Category: Drama

Summary: When a woman suspects her husband of having an affair with one of his colleagues she enlists the help of her adulterous father to help her investigate.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 2nd October 2020 (Australia), 2nd October 2020 (UK), 2nd October 2020 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 23rd October 2020 (Australia), 23rd October 2020 (UK), 23rd October 2020 (USA)

Country: USA

Director: Sofia Coppola

Screenwriter: Sofia Coppola

Cast: Barbara Bain (Gran), Zoe Bullock (Jenna), Julianna Canfield (Amanda), Alva Chinn (Diane), Nadia Dajani (Kelly), Grayson Eddey (Milo), Lucie Fleming (Lucy), Elizabeth Guindi (Carla), Jessica Henwick (Fiona), Rashida Jones (Laura), Mike Keller (Officer Callaghan), Ximena Lamadrid (Mandy), Bill Murray (Felix), Liyanna Muscat (Maya), Musto Pelinkovicci (Musto), Alexandra Mary Reimer (Theo), Anna Chanel Reimer (Theo), Jenny Slate (Vanessa), Marlon Wayans (Dean), Chase Sui Wonders (Chase), Evangeline Young (Miss Mindy)

Running Time: 96 mins

Classification: M (Australia), 12 (UK), R (USA)

OUR ON THE ROCKS REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ On The Rocks Review:

When it comes to cinema, bigger isn’t always better. In fact sometimes something very simple can be the best. Sure big explosions and car chases are fun, but nothing works quite as well as a simple film that is just easy to sit back and enjoy. Filmmaker Sofia Coppola (The Virgin Suicides) has been making those kinds of films for over twenty-years now and to be really honest should be included as one of the finest directors in Hollywood at the moment. A quick scan over her career has reveals a number of cult classics like Lost In Translation and The Bling Ring while her last film, The Beguiled, I felt was one of the most under-rated films of 2017.

Now Coppola returns with the simplistic but deeply captivating On The Rocks – a film that instinctly feels more French or Italian than it does American… and I mean that with the very best of intentions. Yes, On The Rocks is a reminder of just how good American cinema can be when in the hands of someone as talented as Coppola and isn’t just trying to fit another movie into a franchise or launch the career of the latest ‘it’ actor or actress.

Set in modern day New York On The Rocks finds successful writer and busy mother, Laura (Rashida Jones – The Social Network), in a quandary. On one hand she feels under-valued in her marriage to her husband, Dean (Marlon Wayans – White Chicks), as his work takes him to exotic destinations and fancy restaurants while she stays home to be ‘mom’, yet she doesn’t say anything because she doesn’t want to rock the boat.

The tension inside her though rises when she becomes suspicious that he may be having an affair with his leggy colleague. Not sure what to do she asks her father, a womanising Art Dealer named Felix (Bill Murray – Moonrise Kingdom) for advice – after all with the number of affairs that he has had he should be an expert on what to look for.

Coppola’s plot does seem simple enough but she does something absolutely magical with it and the result is something beautiful. She uses New York as her canvas brilliantly well and brings a wit to her characters that is normally reserved for one of my favourite filmmakers – the legendary Woody Allen. Through sheer screenwriting brilliance, that will leave any budding screenwriter jealous, Coppola weaves in themes including juggling motherhood with working and how to deal with the dilemma of confronting a cheating partner all while keeping the audience on the edge of their seat as they try to figure out if Dean is cheating or will discover Laura and Felix spying on him.

Perhaps the real genius of this screenplay though is bringing in the amazing storyline of a daughter bonding with her father for the first time in years while they both play ‘detective’. It is obvious that in early scenes that Laura only sees him as an adulterous traitor but as she spends time with him that clearly changes as she really talks to him and finds out his side of the story. That plot also allows Murray to deliver one of his best acting performances in years. At times this storyline makes you feel like you are watching a buddy-cop movie without the badges as Laura and Felix do their own detective work and it is those scenes that make up most of the film’s most magical and memorable moments.

Back to the Allen-esque dialogue and characters though. This was not something that you would normally expect from Coppola. Here she brings a character to screen that most filmmakers would have just prevented as a prick. Instead somehow Coppola works her magic and makes Felix a likable character, something that is only enhanced by a brilliant performance by Murray who shines in every scene with Jones, and together the pair create something memorable. That scene where Felix is pulled over by the cops shows Coppola’s screenwriting is now some of the best in the world as it delivers a barrage of quick-witted humour

Suspenseful, quirky but most importantly full of heart On The Rocks is one of those films that that you know you will return to over and over when you need a comfort film. It is simple but it is American cinema at its best.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: Tessa and Hardin continue to have ups and downs in their relationship as Tessa settles into a job she loves and Hardin tries to get his life together.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 10th September (Australia), 4th September 2020 (UK), 23rd October 2020 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Roger Kumble

Screenwriter: Mario Celaya, Anna Todd

Cast: Dylan Arnold (Noah), Stuart Berehns (Ron), Selma Blair (Carol), Feng Chao (Kevin), Taylor Conrod (Paige), Vanessa Dubasso (Ally), Rob Estes (King), John Jackson Hunter (Young Hardin), Candice King (Kimberley), Josephine Langford (Tessa), Samuel Larsen (Zed), Louise Lombard (Trish), Shane Paul McGhie (Landon), Pia Mia (Tristan), Constance Payne (Zoe), Max Ragone (Smith), Sarah Rossman (Nadia), Innana Sarkis (Molly), John W. Sparks (Santa Claus), Dylan Sprouse (Trevor), Khadijha Red Thunder (Steph), Hero Fiennes Tiffin (Hardin), Charlie Weber (Christian Vance), Karimah Westbrook (Karen), Ariel Yasmine (Jamie)

Running Time: 105 mins

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

OUR AFTER WE COLLIDED REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ After We Collided Review:

Have sex. Have a fight. Have sex again. Fight again. There you go, I have pretty much saved you from having to waste 100 minutes of your life on After We Collided because that is the sequence of events that play out on repeat all throughout the movie.

That might sound harsh, but I am sorry this film really deserves it because even shows like Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill never had as much teenage angst as this film manages to deliver to the screen. Of course I probably should never have expected more – the first film in this franchise, simply titled After, was a blatant rip-off of Cruel Intentions which of course in itself was a teenage remake of Dangerous Liaisons which in turn was a remake of a French film (lost yet???) – the difference being that Cruel Intentions is one of my favourite teenage movies of all time while After is something that I hope I never have to endure again.

Instead of distancing itself from the C.I. comparison part of the ‘improvements’ that the studio brought to the table for After We Collided was bringing on board Roger Kumble to direct… who of course was the man who directed the Cruel Intentions movie, its sequel and subsequent television show. I really don’t know what to say other than – they really didn’t think that through, did they?

Really, the only change I noticed this time around was that Kumble has given the film a more adult edge. Now the two young lovers – Tessa (Josephine Langford – Intro The Dark) and Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin – Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince) – use adult cuss words and have sex… a lot. The script is still bad, Hero Fiennes Tiffin still isn’t believable as a bad boy and as a result the movie suffers on all levels just as its predecessor did.

Plot-wise the movie picks up just a month after the grand finale of the first film which saw Tessa learn that Hardin only slept with her as part of a bet to take her virginity and no matter how often he declares it she doesn’t believe he loves her. Now Hardin is still heart-broken and deals with his pain by getting tattoo while sober (yep the screenwriter wants you to believe that’s what bad boys do) while Tessa is moving on with her life and becoming an intern at a publishing company… wait isn’t that just Fifty Shades Of Grey without the whips and chains???

From there it feels like the movie is on repeat. Tessa’s mother still don’t like Hardin, they reconcile, they have sex, they fight, they reconcile, they have sex again… and yes it seriously happens four or five time throughout the film. Oh and we finally see Hardin’s mother – played by Louise Lombard (CSI) – and she likes Tessa. Did I mention that Tessa and Hardin have sex a lot and anywhere they like – in bed, in the shower, at her work, in other people’s beds… like I said anywhere they want.

To say nothing much happens in the film is an understatement and it felt wherever I looked I just saw other movies that the film ‘borrowed’ from. This time around Hardin’s wardrobe is the same as Sebastian’s in Cruel Intentions and Hero Fiennes Tiffin just does not work as a bad guy no matter how the screenwriters try to change that.

Bringing Roger Kumble on board should have made After We Collided a better film but suddenly nothing was ever going to save this bomb. Josephine Langford puts in a good acting performance but is badly let down by a screenplay that goes nowhere – the result is badly written film with so many sex scenes it feels like you are watching soft-core porn. Check my worst films list of 2020 and you can guarantee that this will be on it.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: A man discovers that his wife was living a secret life after she is killed in an accident. He thinks that finding answers about her life will be easy given they live in a small coastal town… he soon finds out though that isn’t the case.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 9th July 2020 (Australia)

VOD Release Dates: 3rd July 2020 (UK), 17th April 2020 (USA)

Country: Iceland, Denmark, Sweden

Director: Hlynur Palmason

Screenwriter: Hlynur Palmason

Cast: Elmir Stefania Agustsdottir (Elin),  Arnmundur Ernst Bjornsson (Hrafn), Laufey Eliasdottir (Ingipjorg), Hilmir Snaer Gudnason (Olgeir), Bjorn Ingi Hilarsson (Trausti), Ida Mekkin Hynsdottir (Salka), Ingvar Sigurdsson (Ingimundar), Siguraur Sigurjonsson (Bjossi), Haraldur Stefansson (Stefan), Sverrir Por Sverrisson (Sveppi), Pour Tulinius (Georg)

Running Time: 109 mins

Classification: M (Australia), 15 (UK)

OUR A WHITE, WHITE DAY REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ A White, White Day Review:

There is just something about Scandinavian cinema that to me makes it stand out from what the rest of the world is producing at the moment. For some reason Scandinavian filmmakers are constantly making movies that are usually gritty, normally on the alternative side and always well written and engrossing. That is certainly the case with director Hlynur Palmason’s (Winter Brothers)brand new film A White, White Day – a film that has an artistic edge but packs such an almighty emotional punch that it should be in consideration when Award’s season swings around.

The film centres around an older Police Officer in a remote Icelandic village named Ingimundur (Ingvar Sigurdsson – Everest) who is currently in a deep emotional slump caused by the recent death of his wife in a car accident. Ingimundur now spends his days casually playing soccer with the local men and looking after his Grand-daughter Salka (newcomer Ida Mekkin Hlynsdottir) who seems to frequently be in the way of her mother’s new life.

Despite seemingly being estranged from his own daughter Ingimundur is always there for Salka and is happily spending his time renovating a run-down home in the hope that it can give Salka a new, more comfortable life. Things start to turn sour though when Ingimundur starts to believe that his wife was having an affair with a local man before her death.

I’ll admit that I felt strange while watching A White, White Day. I could feel that I was loving this film for the reason that people around me were hating it. As a director Palmason uses long-lingering, and sometimes time-lapse, shots as a way to show that nothing really changes in the quiet Icelandic town that the film is set in other than time and the seasons. And while I sat there engrossed in the beauty of these shots by the movement in seats, the crinkling of chocolate wrappers and the frequent rest-room visits around me I could sense that others were not sharing the same view of things that I was.

For me though A White, White Day is one of the most harshly beautiful and engaging movies that you will see in 2020. While at times slow the film does have a strong narrative and there is no way an audience member will find themselves ‘lost’ and unable to work out what is happening despite Palmason’s frequent side journeys into artistic cinema.As I mentioned the film is slow at times but the suspense level is lifted immensely once Ingimundur starts to piece together the supposed truth about his wife and the ‘perhaps’ guilty local, especially when you realise that a confrontation between the two is inevitable.

While I give a lot of credit to Palmason for the way the film looks and plays out I also have to give credit to Ingvar Sigurdsson for his performance as Ingimundar. He puts in a natural and dramatic performance throughout the film but it is the scenes where Ingimundar brutality clashes with his uniformed colleagues that show why Sigurdsson should be considered for ever major acting Award going around. These sequences are going to stay with me for a long time and are right up there as some of the most powerful scenes I have experienced on the big screen.

A White, White Day is slow at times but it is made memorable by a gritty storyline that never lets up and a powerful performance by a leading man who brings a harsh realism to the character he is depicting. This is one bright spark is an otherwise dull 2020 cinema landscape.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: A young boy decide to declare war on his Grandfather after his Grandfather moves in and takes his bedroom.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 3rd December 2020 (Australia), 8th October 2020 (Thailand), 2020 (UK), 9th October 2020 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA, UK, Canada

Director: Tim Hill

Screenwriter: Tom J. Astle, Matt Ember, Robert Kimmel Smith (based on the book by)

Cast: Rutanya Alda (Lynn Marino), Veronica Alcino (Nurse Alice), Juliocaesar Chavez (Billy), Robert De Niro (Ed), Oakes Fegley (Peter), Colin Ford (Russell), Poppy Gagnon (Jennifer), Joe Gelchion (Chuck), James Matin Kelly (Carl), Isaac Kragten (Steve), Laura Marano (Mia), Cheech Marin (Danny), T.J. McGibbon (Emma), Rob Riggle (Arthur), Jane Seymour (Diane), Joanie Stewart (Carla), Lydia Styslinger (Lisa), Uma Thurman (Sally), Christopher Walken (Jerry)

Running Time: 94 mins

Classification: PG (Australia), PG (USA)

OUR THE WAR WITH GRANDPA REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ The War With Grandpa Review:

Sometimes as a movie critic you forget that it is okay for a film to be fun. Somewhere deep down inside your brain you watch a movie and then you try to analyse and pick apart exactly what the director was trying to achieve with the film. Sometimes there are no hidden meanings though, or there are no world changing beliefs that the filmmakers are trying to open the world up to. Sometimes a film is made to do what films were originally made to do – and that is entertain their audience. That, everybody, is exactly what The War With Grandpa was created to do – entertain not just any audience but entertain the entire family at once.

Now I could sit here and write an epic review that analysed every aspect of this film from the costuming through to the editing, but I know that when it comes to a fun movie like The War With Grandpa all you really want to know is whether the film is going to entertain your family or bore them to death… and that I am more than happy to answer by saying if you like fluffy family films then you are going to love this one.

The film centres around Peter (Oakes Fegley – Pete’s Dragon), a young boy who thought his biggest problem for the year was going to be the fact that he is now the ‘small fry’ at his school as he rolls into sixth grade. But then his mother (Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction) drops a bombshell on him that he never saw coming – his grandfather Ed (Robert De Niro – Taxi Driver) is going to be moving into their home and taking over Peter’s room. Yes Peter not only has to give up his room but he is now going to be living amongst the bats and rats in the attic.

Not to be removed from his domain so easily Peter alongside his rag-tag mates decide to declare war on Ed, who counter-acts that declaration by forming a team of his own that includes – Jerry (Christopher Walken – The Deer Hunter) and Diane (Jane Seymour – Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman). That is when the fun really begins.

The reason that The War With Grandpa works so well is because the film does appeal to the whole family. The screenplay provides plenty of laughs for kids as Pete and his friends devise childish pranks to play on Ed while the older generation will value a film that takes them done memory lane as they watch screen favourites like Jane Seymour and Cheech Marin (Tin Cup) having a heap of fun with their roles – even when they are asked to do crazy things like have a dodge-ball war while on a trampoline. Yes, seeing older stars like De Niro and Walken tackle roles where they are seem to be having the times of their lives is all part of the fun of this fun.

Like all good films in this genre though The War With Grandpa does have a bit of a serious side as well. Kids watching the film will see the importance of a family pulling together and lean about the importance of the ‘older generation’ in their lives. They are both very important lessons for kids to take on board so the serious side of the film is certainly not wasted.

Of course most of the interest around this film is going to centre on Robert De Niro. The screen legend has made a name for himself over the past few years in the comedy genre and while some films have been great some have been really terrible. Here De Niro cruises through his role, he is obviously having fun and enjoying himself, and if you group this film with The Comeback Trail then you could say that De Niro’s comedic efforts in 2020 are well and truly on the ‘good’ side of things.

If you are looking to have a fun cinema experience for the whole family then The War With Grandpa is you go to movie for this week. Outrageous and funny The War With Grandpa will appeal to every from 8 to 80 years of age.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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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.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 17th December 2020 (Australia), 11th December 2020 (UK),

VOD Release Dates: 17th November 2020 (USA)

Country: 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.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: Two warring sheep farmer brothers must decide whether they want to work together or not when a severe virus threatens both their flocks.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 29th October 2020 (Australia), 5th February 2020 (UK), 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Jeremy Sims

Screenwriter: Jules Duncan, Grimur Hakonarson (based on a film by)

Cast: Wayne Blair (Lionel), Michael Caton (Les), Leon Ford (De Vries), Asher Keddie (Angela), Hayley McElhinney (May), Travis McMahon (Fergo), Will McNeil (Jackson), Sam Neil (Colin), Miranda Richardson (Kat), Kipan Rothbury (Frenchie), Asher Yasbinek (Sally)

Running Time: 115 mins

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

OUR RAMS REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Rams Review:

There was a period of time in Australian cinema where the funding bodies decided that the way forward was for Australian film-makers to make outrageous comedies. If you discussed the idea with them it would always come back to them talking about films like The Castle. The thing they seemed to miss though was that The Castle was a very different film to something like You And Your Stupid Mate.

While the latter was idiotic to the point of stupidity The Caste mixed comedy and drama and above all had heart. If you look at the comedies that Australians have loved over the years, films like Muriel’s Wedding and Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert, they are all movies that have heart as their major ingredient.

Somewhere along the line it feels like somebody has listened because it clearly looks like Rams will be Australia’s highest grossing local product of 2020 and having viewed the film I can say that it uses The Castle recipe to a tee. It is a film that a majority of Australians can relate to and it does indeed have heart.

A localised remake of a Scandinavian film Rams is set in a remote Western Australian town that is known for its unique bloodline of award-winning sheep. While many of the town’s local farmers, such as the determined Angela (Ahser Keddie – X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and the kind-hearted Lionel (Wayne Blair – The Sapphires) try their best to win awards for their flocks the prizes normally go to brothers Colin (Sam Neil – Jurassic Park) and Les (Michael Caton – Last Cab To Darwin).

However the relationship between the two brothers is not as it should be. They haven’t spoken to each other for decades, despite the fact they share the same farm and dog, and go out of their way to avoid each other. That war though becomes tested after local vet Kat (Miranda Richardson – The Crying Game) detects a rare disease in the sheep that leads to them having to be destroyed.

With the Government moving in and the town and its major industry on its knees Colin and Les might have to find a way to overcome their anger towards each other to ensure that their farm survives.

Despite its Scandinavian heritage there is something uniquely Australian with director Jeremy Sims’ (Beneath Hill 60) version of the film. Aided by first time feature screenwriter Jules Duncan’s screenplay the film explores the trials and tribulations of a country community in such way that as audience member I found myself laughing at one moment and close to tears the next. That screenplay gives city folk an inside look at how devastating an event like this can be on a country town in a way that we rarely get to see on the screen.

While the film does try to infuse some storylines into the film for the periphery characters the main interest here lies in the relationship between Colin and Les and the betrayal Colin feels when Kat reports the outbreak to the Government. The tension generated between those relationships carry the film along in such a way that you never lose interest in it.

Enhancing the film even further are the performances of Neil and Caton. Caton is in award winning form as he portrays the emotionally broken and alcoholic Les, while Sam Neil is at his best portraying a character that is a mess of emotion throughout the film… not that he would ever show that publicly.

Rams is easily one of the best film of 2020. It has emotion, it has heart and knows the perfect time to replace its humour with touching dramatic scenes. Jeremy Sims has just released a film that is destined to become an Aussie favourite alongside Babe and The Castle.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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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.

Year: 2021

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.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Summary: James Bowen reflects on a time when he thought Bob The Cat was going to be taken away from him at Christmas time.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates: 3rd December 2020 (Australia), 24th December 2020 (Thailand)

VOD Release Dates: 6th November 2020 (UK)

Country: UK

Director: Charles Martin Smith

Screenwriter: Garry Jenkins

Cast: Aretha Ayeh (Officer Jarvis), Jamie Bacon (Chugger), Daisy Badger (Becky The Vet), Sheena Bhattessa (Jane), Bob The Cat (self), Tony Cook (Finn), Louisa Corr (Maisie), Ella Jarvis (Lili), Celyn Jones (Mick), Ciaron Kelly (Pete), Lydia Larson (Ella, Exchange Teller), Pepter Lunkuse (Ruth), Gerard Miller (Ian), Tim Plester (Leon), Stephen McCole (Mark), Stefan Race (Ben), Poppy Roe (Denise), Phaldut Sharma (Moody), Kristina Tonteri-Young (Bea), Luke Treadaway (James Bowen), Nina Wadia (Anika), Jacqueline Wilson (self), Anna Wilson-Jones (Arabella), Joanne Zorian (Irene)

Running Time: 92 mins

Classification: PG (Australia), G (Thailand) 12A (UK)

OUR A CHRISTMAS GIFT FROM BOB REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ A Christmas Gift From Bob Review:

I will always be the first to admit that I am a sucker for Christmas movies. I blame it on the fact that Christmas movies were part of the reason why I became a cinephile in the first place. One of my first memories of the cinema was going with my parents to what is now the Cameo Cinemas to see a rare Aussie Christmas gem called Bushfire Christmas. I can also vividly remember falling in love with Dudley Moore’s Santa Clause: The Movie the first time I watched it and then being overjoyed when I ripped open my presents on Christmas morning to find the movie’s companion book among my swag from Santa… yes at that moment I learnt that Santa is a cinema fan as well.

It is because of my love for Christmas movies that I am always willing to over-look the cheesiness and over the top sentiments that seem to come with every holiday movie when I sit down to watch them. Yes there are some people out there who will roll their eyes even at the thought of sitting down to watch A Christmas Gift From Bob but for me it put me holiday bliss.

A sequel to the popular A Street Cat Called Bob this film picks up as the success of James Bowen’s (Luke Treadaway – Attack The Block) novel is beginning to sweep around the world. After attending a publisher’s party where he feels very uncomfortable he leaves only to find a young homeless busker being bullied by a Council Official named Leon (Tim Plester – Game Of Thrones).

While sitting down and providing a meal for the young busker James recounts a Christmas story of when he and the famous Bob found themselves under threat from Leon and the kinder Ruth (Pepter Lunkuse – Father Brown) who threatened to separate the pair because they had to investigate whether or not Bob was being looked after correctly by James.

Now I will be the first to admit that the storyline here is pretty thin, but on the flip side I also have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Sure the suspense is pretty much wiped from the film because you see James and Bob together at the start of the film before they recount the tale and yes some of the main characters are just token clichés, but I still firmly believe that every cat lover out there will sit down and thoroughly enjoy this film.

It is also worth noting that this sequel is not as alternative in style as the first film was. In the hands of director Charles Martin Smith (Dolphin Tale) the film becomes a complete family fluff piece… but seriously isn’t that what we all look for in a Christmas movie anyway? Surprisingly the film does break out of its bubble of fluffiness from time to time as it just causally reminds its audience at how some homeless people do become targets for figures of authority when they are doing nothing but trying to survive.

Of course the highlight of this film is Bob The Cat who steals the limelight in every scene he is in, but he is well supported by Treadaway who works remarkably well with the fluffy script and brings some oomph to his role. While at times he is not given much to work with in the way of dialogue he counteracts that with some brilliant facial expressions that certainly gives the audience a strong feeling of how James is feeling at that very time.A Christmas Gift From Bob is a film for anyone that loves animal or Christmas films.

Hey, if you love both you are going to be in your absolute element so enjoy!!!

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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You can read our review of A Christmas Gift From Bob that appeared in The Phuket News here – https://www.thephuketnews.com/bob-the-cat-is-back-78453.php

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