Category: War

Eye In The Sky DVD

Summary: High ranking British officials Colonel Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) and Lt. General Frank Benson (Alan Rickman) think that their hard work is finally paid off and they have been able to track the location of a number of terrorists in Kenya. When it is determined that all the terrorists will be in the same building for a meeting a plan is put in place to use drones to watch their movement and pounce when the time is right.

But when things start to go wrong and Powell and Benson realise that they are going to have to use American drone pilot Steve Watts (Aaron Paul) for a kill mission, the whole case becomes political. That then esculates when a young girl innocently goes into the ‘kill zone’ to sell bread.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th March 2016

Australian DVD/Blu-Ray/On Demand Release Date: 20th July

Country: UK

Director: Gavin Hood

Screenwriter: Guy Hibbert

Cast: Barkhad Abdi (Jama Farah), Mohamed Abdirahmaan (Abdi), Ahmed Mohamed Ali (Omar), Carl Beukes (Sergeant Mike Gleeson), Babou Ceesay (Sergeant Mushtaq Saddiq), Bob Chappell (Simon Powell), Francis Chouler (Jack Cleary), Monica Dolan (Angela Northman), Kim Engelbrecht (Lucy Galvez), Sonia Esguiera (Esther Alvarez), Daniel Fox (Tom Bellamy), Phoebe Fox (Carrie Gershon), Iain Glen (James Willett), Armaan Haggio (Musa Mo’Allim), Abdullah Hassan (Shahid Ahmed), Dek Hassan (Abdullah Al-Hardy), Faisa Hassan (Fatima Mo’Allim), Jon Heffernan (Major Harold Webb), Gavin Hood (Lt. Colonel Ed Walsh), Graham Hopkins (Nigel Adler), Jessica Jones (Kate Barnes), Tyrone Keogh (Sammy), Liz King (Susan Danford/Ayesha Al-Hady), Vusi Kunene (Major Moses Owiti), Warren Masemola (Agent Atieno), Richard McCabe (George Matherson), Roberto Meyer (Rasheed Hamud), Helen Mirren (Colonel Katherine Powell), Ali Mohamed (Khalid), Ma Mohamed (Osman Abade), Jeremy Northam (Brian Woodale), Michael O’Keefe (Ken Stanitzke), Abdi Mohamed Osman (Amadu Mukhtar), Aaron Paul (Steve Watts), Alan Rickman (Lt. General Frank Benson), Laila Robins (Ms. Jillian Goodman), Zak Rowlands (Second Crewman – K. Moore), Monde Sibisi (Muhammad Abdisallam), Abdilatief Takow (Ali), Aisha Takow (Alia Mo’Allim), Lemogang Tsipa (Matt Levery), Luke Tyler (Robert Powell), Ebby Weyime (Damisi), Meganne Young (Lizzy)

Runtime: 102 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR EYE IN THE SKY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Director Gavin Hood seems like he has a lot to say about the military and Government officials. Over the years he has delivered movies such as Rendition (which looked at CIA interrogation techniques), X-Men Origins: Wolverine which despite its blockbuster appeal was critical of military experiments on soldiers and his big journey into the sci-fi genre was Ender’s Game a film that was extremely critical about warfare and its involvement with children. Now Hood explores the notion of how politics can interfere with modern warfare with his latest offering, Eye In The Sky. Of course the importance of this film takes another big step forward after the sad death of Alan Rickman, this is his final performance on screen.

As a film itself Eye In The Sky holds its own but the similarities between it and a movie that surfaced last year called Good Kill (starring Ethan Hawke) are alarming. Surprisingly the two films would actually fit together as a good companion piece (take note those who program the films at The Astor), while Good Kill explored the effects that drone warfare has on the pilot that has to deliver the ‘kill’ Eye In The Sky looks at the dangers that occur when politics and modern warfare come face-to-face together.

To Hood’s credit Eye In The Sky would not have been an easy film to direct as the film is almost like two different films in one. While the shots on the ground in Kenya call for chases and action the scenes set back in England call for tense maybe dialogue driven scenes. To Hood’s credit he pulls off both equally as well as each other and it is absolute credit to him that some of the scenes set in the political offices are just as tense as the moments of action in Kenya. Ender’s Game taught as that Gavin Hood was a director to watch and Eye In The Sky shows audiences worldwide that he is a director that at the top of his game can produce a sleek military thriller.

To give the film credit though it really does explore the issue of politics and public relations getting in the way of modern warfare remarkably well. The film’s theory is probably best described by a masterful piece of screenwriting by Guy Hibbert (who also wrote Five Minutes Of Heaven) who at one point has the politicians debating whether it would be better PR for them if they let the terrorists do their terrorist attack or whether they kill an innocent child along with the terrorists. It’s just one bit of writing that will stick with me for a long time.

When your two leads are Alan Rickman and Helen Mirren of course the acting is going to be top notch, and while Mirren once again puts in a brilliant performance you can only wonder whether or not she is miscast and it seems implausible that a woman of her age would still have a military career. Rickman again also puts in a good performance but just seems to breeze through in a role that doesn’t call for him to do anything special. And for those wondering if this is a time that Aaron Paul gets the chance to put his teeth into a meaty role, think again because he like Rickman just seems to get a dream run without having to do much.

While Eye In The Sky is not as good as Good Kill it is still a film that is worth taking a look at if you want to see a film not afraid to raise some questions about modern day warfare. Gavin Hood brings just the right amount of suspense to the film while Rickman and Mirren and predictably good in their roles. Not quite an Oscar worthy film… but not far off either.

Stars(4)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Eye in the Sky (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Eye In The Sky reviews: You can listen to Kyle and Dave review Eye In The Sky on The Popcorn Conspiracy Ep #002 and The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show #171.

 

Trailer:

Monsters Dark Continent Poster

Summary: Ten years after the initial outbreak and the Infected Zone now spreads right across the world. Already stretched to the limit trying to control that the U.S. Army suddenly becomes alarmed at the amount of insurgency occurring in the Middle East. Soon young soldiers like Michael Parkes (Sam Keeley) and Frankie Maguire (Joe Dempsie) find themselves deployed to the region to take on both aliens and insurgents alike.

However, the situation is a lot worse than what leaders like Sergeant Forrest (Nicholas Pinnock) and Noah Frater (Johnny Lewis) anticipated and soon the group find themselves severally undermanned and under prepared for the situation leaving them dangerously outnumbered and their lives are threatened.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 1st July, 2015

Country: United Kingdom

Director: Tom Green

Screenwriter: Tom Green, Jay Basu

Cast: Phillip Arditti (Khalil), Sofia Boutella (Ara), Michaela Coel (Kelly), Lulu Dahl (Lena), Joe Dempsie (Frankie Maguire), Johnny Harris (Noah Frater), Sam Keeley (Michael Parkes), Jesse Nagy (Ryan Conway), Nicholas Pinnock (Sergeant Forrest), Parker Sawyers (Shaun Williams), Kyle Soller (Karl Inkelaar)

Runtime: 119 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

When the original Monsters film hit our screens in 2010 it took the world by storm. How the hell did director Gareth Edwards manage to create such a masterpiece of a monster film on such a low budget and with such a short shoot? The film has deservedly become a cult favorite over the years and while the talk over further films in the series always bubbled under the surface it never seemed like it actually would happen because even Hollyood as impressed by Edwards and soon had him working on Godzilla and of course a Star Wars film.

Not one to disappoint fans though Edwards decided to further the series as a producer (along with the first film’s leading man Scoot McNairy) and placed first time feature director, Tom Green in the director’s chair. A quick glance of Green’s directional Resume though seemed to worry more than a few fans of the series (he is mainly known for directing several episodes of Misfits) but they need not have stressed because Monsters: Dark Continent ends up being a brilliant film.

The first thing that hits you about Monsters: Dark Continent is that Green has not made a pure monster film. Somehow Green manages to brilliantly interweave the monster genre and the war genre together in a way that most filmmakers would be extremely jealous of. The film actually opens with some beautifully written scenes that make you feel like you are watching a documentary about soldiers preparing to go to war. The dialogue is no natural that any screenwriter will be envious of how the scenes turned out, but meanwhile the fans of the series will be thinking ‘well that’s nice but where are the monsters?’

Some monster film fans will probably decide that there just isn’t enough monster scenes in this film, but I tend to disagree. Instead I found myself marveling at how Green does manages to intermingle both the monster and insurgents storylines watch the battles start in the Middle East. Green has this knack of making the audience concentrate on a battle between soldiers and monsters and have you forget all about the insurgents until they show up out of nowhere and then the same happening vice versa. It’s a nice twist and go way for Green to make a strong political statement as well. Talking of twists Green also introduces an interesting theme later on about the native tribes and the monsters which could create an interesting storyline for the next film.

The no-show of any A-listers in the cast also doesn’t hold back the film either. Sam Keely leads the way with a brilliantly natural performance that enhances the docco feel in the early stages of the film. Keely does more than enough here to show that like McNairy he could use this franchise to shoot himself off to be a much sought after Hollywood actor. He is also well supported by Joe Dempsie, another star on the rise, and Johnny Lewis who comes to the fore when his character is cracking mentally.

Monsters: Dark Continent is a film that will take you completely by surprise. Director Tom Green announces himself as a director to watch as he expertly melds the monster and war genre together and ends up with one of most realistic war films since Black Hawk Down. Monsters: Dark Continent is a great little cult flick that really delivers.

 

 

Stars(4)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Monsters: Dark Continent (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Monsters: Dark Continent reviews: You can also read our Monsters: Dark Continent review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt. You can also hear our Mosnters: Dark Continent review on Screen Scene Ep #001.

Trailer:

Testament Of Youth

Summary: Based on the popular novel of the same name Testament Of Youth is a coming of age story that follows Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), a young girl growing up as England heads into World War I. Before the War Vera’s biggest problem is trying to get into university to study literature during a period when a woman’s studies were considered a waste of time.

Upon getting into University though Vera learns that the war is beginning to spread across Europe. Soon she finds herself right in the middle of it as her brother, Edward (Taron Egerton), her fiancé Roland Leighton (Kit Harington) and best friends Geoffrey Thurlow (Jonathan Bailey) and Victor Richardson (Colin Morgan) are all sent off to Europe to serve. As the stories coming from the frontline get worse and worse Vera decides to put her studies on hold and instead become a volunteer nurse.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd April, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom

Director: James Kent

Screenwriter: Juliette Towhidi, Vera Brittain (autobiography)

Cast: Hayley Atwell (Hope), Jonathan Bailey (Geoffrey Thurlow), Anna Chancellor (Mrs. Leighton), Taron Egerton (Edward Brittain), Laura Elsworthy (Nurse Scott), Henry Garrett (George Catlin), Kit Harington (Roland Leighton), Alison Harris (Vad), Charlotte Hope (Betty), Colin Morgan (Victor Richardson), Jenn Murray (Dorothy), Miranda Richardson (Miss Lorimer), Alexandra Roach (Winifred Holtby), Joanna Scanlon (Aunt Belle), Branwen Summers (Vad), Julie Vollono (Mrs. Ellinger), Daisy Waterstone (Clare Leighton), Emily Watson (Mrs. Brittain), Dominic West (Mr. Brittain), Barney White (Billy), Alicia Vikander (Vera Brittian)

Runtime: 129 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR TESTAMENT OF YOUTH REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Every now and then a film comes along that leaves you thinking ‘wow… just wow.’ In the time of special effects and CGI it’s normally been something epic happening on the screen that causes that response. Sadly, it is rarely a film that totally engrosses you in both its visual beauty and immersing storyline. But that is where Testament Of Youth comes to its fore… this is a film that will stick with its audience for a long, long time to come.

While many films often lack the ‘feel’ of the novel they are based here screenwriter Juliette Towhidi (who recently also showed her skills on Love, Rosie) manages to capture all of the teenage angst and anger that the real Vera Brittain wrote in her autobiography. For once a screenwriter read the novel they were adapting and understood exactly what the writer was trying to get across to their audience. Testament Of Youth is anti-war but it is a film that is supposed to show how important it was that men did die during the conflict and also graphically depicts why war is such a nasty affair for the people left behind.

What stands Testmant Of Youth apart from the many other films that have tried to show the horrors of war is the creative styling of director James Kent and veteran television director who is at the helm of his feature film. Kent brings a real beauty with this film working with his cinematographer in such a way that at times the images on the screen feel like you are looking at paintings. Even the most hardened emotionally draining scene seems to have an air of beauty around it with Kent in the director’s chair. Perhaps what shows his skills the most though is the fact that this is a film that is able to depict the horrors of war without ever actually showing a battle. The scenes of soldiers with limbs blown off or suffering from battle shock grouped together by something as simple as a father scouring the list of war dead in the newspaper does more than enough to show the audience how evil war can be without an overly graphic battle sequence.

Having heaped praise on the film though it is only fair to warn cinema goers that Testament Of Youth is not a film that is going to be enjoyed by all. The film is slow in pace and if films like Atonement have had you snoring then it is likely you won’t be a fan of this film either. Still the positives of this film largely outweigh the negatives and the fact that this film delivers such a powerful message about subjects as deep as feminism and the horrors of war without ever feeling that it has become bogged down just shows how talented the team of filmmakers behind it really are.

Also making Testament Of Youth a must see are the performances of its cast. Taron Egerton (who most would remember from Kingsmen: The Secret Service) and Kit Harington (yes Jon Snow from Game Of Thrones) put in such great performances that they are both virtually unrecognizable in their roles. Both show that they have the acting ability to go far beyond the roles that made them household names. But the strongest performance here comes from Alicia Vikander, an actress who has been on nearly everybody’s ‘star on the rise’ list since her performance in Anna Karenina. Her Vikander out performs her age and shows that she deserves to mentioned as one of the best young actresses in the industry at the moment. With Testament Of Youth she easily overcomes everything thrown at her and delivers a emotionally powerful performance that helps make this one of the films of the year.

Next time somebody says that there are no great films made any more point them in the direction of Testament Of Youth. This powerful film delivers a strong message about war while also making the audience wish that James Kent had turned his hand to directing features a lot earlier in his career. The beauty of this film is hard to describe in words but it is enough to show that Kent is one director that has been underestimated over the years. Aided by some amazing cinematography and an outstanding acting performance by Alicia Vikander Kent has helped create a film that is worthy of five stars.

 

Stars(5)

 

 

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg’s full Testament Of Youth review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Testament Of Youth review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Testament of Youth (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Testament Of Youth reviews: You will also be able to hear our Testament Of Youth review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126. You can also read our Testament Of Youth review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

The Imitation Game

Summary: A mathematician and logician, Alan Turing, helps crack the Enigma code during World War II.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: 1st January, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, UK

Director: Morten Tyldum

Screenwriter: Graham Moore, Andrew Hodges (book)

Cast: Jack Bannon (Christopher Morcom), Matthew Beard (Peter Hilton), Miranda Bell (Margaret), Winston Churchill (himself), Benedict Cumberbatch (Alan Turing), Charles Dance (Commander Denniston), Matthew Goode (Hugh Alexander), Ilan Goodman (Keith Furman), Tom Goodman-Hill (Sergeant Staehl), Adolf Hitler (himself), Rory Kinnear (Detective Robert Nock), Keira Knightley (Joan Clarke), Alex Lawther (Young Alan Turing), Allen Leach (John Cairncross), Tuppence Middleton (Helen), James Northcote (Jack Good), Scott Stevenson (Bletchley), Mark Strong (Stewart Menzies), Jack Tarlton (Charles Richards), Steven Waddington (Superintendent Smith)

Runtime: 114 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR THE IMITATION GAME REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Adam RossYou can check out Adam’s The Imitation Game review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #111

Stars(4)

 

Greg KingYou can check out Greg’s The Imitation Game review on www.filmreviews.net.au

Stars(4)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: The Imitation Game (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Imitation Game reviews: For our full The Imitation Game review make sure you check out The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #111.

Trailer:

Fury

Summary: April, 1945. A battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd October, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, UK, China

Director: David Ayer

Screenwriter: David Ayer

Cast: Jon Bernthal (Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis), Jamie Ben Chambers (Pvt. James ‘Gremlin’), Daniel Dorr (Lt. Obersturmfuher Schmidt), Scott Eastwood (Sergeant Miles), Bernhard Forcher (Sturmbannfuhrer Muller), Edin Gali (Sgt. Hauptscharfuhrer Wolfe), Brad William Henke (Sergeant Davis), Jason Isaacs (Captain Waggoner), Eugenia Kuzmina (Hilda Meier), Shia LaBeouf (Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan), Logan Lerman (Norman Ellison), Christopher Maleki (Kettle), Anamaria Marinca (Irma), Osi Okerafor (Benton), Jim Parrack (Sergeant Binkowski), Michael Pena (Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia), Brad Pitt (Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier), Xavier Samuel (Lieutenant Parker), Clayton T. Smith (Foothill), Laurence Spellman (Sergeant Dillard), Kevin Vance (Sergeant Peterson), Alicia von Rittberg (Emma), Tom Whelehan (Foxman)

Runtime: 134 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR FURY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

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

Stars(3.5)

 

David Griffiths:

There have been countless films over the years that have taken audiences deep into the horrors and nastiness of war. Of course there are the perennial favourites like Apocalypse Now and Saving Private Ryan which will always be trotted out when these kinds of films have been talked about. There are also Australian classics like Breaker Morant and Gallipoli which also take a look at the darker side of history’s battles.

Now director/writer David Ayer has decided to enter that fray with the much publicised Fury. Now the thought of Ayer at the helm of a war film is almost enough to make you salivate. His shaky cam style normally has the effect on you as an audience member that makes you feel like you are right there and part of the action. The thought of that happening in a war is like porn to those that label themselves a ‘war film fan.’ Then Ayer kind of shocked everyone by announcing that the cast of Fury would consists of Brad Pitt, Percy Jackson himself Logan Lerman and the man who is trying very hard to make himself Hollywood’s biggest nutbag Shia LaBeouf. But to Ayer’s credit, he damn well nails it.

The film centres around a tank crew finding themselves travelling into Germany during the latter days of World War II. The seasoned crew is made up of fearless leader Don ‘Wardaddy’ Collier (Brad Pitt), the religion spouting Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeouf), sassy mouthed Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia (Michael Pena) and the man with the don’t-mess-with-me attitude Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal).

With the Allied Forces copping a pounding as they journey further into enemy territory it’s not surprising that one of Wardaddy’s crew dies in action, but what he doesn’t expect is that the replacement crew member that he is sent is the very green Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman), a man who has not only seen no battle so far but was chosen to be in the Army for the fact that he could type at sixty words a minute rather than his abilities in killing Nazi soldiers.

With all the fears that I had when I first walked into the cinema to see Fury aside, Ayer really needs a big pat on the back for congratulations. Fury is not only well acted by a cast that many feared were not up to the task but also looks remarkably good. The fight scenes and even the CGI look really, really natural which is not bad when you consider that this film was put together with a budget of only $68 million. That’s right Ayer has managed to put together an epic war movie for less than what most studios would spend on a comedy these days.

Fury’s strong point is that it is engaging and suspenseful. Ayer quickly educates his audience on the fact that he can deliver a scene with two German woman having lunch with the tank crew and make it just as suspenseful as any tank battle that also takes place during the film. He also shows very early on that this is a film that is going to truly show the horrors of war, and that means some blood splatter. Those expecting Brad Pitt to be playing a pretty boy are quickly shocked out of their seats by the opening scene in which Pitt leaps of a tank and kills a Nazi soldier by driving a knife right through his eye.

Ayer drags his audience deep not only into the inner workings of a tank but also into the inner minds of a tank crew while bringing a constant feel of suspense to the film. Even sitting up in the cinema with your popcorn and drink you could feel the tenseness coming from the screen as you are never really sure what lays around each corner that the tank slowly takes. But Ayer’s talents as a director are really on show with the finale battle scene and with one of the most gun wrenching scenes you are likely to see in a cinema this year when Wardaddy literally forces Norman to commit his first Nazi kill. A drawn out five minute scene that looks like it would have drained the two actors involved while also having the audience right on the edge of their seat.

But Ayer’s brilliance and the fact that he is willing to break Hollywood rules left, right and centre throughout Fury only leaves you wondering why he would then allow for two extremely limp wristed moments to also sneak through the editing process. While not wanting to spoil the film for anybody that hasn’t seen it there are two weak scenes later in this film that just don’t fit with the tone set up throughout the rest of the movie. One contains perhaps the kindest S.S Soldier of all time and the second has some of those rare Nazi grenades that could explode right next to someone without leaving a single mark on them.

One of the most powerful things about Fury is that Ayer gets the absolute best out of his cast. Long gone are the days where Pitt is selected on just his looks alone. Here he puts on a clinic of character acting, despite seeming to be the only U.S. Solider capable of keeping perfect hair throughout the whole battle campaign.

Pitt is also well supported by his younger cast members. LaBeouf and Lerman easily show that they have perhaps been hiding their true talents from cinema audiences previously in the gigantic blockbusters that they have headlined. LaBeouf shows, like he has with Nymphomaniac, that it is time for him to start making some serious films and no longer be labelled ‘that guy from Transformers’ and it seems almost unfair that he is labelled ‘wacky’ for going to the extremes of pulling teeth for a role when those same people praise Christian Bale for putting his health at risk to lose weight for a film. Lerman also surprises those who only know him as Percy Jackson with a well rounded performance of a soldier who is almost in a constant state of shock.

Fury is one film that really does deliver to film fans with some very vast differences in taste. Ayder does enough with his action scenes to keep the adrenalin junkies happy, but also make this a character piece with some serious dramatic moments that really explore just how damaged men of a war can become. Despite the two weak moments towards the films finale Fury is still one of the better films of 2014.

Stars(4)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Fury (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Fury′: For our full Fury review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #102 . You can also check Dave’s Fury review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Dracula Untold

Summary: Vampire mythology combined with the true history of Prince Vlad tell the origin of Dracula.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 4th October, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Gary Shore

Screenwriter: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless, Bram Stoker (characters)

Cast: Joe Benjamin (Mihai), Mish Boyko (Andrei), Paul Bullion (Nicolae), Dominic Cooper (Mehmed), Charles Dance (Master Vampire), Luke Evans (Vlad), Sarah Gadon (Mirena), Jakob Gierszal (Acemi), Dilan Gwyn (Governess), William Houston (Cazan), Noah Huntley (Captain Petru), Paul Kaye (Brother Lucian), Ferdinand Kingsley (Hamza Bey), Thor Kristjansson (Bright Eyes), Joseph Long (General Omar), Zach McGowan (Shkelgim), Diarmaid Murtagh (Dimitru), Art Parkinson (Ingeras), Arkie Reece (General Ismail), Ronan Vibert (Simion)

Runtime: 92 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR DRACULA UNTOLD REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

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

Stars(2.5)

 

Nick Gardiner: You can check out Nick’s Dracula Untold review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99

Stars(2)

 

David Griffiths:

Somebody had to stand up and take the vampire genre back to the good old days. Call me cynical and old fashioned but as a seasoned fan of vampire flicks I was kind of getting tired of seeing my favourite beastie being portrayed by a pretty boy Englishman who sparkled in the sun while fawning over a frowny, sullen chick named Bella. Well the man who was up to the task of injecting a little bit of gore back into the genre is first time feature director Gary Shore who has somehow managed to find the right balance to make Dracula Untold a pretty good popcorn movie with just enough of a body count to keep the cult fans happy.

Dracula Untold takes vampire fans right back to the beginning, past Bram Stroker right back to the original myth of Transylvania’s favourite saviour, Vlad The Impaler (played here by Luke Evans). Vlad has brought peace to his homeland for a decade, but this is interrupted by the arrival of Turkish warlord Mehmed (Dominic Cooper) who once again demands that 1000 Transylvanian be turned over to his army, a fate that Vlad himself had been through as a child.

While Vlad tries to negotiate to continue the peace Mehmed makes it personal when he demands that Vlad and his wife, Mirena’s (Sarah Gadon) son Ingeras (Art Parkinson) be the 1001st child handed over. This results in Vlad eagerly trying to find a new source of power to overcome the Turks… a dark force that he has previously faced in the mountains.

There is little doubt that many people heading in to see Dracula Untold will be expecting something light and fluffy but instead Shore delivers up a film that sits someone in the realm of Forsaken: Desert Vampires and John Carpenter’s Vampires and that is certainly not a bad thing. There are a couple of easy to spot flaws in the plot but that is easily put to rest with some pretty impressive battle scenes and an air of suspense once you realise that this isn’t exactly a film that is afraid to bump off some of the main characters.

To the screenwriter’s credit they also go back to basics. There is no mucking around with fancy plotlines etc Dracula Untold is a simple story of good versus evil with a healthy subplot revolving around family versus duty for Government members. The screenwriter does take the film to the darker side though, the decision for Vlad to use evil against evil is an interesting take the hero myth and a welcome move away from the squeaky clean image that a lot of heroes seem to have these days. The biggest weakness for the script though is the film’s finale, the scene set in modern times, which I’m not sure actually has to be there unless the producers behind the film are setting it up to be another Hollywood franchise.

The darkness of the screenplay and plot is also brought to the fore by Gary Shore’s directional style. Some may criticise the dark style of the film, but for me it actually worked. Transylvania is in dark times and for a majority of the film the hero can only operate once the sun has gone down, hence filming in low light makes perfect sense and isn’t too much of a distraction for the audience. It’s actually a visual style not too dissimilar to the styles used in other medieval films like Season Of The Witch and Kingdom Of Heaven. As a first time feature director Shore actually handles the film pretty well and uses the countryside of his home, Ireland to good effect. As a result of how Dracula Untold turns out Shore is now a director that I am pretty keen to see what project he picks up next.

The big winner out of Dracula Untold is Luke Evans. Questions were raised when it was recently announced he would star in the reboot of The Crow despite proof he likes the Gothic feel with his work on The Raven and his blockbuster appeal due to The Hobbit franchise. Evans’ version of Vlad The Impaler is pretty much a screen test for The Crow. The dark brooding hero, fuelled by revenge, if he wanted to show his worth to his critics out there he couldn’t have picked a more perfect vehicle, the good news is he does a pretty decent job as well. While Evans shines though his co-stars are not given a hell of a lot to work with. Dominic Cooper plays a smarmy one-dimensional bad guy while Sarah Gadon could easily have done more if she was given more characterisation as well.

Dracula Untold is a fresh view of the original Dracula story. It is a fairly decent action film with a Gothic edge. Some of the popcorn brigade may be a little off put by the high body count and the few scenes of gore but in my book they are a definite plus. The great news is that Dracula Untold (much like Hercules earlier this year) isn’t the turkey that many expected and the vampires don’t sparkle.

Stars(3)

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Dracula Untold (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Dracula Untold′: For our full Dracula Untold review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #99 . You can also read Dave’s Dracula Untold review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Rock The Casbah

Summary: A recipient of the highly prestigious Art Cinemas Award at the 2013 Berlinale, Yariv Horowitz’s film Rock the Casbah is an impressive new war drama unconventional of its genre. Rock the Casbah follows Tomer (Yon Tumarkin) and his army unit during the first Intifada in 1989. When a member of the company is killed on patrol after a washing machine is thrown on him from a rooftop, Tomer is one of four men chosen by his commanding officers to carry out a surveillance operation to catch the perpetrator.

First-time feature filmmaker Yariv Horowitz injects a youthful vitality from his experience directing music videos to produce a tense action film recalling the visual style of Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbour. The film succeeds in connecting authentically with the reality of the young soldiers and their absurd predicament, offering a genuinely riveting exploration of the hell of war. Rock the Casbah is one of the first Israeli films to realistically portray the conflicted experiences of IDF soldiers stationed in the Occupied Territories during this time. Horowitz positions/immerses viewers amongst the chaos and frustration endured on both sides of the line, jarringly profiling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the ground in a style that is uniquely his own.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 3rd July, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Israel, France

Director: Yariv Horowitz

Screenwriter: Guy Meirson, Yariv Horowitz

Cast: Khaula Al Haji-Daibsi (Samira), Shmulik Chelben (Israel), Henry David (Ilya), Yotam Ishay (Ariel), Roy Nik (Aki), Iftach Rave (Haim), Adel Abou Raya (Muchamad), Yon Tumarkin (Tomer), Lavi Zitner (Izac)

Runtime: 93 mins

Classification: MA15+

 

OUR ROCK THE CASBAH REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

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

Stars(3)

 

Nick Gardener: You can check out Nick’s Rock The Casbah review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #86

Stars(3)

 

David Griffiths:

Many film lovers may be scared off by the fact that Rock The Casbah is yet another Israeli film that centres around the early days of the Israeli and Palestinian conflict revolving around the Gaza Strip. But this is more a film that is about showing what effect war can have on young soliders then it is picking sides in a conflict that is still raging today.

Set in 1989 Rock The Casbah tells the story of a group of Israeli Army rookies who are sent on their first mission, a mission that is described as a simple law and order excercise in the Gaza Strip. There main job is to bring a rowdy group of Palestinian protesters into line and literally show them who is boss.

But things get completely out of hand and soon the young group find themselves mourning the loss of one of their own, and then worse still having to stay in The Strip where everybody wants them out or dead.

One of the first things that hits you about Rock The Casbah is the directional style of its director Yariv Horowitz. This film announces Horowitz as a director to watch in the future as he really hits the ground running here with his feature film directional debut. Many young directors go for the softly/softly approach when trying to get their first film out there, not so here with Horowitz that has delivered a war film that is very much in the style of classics like Black Hawk Down.

With Rock The Casbah Horowitz takes his audience right into the middle of the conflict at heart and there are times during the film that the dialogue, drama and action are so realistic it does feel that you are watching a documentary or raw news footage. The opening half hour of this film is one of the tensest times that you will ever spend in a cinema. As Tomer (Yon Tumarkin) and his unit make their way through the narrow Palestinian streets guns in hand while Palestinian teenagers start to gather around them the tension that the film manages to generate is exceptional. There are more than enough heart-in-mouth moments to have even the most seasoned cinema goer sitting on the edge of their seat.

What makes Rock The Casbah even stronger is that even when the film reaches a pretty dramatic height about 30 minutes in Horowitz never allows the film to drop from there. For the remainder of the film he allows the film to explore how the events that follow affect the young soldiers at heart while also remaining impartial and giving an equal amount of screen time to how these events are received by both the Palestinians families and the Israeli soldiers that are wrapped up in the conflict.

Also proving that Horowitz is a promising director are the performances that he manages to get out of his young cast. At time the film’s harrowing nature becomes so intense that many young actors would struggle to deliver the performances that this cast does. They may be aided by some brilliantly written dialogue but the young cast also seem to be able to deliver anything that Horowitz asks them to do and they do it with complete ease.

When done the right way a war film can be a powerful piece of cinema. Luckily Rock The Casbah is one film that has certainly been done the right way. Yariv Horowitz’s debut feature directional film is a strong piece of cinema that creates the same amount of suspense as previous classics such as Black Hawk Down and Apocalypse Now. Rock The Casbah is a sensational film that explores both the emotional and physical toll that war can take on all involved in such a conflict, it also features a kick-ass soundtrack to boot.

Stars(4)

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Rock Ba-Casba (2012) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Reviews of ‘Rock The Casbah′: For our full Rock The Casbah review please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #86

Trailer:

Lone Survivor

Summary: Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture/kill al Qaeda leader Ahmad Shahd in late June 2005. The team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 20th February, 2014

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Peter Berg

Screenwriter: Peter Berg, Marcus Luttrell (book), Patrick Robinson (book)

Cast: Yousuf Azami (Shah), Eric Bana (Erik Kristensen), Johnny Bautista (Lt. Edwards), Dan Bilzerian (Healy), Kurt Carlson (Captain Lovas), Paul Craig (‘EOD’ Paul),  Jerry Ferrara (Hasselert), Ben Foster (Matt ‘Axe’ Axelson), Daniel Fulcoly (Lt. Andrews), Michael P. Herrman (Wallace), Emile Hirsch (Danny Dietz), Joh Hocker (Hocker), Taylor Kitsch (Michael Murphy), Robert Loerke (Captain Jacoby), Alexander Ludwig (Shane Patton), Zabiullah Mirzai (Zabi), Henry Penzi (Penzi), Sammy Sheik (Taraq), Ali Suliman (Gulab), Rich Ting (James Suh), Mark Wahlberg (Marcus Luttrell)

Runtime: 121 mins

Classification:MA15+

OUR LONE SURVIVOR REVIEWS & RATINGS

Adam Ross: Stars(3)

Please check Adam’s Lone Survivor review of that is available on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #68

Greg King: Stars(3.5)

Please check Greg’s Lone Survivor review of that is available on www.filmreviews.net.au

David Griffiths:

War films are a dime-a-dozen… bad war films are even more common. It’s for that reason that is okay to be a little nervous when approaching Lone Survivor. Even the fact that it has a known actor like Mark Wahlberg in it doesn’t make necessarily a good film either… after all the man formerly known as Marky Mark has delivered some pretty bad turds over the years. Then there is the Peter Berg factor, yes Berg has shown over the years that he can create some masterpieces, just as he did with Friday Night Lights, but then he was also the man responsible for Battleship.

Luckily for movie fans out there Lone Survivor falls into the realm of good war films. So good in fact that it deserves to be mentioned alongside films such as The Hurt Locker and Black Hawk Down. Yes Peter Berg served his time with the studio and worked on Battleship and has now once again been allowed to show the world what a fine filmmaker he really is.

The film itself is based on actual events that happened to Marcus Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg) during a daring raid in Afghanistan to capture notorious Taliban leader Ahmed Shah (Yousuf Azami). Soon Luttrell’s group, which also contains Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch) and Matt Axelson (Ben Foster) find themselves deep under enemy fire after having to make a huge moral call. Worse still is the fact that they are cut off by their leader, Erik Kristensen (Eric Bana) as their communications have all gone down.

There is little doubt that this is film is made ten times better under the direction of Peter Berg. Just like he did with Friday Night Lights Berg makes Lone Survivor feel like you are watching a documentary. The dialogue was his script his natural and just because he has a big name like Eric Bana in a role doesn’t mean that Berg decides to give his A-lister any extra on screen.

Likewise Berg doesn’t hold back on the violence in this film. The film is set on the battlefield and it is obvious that Berg not only wants his audience to see that the men involved in this mission were not only heroes but he also wants people to realise just how tough it is for men and women on the front line. Not only does he show this with some very confronting war violence but also by some extremely intense scenes that show the moral decisions that soldiers have to make while going about their jobs.

In fact the highlight of Lone Survivor is the scene where Luttrell and co are faced with a very big ethical dilemma. Do they shoot dead some unarmed young Afghanis or do what the law says and let them go, knowing full well that the latter option is likely to bring even more repercussions for the soldiers. As the soldiers discuss what is best to do Berg heightens the tension to a level that most filmmakers can only dream about achieving.

Lone Survivor really isn’t a film about the actors in it, which is made obvious by the fact that an actor of the calibre of Eric Bana is in a pretty much ‘blink and you’ll miss him’ role while the likes of Ben Foster and Emile Hirsch are also in restricted roles. To his credit Mark Wahlberg delivers even when some of the scenes seem to be above his usual acting talent, while Taylor Kitsch again silences his critics with a worthy performance as well.

This is one film that is certainly a gripping, yet also very tough watch. The violence is unrelenting but Peter Berg does what he sets out to do and that is show the audience just how brave the men involved in this raid were. Lone Survivor is one of the finest war movies you will ever see.

Stars(4)

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

IMDB Rating:  Lone Survivor (2013) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Lone Survivor′: Please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #68 for our full Lone Survivor review.

Trailer:

Mr. Pip

Summary: Mr Pip is the story of how Mr Watts (Hugh Laurie), a teacher on the war-torn island of Bougainville, helps a young girl survive the violence of her daily life through the power of imagination. Mr Watts reads from his favourite book, “Great Expectations”, and 14-year-old Matilda is transported into the Victorian world, finding inspiration, friendship and hope when her real life is filled with harsh uncertainty and danger.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th November, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Papua New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand

Director: Andrew Adamson

Screenwriter: Andrew Adamson, Lloyd Jones (novel)

Cast: Eka Darville (Pip), Florence Korokoro (Grace Watts), Hugh Laurie (Mr. Watts)

Runtime: 117 mins

Classification:M

OUR MR PIP REVIEWS & RATINGS:

Greg King: Stars(2.5)

Please check Greg’s review of ‘Mr. Pip’ that is available on www.filmreviews.com.au

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

IMDB Rating:  Mr. Pip (2012) on IMDb

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Mr Pip′: Please check The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #58

Trailer:

In The Fog

Summary: It is 1942, and on the German-occupied Western frontiers of the Soviet Union, local partisans are fighting a brutal resistance campaign. Two of these partisans are escorting suspected Nazi collaborator Sushenya to his death when they are ambushed, and wounded. The tables turned, Sushenya is forced to make a moral choice under immoral circumstances. Adapted from Vasil Bykov’s novel, In The Fog is minimalist and restrained, its sparse visual language and soundtrack driving the growing sense of menace and unease, and ultimately unfolding into a philosophical and psychological meditation on morality.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th March, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: Germany, Netherlands, Belarus, Russia, Latvia

Director: Sergei Loznitsa

Screenwriter: Sergei Loznitsa, Vasili Bykov (novel)

Cast: Vladislav Abashin (Burov), Stepans Bogdanovs (Topchievsky), Dmitry Bykovskiy (Yaroshevich), Vlad Ivanov (Grossmeier), Igor Khripunov (Mirokha), Sergei Kolesov (Votik), Dmitrijs Kolosovs (Mishuk), Nikita Peremotovs (Grisha), Yuliya Peresild (Anelya), Kirill Petrov (Koroban), Vladimir Svirskiy (Sushenya)

Runtime: 123 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘In The Fog’ Review: Please check Dave’s review of ‘In The Fog’ that is available on the Helium Entertainment Channel.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘In The Fog′: Check Episode #24 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘In The Fog’.

Rating: 2.5/5

IMDB Rating: In the Fog (2012) on IMDb