In Red Rover, coming to digital this May, after feeling he has nothing left to live for on earth, a lonely geologist tries to qualify for a one-way mission to Mars with the help of an offbeat musician who is just as lost as he is.
From director Shane Helcourt, and starring Kristian Bruun (Ready or Not), Cara Gee (The Expanse), Meghan Heffern (“Wynonna Earp”), and Anna Hopkins (“The Expanse”), Red Rover premieres On Demand May 12 from Indiecan Entertainment.
Damon (Kristian Bruun) spends his waking hours searching for that elusive something. Whether it’s for deeper meaning, love, or just “treasure” on the beach with his metal detector, but to no avail. So when Damon meets an offbeat musician named Phoebe (Cara Gee) handing out flyers for a one way trip to Mars, a bond quickly forms. She’s going to help him find that thing he is looking for by sending him 33.9 million miles away, even though what he needs might be right in front of him.
Giant Pictures has announced the long-awaited Digital HD launch of writer/director Michael Reich’s semi-autobiographical experimental comedy She’s Allergic to Cats. She’s Allergic to Cats will be available to rent or own April 7th on Amazon Prime Video and iTunes.
She’s Allergic to Cats is the debut feature from music video director Michael Reich. The film is based in large part on his own experiences of life in Los Angeles. Reich spent years grooming dogs, documenting the underground punk scene, directing music videos for My Chemical Romance, The Shins, Bad Religion and Ryan Adams, as well as appearing as a body double for the gold robot in Daft Punk. The film was produced by his longtime collaborator turned lead actor Mike Pinkney and veteran genre producer Andrew van den Houten (The Ranger, Sadistic Intentions). She’s Allergic to Cats co-stars Sonja Kinski (latest member of the Kinski acting dynasty) and Flula Borg (“Conan”, James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad.
Mike Pinkney stars as Michael Pinkney, a stifled creative artist eeking out a living in Hollywood as a dog groomer. When the girl of his dreams (Sonja Kinski) walks into his shop, he falls down a rabbit hole filled with surrealist detours and melancholic absurdity. She’s Allergic to Cats had its world premiere at the Fantasia International Film Festival, where the festival’s co-director Mitch Davis hailed it as an intoxicatingly insane breath-of-fresh-air. The film went on to screen around the world at the Oldenburg International Film Festival, Vienna’s /slash Filmfestival, Sydney Underground Film Festival, GenreBlast, WhatTheFilm Fest, and Ithaca Fantastik, where it took home the award for Best Film.
Stantoday announced the four-time Oscar® winning black-comedy thriller Parasite will be available to stream in 4K on Stan from Easter Saturday, 11 April, months ahead of its intended streaming release.
Nick Forward, Chief Content Officer at Stan, said: “Just two months after its historic Best Picture Oscar win, Stan is pleased to be making this acclaimed masterpiece from South Korean director Bong Joon-ho available early to all Stan subscribers this Easter.”
Winner of four Academy Awards® including Best Picture and Best Director, and the Palme d’Or (Best Film award) at the Cannes Film Festival – this family tragicomedy is the latest masterpiece from director Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer) and confirms his position as one of the world’s most inventive and captivating filmmakers.
Ki-taek’s family of four is close, but all are unemployed and the future looks bleak. However, when his son, Ki-woo is recommended by a fellow university student friend for a well-paid tutoring job, hope spawns for a regular income. Carrying the expectations of the family, Ki-woo arrives at the house of Mr. Park, the owner of a global IT firm, where he meets Yeon-kyo, the young lady of the house. The job interview is a success and soon Ki-woo begins work. But very soon, following this first meeting between the two families, an unstoppable string of mishaps lies in wait…
Parasite will be available to stream on Stan from Easter Saturday, 11 April.
Summary: The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th September 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA
Australian DVD Release Date: 11th March 2020
Country: United States, Swden
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Screenwriter: Jim Jarmusch
Cast: Eszter Balint (Fern), Steve Buscemi (Farmer Frank Miller), Austin Butler (Jack), Rosal Colon (Lily), Maya Delmont (Stella), Adam Driver (Officer Ronnie Peterson), Larry Fessendon (Danny Perkins), Danny Glover (Hank Thompson), Selena Gomez (Zoe), Caleb Landry Jones (Bobby Wiggins), Carol Kane (Mallory O’Brien), Bill Murray (Chief Cliff Robertson), Rosie Perez (Posie Juarez), RZA (Dean), Luka Sabbat (Zack), Chloe Sevigny (Officer Mindy Morrison), Tilda Swinton (Zelda Winston), Tom Waits (Hermit Bob), Taliyah Whitaker (Olivia), Jahi Di’Allo Winston (Geronimo)
Running Time: 104 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
OUR THE DEAD DON’T DIE REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ The Dead Don’t Die Review:
Some directors are just an acquired taste. Think of filmmakers like Gaspar Noe or Terrence Malick. They are directors that you will normally find that cinema-lovers are left in awe of or go to the opposite and can’t stand their work. Another director that should be added to that list is Jim Jarmusch. For me films like Only Lovers Left Alive and Paterson are absolutely sensational films that need to be savoured as you watch them. At the same time though I can perfectly understand why someone wouldn’t enjoy the more alternative aspect.
Now comes Jarmusch next little beauty – The Dead Don’t Die which sees the talented director bring his own sense of humour to the zombie genre in a way that makes this a truly memorable film. So many supposed comedies this year have failed to impress me at all so it was a welcome relief to see The Dead Don’t Die and find myself laughing all the way through it.
Set in the small peaceful town of Centerville the film centres around three Police Officers who bring law and order to the town. Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray – Ghostbusters, Lost In Translation), Officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver – Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Inside Llewyn Davis) and Officer Mindy Morrison (Chloe Sevigny – Boys Don’t Cry, Big Love) do what they can to bring law and order to the town but when the dead start rising even they aren’t completely sure what is the best avenue to follow.
Plot wise The Dead Don’t Die is probably one of the most simplistic films you will see this year. For most of the film the plot follows the traditional zombie trope storylines that we have come to know and love over the years. What makes the film so special though is the interesting characters that Jarmusch has created to inhabit the town. Interesting characters such as Farmer Frank Miller (Steve Buscemi – Fargo, Reservior Dogs) and Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton – Snowpiercer, Suspiria) keep the audience guessing throughout the film. Countless times you find yourself whether Zelda’s sword-fighting skills are going to be what ends up saving the town or whether someone likes Hermit Bob (Tom Waits – Seven Psychopaths, Down By Law) knows more about the events than they are letting on.
Also making the film stand-out from other zombie comedies is the unique Jarmusch humour and dialogue that is delivered by the characters here. At times the dry wit humour and language used by the characters brings back memories of legendary television shows like Northern Exposure… and that is a welcome relief in a time when it feels sometimes that some screenwriters have forgotten how to create good dialogue.
The take it or leave it aspect of this being a Jim Jarmusch film will most likely come into play for most people when he takes this film into the weird territory of breaking down the line between the characters and the actors. Early on when Adam Driver refers to a song playing on the radio as ‘the theme music’ you realise that Jarmusch breaks down the third wall and here the actors know they are ‘characters’ in a movie. That might be a little confronting and a little weird for those that are not used to alternative film-making but once you get a handle of it it is something that adds to the creativity and uniqueness of the film.
The resulting nature of the film does allow its stars to shine. Bill Murray and Adam Driver seem to enjoy the deadpan style of their character’s interactions. The pair seem to share an amazing on-screen partnership that only enhances the film. Jarmsuch’s star-pulling power also sees the likes of RZA (The Man With The Iron Fists, American Gangster) and Selena Gomez (Spring Breakers, Hotel Transylvania) play smaller roles in the film while the inclusion of screen veterans like Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon, 2012) also add to the films atmosphere. Jarmusch also doesn’t waste his plethora of stars giving them all memorable moments while also brilliantly giving small nods to their past roles throughout the film.
What Jim Jamusch has created here is a smart horror-comedy that deserves all the accolades that the film has been garnishing. The film is smart enough to be different that previous zombie horror-comedies like Zombieland and Shaun Of The Dead and has that unique Jamusch stamp on it which will mean it is a film that will be adored by those who love his unique style of filmmaking.
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Dancing assassins, opera in uncharted canyons, armed children on dirt bikes, mines, hostages and mirages all form the wild whirlwind called Gold Dust.
A rollicking western adventure for the whole family, Gold Dust arrives on DVD and Digital this April from High Octane Pictures.
The film features music from Grammy Winning artist Cage The Elephant.
Written and directed by David Wall, and starring David Wall, Darin Brooks (“The Bold & The Beautiful”), Chris Romano (“How I Met Your Mother”), David Wysocki (“The Young and The Restless”), Derek Severson and Garrett Marchbank.
Classical music. Thundering opera. Rattlesnakes and precious gems. Mansions and gold mines. Friendship and despair. Treasure beyond imagination that vanishes in the desert wind. In the desert there is no limit to the adventures at hand!
Summary: Miles is stuck in a dead-end job, still in love with his ex-girlfriend Nova. Unbeknownst to him, a gang called Skizm is running a deadly competition within his city in which complete strangers fight to the death for the entertainment of an online audience of millions. Miles soon finds himself caught up in the game and forced to fight in a battle to the death. Initially, Miles’ lifetime of running from his problems pays off as he manages to elude his first opponent but when Nova is kidnapped, he must finally stop running and overcome his fears to fight for the girl he loves.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th February 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 9th April 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand
Director: Jason Lei Howden
Screenwriter: Jason Lei Howden
Cast: Anne Alexander-Sieder (Martha Seabert), Natasha Liu Bordizzo (Nova), Grant Bowler (Degraves), Milo Cawthorne (Hadley), Logan Cole (Daddy Doubletaps), Rhys Darby (Glenjamin), Ned Dennehy (Riktor), Hanako Footman (Ruby), Stephen Grey (Vadim), Jacqueline Lee Guerts (Irine Degraves), Aaron Jackson (Clement), Richard Knowles (Xander), Aaron McGregor (Jock), Colin Moy (Clive), Racheal Ofori (Effie), Bella Paddin (Young Nix), Daniel Radcliffe (Miles), Jack Riddiford (Shadwell), Mark Rowley (Dane), Set Sjostrand (Fuckface), Josh Thomson (Grim), Janos Tiborcz (Graveworm), Samara Weaving (Nix), Joe Witkowski (Longshot), Edwin Wright (Stanton)
Running Time: 95 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
OUR GUNS AKIMBO REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ Guns Akimbo Review:
I have always felt for young actors and actresses who seem to have their careers tarnished by the very role that made them famous. A lot of people seem to disagree that it even happens but then how many times did you hear ‘not that guy from Twilight’ when Robert Pattinson was recently cast as Batman?
What the actor really needs is a role that is so far removed from their early career that it makes audiences see them in a different light, why do you think so many young stars try to do a role that involves nudity as soon as they turn eighteen?
One actor that has been desperately trying to break the mould set for him by his breakout role is Daniel Radcliffe. Radcliffe has tried so valiantly to try and shake off the Harry Potter tag – he’s done Australian films, gone to the dramatic extremes in Kill Your Darlings but the tag only seemed to lift a little when he stunned cinema-goers with the obscure but brilliant Swiss Army Man. Now Radcliffe hopes to shrug off the rest of that tag with a sheer brilliant performance in a film that is guaranteed to become a cult classic – Guns Akimbo.
Here Radcliffe plays Miles, a games programmer who is stuck in a dead-end job that he loathes with a boss who is nothing but a bully. While he hates his job, he hates his life even more as his recent separation from his girlfriend Nova (Natasha Liu Bordizzo – Hotel Mumbai) only seems to remind him just how in love with her he was.
In a state of boredom one night he leaves a trolling comment on the website of a popular death match reality game that is being run by an extremely violent organisation called Skizm. Angered by the comment the group’s leader, the psychopathic Riktor (Ned Dennehy – Mandy) has Miles captured and then has his goons bolt weapons to his hands. He then places Miles in the game and has him compete against the reigning champion, the criminally insane Nix (Samara Weaving – Ready Or Not), who believes one more kill will see her free of the game and then finally able to live her life the way that she wants to.
If the plot sounds insane it is because that is exactly what it is. It is the last kind of film that you would ever expect Radcliffe to want to be cast in yet somehow his performance grouped together by the fact that the film is in the capable hands of Deathgasm director Jason Lei Howden sees it become a cult classic that cinema lovers are going to lap up right away.
One of the keys to the film working is the fact that Howden is a cult film lover himself. His love for video games and 1980s action films here is so obvious. The film almost seems to have ‘levels’ that the characters have to get past while the fact that his graphic violence was certain to attract a R Rating also didn’t seem to scare him. At times it feels like as a director he was saying ‘let’s put another headshot in there’ and see what they do. Then there is also a killer soundtrack that features everyone from Dead Or Alive to Cypress Hill and even Iggy Pop. What Howden has made here is a film that he himself would want to watch and the result is one of the best action films of the past few years.
That is further enhanced by the fact that as a filmmaker Howden doesn’t try to make Guns Akimbo anything that it’s not. It’s a basic shoot-‘em up with a little bit of humour thrown in for good measure. And while the film doesn’t strive to be anything else it does end up making a lot of commentary about the morals of modern day reality television and delivering a better female hero than even Birds of Prey could manage.
Yes, we may have been blown away by Samara Weaving’s recent performances in The Babysitter and Ready Or Not but here she takes her acting to a whole new level. Weaving doesn’t just stop at having fun during some daring action sequences instead she brings real characterisation to a character that could have easily become a one-dimensional anti-hero. Even when she is trying to hunt down and kill everyone’s favourite loser – Miles – you can’t help but feel a little bit of remorse for Nix, despite her being a bad-ass.
Then there is Radcliffe who seems to embrace the fact that he is given the opportunity to play such an off-beat character. Like Weaving he mixes characterisation with action and seems to deliver just the right amount of method acting to show that perhaps a lot of cinema-goers have misjudged Radcliffe on just how good his acting ability can be. His scene with Rhys Darby in this film shows he also has a flair for comedy as well.
If you like your action flick to be a little left of centre and bordering on the gruesome then Guns Akimbo is the film for you. The fresh creative nature of the film shows why Jason Lei Howden is a director who can potentially breathe a new sense creativity into the action genre, while the film itself is the perfect vehicle to show that world that Daniel Radcliffe has well and truly outgrown his Harry Potter wand.
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A time-traveling assassin finds himself on a cruise ship, where he falls for the women he’s supposed to kill, in Same Boat – coming this April from Dark Star Pictures!
James is a time travelling assassin from the 28th century sent to 2018 to kill a woman, but when his intern gets sick and he loses his paperwork he has some time to kill, so to speak, while enjoying the cruise he accidentally falls in love with the woman he’s supposed to kill. Same Boat is a film about duty, love, friendship, and how kindness is more powerful than destruction.
Chris Roberti, Tony Glanz and David Bly star in a Chris Roberti film. Josh Itzkowitz, Chris Roberti and Mark Leidner wrote.
Shot secretly on a cruise ship, the wonderful sci-fi rom-com Same Boat hits April 7 On Demand from Dark Star Pictures.
Summary: A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 3rd January 2019
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States, United Kingdom
Director: Tom Hooper
Screenwriter: Les Hall, Tom Hooper, T.S. Eliot (poetry), Andrew Lloyd Webber (musical)
Cast: Jaih Betote (Coricopat), Larry Bourgeois (Socrates), Jonadette Carpio (Syllabub), Danny Collins (Mungojerrie), James Corden (Bustopher Jones), Laurie Davidson (Mr. Mistoffelees), Judi Dench (Old Deuteronomy), Jason Derulo (Rum Rum Tugger), Idris Elba (Macavity), Robbie Fairchild (Mukustrap), Francesca Hayward (Victoria), Jennifer Hudson (Grizabella), Melissa Madden-Gray (Griddlebone), Ian McKellan (Gus The Theatre Cat), Steven McRam (Shimbleshanks the Railway Cat), Naoimh Morgan (Rumpleteazer), Daniela Norman (Demeter), Bluey Robinson (Alonzo), Freya Rowley (Jellylorum), Ida Saki (Electra), Zizi Strallen (Tantomile), Taylor Swift (Bombalurina), Mette Towley (Cassandra), Eric Underwood (Admetus), Rebel Wilson (Jennyanydots), Ray Winstone (Growltiger)
Running Time: 110 mins
Classification: G (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
OUR CATS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ Cats Review:
When you look back of 2019 and think of what films made the biggest impact in cinema there were perhaps none quite talked about the way Cats was. When the trailer dropped for director Tom Hooper’s (Les Miserables, The King’s Speech) version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical it made the nightly news for all the wrong reasons. For some Hooper’s cats looked strange, not-quite-human not-quite-cat, but others (like myself) found themselves erring on the side caution wondering or not if this was going to turn out to be some kind of visual spectacular.
To be honest Cats sits somewhere in the middle. While it is not the musical masterpiece that Hooper created with Les Miserables it is also not as terrible as some would have you think. Perhaps the best way to approach Cats is to think you are about to enter a cinema to watch a theatre musical being projected onto the big screen because this feels much more like a concert than it does a cinematic experience.
Originally based on a collection of poems from T.S. EliotCats is told through the eyes of Victoria (Francesca Hayward – The Sun Is God, Extra) a young cat who finds herself dumped in a London alleyway one night. She soon finds herself making friends with a magical cat called Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson – Will, The Good Liar) who soon introduces her to the world of the Jellicle Cats.
On the night she arrives she finds that the Jellicles are eagerly awaiting the arrival of one of their oldest members – their matriarch Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench – Skyfall, Shakespeare In Love) who on this night every year choices which Jellicle will live the life they have always dreamed of. But not everything runs smoothly as the villainous Macavity (Idris Elba – The Losers, Star Trek Beyond) plans on eliminating all of his competition.
Surprisingly the plot of Cats does work on the big screen. It is extremely light on though and at times the film feels like an extra couple of songs have been added to pad it out to feature film length. Despite what many felt from when that first trailer surfaced you do also find yourself as an audience member connecting with the cats on screen. Each has their own persona and whether you want to admit to it or not you do find yourself barracking for a cat to win Old Deuteronmy’s approval.
The film’s biggest weakness though is the way it is put together. The stories and scenes are almost presented the way they would be if you were reading through the original collection of short stories. A certain cat will perform and point out their strengths and weaknesses and then they are spirited away by Macavity before they can have their time with Old Deuteronomy. The sequences though where Macavity and his right-hand cat Growltiger (Ray Winstone – The Departed, Beowulf) are keeping the other cats captive are more like you would expect from a pantomime though and never become as menacing as they perhaps should have been.
While the sequences of watching the Jellicles perform does at times seem magical there is none of the wow factor here that we got with other musicals like Les Miserables and Moulin Rouge. Les Miserables worked on the big screen because it was believable while Moulin Rouge was way over the top which suited the theatre world that it was set in. Cats has the disadvantage of not being believable and it feels like perhaps it would have worked a little better if Hooper had followed in the footsteps of Baz Luhrmann and made this film go more into the fantasy realm as well.
What does work for Cats though is the casting. Judi Dench and Sir Ian McKellan (Gods And Monster, Lord Of The Rings) steal the show as they expertly lead their younger cast. James Corden (Trolls, Peter Rabbit) brings in just the right amount of comic relief while playing Bustopher Jones but it is Jennifer Hudson (Dream Girls, The Secret Life Of Bees) who shines the brightest with her amazing vocals in the role of Grizabella. The ballet skills of Francesca Hayward also allows her to gracefully float across the screen as she leads the audience through this strange new world.
Cats may not leave its audience in awe the way Les Miserables did but it does have its own special charm. The best way to approach the movie is to go into the cinema knowing you will be about to watch a theatre production rather than a big blockbuster film.
Cast: Alfie Allen (Finkel), Gabriel Andrews (Herr Klum), Brian Caspe (Herr Mueller), Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo), Robert East (Herr Grusch), Luke Brandon Field (Christoph), Sam Haygarth (Hans), Adolf Hitler (himself – archival footage), Scarlett Johansson (Rosie), Thomasin McKenzie (Elsa), Stephen Merchant (Deertz), Billy Rayner (Herr Frosch), Sam Rockwell (Captain Klenzendorf), Taika Waititi (Adolf), Joe Weintraub (Herr Junker), Rebel Wilson (Fraulein Rahm), Archie Yates (Yorki)
Running Time: 108 mins
Classification: M (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
OUR JOJO RABBIT REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths JoJo Rabbit Review:
Is it okay to ever try to get a laugh out of somebody’s misfortune? How about trying to get a laugh out of one of the worst massacres to have ever happened in human history? It sounds like a brutal question, yet it was a question many were asking after the announcement that filmmaker Taika Waititi was going to be making a comedy that featured himself playing Adolf Hitler while centering on a young Hitler Youth member.
The idea of something funny coming out of such a tragedy is almost unfathomable. To be honest, as someone who has interviewed a Holocaust survivor in person I was one of the people that was questioning whether or not JoJo Rabbit should ever have been made. That was before I saw the film though, afterwards I now find myself championing the film, encouraging others to see it as it delivers a powerful message that is still very relevant to society today.
The reason for my turnaround is that Waititi takes his central character, named JoJo (Roman Griffin Davis – Silent Night), on a journey of learning, discover and intense character building. While early on JoJo is excited about the training he is receiving from his military trainers Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell – Moon) and Fraulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson – Pitch Perfect) and the adventures that his training will lead to, his values are later put to the test when he discovers that his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson – The Avengers) is hiding a Jewish teenager, named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie – The King), in a secret room in their house.
There are several things that make JoJo Rabbit such a brilliant and interesting film. First it is told from a point-of-view that we have rarely got to see in cinematic history. Normally when a Nazi is shown in a film that are pure evil, and therefore the events of World War II are rarely shown from their point of view. Here we see these events through the eyes of a young member of the Hitler Youth and it is a different perspective to what many of us would have assumed it would be.
Through the eyes of JoJo we see the hatred that has been forced into him by those around him and of course the propaganda that he sees daily from the man he idolises – Adolf Hitler. But then we also see the utter confusion that he goes through as he meets Elsa. For the first time he is forced to see a Jewish person as a human and he is forced to question whether or not the stories he has been told about them being monsters is true or not. Then there is also the fact that by his own beliefs his mother is now an enemy of the State.
Audiences should be prepared to be put through a range of emotions when they watch JoJo Rabbit as well. Waititi is a smart enough filmmaker to know where the right places are to get a laugh and when it is not acceptable to do so. In fact his timing and pace throughout the film are quite genius and there is one moment in this film I can guarantee where every member of the audience will be in tears.
In his own performance as Hitler Waititi puts in a comical yet balanced performance. The audience needs to remember that this is not Waititi’s view of what Adolf Hitler was like and his slap-stick portrayal is not there to simply garnish laughs – instead it is there to show how the dictator may have been viewed by those that idolised him during the time period.
As a film JoJo Rabbit is also lifted by its fantastic performances. The young cast of Thomasin McKenzie and Roman Griffin Davis put in performances well beyond their years and it is easy to see that the two are destined to become stars. Scarlett Johansson is amazing despite her limited screen time but the true brilliance here comes from Sam Rockewell. This often under-rated actor again puts in a stunning performance as he manages to mix both comedy and drama together sensationally well. It is almost criminal that his performance here didn’t warrant more attention when it came to awards time because as he did in Richard Jewell and The Way, Way Back he once again steals the limelight in every scene he is in.
Any cinema goer has the right to be sceptical over whether or not they think JoJo Rabbit will work as a film. As I mentioned earlier it seems almost inconceivable that any filmmaker could make a comedy about the time of Holocaust and have the film work tastefully – yet somehow Waititi has done just that right here.
As a film JoJo Rabbit takes its audience on a journey alongside its main character. The film does have the power to make you laugh but it also has the power to make you cry. At times the film may not be easy to watch but at the end of the day this is a film so powerful that it deserves to be mentioned alongside great Holocaust films such as Schindler’s List and The Boy In The Striped Pajamas.
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Summary: In 1800s England, a well meaning but selfish young woman meddles in the love lives of her friends.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 13th February 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United Kingdom
Director: Autumn de Wilde
Screenwriter: Eleanor Catton, Jane Austen (novel)
Cast: Amber Anderson (Jane Fairfax), Suzy Bloom (Miss Gilbert), Oliver Chris (John Knightley), Edward Davis (Charles), Johnny Flynn (George Knightley), Mia Goth (Harriet Smith), Rupert Graves (Mr. Weston), Isis Hainsworth (Elizabeth Martin), Miranda Hart (Miss Bates), Angus Imrie (Bartholomew), Myra McFadyen (Mrs. Bates), Bill Nighy (Mr. Woodhouse), Josh O’Connor (Mr. Elton), Vanessa M. Owen (Catherine Martin), Chloe Pierrie (Isabella Knightley), Tanya Reynolds (Mrs. Elton), Rose Shalloo (Hannah), Connor Swindells (Mr. Martin), Anya Taylor-Joy (Emma Woodhouse), Letty Thomas (Biddy), Callum Turner (Frank Churchill), Charlotte Weston (Mrs. Ford), Gemma Whelan (Mrs. Weston)
Running Time: 124 mins
Classification: PG (Australia)
OUR COLOR EMMA REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ Emma Review
It is funny when you are sitting in a group of film lovers and someone mentions that a film is about to be remade. There always seems to be a collective groan go up. The same thing happens when it is mentioned that a novel adaption is about to hit screens and it is a novel that has already had several versions adapted for cinema. I’m not one to buy into that though because as we have seen recently various filmmakers view the source material in different lights and that can sometimes lead to some very special variations.
Take Little Women for example. When Greta Gerwig announced that she was working on a film based on the much loved novel those groans were ever present, but the result was a film that most people had listed in their Top Ten lists at the end of the year, and a film good enough to even garnish Oscar nominations. As if to prove those who give the collective groan are very wrong now we welcome director Autumn de Wilde’s (The Postman Dreams) take on the classic Jane Austin novel Emma into the cinemas… and I am happy to say that this is a delightfully fresh re-imagining.
The film doesn’t stray too far from the source material. Living in Victorian times Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy – Split) is as close to perfection as one can get. She spends her days looking after her pessimistic father, the wealthy Mr Woodhouse (Bill Nighy – Love Actually), her night conversing with one of her best friends George Knightley (Johnny Flynn – Beast), and pretty much all the time helping out female friends like Harriet Smith (Mia Goth – Suspiria) with their love lives.
So well regarded is Emma that it seems that people take her advice as gospel but as the film goes on we learn that her advice is not always perfect and can accidentally lead to paths of pain while at the same time the arrival of the handsome enigma Frank Churchill (Callum Turner – Green Room) has many locals predicting that it is finally Emma’s turn to be romanced… a notion that strikes fear into her father’s heart.
There are a lot of different ways that de Wilde could have sculptured this film. It could have been an epic romance where the characters swooned over each other constantly like a Mills & Boon novel, or even an intense drama with characters flashing each other steely glares in between wailing and shouting matches. Instead de Wilde, alongside screenwriter Eleanor Cotton (The Luminaries), has delivered a lighter version of the story with moments of true comedy.
That decision could have been thwart with danger. Comedy is one of the hardest genres to ever pull off, especially in this time when it feels that what can be and can’t be laughed at changes from day-to-day. However, what de Wilde and Cotton have created here is a beautifully light film with impeccable comedic timing and lines. In other words this is an enjoyable film that will actually make you laugh throughout while never straying into that over-the-top type of comedy that we saw with The Favourite.
Of course the film is not all about laughter. Yes Bill Nighy manages to steal the odd laugh here and there but Cotton’s screenplay does still deliver a lot of the drama that made Austen’s novel such a best seller. If you’ve had the chance to read the source material then the film is going to throw up a couple of curve-balls that will truly stun you, while the film also provides enough characterisation to see the audience divided into Team Knightley and Team Churchill when it comes to the men that could possibly sweep Emma off her feet.
So natural is the way that the film plays it that it also allows its cast to shine. It is a joy watching Anya Taylor-Joy in a role away from the more hardcore roles that she seems to gravitate to. Here we see a well-rounded performance that shows that she is talented enough to be able to tackle any genre of film she sets her mind to. Likewise Johnny Flynn shows why he can easily become one of Hollywood’s leading men, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I found myself on Team Knightley pretty early on. Then there are Bill Nighy and Josh O’Connor (Cinderella) who manage to steal scenes with great comedic timing, both produce brilliant performances to the point where at times O’Connor only has to appear on the screen to have the audience start to snigger.
Emma is the kind of film that will take its audience through a range of emotions. You will laugh and some may cry but everyone will leave the cinema knowing they have watched a delightfully entertaining film that goes far beyond what anyone would have expected from it.