Monthly Archives: September 2020


Summary: A young woman decides to break free of the debt-culture that her family has created by ironically setting up her own debt collection agency.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian VOD Release Date: 9th September 2020

Country: USA

Director: Tanya Wexler

Screenwriter: Brian Sacca

Cast: Raymond Ablack (Prakash), Nicholas Carella (Mitch), James M. Connor (Clip), Jai Courtney (Wizz), Zoey Deutch (Peg), Jayne Eastwood (Rhonda), Jennifer Farrugia (Tammy), Jermaine Fowler (Graham), Barbara Gordon (Mrs. Cooney), Judy Greer (Kathy), Alex Harrouch (Darren Meedham), Bill Lake (Judge Connor), Jonathan Langdon (Chris Stephens), Ilarion Michaels (Young JJ), Kate Moyer (Young Peg), Lorrie Odom (Backer), Noah Reid (JJ), Brian Sacca (Sal), Carolyn Scott (Henrietta), Lusia Strus (Frances), Tammie Sutherland (Jacquie Walker), Paulyne Wei (Jin), Nicole Williams (Prison Guard Cheryl)

Running Time: 95 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia)





Dave Griffiths’ Buffaloed Review:

In these days and times you could be forgiven for thinking that films only work if they have big name stars and are full of super-heroes. That certainly isn’t the case though and sometimes it takes a small film like Buffaloed to remind you that all you need for a great film is a talented cast and an intriguing screenplay.

Set in the city of Buffalo the films follows Peg (Zoey Deutch – Before I Fall), a young woman who has dreamed about escaping the city for her entire life. With her Dad gone out of her life since a very early age Peg watched as her mother, Kathy (Judy Greer – Jurassic World), struggled to make ends meet and ultimately ran up so much debt that calls from debt collection agencies are almost a daily occurrence.

Peg does all she can to try and educate herself in an attempt to break out of this lifestyle and when she watches her brother JJ (Noah Reid – Schitt’s Creek) open up his own bar she decides that it is time to live her own dreams. But after a small misdemeanour she finds herself put into jail by prosecutor Graham (Jermaine Fowler – BoJack Horseman). Upon her release life is even more surprising as she finds herself having to work for a debt collection agency under the control of the ruthless Wizz (Jai Courtney – Suicide Squad).

The power of Buffaloed comes from its witty and original screenplay that is brilliantly brought together by director Tanya Wexler (Girl With No Name). In a lot of ways Buffaloed is played out with the intensity of a stage play. There are many dialogue driven scenes that pack the punch of an action film whether it be Deutch going toe to toe with unrecognisable Jai Courtney or moments of true realisation when Peg realises that her life is a mess and that it isn’t going to be easy to fix.

The true power of this film though comes from the characterisation. Despite her obvious flaws, and criminal activity, Peg is a likable character. I never in my life thought I would see a movie where a debt collector was made likable but somehow screenwriter Brian Sacca (The Definition Of Sex) does just that. You want to see Peg win in life but you also understand the obstacles that she must face. What seperates Buffalo from so many of the ‘feel-good’ movies out there is that not everything in her life is easy to overcome and the obstacles that are placed there are believable. Sure the film might be making a statement about ‘debt culture’ but it is also showing that there are ways out of it if you put your mind to it.

When it comes to characterisation Sacca’s script also brings the minor characters into play in a big way. Like so much of this movie the relationship between Graham and Peg is believable even if it is freshly unexpected. The fact that the team that Peg brings together to form her company is each given a character trait shows the power of Sacca’s writing, as does the fact that Peg’s brother JJ is so three dimensional that he becomes another character that you find yourself barracking for.

Sacca’s screenplay also allows for some amazing performances in the film. There is no doubting that Deutch makes a massive statement in this film. She is often cast in the ‘supporting role’ spot in films like Zombieland: Double Tap but people have forgotten just how good she was in films like Before I Fall. Here though Deutch takes a huge step and breaks out of that ‘teenage’ role stigma. She is strong, confident and shows Hollywood that she is more than ready to be a leading lady with a performance that needs to be seen to be believed.

Likewise Jai Courtney also takes that big step we knew that he was capable of. Sure he has had some big roles in movies like A Good Day To Die Hard and Terminator Genisys but here Courtney gets a chance to show off his real acting ability. His character acting style that he brings to the character of Wizz is something that we haven’t seen from him before. He is sensational in the role and makes Wizz a truly menacing antagonist.

With its powerful script Buffaloed is one of the genuine finds of 2020. Not only does it show a different side to the acting of Zoey Deutch and Jai Courtney but also announces the arrival of Tanya Wexler as a director to look out for the in the future. Witty and heartfelt this may well be one of the most underrated films of 2020.




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Buffaloed (2019) on IMDb


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Summary: A group of friends find themselves trapped by a rising floodwaters while they explore a new caving system. Their fear raises even more when they realise that the cave is also home to a killer croc.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: 30th July 2020

Thailand Cinema Release Date: 30th July 2020

Australian VOD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Andrew Traucki

Screenwriter: John Ridley, Sarah Smith

Cast: Amali Golden (Yolanda), Bejamin Hoetjes (Viktor), Rui Kkiuchi (Miyuki), Jessica McNamee (Jennifer), Luke Mitchell (Eric), Louis Toshio Okado (Akita), Anthony J. Sharpe (Cash)

Running Time: 98 mins

Classification: M (Australia)





Dave Griffiths’ Blood Vessel Review:

Water horror? Is it a sub-genre? I’m not sure to be honest, but if it was then Australian director Andrew Traucki would be the king of it. A festival of his films would have people declaring they would stay out of water for a long time to come.

See, one of things that I love about Traucki’s body of work is that he makes horror films that are so realistic you can easily imagine yourself getting into that sticky situation. Traucki doesn’t make movies about mysterious things that go bump in the night. He makes films like Black Water, a film about a group of friends going for a leisurely boat-ride and suddenly finding themselves stranded with a killer croc between them and safety. Then there was The Reef in which a group of scuba divers find themselves stranded with only Jaws’ cousin to keep them company.

Given his track record I was excited to see what Traucki would do with Black Water: Abyss, yet at the same I was a little bemused at why he was making a sequel to the brilliant Black Water some thirteen years after the original. After watching the film I am even more stunned. The original Black Water is one of Australia’s hidden gems; it was largely over-shadowed by the better box-office performing Rogue, yet this follow-up is mediocre at best.

The problem with Black Water: Abyss is its characters, its plot and its believability. While Traucki’s films have all been believable this one is not. While yes a group of cave explorers could become trapped with a killer croc – the idea that an expert cave diver like Eric (Luke Mitchell – Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.) would go into an unknown cave system while there is bad weather anywhere in the State is unbelievable. It goes against caving 101.

The second problem with this film is the characters themselves. Important relationships and secrets that the characters have should have been revealed a lot earlier in a bid to raise the tension, while Cash (Anthony J. Sharpe – Hunter’s Moon) is just a walking cliché. He almost feels like he is there for comedic relief when no comedy is needed in this film. Then sadly there are characters like Viktor (Benjamin Hoetjes – The Code) and Yolanda (Amali Golden – The Invisible Man) who are so bland you don’t really care whether they become a croc snack or not.

Likewise the film’s plot never elevates to the level of suspense I thought it would. I thought a film about people trapped in a cave with rising water and a crocodile would have been a pretty suspenseful affair but instead it felt like the characters were just wondering from cave to cave with the suspense only raising occasionally when the croc decided it was time for a snack.

Fans of the original Black Water should not go into this film expecting something as equally as good like I did. The original film is a reminder of just how good low-budget Aussie thrillers can be… the sequel is a massive let-down.





Kyle McGrath’s Black Water: Abyss Review:





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Black Water: Abyss (2020) on IMDb


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Marvel Studios’ captivating new series “WandaVision,” which premieres in late 2020 on Disney+, just unveiled its first trailer on ABC’s broadcast of the 72nd Primetime Emmy® Awards.

Starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, “WandaVision” marks the first series from Marvel Studios streaming exclusively on Disney+.

The series is a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealised suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.


Summary: A group of ship-wreck survivors find themselves having to board an abandoned Nazi vessel during World War II.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: 5th August 2020

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian VOD Release Date: 5th August 2020

Country: Australia

Director: Justin Dix

Screenwriter: Justin Dix, Jordan Prosser

Cast: Alex Cooke (Alexander Teplov), Mark Diaco (Jimmy Bigelow), John Lloyd Fillingham (Gerard Faraday), Ruby Isobel Hall (Mya), Christopher Kirby (Lydell Jackson), Troy Larkin (The Patriarch/Medic), Vivienne Perry (The Matriach), Nathan Phillips (Nathan Sinclair), Jacinta Stapleton (Shelly), Mackenzie Stephens (Lily), Alyssa Sutherland (Jane Prescott), Robert Taylor (Captain Malone), Steve Young (Haas)

Running Time: 93 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia)





Dave Griffiths’ Blood Vessel Review:

Excuse the pun but weren’t vampires supposed to be done and dusted in cinema? The relationship between the blood-sucking monsters and the big screen has always been an extensive one. From early adaptations of Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula. Through to heroic tales of vampire slayers like Van Helsing and Buffy.

With vampires it seemed that filmmakers could let their imagination run wild… and many did. Quentin Tarantino delivered the sound-yet-quirky Dusk Til Dawn while John Carpenter delivered the gorey but brilliant Vampires. It felt like the vampire mythology could be stretched and pulled into stories that could go in any direction. Interview With A Vampire, which starred Tom Cruise touched on themes of mortality and immortality, The Forsaken treated vampirism as a pandemic while Queen Of The Damned featured a heavy metal singing vampire called Lestat. Then came Twilight and suddenly genre directors pulled back from vampires as sparkly vampires became the dream of every teenage girl.

Now it seems that serious genre filmmakers are ready to once again pick up the mantle of creating new stories about the notorious demons and the result is movies like Blood Vessel which has just recently been released on a number of streaming platforms.

From director Justin Dix, who worked in the special effects department of a number of Star Wars as well as directing the critically acclaimed Crawlspace in 2012, Blood Vessel is the kind of film that in any ordinary year would only be noticed by hardcore horror fans. But 2020 is no ordinary year so with cinemas still largely closed around the world films like Blood Vessel have become hits on streaming services – not only because it is a good film but also because 2020 seems to have been the year where the cinema fans right around the world have realised that Quentin Tarantino has been right for decades when he says “Australian genre filmmakers are among so of the best in the world.”

Blood Vessel is certainly a vampire film with a difference. Set during World War II it finds a group of survivors in a life raft suddenly come across a German vessel drifting in the open sea. While at first hesitant the group which includes Nurse Jane Prescott (Alyssa Sutherland – Vikings), Russian soldier Alexander Teplov (Alex Cooke – Preacher) and Australian soldier Nathan Sinclair (Nathan Phillips – Snakes On A Plane ) decide to board the ship figuring that being taken captive is better than starving at sea.

However, once on board the ship the group find no German sailors but instead find a mysterious young girl, dead bodies and begin to wonder what their own colleague Gerard Faraday (John Lloyd Fillingham – Gallipolii) is up to.

For a low budget horror film it is surprising how good Blood Vessel really is. Everything seems to come together perfectly. The screenplay allows for the suspense to come from more than just monsters going bump in the night while Dix’s horror effects are some of the best you are likely to see. The other big plus for the film is the fact that the characters at hand are not walking clichés, they are three dimensional characters that the audience actually cares about… and that is a rarity in modern day horror.

What stands Blood Vessel out from the myriad of genre flicks out there though is the natural feel to the film. It feels strange saying that a vampire film is believable but that is the exact feeling you get when watching the film. Perhaps it is how well the film flows or the fact that it was filmed on an action World War II vessel, whatever the reason it only further enhances the suspenseful nature of the film at hand.

While readers should be warned that Blood Vessel is pretty bloody for those that enjoy a good horror film you are in for a treat. While it is a shame that it hasn’t made its way into cinemas around the world the way fellow Australian horror film Black Water: Abyss did Blood Vessel has set the streaming world ablaze and is currently one of the most talked about films in the world.





Kyle McGrath’s Blood Vessel Review:





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Blood Vessel (2019) on IMDb


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One of the biggest criticisms aimed at the super-hero genre over the past few years has been that nobody out there is doing anything different. As far as the box office goes super-hero movies remain supreme. Place a new Marvel movie on the big screen and you are guaranteed to get a healthy return at the box-office and to many it has felt that has given the studios behind them an excuse not to be creative. Why change a formula that works, right?

Well it seems that Disney is about to buck that trend with the brand new super-hero flick Secret Society Of New Born Royals. The first film in what Disney hope to become a long-lasting franchise sees not only the arrival of fresh super-heroes to the Disney family but also the inclusion of the some brand new Disney princesses and that is something that is not lost on the star of the film – Peyton Elizabeth Lee (Scandal).

“I was super excited when I found out that I was gonna be a Disney princess, like who gets to say that?” says Lee laughing loudly as she talks to the press about her role of the rebellious Sam in the film. “It’s such this iconic group of people, and so to sort of be a part of that was really exciting. And then when I found out that it was not going to be your typical Disney princess but that they’re second-borns and that they don’t fit that sort of princess and prince mold, that just made me much more excited because it’s so important that we sort of break out of what people, you know, think you should be.”

When Lee says her character doesn’t exactly fit the normal Disney princess mold she is not joking. Early on in the film she is a skate-boarding rebel who finds herself in trouble with the law while her sister, who is about to become Queen, goes about her Royal duties. While that makes her very different to the other Princesses that call Disney’s castle home it was also one of the things that attracted the young actress to the role.

“I think one of the reasons why I connected so closely with Sam and  was so excited to play her is because she has all these, you know, quirks and unique personality traits,” Lee explains. “You know, she’s a princess but she doesn’t fit that mold perfectly and she has these rebellious tendencies but she’s also not, like, a bad person. And so sort of navigating those- that balance of who she is and that she’s not- she doesn’t fit into any one mold  was a reason why I connected with her and I think everyone can connect with her is because, you know, no one’s any one thing, you know, they’re a combination of so many different things.”

Lee is also quick to admit that the fact that Sam is so different to what most people will expect her be also made it challenging for her as an actress to bring to the screen. “Just sort of stepping into her head, you know why she does the things she does, why she cares about the people she cares about, why she’s upset about the things she’s upset about. I think really just getting into her mindset was the biggest component to playing her. At first she’s not really wanting to be a part of the team because at the beginning of the story, Sam’s not a great team player. But by the end of it, we sort of see her pull the group together and sort of come out as- as a leader for them and as sort a motivator for them.”

It is also perhaps those differences that we see with Sam that will make her most relatable to the film’s key audience – teenagers. As she wraps up the press conference Lee is quick to remind those about to watch the film that this film is about more than just entertainment. “I don’t want to, like, tell people what they should take away from it, but I think, you know, these superpowers that we all have are very symbolic of what’s unique about each of us and what makes you different from me and you different from your neighbors, you know, and- and that what makes us unique is what makes us special, is what makes us  important.”


While unclassified at the moment Secret Society Of Second Born Royals is for families and will be released on Disney+ on September 25th.


Like a sleeping giant coming out of hibernation the cinematic world is finally starting to awake from its slumber. Some countries, including Thailand, have had their cinemas open for a few weeks now. Other countries including Australia and the United States have some cinemas open while others remain closed in lock down areas.

The cinemas that have already opened have been drip-fed smaller release films while Russell Crowe’s Unhinged being the first film with a notable star at the helm to make its way into cinemas. Of course that all changes next week with Christopher Nolan’s Tenet hitting cinemas, but while all the focus has been on the Nolan epic the film that has had many comic book fans is the eventual arrival of the latest film in The X-Men franchise, The New Mutants, which also opens in selected cinemas on August 28th.

The film has had a rocky past. It was originally slated for released in 2018 but then got held up by Disney’s take-over of Twentieth Century Fox and then had a Covid-19 date change as well. But finally the film lands next week and comic book fans right around the world can take a massive sigh of relief.

Of course one of those fans is the film’s director Josh Boone whose love of the X-Men inspired him to want to make the film. “I finished making The Fault In Our Stars for Fox and I knew that they had the X-Men franchise which I had loved since I was a kid,” Boone told the audience recently at the Comic-Con At Home fan event recently. “My best friend and I had loved this Demon Bear saga that they had done with the comics because it kind of mixed genres a little with dark fantasy, horror and super-hero comics which I had never really seen anything like that before and it looked so different to anything I had seen in the indie comics that I had been reading for years.”

Certainly the trailer for The New Mutants hints that Boone has captured that cross-over of genres very well with the film with many people commenting on the fact that the trailer shows the film’s true horror side and that is something that Boone had dreamed about bringing to the screen even before he was a film-maker. “I remember sitting in my apartment in LA before I was even making films and I had a stack of New Mutant comics there,” he continues. “And I was like ‘one day maybe’ but it really wasn’t working out. But I really thought it would eventually, and ultimately it was the mixing of all those genres that really made this something that I wanted to do.”

Of course one of the other reasons that fans are so excited about being able to finally see The New Mutants is because they are dying to see Game Of Thrones favourite Maisie Williams in one of the first big roles outside of the series that made her famous. “I was just so excited,” Williams says when asked about what it was like stepping into a while new franchise and getting to play a character as quiet and reserved as Rahne Sinclair. “I was really thrilled to be able to play someone like Rahne because I have always seen myself as that kind of character.”

“I think she is very uncomfortable in her own skin,” she says delving deeper into her character. “She wants to speak up and say how she feels but she is constantly treading lightly. You know when I played Arya Stark I always had to be so commanding and own the room. I had to be brave and strong and that is kind of exhausting and I don’t feel like doing that all the time so it was actually really lovely being able to play Rahne who is really just sitting, watching and listening and she only really comes to life when she is with Danni but in the group she is much quiet and keeps to herself and I mean the whole X-Men fan base have just been incredible or I guess the New Mutants family if they are the same thing. They have been really welcoming though and I guess this whole super-hero world is totally bonkers but I am glad to be back again.”


The New Mutants opens in Phuket cinemas on August 28th. The film is yet to be classified.


Summary: A twe;ve-year-old boy finds a way to communicate with his dog. While the Government hunts him down for his technology he decides to use his dog’s simple thoughts to help repair the relationship between his parents.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian VOD Release Date: 9th July 2020

Country: UK, China, USA

Director: Gil Junger

Screenwriter: Gil Junger

Cast: Dillon Ahlf (Brayden), Gralen Bryant Banks (Principal Harris), Gabriel Bateman (Oliver), Sean Boyd (Hunter), Bryan Callen (Agent Callen), Lena Clark (Mrs. McClelland), Josh Duhamel (Lukas), Jason Edwards (Mr. McClelland), Megan Fox (Ellen), Lara Grice (Ms. Shackley), Mason Guccione (Rodney), Neo Hooo (Xiao), Madison Horcher (Sophie), Billy 4 Johnson (Nicholas), Julia Jones (Agent Munoz), Will Junger (Will), Zoe Lazar (Debbie), Youngjian Lin (Shen), Janet Montgomery (Bridget), Kunal Nayyar (Mr. Mills), Marnette Patterson (Cindy), David Rayden (Rockford), Jannette Sepwa (Jason), Todd Stashwick (Henry (voice)), Izaac Wang (Li)

Running Time: 91 mins

Classification: PG (Australia)





Dave Griffiths’ Think Like A Dog Review:

For a long time family films were a dull, boring affair that seemed at times to not even work for kids. Sure you had those that marked a generation like Frozen but few were entertaining or mature enough to provide any entertainment for the adults that were forced to watch them with their kids. The 2020 cinematic year seems to have bucked that trend though with films like Spies In Disguise, Sonic The Hedgehog and My Spy offering something for kids and adults alike. Now we can add another film to that list – Think Like A Dog.

To be honest we should have expected the film to have a certain winning formula. After all it is written and directed by Gil Junger, a man who may not be a house-hold name but has worked on some of television’s most popular comedies over the years including Dharma & Greg and Ellen. Then there is the fact that the film stars Hollywood A-Listers Josh Duhamel (Safe Haven) and Meagan Fox (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) star in the film – gone are the days when star’s managers let them make mistakes like The Pacifier. Through in child actor Gabriel Bateman who did amazing things in Child’s Play and Lights Out and you can certainly see why this film should work. The best thing is it does.

Bateman plays Oliver a twelve-year-old prodigy whose science experiments stun those around him. At school he is excelling, while of course trying to attract the attention of his class-mate Sophie (Madison Horcher – Adventures In Babysitting), but he is not so smooth when it comes to inter-acting with the opposite sex. He also faces stresses with his home life as it becomes more and more obvious that his Mum (Fox) and Dad (Duhamel) are heading for divorce.

But then his latest experiment doesn’t go the way he planned and he finds himself being able to communicate with his dog. Together the duo come up with a way to help try and keep Oliver’s parents together but they soon find themselves in trouble when a tech-billionaire known as Mr Mills (Kunal Nayyar – The Big Bang Theory) wants the technology for himself and they inevitably attract the attention of the US Government.

While the film does have star power the key to this film working is the A-Grade screenplay from Gil Junger. The film works because its script captures the magic that made films and television shows like The Wonder Years and Spy Kids work so well for families. Junger knows that when it comes to writing for families you can’t make things cheesy, no matter how ridiculous the storyline is, and it is okay to tackle topics that kids maybe facing in real life.

While it would be really easy to dismiss Think Like A Dog as ‘just’ a talking dog movie, the film goes a lot deeper than that. In modern society a parent’s imminent separation is something that a lot of children will face. Here Junger explores the situation through the eyes of a child yet doesn’t suger-coat it either.

Likewise with the humour of the film. There is humour in the film but it never becomes that cheesy type of humour that has made so many family films unwatchable over the years. Junger seems to find the right mix – he makes the Government Agents bubbling and comedic without ever making them a complete joke. The same when it comes to the film’s nemesis. It would have been really easy for Mr. Mills to have been written as a Jim Carrey bad guy especially considering he was being played by a television comedy star. Instead making Millls a believable character makes his actions even more sinister, especially when he is trying to lure the kids into his trap.

So much comes together and works well for Think Like A Dog to be such a good family film. Gabriel Bateman acts well beyond his years, Duhamel and Fox put in mature performances that just show they need to be taken seriously as actors while Kunal Nayyar takes a huge step up and shows that he has a future outside of Big Bang Theory. However, the very special ingredient here is an amazing screenplay that allows this film to work for family members of all ages.





Kyle McGrath’s Think Like A Dog Review:





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Black Rainbow (1989) on IMDb


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