Category: Action

Summary: A young girl finds herself locked up in a medical facility with other mutants after a catastrophic event that kills most of her friends and family.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 3rd September 2020 (Australia), 27th August 2020 (Thailand), 4th September 2020 (UK), 28th August 2020 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 24th December 2020 (Australia)

Country: USA

Director: Josh Boone

Screenwriter: Josh Boone, Knate Lee

Cast: Happy Anderson (Reverend Craig), Alice Braga (Dr. Reyes), Dustin Ceithamer (Smiling Man), Colbi Gannett (Young Illyana), Charlie Heaton (Sam Guthrie), Blu Hunt (Dani Moonstar), Marilyn Manson (Smiling Man (voice)), Jacinta Vega Spiritwolf (Frozen Cheyenne), Anya Taylor-Joy (Illyana Rasputin), Maisie Williams (Rahne Sinclair), Henry Zaga (Roberto da Costa)

Running Time: 94 mins

Classification: M (Australia), G (Thailand), 15 (UK), PG-13 (USA)

OUR THE NEW MUTANTS REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ The New Mutants Review:

I really thought that this was going to be the film that I never ever got to see. It seemed like a lifetime ago when it was announced that Marvel were going to deliver The New Mutants. The film drew me in from the very first trailer. A superhero film with a horror edge, yes this was a film that was right in my strike zone and I just wanted to yell ‘shut up and take my money’ at the screen.

But then of course everything that could go wrong for the latest instalment into the X-Men franchise did go wrong. The studio thought it was too horror orientated and demanded a re-cut and then as horror films started to dominate the box office they suddenly wanted the horror element to be amplified so another re-cut was ordered. Then to top it all off along came the apocalypse known as Covid-19 and once again The New Mutants saw its release date pushed back once again. Well finally it lands and while it is not the masterpiece that I wanted it to be it is good enough that I find myself hoping that it launches a fresh new direction for the X-Men universe.

Directed by Josh Boone (The Fault In Our Stars) The New Mutants centres around Dani Moonstar (Blu Hunt – The Originals) a young girl who finds herself in the middle of cataclysmic event that takes the lives of her whole family and a lot of friends.

Traumatised by the events she wakes up in a facility being run by Dr. Reyes (Alice Braga – I Am Legend) who says she is there to help a group of teenagers learn to control their abilities… she just has to discover what Dani’s are.

While taking in that information Dani also finds herself having to get to know the other ‘in-mates’ that include the friendly Rahne Sinclair (Maisie Williams – Game Of Thrones) and Sam Guthrie (Charlie Heaton – Stranger Things) while being on her guard around the aloof Roberto da Costa (Henry Zaga – Looking For Alask,), who seems to have only one thing on his mind, and the aggressive Illyana Rasputin (Anya Taylor-Joy – The Witch) who takes an instant disliking to Dani.

Possibly the best way I can describe The New Mutants to you is imagine a supernatural teen drama like Harry Potter and then ramp up the horror aspect of it. The result is a mix of Stranger Things and X-Men and to be honest it works perfectly well.

Director/screenwriter Josh Boone never loses sight of the fact that he needs to build the characteristics of the characters here in a bid to get the audience to like them and even though he manages to make Illyana intimidating and aggressive towards the film’s protagonist he uniquely somehow makes her likable when she needs to be. There are certainly no one dimensional characters here, each characters has layer upon layer that needs to be peeled away for the audience to understand who they are and what they have been through to make them that way.

Any fan of the X-Men universe will easily see where this film is heading but at least Boone does make it a memorable journey to get to that point. He expertly juggles both genres needed to make the film work and his horror sequences work stunningly well with a nod to the Hush episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer which Boone co-incidentally has his characters watching from time to time as well.

The young cast handle everything that is thrown at them and while you would hope that Anya Taylor-Joy works on her Russian accent should the series go forward they all do a pretty decent job. Maisie Williams and Charlie Heaton are stand-outs, which you would expect to be a given due to their television experience, but the whole cast do need to be congratulated on such a fine effort.

The New Mutants is so good that we can now only pray that they decide to go ahead with the series either as films or on TV. Either way this breath of fresh air in the X-Men franchise needs to keep going.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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The New Mutants (2020) on IMDb

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Summary: A respected Army leader suddenly finds herself in a battle of life and death in a mysterious world where humans are prey for other-worldly creatures.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 1st January 2021 (Australia), 31st December 2020 (Thailand), 29th January 2021 (UK), 18th December 2020 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: China, Germany, Japan, USA

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Screenwriter: Paul W.S. Anderson, Kaname Fujioka (video game series)

Cast: Jin Au-Yeung (Axe), Aaron Beelner (Palico), Diego Boneta (Marshall), Meagan Good (Dash), Josh Helman (Steeler), Tony Jaa (The Hunter), Milla Jovovich (Artemis), Ron Perlman (Admiral), Nic Rasenti (Sergeant Roarke), Jannick Schumann (Aiden), T.I. (Link), Hironi Yamazaki (Handler)

Running Time: 99 mins

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

OUR MONSTER HUNTER REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Monster Hunter Review:

While a film is often judged by the way that it is received during the Awards season there are times when the best feeling in the world is to sit down a watch a film that is never going to even be mentioned during the illustrious awards period. Yes, it is great to sit down and watch a film that challenges you or makes you think, but at other times all you really want to do is sit down, turn your brain off and watch something dumb yet enjoyable. That is where films like Monster Hunter come into the picture.

Based on the popular video game franchise Monster Hunter sees director Paul WS Anderson (Alien vs Predator) once again re-united with his real-life wife Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element) after the duo made four Resident Evil movies together.

The storyline is basic. Jovovich plays Lt. Artemis a strong but caring solider who is well-respected by her colleagues who serve under her. While out a mission looking for a missing team Beta team they suddenly find themselves stuck inside a powerful storm that somehow pushes them through a gateway to another dimension where the likes of Admiral (Ron Perlman – Hellboy) are stuck in an everlasting race to survive as they hunted by other-worldly creatures.

As Artemis’ crew drop like flies (that isn’t a spoiler it pretty much happens in the first 20 minutes of the film) she suddenly finds her only help can come from weather-beaten warrior known to the audience only as The Hunter (Tony Jaa – Ong-Bak). The only problem is that while they rely on each for survival they also don’t trust each other.

Chances are if you have enjoyed what Anderson has done as a filmmaker with the Resident Evil franchise over the years then you will also enjoy Monster Hunter. The film is pretty much action sequence after action sequence yet somehow it also makes The Hunter and Artemis likeable characters. The fact that you can tell that Jovovich and Jaa obviously got on well off-screen makes for a chemistry on screen that just can’t be manufactured.

For me the film’s biggest weakness was that it didn’t allow us long enough in the world that it had set up. Outside of The Hunter and Artemis most of the characters are ‘missing’ for a huge chunk of the film which means the audience never really gets a chance to know other interesting characters like Admiral and his team.

The ending is insanely rushed to the point that you almost wish that Anderson had adapted this into a television series rather than a movie and as the final credits role you really do find yourself hoping that the movie becomes a franchise so you get a chance to share more adventures with these characters and take another trip into this world that leaves more questions about it than answers.

The key to this film working though is the amazing visuals created by Anderson and his team. When it comes to epic action sequences there are few in the cinema world that can do what Anderson does. Even when the Resident Evil franchise felt like it had thrown away any scrips or plot you could always guarantee that Anderson’s action sequences would be out of this world, and the same happens here. Add that to the fact that Anderson gives this film a feel like it is a war film with monsters just thrown in and it is not hard to see why this film is going to become a guilty pleasure for a lot of action film lovers out there.

If you are looking for a film that will keep you entertained without making you think these holidays then Monster Hunter is the film for you. Yes it has huge action sequences, lovable heroes and reveals a unique pairing of Jovovich and Jaa but do be prepared for a film where the ending is slightly rushed but will leave you wanted more. Monster Hunter is far from the perfect film but is certainly enjoyable for those of us who like action films.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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IMDB Rating:

Fatman (2020) on IMDb 5.9/105.9/10

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Summary: Wonder Woman finds herself having to spring into action in 1984 when the mysterious Maxwell Lord offers everybody the opportunity to have their greatest wish granted… with catastrophic results.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 26th December 2020 (Australia), 17th December 2020 (Thailand), 16th December 2020 (UK), 25th December 2020 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 25th December 2020 (USA)

Country: UK, USA, Spain

Director: Patty Jenkins

Screenwriter: Dave Callaham, Patty Jenkins, Geoff Johns, William Moulton Marston (characters)

Cast: David Al-Fahmi (Mr. Khalaji), Lilly Aspel (Young Diana), John Barry (Max (15 Years Old)), Menesh Bediako (Leon), Lynda Carter (Asteria), Oakley Bull (Kelly), Asim Chaudhry (Roger), Oliver Cotton (Simon Stagg), Lambro Demetriou (Max (8 Years Old)), Gal Gadot (Diana Prince), Hari James (Trigona), Tessa Bonham Jones (Lucy), Doutzen Kroes (Venelia), Connie Nielson (Hippolyta), Chi-Lin Nim (Wang), Pedro Pascal (Maxwell Lord), Ravi Patel (Babajide), Lucian Perez (Alistair), Chris Pine (Steve Trevor), Natasha Rothwell (Carol), Asa Sheridan (Jace Valentine), Rey Rey Terry (Courtney), Amr Waked (Emir Said Bin Abydos), Hayley Warnes (Aella), Kristen Wiig (Barbara Minerva), Gabriella Wilde (Raquel), Wai Wong (Lai Zhong), Robin Wright (Antiope), Kelvin Yu (Jake)

Running Time: 151 mins

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

OUR WONDER WOMAN 1984 REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Wonder Woman 1984 Review:

Well at last 2020 has its own superhero – and her name is Wonder Woman. Over the last decade comic book fans have gotten used to having at least three or four superhero movies hitting cinemas each year. This year though with the blockbusters on hold those fans have had slim pickings. The underrated New Mutants came and went in the blink of an eye so the fans have just had to sit back and wait patiently for DC to launch their follow-up to 2017’s brilliant Wonder Woman. Now the wait is over and the result may surprise a few people.

Set in 1984, as the film’s title suggests, Wonder Woman 1984 finds Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot Furious 7), working at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. Her secret life as a superhero is still very, very secret despite the press trying to speculate who this mystery woman is that keeps rescuing people across the city.

Then comes a case that sees Diana’s day job crash head first into her secret identity. After foiling a robbery of black market artefacts one of the items, a mystery stone, ends up the Smithsonian where it is to be identified by Diana’s friend and colleague Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig – Bridesmaids). After the two women learn that the stone grants wishes they both secretly cast their own wishes.

Diana’s wish sees the return of her deceased love Steve Trevor (Chris Pine – Star Trek) while Barbara wishes she could be more like Diana… a recipe for disaster given Diana’s powers. Added into the mix is television conman Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal – Game Of Thrones) who was the intended recipient for the stone in the first place and his plans see the world once again put in danger.

Reviewing Wonder Woman 1984 is no easy feat. For all the reasons that some audience members like this movie others will find them contributing to the film being a let-down for them. In all honesty director Patty Jenkins (Monster) has not created a film with the epic feel of the first film, but that to me was not necessarily a bad thing. Instead Jenkins should be congratulated for embracing more of the style that was made famous in the Wonder Woman television series. There is a simplicity to this film and it works. There are no convoluted Marvel storylines here, instead Jenkins takes one of DC’s most popular characters and gives her a simple storyline that ends up becoming a classic tale of good versus evil.

Likewise Jenkins doesn’t go over the top with the action sequences here like she did with the finale of the first film. Yes there are some great fight sequences throughout the film but there are no planes crashing into buildings or anything like that. The best sequence takes part on a desert road and captures the style of The Fast & Furious franchise. Just like the first film though the most interesting scenes in the film were the ones set in Themyscira and once again I found myself hoping that one day we get an entire film set there.

What Jenkins tries to embrace more here is characterisation and that in turn gives the film heart. More of Diana’s pain and loss is explored while there is also an inner conflict explored when Steve returns to her life. Perhaps where the film does lose a little though is the fact that while Maxwell is supposed to be the ‘big bad’ in this film you learn very early on that Wiig’s Barbara is the much more interesting character.

DC fans will embrace this film picking up the obvious nods to the popular Wonder Woman television series, small things like using her tiara as a weapon show that Jenkins is a true fan, while non DC fans may feel a little under-whelmed as the film concentrates more on the heart and soul of Diana than it does jumping from planet destroying explosions etc. If you are a Wonder Woman fan though, embrace Wonder Woman 1984 because you are going to enjoy it.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Average Subculture Rating:

IMDB Rating:

Fatman (2020) on IMDb 5.9/10

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You can read our review of Wonder Woman 1984 that appeared in The Phuket News here – https://www.thephuketnews.com/a-year-for-the-wonder-woman-78378.php

Trailer:

When you look back through cinematic history there have been very few casting choices that have been as perfect as the casting of actress Gal Gadot as one of DC’s leading superheroes – Wonder Woman. Not only does Gadot have a strong resemblance to the Wonder Woman that many of us grew up reading about in comics but spend just one moment talking to Gadot’s co-stars from the Wonder Woman franchise and they will tell you that Gadot also embodies the love and compassion that the Amazonian superhero also portrays on screen.

Therefore it is little wonder that Wonder Woman 1984 is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of 2020 and that Gadot is one of the most sought after stars. She smiles broadly when asked about what it was like to once again reprise the role of Diana Prince and also juggle the responsibilities of being a producer this time around.

“In the first one I was completely overwhelmed by the fact that we were shooting a movie that was centred completely around my character,” says Gadot after thinking about the question for a moment. “I was the title of the movie so I always felt that I was the little girl looking at the mountain and thinking ‘oh my God how am I going to climb all the way up.’ But then, it did take a lot of work, but I realised that this is something that I can do, especially when I had partners like Patty Jenkins and our amazing cast. On the second one I felt like I had a totally different experience.”

“First of all being a producer you are involved from A to Z,” she says continuing. “You are helping cast the new characters, build the new story and even helping pick what location we are going to be shooting in. There is so much more to do, it is like exploring a whole new world, a world of movie-making and that is super fascinating for me. I have to say that I think the fact that Patty and I are super close and in this together, and we talk about everything as it is, it felt like we were on the same page. So the producing part of it all was super educating and fascinating. The experience was delightful because this movie was so ambitious and so challenging and now there are so many more things I now know that I would never have learned if I weren’t a producer on this movie.”

Of course aside from producing Gadot also found herself right in the thick of things with the action sequences of the film… an element that she seems to really enjoy. “Patty made a point of wanting a minimal amount of CGI in the film,” explains Gadot. “That meant that we had to do much more and our stunt team had to do much more and we had to build rigs that most people don’t use any more because they use CGI for all their stunts. So for the mall scene we had an entire mall dressed up like it was the 1980s and we had the entire mall to ourselves. The ceiling was rigged with wires and stuff all around it and it took a lot of time to create and establish all of that and it took a lot of time to rehearse all of that. We have the best stunt team in the world and they have done an amazing job making sure everything looks as real as possible so when you watch the movie you can see the difference. You can see that it is all real, you can see the weight and the speed and the reactions in the faces because they are real faces. It was great and I am very proud of it. It was a lot of work but I am proud of it.”

One of the new faces in Wonder Woman 1984 is comedic actress Kristen Wiig who takes on the role of Cheetah despite it being a serious role. “It was the best,” says Gadot before the question is even finished. “Kristen is the best! She is so funny and such a great friend. She is so generous and she just made the whole process so delightful for me – we literally did like SNL skits while we were shooting, while they were changing sets and shots and whatever. She is funny, she is smart, she is just amazing. I love her so much. She is so talented, she was given such a tough arc to play and she absolutely nailed it She went from being the insecure, vulnerable, shy person to this super vicious, strong, dark and scary character and she gave all different colours and different ranges – she is so talented She is the best!”

To finish off Gadot discusses why the character of Wonder Woman resinates with so many people. “Wonder Woman stands for love and for compassion and for empathy and peace,” she says. “I think that is something that we all love and connect to. Her biggest weapon and her biggest tool is her heart and that is why people like her so much… she is good!”

Wonder Woman is in Australian cinemas on Boxing Day.

It is one of the biggest cinematic questions of 2020. How does Steve Trevor, played by the very talented Chris Pine, return in Wonder Woman 1984 after his very heroic death in the first film. And while Pine is remaining tight lipped about any spoilers he is more than happy to talk about other aspects of the much anticipated film.

“Yeah, I’ve actually been working with Patty a lot,” he says with a laugh when asked about working with Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins. “We even did a television show together between the two films. I have been working consistently with her over the last four years – I love working with her. She is a great leader, she is like General Patton but also has a sensitive and quiet side. She is a great observer of people, she is a great listener, she knows how to get the best of her actors and ultimately she is incredible visionary. She knows how to bring her vision into life which is much more difficult task then it seems like it should be.”

Pine though is not only full of praise for his director he also seems in awe of his co-star Gal Gadot who brilliantly brings the role of Wonder Woman to life on the big screen. “I think Gal is the perfect embodiment of Wonder Woman,” he says again smiling. “She is the personification of love and heart and that is also Gal, she has this great big heart and she has these eyes that just takes in the world. She has this natural instinct of maternal strength and heart and I couldn’t think of anyone else that could ever have played her.”

As we said previously of course Pine is not going to go into great details about how Steve Trevor finds himself back… well alive… but he is only too happy to talk about how Steve feels about being alive in the 1980s. “I think Steve is just pretty happy to be back around the love of his life,” he says after thinking for a moment. “He is stoked to be taking in all these great things like elevators and pop-tarts, toaster ovens and great clothes and dancing and incredible airplanes and stuff like that. They just picked the funniest clothes and then made me put them on and then tried to create scenes out of them. I pretty much just put on clothes  that made Patty laugh and that helped us see what worked.”

Of course the biggest part of Wonder Woman 1984 is not the costuming though – it is the action sequences and it is surprising to learn that Pine doesn’t do much to prepare for them. “No I don’t do much,” he says after asked how he prepares for action scenes. “Gal has to do stunt training ,wire work and stunt co-ordination and all of that and I kind of have these sock ‘em and get punched in the face things. I just worked with the co-ordinator and came up with some good stuff because with Steve Trevor he is more of a bar-room brawler. He gets in a fight, throws in his fists, sees what lands and then tries to get out.”

Aside from the action though Jenkins has also given Wonder Woman 1984 a massive amount of heart and it seems that Pine is happy with the fact that the film explores more of the relationship between Diana and Steve. “They are polar opposites,” he says when trying to explain the connection between the two lovers. “She is wide eyed, loving and compassionate and he is closed off and jaded and he is bitter and angry at the world. They teach each other important lessons and they help the other grow and I think that is the best version of a healthy relationship.”

To finish off Pine talks about why he believes Wonder Woman 1984 is the perfect film to close out 2020. “I think this is a movie about love and compassion,” he explains. “It is heart and it is a movie that has a lead that personifies those qualities who is a joy to work with and is like that in real life… that is certainly not a bad thing and I think while it is easy for people to get their fix of complicated heroes and dark subject matter it is also nice to return to good old fashioned entertainment which is what I think this is.”

Wonder Woman 1984 is released in Australian cinemas on Boxing Day.

Summary: A young boy hires a hitman to hunt down Santa Claus and kill him.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 19th November 2020 (Australia)

VOD Release Dates: 7th December 2020 (UK), 24th November 2020 (USA)

Country: USA, UK, Canada

Director: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms

Screenwriter: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms

Cast: Ekatrina Baker (Helga), Shaun Benson (Lex), Robert Bockstael (Captain Jacobs), Ellison Grier Butler (Christine Crawford), Peter Chow (Mr. Chan), Mikael Conde (Carter), Michael Dyson (Herman), Mel Gibson (Chris), Walton Goggins (Skinny Man), Jason Gosbee (Henshaw), Deborah Grover (Anne Marie), Kate Hurman (Mrs. Robinson), Chance Hurstfield (Billy Wenan), Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Ruth),Bill Lake (Robert Taylor), Michelle Lang (Linsay Kemp). Paulino Nunes (Weyland Meeks), Robert Reynolds (Ralph), Joyce Rivera (Regina), Susanne Suutchy (Sandy), Ronald Tang (Roger), John Tokatlidis (Mike The Trucker), Sean Tucker (Donald)

Running Time: 100 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)

OUR FATMAN REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Fatman Review:

Kyle’s rating out of 5:

Average Subculture Rating:

IMDB Rating:

Fatman (2020) on IMDb

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Summary: A psychopath decides to give a woman and her son a ‘bad day’ after a small road rage incident.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 30th July 2020 (Australia), 21st August 2020 (USA), 31st July 2020 (UK)

VOD Release Dates: 17th December 2020 (Australia)

Country: USA

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)

OUR UNHINGED REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Unhinged Review:

Dave’s Rating Out Of 5:

Kyle McGrath’s Unhinged Review:

Kyle’s rating out of 5:

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Unhinged (2020) on IMDb

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