Stan today released the brand new full trailer for the highly anticipated second season of gritty crime drama series City On A Hill. Starring Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Kevin Bacon and Screen Actors Guildaward winner Aldis Hodge, the brand new season will premiere 29 March, same day as the U.S., only on Stan.
Season two centres on a federal housing project in the Roxbury neighbourhood of Boston that is plagued with drug violence and a rightful distrust in local law enforcement. As coalition leader Grace Campbell (Pernell Walker) works tirelessly on behalf of the community, her efforts are undermined by gang activity happening right under her nose. Enter irreverent FBI agent Jackie Rohr (Bacon), who is here to exploit Boston’s defective criminal justice system in a desperate attempt to salvage his own career. Unfortunately for Jackie, assistant district attorney Decourcy Ward (Hodge) is onto his adversary’s latest misstep. In time, the personal antagonism between these two escalates to an all-out war between the offices of the U.S. Attorney and the Suffolk DA. No one is safe from the collateral damage.
Season two also stars Lauren E. Banks, Mark O’Brien, Amanda Clayton, Matthew Del Negro and Jill Hennessy with guest stars Pernell Walker, Lucia Ryan, Kameron Kierce, Shannon Wallace, John Doman, and Michael O’Keefe.
City On A Hill is executive produced by multiple Emmy winner Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on the Street), who also serves as showrunner. In addition, City On A Hill is executive produced by Jennifer Todd, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jorge Zamacona Barry Levinson, Chuck MacLean and Michael Cuesta. Kevin Bacon, Aldis Hodge and Michele Giordano serve as co-executive producers.
City On A Hill Season 2 will premiere 29 March, only on Stan – same day as the U.S.
Stan today announced the highly anticipated brand new drama series Claricewill premiere 12 February, same day as the U.S. – only on Stan.
Starring Australia’s ownRebecca Breeds (The Originals, Pretty Little Liars) in the title role, the series will deep dive into the untold personal story of FBI Agent Clarice Starling as she returns to the field in 1993, one year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs.
Brilliant and vulnerable, Clarice’s bravery gives her an inner light that draws monsters and madmen to her. However, her complex psychological makeup that comes from a challenging childhood empowers her to begin to find her voice while working in a man’s world, as well as escape the family secrets that have haunted her throughout her life.
Created by Star Trek: Discovery Executive Producers Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, Breeds starsin the title role as Clarice Starling and is joined by Michael Cudlitz (The Walking Dead), Kal Penn (House), Lucca de Oliveira (SEAL Team), Nick Sandow (Orange Is the New Black), Jayne Atkinson (Criminal Minds), Devyn Tyler (The Purge) and newcomer Marnee Carpenter.
Clarice premieres 12 February, same day as the U.S. – only on Stan.
Summary: A young boy’s life is changed forever when he meets a wanted murderer and she tells him that she was framed for the murder.
Cinema Release Dates: 17th December 2020 (Australia), 11th December 2020 (UK),
VOD Release Dates: 17th November 2020 (USA)
Director: Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
Screenwriter: Nicolaas Zwart
Cast: Joe Berryman (Sheriff Ross), Paul Blott (Hartwell), Darby Camp (Phoebe Evans), Hans Christopher (John Baker), Finn Cole (Eugene Evans), Kerry Condon (Olivia Evans), Stephen Dinh (Joe Garza), Travis Fimmel (George Evans), Garret Hedlund (Perry Montroy), Tim D. Janis (Anselm Lomax), Lola Kirke (Narrator (voice)), Margot Robbie (Allison Wells), Pab Schwendimann (Peter Tade), Jane Wilson (Laura Boyd)
Running Time: 98 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)
OUR DREAMLAND REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Dreamland Review:
When most cinema goers think about Margot Robbie and her career they think of her huge roles – playing Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad or of course playing Jane in Tarzan. What many over look is the power of her performances in some of her smaller films that she has made along the way though. Her portrayal of the ‘last female on Earth’ in Z For Zachariah and now once again she brings her A-Game to crime period piece Dreamland.
I will admit that I knew nothing about Dreamland when I was heading into the film, and I certainly was not expecting a slow-burn crime thriller that was reminiscent of the work of the talented Kelly Reichardt. So good is that film director Miles Joris-Peyrafitte has now made my ‘must see film list’ and I am currently trying to hunt down his debut feature, As You Are, for a viewing as soon as possible as well.
Set in Texas in the 1930s Dreamland follows the Evans family who are doing it tough in a town that is constantly hit by violent storms. With their farm not able to produce crops Eugene (Finn Cole – Peaky Blinders) and his mother, Olivia (Kerry Condon – Avengers: Infinity War), were further devastated when Eugene’s father suddenly took off – supposedly for Mexico.
Eugene has always fantasised about going to find his father especially seeing as he now doesn’t see eye-to-eye with his step-father – local Sheriff’s Deputy George Evans (Travis Fimmel – Vikings). It feels like the only thing keeping him in Texas is that he helps look after younger sister, Phoebe (Darby Camp – The Christmas Chronicles).
The Evans family’s life is changed forever though when Eugene suddenly meets Allison Wells (Margot Robbie – The Wolf Of Wall Street), an outlaw on the run wanted for bank robbery and murder. While George desperately gets the town to hunt her down Allison tells Eugene that she is being framed for the murder side of things and begs him to help her.
Dreamland could easily have become a film full of clichés but I felt what saved that from happening is the directing style of Joris-Peyrafitte who refrains from this becoming just another ‘crime period piece’ like Lawless by working well with cinematographer Lyle Vincent (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night) and giving the film a unique visual style. Together the pair not only bring a beauty to the Texan landscape but deliver Reichardt-like scenes with two character conversing while one is frame and the other cannot be seen.
The film’s screenplay also holds steady throughout. The plot never gives away it shouldn’t too early meaning that the film maintains its suspense throughout. Screenwriter Nicolaas Zwart (Riverdale) keeps the audience guessing to whether or not Allison is telling the truth or not about framed, and as Eugene is set up in such a way that the audience likes him from the get go you find yourself constantly afraid that she is going to break his heart.
Likewise even the secondary characters are never made to appear clichéd. George Evans could easily have been portrayed as your stereo-typical tough father-like figure who has it in for his step-son. But that is never the case here, yes Eugene sees him as hard on him but the audience can easily see through the teenage angst and come to realise that George is not the character that he is portrayed to be.
That screenplay also leads to some amazing acting performances. Finn Cole announces himself as an actor who can now carry a film, his scenes with Margot Robbie are intense and the two play off each other with a natural ease. Also taking a huge step up here is Travis Fimmel who just like he did in Lean On Pete shows that he clearly has a career outside of Vikings.
This Covid 2020 keeps giving us genuine cinematic surprises and Dreamland is certainly one of them. Gritty and alternative in style this is the film that has given us one of the directional finds of the year.
Summary: A Federal Police Officer travels back to his hometown to solve a murder involving his best friend. His arrival in town wakes up old ghosts though as he himself left the town years earlier a murder suspect.
Cinema Release Dates: 1st January 2021 (Australia)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: USA, Australia
Director: Robert Connolly
Screenwriter: Robert Connolly, Harry Cripps, Jane Harper (novel)
Cast: Eric Bana (Aaron Falk), Eddie Baroo (McMurdo), BeBe Bettencourt (Ellie Deacon), Sam Corlett (Young Luke), Nick Farnell (Sgt. O’Connell), James Frecheville (Sullivan), Bessie Holland (Sally), Joe Klocek (Young Aaron Falk), Renee Lim (Sandra Whitlam), Francene McAsey (Amanda), Matt Nable (Grant Dow), Keir O’Donnell (Greg Raco), Genevieve O’Reilly (Gretchen), John Polson (Scott Whitlam), Claude Scott-Mitchell (Young Gretchen), Bruce Spence (Gerry Hadler), Miranda Tapell (Rita Raco), Jeremy Lindsay Taylor (Erik Falk), Martin Dingle Wall (Luke Hadler), William Zappa (Mal Deacon)
Running Time: 117 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia)
OUR THE DRY REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ The Dry Review:
One of the things that makes Australian cinema stand out from other films is the grit that quite often comes with it. When I say that I am not just talking about genre flicks I am talking about drama films like Romper Stomper that just seem to go that extra step further than most other films.
When you mix that grit with the visuals that you get from classic Australian films like Picnic At Hanging Rock and Wake In Fright you suddenly get something very special. That is when you end up with films like Robert Connolly’s new film The Dry.
Of course Connolly is no stranger to the kind of gritty filmmaking that I was just talking about. It is something that he has brought to the screen previously with films like Balibo which explored one of the most important events to ever occur in Australian media history.
With his new film, The Dry, Connolly captures that grit as the story centres around successful Federal Police Officer Aaron Falk (Eric Bana – Troy) who returns to the country town where he grew up to investigate the apparent murder-suicide of one of his close friends.
A lot has changed in the town since Aaron has left, the town is now on its knees due to a year long drought but many of the residents have not forgotten that young Aaron (Joe Klocek – Patricia Moore) left the town a suspect in the murder of a young woman, Ellie Deacon (BeBe Bettencourt – My First Panic).
As Aaron works with local Police Officer Greg Raco (Keir O’Donnell – American Sniper) to solve the case surrounding his friend he also finds himself having to defend himself from the murder year’s before while growing close to his former friend Gretchen (Genevieve O’Reilly – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).
Such is Connolly’s power as a filmmaker with The Dry you can literally taste the dust in your mouth as he captures amazing shots of Australia’s Wimmera alongside his cinematographer Stefan Duscio (Jungle). Often it is the scenes of Eric Bana slowly walking through dry creek beds while deep in thought that say a million more things than a whole page of dialogue could of. There is a strange beauty to this film, the same beauty that Peter Weir found with Picnic At Hanging Rock where the visuals are beautiful to look at while at the same time they capture the harshness of the Australian bush.
The film’s screenplay, put together by Connolly and co-writer Harry Cripps (2:22) also enhances the film by seemingly using every word spoken to hit the audience with impact. There are scenes here where very little is said and that just provides even more impact to dialogue when it is spoken. Of course they other power to this screenplay is the plot itself. Nothing is ever given away before it should, nothing is spoilt and as a result you have one of the best crafted crime thrillers to hit the screen since Mystery Road.
Bringing all that to the fore is the marvellous performance by Eric Bana. Throughout this film it really feels like Bana was born to play Aaron Falk. He somehow morphs completely into the role and you soon forget that you are watching Bana. His performance is balanced as he plays a character that at times is vulnerable and is at other times forced to show an aggression that helps him find the truth.
Alongside Bana O’Donnell shines as the nervous and out-of-his-depth Greg Raco. The scenes between the pair are amazing and credit must be paid to O’Donnell for not ever becoming over-awed acting alongside Australian acting royalty. A big shout out also so Eddie Baroo (Australia) who steals every scene he is in as the lovable barman McMurdo who often seems to play the voice of reason in the town… he is like a character plucked straight out of a Shakespearian tragedy. He can see the dismay and hurt around him but is powerless to stop it.
The Dry is easily one of the films of the year. Gritty, dramatic and suspenseful it is everything that a good crime thriller should be. When you combine a brilliant acting performance by Bana alongside the stunning filmmaking of Robert Connolly you end up with a beautiful Australian film that packs some real punch.
Summary: A psychopath decides to give a woman and her son a ‘bad day’ after a small road rage incident.
Cinema Release Dates: 30th July 2020 (Australia), 21st August 2020 (USA), 31st July 2020 (UK)
VOD Release Dates: 17th December 2020 (Australia)
Director: Derrick Borte
Screenwriter: Carl Ellsworth
Cast: Gabriel Bateman (Kyle), Russell Crowe (Man), Lucy Faust (Rosie), Stephen Louis Grush (Leo), Juliene Joyner (Mary), Anne Leighton (Deborah), Austin P McKenzie (Fred), Andrew Morgado (Richard), Caren Pistorius (Rachel), Jimmy Simpson (Andy), Devon A. Tyler (Mrs. Ayers)
Running Time: 90 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)
Summary: A cop seeking redemption finds himself the only thing protecting a group of people in a condo building from a gangster on a deadly mission.
Cinema Release Dates: 13th August 2020 (Australia)
VOD Release Dates: 30th June 2020 (USA)
Director: Michael Polish
Screenwriter: Cory Miller
Cast: Kate Bosworth (Troy), Will Catlett (Griffin), Stephanie Cayo (Jess), Blas Sien Diaz (Migs), Leslee Emmett (Mrs. Gradisher), Mel Gibson (Ray, Rey Hernandez (Lt. Cunningham), Emile Hirsch (Cardillo), Jesy McKinney (Babie), Jerry D. Medina (Chuy), Ryler John Olson (Dillon), Jasper Polish (Jasmine), Anil Raman (Aaron), Joksan Ramos (Cruz), Jorge Luis Ramos (Bergkamp), Geoff Reeves (Greg), Xavier Reyes (Ernesto), Johanna Rosaly (Mrs. Consuelo), Luillo Ruiz (Super Louie Joe), Swen Temmel (Hodges), Sebastian Vasquez (Pride), Julio Ramos Velez (Bennie), David Zayas (John The Baptist)
Running Time: 91 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia), R (USA)
OUR FOCE OF NATURE REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Force OF Nature Review:
Mel Gibson! Even a mention of his name is enough to divide cinema lovers around the world. You have some people who have blacklisted him – they don’t want to watch anything he is involved with because in their eyes he committed an unforgivable sin. Then on the flipside you have some film fans who have to the conclusion that Gibson, as both an actor and a director, has created some of his best work after being ‘unofficially’ made untouchable in Hollywood.
Love him or hate him Gibson (Braveheart) is back on the big screen this time playing retired and terminally ill cop Ray in the brand new crime thriller Force Of Nature. Gibson though isn’t the centre-piece of this film, far from it actually. No, that role is filled by Emile Hirsch (Into The Wild)who plays Cardillo, a disenchanted Police Officer who moved to South America after a tragic workplace accident that he has never been able to recover from.
Cardillo uses the excuse that he doesn’t speak Spanish to ensure that he is kept behind a desk as he can’t ‘trust’ himself back out on the street again. That all changes though when a hurricane bears down on the city where he is stationed and his boss orders him onto the street alongside the ambitious Jess (Stephanie Cayo – Yucatan) who tells him that all they have to do his help people evacuate. That plan goes to hell though when they are called out to a disturbance that soon sees them arrive at the condo building where residents including Ray and his daughter, Troy (Kate Bosworth – Blue Crush), are refusing to evacuate – but that becomes the least of their worries with the arrival of ruthless criminal John The Baptist (David Zayas – Skyline) who knows a secret about the building – a secret that he is willing to kill for.
Okay, let’s be honest Force Of Nature is a ‘dumb’ film. It is the kind of film that you can watch and completely tune out of without having to think too much… and there is nothing wrong with that. Yes, the screenwriter, Cory Miller (Just One Look) tries too hard to make this a serious film by putting in stories that trace back to Nazi Germany, but somehow the director, Michael Polish (Northfork), salvages the film and makes it watchable.
Polish makes the condo building feel like a claustrophobic tomb and somehow uses ridiculous plot elements, which include a giant, ferocious, man-earitng cat in an apartment, work. He knows that deep down at the core of this film there is a basic story. A cop seeking redemption has to save the day against the bad guys. Somehow, Polish pushes all the most ridiculous things about the film to the side and makes this a simple shoot em’ up where the audience wants to see Ray win the day and get the girl – it doesn’t matter if it is Jess or Troy… he just needs to get the girl.
Polish’s aim is made even easier by the fact that Hirsch brings his A-Game as he slips into the boots of Cardillo. Hirsch makes Ray likable and someone obviously forgot to tell him that this is a dumb B-Grade movie because between falling off balconies, shooting bad guys and scaling the sides of his buildings he manages to put in some moments of great acting that have no right being in a movie like this. The same can’t be said about Gibson though who coughs and wheezes his way through his role with one of the most unconvincing coughs in cinematic history… a surprise given what an amazing actor Gibson usually is.
Force Of Nature is nowhere close to an award winner, but if you are looking for a straight-forward action thriller that isn’t going to make you think too much – then it is perfect. Polish’s slick directing gives the film the feel a TV show like Miami Vice while the screenplay is overly-ambitious but works when it needs to. It’s a wild and often wet (thanks to the hurricane) ride but it certainly won’t leave you bored.
Summary: A successful bank robber wants to start a new life with the woman that he loves. But dobbing himself into the FBI doesn’t go as he had planned.
Cinema Release Dates: 5th November (Australia), 13th October (Thailand), 23rd October (UK), 16th October 2020 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: Mark Williams
Screenwriter: Steve Allrich, Mark Williams
Cast: Jai Courtney (Agent Nivens), Jeffrey Donovan (Agent Meyers), Jasmine Cephas Jones (Beth Hall), Liam Neeson (Tom), Patty O’Neil (Sharon Baker), Robert Patrick (Agent Sam Baker), Anthony Ramos (Agent Hall), Kate Walsh (Annie), Birol Taran Yildiz (Boss Mike)
Running Time: 99 mins
Classification: M (Australia), 15 (Thailand), 15 (UK), Pg-13 (USA)
OUR HONEST THIEF REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Honest Thief Review:
At 68 years of age you could forgive actor Liam Neeson if he wanted to slow down. The good news for film lovers is that Neeson isn’t showing any sign of wanting to jump out of the fast lane any time soon. In fact while most actors have been starved of cinema time in 2020 Neeson is so hard working that he has two films released despite the pandemic.
Earlier this year we had a chance to watch his comedy Made In Italy and now we see him return to his more familiar crime thriller genre with Honest Thief. But be warned if you are expecting to see Neeson pull out his acting A-Game like he did in Schindler’s List or turn all Taken action star – think again. Honest Thief is very much a film that wasn’t too sure what it wanted to be.
Directed by Mark Williams (A Family Man) Honest Thief finds Neeson playing Tom, a gifted bank robber who has amassed $9 million in takings from a decade long crime spree that has left the FBI completely bewildered.
That all changes though when Tom meets the lovely Annie (Kate Walsh – Grey’s Anatomy) when she sells him storage space. He instantly falls in love and as the pair decide to settle down Tom hatches up a plan that will see him dob himself into the FBI and hand back all the money that he stole in return for a short two year jail sentence. It all sounds great in theory and probably would have worked if the Agent who turned up to make the deal wasn’t the corrupt Agent Nivens (Jai Courtney – Terminator Genisys).
Yes, reading through the plot you can see that Honest Thief sets itself up to be a Fugitive style thriller, but sadly something went horribly wrong in the screen-writing of this film. It seems that somewhere along the line the team of screenwriters, Williams and Steve Allrich (The Canyon) became unsure whether this should be a thinking person’s thriller or an all action affair with car chases and shootouts. The result is a film that has a confusing, mixed pace to it that closely resembles more of the B-Grade films that Allrich normally writes than a film that is worthy to have acting royalty like Liam Neeson in it.
Don’t get me wrong – the story does work and characters like Tom, Annie and Nivens are interesting enough but there is a huge problem with the pace of the film. It will go from a heart-pounding tense scene with Tom facing off against Nivens straight into a six minute dialogue driven snooze-fest scene between Tom and Annie. It feels like lighting a campfire and then pouring water on it before anyone has time to cook the marshmallows.
That certainly wasn’t what I was expecting from a film with Williams at the helm. Over the past couple of years Williams has shown with his producing that he is normally attracted to gritty projects. Shows like the amazing Ozark and the amazing Ben Affleck led The Accountant have led us to expect quality product with Williams attached to it, but with Honest Thief you are left wishing that more grittiness could have been injected into it.
The lacklustre screenplay means you never really get to see Neeson in full flight but he does enough to make you like Tom as a character and you are hoping that justice is served in his favour. The real winner here is Courtney. Like he did with Buffaloed earlier this year he relishes the opportunity to play the bad guy and is never over-awed with the scenes that he shares with Neeson. With the body of work that he has amassed over the past few years Courtney is becoming one of the most intriguing actors in Hollywood at the moment.Honest Thief is certainly not one of Liam Neeson’s best films but some Neeson is better than no Neeson at all, right? In a year where we have all been starved for cinema release films Honest Thief may just attract more fans than it normally would.
Dave’sRating Out Of 5:
Kyle McGrath’s Honest Thief Review:
Kyle’s Rating Out Of 5:
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Honest Thief Reviews:
You can read our review of Honest Thief that appeared in The Phuket Newshere.