Category: Crime

 Stan, Australia’s unrivalled home of original productions, today announced the Stan Original Film Nitram will premiere Wednesday, 24 November on Stan. The film is also screening in select cinemas now (where cinemas are open).

To watch and share the trailer, click here: https://youtu.be/D4cTjeEFq8Q

Nitram depicts the events leading up to one of the darkest chapters in Australian history in an attempt to understand why and how this atrocity occurred. Directed by Justin Kurzel (Stan Original Film True History of the Kelly Gang, Snowtown) and written by Shaun Grant (Penguin Bloom, Snowtown), the film stars Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Get Out), Essie Davis (The Babadook, Stan Original Film True History of the Kelly), Judy Davis (My Brilliant Career, The Dressmaker) and Anthony LaPaglia (Lantana, Balibo).

Nitram screened in Official Selection for Competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and was the first Australian film to compete for the Palme D’Or in a decade. Nitram marks Kurzel’s third feature film to screen at Cannes and his second in competition. The film received a standing ovation following its world premiere screening at Cannes, with Caleb Landry Jones recognised with Best Actor honours for his performance. Nitram was also awarded the CinefestOZ Film Prize in August, in addition to being selected for competition at this year’s BFI London Film Festival.

In a statement, the filmmakers commented: “Nitram was written as a response to the proliferation of regular mass shootings across the world and is an exploration of the issues and events that led to this atrocity, rather than a re-enactment of it, to bring the gun control debate to the fore and to try to ensure history does not repeat itself.”

Nitram (Caleb Landry Jones) lives with his mother (Judy Davis) and father (Anthony LaPaglia) in suburban Australia in the mid-1990s. He lives a life of isolation and frustration at never being able to fit in. That is until he unexpectedly finds a close friend in a reclusive heiress, Helen (Essie Davis). However, when that friendship meets its tragic end, and Nitram’s loneliness and anger grow, he begins a slow descent into a nightmare that culminates in the most nihilistic and heinous of acts.

A GoodThing Productions film in conjunction with Stan, the Stan Original Film Nitram is produced by GoodThing Productions’ Nick Batzias and Virginia Whitwell (2040The Australian Dream), alongside Justin Kurzel and Shaun Grant. Madman Entertainment are handling theatrical distribution, with Wild Bunch International handling worldwide sales of the film.

The Stan Original Film Nitram is in select cinemas now and will premiere Wednesday, 24 November on Stan.

Summary: 
Nick Bannister, a private investigator of the mind, navigates the alluring world of the past when his life is changed by new client Mae. A simple case becomes an obsession after she disappears and he fights to learn the truth about her.r.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates:  19th August 2021 (Australia), 24th September 2021 (Thailand), 20th August 2021 (UK), 20th August 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 27th September 2021 (Australia), 20th August 2021 (USA)

Country: USA

Director: Lisa Joy

Screenwriter: Lisa Joy

Cast: Mojean Aria (Sebastian Sylvan), Barbara Bonilla (Frances), Giovannie Cruz (Cindy), Brett Cullen (Walter Sylvan), Cliff Curtis (Cyrus Boothe), Marina de Tavira (Tamara Sylvan), Gabrielle Echols (Titch), Rebecca Ferguson (Mae), Roxton Garcia (Freddie), Rey Hernandez (Harry), Myles Humphus (Moe), Hugh Jackman (Nick Bannister), Jorge Longoria (Lorenzo), Natalie Martinez (Avery Castillo), Andrew Masset (Butler), Sam Medina (Falks), Javier Molina (Hank), Thomas Francis Murphy (Armin), Thandie Newton (Emily ‘Watts’ Sanders), Norio Nishimura (Harris), Nico Parker (Zoe), Angela Sarafyan (Elsa Carine), Han Soto (Wesley Humphrey), Daniel Wu (Saint Joe), Teri Wyble (Angela)

Running Time: 116 mins

Classification: M (Australia), 13 (Thailand), 12A (UK), PG-13 (USA)

OUR REMINISCENCE REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Reminiscence Review:

When Hugh Jackman hung up his Wolverine boots… um claws… he made the statement that one of the reasons for the decision was so that he could tackle very new and different roles. Of course one of his first performances outside of the Marvel universe was a return to his all-singing and all-dancing roots with his acclaimed performance in hit musical The Great Showman, and now Jackman heads into a whole new alternative sphere as he takes on the role of a noir Detective in Reminiscence.

Written and directed by Lisa Joy (TV’s Westworld) Reminiscence is set in a futuristic world where most of the world has flooded and a Great War occurred over the land that remains. Two veterans of that war are Nick Bannister (Jackman) and Emily ‘Watts’ Sanders (Thandie Newton – Mission: Impossible 2). Watts is in love with Nick, not that he notices that or that she would ever admit it, and together they run a business that allows people to use a technologically advanced tub that allows the subject and those watching to access their past memories.

During the war the device was used to interrogate prisoners but today it is used by people who want to remember a happier time from their life, however that doesn’t mean that Nick doesn’t sometimes use the tank to help out the Police.

However everything changes for Watts and Nick when the very beautiful Mae (Rebecca Ferguson – Doctor Sleep) turns up one day and asks to use the tank to help find some lost keys. Upon witnessing her memories, which include watching her perform as a cabaret singer, Nick becomes captivated by Mae, something that Watts is instantly alarmed by.

Things then take another turn after Nick completely falls in love with Mae but then has her mysteriously disappear. As Watts warns him digging into Mae’s past may uncover some things and an underground world that he doesn’t want to be part of.

There is very little doubt that as a filmmaker Lisa Joy has been completely influenced by the Detective noir genre. As you watch Reminiscence you can see Hugh Jackman channelling the likes of Humphrey Bogart throughout his performance and to Joy’s credit she is a smart enough director to make the illusion work without ever becoming a parody.

At time in the film Rebecca Ferguson takes on the class of Marilyn Monroe and the persona of Jessica from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and it is that style of acting that suits the noir kind of world that Joy has created. To her credit though Joy goes one step further than that and instead of just setting the film back in the 1960s she instead creates a futuristic world that at times lends itself to the scenes at hand and never dominates the occurrences happening in the film.

Jackman’s acting style also lends itself to the noir/war genre blend that Joy has created. He walks the walk of a noir style Detective but at the same time has a Civil War veteran feeling around him that comes to the fore in the scenes when he is meeting with people from Mae’s past.

Joy alongside her cinematographer Paul Cameron (Gone In 60 Seconds) has created a steam-punk futuristic world that looks amazing up on the screen. The art design of the film is amazing and the fact that Joy and Cameron use little things to enhance the world it is set in makes for an absolute visual feast for the audience. As a viewer it is almost welcoming to be watching a film where the director/screenwriter doesn’t need over-the-top special effects to move the story along. Some of the most memorable moments of this film is seeing characters like Nick, Watts or Mae walking past post-war water towers and having them just in the background without Joy or Cameron feeling like that needs to be the focal point of the scene. It takes a very special filmmaker to realise something like that in what is their feature film directional debut.

At times Reminiscence is a strange film. This is more the kind of film that will be loved by people that have enjoyed films like Blade Runner in the past rather than someone who is going to enjoy the latest Marvel blockbuster and it is certainly a must see for anyone fascinated by noir steam-punk worlds.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: 
An upstanding pastor uncovers a dark and twisted underworld as he searches for answers surrounding his daughter’s brutal murder.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates:  TBA

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Samuel Gonzalez Jnr., Bridget Smith

Screenwriter: Darren Geare, Jeff Allen Geare

Cast: Bryan ‘Bobby’ Alvarez (Arlo), Zoltan Bathory (Fang), Robert John Burke (Lt. Briggs), Spencer Charnas (Max), Dominic Costa (Officer Kelly), Joseph Gatt (Ram Kady), Corrie Graham (April), Gigi Gustin (Cynthia), Abbey Hafer (Rebecca Bishop), Rachel Hilbert (Sophie), Jason Hook (Cruz), Chris Kael (Decker), Cree Kelly (Aunt Jody), Katie Kelly (Sarah), Kristopher Kling (Arlo), Robert Knepper (Otto), Michael Lombardi (Bishop), Amanda Lyberg (Erica), Craig Mabbitt (Arlo Garcia), Gemma McIhenny (Sharon), Marc Menchaca (Jed), Ivan L. Moody (Vic), Reno Muren (Kate), Sarah Nicklin (Emily), Brian O’Halloran (Obnoxious Guy At Christmas Tree Place), Jacoby Shaddix (Quinn Brady), Tuk Smith (Tuk), Shannon Wilson (Debbie)

Running Time: 97 mins

Classification: TBC

OUR THE RETALIATORS REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ The Retaliators Review:

I love that feeling you get when you discover a cult film that you just know is going to become a cult favourite. I had the feeling the first time I watched John Carpenter’s Vampires and the classic Freeway. Now I’ve got that feeling once again as I’ve just finished watching the brand new revenge thriller The Retaliators.

This film has been teasing me for a long time. I first heard about it when the first single from the soundtrack was released – a stunning piece of metal that consists of actual Mongolian throat singing from The Hu. Then in a recent interview on my heavy metal radio show Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach teased me a little about his work on the soundtrack and his role in the film as well. If anything I knew I was going to love the film’s soundtrack before I had even viewed the movie in its entirety.

Now after watching the film I can say this is more than just a movie with a killer soundtrack, this is not only one of the best revenge films, and hasn’t there been a few, to surface over the past few years. It also does enough to suggest that directors Samuel Gonzalez Jnr. (The Springfield Three) and Bridget Smith (Sno’ Babies) have huge careers ahead of them, although we already kind of knew that about Smith – after all her film Sno’ Babies was a masterpiece.

Plot-wise The Retaliators centres around Bishop (Michael Lombardi – Last Knights), a cool preacher whose daughter Sarah (Katie Kelly – Game Of Silence) is horrified that her Dad lets himself get pushed around by others all the time. Despite her father telling her that she needs to learn to forgive people more she points out to him that he needs to stand up for himself and his family every now and then.

Then the unthinkable happens. Bishop and his younger daughter, Rebecca (Abbey Hafer – Play Date), are devastated when Sarah is murdered by violent criminal and notorious drug dealer Ram Kady (Joseph Gatt – Dumbo). While Bishop once again wants to turn the other cheek hardened cop Jed (Marc Menchaca – Ozark) urges him to get revenge.

I won’t go into where the film goes from there as it would be a major spoiler but let’s just say that while the film is labelled a revenge thriller if you can’t really stomach horror then this isn’t the film with you.

Gonzalez Jnr. and Smith take this film into some pretty dark places but they are well guided by first-time screenwriters Darren and Jeff Allen Geare. While elements of this film take on the slaughter-house look of Rob Zombie’s House Of A 1000 Corpses the screenplay itself allows for characterisation and for the most part this film we see the dilemma that Bishop is going through. On the one hand he wants to do good but on the other he knows that his life has been changed forever because of the murder of his daughter.

Like Joel Schumacher’s 8MM this is a film that at times will repulse its audience but I found the most intriguing part of this film was that at times I found myself thinking ‘that is disgusting and immoral’ but at the same time wondering if I could ever be pushed to the same limits if a loved one was taken away from me. A film with a plot this intriguing and thought-provoking is normally written by a screenwriter at the top of their game, so to learn that this is The Geare Brother’s first film comes as a complete shock.

Also embracing the power of this film is Michael Lombardi. While most film-lovers would know Lombardi for his television work in Rescue Me and his extensive B-Grade film career it is here in The Retaliators that we see his theatre training get put to good use. Lombardi does have to become action hero from time-to-time as he fights for survival but for a good part of this film he also has to go deep inside a character that is being seduced by both the light and the dark and he does it amazingly well.

I found that there was so much to enjoy about this film that it was easily elevated far above most of the revenge films out there. From the great characterisation that comes through in the screenplay through to the fact that it is a film that will make you think about what you would do in these circumstances this is a film that needs to be considered one of the films of the year despite the genre that it is in. Add to that an amazing soundtrack, that I hunted down as soon as I could, and this is one cult film I am going to remember for a long time to come.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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“Only Murders in the Building”, the hit original comedy series starring Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez has been picked up for a second season. The show will stream on Disney+ in Australia and is the most-watched Star Original on premiere day on Disney+. 

“Everyone in our amazing “Building” worked with such love and expertise through extraordinary times — and with incredible support from Disney, Hulu and 20th TV — to create a first season that might live up to our legendary cast, our beloved New York City, and to make a show about connection. To feel we’ve connected with our audience and hit the mark enough already to have the chance to continue — and to carry on our show’s wild ride of mystery-comedy-empathy — is too exciting for words.  So I’ll shut up now — and just say a huge thanks to all and I can’t wait for more!,” said co-creator and executive producer John Hoffman. 

From the minds of Steve Martin, Dan Fogelman and John Hoffman comes a comedic murder-mystery series for the ages. Only Murders in the Building follows three strangers (Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez) who share an obsession with true crime and suddenly find themselves wrapped up in one. When a grisly death occurs inside their exclusive Upper West Side apartment building, the trio suspects murder and employs their precise knowledge of true crime to investigate the truth. As they record a podcast of their own to document the case, the three unravel the complex secrets of the building which stretch back years. Perhaps even more explosive are the lies they tell one another. Soon, the endangered trio comes to realise a killer might be living amongst them as they race to decipher the mounting clues before it’s too late.

Only Murders in the Building hails from co-creators and writers Steve Martin and John Hoffman (“Grace & Frankie,” “Looking”). Martin and Hoffman executive produce along with Martin Short, Selena Gomez, Jamie Babbitt, “This Is Us” creator Dan Fogelman and Jess Rosenthal.

Summary: 
The epic David vs Goliath battle for justice waged by the families of three Aboriginal children murdered in a small rural town 30 years ago, the system that failed them, and what it reveals about racism in Australia today.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates: 26th August 2021 (Australia)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Allan Clarke

Screenwriter: Allan Clarke

Cast: NA

Running Time: 80 mins

Classification: TBC

OUR THE BOWRAVILLE MURDERS REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ The Bowraville Murders Review:

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Stan today released the official trailer for the highly anticipated true crime drama series Deceit, premiering Saturday, 14 August – same day as the UK and only on Stan.

Starring Niamh Algar (The Virtues, Raised by Wolves, Calm with Horses), the gripping four-part drama examines the controversial honeytrap at the heart of the high-pressure investigation into the devastating murder of Rachel Nickell in 1992.

To watch and share the trailer, click here: https://youtu.be/Hdz4Lid0HC0

Examining the complicated and toxic sexual politics of the early ‘90s and the police’s obsession with the wrong man, Deceit enters a dysfunctional world, where a female undercover officer, codename ‘Lizzie James’, is asked to become sexual bait for a suspected killer.

Five months on from the crime, The Met Police are still no closer to capturing the man they’re convinced is responsible. First identified through a BBC Crimewatch appeal, the evidence points to Colin Stagg (Sion Daniel Young  Keeping FaithThe Left Behind). The media feed a national obsession, covering every detail of the case and demanding justice. The police are determined to catch the man who, in their eyes, is guilty before he kills again. In desperation, the relatively young Detective Inspector leading the case, Keith Pedder (Harry Treadaway  The Crown, Star Trek: Picard), engages the nation’s most famous criminal profiler, Paul Britton (Eddie Marsan – Ray Donovan, Vice), to help devise a bold undercover operation which will see an attractive, young female officer start a relationship with Colin Stagg.

Growing up under Thatcher’s reign, with second-wave feminism, ‘Lizzie James’ (Niamh Algaris determined to rise through the ranks. But the early ‘90s has brought with it an inevitable backlash in the shape of ‘Lad Culture’, obliterating any feminist gains and putting women firmly back in their place, something felt by both ‘Lizzie’ and her friend and colleague Lucy (Rochenda Sandall – Line of Duty, Criminal: UK).

Hugely ambitious, ‘Lizzie’ has found a way to stand out by becoming one of very few female undercover officers deployed in covert operations, in a team which includes her sometime confidant Baz (Nathaniel Martello-White – I Hate Suzie, Collateral, Small Axe: Mangrove). But then she’s offered a central role in the biggest murder enquiry the country has ever seen.

Produced by Story Films, written by Emilia di Girolamo (The Tunnel) and with access to previously unheard audio, video and written materials, Deceit includes scenes of verbatim dialogue as part of a fictionalised retelling of events, taking audiences behind the scenes of one of the UK’s most flawed and controversial police investigations.

The true crime drama series Deceit premieres Saturday, 14 August only on Stan.

Summary: 
A corrupt Sheriff’s department in a rural mountain town comes undone when an unintended witness throws a wrench into their shady operation.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates: 16th July 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 2nd August 2021 (UK)

Country: USA

Director: Mike Burns

Screenwriter: Bill Lawrence

Cast: Mike Burns (Officer Frank), Kendall Dombek (Claire), Kelly Greyson (Pam), Lala Kent (Billie Jean), Jaime King (Shannon), Keagan Lasater (Pete), Megan Leonard (Joanna Kern), Tyler Jon Olson (Tom), Michael Sirow (Hank Rivers), Bruce Willis (Jack Harris)

Running Time: 95 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), .R (USA)

OUR OUT OF DEATH REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Out Of Death Review:

Sometimes it is the most simplest of plots that seem to work the best. That is certainly the case for Mike Burns (Peace, Love & Beats) fictional feature debut Out Of Death that takes the western cop feel of a show like Justified and brings it to movie format.

The plot itself is pretty basic. Photographer Shannon (Jaime King – Sin City) heads to the hills to scatter her father’s ashes, but as she does so she witnesses corrupt Police Officer Billie (Lala Kent – Hard Kill) execute a man when a drug deal goes wrong.

Knowing that her actions have been witnessed Billie calls in back-up from her colleague (who burns a flame for her) Tom (Tyler Jon Olson – Force Of Nature) and her criminal master-mind and local Sheriff Hank Rivers (Michael Sirow – The Good Guy). Hank is furious at what has happened and orders Billie and Tom to ‘put down’ Shannon as quickly as they can.

Unbeknownst to them though also in the area is retired Police Officer Jack Harris (Bruce Willis – Die Hard) who has come to the hills to visit his niece Pam (Kelly Greyson – Little Boy) after the death of his wife. The result is a cat and mouse game with Billie and Tom doing all they can to kill Shannon while Jack works hard to protect her.

Out Of Death is certainly not going to win any Oscars but it certainly isn’t the worse film that you are going to watch this year either. First-time Screenwriter Bill Lawrence shows that he has some great writing talents by doing something that films like these rarely do – and that is give most of his bad guys (and gals) characterisation. Both Billie and Tom are made interesting with some pretty basic tricks – making Billie a single Mum acts as giving her at least one redeemable quality while making Tom a hard-edged character but with a flame for Billie also adds to his character. It’s a pity the same element couldn’t have also been used with Hank but he admittedly does become a token bad guy and at times you almost wonder whether or not he is needed or not.

The action sequences are largely kept pretty basic not only because of budget restraints but also because Covid restrictions restricted how many people could be on set in one day. But that back-to-basics feel actually doesn’t work against the film – instead it makes the film feel more natural which in turn at times adds to the suspense of the film.

Those Covid restriction also meant that the film’s star, Bruce Willis, could only be on set for one day, which again doesn’t show in the film. Willis does what he has to do – points his gun at a few people, snarls during face offs and throws a few punches. He is certainly not disappointing in any way.

Having said that though in a strange move from the norm it is Lala Kent and Tyler Jon Olson that carry this movie most of the time. It is a strange thing to say but they do such a great job that there are times as an audience where you find yourself wanting the point-of-view to switch back to the two villains to see what they are doing. The banter between them, especially when they discuss their life choices, is one of the highlights of the film and the two actors seem to relish the roles that they are given. In a lot of ways Kent and Olson are the reason that Out Of Death is a more pleasurable viewing experience than a lot of people would expect it to be.

Like I said Out Of Death is certainly not going to be an award-winner but at the same time you aren’t exactly going to be wasting your time by watching it either. Bruce Willis is serviceable in the film while Bill Lawrence decision to give Lala Kent and Tyler Jon Olson some interesting characters to work with makes this film a good way to waste an afternoon or evening.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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