Category: Music / Musicals

Summary: An alcoholic drug dealer suddenly finds herself responsible for looking after her autistic sister.

Year: 2021

Cinema Release Dates: 14th January 2021 (Australia), 19th February 2021 (UK), 10th February 2021 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: 12th February 2021 (USA)

Country: USA

Director: Sia

Screenwriter: Dallas Clayton, Sia

Cast: Beto Calvillo (Felix), Hector Elizondo (George), Brandon Soo Hoo (Tanner), Kate Hudson (Zu), Braden Marcott (Nassir), Leslie Odom Jnr. (Ebo), Mary Kay Place (Millie), Blair Williamson (Able), Maddie Ziegler (Music)

Running Time: 107 mins

Classification: M (Australia), PG-13 (USA)


David Griffiths’ Music Review:

Yes the movie that cancel culture didn’t want you to see is finally in cinemas. Now that I have had the chance to sit down and watch the film I can honestly tell you that once again the cancel culture brigade were way off the mark and well and truly barking up the wrong tree when it came to their criticism of Music.

Of course though, should we be surprised? Two very obvious things stood out from the criticism of this film as it surfaced around the internet. Firstly the people criticising the film had never ever seen it and secondly from a lot of their comments you could tell that many had very little knowledge about autism as a condition and even less about filmmaking.

I don’t write this review as ‘just another film critic’ like I am sure people will want to point out in the comments section. I write this as somebody who has not only been in the director’s and screenwriter’s chair but also as someone who has grown up with a cousin with autism and has volunteered to work with a number of people with a range of disabilities over the years.

And that is how I knew the arguments of the cancel culture about this film were ill-informed and just completely cruel. See, I’ve been there when my family has struggled to get my cousin to sit under an umbrella because it has terrified him or watched family members literally have to fight with him to get him into a car and the thing is my cousin is slightly autistic, yet the cancel culture would have you believe that the filmmakers behind this film could easily have found someone on the extreme spectrum of autism who could have not only acted throughout this film but also done some high level dance sequences… yep good luck with that.

What that certain brigade missed though was the opportunities of this film. It is films like this that give people a better understanding of what not only autism is like but what life is like for those that have to care for the person with autism. I will openly admit that when I was young I was pretty much afraid of my cousin, it took me sitting down when I was a little older and watching Rain Man to see what life was like for him and that point I not only understood him but became his friend. But of course according to the people arguing about Music Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal in Rain Man is now considered ‘offensive.’

What the people criticising Music don’t realise is that this film will have the same effect on some people as Rain Man did on me. Suddenly those cool school girls that listen to Sia’s (who directed and wrote the film) music might finally see that that girl they exclude from everything because she is ‘different’ isn’t as different as they thought and those pop-culture boys who currently throw food at the ‘weirdo’ at the bus are now going to see that person as a person.

Now I am not going to sit here and say that Music is a masterpiece. The film has its weaknesses but there is also a power and a heart to this film that you just don’t get with a lot of the blockbuster in our cinemas these days. In fact this is the film that is more at home in an arthouse cinema that is in a multiplex.

Kate Hudson (Almost Famous) plays Zu, a young woman whose partying lifestyle and alcohol problem has stopped her from ever being a sister to her autistic half-sister Music (Maddie Ziegler – The Book Of Henry). However with the sudden death of her grandmother suddenly Zu finds herself having to look after Music.

Her only support comes from a kind-hearted landlord George (Hector Elizondo – Pretty Woman) who has distrusted Zu after she stole from him and caring neighbour Ebo (Leslie Odom Jnr. – Red Tails).

They are both surprised to learn though that Zu’s plan does not involve her caring for Music for long. Her plan is to make enough money from drug dealing to place Music in a home and then move to ‘paradise’ herself.

When you watch Music you realise that the plot is pretty basic but having said that though it does hold up and does provide some suspenseful and dramatic moments throughout. The idea of going into dance sequences to show how Music views the world shows that Sia’s creativity from her musical career certainly carries over into her filmmaking as well. They also give Sia the opportunity to create a very creative soundtrack and while the music works throughout the film it perhaps would have been nice to have had a couple of recognisable tracks appear here and there as well.

Where the true power comes from this film though is through the acting. Kate Hudson is at her award-winning best playing the damaged Zu. Despite her bad life choices and at times cruel decisions the portrayal of the character by Hudson makes her likable. If this was supposed to be the fluff piece that some have cruelly labelled it then someone forgot to tell Hudson because she shows up with her A-Game.

She is well matched by Ziegler who should not be criticised for her portrayal of Music – instead she should be praised and being mentioned when it comes to Awards season. Her performance here is very much a break-out performance and I am extremely curious to see where her career goes from here. Hector Eliondo and Leslie Odom Jnr. also bring a warmth to this film, the latter like Ziegler showing that he is capable of just about any role thrown at him in his career. The key to getting the best experience out of Music is to go into the film and ignore all the negativity surrounding it. The points aimed at this film go right out the window once you have watched it and instead of being labelled as ‘one to avoid’ this is a film that needs to be praised for its unique filmmaking style and the powerful performances by its leading ladies.

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

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Directed by Julia Parnell, New Zealand’s most prominent music documentary-maker, the story charts the incredible untold story of SIX60, a student band turned national phenomenon, achieving the unthinkable in a country of 5 million.


SIX60 defied all convention becoming the first Kiwi band to sell out New Zealand’s biggest stadium, only before filled by the likes of AC/DC, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, KISS, Stevie Wonder and Eminem – but the road to unrivalled success isn’t smooth.


Filmed over a tumultuous 18 months, as the band must reconcile between ambition and creative vulnerability, woven with jaw-dropping vision of their record-breaking concert and a unique Kiwi sense of humour, SIX60: Till the Lights Go Out presents a group of men confronting the true cost of never giving up.


Featuring all their hit songs, SIX60: Till the Lights Go Out is a story that will leave cinema audiences feeling closer to the band than ever before. The story of SIX60 is one inextricably linked to New Zealand and kiwi culture, but is also a story of love, compassion and never giving up.


“Any preconceived ideas I had of SIX60 were completely changed in the process of making this movie. Their stubbornness to achieve, whilst confounding critics and disproving experts, has virtually redefined what success looks like in New Zealand. But it is the brutal honesty they have shared that I hope will connect most with audiences” – Julia Parnell, Director.


A story of brotherhood, music and the love of a nation, ‘Till the Lights Go Out’ will do what SIX60 do best: unite people.


‘SIX60: Till the Lights Go Out’ in cinemas across Australia & New Zealand on November 26, 2020


Principal photography will begin on September 23 on Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Elvis,” Oscar-nominated filmmaker Baz Luhrmann’s (“The Great Gatsby,” “Moulin Rouge!”) musical drama about the life and music of Elvis Presley.  Seen through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker, the film stars Austin Butler (“Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood”) as Elvis, Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Forrest Gump”) as Colonel Tom Parker and Olivia DeJonge (“Stray Dolls”) as Priscilla Presley. 

Looking forward to getting to work after the lengthy delay, Luhrmann stated, “We’re back to, as Elvis liked to say, ‘taking care of business!’  It is a real privilege in this unprecedented global moment that Tom Hanks has been able to return to Australia to join Austin Butler and all of our extraordinary cast and crew to commence production on ‘Elvis.’  I cannot emphasize enough how lucky we feel in the current climate that the state of Queensland, and Queenslanders in general, have been so supportive of this film.  We thank our partners in the Queensland Government and Queensland Health for their extremely diligent process, so that we can be an example how creativity and productivity can proceed safely and responsibly in a way that protects our team and the community at large.  We are all excited to start working with Tom Hanks when he is out of quarantine in two weeks.”

The story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker spanning over 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America.  Central to that journey is one of the most significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley.

Luhrmann directs from the current screenplay written by Luhrmann and Craig Pearce.  Luhrmann is also producing the film, alongside Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick and Schuyler Weiss, with Andrew Mittman executive producing.

The director’s behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Mandy Walker (“Mulan,” “Australia”), Oscar-winning production designer and costume designer Catherine Martin (“The Great Gatsby,” “Moulin Rouge!”), editors Matt Villa (“The Great Gatsby,” “Australia”) and Jonathan Redmond (“The Great Gatsby”) and composer Elliott Wheeler (“The Get Down”).

Principal photography on “Elvis” is taking place in Queensland, Australia with the support of the Queensland Government, Screen Queensland and the Australian Government’s Producer Offset program.  The film will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures.


Summary: The biographical story of musician Jeremy Camp.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: 12th March 2020

Thailand Cinema Release Date: 19th June 2020

Australian VOD Release Date: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin

Screenwriter: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin, Jeremy Camp (book)

Cast: Timothy James Adkinson (Pete Nelson), K.J. Apa (Jeremy), Cameron Arnett (Doctor Furst), Nicolas Bechtel (Jared), Rushi Birudala (Raj), Tanya Christiansen (Jannette), Abigail Cowen (Adrienne), Reuben Dodd (Josh), Hali Everette (Megan Henning), Gregory Hobson (self), Anjelah Johnson-Reyes (Professor Rochester), Marshall Meeker (Yves La Joie), Katie Anne Moy (Jacqueline), Sahjanan Nasser (Maria), Nathan Parsons (Jean-Luc), Britt Robertson (Melissa), Melissa Roxburgh (Heather), Terry Serpico (Mark), Gary Sinise (Tom), Shania Twain (Teri)

Running Time: 116 mins

Classification: PG (Australia)





Dave Griffiths’ I Still Believe Review:

Becoming a teenage heart-throb is the dream of every young actor. But while the pull of stardom is very strong reaching that heart-throb status is never a guarantee of a long and successful Hollywood career.

Flash back to the late 1990s and Dawson’s Creek was the biggest show on television. Its male stars – James Van Der Beek, Joshua Jackson and Kerr Smith were on posters on every teenage girl’s wall around the world. Today all three are lucky to get small roles in television shows and B-Grade movies.

The next actor following in those foot-steps is young star K.J. Apa. The New Zealand local has risen to stardom as the star of Netflix’s very own Gothic teenage mystery show Riverdale where he plays comic book legend Archie Andrews, while his new film I Still Believe opens in cinemas across Thailand this week.

Apa’s movie career to date has been successful from a critical point of view. Films like A Dog’s Purpose and The Last Summer have certainly earned him more fan attention while his work on the gritty The Hate U Give gave him a chance to show the world his acting ability. I Still Believe sees Apa’s career take a whole new direction though… a direction that many of his young fans probably didn’t see coming – the starring role in what many people would label a faith-inspired film.

In I Still Believe Apa plays Jeremy Camp – one of the world’s highest selling Christian musicians. The movie follows Camp’s life from the moment he leaves the country-side home of his parents (played by Gary Sinise and Shania Twain) and heads to college. It is there that he meets musician Jean-Luc (Nathan Parsons – The Originals) who recognises Camp’s musical ability and starts him out on his career.

From there though things don’t exactly go the way that Camp wants them to. First he and Jean-Luc find themselves competing for the affection of the same woman – the beautiful Melissa (Britt Robertson – Tomorrowland). But even that doesn’t run a smooth path when Melissa is diagnosed with cancer and is soon battling massive odds to just survive.

Unlike many ‘religious’ films I Still Believe doesn’t come across as a preachy film. While both Jeremy and Melissa’s faith is there for all to see the film also explores themes of a hope and love as it depicts a young couple facing one of the biggest challenges of their lives. The screenplay also brilliantly allows the plot to explore the story of a man who begins to doubt his own faith as the odds stack up against Melissa.

While many religious films are also plagued by soap-opera style writing and bad acting that certainly isn’t the case with I Still Believe. Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin (October Baby) doesn’t hold back at all with this film. The audience will find themselves tested as the plot causes you to start to think about your own beliefs and how you would cope in circumstances where it appears that your partner may not survive. While Camp is a Christian the film would cause people of any faith or belief to look deep inside and explore how they would react in the same circumstance.

Likewise the directors also test their young stars. Britt Robertson is at times unrecognisable as she plays the terminally ill Melissa but the acting tour-de-force here is Kapa. In Riverdale we have had to watch Kapa deal with the death of his on screen father, which was brought about due to the off-screen death of actor Luke Perry, and once again here Kapa is put through an absolute acting wringer. Some of the sequences here as Camp goes through a personal and faith-driven breakdown would have been brutal and emotionally-toiling on Kapa. To the young star’s credit though he pulls them off with ease and many of his scenes have the power to have the audience in tears. If there was any question at all over whether Kapa had the acting ability to forge a career outside of Riverdale this is the film that proves the world his is oyster.

I Still Believe may be an emotional viewing for some audience members, but it is well worth packing the box of tissues and sitting through. A thought-provoking and challenging story-line mixed with a young star putting in the performance of his young career makes I Still Believe one of the biggest surprises of  2020.





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Summary: Icleandic pop-group get the chance to live out their ultimate dream when they are selected to represent Iceland at the Eurovision Song Contest.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian VOD Release Date: 26th June 2020

Country: USA

Director: David Dobkin

Screenwriter: Will Ferrell, Andrew Steele

Cast: Mark Adams (Jon Ola Sand), William Lee Adams (himself), Hannes Oli Agustsson (Olaf Yohansson), Elina Alminas (Sasha Moore), Pierce Brosnan (Erick Erickssong), Gunanr Cauthery (Aron), Junior Delius (Dailbour Jinski), Jamie Demetriou (Kevin Swain), Natasia Demetriou (Nina), Sophia-Grace Donnelly (Young Sigrit), Will Ferrell (Lars Erickssong), Aiste Gramantaite (Moon Fang), Michael Hillberg (Godfrey Heirdaul), Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson (Policeman – Arnar), Rebecca Harrod (Brittny), Bilal Hassani (Bilal Hassani), Chris Lew Kum Hoi (Jae-Bong),  Jamala (herself), Christopher Jeffers (Johnny John John), Joi Johannsson (Jorn), Johannes Hakur Johannesson (Johans), Jon Kortajerna (Corin Vladvitch), Brie Kristiansen (Ros), Thomas Lemarquis (Jiles), Bobby Lockwood (Jeff),Loreen (herself), Demi Lovato (Katiana),John Lundvik (himself),  Melissanthi Mahut (Mita Xenakis), Yevgeniy Malyarchuk (himself), Jessy Matador (Jessy Matador), Rachel McAdams (Sigrit Ericksdottir), Alfie Melia (Young Lars), Julian Miller (Janus Skoene), Kajsa Mohammar (Lisa), Elina Nechayeva (herself), Netta (Netta), Graham Norton (himself), Anna Odobescu (herself), Olafur Darri Olafsson (Neils Brongus), Mikael Persbrandt (Victor Karlosson), Elin Petersdottir (Helka), Hlynur Porsteinsson (Policman – Robert), Zack Propert (Staphan – Drummer), Alfrin Rose (Anna), Alexander Rybak (himself), Salvador Sabral (himself), Steve Saunders (Ragnar), Bjorn Stefansson (Ian), Dan Stevens (Alexander Lemtov), Eleanor Williams (Jenn), Conchita Wurst (Conchita Wurst), Josh Zare (Bill)

Running Time: 123 mins

Classification: M





Dave Griffiths’ Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga Review:

Eurovision! That word has very different meanings for people depending on where you are located in the world. In the US it is known as a music event full of strange acts that are barely worth a second glance. But to the rest of the word the Eurovision Song Contest is like a religion. Bands like the ever-popular ABBA became household names after performing at the contest while even today there are television shows and house parties dedicated to what is arguably the world’s biggest annual music event.

Now Eurovision comes to the big screen in the form of Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga – a comedy film starring the iconic Will Ferrell (Blades of Glory). Ferrell plays Icelandic musician Lars Ericksson, who along with, his best friend Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams – The Notebook) form pop-group Fire Saga.

Despite the fact the band are treated as a joke in their home town Fire Saga suddenly find themselves thrust into the world spotlight when the actions of a corrupt official leads to them representing Iceland at Eurovision as it is considered that they are ‘the least likely Icelandic act to win’. While Lars celebrates the fact that his life-long dream is only a couple of performances away Sigirit sees this as an opportunity to perhaps take that romantic step with Lars.

However things don’t go to plan. First the band are set-up to fail and when a Greek pop-star (Melissanthi Mahut – In Transit) sets her sights on Lars while a Russian mega-star (Dan Stevens – Beauty And The Beast) decides her is the perfect match for Sigrit – both on and off the stage.

It may come as a surprise to many film lovers but unlike many American comedies this film is quirky, funny and has a massive amount of heart. Often Ferrell damages the film he is in by trying too hard to get a laugh. Ferrell is reigned in well by director David Dobkin (The Judge) and the result is a smooth comedic performance that sees Ferrell deliver some amazing one liners and occasionally producing some moments of slap-stick gold.

Ferrell is well supported by the cast around him. McAdams who is known more for her dramatic performances is like a fish to water with comedy. She is equally as funny as Ferrell through the film and some of her scenes with Dan Stevens, who also reveals a comedic side we never existed, are some of the most memorable scenes in the film.

What sets Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga aside from other comedies is its quirkiness and heart. From exploding boats, a romantic couple that may or may not be brother and sister and dancing whales you never know what Dobkin and the screenwriters will throw at the audience next. That alongside some witty one-liners means audience members are laughing throughout the film.

Then there is the heart of this film that makes the experience of watching it something memorable. Unlike many comedies this film has well-rounded and fleshed out characters which leads to some emotionally-driven storylines. Plot points like Lars trying to fulfil his dreams while trying to form a meaningful relationship with his father (Pierce Brosnan – Tomorrow Never Dies) bring a real sense of meaning to the film. Then there are little points like Lars teaching a young Sigrit to talk using music – those kinds of things are a stroke of genius from a screenplay as they really make the audience more emotionally involved with the characters in front of them.

With interesting and three-dimensional characters and a witty screenplay that delivers some moments of comedy gold Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga  is one of Will Ferrell’s best film in years.




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Summary: A look at the rise and fall of alternative rock in the 1990s.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian VOD Release Date: TBA

Country: Australia

Director: Shaun Katz

Screenwriter: Shaun Katz, JB Sapienza

Cast: Steve Albini (self – Big Black), Martin Atkins (self – Public Image LTD), Aaron Beam (self – Red Fang), Josh Blum (self – Sugartooth), Jon Bunch (self – Sense Field), Joey Castillo (self – Queens Of The Stone Age), Jeremy Chatelain (self – Jets To Brazil), Jim Coleman (self – Cop Shoot Cop), Chris Connelly (self – Ministry), Tim Cronic (self), John D. Cronise (self – The Sword), Marston Daley (self – My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult), Dave Dicenso (self – Cro-Mags), Aimee Echo (self – Human Waste Project), Neil Fallon (self – Clutch), Ted Gardner (self), Bryan Giles (self – Red Fang), Mike Gitter (self), Mike Graff ((self – Course Of Empire), Billy Graziadei (self – Biohazard), Derrick Green (self – Sepultura), Adam Grosman (self – Skrew), Ron Holzner (self – Trouble), Todd Huth (self – Primus), Marc Hunter (self – Sugartooth), Pepper Keenan (self – C.O.C.), Walter A. Kibby II (self – Fishbone), Garrett Klahn (self – Texas Is The Reason), John Leamy (self – Surgery), Mike Lewis (self – For Love Not Lisa), Brian Liesegang (self – Filter), Chad Lovell (self – Course Of Empire), Roy Mayorga (self – Stone Sour), Clint McBay (self – For Love Not Lisa), Peter Mengede (self – Helmet), Jamie Miller (self – Bad Religion), Michael Jerome Moore (self – Course Of Empire), James Moore (self – Downset), Jack Natz (self – Cop Shoot Cop), Alex Newport (self – Fudgetunnel), Phil Owen (self – Skatenigs), Zeke Piestrup (self), Petey Reichert (self – Rocket From The Crypt), Jesse Rhodes (self – Stegosaurus), Bryan Riche ((self – The Sword), James Robbins (self – Jawbox), Greg Saenz (self – My Head), Walter Schreifels (self – Quicksand), Brian Ares Schwager (self – Downset), Kelllii Scott (self – Failure), Craig Silverman (self – Only Living Witness), Shawn Smith (self – Brad), Laurel Sterns (self), Louis Svitek (self – Ministry), Matt Tecu (self – Dig), Texas Is Te Reason (themselves), Matt Wallace (self), David Wyndorf (self – Monster Magnet), Sean Yesult (self – White Zombie)

Running Time: 96 mins

Classification: TBC





Dave Griffiths’ Underground Inc: The Rise & Fall Of Alternative Rock Review:

Watching a music documentary is normally a very black or white experience. I normally find that either the documentary has been designed to do nothing else but promote or praise an artist or it is there to bring an artist undone like the infamous Kurt & Courtney. Rarely, do you ever get to see a balanced documentary that is willing to show the good and bad of its subject.

Going into Underground Inc: The Rise & Fall of Alternative Music I was expecting one of those black or white doccos. This was either going to be a film that concentrated on the positives of alternative music or it was going to focus on the unfounded negatives – alternative music leads to depression and suicide yada yada.

To my surprise though Shaun Katz’s film actually ends up being a concise and informative film that explores the world of the underground music scene during the 1990s… a time when the underground scene very much took over the charts and verged on becoming the mainstream.

As some of Katz’s subjects talk about back in the early 90s we saw one of the biggest changes the music scene had ever seen. One week Whitney Houston was the top of the charts and literally a week later Nirvana had taken that spot… and music as we knew it had changed forever.

With Underground Inc. Katz doesn’t swim in the shallow end of the pool. This isn’t a fan-made documentary where he wastes screen time chatting to groupies or ‘that guy that was once in the front row at a Nirvana show.’ Katz goes in deep and chats to the likes of Sean Yseult from White Zombie, Steve Albini who was the producer for both Nirvana and The Pixies and then chases down bands like Helmet, Cop Shoot Cop and Corrosion Of Conformity to get a really inside look at what the underground music scene was like at that time.

If you want a warts and all documentary about alternative music, then this is it. The film explores the highs – bands signing million dollar deals because suddenly alternative music was popular but he also explores the lows – bands who were snapped up in the alternative frenzy only to be left high and dry by record labels who had no idea how to market them. The result for many was devastating, band in-fighting through to some artists finding themselves more than $200,000 in debt to the label they signed with.

If Katz’s aim was to show the world that for every Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins there was an equally as good band who were over-looked but kept slaving away then it certainly achieved that. As far as the filmmaking style of the film goes it works brilliantly. There is no boring voice-over or lame re-enactments. Instead Katz lets the film flow by chatting to people who were there and not only witnessed the events they are talking about but also lived through them.

Underground Inc: The Rise & Fall Of Alternative Music is a must see for anyone who lived and loved music through the 1990s. This is one of the greatest snapshots of the era that I have ever seen and while it does glorify the music it also shows the dark side of the music industry and how signing to a major label is not always the blessing that artists expect it to be. This is one of the most important music documentaries of modern times.




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Summary: With their partners away serving in Afghanistan, a group of women on the home front form a choir and quickly find themselves at the center of a media sensation and global movement.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: 12th March 2020

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian VOD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom

Director: Peter Cattaneo

Screenwriter: Rosanne Flynn, Rachel Tunnard

Cast: Emmanuel Akinbami (Private Ellis), India Ria Amarteifio (Frankie), Laura Checkley (Maz), Sophie Dix (Beatrice), Laura Elphinstone (Helen), Roxy Faridany (Dawn), James Flemying (Crooks), Gaby French (Jess), Robbie Gee (Red), Charlie Hiscock (Scott), Sharon Horgan (Lisa), Amy James-Kelly (Sarah), Melanie Kilburn (Kathleen), Beverly Longhurst (Hilary), Emma Lowndes (Annie), Colin Mace (Brigadier Groves), Lila McNamara (Eve), Charlie Price (Tommy), Lara Rossi (Ruby), Jack James Ryan (Private Shaw), Penny Ryder (Rebecca), Yula Teffa (Claire), Kristen Scott Thomas (Kate), Stephen Thompson (Stuart), Robert Whitelock (Malc), Finlay Willis (Young Jamie), Sebby Wilson (Billy), Greg Wise (Richard)

Running Time: 112 mins

Classification: M (Australia)





Dave Griffiths’ Military Wives Review:

Sometimes a film can be completely underestimated due to its advertising campaign. One look at the campaign around English film Military Wives and you would swear that you were in for a light and fluffy film in the vein of The Full Monty. However, after sitting down to watch the film the audience will soon see that this is a film that packs a little bit more punch than what you would expect.

From director Peter Cattaneo, who yes did direct The Full Monty, Military Wives loosely tells the tale of a group of women who started a choir on a military base – a phenomenon which has now been repeated right around the world.

The idea was the brain-child of Army wife Lisa (Sharon Horgan – Game Night) who decides that a choir would be a good distraction for a group of Army wives while their husbands are off fighting in Afghanistan. Her idea doesn’t run smoothly though – first she finds opposition from the base’s matriarch – Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas – The English Patient) who feels that she should be the one that is running the choir.

Kate then tries to hijack the choir with her older style music while the choir itself almost implodes when it is realised that most of the women can’t sing while Lisa also finds the choir dominates her time meaning that she is neglecting her rebellious daughter, Frankie (India Amarteifio – Doctor Who), who is also suffering due to the fact that her father is currently fighting overseas.

The way in which Cattaneo manages to mix humour with some deep, emotional storylines in Military Wives is sheer filmmaking brilliance. There is the odd laugh here and there that all seem to hit their mark but Cattaneo alongside his screenwriting team also take this movie into some rarely explored in cinema areas. Outwardly these women all try to be strong but inwardly that is far from the truth. As a film Miitary Wives looks at the stress and anxiety that Army wives feel as their partners are away at war and it is these moments during the film that makes this film more than watchable.

The screenplay allows for every character to have their own personality and the result is a beautiful film that takes the audience through a range of emotions as the characters on screen all go through various situations throughout the film. From a young newly-wed wife sending her partner off to war through to a teenage girl who deals with her father being deployed by partying and getting drunk every night. Then without spoiling to much comes the angst and worry as word filters through that the group containing the partners/fathers has been attacked.

Of course there is a good light-hearted side to the film as well – and a lot of that comes through the music. From a new Robbie Williams song through to modern day hits from Dido and a swag of well known 80s classics Military Wives has a soundtrack that not only lifts the mood but will also have the audience singing along in much the same way that Pitch Perfect did.

All of that aside though the power of this film comes from its two leads. Kristen Scott Thomas is brilliant as the hard-lined Kate. Thomas portrayal of Kate deserves to be award winning as her character is more complex than originally meets the eye. When there are some great scenes where Thomas and Horgan clash heads there are other times in the film where Thomas portrays Kate as a caring character that is suffering just as much as the others. Her back-story in itself is enough to break the average person.

Thomas is well matched opposite Horgan who herself also puts in an amazing performance. Likewise her scenes with Thomas are emotionally charged and some of the highlights of the film. She also shares some memorable scenes with young India Armarteifio and I can only hope that we see her in more films over the years.

Military Wives is a surprisingly emotional film that goes a lot further than the fluffy feeling you would expect from a film in this genre. Its look at what life is like for military families is rare in the cinematic world and it contains several scenes that will really stay with you long after you have watched the film.





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