Category: Film Genre

Summary:  An overweight teen is bullied by a clique of cool girls poolside while holidaying in her village. The long walk home will change the rest of her life.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  TBA

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: Spain

Director: Carlota Pereda

Screenwriter: Carlota Pereda

Cast: Camille Aguilar (Roci), Pilar Castro (Elena), Chema del barco (Juan Carlos), Fernando Delgado-Hierro (Juancarlitos), Irene Ferrerio (Claudia), Laura Galan (Sara), Richard Holmes (Desconocido), Lia Lois (Amaya), Carmen Machi (Madre), Stephanie Magnin (Rosa), Jose Vincente Moiron (Padre Pedro), Jose Pastor (Pedro), Claudia Salas (Maca), Fred Tatien (Padre Roci)

Running Time: 90 mins

Classification: TBC

OUR PIGGY REVIEWS

Kyle McGrath’s Piggy Review:

I love revenge movie of all types, horror, action, thriller etc. There’s movies like Death Wish which glorified vigilantism much to the chagrin of original author Brian Garfield and then there are movies like ‘Death Sentence’ which did the complete opposite. There are creative films such as a personal favourite Irreversible which in portraying a horrific act and the resulting vengeance in reverse order managed to make things so much more uncomfortable as the audience was robbed of all hope for catharsis. As a subgenre revenge films are more varied than many would give credit for.

Piggy is a drama/horror written and directed by Carlota Pereda based upon her previous short film. Sara (Laura Galán) an obese teenager living in a small Spanish village is the target of much derision from other more popular teenagers. While they spend their summer socialising and having fun she remains behind the counter of her family’s butcher shop, even in hiding she can not escape the taunts and online bullying. One hot day when she believes it’s safe to do so Sara travels to the local pool to cool off only to be accosted, tortured and humiliated by other girls. On her walk of shame back home she happens to witness the kidnapping of one of these girls by an anonymous stranger (Richard Holmes), in showing Sara an act of kindness a silent bond forms between the two. As other teens disappear and bodies start piling up all eyes in the small village begin to focus on Sara and she must decide what to do as her tormentors may very well now be at her mercy.

I was initially interested in the premise of the movie and seeing how it would blend the topics of modern bullying within a small town. What also drew me in was wondering how the obvious horror element (as promised by its poster of Sara drenched in gore) would play into it. I guess in some ways I would say the film subverts your expectations as it focuses much more on Sara’s moral struggles with the guilt of her bond with this unknown kidnapper than it does any traditional horror or gore aspect.

Laura Galan gives a great lead performance in her role as Sara. When film’s deal with characters with body issues I’m always impressed by the bravery of actors who are willing to put themselves in the spotlight where all eyes will be on them as the script itself points at them saying  “look how fat/old/ugly they are!”. These scenes of horrific abuse are extremely hard to watch and we immediately empathise with Sara and can even sonewhat understand her decision to stay quiet when her tormentors start disappearing one by one.

While the twist of not having this film be an all out splatter revenge fantasy film was not an entirely unwelcome one things still felt like they dragged for the majority of the movie. It was odd as the unspoken agreement occurs so early in the film I at first felt it was rushing things, instead the plot dragged as it built towards an unsatisfactory and poorly thought out conclusion. There is decent characterisation of Sara’s domineering mother Asun (Carmen Machi) however little of the victims before its too late to care about them.

Like some other recent movies (True Things, The Nightingale, The Lighthouse) this film is presented in a 4:3 ‘square’ aspect ratio, unfortunately unlike many of those films I failed to see the purpose here. Usually when modern films use this style there is a thematic or stylistic reasoning which serves to enhance the audience’s experience. In Piggy it largely served to frustrate me throughout the film as focal points were off screen or out of frame and coupled with a lack of establishing shots it felt like I often had to deduce what the characters were looking at rather than just seeing it for myself.

I did feel myself transported to this small village and thanks to a brave performance by Galán Piggy sucks you in early but unfortunately with nowhere really to go from there. As a horror film it’s lacking where it’s gore is only for temporary shock value and it feels like it only dips it’s toes into the heavy subject of bullying as a means to an end. The short film Piggy is based on was only 14 minutes and unfortunately despite the potential there just isn’t enough on display here to justify expansion to feature film territory.


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Summary:  A fictitious 1980s Japan. Soji, a soldier on furlough, returns to his country. He receives a request from Haya, who was sent from the World Bank, to help her on a mission to investigate the actual circumstances of a narcotic called “Golden Monkey” which is running rampant through Japanese society.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  TBA

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: Japan

Director: Yanakaya

Screenwriter: Yanakaya

Cast: Yoshino Fujima, Yui Fukuda, Yarita Jin, Toshihide Mori, Shinya Tomita, Yukina Tsuchida, Wataru Uenoyama

Running Time: 75 mins

Classification: TBC

OUR BATTLECRY REVIEWS

Kyle McGrath’s Battlecry Review:

I greatly appreciate films which are made as a labour of love by a small crew. Many of my favourite independent films feature stand out performance in bit parts by crew members who jumped I’m front of the camera out of necessity. Likewise there’s something admirable in today’s world of CGI heavy movies with thousands of crew members where films come along with a much smaller amount of people breaking their backs to make something. Filmmakers like Tim Miller or The Brothers Strause have been able to create impressive looking CGI feature films largely by putting in most of the hard work themselves to keep the budget down.

Battlecry is a CGI animated scifi thriller set in a fictionalised 1980s Japan. It follows Soji (voiced by Shinya Tomita) a soldier on leave who is approached by Haya (Yui Fukuda) an agent of the ‘World Bank’ with a request to assist her on a mission. Throughout the world bizarre shadow monsters are appearing unprovoked with apparent links to Japanese citizens. The new performance enhancing super drug ‘Golden Monkey’ is thought to be to blame for these monsters and together Soji & Haya must locate the source of this drug and shut it down. Discovering long hidden connections to Soji’s childhood and a government cover up along the way.

The interesting novelty behind Battlecry is that supposedly with the exception of voice actors and musical talent this entire film was written, produced and created as a solo project by it’s director Yanakaya. Apparently creating the entire thing on his laptop director Yanakaya has produced an anime-like action film which while nothing groundbreaking is one of the most interesting additions to the 2022 MIFF line-up and quite an achievement in low budget filmmaking.

The animation throughout Battlecry is extremely janky at times and it would come as no surprise to the unenlightened viewer that it was a one-man project. Having grown up with early EARLY examples of CGI animation such as 1993’s The Incredible Crash Dummies as well as Playstation 1 era video game cut scenes the aesthetic of Battlecry was one which brought back feelings of nostalgia to me. With character models being extremely simplistic what undoubtedly would look like placeholder pre-vis animation to audiences today I found myself enjoying. The foreknowledge of this film’s production meant that I was amazed by the detail the film exhibited thanks to it’s creator’s hard work rather than being disappointed by the lack of detail which it would be unreasonable to expect a production of this type to feature.

The stand out achievement of this movie’s style would be the beautifully realised locations and backdrops. It features cyberpunk design of illegal black market streets, love hotels and overhead tram systems. This creative flair more than made up for any shortcomings of the film’s more ambitious action sequences which I felt were the only times the director bit off more than it could chew on a technical level.

The storyline of Battlecry is very anime cliche heavy. Soji carries a sword for no real reason, the flashbacks to past trauma, the villain’s direct connection to the protagonist are all stock standard. Even the shadow monsters themselves seem to exist in the film solely so there can be action scenes combating them. Straight story wise there was no real reason for the shadow monsters to feature at all and even if Yanakaya is planning on building on them in follow up projects I think that time could have been better utilised on building up what minimal characters and plot the film had.

Which is to say that although the twists and turns the story goes through did still entertain me on a cheesy level the movie still feels too short. With such a scant seventy five minute runtime the hefty themes of past trauma, government conspiracies as well as the sub-plots involving childhood friends reconnecting years later all feel extremely half baked and rushed as a result.

While Battlecry may not look like much on a big cinema screen the sound design did still impress me with deafening explosions of dramatic gunfire. Not to mention the voice actors do a fine job even though there were some moments where the supposed English speaking characters are having trouble with their lines. In some ways the experience as an English only speaking audience member was just as janky as well. At least with the screening I had there were many grammatical errors, some subtitles disappearing off screen too quickly for anyone to have read them and at one point the dialogue went without any translation text at all with the subs picking up midway through a sentence.

Battlecry isn’t a brilliant film however there simply aren’t many movies it can be compare to and for that I give it credit. It is a quite literal ‘independent’ feature film and I can’t deny I enjoyed the aesthetic and appreciate that the director managed to create something very special all on his own. Now while it may not look the best….well it must be said Thor Love & Thunder cost 250 million and still looked awful in its own way!

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Summary:  Kitty, the imaginary girl who Anne Frank wrote to in her 1940s diary during WWII, seeks out the deceased diarist while also inspiring a wave of modern social justice for refugees.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  23rd June 2022 (Australia), 12th August 2022 (UK), 18th March 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Netherlands , Israel

Director: Ari Folman

Screenwriter: Ari Folman, Anne Frank

Cast: Nell Barlow (Elsa Platt (voice)), Skye Bennett (Margot (voice)), Emily Carey (Anne Frank (voice)), Sebastian Croft (Anne’s Peter (voice)), Ari Folman (Officer Van Yaris (voice)), Michael Maloney (Otto Frank (voice)), Ralph Prosser (Kitty’s Peter (voice)), Ruby Stokes (Kitty (voice)),

Running Time: 99 mins

Classification: TBC

OUR WHERE IS ANNE FRANK REVIEWS

Kyle McGrath’s Where Is Anne Frank Review:

I love animated films either made for adults or with more mature themes. The films of Pixar or Studio Gibli have shown us many times over the years a single animated picture can be used to entertain children and adults alike with both appreciating it for different reasons. It’s important to remember that animated films can be used to excite but also educate audiences of all ages with important messages.

Where is Anne Frank is an animated drama following historical events with a fictionalised fantasy twist. It follows the journey of ‘Kitty’ (voiced by Ruby Stokes) the imaginary friend Anne Frank (here voiced by Emily Carey) wrote her famous diary to as a tactic not to be writing to herself. Kitty through magical means comes to life in the modern era unaware of what has happened to Anne since her final diary entry. Flashing backwards and forwards though the decades we are presented with the heartbreaking story of Anne’s confinement as well as Kitty’s adventure throughout modern day as she experiences it in the face of Anne’s legacy.

While not a direct follow up to Waltz With Bashir (that would be the lesser appreciated The Congress) this is the latest film by Israeli born filmmaker Ari Folman with a creative use of animation in order to tell a documentary like story.

The idea of Kitty being the main character was an inspired choice as a way to both introduce us to Anne Frank who we all know but also to reflect what Anne Frank’s legacy means to us today. The ravages of time, censorship and endless retelling of history have inevitably led to a bastardisation of the facts and Folman does not shy away from saying that despite honouring Anne Frank by naming schools, streets, theatres and hospitals after her along the way the humanity and the soul of this young girl might be overlooked.

Not to mention turning the annex in which she and her family hid from the Nazis for years into a tourist attraction though done in the best of intentions is meaningless if nothing is truly learned from the experience in how we conduct ourselves today.

The animation throughout the film was stunning. I am not educated enough to know whether this was a true old style hand drawn animation however it was infinitely more soulful than something like the recent Chip n Dale film was. Likewise the mixing of 2D with 3D characters & environments blended in a flowing way and never took me out of the movie. There was always something real about the characters and how they were presented which couldnt have been achieved I think with a live action experience.

Both Stokes & Carey in their respective roles as Kitty & Anne were amazing. Two different actresses essentially playing the voice of the same true life figure worked much better than I believed it could have. Again simply dressing up modern day actors in period clothing would not have achieved the same level of emotional authenticity I believe this movie did using animation. There were times I felt that maybe having English speaking actors was a little bit anachronistic however years of ‘Hollywoodised’ historical films made this a non issue. Ironically the only voice which felt out of place was perhaps that of Ari Folman himself in his cameo voice role as a police officer Kitty interacts with in the modern timeline.

I feel that this movie achieved something brave by essentially telling us that in viewing Anne Frank as a historical figure and not seeing her as a true person we were like tourists stomping through her bedroom. Everyone knows what happened to Anne however witnessing a depiction of this beautiful girl with such a big heart and imagination slowly losing that spark in her confinement was a terrible thing to see. Through Kitty’s eyes we see not so much the exact details of what happened or who betrayed the Franks but her learning that this friend of hers ended the same way as millions of other Jewish children and it is absolutely heartbreaking.

I did find Ari Folman’s insistence that we need to see Anne as a person and not simply a concept an apt conclusion. Unfortunately I believe he hurts the message then by recontextualising everything he achieved and attempting to compare her story and that of the entire holocaust itself to current day immigration issues in Europe. While Folman pulls back from comparing immigration officials to actual Nazis (as they alone are depicted in a stylised demonic way in the past timeline emphasising a lack of humanity) the entire conflation between the two comes out of left field and may be considered quite problematic in how lightly it takes both issues.

Where is Anne Frank is a beautiful yet heartbreaking portrait of a young woman who lost her life like many many others during one of the darkest times in human history. While I feel Ari Folman betrays his own achievements in the film’s final moments everything up until then was a uniquely special film enhanced by the animated style.

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Summary:  Down on her luck and saddled with debt, Emily gets involved in a credit card scam that pulls her into the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, ultimately leading to deadly consequences.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  12th August 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

Director: John Patton Ford

Screenwriter: John Patton Ford

Cast: Jonathan Avigdori (Khalil), Bernardo Badillo (Javier), Megalyn Echikunwoke (Liz), Amje Elharden (Robert), Ricarlo Flanagan (Mike), Gina Gershon (Alice), Wesley Han (Mike), Sheila Korsi (Luna), Janice Sonia Lee (Becca), Roman Mitchyan (Armen), Tomas Pais (Taylor), Aubrey Plaza (Emily), Ben Rodgers (Jason), Theo Rossi (Youcef), Kimiko Singer (Sarah), Brandon Sklenar (Brent), Jack Topalian (Vaz), Lamar Usher (Lamar)

Running Time: 97 mins

Classification: M (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)

OUR EMILY THE CRIMINAL REVIEWS

Kyle McGrath’s Emily The Criminal Review:

I’ve always loved crime films regardless of what level of crime or what country these films come from. With The Godfather, Once Upon a Time in America, Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction being considered some of the greatest movies ever made it’s undeniable that many filmgoers feel the same way that I do. While not always realistic the genre can be approached from all sorts of angles not simply being about the crime itself but often as interesting character studies on people and what it is in their lives which drives them to the wrong side of the law.

Emily the Criminal is a drama thriller which acts as the debut feature film from writer director John Patton Ford. It follows Emily (Aubrey Plaza) a former artist with a past criminal assault record weighing her down. She struggles to make ends meet and pay her student debt with her low paying job, by chance one day a co-worker gives her the opportunity to make some quick cash via a credit card fraud ring operated by Youcef (Theo Rossi) and his cousin Kahlil (Jonathan Avigdori). Quickly Emily becomes seduced by the allure of making fast money and developing a relationship with Youcef however this new life of crime she has adopted begins leading her down an increasingly dark path she may not be ready for.

Along this entire journey is a distinct feeling of intensity which never let’s up. Although there is definitely a sudden change at some point I felt the film hadn’t earned up until then Emily feels like someone who doesn’t quite gather just how deep she’s digging this hole for herself and around this John Patton Ford crafts some nail biting sequences for sure.

What I found interesting about this movie is how it only really scrapes the surface of the crime world Emily becomes involved in. Some might find this disappointing however as there isn’t a lot to this story that we haven’t seen before in other films. We never go too far into the organisation or branch out into different areas it largely stuck with simple credit card fraud in action coupled with the bond which grows between Emily and Youcef.

I admit I have not seen all of Aubrey Plaza’s recent work however she always struck me as an actress with a particular charisma and she puts her all into this movie. As the stakes get higher and Emily goes from someone who is simply a cog in the machine to the person calling the shots it was great seeing that when pushed she can definitely take care of herself, all the while still there are hints that she is still a good person underneath.

The relationship which grows between Emily and Youcef leads to us seeing Youcef in a completely new light as time goes on. It never really struck me as a cliched ‘thief with a heart of gold’ character arc rather it was a role reversal I enjoy seeing done well in films. Through Theo Rossi’s great performance over the course of the film there is almost a switch as he becomes the out of his depth character while Emily is the one willing to get dirty and hurt people for a big pay day.

Something I disliked was how the film seemed to have the same issues a lot of others have in where to go with this type of story. This isn’t at all a good vs evil Robin Hood-type storyline and while I don’t wish for any morale grandstanding Emily’s ambitions are quite shallow and her capabilities and competency as a master criminal is debatable. As such I think the final act definitely needed work to create something with more significance all things considered.

Ford has does an excellent job creating a thrilling crime flick beginning to end with Aubrey Plaza & Theo Rossi nailing it showing off their respective talent. Unfortunately the film strikes me as not building towards an ultimate goal and I felt myself disappointed when the ending credits rolled on.

Other Subculture Emily The Criminal Reviews:

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This is Laurie Strode’s last stand.
After 45 years, the most acclaimed, revered horror franchise in film history reaches its epic, terrifying conclusion as Laurie Strode faces off for the last time against the embodiment of evil, Michael Myers, in a final confrontation unlike any captured on-screen before. Only one of them will survive.
Icon Jamie Lee Curtis returns for the last time as Laurie Strode, horror’s first “final girl” and the role that launched Curtis’ career. Curtis has portrayed Laurie for more than four decades now, one of the longest actor-character pairings in cinema history. When the franchise relaunched in 2018, Halloween shattered box office records, becoming the franchise’s highest-grossing chapter and set a new record for the biggest opening weekend for a horror film starring a woman.
Four years after the events of last year’s Halloween Kills, Laurie is living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) and is finishing writing her memoir. Michael Myers hasn’t been seen since. Laurie, after allowing the specter of Michael to determine and drive her reality for decades, has decided to liberate herself from fear and rage and embrace life. But when a young man, Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell; The Hardy BoysVirgin River), is accused of killing a boy he was babysitting, it ignites a cascade of violence and terror that will force Laurie to finally confront the evil she can’t control, once and for all.
Halloween Ends co-stars returning cast Will Patton as Officer Frank Hawkins, Kyle Richards as Lindsey Wallace and James Jude Courtney as The Shape.
From the creative team that relaunched the franchise with 2018’s Halloween and Halloween Kills, the film is directed by David Gordon Green from a screenplay by Paul Brad Logan (Manglehorn), Chris Bernier (The Driver series), Danny McBride and David Gordon Green, based on characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Halloween Ends is produced by Malek Akkad, Jason Blum and Bill Block. The executive producers are John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danny McBride, David Gordon Green, Ryan Freimann, Ryan Turek, Andrew Golov, Thom Zadra and Christopher H. Warner.
Universal Pictures, Miramax and Blumhouse present a Malek Akkad production, in association with Rough House Pictures.

 Stan, Australia’s unrivalled home of original productions, today announced production has commenced on the brand new Stan Original Series C*A*U*G*H*T. Director, producer and writer Kick Gurry (Edge of Tomorrow) stars in the six-episode series alongside Sean Penn (Stan Exclusive Series Gaslit), Ben O’Toole (Detroit), Lincoln Younes (Last King of the Cross), Alexander England (upcoming Stan Original Series Black Snow), Mel Jarnson (Mortal Kombat), Fayssal Bazzi (Stateless), Dorian Nkono (The Twelve) and Rebecca Breeds (Stan Exclusive Series Clarice). The series is produced in association with Fremantle.

Also joining the cast is Matthew Fox (Stan Original Series Last Light), Bella Heathcote (Stan Original Series Bloom), Bryan Brown (Stan Original Series Bloom) and Erik Thomson (Black Snow).

The satirical comedy series C*A*U*G*H*T follows four Australian soldiers sent on a secret mission to a war-torn country. Mistaken for Americans, they are captured by freedom fighters and produce a hostage video that goes viral. When the soldiers reach celebrity status, they realise that being caught might just be the best thing that could’ve happened to them. 

Following a deal with Fremantle, the series is due to launch exclusively on new streaming service ITVX in the UK in 2023.

Stan Chief Content Officer Cailah Scobie said: “To have an award-winning international superstar like Sean Penn join a superb cast that includes major Australian and Hollywood actors like Bryan Brown, Bella Heathcote, Fayssal Bazzi and Matthew Fox is a real coup. Helmed by the extraordinary Kick Gurry, C*A*U*G*H*T marks yet another blockbuster addition to our growing slate of locally produced, world-class Stan Originals — with the series promising to poke fun at celebrity culture, while exploring the often outrageous price of fame. We look forward to working with Fremantle, ITVX and the creative team ahead of C*A*U*G*H*T premiering on Stan in 2023.”

Director, Producer and Creator Kick Gurry said: “The biggest challenge for me was creating something worthy enough of all my insanely talented friends. I genuinely cannot wait to share this show with the whole world and look forward to the internet telling me how terribly I missed the mark.”

Executive Producer and Actor Sean Penn said: “Kick’s brand of irreverence is so charged by an enthusiasm for all things considered inappropriate. From ball-sacks, to fame, idiots & intellectuals, and finally to that creepy-crawly continuum of war. C*A*U*G*H*T captures the comedy that is generally confined to fox holes.”

Jamie Lynn, EVP Co-productions and Distribution, EMEA, International, Fremantle said: “Stan continues to set a high bar for premium originals and with the mirrored ambition of the soon to launch ITVX, we knew this could be a perfect partnership. Kick Gurry’s contagious enthusiasm and delightful scripts immediately convinced us this was a special and timely project unlike anything else in the market. The fact that A-list talent like Sean Penn, Matthew Fox and others quickly came to the same conclusion, along with an array of star studded cameos, only reaffirmed this. C*A*U*G*H*T is going to surprise people in 2023 and we can’t wait to share it with the world.” 

ITV’s Head of Content Acquisitions, Sasha Breslau said: “We are thrilled to be working with Stan and Fremantle to bring C*A*U*G*H*T to UK audiences, the star-studded cast and satirical humour will be a real treat for ITVX viewers next year.”

The Stan Original Series C*A*U*G*H*T is created, produced and directed by Kick Gurry. Sean Penn executive produces alongside producers John Schwarz and Michael Schwarz (Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, Stan Original Film Gold) from Deeper Water Films, and Brendan DonoghueC*A*U*G*H*T is executive produced by Cailah Scobie and Amanda Duthie for Stan. The series is produced in association with Fremantle, who will also handle international distribution for the series.

The Stan Original Series C*A*U*G*H*T is now in production and will premiere in 2023.