Brand new Australian film Don’t Go Below will be released in Australian cinemas in January 2023 and this week we spoke to the film’s director Matt Drummond to find out how much the BlackMagic Design equipment helped with making the film.
You can take a listen to the full interview below:
Summary: Not many people know that every house is inhabited by finns. They are furry creatures that appear in human world to take care of a house and keep the hearth. Finnick is a young Finn, who doesn’t seem to care about his responsibility of making a home out of the house. He is just making pranks on «his people» and that is the reason why none of the families wanted to stay long in his house. Everything changes when a new family comes to his house, where Finnick’s tricks do not work at all, and he meets 13-year old Christine and inexplicable events begin to happen in the city. Finnick and Christine, who are so different, will have to team up and work together to solve the mystery of the events and save the city.
Cinema Release Dates: 15th September 2022 (Australia)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: Denis Chernov
Screenwriter: Tatiana Belova, Denis Chernov, Aleksandr Kim, Neil Landau, Lev Murzenko
Cast: Artur Babich (Pinkfin/Flyufin (voice)), Clifford Chapin (Christine’s Dad (voice)), Emily Cramer (Christine’s Mom (voice)), Boris Dergachev (Papa Kristiny (voice)), Nathalie Ferare (Christine (voice)), Ida Galich (Mama Kristiny (voice)), Veronika Golubeva (Kristina (voice)), Aleksandr Gudkov (Mafin (voice)), Mikhail Khrustalyov (Finnick (voice)), Vlad Levskiy (Punkfin/Finol (voice)), Andrey Lovin (Dzhey Bi (voice)), Danila Milokhin (Tifkin/Hamsterfin/Motyafin (voice)), Robb Moreira (JB (voice)), Billy Bob Thomson (Finnick (voice)), Tyoma Voterfork (Grifin/Alfin (voice)), Lyosha Yanger (Timfin/Tupikfin (voice)), Ten Yudzhin (Frogfin/Bagfin (voice))
Running Time: 85 mins
Classification: PG (Australia)
OUR FINNICK REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Finnick Review:
This seems to be the school holidays of hidden gem family films. A couple have been released with very little fanfare and one of the better ones just happens to be new Russian animation Little Monsters… which has been released worldwide under the title Finnick. I just had to write about this film because I feel so often that international family films often get lost in the ocean of Hollywood films – which is a shame when you realise how good, including this one, often are.
Directed by Denis Chernov (Teddy Boom!) I found that Little Monsters contained a level of creativity that so many filmmakers seem to forget that animated films need to have to make them enjoyable for an entire family. I remember how I was blown away by how different Planet 51 was so many years ago and I found that magical feeling returning to me as I loved watching every second of Little Monsters.
Little Monsters is set in a world where every house has a creature called a Finn living it. A Finn cannot be seen by humans but has the role of helping each household run smoothly, but that is not exactly the case with Finnick (voiced by Billy Bob Thompson). He is a Finn that seems to hate humans and relishes in the fact that he becomes so annoying that humans leave the house that he inhabits – the result is a rundown home that nobody wants to live in… and Finnick couldn’t be happier.
But then along comes Christine (Nathalie Ferare) who has once again been made cities due to the fact that her actor Dad (Clifford Chapin) and actress Mum (Emily Cramer) have just landed roles in a popular television show.
As they constantly prepare for their ‘big break’ the inquisitive Christine soon discovers the grumpy Finnick who is doing all he can to force the family to move out. But then when the evil JB (Robb Moreira) devises a plan to destroy the city that involves cruelty to Finns suddenly Christine and Finnick find themselves having to become an unlikely duo.
I think what I love the most about this film was the creativity and how different it was to anything else we have seen on the screen for a long time. Often the animated films that we see are either based on a television series or a book but with Little Monsters this is a world that has been entirely created, from the ground up, by a team of screenwriters and the result is something fresh that I found fuelling my own imagination.
The film also steers away from stereotypes. While the characters of the Mum and Dad, as well as their boss, are over the top they are never clichéd and are given characteristics of their own. It is kind of a weird feeling watching the film because the characters are so real and believable that at times you forget that you are watching an animated film.
What I took away the most from Little Monsters though is the creativity of the world that has been created by the film. The legend of the Finns feels like it should be made folklore somewhere while the city itself contains characters that you can’t help but fall in love with and even relate to. Even the ways created for the writers for JB to try and destroy the city are new and creative and you can only hope that this filmmaking team stick together and we see more tales from this world brought to the big screen.
Please don’t let the fact Little Monsters is an international animated film put you off. The film has been dubbed so well into English that you could never tell that it has been dubbed. The animation itself is out of this world and it touches on topics and themes that are universal and important to all. Above all though this is one of the most creative films that you will see this year and I feel that families everywhere will simply fall in love with it.
Summary: Hank, a loveable dog with a head full of dreams about becoming a samurai, sets off in search of his destiny.
Cinema Release Dates: 15th September 2022 (Australia), 15th July 2022 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: USA, China, UK, Canada
Director: Chris Bailey, Mark Koetsier, Rob Minkoff
Screenwriter: Ed Stone, Nate Hopper, Mel Brooks, Norman Steinberg, Andrew Bergman, Ricahrd Pryor, Alan Uger
Cast: Mel Brooks (The Shogun (voice)), Michael Cera (Hank (voice)), Ricky Gervais (Ika Chu (voice)), Djimon Hounsou (Sumo (voice)), Gabriel Iglesias (Chuck (voice)), Samuel L. Jackson (Jimbo (voice)), Kylie Kuioka (Emiko (voice)), Asif Mandvi (Ichiro (voice)), Cathy Shim (Little Mama (voice)), George Takei (Ohga (voice)), Michelle Yeoh (Yuki (voice))
Running Time: 98 mins
Classification: PG (Australia), PG (USA)
OUR DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Paws of Fury: The Legend Of Hank Review:
I think I just had one of the funniest experiences that I am likely to have in a cinema this year and was something that I was wasn’t really expecting. Brand new animated family flick Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank has been released in Australia with very little fanfare, a shame really because I found this to be the kind of film that can be enjoyed by the whole family – both kids and parents alike.
A mixture of both a Western and an Oriental feel the film centres around a young dog named Hank (voiced by Michael Cera – Juno) who dreams of becoming a samurai. That dream stems from the fact that when he was a young pup he was rescued by a great samurai named Jimbo (Samuel L. Jackson – Pulp Fiction), but it is a distant dream because samurais can only be cats. In fact dogs are not even allowed to be in the areas protected by samurais – those areas are solely reserved for cats.
Undeterred Hank travels into the forbidden area and soon finds himself captured by the evil Ika Chu (Ricky Gervais – The Office) who has devised an evil plan to impress The Shogun (Mel Brooks – The Producers) and one day bring him down so he can steal his role.
After hearing about Hank’s dream to become a samurai though Ika Chu realises that he can use the young dog for his own good. Part of his plan is to get rid of a town that interrupts the view from his palace so he sends the inexperienced Hank to ‘protect’ the town knowing that he will not only fail at his mission but will also be despised by all who call the town home.
What he doesn’t count on though is that the town is home to Jimbo and that one young kitten, named Emiko (Kylie Kuioka – Better Nate Than Ever), will believe in Hank and try to help him become the best samurai he can.
I think the most surprising thing about Paw Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank was just how damn fun the film was. Directed by a team of directors including Chris Bailey (The Great Wolf Pack), Mark Koetsier (first time director) and Rob Minkoff (The Lion King) the film takes on all the tropes of a western and mixes it together brilliantly with the style and action of a kung-fu film. Along the way the team of screenwriters also infuse just the amount of comedy – both written and slap stick – that will certainly appeal to those that like the old school kinds of animations made famous by Warner Bros. in the past.
The other thing I loved about this film was the messages and morals that it touched on. The film tells the younger audience members that they should never give up their dreams no matter what obstacles are placed in their way while it also the dog vs cat storyline to have a very meaningful moral about racism. The great thing is the film doesn’t over-preach but still manages to get its point across to people of all ages.
I also found the voice casting to be spot on. Ricky Gervais steals the show with his vocal athleticism playing the film’s villain while Michael Cera takes on a more unrecognisable style. I should also say that audience members should listen closely to the voices of some of the villagers and they will hear the work of people such as Djiimon Hounsou (Guardians Of The Galaxy) and Michelle Yeoh (Everything, Everywhere All At Once).
While it hasn’t received the love that it should have before it has been released I think Paws Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank is the kind of film that all members of the family will enjoy, laugh with all while learning some valuable life lessons.
Dave’s rating Out Of 5
Average Subculture rating Out Of 5
Other Subculture Paw Of Fury: The Legend Of Hank Reviews:
Summary: Follow a group of children who are evacuated Krypto the Super-Dog and Superman are inseparable best friends, sharing the same superpowers and fighting crime side by side in Metropolis. However, Krypto must master his own powers for a rescue mission when Superman is kidnapped.
Cinema Release Dates: 15th August 2022 (Australia), 4th August 2022 (Thailand), 29th July 2022 (UK), 29th July 2022 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Director: Jared Stern, Sam J. Levine
Screenwriter: Jared Stern, John Whittington
Cast: Amanda Ames (Guinea-Pigasus (voice)), Vanessa Bayer (PB (voice)), Winona Bradshaw (Whiskers (voice)), Yvette Nicole Brown (Patty (voice)), Jemaine Clement (Aquaman (voice)), Keith David (Dog-El (voice)), Davide Diggs (Cyborg (voice)), John Early (The Flash (voice)), Maya Erskine (Mercy Graves (voice)), Dan Fogler (Carl/Pilot/Racer (voice)), Kevin Hart (Ace (voice)), Lena Headey (Lara (voice)), Jameela Jamil (Wonder Woman (voice)), Dwayne Johnson (Krypto (voice)), John Krasinski (Clark Kent/Superman (voice)), Sam J. Levine (Boston Terrier aka Waffles/Robot Guards (voice)), Diego Luna (Chip (voice)), Natasha Lyonne (Merton (voice)), Marc Maron (Lex Luthor (voice)), Kate McKinnon (Lulu (voice)), Thomas Middleditch (Keith aka Ice Guinea Pig (voice)), Alfred Molina (Jor-El (voice)), Busy Philipps (Foofy Dog (voice)), Dasscha Polanco (Green Lantern (voice)), David Pressman (Corgi (voice)), Keanu Reeves (Batman (voice)), Ben Schwartz (Mark aka Fire Guinea Pig (voice)), Olivia Wilde (Lois Lane (voice)),
Running Time: 105 mins
Classification: PG (Australia), PG (UK), PG (USA)
OUR DC LEAGUE OF SUPER-PETS REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ DC League Of Super-Pets Review:
Dave’s rating Out Of 5
Kyle McGrath’s DC League Of Superpets Review:
DC League of Super-Pets is the animated family film we’ve all been waiting for, one which finally introduces Superman’s superdog! Everybody needs a best friend and Superman’s is Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson), a canine who travelled all the way from Krypton with Supes and has thus all the same powers….except he’s a dog. When one of super villain Lex Luthor’s plans goes awry it results in several rescue animals inadvertently receiving incredible super powers. Chip the squirrel (Diego Luna) receives electro abilities, PB the pig (Vanessa Bayer) can change sizes, Merton the turtle (Natasha Lyonne) becomes super fast and their leader Ace the dog (Kevin Hart) becomes super resilient. Unfortunately for the city of Metropolis Luthor’s former test guinea pig the evil Lulu (Kate Mckinnon) has herself gained the power of telekinesis and plans to use it to capture the Justice League and enslave humanity! With Krypto struggling to come to terms with trusting anybody other than his beloved owner he must learn to rely on these four-legged superhero friends to help him save the day.
I think we can say without a doubt that Marvel won the cinematic universe rivalry with flying colours while DC’s exploded on the launching pad. However something I’ve appreciated from DC is the variety they have taken with their films, for how adult films like 2019’s Joker was there have been child orientated films like Teen Titans Go to the Movies which while clearly made for a younger audience still featured many in jokes which adult fans of the comics can appreciate. The idea of superhero animals may seem completely out of the blue just to make a kids film but almost all of these furry characters are in fact deep dives from the comics or were directly inspired by specific stories.
The director/writer team of Jared Stern and John Wittington who previously worked as writers on The Lego Batman movie bring the same high energy rapid fire humour which made that film such a hilarious success. A decidedly sillier look at the DC universe it’s humour lands more than it misses and children undoubtedly will have a ball with the slapstick comedy on screen.
I actually found the storyline of Super-Pets to be interesting if a little dumbed down and cliched, it is a kids film after all. Much of the plot revolves around the animals love for their humans and their need to protect, please or find an owner in the absence of one. Krypto’s personal issues with Superman & Lois Lane’s growing relationship and his fear of being pushed aside, Ace’s unfortunate history which led to him being in a rescue shelter and even Lulu’s motivations largely stem from her adoration of Lex Luthor despite being his literal lab test guinea pig. Super-Pets does a better job at introducing and making us care about this heroic league than even the Justice League film accomplished.
None of this would mean anything if it wasn’t for the talented voice cast behind it all. On one hand animated films can rely a little too much on stuntcasting as many big names as possible but here I find even some of the more outlandish casting works such as Keanu Reeves as Batman, something we’d never see in live action. McKinnon, Lyonne, Bayer & Luna are all perfectly cast in their respective roles and make each character pop. Headlining are the duo of Johnson & Hart who prove that even in voice over form the two have incredible chemistry together and I have to say I am happy to see Kevin Hart not typecast here in some ‘little guy’ role.
While I find myself disliking the more light hearted aspects of many superhero films nowadays I ironically love superhero kids films. For example where quips and attempts at breaking the tension hurt the recent Thor: Love & Thunder, DC League of Super-Pets delivers a fun and exciting take on the world of comics without the pretence of it ever being serious in the first place. Kids unfamiliar with the source material, die-hard fans and animal lovers alike will all find plenty to appreciate here.
Average Subculture rating Out Of 5
Other Subculture DC League Of Superheroes Reviews:
Summary: Follow a group of children who are evacuated to a Yorkshire village during the Second World War, where they encounter a young soldier who, like them, is far away from home.
Cinema Release Dates: 15th September 2022 (Australia), 15th July 2022 (UK), 23rd September 2022 (USA)
VOD Release Dates: TBA
Country: USA, UK
Director: Morgan Matthews
Screenwriter: Daniel Brocklehurst, Jemma Rodgers
Cast: Jenny Agutter (Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Waterbury), KJ Aikens (Abe), Jessica Baglow (Angela), John Bradley (Richard), Tom Courtney (Uncle Walter), Zac Cudby (Ted), Gabriel Freilich (Military Police Officer Rouse), Beau Gadsdon (Lily), Eden Hamilton (Pattie), Austin Hayes (Thomas), Hugh Quarshie (General Harrison), Jospeh Richards (George Duckworth), Sheridan Smith (Annie), Oscar Wallwork (Jimmy), Hannah Wood (Miss Eckersley)
Running Time: 99 mins
Classification: PG (Australia), PG (UK), PG (USA)
OUR THE RAILWAY CHILDREN RETURN REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ The Railway Children Return Review:
Dave’s rating Out Of 5
Kyle McGrath’s The Railway Children Return Review:
The Railway Children Return is a family adventure film set in 1944 during World War 2. As regular bombings causes life in England’s cities to be increasingly perilous the three Watts children Lily (Beau Gadsdon), Pattie (Eden Hamilton) & Ted (Zac Cudby) are among a number of youths sent by their parents on a train to the countryside for safety. In the small Yorkshire village of Oakworth the three are fostered by the Waterbury family, matriarch Bobbie (Jenny Agutter), daughter Annie (Sheridan Smith) & grandson Thomas (Austin Haynes).
While scary at first the Watts children are enraptured by the welcoming community and settle pleasantly into their new home meeting local characters such as station master Richard Parks (John Bradley). One day while playing hide and seek the children stumble across a young injured African American soldier known as Abe (KJ Aikens) who at first taking advantage of the children’s naivety claiming to be on a secret mission quickly is outed as an under-age deserter fleeing his regiment due to racial persecution from his fellow soldiers. The children take it upon themselves to assist Abe in his attempts to avoid the military police and to escape back home to America.
This film has a refreshingly authentic feel with costume design by Dinah Collin and production design by Jeff Tessler both of whom have extensive experience with recreating English period pieces on screen. Although the railway plays more incidentally into the story there was something quaint in seeing this simpler village at a historic time and many small details I appreciated about its world building.
This film acts as a long term follow up to the 1970 children’s classic The Railway Children inspired by the classic novel by Edith Nesbit. Whereas that film told the tale of the Waterbury family in 1905 travelling to Yorkshire and this film is set nearly 40 years later it does still retain certain key elements. At it’s core are the selfless actions of the children as each story focuses on and their desire to help others coupled with a warm feeling of good family values.
Jenny Agutter returns to the role she first played in 1968 in a BBC television production of the story before being recast again for the 1970 movie. Her inclusion in this production is a positive however it must be said she feels like she hasn’t been given much to work with. The story of course focuses on a much younger generation however I do wish Agutter’s talents were better utilised here.
Speaking of the younger cast I found them delightful it this film. Hamilton, Cudby & Haynes are adorable while much of the heavy lifting is provided by Gadsdon as the older sibling who has had adult responsibilities thrust upon her early in life due to the war. Aikens as well gives his all as a black youth dealing with racism in a role perhaps much heavier than was necessary.
The story is at its best when it follows the adventures of the children being children showing resilience in a world bigger than they can fully comprehend. This was the strength of the original film and it’s why 50 years later it remains a timeless favourite on par with similar movies like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and The Love Bug. While in the age of the MCU and Pixar films one might think child audiences wouldn’t have the patience for slower paced films however I was pleased to see the younger members of my screening greatly enjoying this type of movie.
What damages the film is it’s insistence on dealing with the much heavier subject matter of racism and bigotry within the military. It is made so much worse as this is handled in such a blunt and hamfisted fashion that the message of the film seems to be “all white American soldiers during World War 2 were racist and the British were absolutely not”. Something preposterous when it is displayed as such an absolute and I feel is frankly offensive to World War 2 veterans.
The depiction of the military police in this movie seems more designed in such a way as to work as allegory for contemporary social issues on race and the police. While racism was and still is a serious issue a ‘Railway Children’ movie made for kids doesn’t need to have disturbing scenes of black people being beaten to a pulp in the street for the crime of socialising with white women.
I enjoyed much of this movie, a very beautiful and relaxing film it’s simpler first half and even the matter of the children wanting to help a young soldier in need were welcome. However it’s shifting in tones to much darker territory only for it to shift again at breakneck speed for a happy resolution damage the film’s potential to be a worthy follow up to such a beloved classic.
A brand-new trailer, poster and trailer stills are now available for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ action-packed adventure “Strange World.” Opening in Australian cinemas November 24, the feature film introduces a legendary family of explorers, the Clades, as they attempt to navigate an uncharted, treacherous land alongside a motley crew that includes a mischievous blob, a three-legged dog and a slew of ravenous creatures. “Inspired by classic adventure stories,” said director Don Hall, “‘Strange World’ is an original animated adventure/comedy about three generations of the Clade family who overcome their differences while exploring a strange, wondrous and oftentimes hostile world.”
The voice cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal as Searcher Clade, a family man who finds himself out of his element on an unpredictable mission; Dennis Quaid as Searcher’s larger-than-life explorer father, Jaeger; Jaboukie Young-White as Searcher’s 16-year-old son, Ethan, who longs for adventure; Gabrielle Union as Meridian Clade, an accomplished pilot and Searcher’s partner in all things; and Lucy Liu as Callisto Mal, Avalonia’s fearless leader who spearheads the exploration into the strange world. “Strange World” is helmed by Don Hall (Oscar®-winning “Big Hero 6,” “Raya and the Last Dragon”) and co-director/writer Qui Nguyen (co-writer “Raya and the Last Dragon”), and produced by Roy Conli (Oscar®-winning “Big Hero 6,” “Tangled”).
In celebration of Disney+ Day, Disney and Pixar’s original series “Cars on the Road” will debut exclusively on the streaming service Sept. 8, 2022. Check out a new trailer, key art and image for Disney and Pixar’s “Cars on the Road” now. The Disney+ Original series follows Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) and his best friend Mater (voice of Larry the Cable Guy) as they head east from Radiator Springs on a cross-country road trip to meet up with Mater’s sister. “The series is a romp across the country with Lightning McQueen and Mater,” says director Steve Purcell. “Like any real road trip, every day is a new mini-adventure with unexpected twists and turns.”
“Cars on the Road” is produced by Marc Sondheimer. The series’ episodes are directed by Steve Purcell (Eps 1, 2, 8), Bobby Podesta (Eps 5, 6, 9) and Brian Fee (Eps 3, 4, 7). Composer Jake Monaco created the score for all nine episodes.
Disney+ Day will return on Thursday, September 8, 2022, leading into D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event presented by Visa in Anaheim, CA. In celebration, the streaming service will host special experiences for fans and subscribers, and will premiere new content from its marquee brands – Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.
Today, Disney+ revealed plans to stream Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” beginning August 3, 2022. “’Lightyear’ looks amazing on the big screen, of course, but we are so excited to bring it to Disney+,” said Angus MacLane, who helmed the film. “We devoted years of our lives to this film and we are so proud of it. We want to share it with as many people as possible. Disney+ not only gives more fans an opportunity to see ‘Lightyear,’ it gives us all the means to see it again and again.”
ABOUT THE MOVIE A sci-fi action adventure and the definitive origin story of Buzz Lightyear, the hero who inspired the toy, “Lightyear” follows the legendary Space Ranger after he’s marooned on a hostile planet 4.2 million light-years from Earth alongside his commander and their crew. As Buzz tries to find a way back home through space and time, he’s joined by a group of ambitious recruits and his charming robot companion cat, Sox. Complicating matters and threatening the mission is the arrival of Zurg, an imposing presence with an army of ruthless robots and a mysterious agenda.
The film features the voices of Chris Evans as accomplished Space Ranger Buzz Lightyear, Uzo Aduba as his commander and best friend Alisha Hawthorne and Peter Sohn as Sox. Keke Palmer, Taika Waititi and Dale Soules lend their voices to the Junior Zap Patrol’s Izzy Hawthorne, Mo Morrison and Darby Steel, respectively, and James Brolin can be heard as the enigmatic Zurg. The voice cast also includes Mary McDonald-Lewis as onboard computer I.V.A.N., Isiah Whitlock Jr. as Commander Burnside, Efren Ramirez as Airman Díaz, Keira Hairston as Young Izzy and Tim Peake as Tim/Mission Control (in U.K. release). Directed by Angus MacLane (co-director “Finding Dory”), produced by Galyn Susman (“Toy Story That Time Forgot”) and featuring a score by award-winning composer Michael Giacchino (“The Batman,” “Up”), Disney and Pixar’s “Lightyear” is in cinemas now. The film streams on Disney+ beginning Aug. 3, 2022.