review on www.filmreviews.net.au

 

 

 

Stars(4)

 

 

 

Nick Gardener:

 

You can hear Nick’s full Sicario review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #147

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stars(4)

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Sicario (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Sicario reviews: You can listen to our full Sicario  review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #147. You can also read our Sicario review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

London Road

Summary: Based on actual events London Road looks at the reactions of local residents in a quiet street named London Road in Ipswich whose peaceful neighborhood was at first disturbed by the arrival of prostitutes deciding to sell their trade in their street and then the craziness and fear that resulted after a serial killer murdered five of the woman.

With a script that has dialogue that comes straight from the interviews conducted with the residents over a three year period London Road explores how everyday people such as a taxi driver named Mark (Tom Hardy) and local residents like Dodge (Paul Thornley) and Julie (Olivia Colman) cope with the resulting media and Police circus.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th September 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: UK

Director: Rufus Norris

Screenwriter: Alecky Blythe

Cast: Angela Bain (Kath), Rae Baker (Anglia Newsreader), Jason Barnett (Chris Eakin), Gillian Bevan (Colette McBeth), Clare Burt (Jan), Steve Carroll (Tony – Kerb Crawler), Olivia Colman (Julie), Rosealie Craig (Kelly McCormack), Calvin Demba (Alec), Anita Dobson (June), James Doherty (Seb), Kate Fleetwood (Vicky), Hal Fowler (David Crabtree), Michael Fox (Nightclub Bill), Richard Frame (Jason Photographer), Jenny Galloway (Margaret), Jonathan Glew (Steve Cameraman), Amy Griffiths (Sarah), Anna Hale (Jessica), Tom Hardy (Taxi Driver Mark), Linzi Hateley (Helen), Janet Henfrey (Ivy), Rose Hilal (Hayley), Paul Hilton (Tim), Nick Holder (Ron), Ruby Holder (Stephanie), Philip Howard (Bob), Sean Kinglsey (Alan), Mark Lockyer (Grahame Cooper), Helen Lymbery (Stella), Barry McCarthy (Harry), Jayne McKenna (Imelda), Claire Moore (Counciller Carole), Michael Shaeffer (Simon Newton), Mark Sheals (Wayne), Nicola Sloane (Rosemary), Frank Stone (George – Kerb Crawler), Paul Thornley (Dodge), Morgan Walters (Graeme), Howard Ward (Terry), Duncan Wiseby (Gordon)

Runtime: 91 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR LONDON ROAD REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

London Road is not an easy film to talk about because to be brutally honest this is a film that is going to divide cinemagoers like no other film this year. On the one hand London Road is a breath of fresh air in the cinema, a type of film that we haven’t really seen before. But then on the other hand all the things that make it so different are also the things that are going to make this film appeal to a very small audience indeed.

For those not in the know London Road is based on the popular National Theatre production that had critics and audiences raving. Now the name National Theatre shouldn’t be foreign to cinema lovers any more. Over the past few years the theatre company have reached out into cinemas with countless productions that have featured some of cinemas’ biggest names – Danny Boyle directed Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch in Frankenstein, Kenneth Branagh directed Macbeth and Gillian Anderson starred in A Streetcar Named Desire. With these productions filling cinemas worldwide it is very little wonder that the National Theatre have decided to look at other ways to bring their work to the cinema and the result is London Road, a film that is produced by them, stars most of their actors and is directed by Rufus Norris, a Tony nominated theatre director who has had a few films reach the cinemas over the years as well.

Now this is where things get tricky for London Road. The idea of creating a modern day musical about a spate of prostitute murders is so different to anything we have ever seen before that it is actually something that is worth watching. At times the film does really draw you in but the alternative style of musical theatre that makes up the score never really allows its audience to comfortably forget the fact they are watching a musical. The key to a good musical films – things like Sweeney Todd, Moulin Rouge or Rock Of Ages – is to make the audience forget that most of the dialogue is being delivered in song, but here the fact that the songs often contain the one piece of dialogue used over and over again, and the fact that in trying to make this film feel natural they haven’t selected the best singers in the world means that for the entire film you are conscious of the fact that you are watching a musical.

On the plus side though London Road is different enough that it does draw you in. You genuinely feel sorry for the innocent members of the public that through no fault of their own got swept up in this Ipswich Ripper case and at times the directional hand of Rufus Norris does creatively show things such as how scared young girls were scared to walk down the street or were judging every man they meet. Moments like a radio station capitalizing on the murders by running a promotion giving away personal alarms for women are memorable but the most powerful part of this film is when you start to hear the stories of some of the prostitutes who worked in London Road at the time and the effect that the murders had on them.

Aside from those moments the other thing that works for London Road is the fact that there will be one or two characters that each audience member will warm to and you find yourselves really wanting to go on the journey with them. Dodge played by Paul Thornley is one such character and he is one of the more interesting characters. Unfairly you sometimes wonder if he is the killer because of his appearance and seemingly unhealthy obsession with the prostitutes early on the film, and as a result characters like this become a lot more interesting then people like Mark who you know have only been added to the film to get a big name actor like Tom Hardy into the film. While these appearances are a little unnecessary we do learn rather quickly that it’s a good thing that Nolan didn’t want Hardy to portray a musical version of Bain.

London Road is a film that is only going to be lapped up by a very small clique of audience members. Its musical stylings are a little too alternative for you traditional musical lovers while the film is too musical for lovers of alternative cinema. It’s quite a pickle the film finds itself in, but the core problem is that the filmmakers didn’t seem to realise that audiences are a lot more open to alternative theatre than alternative film. Still London Road is worth a look if you like your cinema on the quirky side and it certainly shouldn’t be described as a bad film.
 

 

Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: London Road (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment London Road reviews: You can listen to our full London Road  review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #147. You can also read our London Roadi review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Trash

Summary: Set in Brazil, three kids who make a discovery in a garbage dump soon find themselves running from corrupt cops, gangsters and one another in an attempt to right a terrible wrong.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 30th April, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom, Brazil

Director: Stepeh Daldry

Screenwriter: Felipe Braga, Richard Curtis, Andy Mulligan (novel)

Cast: Christiane Amanpour (herself), Jesuita Barbosa (Turk), Jose Dumont (Carlos), Maria Eduardo (Pia), Eduardo Luis (Gardo), Rooney Mara (Olivia), Selton Mello (Frederico), Wagner Moura (Jose Angelo), Stephen Nercessian (Santos), Andre Ramiro (Marco), Martin Sheen (Father Juilliard), Rickson Tevez (Raphael), Gabriel Weinstein (Rato), Nelson Xavier (Jefferson)

Runtime: 115 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR TRASH REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Trash review on www.filmreviews.net.au

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Trash review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #127

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Trash (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Trash reviews: You will also be able to hear our Trash review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #127.

Trailer:

Run All Night

Summary:  Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) is a washed up gangster, a gangster with more notches under his belt due to his work with good friend Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) then even he would care to admit. Those kills mount so high that he has in the ‘Moby Dick’ for Detective Harding (Vincent D’Onofrio) who is determined to bring him down but has never really been sure which murders he was responsible for and which ones were committed by somebody else.

But Jimmy isn’t living by his gun any more. No these days he spends his time drunk and asleep in Shawn’s bar, which seemingly seems to be managed by his also criminally-minded son Danny (Boyd Holbrook). Meanwhile Jimmy’s own son Mike (Joel Kinnaman) keeps out of the gangster lifestyle choosing to be away from his father and do an honest job as a limo driver.

Suddenly though Mike’s world is turned upside down when his job causes him to witness a murder committed by his former friend, Danny. Now suddenly Danny and Shawn have their sites set on Mike who suddenly finds himself being reluctantly helped by his old man.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 19th March, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra

Screenwriter: Brad Ingelsby

Cast: Lisa Branch (Angela Banks), Radivoje Bukvic (Victor Grezda), John Cenatiempo (Tommy), Giulia Cicciari (Catelyn Conlon), Common (Andrew Price), Ella June Conroy (Kirsten), T.J. Craig (Tim), Chris C. Cullen (Young Pat Mullen), Vincent D’Onofrio (Detective Harding), Tony Devon (Detective Angie), Dan Domingues (Uncle Ricky), Malcolm Goodwin (Officer Colston), Ed Harris (Shawn Maguire), Roderick Hill (Billy Conlon), Boyd Holbrook (Danny Maguire), Aubrey Joseph (Curtis ‘Legs’ Banks), Jelani Robert Joseph (Marcus), Patricia Kalember (Rose Maguire), Joel Kinnaman (Mike Conlon), Beau Knapp (Kenan Boyle), Anna Ladner (Maria), James Martinez (Detective Oscar Torres), Holt McCallany (Frank), Bruce McGill (Pat Mullen), Carrington Meyer (Lily Conlon), Julian Murdoch (Young Mike), Andy Murray (Paul), Tony Naumovski (Samir), Liam Neeson (Jimmy Conlon), Nick Nolte (uncredited), Genesis Rodriguez (Gabriela Conlon), Daniel Stewart Sherman (Brendan), Lois Smith (Margaret Conlon), Gavin-Keith Umeh (Officer Randle), Barrington Walters Jnr. (Terrell)

Runtime: 114 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR RUN ALL NIGHT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The gangster film genre (yes a sub-genre of the crime genre) can be a slippery slope for females. Get it wrong and you end up looking incredibly stupid like director Ruben Fleischer did with Gangster Squad. Yes everyone wants to make the next Godfather, but few come close, in recent times it has really only been films like Animal Kingdom, The Departed, Two Hands and Killing Them Softly that have ever come anywhere near the masterpiece of the genre though.

With Run All Night though director, Jaume Collet-Serra, who started as a horror director with House Of Wax and Orphan before directing Neeson it great thrillers Non-Stop and Unknown, comes dangerously close to making a film that deserves to be listed amongst the ‘better’ films in this realm.

Collet-Serra’s horror background certainly seems to help him in the making of Run All Night. Unlike some of the softer gangster flicks around he isn’t afraid to let a little bit of blood splatter, while he brings a dark sinister urban feel to Brad Ingelsby’s script, which already uses the city of New York as a character anyway. The best part of Run All Night though is the fact that Collet-Serra keeps track of the character relationships awfully well and never allows the film to become a storyless shoot-‘em-up like the mediocre Denzel Washington led The Equalizer which surfaced last year. The fact that Ingelsby’s screenplay sets this film over the course of one night also shows that he is a screenwriter to watch.

Instead Collet-Serra keeps the tension running throughout this film, not only from having Mike and Jimmy in constant danger whether through a high speed car chase or a slow paced forest ‘hunt’, but by realizing that the friction generated from the fractured relationships that these characters share with each other is more than enough to have the audience on their seat as well… a tension that is also enhanced by a great soundtrack by Junkie XL.

In fact the only weakness with Run All Night seems to be storyline surrounding Mr. Price (played by the rapper Common), the mysterious hitman hired to track down Mike and Jimmy. While most of the characters in Run All Night escape that the Hollywood gangster clichés, Mr. Price certainly doesn’t. Very little character background is given about him which doesn’t make him mysterious, it just makes him slightly annoying. There seems to be very little motivation to why the character exists in the film except to lead up to the finale, and he would really be more at place in a film like Sin City. Not sure why he was written into the original screenplay when two great adversaries were already set up with Shawn and Detective Harding… the latter a character that certainly deserved a lot more screen time.

Also making Run All Night a must see are the performances of the cast. Neeson vs Harris is one of the best enemy pairings in modern cinema and the two veteran actors go toe-to-toe with not only violence but also a remarkably tension filled dialogue driven scene where the two face off in a crowded restaurant over a meal. Neeson shrugs off the misses he recently delivered with Taken 3 and A Walk Among The Tombstones and once again returns to what we saw in Non-Stop a man who understands the action thriller genre more than most of his counterparts.

The younger cast step up as well with Joel Kinnaman making us forget RoboCop with a performance not too dissimilar to his one in The Killing while Boyd Holbrook also seems to relish the opportunity of playing the ‘bad guy.’ Common doesn’t do much to suggest that he should turn his back on his music career while the brave casting of Law & Order: Criminal Intent star Vincent D’Onofrio to play another New York cop (like playing one on TV for ten years wasn’t enough) actually seems to pay off despite the role not having quite enough meat to make him stand out.

Run All Night is a stylish gangster flick that shows that there is still life in this genre and Liam Neeson yet. Jaume Collet-Serra again reminds us why he is the leading thriller director around at the moment with a film that I am certain is going to be talked about for years to come.

Stars(4)

 

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full Run All Night review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3.5)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Run All Night (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Run All Night reviews: You can also read our Run All Night review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

A Most Violent Year

Summary:  In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city’s history.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th February, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: J.C. Chandor

Screenwriter: J.C. Chandor

Cast: Christopher Abbott (Louis Servidio), Jerry Adler (Josef), Pico Alexander (Elias Morales), Albert Brooks (Andrew Walsh), Myrna Cabella (Maria), Suzanne Cerreta (Kathy), Jessica Chastain (Anna Morales), Robert Clohessy (Mr. Rose), Giselle Eisenberg (Catherine Morales), Glenn Fleshler (Arnold Klein), Annie Funke (Lorraine Lefkowitz), Elyes Gabel (Julian), Peter Gerety (Bill O’Leary), William Hill (Eddie), Oscar Issac (Abel Morales), Linda Marie Larson (Debbie), Matthew Maher (John Dominczyk), David Margulies (Saul Lefkowtiz), Elizabeth Marvel (Mrs. Rose), Catalina Sandino Moreno (Luisa), Alessandro Nivola (Peter Forente), David Oyelowo (Lawrence), Jimmy Palumbo (Jimmy O.), Patrick Pitu (Vinny), John Procaccino (Arthur Lewis), Lorna Pruce (Toll Booth Clerk Powell), Jason Ralph (Ian Thompson), Taylor Richardson (Elizabeth Morales), Ben Rosenfield (Alex), Daisy Tahan (Annie Morales), Ashley Williams (Lange)

Runtime: 125 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR A MOST VIOLENT YEAR REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

You can read Greg’s full A Most Violent Year review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(3.5)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: A Most Violent Year (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment A Most Violent Year reviews: You can also hear our A Most Violent Year review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #120.

Trailer:

The Gambler

Summary: Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a man who has given up on life. He is supposed to be a successful novelist, but successful novels these days only make $17,000 which has pretty much ended that dream for him. Instead he finds himself lecturing about literature to students like up-and-coming tennis star Dexter (Emory Cohen) and star college basketballer Lamar Allen (Anthony Kelley) who would rather send text messages during his classes then listen to what Jim has to say. Then there is also his toxic relationship with his mother, Roberta (Jessica Lange), who has her fortune set up thanks to the recent death of Jim’s grandfather who was one of the wealthiest men in the United States.

His life in ruin Jim decides he wants to feel pain. For him the best way to do that is to deliberately lose money in dodgy backyard casinos and end up owing money to the likes of Mister Lee (Alvin Ing), Neville Baraka (Michael Kenneth Williams) and Frank (John Goodman). These ruthless men will do anything to get there money back and that is the way that Jim likes it.

But now a slight glimmer of hope arrives for Jim. A young aspiring writer named Amy Phillips (Brie Larson), whom he labels a genius, who frequents his class has captured his mind (and maybe his heart). But is he too damaged to ever try and get anywhere with her.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th February, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Rupert Wyatt

Screenwriter: William Monahan, James Toback (1974 film)

Cast: Andre Braugher (Dean Fuller), Griffin Cleveland (Young Jim), Emory Cohen (Dexter), John Goodman (Frank), Rex Hindrichs (Donovan Cham), Alvin Ing (Mister Lee), Sarunas Jackson (Wilhelm), Anthony Kelley (Lamar Allen), George Kennedy (Ed), Sue Jae Kim (Gambler Ken), Jessica Lange (Roberta), Brie Larson (Amy Phillips), Dominic Lombardozzi (Big Ernie), Leland Orser (Larry Jones), Norman Towns (Brodey), Mark Wahlberg (Jim Bennett), Michael Kenneth Williams (Neville Baraka), Steve Wong (Mr. Mahjong)

Runtime: 111 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR THE GAMBLER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

With great films like Birdman and American Sniper around at the moment it has been pretty easy to not even notice that The Gambler was about to hit cinemas. That in itself is greatly disappointing because The Gambler is equal to those films in every single way and once again that we are reminded that good character piece cinema is not dead and buried.

Director Rupert Wyatt (probably most noted for Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) has taken the respected 1974 film of the same name starring James Caan and turned it into an absolute modern day gem. Wyatt does a sensational job of taking a film that has lengthy dialogue driven scenes, eerie ‘are they real or not’ scenes and turned into a film that captures that same energy as films like Fight Club. To be honest not all will like The Gambler as Wyatt and screenwriter William Monahan do have the audience scratching their heads a lot, but if you can get past that then you’ll certainly love this film.

Perhaps one of the most surprising things about The Gambler is just how much is packed into this film. The story ranges from the dirty world of backdoor casinos and sports corruption through to an in-depth character study of a man who has completely given up on life itself. The story weaves and drifts at a sometimes slow pace, due to the well written lengthy dialogue driven scenes, yet for some reason the audience finds themselves sitting on the edge of their seat in the same way they would if they were watching the latest Hollywood action blockbuster. The mood and eerie feeling of the film are further enhanced with a brilliant soundtrack that is varied as the film itself with a wide range of music ranging from the classic Pulp track Common People to a choir led version of Radiohead’s Creep.

Wyatt also manages to get the best of his cast. It seems no matter what Mark Wahlberg does with his career people love to forget the great films he has made, films like The Departed, Boogie Nights etc and instead focus on the couple of bombs that he has delivered or the fact that he was once Marky Mark. Here though Wahlberg reminds everybody that when he is given the right material to work with he can be an acting force. Wahlberg goes through a major physical transformation here, one that could have in line to play Mick Jagger in The Rolling Stones biopic, and goes so far into the character of Jim Bennett that it is easy to see that Wahlberg has picked up a thing or two about character acting along the way.

Wahlberg really is the star of The Gambler, dominating the screen time but he is well supported by those who he takes along for the ride which include Jessica Lange (playing a very similar character to the one she plays in American Horror Story) and Brie Larson. The only actor who gets any chance of stealing a scene away from Wahlberg is the legendary John Goodman, who looks awfully unhealthy in this film but once again delivers the goods.

The Gambler is the kind of film that is going to be lapped up by people that love a good alternative film. The long scenes and lack of action may scare away some cinema goers but this is a film that is destined to become a cult classic. To be blunt this is one of those films that you watch and then tell all your friends to go and see.

 

Stars(4)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: The Gambler (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Gambler reviews: You can also read our The Gambler review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Taken 3

Summary: Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is back, not because someone has been taken but instead because he has been framed for the murder of his wife, Lenny (Famke Janssen). Not only does he want revenge but he also needs to find a way to clear his name.

Bryan soon finds that the only people who believe that he is innocent are his former CIA crew and his daughter, Kim (Maggie Grace). Worse still it seems like a dogged and determined cop, Franck Dotzler (Forest Whitaker) is determined to see Bryan go down for the crime.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 8th January, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Olivier Megaton

Screenwriter: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen

Cast: Reuven Avi (Officer Parker), Judi Beecher (Claire), Andrew Borba (Clarence), Dylan Bruno (Smith), Alex Disdier (Steward Austin), Maggie Grace (Kim), Jon Gries (Casey), Don Harvey (Garcia), Andrew Howard (Maxim), Famke Janssen (Lenore), Stefanie Kleine, Dale Liner (Officer Bernard), John Mansion (Bart), Liam Neeson (Bryan Mills), Leland Orser (Sam), Jimmy Palumbo (Brooks), Al Sapienza (Detective Johnson), Dougray Scott (Stuart St. John), Philip J. Silvera (Officer Ramsey), Sam Spruell (Oleg Malankov), Jonny Weston, Forest Whitaker (Franck Dotzler), Derrick Worsley (Officer Edwards)

Runtime: 109 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR TAKEN 3 REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

The original Taken film, that surfaced in 2008, was rightfully labelled as one of the best action films to ever be made. It was tightly directed by Pierre Morel who did a great job creating a stylised yet believable action classic while announcing that award-winning actor Liam Neeson was a more-than-worthy action hero, ironic when you consider that Neeson had previously turned down the role of James Bond by saying he never wanted to be in an action film. The one of things that quickly gained Taken a legion of fans though was the fact that it had something that action film buffs had been craving for quite a long time… brutality.

Then came Taken 2 directed by French director Olivier Megaton, a film that was so eagerly received by fans of the original film due to the fact that it was heavily edited in a bid to try and soften the violence and asked the audience to suspend their belief just a little too far. Now comes Taken 3 which again sees Megaton at the helm and the result is an entertaining but completely over the top action film that could potentially have fans of the first film really cringing.

The biggest fault with Taken 3 is that the film’s believability goes out the window very early on. If the fact that Bryan could never have been blamed for Lenny’s death due to the fact that he would have had an alibi to place him away from the scene of the murder isn’t enough to make the audience groan then Taken fans will be completely surprised when they discover that this time around Bryan is no longer just simply a man with a special skill set, somehow in this film they are expected to believe that he has suddenly become super-human. Yes suddenly Bryan has the ability to survive explosions and incidents as if he is some kind of immortal… it just doesn’t work within the realm of this franchise. Plus the audience is also expected to believe that a large amount of collateral damage deaths of innocent bystanders (for those that have seen the film think back to the freeway) is justifiable became one man wants revenge for his wife’s death and to clear his name… it’s just not something that is going to sit right with most people.

Then there are also the faults with the filmmaking and screenwriting themselves. Megaton delivers fast paced action that seems to have been learnt from the Michael Bay School of Filmmaking, lots of quick camera shots and movement that seem to hamper the film more than making it easy to watch, add that to the fact that the screenwriting is just lazy and you have a recipe for disaster. The screenwriter seems to have thrown all matter of Police procedure out the window while making any character that isn’t Bryan or his family into a one-dimensional walking cliché. Yes this is one of those crime thrillers with buffoon cops with the same personality trait and incompetence everywhere you turn.

The weak screenplay certainly affects the performance of Forest Whitaker who is held back by the fact that he seems to be playing the same OCD suffering, obsessive cop that he played while chasing Vic Mackie in The Shield. To a cinema fan it is actually sad to see such a talented actor, like Whitaker, wasting his talents playing such a cliché. The rest of the cast seems to suffer as well. As usual Liam Neeson steps up to the plate as the action hero, but he like his on-screen daughter, Maggie Grace, seems to just breeze through most of the film’s so-called dramatic scenes with complete ease.

The other piece of strange casting in Taken 3 that will potentially annoy true Taken fans is the casting of Dougray Scott as Stuart St. John… Lenny’s husband. Not only does he play another cliché… this time the token bad guy, but looks a hell of a lot younger than the original Stuart (played by Xander Berkeley) that we saw in the original film.

Strangely though despite all its weaknesses Taken 3 isn’t a dull watch. If you like car chases and explosions this film will be entertaining enough for you from start to finish. But if you’re looking for an action film with substance, like the first film was, then give this film a wide berth because substance and believability are just things that aren’t in Megaton’s film-making repetiteur.

 

Stars(2.5)

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(2.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Taken 3 (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Taken 3 reviews: You can also read our review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Mule

Summary: Inspired by true events, The Mule tells the story of a naive man who is detained by federal police with lethal narcotics hidden in his stomach. Alone and afraid, ‘the Mule’ makes a desperate choice; to defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence… literally. By doing so he becomes a ‘human time bomb’; dragging cops, criminals and concerned family into his impossible escapade.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st November, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Tony Mahony, Angus Sampson

Screenwriter: Jaime Browne, Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell

Cast: Georgina Haig (Lawyer), Noni Hazlehurst (Mum), Ewen Leslie (Paris), Geoff Morrell (Dad), John Noble (Pat Shepherd), Chris Pang (Phuk), Lasarus Ratuere (Josh), Angus Sampson (Ray Jenkins), Marsha Vassilevskaia (Tiffany), Hugo Weaving (Croft), Leigh Whannell (Gavin)

Runtime: 104 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR THE MULE REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Winter Sleep review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(4)

 

David Griffiths:

Australia has always had a knack of making good retro drama films. Films like Two Hands, Dirty Deeds and even Animal Kingdom spring straight to mind. Throw in the fact that despite the amount of times he has been horribly mis-cast on the big screen Aussie audiences still seem to love Angus Sampson and you would think that The Mule is a sure fire winner for Screen Australia.

But as every film journalist seems to like reminding people to film in Australia in its darkest days. So dark at the moment that the people behind The Mule have decided to go about its release in a very unique way. Instead of The Mule being screened in cinemas right across the country it will only appear on a couple of screens before then becoming available to the mass community online. Of course all that aside you would still expect that The Mule be a decent film if the people are expected to watch it. And that’s where you might be in for a surprise.

Flashback to 1983, a simpler time in Australia and the mighty Aussies were locked in a seven race fight with America to win the America’s Cup for the first time. At the same time a little Aussie battler named Ray Jenkins (played by Angus Sampson) was involved in a battle of his own. See normally Ray was a sensible man, he listened to his mother (Noni Hazelhurst), he played footy and he fixed televisions for a dodgy boss.

But then during an end of season footy trip to Asia, which his Mum didn’t want him to go on in the first place, Ray listened to his Dad (Geoff Morrell) and his wannabee criminal mate, Gavin (Leigh Whannell), and decided to fill his stomach with condoms full of heroin. It should have been an easy crime but instead Ray messed up at Melbourne Airport and soon finds himself locked in a room with hardened Federal Agent Croft (Hugo Weaving) and the kinder Federal Agent Paris (Ewen Leslie) who decide they will hold onto Ray until he literally spills his guts. That’s when Ray decides that he can sit them out and hold out… or should that be on… until they can longer hold him.

The Mule is actually a breath of fresh air in the Australian film industry because it gets so many things right. First of all as a first time director Tony Mahony (who shares the directional duties with Sampson) pretty much nails this film. He captures the period of 1983 well (despite the odd modern train appearing) and manages to mix the right amount of violence, comedy, drama and suspense together in a way that is not too dissimilar to an early Quentin Tarrantino. It’s rare that you watch a film where you find yourself barracking for a drug trafficker but just like the legendary Australian 2 yacht, here Ray is an Aussie battler taking it right up to the ‘big giants’ that want his scalp.

Mahony is of course aided by a wonderfully written script by Sampson and Whannell. While the film doesn’t quite find itself in the realm of Two Hands it does mix its genres well and is enough to make its audience go through a whole range of emotions. There are moments when you are find yourself laughing out loud, gagging and almost vomiting at some of the things that Ray has to do with the condoms and at other times find the cinema to be in a state of suspense and it becomes unclear just how far Pat Shepherd (John Noble) and is henchmen are willing to go to silence Ray and his family. And as if the script hasn’t already delivered enough to like by then it then has a huge twist that most audience members certainly won’t see coming.

The cream on the cake in this film is the casting. The normally strong Noni Hazlehurst and Geoff Morrell once again deliver gold but it is the two leading men here who lead this ship to the winning post. It’s not too cruel to say that Sampson has been badly miscast a number of times over his career, none more obvious than in Incidious, but here Sampson delivers everything you would want to see a comedic leading man deliver. The fact that he also does well during the dramatic scenes shows that perhaps we have all misjudged Sampson over the years and he just need the right role to show us all what he is really capable of.

Then opposite Sampson of course is Hugo Weaving who goes into complete bad guy mode playing ruthless, sexist, 1980s Federal Agent Croft to a tee. Croft allows Weaving to deliver some well timed punches to the stomach, sarcastic wit and beautifully delivered snarls alarmingly well and you hope the fact that this is one of Weaving’s best roles might mean that a few more people want to hunt down a copy of The Mule and give it a watch.

The Mule could well be Australia’s sleeper hit film of the year. It seems to take the qualities that most Australians like to see in their cinema and place it all together – the crime grit of a movie like Animal Kingdom mixed with that quirky Australian humor that saw Red Dog become such a big hit and just a hint of the battler story that made The Castle a must see. While the electronic release may frighten off some people The Mule is one Aussie film that is a must see this year.

Stars(4)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: The Mule (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Mule reviews: For our full The Mule review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #105 . You can also read Dave’s The Mule review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Son Of A Gun

Summary: While locked up for a minor offence, 19-yr-old JR (Thwaites) becomes apprentice to the enigmatic Brendan Lynch (McGregor), a calculating crime boss with connections both inside and out. After helping Lynch and his crew orchestrate a daring prison escape, JR is invited to join in on their next job – a high stakes heist that promises to deliver millions.

But as they plan the heist, JR begins to suspect he is being played and soon finds himself on a collision course with his mentor in a very dangerous game.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th October, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Julius Avery

Screenwriter: Julius Avery, John Collee

Cast: Eddie Baroo (Merv), Tom Budge (Josh), Nash Edgerton (Chris), Damon Herriman (Private Wilson), Sam Hutchin (Dave), Marko Jovanovic (Ken), Jacek Koman (Sam), Ivan Lightbody (Mitch), Ewan McGregor (Brendan), Matt Nable (Sterlo), Soa Palelei (Thomy), Brenton Thwaites (JR), Alicia Vikander (Tasha)

Runtime: 109 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR SON OF A GUN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King: You can check out Greg’s Son Of A Gun review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #101

Stars(3)

 

Dave Griffiths:

The heat is really on Australian films at the moment. Films this year that were supposed to be big hits – These Final Hours, The Rover and Felony – have all had dismal returns at the box office, and now comes Son of A Gun a film that has its producers (and the whole Australian film industry) watching with baited breath to see whether the inclusion of Scottish actor Ewan McGregor on the bill will be enough to make Australian audiences actually want to go and see the film in the cinemas.

Of course as Predestination and The Rover found out earlier this year the inclusion of international stars like Robert Pattinson and Ethan Hawke on the cast list doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the film is going to make an impact at the Box Office either. But what the producers of Son Of A Gun will be hoping is that the fact that Son Of A Gun is back in that gritty crime drama genre that has seen films such as Animal Kingdom become a hit in the past.

From first-time director Julius Avery, who has built a sturdy short film career, Son Of A Gun sees young small-time criminal JR (Brenton Thwaites) suddenly thrust into the rigours of a tough prison environment. While the brash young crim feels that he has what it takes to survive he suddenly finds himself needing the help of seasoned notorious armed robber Brendan (Ewan McGregor) who takes the young man under his wing and includes him in his plans for a violent prison breakout and resulting major heist at a Western Australian gold mine.

On the outside though JR and Brendan don’t find things to run as smoothly as they hoped. Brendan says that he is a crim-of-his-word although his honour is tested when they become involved with a rich mobster named Sam (Jacek Koman) who is money hungry and has no time for JR… especially when he sets his sights on one of Sam’s girls an immigrant named Tasha (Alicia Vikander).

But of course it takes more than some big names and a well believed in genre for a film to work and sadly it is in other areas where Son Of A Gun is largely let down. Early on things seem promising for Son Of A Gun it has all the grit and intensity off prison/crime films like Everynight, Everynight and Animal Kingdom while the actual prison breakout and some of the car chases almost lift this film into the action film genre, but this film is dangerously let down by some of the film’s slower moments.

At times the film seems like it wants to touch on the gangster romance element that made Two Hands so popular but the relationship here never wins the audience over the same way that the Heath Ledger/Rose Byrne chemistry did in the Aussie classic while the films last quarter is a massive let down. After the gold mine heist the film seems to lose its way, so badly that the ending feels like something you would have expected to see in a trashy American film like Wild Things. And of course if you’ve been a loyal audience member and kept a track of all the crumbs and sign posts that Avery has left so blatantly throughout the film you may get a really early sense of exactly what the big suspenseful moment is going to be during the finale as well.

The one thing that does lift Son Of A Gun up though, aside from the first brilliant twenty minutes, are the cast. Ewan McGregor does show that he is a class above everybody else in the film with a strong character performance that almost seems him become the rough-and-ready Brendan. He is well supported by young gun on the rise Brenton Thwaites whose tough boy image is very different to the pretty boy he recently played in The Giver.

The rest of the cast however are not quite so lucky. Alicia Vikander is given very little to work with at all. Her character motivation is weak and she quickly becomes a cliché as does many of the other ‘baddies’ in the film, a shame when you realise that actors such as Jacek Koman are capable of pulling off some really dramatic roles when they are called to. The big crime though is the treatment of Vikander whose role is so weak you can only wonder why she bothered making the trip out to Australia to make the film in the first place. Her performance is good, but the script lets her down.

Son Of A Gun is a film that seems like it is desperate to make the same grade as classic Australian crime films like The Boys, but sadly the films weak last quarter really drags it down and leaves a bad taste in the audience’s mouth. Worse is the fact that the opening of the film is so good that you are left wondering how the same screenwriter could be responsible for such a letdown of a finale. Son Of A Gun may briefly breathe life back into the Australia film industry but it is certainly not the saviour that everybody was hoping for.

Stars(3)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Son of a Gun (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Son Of A Gun′: For our full Son Of A Gun review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #101 . Dave’s Son Of A Gun review can also be viewed on The Book The Film The T-Shirt

Trailer: