Category: Film

FeatureThe Family2

The Family explores the history of the strange abusive sect established by former yoga teacher Anna Hamilton-Byrne in Ferny Creek in the 1960s, and which flourished at a property in picturesque Lake Eildon in the late 1960s. In this comprehensive documentary director Rosie Jones gives us some chilling insights into the sect. As part of our MIFF 2016 coverage, Greg spoke to Rosie about the challenges of putting together this documentary.

The Family screens at the cinema Nova from February 23.

You can listen to or download our Rosie Jones interview right here.

Skinford

One of the highlights of the Monster Fest Travelling Sideshow being held in Sydney this week is the world premiere of new Australian horror/thriller Skinford. Dave Griffiths chats to Skinford’s director Nik Kacevski about where the concept for the film came from and how he went about slecting his two magnificent leads.

You can listen to or download our Nic Kacevski interview right here.

 

Tickets for The Monster Fest Travelling Sideshow are on sale now at: 
Event Cinemas George Street
505-525 George St, Sydney Australia
+61 (0)2 9273 7300
https://www.eventcinemas.com.au/Cinema/George-Street/EventsFestivals/MonsterfestTravellingSideshow#cinemas=15
http://www.monsterfest.com.au/events/monster-fest-travelling-sideshow

Single Session Tickets: Adult $21 / Concession $17.50
5 Film Multi-Pass: Adult $82.50 / Concession $71.50
10 Film VIP Pass: Adult $132 / Concession $110

The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Logo

This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Jasper Jones,’ ‘Miss Sloane,’ ‘Logan,’ ‘Before I Fall,’ and ‘Alone In Berlin’.

This episode also contains interviews with Jessica Chastain, Jai Love (Dead Hands Dig Deep), Rosie Jones (The Family), David Stratton (David Stratton: A Cinematic Life), Keith Sutliff (The Mason Brothers) and Nik Kacevski (Skinford).

Make sure you also listen to this week’s episode for your chance to win a copy of Tracey Ullman’s Show on DVD thanks to our good friends at Acorn. For you chance to win make sure you listen to this week’s show and then answer the question that Dave asks through a private message on either our Facebook or Twitter page.

You can listen to The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show or download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here.

The Great Wall

One of the most surprising films in cinemas at the moment has to be The Great Wall. When you consider that a studio took amazing director Yimou Zhang, who brought the world films like House Of Flying Daggers and Curse Of The Golden Flowers and then gave the reigns to direct what is pretty much a big action monster film with a cast featuring Oscar winner Matt Damon, the Oscar-nominated Willem Dafoe and Asian actress Tian Jing who has recently made the cross into Hollywood films like Pacific Rim: Uprising and Kong: Skull Island.

With so many haters on the Internet asking how Western characters get caught up in a world of Asian battles Matt Damon is quick to explain. “We have heard about gunpowder, so we go in to try and steal it, but suddenly we arrive, and we see that there is this incredible army. We see that is extraordinary disciplined and they fight in a way that we have never seen before and we get swept up in the defence of the wall. My character was captured and raised in the Army at a very early age, and he knows nothing but war. He has fought for everybody, he doesn’t really fight for a flag he will fight for anybody that pays him, and he has a very cynical view of the world. He is an extremely capable fighter, as is his best friend Tovar (Pedro Pascal). Together they are a two-man wrecking crew. He and Tovar are pretty comfortable using any type of weapon. They have been in thousands of battles together, but William does prefer the bow. He has a bow that he uses, and he is a speed archer so he can fire multiple arrows very quickly basically from anywhere. So he is most comfortable with a bow in his hand. Tovar, his best friend, has two swords that he has collected in his travels and he is most comfortable fighting with a weapon in each hand, so they are pretty versatile fighters, that is what their deal is. When they get to the Wall, they’ve heard of it but never seen it before, but they see that it is above any feat of engineering that they could ever have imagined  and on top of the Wall and protecting the Wall is this army called The Nameless Order, this mythical Chinese Army that essentially lives and dies to defend the Wall. Eventually as they start to see the defence of the wall and they start to understand what is happening and why Tovar remains committed to our original plot to steal the black powder he thinks these people are crazy and they are all going to die so let’s take the gun powder, whereas William  for the first time sees that they may be something bigger than his own personal gain to fight for and he admires them in a way that he can’t even articulate.”

With the hater’s comments put to bed with that explanation, Damon turns to talking about just how impressed he was with the film’s director. “Yimou Zhang is one of the greatest filmmakers on the planet, and I have wanted to work with him for a long time and everything aligned. The stars aligned this time and I finally got a chance to work with him. It has been a real privilege for me and for all the actors, we all talk about that and even the crew members… we were all there for him. He paints on this extremely large canvas, and he does it in such a way that nobody ever has before or can. He uses cover and this sweeping scale of what he does. There are very few people who can do it and do do it.”

Appearing in the movie as Damon’s love interest is Tian Jing who plays Commander Lin Mae, and she is very quick, to sum up, her character. “ She is the Commander of the Army, and she is a woman of many virtues,” Jing explains. “She is strong, brave, reliable, determined and very daring. She has all the talent and wisdom needed to lead the entire Army. As the female General, she is the girl-power in the film which is dominated by male characters – she is the balance in this film. Lin Mae is part of this secret organisation that nobody knows about except for the Emperor. The duty of every soldier is to protect country’s people and to defend the Wall.”

Jing spends part of the movie hanging off the wall as director Yimou Zhang introduces a new form of acrobatic fighting to Hollywood so how hard was it for Jing to prepare for the role? “When I got the call to do this role production sent me to L.A. for training. I spent half a year training and studying including dialogue classes, stunt training, horse riding and physical training. It was a tough but memorable experience to prepare for this role. And then every day on set was like taking more acting classes, so I learned so much working with the director. He is a director that I ahve wanted to work with for so long, so it has been like a dream come true. I think that he is the pride of the Chinese film industry.”

Directors aside what was it like to work with such a talented cast? “It has been a pleasure to work with this cast,” she says. “It was great to work with Matt, Pedro and Willem, but especially Matt because we have a lot of scenes opposite each other. Over the months I learnt so much from him as we worked side-by-side. He is a true professional and a dedicated actor.”

The last piece of the puzzle is award winning actor Willem Dafoe who also loved working on the film. “Ballard is a character who has found himself trapped,” he says explaining his character. “He has been trapped with this military group in China on the Great Wall for twenty-five years. He arrived there with a caravan pretty much to do business, things didn’t work out, and he got stranded there. His colleagues didn’t make themselves as useful as he made himself, he made himself because he is a clever guy. So he’s found a way to survive among this Chinese cultural… this military culture.”

Despite working on big blockbusters previously, films like Spider-Man, Dafoe says he was blown way by the scale of The Great Wall. “They actually rebuilt a part of the wall,” he says wide-eyed. “To scale and study enough to hold a thousand people plus horses. It really was an amazing site to work on. I don’t think I have ever been on a production this grand before… the scale is enormous. The degree of detail is just fantastic and I think what’s nice about that is that it gives you the opportunity to… I guess it frees you up because it is a complete world. SO when you get on the set, there is none of this ‘oh you can’t go over there because that’s not really dressed properly.” You would go into a huge room to knock out a scene, and you could go anywhere. Ultimately it is a beautiful match of Chinese sensibility and Western sensibility, and that was the other really important thing about this film, that we made it in China, it’s a Chinese production with Westerners, and that is very exciting to me.”

 

The Great Wall is currently showing in cinemas

Logan2

Over the past twenty years comic book fans have had the immense pleasure of being able to watch nine films set in the X-Men universe (if you include the stand-alone Wolverine and Deadpool movies). For a generation of film goers now Australian actor Hugh Jackman is Wolverine while acclaimed actor Patrick Stewart has shared the role of Professor Charles Xavier with James McAvoy, who has played the younger version of the fearless leader in the newer films.

Now as the curtain falls on this world of mutants and heroes for Jackman and Stewart they team up with director James Mangold (who dipped into the franchise in 2013 with The Wolverine). The film has a much darker tone and this time is more graphic than its predecessors… something that has earned it an R-Rating from the classification board.

That ‘different’ tone is something that the man himself Hugh Jackman is only too happy to talk about. “I think the whole film feels different,” he says shifting his chair. ‘Tone, character wise it’s different to any of the others. And that was our goal, I didn’t want it to feel like the final chapter of a saga I wanted it to feel like a whole new, fresh thing. I wanted to stake some new ground. Logan in this film is more human… hence the title… he’s sick, his powers are dwindlering, he’s vulnerable, he’s also looking after an aging father-figure in Charles Xavier and hiding him out. He’s also under stress, he doesn’t have money – he’s a limo driver trying to earn enough bucks to get by and to buy the meds that Charles needs and he’s got a lot of very mundane, everyday stuff going on. But clearly he has checked out, he is at the bottom and so want James Mangold and James Frank did was kind of create a world for a character whose biggest fear is love and intimacy, because that only brings pain, but now he is surrounded by a family that is forced upon him.”

The new story brings about a whole new relationship between Logan (Wolverine) and Charles Xavier with Jackman explains precisely. “Charles has dementia,” he explains. “Charles Xavier has been a father figure and mentor and probably understands him the best because Logan is a closed book. He quips and he is tough and all that but Charles knows where he comes from and knows his background – he knows the demons that he is fighting. So he knows him and but in this one the tables are turned a little bit because he has dementia, so he is confused and he is vulnerable and he’s angry and he is many, many, many different things. At times he is child-like and then at other times he is abusive and Logan is just in that carer role, that role of taking care day and night day in and day out, he also has to keep him hidden from authorities so it is a great dynamic and it was a lot of fun to play. And it was even better because it was with a great friend and one of the greatest actors I have ever met.

But then a quick look at the poster and of course trailer and fans of the series will notice that there is another potential relationship for Logan in this film as well. “Yes, then there is a young girl that has been created from DNA,” Jackman says almost teasingly. “And that DNA may very well resemble my own, and that was stolen so it wasn’t like he chose to have a daughter, which she may be, but he is confronted with genetics that are very similar to his own and a task to rescue/protect/save her. He doesn’t want that task and he pushes it away for as long as he can but that relationship between those two characters, that father/daughter relationship, is very strong, and this young girl Daphne that plays that part is absolutely astonishing.”

So what does Jackman hope that fans will take away from this film? “My hope for fans with this film and I talk to them every day, maybe every second day, over the last seventeen years is that they say that this is ‘the Wolverine movie that they have always wanted to see,” he says smiling. “That is my hope and dream and that was my guiding star while making this movie.”

The other actor also farewelling the series here is Patrick Stewart and he says audiences will also see a very different side to his character, Charles Xavier. “Not only will you see a different side to Charles you will see a transformed Charles,” he explains. “The controlled, intelligent, sensitive intellectual has been replaced with a scatter-brained, crazy, physically-fragile and highly dangerous individual. No one could ever imagine that Charles Xavier could become a dangerous being in society, it’s unthinkable, but here he is putting the world at risk.”

He to explains how this changes his relationship with Logan. “From the very beginning Charles has had a very caring relationship with him. He knew everything about Logan – his past, how he came about, what had been done to him, the misery and agony of that. He always felt a protectiveness towards him. Logan has always been a difficult personality – independent, sometimes aggressive, sometimes mean-spirited, hostile even, but essentially he has always had his heart in the right place. Now there has been a turnaround and the carer is Logan and the vulnerable, weak, fragile one is Charles. And as I said not only vulnerable but also very dangerous.”

“Our primary duty is to entertain,” says Stewart talking about his hopes for the film with fans. “But entertaining can have very different aspects to it. There are themes within this film which some people have already identified as being a contemporary commentary on present day society, particularly in Europe and the United States. I don’t think that was the overt intention of the producers and the writers of this movie but I think that has unfortunately come about that way. But yes there is some instruction in this movie. There are warning contained within this movie and if they are listened to in any way whatsoever then not only have we entertained then perhaps we have also been a benefit.”

Of course fans have also been very excited to see director James Mangold return to the franchise so what was it like for Stewart to work with him and the rest of the cast. “I had only ever done one days work with James previously,” explains Stewart. “Ian McKellan and I shot a one day short movie scenes as a fill-in for the first Wolverine movie, but I met with James very early on in the process and I enjoyed that two/three hour conversation that we had about the screenplay and about the character of Charles and particularly about his disintegration. I love working with James, he is a craftsman and he knows filmmaking so well. He knows on the one hand exactly what he wants, but I have never before worked with a director that is so open to other possibilities and to input from his cast, even bringing up the unexpected and at times even inviting us to improvise which is something that always appeals to me and some of those little improvisations even made it into the movie. With the cast – well the X-Men are reduced down to two in this film and to have such a close relationship with Logan being Hugh Jackman has been a delight as it always has been for seventeen years.”

So it seems that both cast and fans alike are sad to see Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart leaving the franchise, but at least they all have one last film to savour before the curtain-call.

Logan is out in cinemas right now.

Dead Hands Dig Deep

With edgy new music docco Dead Hands Dig Deeper screening in Sydney at the Monster Fest Travelling Side-Show. Dave Griffiths caught up with director Jai Love to see how the docco came into being. Jai gives us a great insight it what exactly happened while the docco was being made.

You can listen to or download our Jai Love interview right here.

 

Tickets for The Monster Fest Travelling Sideshow are on sale now at: 
Event Cinemas George Street
505-525 George St, Sydney Australia
+61 (0)2 9273 7300
https://www.eventcinemas.com.au/Cinema/George-Street/EventsFestivals/MonsterfestTravellingSideshow#cinemas=15
http://www.monsterfest.com.au/events/monster-fest-travelling-sideshow

Single Session Tickets: Adult $21 / Concession $17.50
5 Film Multi-Pass: Adult $82.50 / Concession $71.50
10 Film VIP Pass: Adult $132 / Concession $110

4.indd

Australia’s iconic film critic David Stratton takes a look at his life and Australian cinema in the new documentary David Stratton: A Cinematic Life. Dave Griffiths sits down and chats to David Stratton about this amazing new documentary and his career in general.

David Stratton: A Cinematic Life opens in cinemas on March 9th.

You can listen to or download our David Stratton interview right here.

Trash Fire

With Trash Fire being released in Australia on DVD through Bounty Films Dave Griffiths caught up with the film’s director Richard Bates Jnr. to ask him where the idea from the film came from. Richard also chats to us about what it was like to work with Adrian Grenier and what it is like directing friends.

You can listen to or download our Richard Bates Jnr interview right here.