Category: Film Genre

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them

Summary: The adventures of writer Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 17th November 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA, UK

Director: David Yates

Screenwriter: J.K. Rowling

Cast: Peter Braitmayer (Mr. Bingley), Gemma Chan (Madam Ya Zhou), Josh Cowdery (Henry Shaw Jnr/Senator Shaw), Johnny Depp (Grindelwald), Rudi Dharmalingham (Ranjit), Christian Dixon (Momolou Wotorson), Henry Douthwaite (Skender), Carmen Ejogo (Seraphina Picquery), Colin Farrell (Graves), Dan Fogler (Kowalski), Kevin Guthrie (Mr. Abernathy), Ellie Haddington (Mrs. Esposito), Dan Hedaya (Red), Tom Hodgkins (Barker), Denis Khoroshko (Banker Smirnoff), Zoe Kravitz (Lestrange), Alan Mandel (Mr. Goldstein), Ezra Miller (Credence Barebone), Samantha Morton (Mark Lou), Wunmi Mosaku (Beryl), Jenn Murray (Chastity Barebone), Martin Oelbermann (Heinreich Eberstadt), Ron Perlman (Gnarlack), Ronan Raferty (Langdon Shaw), Eddie Redmayne (Newt), Alison Sudol (Queenie), Jon Voight (Shaw Senior), Katherine Waterson (Tina), Matthew Wilson (Sam The Obliviator), Faith Wood-Blagrove (Modesty Barebone)

Runtime: 133 mins

Classification: M

OUR FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Welcome back to the Harry Potter universe. Over the years many franchises have tried to tap into the young adult mark. Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent etc have come and gone, and yes they have all done well at the box office… but none quite as well as the behemoth known as the Harry Potter franchise. See where Potter could gloat over the others was the fact that its films were not only embraced by fans but also received critical acclaim as well. Yes there was more than just a few of us that were drawn into a world consisting of Hogwarts, muggles and spells a plenty.

Now J.K. Rowling takes us back into the Harry Potter with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, this time there is even a more literal sense to that statement because for the first time in the franchise’s history Rowling puts on the hat of screenwriter… something it seems she should have done a long time ago.

While Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is set in the Potter universe don’t be expecting the re-appearance of Harry, Ron and Hermoine. No this is set 70 years prior to the trio’s arrival at Hogwarts and centres on another of Dumbeldore’s students – the young wizard Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl) who travels to New York on the simple mission of returning one of the magical creatures that he has rescued back to its rightful home.

After an innocent mix-up with a baker who has dreams of setting up his own shop, Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogel – Kung Fu Panda), some more of his menagerie escape into the Big Apple. There escape catches the eye of a recently demoted Ministry of Magic Detective, Porpentina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston – Steve Jobs) who immediately reports Scamander to her bosses Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo – Selma) and Percival Graves (Colin Farrell – Total Recall). They immediately believe that he is responsible for a spate of recent attacks that have put the magic world on the brink of war with the non-magics (America’s answer to muggles) and Scamander finds himself in a battle to not only protect his creatures but also find the real culprit for the attacks.

Many fans of the original Potter franchise are going to find themselves in for a journey of differences this time around. While Rowling allows the story to share some familiarities with the original series, things such as those practicing magic not being understood or accepted by those who view them as different, an awkward young wizard out of his depth and the basic battle of good versus evil she also takes some bold steps this time around. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them sees her tackle stories as wide as police corruption and child abuse. Perhaps the biggest surprise this time around though is the scale of the events that Rowling has dreamed up. Alongside her director David Yates (The Legend Of Tarzan) Rowling has conjured up events and a plot that at times rivals the action and scale of a film like X-Men or Man Of Steel. She also allows the film to capture the class and style of 1930′s New York remarkably well too. To her credit she pulls it off so well we can only hope that we see her take on the role of screenwriter many more times in the future.

The other big surprise with this film is that despite its big scale action sequences and heavily slanted fantasy theme the film also allows for a great deal of characterisation. Without spending too much time on a tiresome ‘set-up’ of characters Rowling throws her audience in at the deep end with amazing results. You are quickly won of by the awkward Scamander while the comedic character traits of Jacob and Queenie (Allison Sudol – The Lucky One) quickly make them fan favourites. Romantic interests developing between Jacob Queenie as well as Scamander and Goldstein move the story along with the odd light moments sprinkled between the suspense around characters like Credence (Ezra Miller – The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) and Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp – Pirates Of The Caribbean) keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

This characterisation also allows some actors to step up in ways you wouldn’t expect to them in a film like this. Colin Farrell relishes being in a film of this scale again and manages to steal many of the scenes he appears in. It’s like he knows that roles such as this are rare for him these days and he excels whether he is called upon to deliver an action sequence or a more dramatic emotional scene. Eddie Redmayne also makes the role of Scamander his own but the real surprises here at the performances of Katherine Waterson, Dan Fogler and Allison Sudol who step-up onto the big stage in a huge way and really show their talents. Sons Of Anarchy fans should also look out for Ron Pearlman in a memorable cameo as well.

While I’ll admit that I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of Fantastic Beats I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did. The fact that Rowling can deliver a film with this much action is a real surprise while it seems she has created more characters that are likable enough to become household names. With the other announcement that there will be four more films in this franchise all I can say is bring them on… I can’t wait.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

 

Greg King:

With the lucrative Harry Potter franchise done and dusted, author J K Rowling has expanded on her Potterverse with this stand alone tale set some seven decades before the adventures of the boy wizard. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them serves as the launching pad for a new post-Potter franchise set against the world of magic and sorcery, and somewhat ambitiously another four films have been planned for the series so far.

The film follows the misadventures of magizoologist Newt Scamander (played by Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne) who has just completed a global excursion for the Ministry of Magic to document the varied and amazing array of magical creatures in the world. He will go on to write the fictional text book that became mandatory reading at Hogwarts.

But the time is now 1926 and the setting a pre-Depression era New York. It is also a time of heightened tensions between humans and the magical community, and suspicion, paranoia and intolerance that has driven most of the wizards underground. The magical community that keeps a low profile after the actions of dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald (a cameo from Johnny Depp). There is a secret society known as the Second Salemers that are leading a campaign to identify witches within the community.

Scamander has stepped off the boat for a short stop over in New York. He carries with him a battered leather suitcase that contains some samples of strange creatures great and small. He accidentally bumps into klutzy wannabe baker and no-maj (the American term for a muggle) Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler), who is also carrying a battered suitcase containing samples of his pastries. They somehow manage to switch suitcases, and Kowalski accidentally unleashes some fantastic beasts onto the unsuspecting city. The release of the creatures attracts the attention of the Magical Congress of The United States of America, a sort of magic police force.
Porpentina Goldstein (played by Katherine Waterston) is an auror, a dark wizard catcher, who has fallen out of favour with MCUSA and she sets out to redeem herself by catching Scamander and his creatures before they can bring harm to the city. She teems up with her mind reading sister Queenie (Alison Sudol), Scamander and Kowalski. But there is a mysterious threat to the city from some elusive and dangerous force that is also wreaking havoc. And the uncompromising Percival Graves (a sullen, sinister Colin Farrell), the director of Magical Security with MCUSA, also has his own agenda and is involved in some shady dealing with the troubled teen and ostracised wizard pupil Credence (Ezra Miller).

Rowling has written the screenplay herself which is based on the short story she wrote in 2011 and published under the pseudonym of Newt Scamander. But it is a little convoluted and very busy with several subplots. There are a lot of ideas at play here but not all of it works. As usual Rowling has created a world that operates within its own set of sometimes flexible rules, and she has created a unique language. Fantastic Beasts has a dark and whimsical tone that is far removed from the lighter tone of the early Potter movies.

The director is David Yates, who helmed the final four films of the Potter series, so he is familiar with the demands of the material. The action is dominated and overwhelmed  by the impressive array of CGI effects in an effort to distract from the lack of cohesive narrative and well defined characters. Unlike the Potter series here we don’t get as emotionally involved with the characters. There are indeed some fabulous creations here, including a kleptomaniac platypus; but there is one creature that looks suspiciously like a deflated rubber toy! And the over the top finale almost destroys as much of New York as the Marvel characters.

There are some nice performances though. Redmayne brings a boyish quality to his reading of Scamander, and he brings plenty of nervous energy, nervous tics and mannerisms to the character that are somewhat endearing. Farrell is gruff and taciturn as the sinister Graves but he also appears bored at stages. Fogler provides plenty of comic relief. Waterston brings strength and a feisty quality to her Porpentina, while singer turned actress Subol brings a perky energy to her role. Jon Voight is wasted in a small and thankless role as Henry Shaw, a powerful newspaper magnate leading a crusade against magic and wizardry.

The film offers up a visually impressive environment, and it has been superbly shot by Philippe Rousselot, whose use of sepia tones imbues the material with a strong touch of nostalgia. The authentic period detail brings 1920s New York to life. Colleen Atwood’s costumes also add to the stylish and strong visual look of the film.

The film’s themes of intolerance, paranoia, bigotry and suspicion will resonate strongly with audiences, especially given recent political events in America. But this is a flawed film, and whether Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them has the legs to support another four films in the series remains to be seen.

Stars(2.5)

 

 

 

Nick Gardner:

You can listen to Nick Gardener’s Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them review from The Wednesday Motley Crew right here.

Stars(2.5)

 

 

 

 

Sam Gironda:

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, directed by David Yates and starring Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Fine Frenzy and Eddie Redmayne, being with it the return of the Wizarding world we have all grown fond of from the Harry Potter series.
I loved that this film, even while being part of the Harry Potter franchise, gave its own reputation. It didn’t rely too much on the success of Harry Potter to make this film successful. The characters were all cast perfectly, the film had some genuinely funny moments and the action, drama and of course the magic were all balanced out really well in my opinion.
It was fantastic to see magic from the Wizarding world back on screen once again and at the same time bring concepts of the Wizarding world that were never discussed in Harry Potter. I loved that they kept this fresh and interesting with a whole new story line and broad range of new characters.
In some movies I find myself getting bored towards the middle of the film but in Fantastic Beasts there was nothing that allowed me to be bored because there was constantly something interesting happening on screen. The scenery, special effects and all over direction of the film was done really well and I highly recommend going and seeing the film if you are a Harry Potter fan.

Stars(4)

 

 

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them Reviews: You can also listen to our Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them reviews on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #202You can listen to Dave’s Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them review on the 10/11/2016 episode of That’s Entertainment.

Trailer:

Inferno

Summary: When Robert Langdon wakes up in an Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Dr. Sienna Brooks, and together they must race across Europe against the clock to foil a deadly global plot.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 13th October 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: 18th January, 2017

Country: United States, Japan, Turkey, Hungry

Director: Ron Howard

Screenwriter: David Koepp, Dan Brown (novel)

Cast: Cesare Cremonini (Ignazio Busoni), Ida Darvish (Marta), Jon Donahue (Richard Savage), Mehmet Ergen (Mirsat), Ben Foster (Bertrand Zorbist), Tom Hanks (Robert Langdon), Felicity Jones (Dr. Sienna Brooks), Irrfan Khan (Harry Sims ‘The Provost’), Sidse Babett Knudsen (Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey), Xavier Laurent (Antoine), Fausto Maria Sciarappa (Parker), Paolo Antonio Simioni (Dr. Marconi), Omar Sy (Christoph Bruder), Ana Ularu (Vayentha)

Runtime: 121 mins

Classification: M

OUR INFERNO REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Inferno sees the arrival of yet another attempted franchise reboot in 2016. We’ve seen Ghostbusters and Bridget Jones’s Baby arrive with mixed success now we find Academy Award winning director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) rebooting the Robert Langdon franchise some seven years after its last instalment.

Based on the novel by Dan Brown Inferno begins with Robert Langdon (Tom HanksForrest Gump) waking up in a hospital with no memory of how he got there and being hunted by a assassin (Ana UlaruSerena). After managing to escape with Dr. Sienna Brooks (Felicity JonesThe Amazing Spider-Man) Langdon starts putting together the pieces and realises that he must try and stop an apocalyptic event set by Bertrand Zorbist (Ben FosterWarcraft: The Beginning) who believes his actions will actually save the world.

But as Langdon tries to overcome memory loss and put the pieces together to solve the mystery things are made even more difficult by him when he realises he doesn’t know which World Health Organisation agent he can trust, Dr. Elizabeth Sinskey (Sidse Babett KnudsenWestworld) or Christoph Bruder (Omar SyJurassic World). To add to their confusion the audience also learns there is a puppet-master in the wings in the form of Harry Sims (Irrfan KhanLife Of Pi).

While watching Inferno you do start to realise that this is going to be a film that divides its audience. For the regular popcorn set this is going to be a film that delivers a fairly decent, if not at times confusing, crime thriller plot that shows you just as many European landmarks as a Bond film. For the more seasoned film goer though this is a film that reveals some of the laziest filmmaking Ron Howard will deliver during his career with a clichéd plot that just follows the same sequence over and over – Langdon arrives in a city, goes to find the puzzle piece, is chased by Police and uses an ancient tunnel to escape and then moves on to the next city. There is also a level of inconsistence around the character of Robert Langdon that surfaces right throughout this film and despite the work of screenwriter, David Koepp (Jurassic Park), to pass it off as part of Langdon’s amnesia it simply doesn’t work.

Rather than being a gritty thriller Inferno becomes more of a fun ride as the audience gets to see European city of European city while there is a mid-level of suspense and you try in your mind to put the pieces together at the same time as Langdon does… although that it made a hell of a lot easier if you are up to date on your Dante. The big tip for the audience is to not let to get too bogged down in the ‘historical’ parts of this film or you will be scratching your head and hurling popcorn as you struggle to work out what the hell is going on.

Likewise this is a movie that Tom Hanks just seems to breeze through. While Sully recent saw Hanks once again reveal his wonderful character acting skills here Hanks wears the character of Robert Langdon like an old slipper, it’s a role that he is obviously comfortable in but doesn’t deliver the acting heights that we know he is capable of. The same can be said for Felicity Jones who isn’t given a huge amount to work with and even disappears for a quarter of the film. The big winner in the acting stakes is Sidse Babett Knudsen who makes good use of the screen time she is given. Omar Sy and Irrfan Khan are also wasted in their roles, the latter being given a role very similar to a poor man’s Bond villain as he plays a character that leaves the audience asking… is that even a profession?

The best way to enjoy Inferno is to just go into the cinema expecting a fun film. While it isn’t exactly a borefest it certainly lacks the suspense of Angels & Demons and is a lot more clichéd than the Da Vinci Code. Did the Robert Langdon franchise need Inferno? Probably not!

Stars(2.5)

 

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating: Inferno (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Inferno Reviews: You can also listen to our Inferno reviews on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #196. Dave Griffiths also delivered his Inferno review on the 12/10/2016 episode of Living Fresh with IGA with Ed Phillips on 2UE.

Trailer:

I Am Not A Serial Killer

 

 

Summary: In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th September 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: 9th November, 2016

Country: Ireland, UK

Director: Billy O’Brien

Screenwriter: Christopher Hyde, Billy O’Brien, Dan Wells (novel)

Cast: Christina Baldwin (Margaret), Elizabeth Belfiori (Rachel), Laura Fraser (April), James Gaulke (Principal Layton), Karl Geary (Sr. Neblin), Lucy Lawton (Brooke Watson), Michael Paul Levin (Roger Bowen), Christopher Lloyd (Crowley), Dee Noah (Kay Crowley), Tommy O’Brien (Ethan Watson), Tony Papenfuss (Ron The Coroner), Max Records (John Wayne Cleaver), Tim Russell (Olson the Barber), Mary Kay Schmitt (Mrs. Anderson), Dane Stauffer (Mark Watson)

Runtime: 104 mins

Classification: MA15+

OUR I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Horror films have got decisively smarter over the years. The old school slice ‘n’ dice slashers that wowed audience in the 1980s and 1990s seem alarmingly redundant as horror film makers have discovered what really scares an audience is a film that can really get inside the head of those watching it and give them a good psychological scare. That is certainly the case with director Billy O’Brien’s (Isolation) new film I Am Not A Serial Killer which gets inside you head as a good psychological thriller and then delivers a special twist for all horror fans out there.

Set in a small American town I Am Not A Serial Killer centres around sixteen year old John Wayne Cleaver (Max RecordsWhere The Wild Things Are), a teenager who is obsessed by serial killers, works as an embalmer with his mother April (Laura FraserA Knight’s Tale) and has been diagnosed as a clinical sociopath by his therapist Dr. Neblin (Karl GearyThe Burrowers).

John fights against his urges to kill by doing small things like smiling at people who make him angry and helping out with those less fortunate than those around him, like his elderly neighbour Crowley (Christopher LloydBack To The Future). However when a spate of murders start happening in the town it sparks John’s interest and he wants to try and find out exactly who is doing it.

Anyone out there who wants to learn how to write a great screenplay should start by sitting down and watching I Am Not A Serial Killer. Billy O’Brien teams up with Christopher Hyde (Last Light) to create an amazing script based on the novel by Dan Wells. When the two took on this challenge it was no small feat. While the novel was considered a young adult novel, it was a film that had to be different to other young adult films like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. While many were impressed by the ‘darkness’ of The Hunger Games this film has to go even darker and it explores going inside the head of a teenager who every day fights the urge to kill those around him.

Somehow O’Brien and Hyde manage to achieve this goal and they create a film that is part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age film with a little twist of horror. Not only do that but they manage to make this a film with believable dialogue and even make the young sociopath a character that the audience want to root for as he sets about trying to solve the murders that are terrifying the town. The realistic dialogue just adds to the naturalistic feel brought to the film by cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Philomena), a feel that is quite common in British cinema but but still matches this film’s American scene well.The screenplay also shows his hand as a great psychological thriller as it keeps its audience guessing – first of all to who is committing the murders and even after that is revealed the film doesn’t lose any of its suspense as it becomes a game of cat and mouse between an experienced serial killer and teenager who dreams about doing the same.

As this film is guaranteed to become a cult classic as the years go by this is also going to do for young Max Records’ career what the film Brick did for Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Watching this film you would never pick that this is the little boy from Where The Wild Things Are and instead he has turned into a fine character actor who deserves to be winning awards for this film. He brings the role to life amazingly well and never seems out of his depth not even when in scenes with the very experienced Christopher Lloyd who is also playing against type.

Despite having a limited release in Australia I Am Not A Serial Killer is one of the best films of 2016. This gritty film is enough to show just how strong the British indie scene as this is one of the best psychological thrillers to surface since Prisoners and Nightcrawler. This is an amazing film that is not to be missed.

Stars(4)

 

 

 

Greg King:

This gripping low budget psychological thriller mixes the familiar coming of age themes with outright horror tropes and a touch of the supernatural.

Sixteen-year-old John Wayne Cleaver (played by Max Records, the misunderstood young hero from Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are) is a troubled adolescent, a misfit with a morbid fascination with death and serial killers. He is something of an outsider, and he has written school essays on notorious serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer and the BTK killer, which concerns his principal. He works as an embalmer with his mother April (Laura Fraser), a morgue technician, at the family funeral parlour, and this feeds his fascination with death. He has been diagnosed with clinical sociopathy, but he is able to keep his dark homicidal urges at bay through regular therapy sessions with Dr Neblin (Karl Geary). He has established his own set of rules to keep these killer thoughts at bay. He also does good deeds to help his elderly amiable neighbour Mr Crowley (Back To The Future‘s Christopher Lloyd) and his invalid wife.

That is until a vicious serial killer begins leaving a trail of bodies behind in his small home town. Mysterious black sludge is found at the scene of the murders, and it appears that the killer is harvesting the organs of victims. John investigates and soon discovers the identity of the killer. But rather than go to the police with the information he tries to catch him. In doing this he puts himself and his family and a few friends firmly in the crosshairs of a killer.

The film is based on Dan Wells’ best-selling YA novel from 2009 and has an unusually darker sensibility for a piece of teen fiction. The director is Billy O’Brien (Isolation, etc), who has a strong visual style and creates an unsettling atmosphere and slowly mounting air of dread and suspense. He doesn’t pull his punches with the darker themes and there are some gruesome moments that are not for the squeamish. The body count rises and the film gradually grows darker in tone. But there are also some rather black moments of humour interspersed throughout the narrative to leaven the tone.

Like The Town That Dreaded Sundown and David Lynch’s bizarre Blue Velvet, this creepy thriller strips away the veneer of small town America and finds something nasty and sinister just below the surface. Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan (Fish Tank, The Angels’ Share, etc) has shot the film in 16mm, which adds to the gritty visual style and the moody atmosphere that captures a distinctly 80s aesthetic. Ryan’s cold and crisp cinematography captures the subtle menace of this small town and its harsh wintry vistas and John’s somewhat bleak world view. O’Brien gives us a strong sense of place and we can almost feel the chill from the snow covered environment.

The film boasts some solid performances. Records is well cast here as the obsessed teen, a junior version of Dexter with his obsessions and quirky behaviour, and he holds our attention throughout the film. He brings a disconnected coldness and lack of empathy to his performance. His name is an intriguing mixture of both John Wayne the iconic American film star and hero, John Wayne Gacy the notorious serial killer, and Beaver Cleaver, the all-American kid from the 50s television show. In one of his best performances for quite some time Lloyd brings subtle nuances and a creepy element to his performance as the seemingly kindly old neighbour. Fraser brings a sense of compassion to her role as John’s mother who seems protective of her son even though she doesn’t understand him.

I Am Not A Serial Killer undergoes some surprising and unexpected shifts in tone, moving from teen friendly murder mystery to darker territory. This clever and engaging thriller is perfect fodder for late night screenings, and could possibly become something of a cult film in the future.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment I Am Not A Serial Killer Reviews: You can also listen to our I Am Not A Serial Killer reviews on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #195.

Trailer:

Deepwater Horizon

Summary: A story set on the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 6th October 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Peter Berg

Screenwriter: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Matthew Sand

Cast: Joel Allen (Old Man Carl), Stella Allen (Sydney), Jonathan Angel (Gordon Jones), Peter Berg (Mr. Skip), Robert Walker Branchaud (Doug Brown), Anthony Centonze (Dan Barron/Roughneck #1), Joe Chrest (Sims), James DuMont (O’Bryan), J.D. Evermore (Dewey A. Revette), Henry Frost (Shane M. Roshto), Douglas M. Griffin (Landry), Garrett Hines (Wyman Wheeler), Michael Howell (Roy Wyatt Kemp), Kate Hudson (Felicia), Jason Kirkpatrick (Aaron Dale Burkeen), Garrett Kruithof (Karl Kleppinger Jnr.), Brad Leland (Kaluza), David Maldonado (Kuchta), John Malkovich (Vidrine), Terry Milam (Keith Blair Manuel), Dylan O’Brien (Caleb Holloway), Mayla Parker (Natlie (voice)), Jason Pine (Stephen Ray Curtis), Gina Rodriguez (Andrea Fleytas), Kurt Russell (Jimmy Harrell), Jeremy Sande (Adam Weise), Juston Street (Anthony Gervasio), Ethan Suplee (Jason Anderson), Deneen Tyler (Paula Walker), Mark Wahlberg (Mike Williams), Ronald Weaver (Donald Clark)

Runtime: 107 mins

Classification: M

OUR DEEPWATER HORIZON REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) has to be one of the most underrated film directors going around. Barring the ill-fated Battleship Berg has created always created films and television shows that felt as natural as can be. Lone Survivor made the audience feel that they were right there on the battlefield while many made the mistake of watching Friday Night Lights and thought they were watching a reality television show about a High School football team. Now Berg has taken that natural style of film-making and introduced it to the disaster film genre.

Deepwater Horizon tells the true story of electrician Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg – Lone Survivor) who in 2010 left his wife, Felicia (Kate Hudson – Almost Famous), and once again went to work on the oil rig named ‘Deepwater Horizon’ in the Gulf Of Mexico. What he didn’t know was that on that fateful day due to poor work safety practices by BP an accident would occur that would cause the rig to erupt into flames. Suddenly Mike and his colleagues including his boss Mr. Jimmy (Kurt Russell – The Thing), radio operator Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez – Filly Brown), hard worker Caleb Holloway (Dylan O’BrienThe Maze Runner) and BP representative Vidrine (John Malkovich – Red 2) all find themselves fighting for their lives.

As a filmmaker Berg should be congratulated for his work with Deepwater Horizon. It was no secret that some of the survivors of the real Deepwater Horizon disaster were hesitant in wanting this film to be made, but they need not of worried. Berg certainly doesn’t ‘trivialize’ the memory of the men who died on that fateful day by making this a popcorn action film. Instead he makes this a character drama about not only the men who died on that day but also shows the world the valiant actions of people like Mike Williams whose brave acts saved many of the workers. To his credit Berg also doesn’t hide the facts of exactly what happened that day – no he points the finger firmly at BP without any hesitation even though he wouldn’t have known how the huge corporation would have reacted to it.

Many films these days claim to be suspenseful but few filmmakers have the skills to make the audience feel as part of the action and suspense as Berg does here. While with Lone Survivor the audience felt they were there on the side of the hill during the battle here Berg’s realistic style of directing makes the audience feel you are right there on the rig with Mike… you even at times feel like you can feel the heat of the flames against your skin.

Berg’s filmmaking is also well supported by his screen writers who don’t waste time making this film too scientific. The audience is given bite-sized pieces of information about what an oil rig does and what has gone wrong here but they never forget that at the heart of this film it is a character drama. So instead of focusing on the ins and outs of the rig they concentrate the suspense around a man trying to get home to his daughter and wife and a scared woman trying to survive in order to see her partner again. The fact that little things like a dinosaur tooth for show-and-tell and car problems back home are so seamlessly inserted into the script just go even further into humanizing this story. Having said that though it is also important to point out the Berg and his cinematographer, Enrique Chediak (The 5th Wave), also create some amazing action sequences as the rig burns against a night sky.

As a director Berg also brings the best out in his cast. Here Mark Wahlberg delivers the best of both worlds as he plays the action hero extremely well but also has the dramatic acting ability to pull off the character driven elements of the screenplay as well. Kurt Russell also benefits from one of the more meatier roles he has been given over the years and he is well matched by John Malkovich who is technically this film’s ‘bad guy.’ Despite her limited screen time Kate Hudson is also one of the standouts of the film.

Deepwater Horizon is proof that a modern day disaster film can actually find the right mix of action and character drama. Brilliant directing by Peter Berg makes this one of the must see films of 2016.

Stars(4)

 

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Deepwater Horizon (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Deepwater Horizon Reviews: Nil

Trailer:

The Magnificent Seven

 

 

Summary: Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th September 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Screenwriter: Nic Pizzolatto, Richard Wenk, Akira Kurosawa (original script), Shinobu Hashimoto (original script), Hideo Oguni (original script)

Cast: Alix Angelis (Clara Wintrhop), Mark Ashworth (Preacher), Walker Babington (Dicky), Jackson Beals (One Eyed Lucas), Emil Beheshti (Maxwell), Haley Bennett (Emma Cullen), Thomas Blake Jr. (Earl), Matt Bomer (Matthew Cullen), Sean Boyd (Topper), Sean Bridgers (Fanning), Vic Browder (Arcade Jones), Ryan Brown (Ken Pigeon), Vincent D’Onofrio (Jack Horne), Griff Furst (Phillips), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Vasquez), Cam Gigandet (McCann), Luke Grimes (Teddy Q), Ethan Hawke (Goodnight Robicheaux), Clint James (Fenton), Cedric D. Jones (Curtis), Vinnie Jones (uncredited), Jonathan Joss (Denali), David Kallaway (Turner/Blacksmith), Derek Lacasa (Len Pigion), Dylan Langlois (R.L. Garrett), Carrie Lazar (Leni Frankel), Byung-hun Lee (Billy Rocks), Heath Lemme (Heath), David Manzanares (Referee/Eddy), Rictchie Montgomery (Gavin David), Jody Mullins (Caleb Frankel), Matthew Posey (Hank Stoner), Chris Pratt (Josh Faraday), Dodge Prince (Anthony), Chad Randall (Bartender/Powder Dan), Dane Rhodes (Sheriff Harp), Peter Sarsgaard (Bartholomew Bogue), William Lee Scott (Moody), Martin Sensmeier (Red Harvest), Billy Slaughter (Josiah), Denzel Washington (Chisolm), Kevin Wayne (Monday Durant)

Runtime: 133 mins

Classification: M

OUR THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

One question always has to be asked when a remake of a film surfaces… why was the remake made? Was it because a director thought he had a more creative or ‘modern’ way to tell the original story? Was it because a team of filmmakers thought that current day technology could improve on what was made decades ago? Sadly, none of these questions seem to answer that question about the remake of the legendary western The Magnificent Seven (which itself was a remake of Seven Samurai).

Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) this remake sees honest lawman Chisolm (Denzel Washington – American Gangster) recruited by innocent widow Emma Cullen (Haley BennettThe Equalizer) whose husband was murdered when he stood up against corrupt gold mining company owner Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard Green Lantern) who has taken a town hostage as he takes land via violent means.

When Chisolm is convinced to take on Bogue and his men in a bid to rescue the town he puts together a group that includes gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt – Guardians Of The Galaxy), burnt out Civil War veteran Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke – Good Kill), tribe hunter Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio Law & Order: Criminal Intent), knife expert Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee Terminator Genisys), native warrior Red Harvest (Martin SensmeirLilin’s Brood) and the wanted outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Cake).

There are of course positives and negatives to this remake. One of the positives is getting to see Denzel Washington play yet another strong leading man, and I would be lying if I said it’s not great to see a big budget Western back on the big screen, hopefully this is a start of a lot more.

Sadly though the negatives outweigh the positives. While the film holds up its entertainment value and looks visually good the disappointing thing is that this is modern remake doesn’t offer the audience anything different to what we have been watching in this genre for the last fifty years. There’s no new tactical ways for a battle to be fought out or even any new creative ways to shoot the movie by Fuqua and his team.

The other big disappointment is the screenplay. While the film does at times raise the suspense and tension it misses other key moments that really could have made this a better film. It is really believable that a native American warrior would fight on the same team as a tribe hunter without any form of hostility or tension? Likewise there needed to be a better explanation to why Chisholm joins the fight in the first place… the explanation comes way too late in the film. Don’t even get me started on the weak CGI graves at the end of the film either.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment though is how the screenplay lets down the cast. Denzel Washington gets a chance to star in this film… the rest don’t. Chris Pratt is obviously there for comic relief (a hat that certainly doesn’t fit his character) and ends up just playing the same character he did in Guardians Of The Galaxy. The rest of the cast seem to end up playing clichés though with Manuel Garcia-Rulfo completely wasted in his role. The only other upside with the acting is with Emily Bennett who does more than enough to suggest that she can be a leading lady in the future.

The Magnificent Seven may be enough to entertain a modern audience and provide the odd bit of suspense throughout. But for seasoned fans of the Western genre the film offers nothing new and will easily be seen as a fair bit weaker than the original.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

 

Greg King:

John Sturges’ classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven made stars out of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn (who all later appeared in Sturges’ epic WWII adventure The Great Escapein 1963). Sturges’ film was inspired by the Akira Kurosawa’s classic The Seven Samurai, regarded by some critics as the greatest action movie ever made. Kurosawa was inspired by the Hollywood westerns of the 50s, and, ironically, his film influenced many westerns that followed including the spaghetti westerns of the late great Sergio Leone. The 1960 film was a huge success and spawned a couple of sequels and even a short lived television series. And now we get this remake from director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen, etc) who knows his western tropes and has in turn borrowed heavily from some the great directors of the genre, from John Ford through to Eastwood, Peckinpah and Leone.

It’s 1879. The small but peaceful farming town of Rose Creek is under threat from ruthless and greedy mining magnate Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), a robber baron who is desperate to corner the market on all mining activities in the region. Anyone who opposes him is either viciously beaten or killed, and the megalomaniacal Bogue has assembled a veritable army of mercenaries and lawless types to enforce his will. But the newly widowed Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett, from The Equalizer, Hardcore Henry, etc) wants to stop Bogue. She approaches bounty hunter Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington) and pleads with him to help. Chisholm agrees and sets off to round up an assortment of gunslingers to make a stand in what could well be a suicide mission. (Sounds familiar? It was a key plot device of films like The Dirty Dozen and the recent Suicide Squad.)

This time around the seven he assembles are a much more racially diverse bunch. Apart from Chisholm himself there is Faraday (Chris Pratt, from Guardians Of The Galaxy and Jurassic World), a wise cracking card sharp and gunslinger; the boozy Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), a sharp shooter who is still damaged by his experiences of fighting in the Civil War; his knife wielding offsider Billy Rocks (Korean action star Byung-hun Lee); the hulking John Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio, from Full Metal Jacket, etc), a renowned and feared Indian hunter; the Texican gunman Vasquez (Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo); and the comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), who has been cast out of his tribe. This motley crew have just seven days to train the frightened townsfolk in the skills necessary to fight back against Bogue and to defend their village.

The build up to the key siege of the town is a little slow. There are several scenes of the men sitting around in a saloon and drinking and talking, and these scenes slowly tease out character details and backstories, and show the slow camaraderie that develops between them before all hell breaks loose. There is fair amount of humour here to leaven the violence.

Unlike many recent remakes that have tarnished the memories of the original film (think Ben Hur, etc), this new take on the classic The Magnificent Seven is quite good. It exploits the tropes of a traditional western in its formula. Many of the classic westerns of yesteryear explored the myth of one good man standing up to evil on the wild frontier and dispensing justice. But writers Richard Wenk (The Equalizer, etc) and Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective, etc) also effectively use the formula to explore some more contemporary themes of corporate greed, courage, loyalty, heroism, sacrifice, and even a hint of feminism that will resonate strongly with modern audiences.

As he showed with Olympus Has Fallen, Fuqua knows how to stage some exciting and spectacularly visceral action sequences. There is an early gunfight in the dusty streets of Rose Creek that is tense and well-staged, and it sets the scene for the climactic attack on the town. This rousing 30 minutes action sequence is the highlight here, a gritty and violent and superbly choreographed set piece full of gun play, carnage and pyrotechnics that doesn’t disappoint. In the original, the villainous Calveros brought just thirty bandits to attack the village; here Bogue brings a veritable army of a hundred men, plus a deadly Gatling gun, to the fray. This version of The Magnificent Seven has the highest body count of any western since The Wild Bunch.

The film looks good thanks to the widescreen cinematography of Fuqua’s regular cinematographer Mauro Fiore that captures the harsh beauty of the epic landscapes. The film also features the last soundtrack composed by the late James Horner, and the music also pays homage to Elmer Bernstein’s memorable theme music for the 1960 original.

Performances are a bit of a mixed bag. This is Washington’s third collaboration with Fuqua (following his Oscar winning turn while cast against type in Training Day and The Equalizer) and the director seems to be able to tap into the meaner side of an actor known for playing essentially decent characters with strong moral fibre. Pratt brings a jocular and easy going charisma to his role and he provides most of the comic relief. Sarsgaard comes across as the cliched bad guy with no redeeming features whatsoever, and he does all but twirl his moustache with a cliched performance as Bogue, who is filled with contempt for the poor struggling and hardworking farmers. Hawke brings some pathos and nuances to his performance as the former soldier wrestling with a form of psychological disorder following his experiences, and he is the most complex character here. Bennett’s performance as the feisty Emma reminded me a little of Hailee Steinfeld in the recent remake of True Grit.

As a genre, the western has been dead for many years despite some attempts to bring it back to life on the big screen with films like Tarantino’s superb and violent Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, and the visually stunning The Revenant, etc. This reimagining of the classic The Magnificent Seven is a solid western, full of action, gunplay, and featuring a strong ensemble cast that should appeal to audiences.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  The Magnificent Seven (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment The Magnificent Seven Reviews: You can also listen to our The Magnificent Seven reviews on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #195.

Trailer:

House Of VHS

 

Summary: Six young people find an old VCR in an abandoned French house. The machine turns out to be magical… or is it cursed?

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 1st October 2016

Country: France

Director: Gautier Cazenave

Screenwriter: Gautier Cazenave

Cast: Florie Auclerc-Vialens (The Italian Guy), Ruy Buchholz (The Australian Guy), Morgan Lamorte (The French Guy), Delphine Lanniel (The Belgian Girl), Isabel McCann (The British Guy), Petur Oskar Sigurdsson (The American Guy)

Runtime: 127 mins

Classification: M

OUR HOUSE OF VHS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

If you are looking for something entirely different to anything else around at the moment then you may want to check out new horror film House Of VHS. Coming from French director Gautier Cazanave House Of VHS goes back to the good old days when directors like Peter Jackson were shooting delightful little shlock horrors.

The film sees six youngsters The Italian Girl (Florie Auclerc-Vialens – Smart Ass), The Australian Guy (Ruy Bechholz – Swim Little Fish Swim), The French Guy (Morgan Lamorte – Speed Shooting), The Belgian Girl (Delphine Lanniel – Les Colocs), The British Girl (Isabel McCann – Chat) and The American Guy (Petur Oskar Sigurdsson – Grimmd) head off for a weekend at a house that turns out to be haunted by a… VHS machine.

The weekend starts as you would normally expect – most of the guys are planning which girl they are going to try to get into bed which leads to tension between them. Things change though when The Australian Guy decides to educate the group on the beauty of VHS and they learn the powers of the supernatural device.

It sounds like an absolutely crazy idea but House Of VHS works. Early on you do find yourself wondering where the film is going to head but once the abilities of the VHS are shown the film goes to a whole new level. While the film does at times attempt to head into the comical side of things it is at its best when it sticks to its guns and stays a schlock horror that leaves you wondering which of the characters are going to survive and which are going to meet a grizzly end.

While not knowing who is going to live or die does play a big part of building the film’s suspense what really rises to the top and makes this film so thrilling is the audience trying to work out exactly what the VHS machine is capable of. While the idea that it can ‘breed’ VHS tapes together to create new films is interesting enough the film takes a very different turn when you realise the ‘horrific’ power of the machine… and the fact that the youngsters are stupid enough to start experimenting with the powers by putting themselves into movies.

Acting wise you get what you normally expect from a horror film like this. Nobody is going to win any awards anytime soon but the cast do the best with the material at home. Isabel McCann does brilliantly well as the most serious of the youngsters while Petur Oskar Sigurdsson does a great job playing a naive and rude American… especially considering he was cast in the film at the last minute.

As a director Gautier Cazanave takes his love of VHS and old-style horror films and creates a modern day horror that is going to have horror fans wanting to track down a copy of the film… just perhaps not on VHS. House Of VHS is a film that is going to be lapped up by lovers of good schlock horror and this is destined to become a cult classic.

Stars(3)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Ghosts in the Machine (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment House Of VHS Reviews: Nil

Trailer:

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

 

 

Summary: When Jacob discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th September 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: UK, Belgium, USA

Director: Tim Burton

Screenwriter: Jane Goldman, Ransom Riggs (novel)

Cast: Nicholas Amer (Oggie), Jack Brady (Mr. Clark), Asa Butterfield (Jake), Raffiella Chapman (Claire Densmore), Justin Davies (Worm), Pixie Davies (Bronwyn Bruntley), Louis Davison (Victor Bruntley), Helen Day (Miss Edwards), Judi Dench (Miss Avocet), Rupert Everett (Ornithologist), Aidan Flowers (10 Year Old Jacob), Eva Green (Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine), Scott Handy (Mr. Gleeson), Ioan Hefin (Kev), Samuel L. Jackson (Barron), Allison Janney (Dr. Golan), Jennifer Jarackas (Aunt Susie), O-Lan Jones (Shelley), Hayden Keeler-Stone (Horace Somnussion), Cameron King (Millard Nullings), Mary Leonard (Mary), Finlay MacMillan (Enoch O’Connor), Lauren McCrostie (Olive Abroholos Elphanta), Chris O’Dowd (Franklin Portman), Joseph Odwell (Masked Ballerina #1), Thomas Odwell (Maked Ballerina #2), Nicholas Oteri (6 Year Old Jacob), Milo Parker (Hugh Apiston), Georgia Pemberton (Fiona Fruanfeld), Philip Philmar (Mr Archer), Ella Purnell (Emma Bloom), Terence Stamp (Abraham Portman), Brooke Jaye Taylor (Aunt Judy), Shaun Thomas (Dylan), George Vricos (Uncle Bobby), Robert Milton Wallace (Malfous)

Runtime: 127 mins

Classification: PG

OUR MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Tim Burton fans it is time to rejoice because the man of creepiness is back with a film that once again sees him using his creative genius to full effect. The last few years has seen Burton serve up films like Big Eyes and Dark Shadows – films that to be honest have been a waste of his talents. With Miss Peregine’s Home For Peculiar Children though Burton once again lets his creativity come to the fore as he delivers a film that is visually appealing and brings some ‘older’ special effects back to life.

Based on a novel by Ransom Riggs Miss Peregine’s Home For Peculiar Children centres around Jake (Asa Butterfield Ender’s Game) an unpopular teenager who has been brought up listening to his ­Grandfather Abe’s (Terence Stamp Wanted) tales of a miraculous island that he once lived on. Jake’s father, Franklin (Chris O’Dowd The Sapphires) tells him these tales are part of his Grandfather’s dementia but Jake finds himself wondering whether or not they are true when he finds Abe brutally murdered and he witnesses a ‘monster’ at the scene.

Soon Jake finds himself discovering that Abe’s stories are true as he meets Miss Peregrine (Eva Green Dark Shadows) a mysterious shape shifter who looks after a school for children with peculiar abilities, such as Emma (Ella PurnellNever Let Me Go), and makes sure that the ‘loop’ they live in resets each day. While at first Jake believes their lifestyle is picturesque who soon becomes involved in their dangerous war with the psychotic Barron (Samuel L. Jackson Pulp Fiction).

On the surface it would be very easy to dismiss Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children as a mish-mash of Harry Potter and X-Men but with Burton at the helm this film becomes much more than that. Burton’s finger-prints are all over this film from start to finish. While the opening scenes of the stale white store where Jake works seems largely un-Burtonesque it gives way to a world where Burton can bring a steam punk feel to a World War II bombing raid, use ‘jumpy’ special effects during a scene of re-animated dolls fighting and use old-school CGI to bring skeletons to life for a large scale battle. To some younger cinema goers the use of the ‘older’ effects may seem a little strange it does fit the film’s storyline of flashing between time periods… and better still it’s Burton being his creative self.

Storywise the film does have a fair bit to get your head around. While the time-jumping sequences will be very quick to lose you Burton gets away with it by the fact that Jake himself doesn’t fully understand what is happening either. Generally though this is your typical good versus evil storyline with a touch of coming-of-age as the audience gets to experience Jake’s first romance as well.

Under the watchful eye of Tim Burton the cast here regularly get a chance to shine. While Butterfield’s performance is nowhere near as intense as his performance in Ender’s Game he still does a good job. Likewise Samuel L. Jackson is far from his best but seems to be having fun as he plays the menacing Barron. The real standouts here though are Eva Green and Ella Purnell. Purnell announces herself as a star of the future with a performance very similar to what Burton normally gets out of Mia Wasikowska. Green plays Miss Peregrine as a sultry character that we can only help returns to the screen soon.

Whether Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is meant to kick-start a franchise or simply be a one off movie the film holds its own as Burton delivers a film a little too dark for children but something that adults and young adults will certainly warm to. This surprisingly good film sees Burton return to do what he does best – produce a creepy yet truly creative film.

Stars(3.5)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children Reviews: Nil

Trailer:

DVD Packshot

Summary: In the very near future, creatures from ancient mythology must live among humans and battle for survival in a world that wants to silence, exploit and destroy them.

Year: 2016

Australian DVD Release Date: 1st September 2016

Country: Australia

Directors: Wayne Blair (4 episodes), Leah Purcell (2 episode)

Screenwriters: Jane Allen (1 episode), Jon Bell (2 episodes), Michael Miller (6 episodes)

Main Cast: Jada Alberts (Nerida West), Tony Briggs (Boondee), Rob Collins (Waruu West) , Ryan Corr (Blair Finch) , Stef Dawson (Ash Kerry), Iain Glen (Jarrod Slade),  Marcus Graham (McIntyre), Rarriwuy Hick (Latani), Deborah Mailman (Aunty Linda), Andrew McFarlane (Matthews) , Frances O’Connor (Charlotte Cleary), Hunter Page-Lochard (Koen West), Tamala Shelton (Alinta West), Tyson Towney (Djukara), Tasma Walton (Araluen)

Sub Cast: Jeremy Ambrum (Jake) – 5 episodes, Benson Jack Anthony (Gub) – 5 episodes, Lilly Bader (Lilly) – 1 episode, Adam Briggs (Maliyan) – 6 episodes, Jack Charles (Uncle Jimmy) – 1 episode), Jerome Cosgrave (Jumbhi) – 3 episodes, Lynette Curran (Virgil) – 2 episodes, Nancy Denis (Eve) – 5 episodes, Isaac Drandic (Harry) – 5 episodes, Kamil Ellis (Mungo) – 6 episodes, Rhondda Findleton (Frankie) – 5 episodes, Sean Hawkins (Joel) – 1 Episode, Aileen Huynh (Everick) – 3 episodes, Trevor Jamieson (Uncle Max) – 5 episodes, Jack Kingsley (Aiden) – 1 episode, Alexis Lane (Kora) – 6 episodes, Kathy Marika (Ngumunga) – 2 episodes, Rosharyn Marr (Young Koen) – 1 episode, Julian Maroude (Anton) – 1 episode, Jack Mars (Cameron) – 1 episode, Josh McConville (Dickson) – 3 episodes, Robyn Nevin (Jane O’Grady) – 1 episode, Sam Paronson (Taki) – 1 episode, Rahel Romahn (Ludo) – 1 epsiode, Mark Simpson (Holbeck) – 1 episode, Waverley Stanley Jnr. (Kulya) – 6 episodes, Miranda Tapsall (Lena) - 1 epsiode, Jenny Templeton (Alice) – 1 episode, Ben Toyer (Jamie) – 1 episode, Elijah Valadian-Wilson (Young Waruu) – 3 episodes, Katie Wall (Rowena) – 3 episodes, Leeanna Walsman (Belinda) – 4 episodes, Val Weldon (Jirra) – 2 episodes, Georgia Wilde (Melissa) – 1 episode, Matthew Wilkinson (Kennedy) – 2 episodes, Dylan Young (Nick) – 1 episode,

Runtime: 6 x 50 mins eps

Classification: MA15+

 

CLEVERMAN SEASON 1 REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths:

The Australian film industry has always had an interesting relationship with the genre of television. Over the years we’ve produced some pretty decent sci-fi programs – shows like ‘Farscape’ and ‘Spellbinder’ immediately spring to mind, but for some reason the people providing the money for the industry seem to shy away from the genre, instead looking to push more dour dramas onto the audience. Well now comes a sci-fi show that will hopefully change all of that – Cleverman. Mark my words this show is guaranteed to become a cult classic… it’s just that damn good.

Cleverman is set in the future, a time when Sydney is living under the threat of ‘hairies’ – a so called ‘subhuman’ species who are currently being considered a threat. People react different to the ‘hairies’, Governmental departments led by the likes of Geoff Matthews (Andrew McFarlane – ‘The Flying Doctors’) and McIntyre (Marcus Graham – ‘Mulholland Drive’) see them as a threat that needs to be contained and eventually eradicated. Business-men like Jarrod Slade (Iain Glen – ‘Game Of Thrones’) see them as a way of making a mountain money, while small-time operators like Koen West (Hunter Page-Lochard – ‘Spear’) and his best mate, Blair Finch (Ryan Corr – ‘The Water Diviner’) also see them as a cash cow. Then there are people like Waruu West (Rob Collins – ‘The Wrong Girl’) who are sworn to protect them as they see the treatment of the ‘hairies’ as the same way their Aboriginal ancestors were treated.

It is hard to put into words just how good ‘Cleverman’ really is. This sci-fi goes a lot further than most other shows in the genre and gets so political at times it makes you see Australian history in a whole different light. The screenwriters of this show have taken the wrongs of Australia’s past and condensed into such a format that anybody can see just how wrong the Government have handled things such as the stolen generation and Aboriginal deaths in Police custody over the years. Like the feature film, ‘Red Billabong’, ‘Cleverman’ also explores Aboriginal culture and mythology… two things I’ve probably learnt more about watching this television show then I ever did in my year at high school.

The political side of things pushed to the background this show also works because of the relationships between each of the characters. The growth surrounding the character of Koen has to be seen to be believed and the resulting conflict that these changes cause with his half-brother Waruu ignite the second half of this season. The real test comes when the audience sits in suspense as you wait to see which brother is going to make the right decisions in the season finale.

The hard edged nature of this show also lifts the program high above most other shows airing on television at the moment. Yes there are moments of violence as hairies and humans clash but is things such as a character knowing impregnating his wife with a hairy for scientific research and a hairy being forced into a sick form of prostitution that really makes this program stand out from the pack.

The edgy nature of the program also brings out the best in its cast. Aussie favourites like Tasma Walton (‘Blue Heelers’) and Deborah Mailman (‘The Secret Life Of Us’) are standouts in their strong roles but the stand out here is Iain Glen who dominates the acting stakes as he plays the mysterious Slade whose intentions are often questionable. Credit must also be paid to Hunter Page-Lochard and Rob Collins who both announce themselves as actors to watch in the future with strong performances that make this show a must see.

While firmly planted in the sci-fi genre ‘Cleverman’ is a show that takes a deep look at Aboriginal history and social issues while also providing enough believable drama between its characters to make you want to watch each week. The fact that Season One builds up to a crescendo that looks set to explode in Season Two means this is a show that you have to watch if you haven’t already done so.

Stars(5)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Cleverman (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Cleverman Season 1 reviews: Nil.

 

Trailer:

Hardcore Henry

Summary: You remember nothing. Mainly because you’ve just been brought back from the dead by your wife who tells you that your name is Henry. Five minutes later, you are being shot at, your wife has been kidnapped, and you should probably go and get her back. You’re also in the unfamiliar city of Moscow, and everyone wants you dead. if you can survive the insanity and solve the mystery, you might just discover your purpose and the truth behind your identity.

Year: 2015

Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A

Australian DVD Release Date: 3rd August, 2016

Country: USA, Russia

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Screenwriter: Ilya Naishuller

Cast: Haley Bennett (Estelle), Darya Charusga (Katya the Dominatrix), Martin Cooke (Marty), Sharlto Copley (Jimmy), Andrei Dementiev (Henry/Slick Dmitry), Danila Kozlovsky (Akan), Ilya Naishuller (Henry/Timothy/Higher-Self Merc), Aleksander Pal (Mr. Fahrenheit), Oleg Poddubnyy (Yuri), Tim Roth (Henry’s Father), Liya Sitdikova (Ella the Whore), Will Stewart (Robbie), Svetlana Ustinova (Olga the Dominatrix), Sergey Valyaev (Henry/Beaten Up Boyfriend)

Runtime: 96 mins

Classification: R

OUR HARDCORE HENRY REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

You just know from the get go that Hardcore Henry is the type of film that is going to divide audiences. If you’re an audience member that doesn’t like graphic violence and has never played a first-person shooter video game then there is a high chance you aren’t going to like the film. If you’re an avid gamer or like your action films to try something a little different then you are going to be in your element with a film that gets two thumbs up from this reviewer.

Told from a POV perspective Hardcore Henry begins with Henry (Andrei Dementiev – Biting Elbows) waking up in a laboratory where he is being given robotic arms and legs by his scientist wife, Estelle (Haley Bennett – The Equalizer). The next thing he knows Estelle is being kidnapped by a criminal with telekinetic powers, Akan (Danila Kozlovsky – Vampire Academy), who also seems to want Henry dead as well.

The result is Henry lost in a city he doesn’t know, Moscow, and having to hunt down Akan in order to find Estelle. As he does so he learns more and more about his new robotic self while receiving orders and help from a man of many disguises, Jimmy (Sharlto Copeley – District 9).

Many cinema goers would dismiss Hardcore Henry as a cheap gimmick with very little artistic merit, but nothing could be further from the truth. Any person with any knowledge of filmmaking would know that what director Ilya Naishuller (Biting Elbows) does here is nothing short of cinematic brilliance. The thought of filming an action film from the POV of the hero sounds like an epic task that most filmmakers could only dream about, but the idea of doing it using Go Pro camera attached to an actor/stuntmen would send most directors to a rubber room where they would rock back and forth constantly.

Yet somehow Naishuller manages to pull all of this off. And we aren’t just talking about a hero that does a lot of running and shooting we are talking about a hero that takes plunges off bridges, jumps from trucks to motorbikes and likes blowing things up. Yes Naishuller doesn’t take the easy way out and the result is a sleek (didn’t think I would be saying that when I heard that this film was a POV film) action film with a lot of inventive shots and sequences.

To Naishuller’s credit his screenplay also holds up with the alternative filmmaking as well. Again the film’s storyline is not stereotypical and while most of the film is set in the action genre the telekinectic powers of the main ‘baddie’ sees it delve into the sci-fi realm as well. Yes it might be a bit of a surprise at first but once you are used to it it works just fine and even raises the suspense and you start to wonder just how Henry will every find a way to defeat Akan. The screenplay itself also provides enough twists and turns along the way to make sure you are constantly trying to guess just what will happen next.

Perhaps the most interesting side of Hardcore Henry though is the acting. There is a film where you only once get a glimpse of the leading man’s face yet you have to say that the array of stuntmen who play Henry do a magnificent job and you are there with them for the entire ride. The person who steals the limelight in most of the scenes he is in however is Sharlto Copley who gets to mix his action sequences with some well-timed comedy… something that he is very, very good at.

Hardcore Henry is a true action film with a difference. The POV style proves to be worthy and a lot more than just a gimmick while it also contains a killer soundtrack that matches the film to a tee. Write off this film at your own peril
Stars(3.5)

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Hardcore Henry (2015) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Hardcore Henry Reviews: Nil

Trailer:

GoE_DVD

 

Summary: Mortal hero Bek teams with the god Horus in an alliance against Set, the merciless god of darkness, who has usurped Egypt’s throne, plunging the once peaceful and prosperous empire into chaos and conflict.

Year: 2016

Australian Cinema Release Date: 25th February 2016

Australian DVD/Blu-Ray/On Demand Release Date: 15th August, 2016

Country: USA, Australia

Director: Alex Proyas

Screenwriter: Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless

Cast: Rachael Blake (Isis), Emma Booth (Nephthys), Chadwick Boseman (Thoth), Bryan Brown (Osiris), Gerard Butler (Set), Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (Horus), Yaya Deng (Astarte), Courtney Eaton (Zaya), Alexander England (Mnevis), Lindsay Farris (Older Bek (voice)), Goran D. Kleut (Anubis), Abbey Lee (Anat), Robyn Nevin (Sharifa), Kenneth Ransom (Sphinx), Geoffrey Rush (Ra), Rufus Sewell (Urshu), Brenton Thwaites (Bek), Elodie Yung (Hathor)

Runtime: 126 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR GODS OF EGYPT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Sometimes when a film comes out and meets negative press you have to wonder whether some of the critics were watching the same film you just did. While ‘Gods Of Egypt’ isn’t exactly an Oscar winning film it is a fun sci-fi film that really does show the creative mind of Alex Proyas (The Crow). If you’re a fan of films like The Scorpion King then you’re really going to want to give this one a look.

Set in ancient Egyptian mythology ‘Gods Of Egypt’ shows what happens after the throne is stolen from Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau – ‘Game Of Thrones’) by Set (Gerald Butler – ‘300’) whose plains will bring about the destruction of humanity. With Horus’ power gone he goes into hiding, but some like the innocent Zaya (Courtney Eaton – Mad Max: Fury Road) believe he can still save humanity. After her death the love of her life, Bek (Brenton Thwaites – Maleficent), goes in search of Horus in a bid to try and save the world.

Storywise ‘Gods Of Egypt’ works just like the sci-fi films that many of us grew up watching, films like ‘Never Ending Story.’ While it might just be a little too violent for kids, this is the kind of film that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike as it is nowhere near as violent as a film like ‘300.’ The creativity is there throughout the film and Proyas is a gifted enough director to work with his screenwriters, Matt Sazama (‘Dracula Untold’) and Burk Sharpless (‘The Last Witch Hunter’), to create a film that not only creates suspense and action but also has a storyline that will allow the audience to actually care what happens to the characters at hand.

One of the biggest criticisms levelled at this film is that the CGI and special effects don’t look as good as they should but it is very obvious that what Proyas wanted with this film was for it to look and feel like a graphic novel or comic. It is impossible to fathom that a man who brought us a films like ‘The Crow’ and ‘Dark City’ would ever deliver a film that didn’t look the way he wanted it to – especially when he had the effects team who put together ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ working with him as well.

Perhaps one of the most fun parts of watching ‘Gods Of Egypt’ for an Australian audience is playing a simple game called ‘spot the Aussie.’ Aside from Brenton Thwaites in the lead role other Australian actors including Geoffrey Rush (‘Shine’) and Bryan Brown (‘Two Hands’) pop in roles and it is great to see them getting international expose like this. As far as the acting of the leads go Brenton Thwaites again shows that he has more than enough skill to be a leading man in an action film like this while audience members also get to see everybody’s favourite Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, flex his acting muscle and get to play the hero for once. Also announcing herself as a future star is Courtney Eaton, the young, inexperienced, Western Australian showing experience above her years and not being overwhelmed by appearing in a blockbuster like this.

The best way to approach ‘Gods Of Egypt’ is to just look at like you’re going to watch a fun movie. This is the kind of film that is going to be loved by anybody that has any interest in mythology while some of the epic battle scenes will do more than enough to keep the action junkies very happy. Don’t get put off by the negative press and make sure you check out ‘Gods Of Egypt’.

 

Stars(3)

 

 

 

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

 

IMDB Rating:  Gods of Egypt (2016) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Gods Of Egypt reviews: You can also listen to our Gods of Egypt review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #167.

 

Trailer: