With Australian musician Mike Elrington about to release his brand new album Two Lucky Stars Subculture Entertainment’s Dave Griffiths decided it was time to sit down and have a chat with Mike. Mike chats to Dave not only about how Two Lucky Stars came into being but also about the talented musicians he got to work with.
You can listen to or download our Mike Elrington interview right here.
Make sure you are listening to this week’s episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film SHow for your chance to win a copy of Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans on DVD thanks to our good friends at eOne Entertainment. To win just listen to this week’s episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show, listen out for the question that Dave asks and then private message us your answers on either our Facebook or Twitter pages.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘A Bigger Splash,’ ‘Batman vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice,’ ‘Eye In The Sky,’ ‘Sherpa,’ ‘Labyrinth Of Lies,’ ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,’ ‘Kung Fu Panda 3’ and ‘Our Last Tango’. This episode also contains interviews with Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jack Black , Angelina Jolie, Luca Guadagnino, Jennifer Peedom and German Kral.
Also make sure you are listening this week for your chance to win a copy of Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans on DVD thanks to our good friends at eOne Entertainment. To win just listen to this week’s episode of The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show, listen out for the question that Dave asks and then private message us your answers on either our Facebook or Twitter pages.
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.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th March 2016
Australian DVD/Blu-Ray/On Demand Release Date: 20th July
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
OUR EYE IN THE SKY REVIEWS & RATINGS:
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.
Summary: A remake of La Piscine from 1969 A Bigger Splash sees rock-star Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton), who has lost her voice after recent surgery, on a vacation on the beautiful Italian island of Pantelleria, with her recovering drug-addict, filmmaker boyfriend Paul De Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts).
Their enjoyable times of lazing in the sun however is cut short when Marianne’s manager and ex-lover Harry Hawkes (Ralph Fiennes) and his new-found daughter Penelope Lanier (Dakota Johnson) turn up unexpectedly and cause a range of issues to arise.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 24th March 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: Italy, France
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Screenwriter: David Kajganich, Alain Page (story)
Cast: Elena Bucci (Clara), Aurore Clement (Mireille), Ralph Fiennes (Harry Hawkes), Corrado Guzzanti (Maresciallo Carabinieri), Dakota Johnson (Penelope Lanier), Lily McMenamy (Sylvie), Matthias Schoenaerts (Paul DeSmidt), Tilda Swinton (Marianne Lane)
Runtime: 124 mins
OUR A BIGGER SPLASH REVIEWS & RATINGS:
If you don’t like slow burns and films a little on the alternative then A Bigger Splash is not the film for you. On the other hand if you like me and like a film with a little bit of an edge to it then you might be right in your element with Italian director Luca Guadagnino’s latest offering – a film that certainly keeps its audience guessing right up until the final credits.
Now I would be lying if I sat here and said that A Bigger Splash is the perfect film because it isn’t. While Guadagnino does use the island’s beauty and perils brilliantly well the film does drag at times, especially early on. Of course anyone who can cope with that slowness is then rewarded handsomely with a second half that sees the character’s loyalties tested and even a massive amount of crime injected into the storyline, and it is those moments that will have the audience on the edge of their seat as even though some of the characters are unlikable you do actually find yourself caring what happens to them in the long run.
A Bigger Splash is really a film told in two halves. The first half of the film is brought to life with some good acting performances that will be loved by those who like serious cinema. Tilda Swinton is at her usual best despite being put to the test by playing a character that can barely say a word. To her credit Swinton instead lets Marianne put all her emotions across powerfully for a range of looks and normally aggressive forms of body language.
Swinton is well supported by Ralph Fiennes who seems to enjoy play the eccentric and very bossy Harry Hawkes. No matter how slow the film is at times Fiennes completely steals a lot of the scenes that he is in, especially one in which he strangely dances for nearly five minutes, a scene which it seems he had a lot of fun filming. His later menacing scenes with both Swinton and Schoenaerts are also standouts that really bring the film to life as well.
Cast wise the audience also gets to see a very different side to Dakota Johnson that what we have not seen previously as well. While audiences got to see her as sweet and demure in Fifty Shades Of Grey and shy and reserved in How To Be Single here Johnson is completely transformed into a sultry and seductive blonde and shows that she is more than capable to match it with her much more experienced cast.
The second half of the film is where Guadagnino really brings the film to life though. As tension reaches a boiling point and a good crime story moves to the fore (don’t worry you won’t read any spoilers here) the film moves up several gears and takes a turn to the dark side. The infusion of glimpses of Europe’s refuge crisis all throughout the film also enhance the latter parts of the storyline as well, which shows that despite the films meandering style early on there was some form of structure there all along.
While A Bigger Splash may not be enjoyed by those who enjoy their normal popcorn movie, this is a film that will be loved by those that love their films a little left of centre and a good dose of darkness.
An erotic psychological drama starring Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson, A Bigger Splash is a loose remake of Jacques Deray’s seductive 1969 film called La Picerne, which starred Alain Delon. Director Luca Guadagnino (better known for the gorgeous and visually sumptuous I Am Love) and writer David Kajganich (the dire Nicole Kidman sci-fi thriller The Invasion, etc) give the material a more contemporary flavour as they work in some topical issues with a mention of displaced migrants and refugees who are flooding into European countries by the boat load.
The film is set on the volcanic island of Pantelleria, which lies off Sicily, and centres around four self destructive characters caught up in a complex and complicated relationship. There is rock star Marianne Lane (Swinton), something of a cross between Bowie and Chrissi Hynde, who is recuperating following throat surgery. She is enjoying a nice holiday with her filmmaker boyfriend Paul (Belgian hunk Matthias Schoenaerts), a recovering alcoholic. Both Marianne and Paul are psychologically wounded and carry mental scars.
Then their idyllic holiday is interrupted by the arrival of flamboyant record producer Harry Hawkes (Fiennes) and his estranged daughter Penelope (Dakota Johnson, from the Razzie award winning Fifty Shades Of Grey, etc). Marianne and Harry share a past history. Indeed it was Harry who introduced Marianne to Paul in an effort to get out of the relationship, and he is now full of regrets over that decision. And the sexually precocious Penelope sets her sights on seducing Paul. The atmosphere is charged with suspicion, jealousy, and personal revelations, and there are palpable undercurrents of sexual tension, lust, temptation.
This is a juicy role for Fiennes. This is Fiennes like we haven’t seen him before on screen – lively, brash and flamboyant – and he chews the scenery with his manic performance. He normally has such an intense screen persona, but here he is such an ebullient character who also strips off and dances and swims naked and shows off rare comic timing. It was his performance in The Grand Budapest Hotel that convinced director Guadagnino that Fiennes was suited to the character here.
Swinton has the more challenging role as Marianne, who is largely a silent participant in events. Her character is unable to speak, so Swinton has to convey a wide range of emotions through gestures and facial expressions. Schoenaerts has plenty of charisma and is solid as the brooding Paul.
Johnson’s breakthrough role was as the ingenue introduced to the world of sexual games and b&d in the risible Fifty Shades Of Grey, and here she plays an outrageous, sexually aware Lolita-like adolescent, but her character is a little underdeveloped.
The film features an eclectic soundtrack that includes The Rolling Stones, Harry Nilsson and Captain Beefheart. And Fiennes’ character narrates a wonderful anecdote about working with the Rolling Stones during the 80s, telling an apocryphal story about the recording of the track The Moon Is Up for their Tattoo You album – the story is apparently true, but the Harry Hawkes character and his involvement is not.
A Bigger Splash has been shot on location on Pantelleria by Guadagnino’s regular cinematographer Yorick Le Saux, who gives the material a sunny, washed out, burned look that complements the setting. The swimming pool itself almost becomes a nother character in the carnal edgy drama. The title is also deliberately evocative of David Hockney’s 1967 painting of the same name, and also recalls Francois Ozon’s film Swimming Pool. The itself has something of a European sensibility in its approach to sex and nudity. Guadagnino’s regular editor Walter Fasano uses abrupt cuts to give the film an unsettling and disjointed feel.
But it remains to be seen whether A Bigger Splash will connect with an audience and make a splash at the box office.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment A Bigger Splash reviews: Nil
Summary: Continuing his “legendary adventures of awesomeness”, Po must face two hugely epic, but different threats: one supernatural and the other a little closer to his home.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd March 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: USA, China
Director: Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Screenwriter: Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger
Cast: Jack Black (Po (voice)), Jackie Chan (Monkey (voice)), Radzi Chinyanganya (Mi (voice)), Bryan Cranston (Li (voice)), David Cross (Crane (voice)), Barbara Dirickson (Grandma Panda (voice)), Steele Gagnon (Bao (voice)), Willie Geist (Dim (voice)), Dustin Hoffman (Shifu (voice)), April Hong (Mrs. Chow (voice)), James Hong (Mr. Ping (voice)), Kate Hudson (Mei Mei (voice)), Angelina Jolie (Tigress (voice)), Knox Jolie-Pitt (Ku Ku (voice)), Pax Jolie-Pitt (Yoo (voice)), Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (Shuai Shuai (voice)), Zahara Jolie-Pitt (Meng Meng (voice)), Randall Duk Kim (Oogway (voice)), Liam Knight (Lei Lei (voice)), Wayne Knight (Big Fun/Hom-Lee (voice)), Lucy Liu (Viper (voice)), Seth Rogen (Mantis (voice)), Al Roker (Sum (voice)), Lindsey Russell (Peony (voice)), J.K. Simmons (Kai (voice)), Fred Tatasciore (Master Bear (voice)), Ming Tsai (Ming (voice)), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Mast Croc (voice))
Runtime: 95 mins
OUR KUNG FU PANDA 3 REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Five years since he last skiddooed onto the scene, Po the Panda is back and this time, for fear of sounding like a movie poster, he’s bringing the whole family. Yes, a chance encounter at his adoptive father’s restaurant leads Po (Jack Black) to meeting up with his long lost Dad, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston). Meanwhile, the vengeful spirit of a great warrior known as Kai (JK Simmons) has returned to the mortal realm and is seeking to steal Po’s chi.
This is the second sequel to DreamWorks’s 2008 hit and it’s amazing to see the difference between this and their previous flagship series, Shrek. By the time Shrek coughed and spluttered into his third sequel, the franchise was nothing more than weak storylines on which to pin dated pop culture references and Eel songs.
Conversely, Kung Fu Panda 3 allows Po and his pals to grow organically. Despite being declared Dragon Warrior in the previous film, there’s still much for the young panda to learn. Including it seems, that of how to be a panda. With his newly found father, Po ventures to their secret village in the hills to understand panda nature (tips include that they don’t do stairs and they don’t get up before midday) and potentially learn something that can defeat Kai.
Yes, this ‘just be yourself’ through line is a tried and tested formula, but it’s yet to feel derivate in the Panda universe. Po, despite his prowess, is a still a student. He has questions about his place in the universe that he hopes to answer. Meanwhile, there is only so many ways to you teach an ogre that’s okay to be an ogre, as long as you change yourself a bit.
Kung Fu Panda 3, as has become expected, is beautiful with traditional animation – admittedly done by computers – used for line drawn flashbacks. It’s a simple trick, but one that is used to great and emotional effect. Elsewhere the vocal talent is uniformly brilliant, with JK Simmons sounding like he’s channelling the angriest of angry John Goodmans, whilst James Hong steals every scene as Po’s adoptive father, Mr Ping; who doesn’t take kindly to others cutting his grass.
Rumours are that DreamWorks’s have at least another three chapters in the story of Po, and whilst that is a tempting offer, should they never surface, rest assured Kung Fu Panda 3 is a wonderful and joyous ending to a truly enjoyable series of films.
Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):
Other Subculture Entertainment Kung Fu Panda 3 reviews: Nil
One of the most eagerly anticipated shows of this years Melbourne International Comedy Festival is the improvised Shakespeare show from the very talented Soothplayers. Subculture’s Dave Griffiths caught up with Adam Hembree from Soothplayers to find out everything there is to know about the show.
You can listen to or download our Soothplayers interview right here.
For more information about the Soothplayers show or to book tickets just check out their website.
One of the comedians hitting Melbourne this year as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is Tanyalee Davis and Subculture’s Dave Griffiths sat down with her to have a chat about what audiences can expect from her brand new show.
You can listen to or download our Tanyalee Davis interview right here.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Zootopia,’ ‘Miracles From Heaven,’ ‘London Has Fallen,’ and ‘The Witch’.This episode also contains interviews with Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Kylie Roberts, Gerard Butler, Mathieu Ravier (Young At Heart Film Festival) and Mike Hill (Take Heart).
Summary: U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 30th October, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: 4th March, 2015
Country: UK, France
Director: Matthew Warchus
Screenwriter: Stephen Beresford
Cast: Jack Baggs (Gary), Derek Barr (Brian), Jessie Cave (Zoe), Paddy Considine (Dai), Monica Dolan (Marion), Dyfan Dwyfor (Lee), Mary-Anne Dymond (Rowena), Sophie Evans (Debbie), Karina Fernandez (Stella), Matthew Flynn (Tony), Freddie Fox (Jeff), Johnny Gibbon (Johnny), Joseph Gilgun (Mike), Jessica Gunning (Sian), Nia Gwynne (Gail), Joshua Hill (Ray), Jan Leeming (herself), George MacKay (Joe), Faye Marsay (Steph), Laura Matthews (Tina), Rhodri Meilir (Martin), Jordan Metcalfe (Charlie), Bill Nighy (Cliff), Chris Overton (Reggie), Lisa Palfrey (Maureen), Bryan Parry (Kevin), Feargal Quinn (Jimmy Sommerville), Kyle Rees (Carl), Ben Schnetzer (Mark), Andrew Scott (Gethin), Lee Shepherd (Rhodri), Imelda Staunton (Hefina), Margaret Thatcher (herself), Russell Tovey (Tim), Menna Trussler (Gwen), Dominic West (Jonathan), Liz White (Margaret), Richard Whiteley (himself), Joseph Wilkins (Jason)
Runtime: 120 mins
OUR PRIDE REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Pride is a film based in semi-recent history. The screenplay was written by Stephen Beresford and the film directed by Matthew Warchus.
The story revolves around the miners’ strike in Britain in 1984 and the persecution the mineworkers suffered at the hands of the Thatcher government and the police. Contrasting this is the gay rights movement in London and one gay activist group’s plan to take action and help out another disaffected group of people by raising funds for the mineworkers and their families.
The picture and the place-and-time are set instantly to recreate the Eighties and archive news footage shows us the situations going on with each of the main groups. To take us into this world we meet Joe (George MacKay), affectionately nicknamed “Bromley” after his hometown, on his twentieth birthday – which just happens to be gay pride day. Suddenly inspired to march he joins in with the gay pride activists, hoping to ‘blend in’. Instead, he gets thrust into the limelight, holding a sign for attention. He soon joins in gathering funds for the miners as established activist, Mark (Ben Schnetzer), takes up the cause. From there the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) movement is born and we are thrust into the main story.
On his journey, as is paralleled by the main plot, Joe finds his identity, new friendships, belonging and a cause. His awkwardness echoes the awkwardness between the two antithetical communities as they band together.
Differing opinions within each group show the difficulty of the merger and of dealing with people’s uneducated phobias, but clever humour is used to lighten the tension and resolve issues in an entertaining fashion. A witty play on the stereotypes and expected ‘ignorance’ is used to effect to make things entertaining and take things out of predictable realms.
The personal stories of some of our characters show us the effects that the mineworkers’ situation and the fight for gay rights have on those affected. These human insights give us an emotional connection and draw us further into the plot. We see the fight for survival, the AIDS epidemic – the character of Jonathan Blake was the second-diagnosed person with HIV in London, but is still living strong to this day – self-identity, coming-out and acceptance by your family and those you love.
Gethin, our gay Welsh character, bridges the gap between the two worlds and adds a human expression with his feelings of being unable to return home after being rejected by his mother. As the two camps come together he is finally moved to take-part in the union and humour is used to make light of his awkwardness; breaking in a scene that shows how they are all growing comfortable with each other.
The human element is at the core of the story. We follow this in Joe’s first-gay-steps, his first kiss, his outing to his family… Conversely, we see Maureen’s (Lisa Palfrey) bigotry and how this affects her actions to further her own agenda and to shield her sons from something she has misunderstood. We see the desperation of the mining families in a scene where two of the characters butter bread for sandwiches that have no other fillings. The clever humour is used to show a serious situation in a very accessible way.
Detail has gone into design, set-dressing and wardrobe to set the period perfectly. The colour of the Eighties shapes the London scenes and the grey of the Welsh mining town of Onllwyn. The crazy colour of the period is nicely toned and selected in deliberate pallets in all aspects to keep the visuals pleasant. The grading of the colours are muted more at the start of the film and become bright and bold at the end, subliminally showing a ‘brighter future.’
The story shows the characters at their best and worst and what they take from it all, making for a very engaging and powerful story. We see how the story gets turned around at the end and how far the two communities have come to support each other. We see the power that comes from people coming together; even if not all major battles are won, the amazing feats of people uniting under a common cause has the power to change things, even in small ways and this has a compounding effect. We even get to glimpse the ‘changed hearts’ of Maureen’s sons are they are there to support the gay community at the end, having overcome their own misinformed cynicisms.
Exceptional performances from the whole cast brought the characters to life. Of note was Jessica Gunning as Sian who really ‘comes-out’ in her own right; taking what she has learnt to further herself and eventually became a member of parliament.