Inspired by Peter Carey’s Man Booker Prize winning novel and starring George Mackay (1917), Essie Davis(The Babadook), Nicholas Hoult (Stan’s upcoming The Great, The Favourite), Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) and Russell Crowe (Stan’s The Loudest Voice), Justin Kurzel’sTrue History of the Kelly Gang shatters the mythology of the notorious icon to reveal the essence behind the life of Ned Kelly and force a country to stare back into its brutal past.
Spanning the younger years of Ned’s life to the time leading up to his death, the film explores the blurred boundaries between what is bad and what is good, and the motivations for the demise of its hero. Youth and tragedy collide in the Kelly Gang, and at the beating heart of this tale is the fractured and powerful love story between a mother and a son.
Stan Original Film True History of the Kelly Gang premieres this Australia Day.
Summary: Two young British soldiers during the First World War are given an impossible mission: deliver a message deep in enemy territory that will stop 1,600 men, and one of the soldiers’ brothers, from walking straight into a deadly trap.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 9st January 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 30th January 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States, United Kingdom
Director: Sam Mendes
Screenwriter: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Ciarns
Cast: Benjamin Adams (Sergeant Harrop), Gabriel Akuwudike (Private Buchanan), Andy Apollo (Sergeant Miller), Daniel Attwell (Captain Sandbach), Elliott Baxter (Private Singer), Jacob James Beswick (Lance Corporal Duff), Anson Boon (Private Cooke), Pip Carter (Lieutenant Gordon), Dean Charles-Chapman (Lance Corporal Blake), Bradley Connor (Sergeant Gardner), Samson Cox-Vinell (Orderly Dixon), Benedict Cumberbatch (Colonel McKenzie), Josef Davies (Private Stokes), Claire Duburcq (Lauri), Elliott Edusah (Private Grey), Justin Edwards (Captain Ivins), Colin Firth (General Erinmore), Tommy French (Private Butler), Kenny Fullwood (Private Rossi), John Hollingworth (Sergeant Guthrie), Luke Hornsby (Private Pinewood), Gerran Howell (Private Parry), Adam Hugill (Private Atkins), Michael Jibson (Lieutenant Hutton), Taddeo Kufus (Soldat Baumer), Jonny Lavelle (Orderly Byrne), Spike Leighton (Private Kilgour), Merlin Leonhardt (Soldat Muller), George MacKay (Lance Corporal Schofield), Richard Madden (Lieutenant Joseph Blake), Daniels Mays (Sergeant Sanders), Richard McCabe (Colonel Collins), Joe Mendes (Private Willock), Ryan Nolan (Private Malky), Jamie Parker (Lieutenant Richards), Billy Postlethwaite (NCO Harvey), Nabhaan Rizwan (Sepoy Jondalar), Michael Rouse (Captain Rylands), Jonah Russell (Captain Morahan), Adrian Scarborough (Major Hepburn), Andrew Scott (Lieutenant Leslie), Jack Shalloo (Private Seymour), Mark Strong (Captain Smith), Paul Tinto (NCO Baker), Chris Walley (Private Bullen), Ian Wilson (Sergeant Wright)
Running Time: 119 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia) TBC (Thailand)
OUR 1917 REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths Review:
Over the years the cinematic world has been blessed with some pretty amazing war films. Think of the sheer emotional nature of films like Schindler’s List and Hacksaw Ride or the epic sale of films like Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor. It feels like it is the war genre when some of the truly great filmmakers of our generation have really had a chance to show us what they are capable of an that legacy certainly continues with 1917.
As a filmmaker Sam Mendes has certainly proved himself to be one of the most ‘intense’ of the modern generation. That intensity has been delivered with powerful drama and dialogue in films like American Beauty and Revolutionary Road while it also returned through the power of stunts and action with his trip into the Bond universe with Skyfall and Spectre. With 1917 Mendes manages to fuse both of his skills in drama and his style of action together in a way that results with a unique film that will go down as one of the finest in 2020.
Plot wise 1917 is quite basic. It is set during World War I in France and General Erinmore (Colin Firth – A Single Man) receives word that an Allied attack is going to be walking right into a trap set by the Germans. In a desperate bid to stop the annihilation of 1600 men he gives Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman – Game Of Thrones) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay – Peter Pan) a near impossible task. He asks them to go through the front-line and go behind the enemy line to deliver a letter that should stop the attack from ever happening.
In a lot of ways the style Mendes uses to tell the story is very similar to what Peter Jackson used with The Lord Of The Rings. The film itself entirely surrounds the impossible journey that the two embark on yet somehow Mendes stops the film from every becoming boring at all. Around every corner he places a new task and obstacle in the way of the pair and his idea of using a one-shot technique means that the audience is right there amongst the action. Whether it be urgently pushing past soldiers in the trenches, battling to swim against a raging river or coming under heavy enemy fire Mendes has the audience right there beside the heroes which only further enhances the suspense and intensity throughout the film.
Surprisingly the screenplay which Mendes co-wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Penny Dreadful) also keeps the dialogue to the bare minimum. For a lot of the film the pair either use silence or brief but powerful dialogue to get some in-depth points across. At one point Blake and Schofield debate whether war medals really mean anything or not, and while some writers would let it take up five minutes of the film Mendes and Wilson-Cairns let both characters make their point within a minute. Likewise anything we learn about the two men is fitted nicely into some of the most natural dialogue you will ever hear on the screen.
Such is Mendes’ maturity as a filmmaker that he never allows the action sequences to ever take anything away from the drama of the film. Plane crashes and enemy fire occur in real time and while it does have the audience on the edge of their seat Mendes never allows it to over-shadow the film’s major storyline or detract from it.
I have heard some people suggest that the film would have been further enhanced if the two leads had been more recognisable actors, but I fail to see how that would have helped. Chapman and MacKay put in absolutely brilliant performances and there could be very little more asked of them. The two share some very poignant scenes together and in all honestly they carry the film throughout as the camera never leaves them. Very few young actors could pull off such an intense acting performance but these two seem to do it with ease.
1917 is one of those films that leaves you in complete stunned silence as you watch it. Mendes never allows his audience to rest, instead he takes them on the journey with his two heroes using camera angles we haven’t seen since The Children Of Men. Yes at times 1917 feels utterly claustrophobic but it is also a visual delight that will find its audience going through a range of emotions as they view it. This film is a true classic that will be savoured by true movie lovers.
Summary: U.K. gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in the summer of 1984.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 30th October, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: 4th March, 2015
Country: UK, France
Director: Matthew Warchus
Screenwriter: Stephen Beresford
Cast: Jack Baggs (Gary), Derek Barr (Brian), Jessie Cave (Zoe), Paddy Considine (Dai), Monica Dolan (Marion), Dyfan Dwyfor (Lee), Mary-Anne Dymond (Rowena), Sophie Evans (Debbie), Karina Fernandez (Stella), Matthew Flynn (Tony), Freddie Fox (Jeff), Johnny Gibbon (Johnny), Joseph Gilgun (Mike), Jessica Gunning (Sian), Nia Gwynne (Gail), Joshua Hill (Ray), Jan Leeming (herself), George MacKay (Joe), Faye Marsay (Steph), Laura Matthews (Tina), Rhodri Meilir (Martin), Jordan Metcalfe (Charlie), Bill Nighy (Cliff), Chris Overton (Reggie), Lisa Palfrey (Maureen), Bryan Parry (Kevin), Feargal Quinn (Jimmy Sommerville), Kyle Rees (Carl), Ben Schnetzer (Mark), Andrew Scott (Gethin), Lee Shepherd (Rhodri), Imelda Staunton (Hefina), Margaret Thatcher (herself), Russell Tovey (Tim), Menna Trussler (Gwen), Dominic West (Jonathan), Liz White (Margaret), Richard Whiteley (himself), Joseph Wilkins (Jason)
Runtime: 120 mins
OUR PRIDE REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Pride is a film based in semi-recent history. The screenplay was written by Stephen Beresford and the film directed by Matthew Warchus.
The story revolves around the miners’ strike in Britain in 1984 and the persecution the mineworkers suffered at the hands of the Thatcher government and the police. Contrasting this is the gay rights movement in London and one gay activist group’s plan to take action and help out another disaffected group of people by raising funds for the mineworkers and their families.
The picture and the place-and-time are set instantly to recreate the Eighties and archive news footage shows us the situations going on with each of the main groups. To take us into this world we meet Joe (George MacKay), affectionately nicknamed “Bromley” after his hometown, on his twentieth birthday – which just happens to be gay pride day. Suddenly inspired to march he joins in with the gay pride activists, hoping to ‘blend in’. Instead, he gets thrust into the limelight, holding a sign for attention. He soon joins in gathering funds for the miners as established activist, Mark (Ben Schnetzer), takes up the cause. From there the LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners) movement is born and we are thrust into the main story.
On his journey, as is paralleled by the main plot, Joe finds his identity, new friendships, belonging and a cause. His awkwardness echoes the awkwardness between the two antithetical communities as they band together.
Differing opinions within each group show the difficulty of the merger and of dealing with people’s uneducated phobias, but clever humour is used to lighten the tension and resolve issues in an entertaining fashion. A witty play on the stereotypes and expected ‘ignorance’ is used to effect to make things entertaining and take things out of predictable realms.
The personal stories of some of our characters show us the effects that the mineworkers’ situation and the fight for gay rights have on those affected. These human insights give us an emotional connection and draw us further into the plot. We see the fight for survival, the AIDS epidemic – the character of Jonathan Blake was the second-diagnosed person with HIV in London, but is still living strong to this day – self-identity, coming-out and acceptance by your family and those you love.
Gethin, our gay Welsh character, bridges the gap between the two worlds and adds a human expression with his feelings of being unable to return home after being rejected by his mother. As the two camps come together he is finally moved to take-part in the union and humour is used to make light of his awkwardness; breaking in a scene that shows how they are all growing comfortable with each other.
The human element is at the core of the story. We follow this in Joe’s first-gay-steps, his first kiss, his outing to his family… Conversely, we see Maureen’s (Lisa Palfrey) bigotry and how this affects her actions to further her own agenda and to shield her sons from something she has misunderstood. We see the desperation of the mining families in a scene where two of the characters butter bread for sandwiches that have no other fillings. The clever humour is used to show a serious situation in a very accessible way.
Detail has gone into design, set-dressing and wardrobe to set the period perfectly. The colour of the Eighties shapes the London scenes and the grey of the Welsh mining town of Onllwyn. The crazy colour of the period is nicely toned and selected in deliberate pallets in all aspects to keep the visuals pleasant. The grading of the colours are muted more at the start of the film and become bright and bold at the end, subliminally showing a ‘brighter future.’
The story shows the characters at their best and worst and what they take from it all, making for a very engaging and powerful story. We see how the story gets turned around at the end and how far the two communities have come to support each other. We see the power that comes from people coming together; even if not all major battles are won, the amazing feats of people uniting under a common cause has the power to change things, even in small ways and this has a compounding effect. We even get to glimpse the ‘changed hearts’ of Maureen’s sons are they are there to support the gay community at the end, having overcome their own misinformed cynicisms.
Exceptional performances from the whole cast brought the characters to life. Of note was Jessica Gunning as Sian who really ‘comes-out’ in her own right; taking what she has learnt to further herself and eventually became a member of parliament.
Summary: Home is where the heart is for best pals Davy and Ally. Returning from duty in Afghanistan to their lifelong residence in Leith just outside Edinburgh, the lads kindle romances old and new: Ally with Davy’s sister Liz, and Davy with Yvonne, his little sis’s best friend from work. Meanwhile, their parents Rab and Jean are busy planning their 25th wedding anniversary. Everything’s going swimmingly, until a revelation from Rab’s past threatens to tear the family and all three couples apart.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th May, 2014
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Dexter Fletcher
Screenwriter: Stephen Greenhorn
Cast: Emily-Jane Boyle (Christine), Paul Brannigan (Ronnie), Elaine M. Ellis (Morag), Jason Flemying (Harry), Kevin Guthrie (Ally), Emma Hartley-Miller (Janice), Jane Horrocks (Jean), George MacKay (Davy), Freya Mavor (Liz), Paul McCole (Ewan), Peter Mullan (Rab), John Spence (Brendan), Gaye Telfer Stevens (Francine), Antonia Thomas (Yvonne), Sara Vickers (Eilidh)