In this episode of The Popcorn Conspiracy Dave Griffiths and Kyle McGrath take a look at the brand new action flick Bad Boys For Life.
Summary: The Bad Boys Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett are back together for one last ride in the highly anticipated Bad Boys for Life.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th January 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 23rd January 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States, Mexico
Director: Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah
Screenwriter: Chris Bremner, Peter Craig, Joe Carnahan,
Cast: Jay Amor (Rodrigo Vargas), Happy Anderson (Jenkins), Jeff JJ Authors (Felix the Forensics Guy), Jennifer Badger (Julie Weber), Sidnei Barboza (Tommy Bahama), Chick Bernhard (Judge Sorenson), Bianca Bethune (Megan), Thomas Brag (Jeffrey – Cake Boy), Tom Bui (Detective Austin), Damian Butler (Lt. Butler), Kate del Castillo (Isabel Aretas), DJ Khaled (Manny), Bilall Fallah (Fael), Massi Furlan (Terry Taglin), Dennis Greene (Reggie), Carlos Guerrero (javier), Vanessa Hudgens (Kelly), Nicky Jam (Zway-Lo), Melissa Kennemore (Major Patel Miami PD), Martin Lawrence (Marcus), Alexander Ludwig (Dorn), Dennis McDonald (Reggie), Charles Melton (Rafe), Ivo Nandi (Carver Remy), Paolo Nunez (Rita), Joe Pantoliano (Captain Howard), Nick Puya (Sargaent Normand Harris), Theresa Randle (Theresa), Leah Renee-K (Officer Hemminger), Eduardo Rosario (the Butcher), Jacob Scipio (Armando Aretas), Will Smith (Mike), Lindsay Thaxton (Detective Rodriguez), Buddy Watkins (Officer Kittes),
Running Time: 124 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia) 15 (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
Is there a more terrifying word in Hollywood than reboot? Well if you are serious movie fan who adores the movies and television shows of the 1980s and 1990s I would certainly say no. It didn’t take Hollywood long to realise that there was still money in recreating the fan favourites of the past but as the recent animated version of The Addams Family showed these reboots rarely capture the magic of the originals.
It’s for that reason so many people have been nervous about the release of Bad Boys For Life. For an entire generation of film fans Bad Boys and Bad Boys II are the epitomes of what a good action films should be. A semi-believable storyline, great action sequences, lead actors who ooze charisma and a witty script that knows when it is okay to allow a laugh or two.
Whenever the mention was made that Bad Boys III was in the works people almost treated it as blasphemy and then as more than a decade passed it seemed less and less likely that it would ever happen. But now fifteen years after the last film in the franchise Bad Boys For Life hits cinemas and I am happy to say that it bucks all trends and gives us what well could be the best installment in the franchise to date.
In fact I may have just accidentally nailed why this movie works so well. While it is technically a re-boot such is the feel of the movie it just seems like it is simply the third film. Nothing is re-set here the action just starts up fifteen years after Bad Boys II. Detectives Mike Lowery (Will Smith) and Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) still patrol Miami with wit and charm bringing the bad guys down with their own way of Policing. However, things change forever when Marcus starts to think about retirement after becoming a grandfather and a cold-blooded assassin shows up in town with Mike in his sights.
The first thing that hits you about this film is the ability that directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah have with incorporating the new with the old. The opening sequence from the film is a homage to the first film and while Mike and Marcus have not changed at all they fit in extremely well with the new characters including Kelly (Vanessa Hudgens) and Rita (Paola Nunez). From there the film remains aimed at the original fans of the franchise – it is adult orientated and never once does it feel like the film is even slightly slanted at trying to attract a younger audience.
You also begin to realise that these filmmakers also know a thing or two about how to make good action films. The duo have cred from their award-winning film Black and with Bad Boys For Life they take the bigger budget and run with it without over-awing their audience. They seem to mirror what the young Michael Bay did with the first two films and infuse a believable cop story with elements of action without over-doing it to the point with belief has to be suspended. There is also a great plot twist here that suits the story and like other major plot points in the film contains true heart.
Perhaps the most important thing for the film though is that the amazing chemistry between Smith and Lawrence returns. Sure Smith has delivered some terrible films over the years (and Gemini Man is still fresh in everyone’s minds) but here he is back at his stunning best. He mixes comedy, action and drama at will and better still gets to bounce off the amazing timing of his good buddy Martin Lawrence. And yes, despite the naysayers before this film was released… Lawrence still has it.
The two stars are also well-supported by the rest of the cast. Kate del Castillo often steals the show playing the very Bond-villain like Isabel Aretas while Nunez, Hudgens, Happy Jackson and Charles Melton play the kind of new-breed cops that you can easily see continue to move this franchise along for the next few years.
Bad Boys For Life is a film that is going to be adored by the original fans of this franchise. The magic, the style and the charisma all returns with a storyline that goes above and beyond what any of us could have hoped for. Cast all the doubts aside because this is action cinema at its very finest.
Kyle McGrath’s Review:
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Summary: Two young British soldiers during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldiers’ brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 9st January 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 30th January 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States, United Kingdom
Director: Sam Mendes
Screenwriter: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Ciarns
Cast: Benjamin Adams (Sergeant Harrop), Gabriel Akuwudike (Private Buchanan), Andy Apollo (Sergeant Miller), Daniel Attwell (Captain Sandbach), Elliott Baxter (Private Singer), Jacob James Beswick (Lance Corporal Duff), Anson Boon (Private Cooke), Pip Carter (Lieutenant Gordon), Dean Charles-Chapman (Lance Corporal Blake), Bradley Connor (Sergeant Gardner), Samson Cox-Vinell (Orderly Dixon), Benedict Cumberbatch (Colonel McKenzie), Josef Davies (Private Stokes), Claire Duburcq (Lauri), Elliott Edusah (Private Grey), Justin Edwards (Captain Ivins), Colin Firth (General Erinmore), Tommy French (Private Butler), Kenny Fullwood (Private Rossi), John Hollingworth (Sergeant Guthrie), Luke Hornsby (Private Pinewood), Gerran Howell (Private Parry), Adam Hugill (Private Atkins), Michael Jibson (Lieutenant Hutton), Taddeo Kufus (Soldat Baumer), Jonny Lavelle (Orderly Byrne), Spike Leighton (Private Kilgour), Merlin Leonhardt (Soldat Muller), George MacKay (Lance Corporal Schofield), Richard Madden (Lieutenant Joseph Blake), Daniels Mays (Sergeant Sanders), Richard McCabe (Colonel Collins), Joe Mendes (Private Willock), Ryan Nolan (Private Malky), Jamie Parker (Lieutenant Richards), Billy Postlethwaite (NCO Harvey), Nabhaan Rizwan (Sepoy Jondalar), Michael Rouse (Captain Rylands), Jonah Russell (Captain Morahan), Adrian Scarborough (Major Hepburn), Andrew Scott (Lieutenant Leslie), Jack Shalloo (Private Seymour), Mark Strong (Captain Smith), Paul Tinto (NCO Baker), Chris Walley (Private Bullen), Ian Wilson (Sergeant Wright)
Running Time: 119 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
Over the years the cinematic world has been blessed with some pretty amazing war films. Think of the sheer emotional nature of films like Schindler’s List and Hacksaw Ride or the epic sale of films like Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor. It feels like it is the war genre when some of the truly great filmmakers of our generation have really had a chance to show us what they are capable of an that legacy certainly continues with 1917.
As a filmmaker Sam Mendes has certainly proved himself to be one of the most ‘intense’ of the modern generation. That intensity has been delivered with powerful drama and dialogue in films like American Beauty and Revolutionary Road while it also returned through the power of stunts and action with his trip into the Bond universe with Skyfall and Spectre. With 1917 Mendes manages to fuse both of his skills in drama and his style of action together in a way that results with a unique film that will go down as one of the finest in 2020.
Plot wise 1917 is quite basic. It is set during World War I in France and General Erinmore (Colin Firth – A Single Man) receives word that an Allied attack is going to be walking right into a trap set by the Germans. In a desperate bid to stop the annihilation of 1600 men he gives Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman – Game Of Thrones) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay – Peter Pan) a near impossible task. He asks them to go through the front-line and go behind the enemy line to deliver a letter that should stop the attack from ever happening.
In a lot of ways the style Mendes uses to tell the story is very similar to what Peter Jackson used with The Lord Of The Rings. The film itself entirely surrounds the impossible journey that the two embark on yet somehow Mendes stops the film from every becoming boring at all. Around every corner he places a new task and obstacle in the way of the pair and his idea of using a one-shot technique means that the audience is right there amongst the action. Whether it be urgently pushing past soldiers in the trenches, battling to swim against a raging river or coming under heavy enemy fire Mendes has the audience right there beside the heroes which only further enhances the suspense and intensity throughout the film.
Surprisingly the screenplay which Mendes co-wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Penny Dreadful) also keeps the dialogue to the bare minimum. For a lot of the film the pair either use silence or brief but powerful dialogue to get some in-depth points across. At one point Blake and Schofield debate whether war medals really mean anything or not, and while some writers would let it take up five minutes of the film Mendes and Wilson-Cairns let both characters make their point within a minute. Likewise anything we learn about the two men is fitted nicely into some of the most natural dialogue you will ever hear on the screen.
Such is Mendes’ maturity as a filmmaker that he never allows the action sequences to ever take anything away from the drama of the film. Plane crashes and enemy fire occur in real time and while it does have the audience on the edge of their seat Mendes never allows it to over-shadow the film’s major storyline or detract from it.
I have heard some people suggest that the film would have been further enhanced if the two leads had been more recognisable actors, but I fail to see how that would have helped. Chapman and MacKay put in absolutely brilliant performances and there could be very little more asked of them. The two share some very poignant scenes together and in all honestly they carry the film throughout as the camera never leaves them. Very few young actors could pull off such an intense acting performance but these two seem to do it with ease.
1917 is one of those films that leaves you in complete stunned silence as you watch it. Mendes never allows his audience to rest, instead he takes them on the journey with his two heroes using camera angles we haven’t seen since The Children Of Men. Yes at times 1917 feels utterly claustrophobic but it is also a visual delight that will find its audience going through a range of emotions as they view it. This film is a true classic that will be savoured by true movie lovers.
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When an unidentified woman is found brutally murdered, evidence discovered at the scene links to a 20-year-old unsolved crime. What begins as a routine investigation exposes something more insidious, as political corruption and shady business dealings intertwine with sinister crimes and occult practices.
The thrilling eight-part series stars Emma Booth (Glitch) and Ewen Leslie (The Cry) Martin Henderson (Grey’s Anatomy), Aaron Pedersen (Mystery Road) and Rena Owen (Siren), with a stellar director lineup including Michael Rymer (American Horror Story), Greg McLean (Stan Original Series Wolf Creek) and Sian Davies (Wentworth).
Summary: Jo March reflects back and forth on her life, telling the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on their own terms.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 1st January 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 9th January 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Greta Gerwig
Screenwriter: Greta Gerwig, Louisa May Alcott
Cast: Dash Barber (Fred Vaughn), Timothee Charlamet (Theodore ‘Laurie’ Laurence), Chris Cooper (Mr. Laurence), J.M. Davis (Susan Robbins), Laura Dern (Marmee March), Lilly Englert (Kate Vaughn), Sasha Frolova (Mrs. Hummel), Louie Garrel (Friedrich Bhaer), Jayne Houdeyshell (Hannah), Ana Kayne (Olivia), Tom Kemp (Asa Melvin), Charlotte Kinder (Viola), Adrianne Krstansky (Mrs. Dashwood), Tracy Letts (Mr. Dashwood), Bill Mootos (Mr. Davis), Jen Nikolaisen (Evelyn Meriweather), James Norton (John Brooke), Bob Odenkirk (Father March), Maryanne Plunkett (Mrs. Kirke), Florence Pugh (Amy March), Abby Quinn (Annie Moffat), Jared Reinfeldt (Ned Moffat), Hadley Robinson (Sallie Gardiner Moffat), Saoirse Ronan (Jo March), Amber Leanne Rothberg (Young Meg), Eliza Scanlen (Beth March), Meryl Streep (Aunt March), Emma Watson (Meg March), Lewis D. Wheeler (Josiah Workman)
Running Time: 135 mins
Classification: G (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
Timeless tales never die. That is the only defence you can really use against people who are convinced that the new adaption of Little Women should never have been made. Yes, there have been a number of cinematic versions of Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale that have made it to the big screen over the years, but every adaption has its own tone and feel and that is what makes them unique. I can remember the same being said when Baz Luhrmann re-created Romeo + Juliet… and look how well that ended up turning out. Besides after the quirkiness of Ladybird how could anybody not be curious to see what Greta Gerwig was going to do with Alcott’s classic.
Gerwig does do little to change the basic storyline. The film is set in 1868 with Jo March (Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn), a budding young writer getting a story published by a local publisher. At the same time her work is heavily criticised by one of her co-workers and in a bid to escape how she feels about it she uses the fact that her sister, Beth (Eliza Scanlen – Sharp Objects) is sick to return home. As she spends time with her mother (Laura Dern – Wild) and her other two sisters, Meg (Emma Watson – Harry Potter & The Philospher’s Stone) and Amy (Florence Pugh – The Commuter) she reflects on their lives and the obstacles they have overcome.
A scathing critic would probably try to point out that Little Women’s main focus is on female empowerment but I would argue that Gerwig’s film goes even deeper than that. This is not simply a film about female empowerment this is the film that explores the notion of how a family pulls together to overcome some of the most turbulent and life-changing obstacles that anybody can face. From the harsh fights between Amy and Jo, through the four sisters having to face numerous struggles with their father is off at war this is more a film about family then it is anything else.
The power of this version of Little Women though is how much the film draws you into the character’s lives. At a quick glance the character of Jo could be considered cold-hearted especially towards the men in her life, including Laurie (Timothee Chalamet – Beautiful Boy). But through the power of Gerwig’s writing and directing the audience gets to see what makes Jo this way and that is something that can’t be said for all versions of Little Women. Gerwig also allows the film to show the struggle of the artist as well – whether it be a writer, a painter or a teacher all find themselves tested during this time of war and this secondary element to the plot adds a powerful element to the film that continues to draw the audience in.
What also drives this film is a repeat of one of the strengths from Lady Bird. As a director it is obvious that Gerwig knows how to draw the best out of her cast. Here Saoirse Ronan is once again in award winning form and she is well supported by Emma Watson and Florence Pugh who both seem to have turned up their acting game several levels as well. In regards to Ronan though she is well directed by Gerwig with the scene of the final confrontation between herself and Laurie being an absolute highlight. The raw emotion that is generated from the screen during the scene is a rarity in modern day cinema and needs to be cherished.
A special mention must also be made to Meryl Streep (The Devil Wears Prada). While she has limited screen time she managed to steal every scene she was in with a truly powerful performance. Her scenes with both Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh are some of the best examples of brilliant acting you will all year. There is a real power with those scenes and neither younger actress seems to be over-awed by the fact that they are sharing the scene with acting royalty.
Every adaption of Little Women has something that sets it apart from the others but few have the sheer emotion and power that we see here with Gerwig’s interpretation. Here Gerwig uncovers secret layers to the plot that lesser filmmakers would have not noticed while at the same time she directs one of the most talented younger casts that modern day cinema has ever seen assembled. If you leave in preconceived notions you have about Little Woman at the cinema door you will find yourself totally drawn into this worthy drama.
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The brand new trailer for The Woman In The Window has just been released. Directed by Joe Wright and starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Julianne Moore the film will be released in Australian cinemas on May 14th, 2020.
In “The Woman in the Window,” an agoraphobic child psychologist befriends a neighbour across the street from her New York City brownstone, only to see her own life turned upside down when the woman disappears and she suspects foul play. A stellar ensemble cast brings Tracy Letts’ screenplay based on the gripping, best-selling novel to life, where shocking secrets are revealed, and no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
Roadshow Films is set to release another film in the successful RED DOG franchise in cinemas on December 5th, 2019.
The feature film, entitled KOKO: A RED DOG STORY, was produced by Nelson Woss (RED DOG, RED DOG TRUE BLUE and NED KELLY), and Lauren Brunswick (TOP KNOT DETECTIVE), written and directed by Dominic Pearce and Aaron McCann (TOP KNOT DETECTIVE).
KOKO: A RED DOG STORY is a Woss Group Film Production, receiving principal funding from Screen Australia in association with Screenwest and Lotterywest.
The film follows the story of Koko – the dog who played Red Dog in the first film and appeared in RED DOG: TRUE BLUE.
Jason Isaacs (THE HARRY POTTER FRANCHISE, THE PATRIOT and PETER PAN) narrates the film.
“It’s a love story about why we love dogs,” said producer Nelson Woss. “Koko had an amazing life and his impact on people and communities is his legacy. The release will work closely with animal shelters and community-based charities offering them the opportunity to use the film for charity events & screenings”.
Roadshow Films, who distributed and executive produced the 2011 box office smash-hit RED DOG and RED DOG: TRUE BLUE in 2016 – will distribute the new film in Australia alongside Good Dog Distribution.
“Red Dog found a place in the hearts of all Australians in 2011 to become a box office smash and an instant family favourite. We are thrilled to be distributing the next chapter in this incredible canine adventure” said Joel Pearlman, CEO Roadshow Films.
Based on the bestselling comic book, Vin Diesel stars as Ray Garrison, a soldier recently killed in action and brought back to life as the super-human Bloodshot by the RST corporation. With an army of nanotechnology in his veins, he’s an unstoppable force –stronger than ever and able to heal instantly. But in controlling his body, the company has sway over his mind and memories, too. Now, Ray doesn’t know what’s real and what’s not – but he’s on a mission to find out.
Starring Vin Diesel, Eiza Gonzalez, Sam Heughan, Toby Kebbell and Guy Pearce
Directed by David S. F. Wilson
Based on The Valiant Comic Book
IN CINEMAS FEBRUARY 20, 2020
Summary: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 30th May 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 20th June 2019
Australian DVD Release Date: 28th August 2019
Country: UK, USA, Canada
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Screenwriter: Lee Hall
Cast: Charles Armstrong (Mr. Anderson), Guillermo Bedward (Geoff), Jamie Bell (Bernie Taupin), Tom Bennett (Fred), Lee Bridgman (Steve), Rob Callender (Rory), Kit Connor (Older Reggie), Leon Cooke (Hugh/Dancer), Tate Donovan (Doug Weston), Barbara Drennan (Mrs. Anderson), Taron Egerton (Elton John), Ross Farrelly (Cyril), Leigh Francis (Pete), Demetri Goritsas (Carter), Stephen Graham (Dick James), Sharmina Harrower (Heather), Bryce Dallas Howard (Sheila), Matthew Illesley (Young Reggie), Gemma Jones (Ivy), Alexia Khadime (Diana), Kamil Lemieszewski (Dr. Maverick/Paramedic), Marek Lichtenberg (Mike Potts), Ophelia Lovibond (Arabella), Max Mackintosh (Stephen), Steven Mackintosh (Stanley), Richard Madden (John Reid), Will Masheter (Teddy Boy), Benjamin Mason (Bryan), Aston McAuley (Dave Godin), Solomon Mousley (Sonny), Rachel Muldoon (Kiki Dee), Peter O’Hanlon (Bobby), Tom Ogg (George), Jason Pennycooke (Wilson), Diana Alexandra Pocol (Mary the Receptionist), Charlie Rowe (Ray Williams), Celinde Schoenmaker (Renate), Carl Spencer (Ricahrd), Tanisha Spring (Sylvi), Jimmy Vee (Arthur), Evan Walsh (Elton Dean), Harriet Walter (Helen Piena), Leon Delroy Williams (Clint)
Runtime: 121 mins
Classification: M (Australia) 18 (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
Most music fans do not need an introduction to Elton John. He is the man responsible for some of the most iconic songs in rock history. From the catchy Don’t Go Breaking My Heart, the heart-wrenching Candle In The Wind through to the cinematic masterpiece Can You Feel The Love Tonight Elton John has wowed music lovers with hit after hit since he first album was released to the public back in 1969.
Despite his popularity it is very rare though that many people could tell you much about the life of Reginald Kenneth Dwight – the man behind the Elton John persona. Sure there have been the news headlines, the lavish lifestyle and his very public relationship with his husband David Furnish. What the tabloids and John’s fans haven’t always been aware of though is the pain felt by the man who always seemed to smile when on stage. The drug abuse and the fractured relationships were kept behind closed doors. It is for that reason that new film Rocketman becomes one of the most important films released this year.
From the creative mind of director Dexter Fletcher, who also recently directed a large chunk of the away winning Bohemian Rhapsody, comes a warts and all look at John. Nothing is hidden here at all. Screenwriter Lee Hall (who also wrote films such as Billy Elliott and War Horse) takes the audience on a journey through John’s life, showing them the almost non-existent and sometimes cruel relationship he had with his father (played here by Steven Mackintosh), the moment his life changed forever when he met his lifelong song-writing partner Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell) through to the excessive lifestyle and drug abuse that almost ended with John dying in a swimming pool in front of his family and friends.
To Fletcher’s credit Rocketman does all of this with a very unique twist. While the biggest weakness of Bohemian Rhapsody was the fact that the film seemed to just skirt over some of the issues in the life of the late, great Freddie Mercury here Fletcher manages to delve deep into the emotional side of John’s life while managing to keep the film as flamboyant and loud as the man himself. If you are expecting a dour drama as the more painful elements of John’s life are exposed for the audience to see – forget it! Instead Fletcher uses a little bit of creativity and has John pour out his life to a group of people in rehab while moments of true drama and emotion are intercut with loud, colourful dreamscapes as the singer’s biggest hits are performed with very theatrical sequences that wouldn’t be out of place during a big Broadway production. In many ways it is a stroke of genius from Fletcher, yes some people may criticise the film for taking on so many elements of a stage production but given how entertaining and creative Fletcher is with the style aspect of the film it ends up working remarkably well and mirrors the flamboyant actions of the man at the centre of the film.
What else makes Rocketman work so perfectly is no doubt the casting. While some have been sceptical, before they have seen the film, of the choice of young actor Taron Egerton to play the role of Elton John his performance should easily silence those critics and shows Hollywood that Egerton is certainly a star on the rise. While mainly known for his action performances in films like Robin Hood and of course the Kingsman franchise, here Egerton is asked to go out of his comfort zone and instead dance and sing at times while also delivering truly deep, emotional moments of intense acting when it is called for him to do so.
Egerton is also well supported with some stellar performances from his co-stars. Bryce Dallas Howard is almost unrecognisable as John’s mother while Jamie Bell also delivers some moments of true dramatic tension in his role of Bernie Taupin. Game Of Thrones fans will also not be disappointed by the work of Richard Madden who here plays the unlikable John Reid who was once John’s romantic partner. While watching Madden here it becomes very obvious that just like Egerton he is on the verge of becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
Rocketman is a truly sensational film. The mere fact that the film can tell the story of an at times tortured artist like Elton John while still managing to have its audience tap their feet and sing-a-long to some of his most recognisable tunes is a feat upon itself. The film showcases why Dexter Fletcher needs to be considered one of the most interesting directors going around at the moment while paying a true tribute to a man whose life for the most part has had its sadder moments kept well and truly in the shadows. Creative in the way it is presented on the big screen and with an amazing portrayal of Elton John by an actor that is likely to earn an Oscar nomination Rocketman is the type of film you just sit back and savour.
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Summary: A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the film industry during the final years of Hollywood’s Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 15th August 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 12th September 2019
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States, UK, China
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Screenwriter: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Zoe Bell (Janet),Gillian Berrow (Gillian), Kansas Bowling (Blue), Parker Love Bowling (Tadpole), Madison Beaty (Katie), Michael Bissett (Officer Mike), Robert Broski (Abraham Lincoln), Austin Butler (Tex), Julia Butters (Trudi), Josephine Valentina Clarke (Happy Cappy), Clifton Collins Jnr (Ernesto The Mexican Vaquero), Maurice Compte (Land Pirate Maurice), Bruce Dern (George Spahn), Adrian Dev (Raj), Leonardo DiCaprio (Rick Dalton), Omar Doom (Donna), Lena Dunham (Gypsy), Dakota Fanning (Squeaky Fromme), Gabriela Flores (Maralu The Fiddle Player), Spencer Garrett (Allen Kincade), Rebecca Gayheart (Billie Booth), Zander Grable (Hermann The Nazi Youth), Nicholas Hammond (Sam Wanamaker), Danielle Harris (Angel), Tom Hartig (Sweet William), Maya Hawke (Flower Child), James Landry Herbert (Clem), Damon Herriman (Charles Manson), Cassidy Hice (Sundance), Emile Hirsch (Jay Sebring), Courtney Hoffman (Rebekka), Dallas Jay Hunter (Delilah), Lorenzo Izzo (Francesca Capucci), Keith Jefferson (Land Pirate Keith), Lenny Langley Jnr (Dashihi Donnell), Damien Lewis (Steve McQueen), Mikey Madison (Sadie), Michael Madsen (Sheriff Hackett On Bounty Law), Hugh McCallum (Lancer Camera Operator Hugh), Scoot McNairy (Business Bob Gilbert), Mike Moh (Bruce Lee), Timothy Olyphant (James Stacy), Al Pacino (Marvin Schwarz), Victoria Pedretti (Lulu), Eddie Perez (Land Pirate Eddie), Luke Perry (Wayne Maunder), Daniella Pick (Daphna Ben-Cobo), Brad Pitt (Rick Booth), Margaret Qualley (Pussycat), John Rabe (Darrin Stephens/Red Apple Man), Rachel Redleaf (Mama Cass), James Remar (Ugly Owl Hoot on Bounty Law), Rebecca Rittenhouse (Michelle Phillips), Margot Robbie (Sharon Tate), Samantha Robinson (Abigail Folger), Costa Ronin (Voytek Frykowski), Kurt Russell (Randy), Gilbert Saldivar (Land Pirate Gil), Chris Scagos (Benjamin), Ruby Rose Skotchdopole (Butterfly), Harley Quinn Smith (Froggie), Monica Staggs (Connie), Craig Stark (Land Pirate Craig), David Steen (Straight Satan David), Rage Stewart (Humble Harv), Sydney Sweeney (Snake), Lew Temple (Land Pirate Lew), Heba Thorisdottir (Make-Up Artist Sonya), Victoria Truscott (Gina), Brenda Vaccaro (Mary Alice Schwarz), Dreama Walker (Connie Stevens), Mark Warrick (Curt), Rumer Willis (Joanna Pettet), Rafal Zawieucha (Roman Polanski)
Runtime: 161 mins
Classification: R (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
The release of a Quentin Tarantino movie is now considered a cinematic event. It’s funny when a new Marvel movie is about to be released you see red carpets galore yet outside of America Tarantino’s movie just creep into cinemas, even the media screenings are 10am affairs with no big fanfare. Yet somewhere deep down inside every movie lover there is a sense that something special is about to happen. Let’s be blunt for a moment – Tarantino never makes boring films and he certainly hasn’t made a bad movie yet.
Now maybe I am in the minority because I prefer Jackie Brown to Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained to Inglorgious Basterds but I have unashamed love for the work of Tarantino and every time I go to see one of his movies for the first time I find myself turning into that little kid that I used to be when I eagerly anticipated movies like E.T. and Gremlins coming on TV again. The great news is that with Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Tarantino reaches out to his true fans with a brilliant masterpiece, but be warned it may leave casual cinema goers a little perplexed.
Tarantino sets the film in 1969 – Hollywood’s golden age that is seeing big changes happening. His central characters are aging television cowboy Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio – Inception, The Departed) and his out-of-favour stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt – Mr & Mrs. Smith, Moneyball). Living next door to Dalton is star-on-the-rise Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie – Suicide Squad, The Wolf Of Wall Street).
Life for the two households couldn’t be more different. Dalton reflects on the days when he was a television star while he now treats bit parts in television pilots like they are the answer to his resurrection. Then there his is best buddy Cliff Booth who only gets work through Dalton and even then that is tainted due to the story going around that he killed his wife. Then you have Tate whose career is taking off, she is on the verge of something big. What the three don’t know is their lives are about to be changed in a way that they could never expect.
If the synopsis makes the film sound like a character piece, that is because that is exactly what you get with this film. If you are looking for another Tarantino shoot ‘em up then look elsewhere because for three-quarters of this film the screenplay allows the audience to almost be a fly on the wall of the friendship between Dalton and Booth. Tarantino has no qualms showing Dalton have a lengthy conversation with a young actress (played brilliantly by Julia Butters) on the set of his new pilot and nor should he. When you have the screenwriting abilities of Mr. Tarantino there is no problem creating a heavily dialogue driven movie that at times wouldn’t feel out of place being a stage-play.
Perhaps what makes this film so special though is Tarantino’s eye-to-detail and the pay offs that true cinema fans will get from his references. From actual radio ads of the time playing on car radios, a killer soundtrack and appearances from greats like Bruce Lee (Mike Moh – Empires, Inhuman) and Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis – Homeland, Band Of Brothers) this perhaps one of the greatest cinematic tributes to this era of time and is something that will be long remembered.
As usual Tarantino also brings out the best in his cast. While some people may be disappointed that Robbie doesn’t get more screen time her screen presence is enough to counter-act that. Make no mistake though this is the DiCaprio and Pitt show. The on-screen chemistry between the two makes Dalton and Booth one of the best buddy relationships that Hollywood has ever seen. The two men also completely embrace their roles. As usual DiCaprio completely dissolves into being the character he is playing and this time he takes Pitt with him. Fans of movies like Moneyball will know that Pitt is not just the pretty-boy actor he used to be but here we see Pitt find another acting range and he matches DiCaprio in every scene they share.
While Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is different to anything that Tarantino has ever done before this movie can be summed up in one word – a masterpiece. Not many directors can pull off a film that is largely dialogue driven and then explodes with a graphic thrilling finale like this film does – but then is there anything that Mr Tarantino can’t do. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is pure cinematic bliss for serious cinema lovers.
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