In this new episode of Subculture: The Podcast Dave Griffiths and Harley Woods take a look at all of the news coming out of the world of Batman. They discuss Michael Keaton returning to the DC Universe and what DC animation they would love to bring back.
Summary: A short documentary that looks at the lives of Etty Hillesum and Franz Jaegerstaetter.
Australian Cinema Release Date: NA
Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA
Australian VOD Release Date: 10th July 2020
Director: Grant Fraser
Cast: Michael Finney (Pirest), Rachel Griffiths (Etty Hillesum), Kali Hulme (Franziska Jaegerstaetter), Neil Pigot (Bishop), Oscar Redding (Franz Jaegerstaetter), Jenny Seedsman (Franz’s Mother)
Running Time: 42 mins
Classification: TBC (Australia)
OUR STRANGERS TO THE WORLD REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ Strangers To The World Review:
I’ll be the first to admit that I am a history buff. I’m the person who while in a car will yell out for it to stop so I can go and look at a historical marker that I have spotted on the side of the road. I can’t explain it I have just always been that way. Even as a child I would throw my Golden Books out of the way in order to get to my Ned Kelly colouring book.
It is perhaps for that reason that I warmed to new Australian documentary Strangers To The World the way I did. Featuring prominent Australian actors Rachel Griffiths (Muriel’s Wedding) and Oscar Redding (Van Dieman’s Land) the documentary looks at the lives of Franz Jaegerstatter and Etty Hillesum – two people that stood up to the Nazi regime during World War II and refused to allow their morals to be changed.
With Strangers To The World I found the subject matter enthralling. Being a fan of Terence Malick’s 2019 film A Hidden Life Catholic-resister Franz Jaegerstatter has been someone I have been yearning to learn more about for awhile now. Watching Strangers To The World did fill in some of the blanks for me. I was able to learn about the fact that Jaegerstatter lived a rebellious life and only turned to religion during the rise of facism in Europe – but there was something that was unsettling for me throughout the documentary; the very Australian accents during the dramatisations.
Scenes such as Jaegerstatter confronting his Bishop (Neil Pigot – Blue Heelers) about where the Catholic Church should stand on the rise of Nazism was a fascinating watch and was well delivered by two talented actors, but at the same time I just couldn’t ‘not’ here the Australian accents which at times seem to distract from the power of the scenes.
It was also the same with the dramatisations during the story of Etty Hillesum. Having never heard her story before I sat glued to the screen wanting to learn more. Again the theatrical-style dramatisations – this time delivered as great monologues from the talented Rachel Griffiths reading from Hillsum’s letters – looked great but could have been so much more natural had Griffiths been asked to adopt a Dutch accent.
If the sole aim of Strangers To The World is to educate and inspire then it certainly hits it mark. Having watched the documentary I now feel like I know a lot more about Jaegerstatter and received a great insight to how he was feeling in the last days of his life. Likewise I now know about the amazing spirit and determination of Etty Hillesum who remained smiling even while she was in a concentration camp. So powerful was the delivery of her story here that I am trying to find a way to read her letters and diaries.
However if the aim of Strangers To The World was to entertain then I am not sure that it worked. As a documentary it felt to me like the kind of film that would be shown to a High School history class or screened at a museum rather then something that would have people lining up at a cinema to watch. To be succinct it feels like it was more designed to be a Sunday afternoon docco on the ABC then it is to be a big cinema experience.
Strangers To The World is an inspirational film but it is also the kind of documentary that makes you want to learn more about the subjects at the hand. It is well worth a look if you a serious history buff but may be a little dry for those looking to be entertained at the same time.
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Set in the Melbourne countryside and led by an all female cast spanning three generations, Stan Original Film Relic tells the story of Edna (Robyn Nevin, The Matrix Franchise), an elderly and widowed matriarch who goes missing, and her daughter Kay (Emily Mortimer, The Newsroom) and granddaughter Sam (Bella Heathcote, Stan Original Series Bloom) who must travel to their remote family home to find her. Soon after her return, they start to discover a sinister presence haunting the house and taking control of Edna.
Premiering to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, Japanese-Australian director Natalie Erika James’ debut feature serves as a deeply haunting metaphor for the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease and is produced by Jake Gyllenhaal (Spiderman: Far From Home) and executive produced by the Russo Brothers (Avengers: Endgame).
Stan Original Film Relic is now streaming – only on Stan.
Summary: Filmmaker Elia Suleiman travels to various cities and finds new parallels to his home country Palestine wherever he goes.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 2nd July 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: France, Qatar, Germany, Canada, Turkey, Palestine
Director: Elia Suleiman
Screenwriter: Elia Suleiman
Cast: Elia Suleiman (ES)
Running Time: 102 mins
Classification: M (Australia)
OUR IT MUST BE HEAVEN REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ It Must Be Heaven Review:
It Must Be Heaven is not an easy film to write about. That is largely due to the fact that there has never been a film like this before. The best thing to say is probably that this is a film that will divide audiences. For every audience member that sees this film as a visionary work of art there will be somebody else watching the clock and wondering when it is going to end.
Even describing the film itself is not an easy task. Basically it is filmmaker Elia Suleiman (The Time That Remains) travelling the world and finding parallels to his home country of Palestine wherever he goes. Even that description makes the film sound like a documentary – which it is not. Suleiman’s journey is brought to the screen by a series of scenes (think short films) that are linked together by the fact that he is a witness to all the events that happen in front of him.
Whether or not the humour of those short pieces work for you all depends on whether or not you understand the parallel that Suleiman is trying to make about his home-land and what kind of humour wets your appetite. One of the joys of the film I found though is the fact that nearly everyone I know who has seen the film takes away different meanings from the scenes themselves. For example the scene in New York where everyone in the supermarket is armed. Is that drawing a parallel to what life is like in Palestine or is it making a comment about America’s gun culture. An audience member could take either away from the scene and to be honest you couldn’t call either wrong.
One thing that you do find with the film though is that it contains a very rare beauty. In a day where action films and CGI effects flood our cinemas it is refreshing to find a film that creates spectacle using the old fashioned style of filmmaking that relied on the director and cinematographer to bring beauty to the screen. Here Suleiman and cinematographer Sofian El Fani have exquisitely framed every shot to the point where at times it feels like you are looking at a piece of artwork on a gallery wall.
Likewise the presence of Suleiman more than makes up for the fact that he delivers very little dialogue throughout the film. He has the same kind of comedic presence as Larry David and as a result seems to be able to say more with a look or a stare than he could with a whole slab of dialogue. It seems strange to say because of the style of his performance but his acting work here is nothing short of amazing.
It Must Be Heaven is not the kind of film that you can recommend to everyone. If you love Marvel movies and big explosions then this isn’t the film for you, but if you enjoy a movie that makes you think and will stay with you a long time once the credits role then this is a film that you certainly check out.
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Warner Bros. will make its new animated feature film “SCOOB!” available for both Premium Video On Demand (PVOD) and for premium digital ownership in Australia and New Zealand from today, providing high-quality family entertainment in the home just in time for school holidays.
“We know ‘SCOOB!’ has been highly anticipated in Australia and New Zealand, so we’re pleased we can deliver this action-packed movie for families to experience at home during the school holidays,” said Joel Pearlman, CEO of Roadshow Films.
“SCOOB!” will be available to premiere at home for a 48-hour rental via Premium Video On Demand or premium digital ownership beginning on Wednesday, July 1. The title will be available on participating digital platforms.
A fully animated, full-length Scooby-Doo action adventure for the whole family, “SCOOB!” reveals how lifelong friends Scooby and Shaggy first met and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form the famous Mystery Inc. Now, with hundreds of cases solved and adventures shared, Scooby and the gang face their biggest, most challenging mystery ever: a plot to unleash the ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. As they race to stop this global “dogpocalypse,” the gang discovers that Scooby has a secret legacy and an epic destiny greater than anyone imagined.
“SCOOB!” features an all-star ensemble cast led by Will Forte, two-time Oscar nominee Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell, and Frank Welker.
The film was directed by Warner Bros. animation stalwartTony Cervone, an Annie Award nominee for the feature film “Space Jam,” two-time Emmy nominee for his work on “Duck Dodgers” and one of the creators of the popular Scooby-Doo series “Mystery Incorporated.” It was produced by Pam Coats and Allison Abbate. Adam Sztykiel, Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Jesse Ehrman, Dan Povenmire, and Chris Columbus served as executive producers. The “SCOOB!” screenplay was by Adam Sztykiel and Jack C. Donaldson & Derek Elliott and Matt Lieberman, story by Matt Lieberman and Eyal Podell & Jonathon E. Stewart, based on characters created by Hanna-Barbera Productions. Cervone’s creative team included editors Ryan Folsey and Vanara Taing, and composer Tom Holkenborg.
A presentation of Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group, “SCOOB!” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures and by Roadshow Films in Australia and New Zealand.
It has been a huge week of news for fans of DC’s most famous Caped Crusader – Batman. While the Covid pandemic has all but stalled the world of comic book movies in cinemas this week DC decided it was time to shine the Bat signal into the night sky in order to shed a little light on what fans of Batman may have in store for them over the next couple of years… and there was some very special news for Thailand as well.
First the worldwide news and something that came completely out of left-field – Michael Keaton is returning to the role of Bruce Wayne. Take note that we said Bruce Wayne and not Batman because despite what some headlines have led people to believe Keaton is not likely to be pulling on the Bat-suit on one more time.
Keaton, now aged 68, previously played Batman in the highly regarded Batman and Batman Returns way back in 1989 and 1992. This week it was announced he was returning to the role in the brand new DC film The Flash. But it is here where a little bit of explaining needs to be done. DC plan on using a comic book arc titled Flashpoint to tell the story of Barry Allen the man behind The Flash. In doing so he will cross paths with Gotham City’s favourite son – Bruce Wayne. And it is here that DC have decided Keaton would be the perfect fit. The only question left to answer is whether he will playing the same Bruce Wayne he played in the Tim Burton films and whether it will be purely a tongue-in-cheek nod to them.
Of course hearing the news about Michael Keaton returning to the Batman universe while Robert Pattinson is currently the man driving the batmobile in the eagerly anticipated new film The Bat has once again got fans of the comic book hero once again debating which actor has played the best version of the loved character over the years – the good news is that any fan in Thailand will this week get a refresher course of Christian Bale’s time in the suit with SF Cinema announcing that they are bringing Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy back to the big screen.
What Nolan did with his entries into the Batman universe were completely unprecedented. Many scoffed when he announced Christian Bale would play Batman. At the time Bale was more known for edgy roles like that off Patrick Bateman in American Psycho or for appearing in heavily criticised films like Reign Of Fire. When Bale first appeared on the screen in Batman Begins many were ready to write him off. What they saw change their minds though, Nolan took the Batman character into the darkness that the comics relished on but Burton had only briefly touched on in his films. In a dark new world and playing a more aggressive and mentally-scarred Batman Christian Bale was in his absolute element.
Of course other actors also relished their chance to appear in Nolan’s Batman universe as well. Australian actor Heath Ledger embraced the opportunity to play one of cinema’s darkest roles – The Joker. Under the expert hand of Nolan Ledger took the role of the laughing psychopath to all new levels of darkness in a performance that wowed Hollywood to the point that it earned him an Oscar only months after his untimely death.
And while The Dark Knight Returns is often referred to as the weakest of the Nolan trilogy films it did give the audience a change to see Tom Hardy deliver a break-out performance as he brought tough-man Bane to the big screen. And of course as far as closures go The Dark Knight Returns does work, although I think all Batman fans wished they could have seen where Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character ended up.
For Batman fans in Thailand this is a rare opportunity to see one of the finest movie franchises ever created return to the big screen – yes this is an event that no comic book fan should miss this week.
Summary: A young woman’s life is thrown into turmoil when he husband is murdered and the Police tell her that he lived a secret life as a drug dealer. While her son hasn’t spoken since witnessing the murder the mother decides that enough is enough and she wants answers and revenge.
Australian Cinema Release Date: NA
Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA
Australian DVD Release Date: 13th June 2020
Country: UK, Belgium
Director: Abner Pastoll
Screenwriter: Ronan Blaney
Cast: Susan Ateh (Emily Scott), Shireen Azarmi (Sergeant Jones), Sarah Bolger (Sarah), Josh Bolt (Donal), Jane Brennan (Alice), Caolan Byrne (Terry), Diego Calderon (Drunk Ray), Rafaela Dias (Dr. Reid), Rudy Doherty (Ben), Jo Donnelly (Betty), Edward Hogg (Leo Miller), Siobhan Kelly (Dr. Rosa Brady), Packy Lee (Mackers), Mary Lindsay (Mandy), James McCaffery (Conor), Macie McCauley (Lucy), Daryl McCormack (PC Reeves), Nigel O’Neill (PC Huxley), Andrew Simpson (Tito), Sean Sloan (Jimmy)
Running Time: 97 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia)
OUR A GOOD WOMAN IS HARD TO FIND REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ A Good Woman Is Hard To Find Review:
Female led revenge films are nothing new. In fact you could say that several have surfaced every year since director Meir Zarchi delivered the controversial I Spit On Your Grave back in 1978. Yes a lot do exist, but I think I have lost count how many times they have left me leaving the cinema thinking “well I’ve seen that plot a few dozen times now.”
The key to making a film in this genre work is that the filmmaker must be creative enough to come up with something out of the box and never seenbefore. That is certainly the case with under-rated Irish film A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, a film that seemed to be swept under the carpet as all the attention on the genre over the last twelve months have focussed on the epic bomb Peppermint and the brilliant, award-winning The Nightingale.
When it comes to creativity A Good Woman Is Hard To Find is certainly on par with The Nightingale. Directed by Abner Pastoll (Road Games) the film’s revenge seeker is Sarah (Sarah Bolger – The Spiderwick Chronicles), a young widow who wants answers around the murder of her husband.
Her husband was murdered in a park not far from their home and in front of their son who now has not spoken a word since the incident. Much to Sarah’s anger the Police do not want to know about the case and instead insist on telling her that her husband was most likely living a secret life as a drug dealer – a risky move when you live on the patch run by the notorious and unforgiving drug baron Leo Miller (Edward Hogg – Jupiter Ascending).
Adding to Sarah’s woes is the fact that she is now living in fear of opportunistic thief Tito (Andrew Simpson – Notes On A Scandal) who has managed to steal some of Miller’s stash and now keeps it at Sarah’s home. With her family already suffering she now must deal with the constant threats of violence that Tito delivers in order to keep her silence.
What I thought separated this film from the many others in the genre is the great handle that Pastoll has on Oscar nominated Ronan Blaney’s (Don’t Go) screenplay. Blaney has delivered a gem of a script that brings in suspense by the bucket-load and then to top that off Pastoll then brings in his own style of gangster driven film noir that more than kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the film.
I should warn potential viewers of the film though that Pastoll also doesn’t hold back when it comes to the violence on the screen. To his credit though I didn’t think he was violent just to be violent instead I believe that the graphic violence that the director brings to the screen is there to show the brutal situation and events that Sarah has found herself in. In the wrong hands this could have become a virtual schlock thriller but in the hands of Pastoll it becomes a well thought out suspense thriller that comes to an epic conclusion with a blood-soaked finale.
Credit also needs to go to the film’ leading lady – Sarah Bolger. I believe she is nothing short of sensational in this film. A lesser actress may have felt the need to rest her laurels on the action and suspense of the film but here Bolger surprised me by delivering moments of intense drama and she portrays Sarah in such a way that I could not help but feel sorry for her.
I found that there was nothing disappointing about A Good Woman Is Hard To Find and I am glad that it has now landed on DVD and VOD as it made my Top 20 Films Of 2019 list after I was lucky enough to catch it on the festival circuit.
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Summary: A detemined journalist hunts down the solider that was in charge of her brother’s unit when he disappeared. She is shocked to find though that the incident has left the solider facing demons of his own.
Australian Cinema Release Date: NA
Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA
Australian DVD Release Date: 10th June 2020
Country: Australia, United Arab Emirates
Director: Storm Ashwood
Screenwriter: Storm Ashwood
Cast: Gus Bohn (Billy), Warwick Comber (Father Batty), Firass Dirani (Welshy), Jai Godbold (Tan), Sonny Le (Thong), Steve Le Marquand (Carl Boddi), Jett Lowen (Bo), Josh McConville (Seth), Lydia Mocerino (Imogen), Rena Owen (Michelle Pennyshaw), Natalie Rees (Sarah), Jessi Robertson (Lizzy), Hugh Sheridan (Josh), Bonnie Sveen (Rebecca), Juwan Sykes (Stretch), Oliver Wenn (Phil)
Running Time: 92 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia) TV-14 (USA)
OUR ESCAPE AND EVASION REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ Escape And Evasion Review:
Often in cinema we see war glorified. The action star seemingly singlehandedly taking on a whole Army and coming out on top. Occasionally we do get to see the thought-provoking war film – films like Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge that such us the horrors of the battle field and have us questioning whether or not war is the necessity that we are led to believe it is.
What we rarely get to see though is the aftermath of war. What happens when the solider has left the battlefield and is now back at home trying to live an everyday life? Or what happens when somebody doesn’t return from war, is there family left wondering how they died? Was it quick, was it slow?
Those are the themes that Australian filmmaker Storm Ashwood (School) chooses to focus on in his latest film Escape And Evasion and the result is a sensational film made even better by the performance of a leading man that deserves to pick up an award or two for his portrayal of a returned soldier at breaking point.
The plot is driven by Rebecca (Bonnie Sveen – Home And Away) a determined journalist who is trying to find out what happened to her solider brother who never returned from active service in Burma. To her frustration she finds that there is no record of what happened or even what Australian soldiers were doing there.
She finally hunts down the man that was in charge of her brother’s unit – Seth (Josh McConville – Fantasy Island) – a soldier who is so haunted by his experience that he has turned to alcohol to try and cover the pain. That has left him with a torn apart family but helps him deal with the secrets that his superior, Michelle Pennyshaw (Rena Owen – Once Were Warriors), asks him to keep.
As a film Escape And Evasion never gives its audience a chance to take a break. Whether it be tense dialogue-driven scenes between Seth and Michelle or Seth and Rebecca or combat sequences Atwood floods the film with tension. Instead of making the film an uncomfortable watch this instead just adds to the experience. You literally feel the tension building inside as you become desperate to know what happened to Rebecca’s brother and what the hell occurred that has left Seth the broken man that he is now.
Ashwood may well be one of the directional finds of 2020. His debut feature film – School – did show us that there was a gifted director just waiting to break out. While some were sceptical of the film it did show an artistic side and was brave enough to be different than other films in its genre. With Escape And Evasion Ashwood loses the artistic or experimental side but again goes about things differently as he mixes tense dramatic scenes between characters with emotional charged war and torture scenes. The result is a well-rounded film that leaves the audience not asking any questions at all.
Even with all the brilliance that the director shows with this film it would have fallen in a heap if he did not have the right leading man to bring the story to the screen. Luckily Ashwood found the exact right person to have play Seth in the form of under-rated Australian actor Josh McConville. With known actors like Hugh Sheridan (Packed To The Rafters) and Steve La Marquand (Last Train To Freo) also attached to the project you could easily understand if Ashwood had given one of them the leading role. Instead though he takes a chance on McConville who repays him with one of the best performances you are likely to see on screen in 2020.
Escape And Evasion is one of the cinematic shining lights of this year. An intense and dramatic film – it is one of those movies you will find wanting to watch two or three times to really embrace it. One thing the film will leave you with though is the knowledge that Josh McConville and Storm Ashwood need to be noticed by Hollywood.
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Bounty Films is excited to announce the global video-on-demand release of the teen-slasher What Goes Around. It’s now available globally now via Prime Video, Genflix and Vimeo on Demand.
The film centers around Erin, a timid college student with often crippling anxiety, has spent the past semester fawning after the mysterious and quietly charismatic Alex. However, when she accidentally stumbles upon a video of him seemingly committing a murder, she isn’t sure whether to be terrified or intrigued, especially when a group of bullies from her past begin meeting grisly fates.
‘Growing up, the highlight of each week was by far my Saturday morning trip to Blockbuster. Whether it was the attractive teen idols plastered on the covers, or just a craving for something a little bit darker before I ventured into fully-fledged horror, teen thrillers like Fear, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Faculty and Swimfan always seemed to call my name. I used to DEVOUR these titles weekend after weekend and, on an equally endless rotation, would fantasise about making one of my own.
What Goes Around is my answer to those childhood fantasies and a love letter to how those movies (the equivalent of best friends at the time) made me feel. Although the days of the video store are long dead, I hope that my film is found by a group of young souls craving a light scare or cheesy thrill, and can be their own gateway into horror. ‘