Category: Music / Musicals

 

Summary: A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John’s breakthrough years.

Year: 2019

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)

 

 

OUR ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

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.

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating

 

 

 

IMDB Rating  Rocketman (2019) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Rocketman Reviews: N/A

Trailer

 

 

Every now and then a film comes along that you just know will launch its lead actor into super-stardom. That is certainly the case when you watch Jessie Buckley in Wild Rose. The gifted Irish actress has made a name for herself in television shows like Taboo but nothing quite prepared anybody for her amazing portrayal of a young woman who has just been released from prison and wants to try and make a name for herself as a country singer in Glasgow in brand new feature film Wild Rose.

“When I first got the script I got it through Tom Harper (the director of Wild Rose) who I had worked on War & Peace with,” says Buckley. “I just love him so much so he could have told me to lay down on a railway and I probably would of. Then I read the script and I was just blown away by the humanity of it. It felt like I was reading a prison break film for all these women that were trying to escape these limitations that society had been trying to tell them that they had to be in. Like for Sophie Okonedo’s character she has been given this life as a house-wife and through Rose-Lynn she breaks out of what her purpose is, and then Rose-Lynn kind of encourages all the women to be courageous and have wants of their own because she is so tenacious in wanting something for herself, and wanting something that is beyond what everybody has told her that she is allowed. I had never seen a female character be so bold, so rusty and unchained. Her bravery and tenacity just blew me away.”

“I grew up in a very musical household,” says Buckley when the conversation turns to the musical side of the film. “My Mom is a harpist and a singer and my Dad is always playing something, or singing, or writing poetry. So it was a very musical house and we listened to everything from Irish traditional music through to blues, jazz, musicals to classical. Yeah, my ears were always open to all kinds of music.”

“I hope it resonates with as many people as possible,” says Buckley thinking really deeply about her answer. “It is… um… it is about an ordinary person doing something really extraordinary and against the odds. She is told that she is allowed to dream and I think that is something that a lot of people relate to – young girls, older girls, men and women – and you know that it is scary to want something for yourself in your life and I hope that it will reach a lot of people realise that if you want something enough and if you believe that you have a purpose to do something that it is possible and you don’t have to sacrifice yourself for that, not who you are or where you come from… it certainly tells that story.”

 

Wild Rose is in cinemas now.

 

Universal Pictures are this morning pleased to release the trailer for Blinded By The Light, a joyous, coming-of-age story about a teenager who learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the words and music of Bruce Springsteen.

Set in 1987, during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is a joyous, coming-of-age story about a teenager who learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the words and music of Bruce Springsteen.

Summary: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Year: 2017

Australian Cinema Release Date: 28th June 2017

Australian DVD Release Date: 1st November 2017

Country: United Kingdom, United States

Director: Edgar Wright

Screenwriter: Edgar Wright

Cast: Jon Bernthal (Griff), Jeff Chase (Jeffrey), Morse Diggs (himself), Ansel Elgort (Baby), Flea (Eddie), Jamie Foxx (Bats), Eliza Gonzalez (Darling), Brogan Hall (Samm), Jon Hamm (Buddy), Lily James (Debora), CJ Jones (Joseph), Lanny Joon (JD), Kevin Spacey (Doc), R. Marcos Taylor (Armie), Paul Williams (The Butcher)

Runtime: 113 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR BABY DRIVER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Kyle McGrath’s Baby Driver Review:

I’ve considered myself a huge fan of Edgar Wright’s films for some time. Since the release of Shaun of the Dead and with the continuation of his “Cornetto Trilogy” with Hot Fuzz & The World’s End Wright he has created what I would consider to be almost perfect films. In only a short amount of time Wright has created several instant cult classic films with their stylish presentation, music selection to characterisation and emotional moments having a kick to them even though the film itself may have an absurdist comedy twist to them. This isn’t to say I have impossibly high expectations for his movies simply that I know what Edgar Wright as a filmmaker is capable of.

Baby Driver is the story of “Baby” (Ansel Elgort) a young extremely talented getaway driver with a passion for music and a constant soundtrack to his own life playing on his iPod. Forced for years to serve as a wheelman to payback a debt to crime boss “Doc” (Kevin Spacey) Baby appears to be finally free to start building a life for himself after meeting a beautiful waitress named Deborah (Lily James). However much to Baby’s horror he is forced to take part in yet another “final job” with a team of psychopaths. Trying not to get in too deep Baby strive to stay ahead of the criminals and the cops and escape this life of crime once and for all before it’s too late.

By far the star of the film is not the actors but the music and how it is incorporated into the film. Wright has clearly put an extensive amount of effort into choreographing almost the entire film so that it synchs up with the accompanying soundtrack. Gunshots, camera edits, punches, car chases, car crashes everything is timed perfectly to match the rhythm and the beat of the song playing in the background. This has got to be the most musical-like non musical I’ve ever seen.

It’s definitely an impressive achievement and Wright shows off the slick visual style he has become known for. While definitely cool it can feel a little out of place at some points like the opening credits which serves as a single long take of Baby going to get coffee for the crew after a job well done. The scene plays out with specific lyrics from the song playing inexplicably spray graffitied around right as they come into view and right as that line in the accompanying song plays. Now this is probably the most extreme example and while being inconsequential it shows how at some points what’s happening in Baby Driver is more about creating a music video than the music enhancing the story.

That’s the main issue I personally had with the film and it’s just one of taste really, so much time and effort has gone towards these musical scenes though the actual story and characters feel underwritten.

Storylines and relationships feel completely rushed, the characters are really given room to grow or give us reasons to care for them other than on a superficial level. The romance between Baby and Deborah especially felt forced and certain characters actions contradict how they were portrayed up to that point that the audience themselves are left to fill in the gaps more often than I felt was necessary.

Like for example in Mad Max Fury Road I’m perfectly fine with some backstory left up to interpretation as it wasn’t particularly necessary. But as simple as the plot was for that film if the villain had a sudden change of heart out of the blue at the end and called off the whole chase or something I would expect more than a passing line of dialogue as an explanation.

Baby Driver I felt was all style and little substance. It’s not a bad film really it is just somewhat forgettable despite its stylish presentation. The plot and characters feel like they are just there as an excuse to create some cool car chases and music videos which is totally fine. However at the same time the film is brought down a little by that.

Not that I want to say I’m rating this film on a curve, I would have felt the same way about it if had I not known the director’s name or previous work at all. But the soul of this film doesn’t quite live up to Wright’s previous work. Rather than feeling for these characters I felt indifferent to them and what was happening. Actors like Jamie Foxx or Kevin Spacey who I know are capable of comedy and drama seemed wasted on what felt like no more than rehashes of their roles in Horrible Bosses.

I enjoyed Baby Driver as a funny and entertaining rev head popcorn heist flick. Clearly I do think Edgar Wright was capable of crafting something better overall but for a crowd pleaser he’s most assuredly delivered with his latest film.

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:  

 

 

IMDB Rating:  Baby Driver (2017) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Baby Driver Reviews: N/A

 

Trailer:

Wide Open Sky

Summary: Wide Open Sky follows the heart-warming story of an outback Australian children’s choir. Chronicling their journey from auditions to end-of-year concert, the trials of trying to run a children’s choir in a remote and disadvantaged region are revealed. Here, sport is king and music education is non-existent. Despite this, choir mistress Michelle has high expectations. She wants to teach the children contemporary, original, demanding music. It becomes clear for the children to believe in themselves, they all need someone who believes in them.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th April 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Lisa Nicol

Screenwriter: Lisa Nicol

Cast: N/A

Runtime: 87 mins

Classification: G

 

OUR WIDE OPEN SKY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg King’s Wide Open Sky review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep # 172.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Wide Open Sky (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Wide Open Sky reviews: You can hear our Wide Open Sky review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep # 172.

 

Trailer:

Jem And The Holograms

Summary: As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 24th March, 2016

Country: USA

Director: Jon M. Chu

Screenwriter: Ryan Landels

Cast: Justin Alastair (Esteban), Ken Baker (Donnie The Reporter), Nicholas Braun (Brad), Barnaby Carpenter (Emmett Benton), Jimmy Fallon (himself), Katie Findlay (Stormer), Eiza Gonzalez (Jetta), Ryan Guzman (Rio), Dwayne Johnson (himself), Djoir Jordan (herself), Jason Kennedy (Jason Kennedy), Kesha (Pizazz), Alicia Keys (herself), Hayley Kiyoko (Aja), Hana Mae Lee (Roxy), Juliette Lewis (Erica Raymond), Christy Marx (Lindsey Pierce), Nathan Moore (Zipper), Aubrey Peeples (Jerrica/Jem), Aurora Perrineau (Shana), Chris Pratt (himself), Isabella Kai Rice (Young Jerrica), Molly Ringwald (Aunt Bailey), Stefanie Scott (Kimber), Jackie Tohn (Rebecca)

Runtime: 118 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Harley Woods:

Jem And The Holograms is a film based on Hasbro’s super popular doll line of the Eighties, which had a cartoon series still loved to this day. The screenplay of this film was written by Ryan Landels and the film was directed by Jon M Chu.

The story revolves around the orphaned Jerrica who grows up with her little sister, Kimber, and 2 adoptive sisters, Shana and Aja, in a house where music is cultivated as a way to bond. She becomes an online sensation overnight when she dons a pink wig and performs a song under the name ‘Jem’.

When I heard that Jem was going to be done as a live action movie I was so excited. I loved the cartoon when I was a child. I t was the essential Eighties cartoon – full of music, colour, crazy style but with real heart at its centre.

Then I saw the trailer for the movie. What was being advertised was absolutely nothing like Jem – it was just using the name. I’m pretty sure this pissed-off a lot of people and the film’s release suffered for it.

However, having just watched the DVD release, I have to say it was not as horrible as I feared. Synergy was there as a character, albeit a little different to the original, as was Jerrica’s backstory, slightly tweaked…

So why was I shown a completely boring ‘I-want-to-be-on-American-Idol’ type trailer to advertise the movie – with almost none of the classic Jem elements and characteristic details?

Despite this, the film does offer good fan-service throughout the film; a lot of characters and elements from the show appear. Some elements are not used enough, such as the classic Jem “truly outrageous” style. This appears briefly at the start and gets our hopes up… only to be watered down when they hit stardom.

The filmmakers have created a story about finding the ‘real you’ and being courageous enough to be yourself and follow your dreams. To sell this, we not only follow Jerrica’s journey to becoming Jem via her online video, but other ‘everyday people’ are shown throughout the film with their video uploads. This is meant to be an inspirational “we are all Jem” idea, showing that everyone can make their dreams come true.

Whilst I applaud the idea and lesson, I have to say that all those videos were annoying and detracted from the narrative. More time spent ‘showing’ Jem’s effect rather than a bunch of low-quality home video scenes of people saying how inspired they are would have been more beneficial.

Overall, the story was good and engaging but suffered from lazy and predictable moments later on. At one point the band falls apart, but all is forgiven without any kind of prompting a few minutes later. Character-wise, the movie starts good and builds each of the main characters, then becomes all about Jem and the others start to become background elements.

Jerrica’s biological little sister, Kimber, is the catalyst for the events and is built up at the start. Jerrica finds clues left by their father and follows them as her personal journey and, apparently, is nothing to do with Kimber. A message from their father at the end is all directed at Jerrica, only acknowledging Kimber at the very end.

Fans of Jem will have been wanting to see the Misfits in the movie. They’re not the main antagonists as you might have hoped, but do appear in a mid-credits bonus scene (with Pizazz played by Kesha) obviously intended to set-up a sequel. Their absence did not bother me, though, as it made sense to set Jem up as a star before introducing rivals.

I hope we actually do get a sequel, but with stronger writing (I’ll do it!) and ‘style’ showing it to be a bit more faithful to the franchise – especially in how it’s advertised. I hope they make the effort to set it straight and actually make Jem ‘truly outrageous’, which she really wasn’t in this film.

A nice touch might have been to update the old theme-tune. The music was good in the movie, but it should have been more striking and utilised more than it actually was for a film about a musician. It was disappointing to see her turned into a Lady-Gaga-clone at one stage – although this could have been a device used to show her becoming unpopular when they tried to change who she fundamentally was; you missed something there, Hasbro Studios!

Performances by the cast were generally strong, given what they had to work with. At times the film did not know if it wanted to be funny or feely and could have been executed better. Our heroine played her part well but we would like to see more opportunity to be the striking character and talent that she is built up to be (more the script’s fault than the actress’).

This film deserves 3.5 out of 5, with plenty of room left to be truly, truly, truly outrageous.

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Jem and the Holograms (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Jem And The Holograms Reviews: Nil

Trailer:

Alvin & The Chipmunks Road Chip

Summary: Alvin (voiced by Justin Long), Simon (Matthew Gray Gubler) and Theodore (Jesse McCartney) return and this time they have a huge problem. Not only has their ‘father’ Dave (Jason Lee) put a stop to them performing live, so they can be normal kids for awhile, but his relationship with Samantha (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is going so well it looks like they are about to get engaged.

Now the Chipmunks are happy for Dave but are concerned that if he marries Samantha that wil mean that they that are now ‘brothers’ with a boy that seems to enjoy torturing them, Miles (Josh Green). When they learn that he isn’t too happy about being related to them either the four decide to embark on a road trip to Miami to prevent the engagement from happening.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Walt Becker

Screenwriter: Randi Mayem Singer, Adam Sztykiel, Janice Karman (characters), Ross Bagdasarian (characters)

Cast: Christina Applegate (Brittany (voice)), Jennifer Coolidge (Ms. Price), Kaley Cuoco (Elenaor (voice)), Anna Faris (Jeanette (voice)), Josh Green (Miles), Matthew Gray Gubler (Simon (voice)), Tony Hale (Agent Suggs), Ellie Knaus (Anna), Jason Lee (Dave), Justin Long (Alvin (voice)), Jesse McCartney (Theodore (voice)), Maxie McClintock (Alice), Joshua Mikel (Wyatt the Pizza Guy), Red Foo (himself), Eddie Steeples (Barry), Bella Thorne (Ashley Grey), Kimberley Williams-Paisley (Samantha)

Runtime: 92 mins

Classification: PG

 

OUR ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS:ROAD CHIP REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Well I guess it had to happen to one film and for most territories around the world it was Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip that went up against the might of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When you actually think about it it’s not such a bad strategic move considering that most little kids who will want to see Alvin and co will have very little interest in going to see a film about intergalactic warfare. That leaves the big questions being… is this the kind of movie that will entertain or put my children to sleep?

Anyone who has sat through all four Alvin & The Chipmunks movies will tell you that this has been a franchise that has been all over the shop when it comes to quality. The first film surprisingly had meaning taking a huge swipe at the music industry and the way it treats young artists, but from then (like most of the franchises) these days it seems to have had more lows than highs. That is where you might be pleasantly surprised by Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip.

While the cast in front of the camera (and behind the microphone in some cases) haven’t changed this time around, the crew behind the scenes has. Known comedy director Walk Becker (who has previously brought us Van Wilder and Wild Hogs) steps up to the plate and is probably the reason behind a lot of the slapstick that surfaces this time around. Also new to the creative table are screenwriters who can boast films like Mrs Doubtfire and Due Date on their Resumes.

The new creative team behind the film takes this movie in a completely different direction to the last two films. Here the franchise once again finds its heart as the film explores the delicate subject of siblings being brought together as parents remarry etc. Surprisingly the film actually does that quite well, and while Miles is originally set-up as a brat you are supposed to hate the screenwriters do actually take his character on a journey that allows the audience to see how he ended up the way he did. It’s surprisingly moving.

Of course as you would expect from a movie aimed at the younger demographic there is also a lot of scenes that adults are going to find ‘silly.’ The battle scenes with Agent Suggs (Tony Hale) are over the top and too slapsticky for adults to really enjoy but you can guarantee younger kids will be in hysterics over them. Likewise the Red Foo scenes which are nauseating for anybody that has taste in music, but luckily the latter music scenes depicting the Chipmunks doing everything from playing in a redneck bar to rocking out with a brass band in New Orleans are a lot better.

As is normally the case with this franchise the actors are really overshadowed by the CGI chipmunks. Jason Lee seems to be cruise control, as is Kimberly Williams-Paisley. Tony Hale overacts constantly throughout the film, something that it is obvious he was asked to do by the creative team and for the most past it works. The biggest surprise though is the acting performance of Josh Green. The young inexperienced actor really shows that he may be an actor to watch in the future and he masterfully takes his character on a journey throughout this film. He manages to switch from comedy to moving emotionally scenes at a whim and he is one of the few actors who isn’t over-shadowed by his furry, cute co-stars.

Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip has enough crazy scenes and music sequences to keep younger kids happy while the older generations will warm to the more heartfelt moments throughout the film. Yes this film isn’t the car crash many expected it would be.
Stars(3)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip reviews: You can listen to our full Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip  on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #158. You can also read our full Alvin And The Chipmunks: Road Chip 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:

Amy

Summary: A look inside the personal life of star Amy Winehouse. The film follows her from being discovered through to the dizzying heights of winning a Grammy Award to her tragic demise.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 2nd July 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom

Director: Asif Kapadia

Screenwriter: N/A

Cast: Juliette Ashby (herself), Darcus Beese (himself), Tony Bennett (himself), Sam Beste (himself), Yasiin Bey (himself), Russell Brand (himself), Raye Cosbert (himself), Dale Davis (himself), Shomari Dilon (himself), Pete Doherty (himself), Blake Fielder-Civil (himself), Nick Gatfield (himself), Lauren Gilbert (herself), Lucian Grainge (himself), Dave Grohl (himself), Tyler James (himself), Jay Leno (himself), David Letterman (himself), Monte Lipman (himself), Phil Meynell (himself), Guy Moot (himself), Andrew Morris (himself), Salaam Remi (himself), Cristina Romete (herself), Mark Ronson (himself), Nick Shymansky (himself), Chip Somers (himself), Amy Winehouse (herself), Janis Winehouse (herself), Mitch Winehouse (himself), Blake Wood (himself)

Runtime: 128 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR AMY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Not being a fan of Amy Winehouse’s I wasn’t sure what to expect from the documentary Amy. The film had received rave reviews from right around but aside from knowing one of two of her big hits (namely Rehab) I actually didn’t know that much about her. Therefore the fact that this docco actually had me feeling somewhat emotional times really just goes to show how inside the life of his tragic star that director Asif Kapadia really goes… he doesn’t leave one single stone unturned.

Kapadia announced himself as a seriously gifted documentary maker when he released Senna in 2010. The docco went so far into Senna’s life that even those film critics and fans who despised and knew nothing about Formula One racing were listing the film as a film that you had to see. Kapadia does the same here with Winehouse. He doesn’t sugar coat anything and instead shows the tragic life of a girl who was given an amazing vocal talent but probably would have much better off and happier if she reached the level of stardom that she did.

One of the best things about Amy is just how watchable Kapadia has made the film. Yes it runs for 128 minutes (some would argue overly long for a documentary) but so gripping is the story being told that you never once start to feel bored and start to think what coffee you might order after the credits roll. Kapadia allows Amy to start off like any music documentary chronicling a young star’s life would. There are the customary shots of her mucking around with her friends, singing at clubs in front of small crowds, but Kapadia also allows the audience to see more than that as he clearly shows that even at the age of nine Winehouse was already deeply troubled and the rollercoaster was just starting to take off.

Like he did with Senna Kapadia breaks with normal traditional documentary filmmaking. There are virtually no talking head interviews here, instead the audience are treated to a lot of private home movies of Winehouse, her family and her friends that tell more about the star and her lifestyle than what any interview could ever do. Also making this a gripping watch is the fact that Kapadia doesn’t hold back when he is trying to tell his story. He doesn’t allow everybody in Amy Winehouse’s life come out of this smelling like roses. The audience watches as Winehouse’s life of destruction comes a lot worse with the arrival of her boyfriend (and then later husband) Blake Fielder-Civil on the scene – the film then basically points the finger as an expert eerily reveals that it was in Fielder-Civil’s best interest for his gravy train not to get sober again. Likewise Kapadia has the bravery to lump blame on Winehouse’s own father and he first reveals that Amy’s bulimia etc started when her father left the family home when she was just a child, how he was the main reason that she didn’t go into rehab when her managerial team was begging her to and how he brought film crews around and planned tours when all she wanted to do was rest and get herself well. It is a very brave documentary maker who is willing to tell a story with such brutal honesty.

Kapadia’s alternative style of filmmaking also allows for him to let the documentary move along as he showcases the events in Amy’s life that was making her write the music she was writing. As handwritten lyrics appear across the screen the audience watches the life events unfold that sparked her to write the usually dark lyrics in the first place. Just as that similar kind of thing made Teen Spirit a must read if you are a fan of Kurt Cobain, this style here makes Amy a must see for Winehouse fans. I know having seen the film set out in this way I will never listen to the track Rehab in the same way again.

There are times when you are watching Amy and it feels like you are watching car crash in slow motion. Instead of becoming a character study of one of the most successful young musicians of our generation the docco almost becomes a cautionary tale of what drugs, bulimia and super stardom can do to an ordinary person’s life. Kapadia’s brilliant style of story-making makes this the can kind of film that not only educates but washes over you with every emotion imaginable. One of the best music documentaries you will ever see.
Stars(4.5)

 

 

Greg King:

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

 

Stars(3.5)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Amy (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Amy reviews: You can listen to our Amy review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #167. You can also read our Amy review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer: