Monthly Archives: January 2017

XXX Return Of Xander Cage2

Vin Diesel fans haven’t exactly had a lot to complain about over the past few years. Thanks to the on-going Fast & Furious franchise they have been able to see their idol on big screens almost annually. Then of course is the fact that over the next few years they will see him in 3 more Fast & Furious movies and voicing the lovable tree Groot in both Guardians Of Galaxy 2 and Avengers: Infinity Wars. But they have always seemed to have one gripe – and that is they wanted to see the 49-year-old action hero get another chance to play Xander Cage.

Cage was Bond-with-balls spy that Diesel played way back in 2002’s XXX but he was then over-looked for the sequel, something that hard core fans of the franchise saw as an absolute tragedy. But last year that was all changed when it was announced that Diesel was returning to the role for XXX: Return Of Xander Cage.

With stories always changing on why Diesel never did the follow-up to XXX he wears a broad grin when he explains why he now fourteen years later he has decided once again to re-visit the character. “I just think that there is a need to re-visit this type of hero archetype,” he says. “He is in some ways the reluctant hero and in some ways the anti-hero but his individuality just shines. I walk away from this experience thinking that is who I could be. I could be Xander, he could be me. I think there is something timely about that and something cool about that. I feel that when we first made this movie people were calling it the Bond killer because it had beaten that year’s Bond and nobody expected that. I think that we have seen very many variations of spy movies and secret agent movies but I think there has been a desire to return to this. He is definitely a unique and very different type of secret agent. And I’m so happy to come back to Xander. I always felt that I owed it, I always felt that I was in debt and that sooner rather than later I would have to return to this character and right the wrongs of the past. I am so, so happy and so blessed that I have ahd the opportunity to do it, it’s not something that happens every day and by doing all the other work in my life I was able to pull this one off. I feel very, very excited and very, very proud of this film and of this franchise”

So that leads to a big question – what is Xander Cage like almost fifteen years on. “He is definitely still consistent and he has definitely had more experiences,” says Diesel after thinking for a moment. “You know he is different in the respect that he did try to comply with working with the Government and didn’t cry when it didn’t work out for him. I think what you will see this time though is his willingness to bring on a team and the fact that he values the team that he has and that it makes it incrediably different from the first outing because then he was just a solo lone-wolf, and I think in this movie we see that he has learnt to rely on people. I guess that makes for a better Xander in some way.”

Aside from the fact that Vin Diesel back most of the press surrounding XXX: Return Of Xander Cage has been about the quality of the actors and actresses that help make up Xander’s team – Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Toni Collette and Kris Wu just to name a few. “It is very much assemble-all-parts this time,” laughs Diesel. “One of the fun and entertaining things about this film is that this team of misfits come together and work together as a team. It’s the love of the lifestyle that brings them all the table. They wouldn’t necessarily worry about being heroic, but they are heroic because of the circumstances, and what is interesting about that is the room to grow that their characters might have over the franchise. And that is something to think about not just what happens in this chapter but what happens in subsequent chapters. There are two teams formed during the movie, but the first team is there because of all the good times they have had with Xander because Xander is such a fun person to be with, they are there for the mission but also just to have a great time. As the team grows we see another component… a component that makes the mission more serious.”

Of course having such diverse characters means that the cast come from all corners of the globe and Diesel played a very big part in that. “Incorporating this multicultural tone to the Fast & Furious franchise has worked with great succsess and I wanted to push it even further on XXX, to the point where I wanted to go to not only go to all the multi-cultural actors who live in California but I wanted to go into entirely separate film markets, entirely different regions and celebrate their heroes and their actors. Not only is Deepika (Padukone) an example of that but Donnie Yen is another amazing example of that… we actually went into China. Then there is Kris Wu who speaks to that, Ruby Rose speaks to that, Rory McCann speaks to that, Tony Jass speaks to that, even Nina Dobrev is from Canada. We really did travel right around the world and that was very, very exciting. I knew that we were onto something when we looked to the world to cast this movie.”

Now of course fans of the franchise will know that there has been a reference in the past to Xander being dead, so how do they bring him back for this time around. “This is essentially a story about a man being called back into action,” says Diesel thinking carefully. “The NSA is up against a group that we learn more about throughout the picture, but it is a group that they can’t take down, that they can’t handle. They have this old and archaic way of dealing with things and this new team, this interesting teams is so much of a threat that they have to now go back and get this wildcard called Xander to go up against them. And how the two teams work against each other and then ultimately work WITH one another is where the stories lie.”

With the interview winding up the last thing to talk about was the action of the film. The first XXX movie was made famous by the legendary stunt of a car going over a bridge with Xander jumping free so what do we have in store this time around. “You can’t talk about a XXX movie and not talk about the action,” says an excited Diesel. “There were a few things that were very important to me with this movie. As you know I was going through a very specific time, all the weight of Furious 7 and all the weight that came with that and I needed to play a very happy character and I needed to play a character that could smile and I needed to play a character that could laugh, that could tell jokes and that could do things simply for the thrill… just for the thrill and that is why this character is alive. So it wasn’t only fun doing the stunts, and the stunts were great you can see that in the trailer. But for this conversation I should add that I had fun just practising. I can’t tell you how much fun I had just preparing for this because I got to do jump, got to do stunts and while they were shooting they would hear…(Diesel does a motorbike noise)… and that was me getting ready for a sequence. And I want the audience to just have that fun as well because that is what this movie is all about. That’s what you are going to say you are going to say to people ‘go and see XXX because you just have fun. That’s the primary, but if you do take something else away from the film then that is even better.


One of the trickiest genres of film to bring to the big screen is the psychological thriller. While films like Silence Of The Lambs and Se7en have worked over the years there have also been a mountain of films that have failed so badly that audiences have found themselves laughing at times when the director was expecting they should have been cowering with fear – yes I am looking at you Taylor Lautner in Abduction.

One of the men over the past few years that has virtually made the genre his own has been director M. Night Shyamalan. Films like The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs and The Village have made him a king of the genre. Therefore there was little surprise that when it was announced his latest film would star James McAvoy, the actor that most people would now as Dr. Charles Xavier from the X-Men franchise, that film lovers right around the world marked down Split as one of the must see films of 2017.

The director now sits down to chat about the film which seems to have caused controversy in Australia. While some say the film is one of the best thrillers in years others have criticised the way the film handles mental illness.

While he didn’t want the film to be so controversial Shyamalan says he did want the movie to make people think. “I wanted to take something scientific and psychological proven and keep going with it. So the first two steps have been proven and the third step was not proven but instead was a question, the question is do you believe what I am suggesting. It’s almost like a question saying ‘if you believe that you get stressed and your blood pressure goes up , do you believe that? Do you believe if I give you a pill and it’s full of sugar but I tell you it’s a cure and a portion of the population cures themselves of all diseases, do you believe that? It’s true, it’s a fact, it’s in every scientific study where the medicine is pitted against the placebo effect, so if you buy me there then I’m going to introduce you to D.I.D. where every single person believes they are who they are one hundred per cent. One personality has diabetes, one has high cholosterial, one can’t see, with each one their body and chemicals change as they get to each one, and now I have you right there so that is being debated right around the world right now… what I just said. I believe that is a fact but it is still being debated. Now I’m going to ask one more question… one that hasn’t been asked before – what if somebody with D.I.D. thought that one of their personalities was supernatural? Would they have supernatural powers – that’s the question that I’m asking.”

One of the hardest decisions that Shyamalan had to make when putting Split together was to work out which actor could actually play a role that demanded almost ten different personalities and he is quick to admit that McAvoy had questions about the films as well. “I sent him the script and he said ‘well what is the name of the character that I am playing so I don’t get confused,’” he explains. “So I said I can’t tell you that, just read the script and he was like… WHAT??? He didn’t understand what I was saying because he was looking at the different characters in the script and saying ‘I’m playing this, I’m playing this.’ But I think in the script the first character is called The Neat Freak so I said you are The Neat Freak but just keep reading and so I think he was thinking that it would be a hoot and I don’t think he really concentrated on the possible pitfalls. I think he just thought it was so whacked and crazy, but he is up for anything so he was thinking this is great, it’s normal let’s just have some fun.”

“He was yes right away when he read it,” says Shyamalan nodding. “ He was reading it and saying this script is crazy and he was like ‘hell let’s do it.’ He was up to do something so exposing and so demanding that he was just like ‘yeah let’s do it.’ I was shocked and I was thinking does he understand what I’m going to ask him to do in this piece and he did but he is so fearless, I mean I have never worked with an actor that is so fearless. I ask him to do something and he is always asking to go further. So I would say to him there is a fine line when you are playing Hedwig, you are not playing a dumb adult, that’s not how most people would play the part, they wouldn’t play it as a child, you are playing a very smart child who just doesn’t have life experience. Hedwig is very smart, he is very smart he just happens to be ten…. he is a very smart ten year old. So whenever he was playing it I would so ‘no you are playing a dumb adult, that was a dumb adult and that is not what we are doing… super smart ten year old. Use your eyes you are a super smart ten year old, you don’t know what that gesture means that you just did, you don’t know what she just did, was that flirting? Is that what they call flirting? Just think through it, don’t be an idiot. Just walk to her because that creates humour and you aren’t equipped for these things. SO it’s great to be able to talk like that and be able to work through each character and make them each the hero of their own story.”

It is easy to see how proud of McAvoy’s work Shyamalan is and he continues to prasie his leading man. “We got into that wonderful rhythm where the things that were sacred to me weren’t touched and were only heightened and then he would bring this incredible new aspect to the table, which is what you dream of  when you are a writer/director. When what you imagine is being honoured but enhanced. James’ physicality is the great X-factor of the movie you know – how he can carry himself as Patricia or how he literally thinks he has shrunk three inches when he is playing Hedwig or he gets very stiff and strong when he is playing Dennis.”


Split is now screening in cinemas.

Resident Evil The Final Chapter

With so many people these days commenting on the theory that there are no strong roles for actresses in Hollywood you have to wonder if they have been under a rock when it comes to the Resident Evil franchise of movies. The franchise has now spawned six movies and has introduced two of the toughest female characters we have seen on the big screen. Milla Jovovich’s Alice has appeared in all of the movies as has kicked and punched her way through an army of the undead, mutant dogs and corrupt businessmen as she takes on the evil empire known as the Umbrella Corporation. Alongside her during several of the films has been Ali Larter playing the rough-and-ready Claire Redfield.

With Resident Evil: The Final Chapter now in cinemas both women were very excited to sit down and talk about the film.

“Coming back to the world of Resident Evil after a three year hiatus was just so fun and so exciting,” says Milla Jovovich. “I loved the script and I loved getting back into Alice’s shoes again. She’s kind of the best of me, she’s what I would imagine I would do in a survival situation or in emergency… I would become Alice but regardless in reality I would probably be like… ow, ow, ow (Milla also cowers in her chair and she explains it) but in my head I become Alice so in a way she is my hero as well and as long she remains my hero she will be a hero for other people to.”

So what made Milla love the script for this instalment of the franchise? “Alice is coming back above ground from some insane battle between the ending of the last film and this installment,” explains Milla. “At the beginning of the movie she comes out from underground to this absolutely desolate Washington D.C., so you know that that battle from the end of Afterlife happened and it has devastated everything and it feels like she is pretty much the only survivor and from that point onward it is non-stop.”

“It’s quite amazing that Resident Evil is going into its sixth instalment,” says Jovovich when asked what her thoughts are on the franchise. “It is literally the longest-running, female-driven action franchise ever made up to this point, so it is inspiring that it has resinated so much with audiences and they have wanted to come back to the Resident Evil world over and over again and see the adventures of people that they know and love. This movie to me is the best movie in the franchise. I mean there are so many amazing stunts and the visuals are so amazing. Then the story is riveting and you find out things about Alice and the Umbrella Corporation that they never knew about them and I think that there are so many secrets revealed and it brings this amazing franchise to this great close… a closure that I think the audience is going to love.”

With Ali Larter playing such an important role in the Resident Evil franchise it is not surprising that Milla is full of praise for her co-star. “Ali Larter plays Clarie Redfield, one of the most popular characters from the game, and it has been great. Ali has done three films with us at this point and she is just an incredible actress and she really brings so much life to Claire and she has really done justice to her.”

Ali Larter then explains that doing these movies is so different to any other kinds of acting. “Doing these movies, they are actually action films,” she explains. “So we are doing stunts and keeping up with the guys… in fact possibly even doing better. And so we’re in there and I learn it and then I watch Milla and it just blows my mind seeing her do the stunts, she is incredible. And not only is she physical when she does it, she is graceful. She is amazing at it so that to me is what makes this movie different, yes we have strong female characters, but yes we are also very physical and it is stunt and action orientated.”

Apart from that gracefulness Ali says she is also blown away with Milla’s passion for playing Alice. “Yeah there is a passion there and she knows that it is all about getting in there and doing the stunts but also knowing this character that is trying to figure out her past and put the pieces together of that puzzle and constantly driving forward. But it’s like she just keeps up that energy, but she is always asking and always looking to just push it forward.”

As Milla pointed out Claire Redfield is one of the favourite characters for those that play the Resident Evil series of games so what has it been like for Ali to play such a well-loved character. “I’ve always loved having her there and I feel so lucky that they keep bringing her back,” she says with a smile. “I love playing Claire Redfield and I love that the fans are so excited. That to me is… it makes me giddy because I do all kinds of movies and play all kinds of roles but Clarie Redfield, like she is for lots of people, maybe one of my favourites.”

So does she have anything she would like to say to the fans before they sit down and watch the film. “I think that Resident Evil: The Final Chapter will surpass all the ones before it. I think it captures excitement, fear  and maybe a little bit of love, power and I think that you are going to get that and you are going to get to see all your favourites again.”


Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is now showing in cinemas.


We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy.  In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga:  STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

THE LAST JEDI is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is scheduled for release in Australia on December 14, 2017.


With Rings, directed by F. Javier Gutierrez and starring Johnny Galecki, Laura Wiggins, Zach Roerig and Aimee Teagarden, about to hit cinemas on February 23rd Paramount Pictures decided to play some jokes, featuring Samara, on some unsuspecting customers in a television store.

Transmission Films invites Australian audiences on a personal journey through Australian cinema with David Stratton, our most revered film critic, when DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE releases in cinemas this year.
DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE is an intimate journey with David Stratton, from his first boyhood cinema experience in England, to his migration to Australia as a ‘ten pound pom’ in 1963 and onto his present day reflections on the iconic themes that run through our cinematic legacy.
While David turned his passion for cinema into a profession, a growing band of courageous Australians turned their enthusiasm for storytelling into an extraordinary body of work. Alongside David, this absorbing documentary includes commentary from some of the most recognisable names in Australian cinema including Gillian Armstrong, Eric Bana, Bryan Brown, Russell Crowe, Judy Davis, Nicole Kidman, George Miller, Sam Neill, Geoffrey Rush, Fred Schepisi, Warwick Thornton, Jacki Weaver and Hugo Weaving.
“David Stratton is a true champion of Australian cinema. The opportunity to share his unique personal story on the big screen is a privilege,” said Transmission Films Joint Managing Director Andrew Mackie.
DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE is written and directed by Sally Aitken (Getting Frank Gehry, Streets of Your Town) and produced by Jo-anne McGowan and executive produced by Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa).
DAVID STRATTON: A CINEMATIC LIFE will open in cinemas nationally on March 9th. David Stratton will be in attendance at select Q&A screenings across the country from late February, with more details coming soon.

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 ‘Museum Alive 3D,’ ‘The Edge Of Seventeen,’ ‘Assassin’s Creed,’ ‘Passengers,’ and ‘Lion’.

This episode also contains interviews with Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard

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

One of progressive metals most unique acts PROTEST THE HERO are returning to Australian and New Zealand shores this April in support of their latest release Pacific Myth. These revolutionary metal giants will be bringing a collection of fan favourites, in addition to some new head banging hits that every hardcore fanatic will not want to miss!

PROTEST THE HERO have carved an identity for themselves that is so revolutionary within heavy music that to call them “unique” would be like calling Louis C.K. “pretty funny” or the classic “Star Trek” television series “influential sci-fi.” The band effortlessly balances high-minded artistry with wit and whimsy, substantive viewpoints with wanton tomfoolery and masterful musicianship with true songcraft.

 Their latest offering Pacific Myth channels the bands usual hard-hitting sound and remains true to their signature style with overtly complex riffs and eccentric vocal arrangements. The band explained, “Pacific Myth was purely an experiment. For this reason, it’s a totally ‘go-with-your-gut’ record and one we are extremely proud of. PROTEST THE HERO continue to push the boundaries of metal and widen their creative scope that has fans in a frenzy.

With special guests: CLOSURE IN MOSCOW (Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle ONLY)




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The Coming War On China

Antidote Films is proud to announce Australian theatrical release and Q&A screening dates of John Pilger’s compelling new film, The Coming War On China.

Participating cinemas are Cinema Nova in Melbourne (opening Feb 9 with Q&A on Feb 10), Dendy Newtown in Sydney (opening Feb 16 with Q&A), Dendy Canberra (opening Feb 23 with Q&A), Orpheum Cinema, Sydney (Q&A on March 1), Riverside Parramatta (Q&A on March 6) and Luna Leederville in Perth (opening March 9).

This new feature-length documentary by award-winning journalist and filmmaker John Pilger is his 60th film for television. Coming straight after the election of President Trump, the film is one of John Pilger’s most timely and urgent investigations. As Trump threatens China with a trade war and worse, this film is both a warning and an inspiring story of people’s resistance.

Filmed over two years in the Marshall Islands, Japan, Korea, China and the United States, The Coming War on China reveals a build-up to war on the doorstep of China. More than 400 US military bases now encircle China in what one strategist calls “a perfect noose”.

Bringing together rare archive and interviews with witnesses, Pilger reveals America’s secret history in the region – the destruction of much of life in the Marshall Islands, once a paradise, by the explosion of the equivalent of one Hiroshima every day for 12 years, and the top secret ‘Project 4.1’ that made nuclear guinea pigs of the population.

Pilger and his crew chartered a plane to the irradiated island of Bikini where the 1954 Hydrogen Bomb poisoned the environment forever. He reports: “As my aircraft banked low over Bikini atoll, the emerald lagoon beneath me suddenly disappeared into a vast black hole, a deathly void. When I stepped out of the plane, my shoes registered “unsafe” on a Geiger counter. Almost everything was irradiated. Palm trees stood in unworldly formations, unbending in the breeze. There were no birds. It was a vision of what the world can expect if two nuclear powers go to war.”

In key interviews — from Pentagon war planners in what is now Donald Trump’s Washington, where the undeclared strategy is “perpetual war”, to members of China’s new political class who rarely feature in Western reports — Pilger’s film challenges the notion of the world’s newest, biggest trading nation as an enemy.

Edited in chapters, The Coming War is also about the human spirit and the rise of an extraordinary resistance in faraway places. On the Japanese island of Okinawa, home to 32 US bases – where the population lives along a razor-wired fenceline and beneath the screeching of military aircraft – Okinawans are challenging the greatest military power in the world, and succeeding.

One of the resistance leaders is Fumiko Shimabukuro, aged 87. A survivor of the Second World War, she took refuge in beautiful Henoko Bay, which she is now fighting to save. The Japanese government wants to fill in much of the bay to extend runways for US bombers. “For us,” she told me, “the choice is silence or life.”

Across the East China Sea lies the Korean island of Jeju, a semi- tropical sanctuary and World Heritage Site declared “an island of world peace”. On this island of world peace is one of the biggest military bases in Asia, aimed at China — purpose-built for US aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and missile destroyers.

For almost a decade the people of Jeju have been peacefully resisting the base. Every day, twice a day, farmers, villagers, priests and supporters from all over the world stage an extraordinary Catholic mass that blocks the gates. Every day, police remove the priests and the worshippers, bodily, and their altar. It is a silent, moving spectacle. One of the leaders, Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, says: “I sing four songs every day at the base. I sing in typhoons — no exception.”

From Jeju, Pilger flew to Shanghai. “When I was last in China,” he says, “ the loudest noise I remember was the tinkling of bicycle bells; Mao Zedong had recently died, and the cities seemed dark, forbidding places.  Nothing prepared me for the astonishing changes that had taken place.”

He interviews Lijia Zhang, a Beijing journalist and typical of a new class of outspoken mavericks. Her bestselling book has the ironic title, Socialism Is Great!  She grew up during the chaotic and brutal Cultural Revolution and has lived in the US. A critic of her own country, she also rejects outdated stereotypes. “Many Americans imagine,” she said, “that Chinese people live a miserable, repressed life with no freedom whatsoever. The [idea of] the yellow peril has never left them …They have no idea there are some 500 million people being lifted out of poverty.”

China today presents exquisite ironies, not least the house in Shanghai where Mao and his comrades secretly founded the Communist Party of China in 1921. Today, it stands in the heart of a very capitalist shipping district; you walk out of this Communist shrine with your plastic bust of Mao into the embrace of Starbucks, Apple, Cartier.

Eric Li, a Shanghai venture capitalist and social scientist, tells Pilger: “I make the joke: in America you can change political parties, but you can’t change the policies. In China you cannot change the party, but you can change policies. The political changes that have taken place in China this past 66 years have been wider and broader and greater than probably any other major country in living memory.”

The world is shifting east, and America’s dominance is ending. Once subjugated, scorned and impoverished, China is rising inexorably as the world’s banker and builder. Will all this be allowed to happen peacefully? “We need to make America strong again,” says President-elect Donald Trump. “We need to make America great again … and we need victories.”

RELEASE DATES AND CINEMAS (additional cities to be announced):

Feb 16 – Dendy Newtown (Q&A on Feb 16 then screening daily)
March 1 – Orpheum Cinema (Q&A only)
March 6 – Riverside Parramatta (Q&A only)

Feb 9 – Cinema Nova (screening daily, with Q&A on Feb 10)

Feb 23 – Dendy Canberra (Q&A on Feb 23 then screening daily)

March 9 – Luna Leederville (no Q&A, screening daily)

Written, directed and produced by John Pilger
Edited by Joe Frost
Line Producer Sandra Leeming
Executive Producer Christopher Hird
Assistant Director Bruno Sorrentino
Chief Archive Producer Jacqui Edwards
Archive producers Paul Gardner, Jim Anderson
Camera Rupert Binsley, Owen Scurfield, Bruno Sorrentino, Joseph Zafar

At a time when much of contemporary rock music has been reduced to meaningless theatre performed by false pretenders, TIGER ARMY is an antidote, bracing in its authenticity. Hear it, and hear the sound of artistic legitimacy reclaiming rock music!

Frontman and visionary Nick 13 has never written the same album twice.  The same can be said about TIGER ARMY’s fifth full-length, and return after a nine-year studio hiatus, V •••–.  The latest chapter picks up right where ‘Music From Regions Beyond’ left off.

Joining TIGER ARMY is none other than legends of Australia’s psychobilly scene, FIREBALLS. With 4 classic albums under their belt and a new album on the way early next year, they are set to unleash their nitrous fueled brand of chaos to audiences and to quote the band “If you miss this then you don’t have a pulse, Fire up, fuck ya!”

Just to round this incredible triple bill off is none other than PAT CAPOCCI! Since forming nearly 10 years ago, PAT CAPOCCI has emerged as one of Australia’s most respected practitioners of Rockabilly and Roots music.

TIGER ARMY will be making their first trip to Australia in over 8 years and with FIREBALLS and PAT CAPOCCI they will be rockin’ their way along the East Coast in February 2017. Tickets are on sale Tuesday 4 October!



Friday 17 February – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne 18+

Saturday 18 February – Metro Theatre, Sydney 18+

Sunday 19 February – Max Watts, Brisbane 18+

Tickets on sale NOW

Tiger Army Tour Info