In the lead up to the release of Wonder Woman 1984 Warner Bros. has given us a very special look at how Gal Gadot became Wonder Woman.
Summary: Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart), Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) are working for the mysterious Charles Townsend (Robert Clotworthy), whose security and investigative agency has expanded internationally. With the world’s smartest, bravest, and most highly trained women all over the globe, there are now teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys taking on the toughest jobs everywhere.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th November 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 2nd December 2019
Australian DVD Release Date: 11th March 2020
Country: United States
Director: Elisabeth Banks
Screenwriter: Elisabeth Banks, David Auburn (story), Evan Spiliotopoulos
Cast: Ella Balinska (Jane Kano), Elisabeth Banks (Bosley), Batur Belirdi (Bettor), Noah Centineo (Langston), Sam Clafin (Alexander Brock), Robert Clotworthy (Charlie (voice)), Anna Drexler (Susan Olson), Nat Faxon (Peter Fleming), Frank Ferruccio (Detective Flynn), Hannah Hoekstra (Ingrid), Djimon Housou (Edgar Bosley), Jiana (Jane Kano), Emre Kentmengolu (Prince Alim Hassan), Sebastian Kroehnert (Sven Ludwig), Robert Maaser (Big Man), Luis Gerardo Mendez (Saint), Chris Pang (Jonny Smith), Murali Perumal (Pradeep Prasad), Andreas Schroders (The Accountant), Naomi Scott (Elena Houghlin), David Schutter (Ralph), Marie-Lou Sellem (Fatima Ahmed), Jaclyn Smith (Kelly Garrett), Kristen Stewart (Sabina Wilson), Patrick Stewart (John Bosley), Jonathan Tucker (Hodak), Franz Xaver Zach (Watchmaker Schmidt)
Running Time: 118 mins
Classification: M (Australia) 13 (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
We were promised one of the biggest blockbusters of the year, what we got was a C-Grade action flick that didn’t even register a blip at the box office. That really is the only kind way to describe the Charlie’s Angels reboot.
Of course by now you have probably heard the many varied excuses that have been offered up trying to explain why Charlie’s Angels has struggled so badly at the box office. The reason, according to the film’s director, Elizabeth Banks, is that sexism is still rife in Hollywood. But if that were the case then why was the original Charlie’s Angels films such a success and why have films like Tomb Raider, Salt, The Hunger Games etc not suffered the same fate? No, the reason why this film failed so badly is simple – it is a bad film that doesn’t live up to its potential and it suffers from a serious lack of star power.
Plot-wise Charlie’s Angels sees a gifted young scientist, Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), help create a device that could be the answer to the Earth’s energy crisis. However, when she learns that it can easily be used as a deadly weapon but it still made public by the corporation she works for she turns to Charlie’s Agency to try and contain the weapon.
Led by Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) and Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) embark on a mission that sees them have to take on a highly skilled assassin know as Hodak (Jonathan Tucker) who is determined to get the weapon into the hands of his employer.
What sounds like a pretty basic synopsis actually turns quite convoluted and is perhaps step one to why so many of the traditional Charlie’s Angels fans have turned their back on this film. The small agency with three angels has now turned into a worldwide agency with a seemingly endless supply of angels and if that doesn’t remove things too far from the original concept the audience is then introduced to an army of Bosleys (mostly notably played by Banks, Patrick Stewart and Djimon Hounsou) within the first five minutes of the film. This worldwide agency idea didn’t work for the last offering in the Men In Black franchise and again doesn’t work here.
Like its plot overload the film is also dangerously let down by its action sequences. What should be straightforward fight and chase sequences look cumbersome and amateurish here. A surprise considering that while Elizabeth Banks has never shot action before her cinematographer Bill Pope has worked on films such as The Matrix and Spider-Man 2 and should have been able to make the film look a lot better than this.
The one saving grace for the film was Kristen Stewart. She may have been let down by a poor script and bad action sequences but she still manages to shine with great charisma and a quick wit which at times is the only thing that makes the film watchable. Still, even her performance couldn’t match the star-power of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu like the film’s predecessor had.
With very little star push and a script that made it seem C-Grade Charlie’s Angels seems like it was doomed before it even left the studio floor. Ladies and gentlemen I think we just found this year’s Golden Razzie winner.
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Our Charlie’s Angels review that appeared in ‘The Phuket News’ can be read at this link – https://www.thephuketnews.com/all-girl-power-but-no-star-power-in-charlie-angels-reboot-73765.php
Summary: It’s 1968 in America. Change is blowing in the wind…but seemingly far removed from the unrest in the cities is the small town of Mill Valley where for generations, the shadow of the Bellows family has loomed large. It is in their mansion on the edge of town that Sarah, a young girl with horrible secrets, turned her tortured life into a series of scary stories, written in a book that has transcended time-stories that have a way of becoming all too real for a group of teenagers who discover Sarah’s terrifying tomb.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th September 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA
Australian DVD Release Date: 12th February 2020
Country: United States, Canada, Hong Kong
Director: Andre Ovredal
Screenwriter: Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Guillermo del Toro (story), Patrick Melton (story), Marcus Dunstan (story), Alvin Schwartz (novels)
Cast: Austin Abrams (Tommy Milner), Hume Baugh (Deodat Bellows), Gil Bellows (Chief Turner), Javier Botet (Big Toe Corpse), Will Carr (Ephraim Bellows), Zoe Margaret Colletti (Stella Nicholls), Victoria Fodor (Mrs. Milner), Natalie Ganzhorn (Ruth Steinberg), Michael Garza (Ramon Morales), Karen Glave (Claire Baptiste), Troy James (Jangly Man), Brandon Knox (Harold Bellows), Kyle Labine (Deputy Hobbs), Jane Moffat (Delanie Bellows), Dean Norris (Roy Nicholls), Kathleen Pollard (Sarah Bellows), Deborah Pollitt (Mrs. Steinberg), Gabriel Rush (Auggie Hilderbrandt), Amanda Smith (Gertrude Bellows), Matt Smith (Mr. Steinberg), Mark Stegar (Harold The Scarecrow/Pale Lady), Ajanae Stephenson (Lou Lou – 8yrs), Lorraine Toussaint (Lou Lou), Marie Ward (Mrs. Hilderbrandt), Austin Zajur (Chuck Steinberg)
Running Time: 108 mins
Classification: M (Australia) 13 (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths’ Our Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark Review:
After the disappointment that was It Chapter Two it is with a sense of relief that I am able to say that Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark was a film that surprised me a lot more than I thought it would. The film feels like it should be described as Goosebumps for teenagers but there seems to be something a little darker to this film that will mean that horror fans of all ages will be drawn to the film.
Based on the novel by Alvin Schwartz the film follows a group of young friends – the horror-obsessed Stella Nicholls (Zoe Margaret Colletti – Annie, Wildlife), the very mature Auggie Hilderbrandt (Gabriel Rush – Moonrise Kingdom, No Letting Go), the fun-loving Chuck Steinberg (Austin Zajur – Fist Fight, Kidding) and the outsider that nobody knows anything about Ramon Morales (Michael Garza – Wayward Pines, Timeless)who find themselves in a world of paranormal trouble after trying to out-run the town’s resident bully – Tommy (Austin Abrams – Paper Towns, Gangster Squad) after a Halloween prank goes badly wrong.
While trying to hide, and in a bid to impress Ramon, Stella leads the group into the ‘haunted house’ the house where it is alleged that Sarah Bellows (Kathleen Pollard – The Shape Of Water, The Handmaid’s Tale) killed a number of the town’s children a few years earlier. Sadly for the friends and Chuck’s sister Ruth (Natalie Ganzhorn – Make It Pop, Wet Bum) visiting the house makes them part of a series of stories that could cost them their lives.
The most intriguing part of the film is that while it is supposed to be a film aimed for teenagers director Andre Ovredal (Trollhunter, The Autopsy Of Jane Doe) gives the film a darker edge that makes a lot more interesting for an older audience as well. Where the film works well though is that it doesn’t fall into any of the mistakes that It Chapter Two did. The team of screenwriters which includes the legendary Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) have made the key central characters likeable which instantly means the audience are barracking for them to live when the horror starts. The team have also carefully chosen which stories from the original novels to use and the result is an interesting collection of ‘horrors’ that in no way feel like a group of short stories put together to make a larger story. The only weakness is at times that the ‘horrors’ at hand don’t always seem to mirror the fear or nightmare that the character it relates to has as well as it could have done.
Given the creative minds of Del Toro and Ovredal coming together for this film there is little wonder that the horror and fantasy aspects of this film look so good. The ‘creatures’ and horrors that are seen throughout the film do have a real Pan’s Labyrinth feel and look to them. It’s these horrors that also seem more ‘scary’ than what you would expect in a film aimed at teenagers. The end result though is a film that will also be enjoyed by adults rather than films like Goosebumps that are more suited to teenagers. It also means that sequences like the Scarecrow sequence and the scenes in the mental hospital and Police Station are going to stick in the minds of the audience a lot longer than many of them would have expected them to.
The young cast also put in great performances. Zoe Margaret Colletti leads the way with a performance that is much more mature than her years would suggest. In a challenging role Colletti is a real stand-out and it is obvious that she has a great career ahead of her. Her character goes through a range of emotions from sheer fear to worry about the relationship that she has with her father and the young actress doesn’t skip a beat no matter what situation her character is put in. She is well supported by Michael Garza who really announces himself as an actor to watch while veteran actor Gil Bellows (The Shawshank Redemption, Patriot) also brings his A-Game to the film.
Creepily spectacular Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is a throwback to films like Jeepers Creepers and Gremlins, films that were aimed for teenagers but had more of a horror side than most films aimed at that age-group. On reflection we should have expected something special when the minds of del Toro and Ovredal came together but I don’t think any of us expected something as enjoyable as this.
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Dancing assassins, opera in uncharted canyons, armed children on dirt bikes, mines, hostages and mirages all form the wild whirlwind called Gold Dust.
A rollicking western adventure for the whole family, Gold Dust arrives on DVD and Digital this April from High Octane Pictures.
The film features music from Grammy Winning artist Cage The Elephant.
Written and directed by David Wall, and starring David Wall, Darin Brooks (“The Bold & The Beautiful”), Chris Romano (“How I Met Your Mother”), David Wysocki (“The Young and The Restless”), Derek Severson and Garrett Marchbank.
Classical music. Thundering opera. Rattlesnakes and precious gems. Mansions and gold mines. Friendship and despair. Treasure beyond imagination that vanishes in the desert wind. In the desert there is no limit to the adventures at hand!
Gold Dust on DVD and Digital April 7.
Summary: After splitting with the Joker, Harley Quinn joins superheroes Black Canary, Huntress and Renee Montoya to save a young girl from an evil crime lord.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 6th February 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 6th February 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: Out Now
Country: United States, United Kingdom
Director: Cathy Yan
Screenwriter: Christina Hodson
Cast: Charlene Amoia (Maria Bertinelli), K.K. Barrett (Dr.Aguilar), Ella Jay Basco (Cassandra Cain), Guiesppe Bucaro (Carlos Rossi), David Anthony Buglione (Joe Bertinelli), Robert Cattrini (Stefano Galante), Francois Chhau (Mr. Keo), Dan Cole (Officer Timm), Dana Lee (Doc), Michael Masini (Officer Drago), Miyuki Matsunaga (Mrs. Keo), Lenora May (Mrs. Marcucci), Ewan McGregor (Roman Sionis), Chris Messina (Victor Zsasz), Ella Mika (Young Helena), Anna Mikami (Miss Keo), Ego Mikitas (Don), Anthony Molinari (Mafiosi), Sara Montez (Kathrine), Bojana Novakovic (Erika), Bruno Oliiver (Sal), Rosie Perez (Renee Montoya), Margot Robbie (Harley Quinn), Greica Santo (Crystal), Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Dinah Lance/Black Canary), Steven Williams (Captain Patrick Erickson), Matthew Willig (Happy), Derek Wilson (Tim Evans), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Helena Bertienlli/The Huntress), Ali Wong (Ellen Yee)
Running Time: 109 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia) 18 (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
Creating a spin-off to the much maligned Suicide Squad film of 2016 was always thwart with danger. Yes the Director’s Cut was ten times better than the theatrical release but sadly after the bad experience of the original not many people wanted to part with hard earned cash to take a chance on the re-working.
Now that Suicide Squad curse seems to be tarnishing Birds Of Prey before it is even released. The film hadn’t even opened before some people were proudly boasting that they were going to give it a big miss. But are the negative comments geared towards the film warranted? I would have to say after sitting down to watch the film – they are not.
Aside from the fact the film features the intelligent but clearly psychopathic Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie – Wolf Of Wall Street) comparing Birds Of Prey to Suicide Squad is like comparing chalk and cheese. Where Suicide Squad revealed a cheesy side Birds Of Prey takes the lead from its DC counterpart Joker and delivers a more hard-edged film complete with adult language and violence that is certainly not suitable for children.
Here we find a Harley Quinn who has settled into her new state of madness. Her world is rocked though when she and Joker go through a bad break-up. Now alone Quinn finds herself unprotected and suddenly even criminal low-life in Gotham wants her dead – led by the vicious and cruel Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor – Trainspotting). Also attracting the attention of an arrow-for-hire hit-woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead – 10 Cloverfield Lane) and the down-beaten Detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez – Fearless) Quinn soon finds herself needing the protection of the deadly Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell – Underground).
For the most part the film does hold up and is an entertaining action film enhanced by the acting talents of the Oscar nominated Margot Robbie. The film is at its best though when it embraces its hard-edge. Scenes such as the one where Sionis is torturing a family for information is what sets DC apart from Marvel, likewise the early fight scenes involving Quinn and Lance which capture the same violence of John Wick have the audience on the edge of their seat.
Add to the that the suspense of never knowing whether Quinn will keep helping young pick-pocket Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco – Veep) while she is danger or eventually turn her over to claim the bounty, and the genuine comedic moments produced by Quinn’s madness and you are on the way to a pretty decent film.
Despite the moments of true enjoyment throughout the film Birds Of Prey does find a way to trip itself up. Like Suicide Squad there are moments when the film dips into that cheesiness that just doesn’t fit with the rest of the film. You could probably over look it more if it didn’t occur during one of the key fight scenes – what should be one of the most memorable scenes of the entire film becomes laughable as the stars battle it out in an overly choreographed fight sequence that almost feels like it needs the cheesy ‘POW’ and ‘BIFF’ text of the 1960s Batman series to appear after each punch or kick.
It is a shame that scene exists because it seems to stay with you after you leave the cinema and spoils what otherwise would have been a film that may have sparked a lot more interest in what DC plan on doing with these characters down the line. The fact that DC haven’t learnt that it is that kind of cheesiness and the sudden introduction of an influx of characters (as happens here with Huntress) is hard to fathom… especially in the same week they saw Joker score Oscar glory.
To sum up Birds Of Prey is a more than serviceable film. The performances of Margot Robbie and Ewan McGregor do allow the film to occasionally have an edge to it. The events of the film also did make you curious enough to wonder where the storylines involving the actual Birds Of Prey team that form during the film may lead to the future, but the film also dangerously lets itself down with one badly played scene that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. It is obvious what DC needs to do – they need to take stock of people liked about this film and take that on board for all future endeavours or else they are destined to keep making the same mistakes over and over.
Kyle McGrath’s Review
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