The marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles has long since grown cold. Though rumours of affairs and a divorce abound, peace is ordained for the Christmas festivities at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate. There’s eating and drinking, shooting and hunting. Diana knows the game. But this year, things will be a whole lot different. SPENCER is an imagining of what might have happened during those few fateful days.
SPENCER is directed by Pablo Larraín and stars Kristen Stewart, Timothy Spall, Sean Harris, Sally Hawkins, Jack Farthing.
Summary: Abby thinks her relationship with Harper is perfect but all that changes when they go to Harper’s family home for Christmas and Abby learns that her parents don’t even know she is gay.
Cinema Release Dates: 20th December 2020 (Australia), 4th February 2021 (Thailand)
VOD Release Dates: 26th November 2020 (UK), 25th November 2020 (USA)
Country: USA, Canada
Director: Clea DuVall
Screenwriter: Clea DuVall, Mary Holland
Cast: Chelsea Banglesdorf (Colleen the Hostess), Sarayu Blue (Carolyn McCoy), Alison Brie (Sloane), Michelle Buteau (Trudy), Mackenzie Davis (Harper), Victor Garber (Ted), Ana Gasteyer (Harry Levin), Jenny Gulley (Ashley), Caroline Harris (Kelly), Jerrick Hoffer (Em K. Ultra), Mary Holland (Jane), Daryn Kahn (Todd), Lauren Lapkus (Mall Security Crystal), Dominque Lawson (Levi), Dan Levy (John), Jake McDorman (Connor), Burl Moseley (Eric), Anis N’Dobe (Matilda), Matt Newell (Guard Eugene), Aubrey Plaza (Riley Johnson), Benjamin Putnam (Miss L’Teau), Timothy Simons (Mall Security Ed), Mary Steenburgen (Tipper), Kristen Stewart (Abby)
Running Time: 102 mins
Classification: M (Australia), 12 (UK), PG-13 (USA)
OUR HAPPIEST SEASON REVIEWS
David Griffiths’ Happiest Season Review:
Yes it is almost February but the Christmas movies just keep coming this year. Now it is time for Happiest Season to be released in Phuket and one thing about this film should tell you straight away that this film is not going to be ‘just another Christmas movie’ – and that is the fact that it stars Kristen Stewart.
Stewart is an actress that we should all feel sorry for. Most people still unfairly refer to her as the ‘Twilight girl’ despite the fact that she had a pretty decent filmography behind her before she stepped into the shoes of Bella Swan and since that outing has made a number of more serious cinematic classics Cafe Society and Clouds Of Sils Maria. Yes, she also made Charlie’s Angels but we will give her a free pass for that one because she is one actress that normally knows how to pick a film with an interesting script.
In Happiest Season she plays Abby, a young gay woman in a relationship with the love of her life, Harper (Mackenzie Davis – Blade Runner 2049), but hasn’t really celebrated Christmas since the death of her parents several years before. In a moment of Christmas spirit Harper invites Abby to go and spend Christmas with her family but then instantly regrets it when the next day she remembers that she has never told her parents she is gay.
The pair create a story that Abby is Harper’s orphaned house-mate and Harper promises to tell her parents the truth after Christmas. But then when they arrive they discover that Harper’s father, Ted (Victor Garber – Titanic), is mounting a political campaign for Mayor fuelled by her mother, Tipper (Mary Steenburgen – Step Brothers), who is in full campaign mode. But as the weekend goes on Abby sees a darker side to Harper as she competes with her sister (Alison Brie – Community) and continues to hurt Abby.
As Abby then finds herself confused by her relationship and Harper’s attitude she finds herself listening more and more to her best friend, John (Dan Levy – Schitt’s Creek), and Harper’s ex Riley (Aubrey Plaza – Ingrid Goes West).
Just like Last Christmas last year Happiest Season is the kind of Christmas film that even the most seasons cinema-goer can enjoy. Director/screen-writer Clea DuVall (The Intervention) makes sure that there is no cheesy Christmas moments in the film – instead she has created serious relationship drama that at times contains just as much suspense as a thriller.
Summary: Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart), Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), and Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) are working for the mysterious Charles Townsend (Robert Clotworthy), whose security and investigative agency has expanded internationally. With the world’s smartest, bravest, and most highly trained women all over the globe, there are now teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys taking on the toughest jobs everywhere.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th November 2019
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 2nd December 2019
Australian DVD Release Date: 11th March 2020
Country: United States
Director: Elisabeth Banks
Screenwriter: Elisabeth Banks, David Auburn (story), Evan Spiliotopoulos
Cast: Ella Balinska (Jane Kano), Elisabeth Banks (Bosley), Batur Belirdi (Bettor), Noah Centineo (Langston), Sam Clafin (Alexander Brock), Robert Clotworthy (Charlie (voice)), Anna Drexler (Susan Olson), Nat Faxon (Peter Fleming), Frank Ferruccio (Detective Flynn), Hannah Hoekstra (Ingrid), Djimon Housou (Edgar Bosley), Jiana (Jane Kano), Emre Kentmengolu (Prince Alim Hassan), Sebastian Kroehnert (Sven Ludwig), Robert Maaser (Big Man), Luis Gerardo Mendez (Saint), Chris Pang (Jonny Smith), Murali Perumal (Pradeep Prasad), Andreas Schroders (The Accountant), Naomi Scott (Elena Houghlin), David Schutter (Ralph), Marie-Lou Sellem (Fatima Ahmed), Jaclyn Smith (Kelly Garrett), Kristen Stewart (Sabina Wilson), Patrick Stewart (John Bosley), Jonathan Tucker (Hodak), Franz Xaver Zach (Watchmaker Schmidt)
Running Time: 118 mins
Classification: M (Australia) 13 (Thailand)
OUR CHARLIE’S ANGELS REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths Review:
We were promised one of the biggest blockbusters of the year, what we got was a C-Grade action flick that didn’t even register a blip at the box office. That really is the only kind way to describe the Charlie’s Angels reboot.
Of course by now you have probably heard the many varied excuses that have been offered up trying to explain why Charlie’s Angels has struggled so badly at the box office. The reason, according to the film’s director, Elizabeth Banks, is that sexism is still rife in Hollywood. But if that were the case then why was the original Charlie’s Angels films such a success and why have films like Tomb Raider, Salt, The Hunger Games etc not suffered the same fate? No, the reason why this film failed so badly is simple – it is a bad film that doesn’t live up to its potential and it suffers from a serious lack of star power.
Plot-wise Charlie’s Angels sees a gifted young scientist, Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), help create a device that could be the answer to the Earth’s energy crisis. However, when she learns that it can easily be used as a deadly weapon but it still made public by the corporation she works for she turns to Charlie’s Agency to try and contain the weapon.
Led by Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) and Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) embark on a mission that sees them have to take on a highly skilled assassin know as Hodak (Jonathan Tucker) who is determined to get the weapon into the hands of his employer.
What sounds like a pretty basic synopsis actually turns quite convoluted and is perhaps step one to why so many of the traditional Charlie’s Angels fans have turned their back on this film. The small agency with three angels has now turned into a worldwide agency with a seemingly endless supply of angels and if that doesn’t remove things too far from the original concept the audience is then introduced to an army of Bosleys (mostly notably played by Banks, Patrick Stewart and Djimon Hounsou) within the first five minutes of the film. This worldwide agency idea didn’t work for the last offering in the Men In Black franchise and again doesn’t work here.
Like its plot overload the film is also dangerously let down by its action sequences. What should be straightforward fight and chase sequences look cumbersome and amateurish here. A surprise considering that while Elizabeth Banks has never shot action before her cinematographer Bill Pope has worked on films such as The Matrix and Spider-Man 2 and should have been able to make the film look a lot better than this.
The one saving grace for the film was Kristen Stewart. She may have been let down by a poor script and bad action sequences but she still manages to shine with great charisma and a quick wit which at times is the only thing that makes the film watchable. Still, even her performance couldn’t match the star-power of Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu like the film’s predecessor had.
With very little star push and a script that made it seem C-Grade Charlie’s Angels seems like it was doomed before it even left the studio floor. Ladies and gentlemen I think we just found this year’s Golden Razzie winner.
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment Charlie’s Angels Reviews:
After working in the visual effects department on massive blockbuster movies like Avengers and The Hobbitt filmmaker Jason Lei Howden went out on his own in 2015 and made the cult classic action horror film Deathgasm. The film became a fan favourite at festivals right around the world and now Howden returns with his latest film – Guns Akimbo – which is going straight into Australian cinemas on February 28th.
Starring Daniel Radcliffe and Samara Weaving Guns Akimbo follows the story of a young games developer who suddenly finds himself in a cat and mouse game of survival with a psychopath after his interactions with an online, reality game go horribly wrong.
“The idea came from my love of 80s action movies,” says Howden when I get the opportunity to sit down and talk to him about all the ins and out of Guns Akimbo. “There were movies like Commando and Rambo of course, there were always those movies with the big buff action hero and they would be shooting like fifty people.”
“So I wanted to make an over-the-top action movie but instead of having Arnie as a hero I wanted to have the total opposite. So I ended up with a programming nerd with the guns on the hand. When I thought about I thought he would sit back or run away but then I thought what if he has the guns bolted to his hands so it is either shoot or die, it all kind of came from that.”
Then there is the smart-mouth psychopath Nix played by Samara Weaving who Howden also let his creativity run wild with. “I didn’t want her to be the standard femme fatale,” he explains. “I wanted her to be cool and fun but I felt her being a female baddie should not be her defining trait. I feel so many times when a female character is depicted that becomes the defining trait of the character, but she is not just a person she is a fucking psychopath.”
“Then there was some pressure from the producers to make her more sexy or to make her like Harley Quinn,” he goes on to say. “I had to keep saying ‘but she isn’t Harley Quinn, she hasn’t got time to sit there and make colourful clothes all day’, she puts on her jacket and jeans and goes and shoots fuckers all day. We ended up bleaching her eyebrows and putting tattoos and piercings on her and the producers were really freaking out and saying ‘she looks really un-appealing.’ But Samara and I just stuck to our guns… that is an awful pun… and I am glad we did.’”
That leads me to ask whether Samara Weaving was always in mind to play Nix. “No, we shopped around a little bit,” he admits. “I don’t think Nix was really written with anyone in mind because originally she was going to be a male character and I figured out really on that that didn’t really suit the story that I wanted to tell, it seemed to work better with Miles up against a female character. I had seen Samara in a couple of things – I thought she was great in The Babysitter so I knew she would bring something different to the role and that she had a great comedic timing which was cool.”
Of course the other big casting news around Guns Akimbo was Daniel Radcliffe being cast as Miles. And while some people maybe a little surprised that the actor who portrayed Harry Potter is now in an action film they should be reminded that this is the same actor who did films like Horns and Woman In Black. “I had a short list of about five actors and Dan was on the top of that list,” says Howden as we talk about how Radcliffe won the role. “I was really excited about Dan, but not because of the Harry Potter movies. I mean I like the Harry Potter movies but I loved him in Woman In Black, The Horns and especially Swiss Army Man which is a fantastic movie. So, I guess I really don’t get the whole Harry Potter thing around this film, but I see it has become a meme and we had people yelling it out on the street when we were trying to film which was really annoying.”
“But yeah I think he is like Elijah Wood,” he goes on to explain. “Or maybe it is a little worse for Dan because he did nine Harry Potter movies, Elijah Wood did three Lord Of The Rings movies and Kristen Stewart did five Twilight films but they don’t seem to be as related to their roles, plus Harry Potter movies were such a huge part of people’s childhoods as well. But as far as casting goes we went to Dan first and I heard back that he was interested which was quite mind-blowing because the casting process is a bit of a wing and prayer. You got out to people and they pass, so yeah it was a surprise that he was so excited by us and when I Skyped him he was like ‘dude I fucking love this movie man.’”
That statement alone shows what kind of man Daniel Radcliffe is because that seems to be what most people are saying after they have seen Guns Akimbo as well. It is a cult classic in the making and Howden has made another winner.
Summary: At the peak of her international career, Maria Enders (Binoche) is asked to return to the play that made her career. This time taking on the role of an older woman driven to suicide, rather than the young starlet, the performance within this films performance is reflective of her own life, with a new young starlet moving into the role she once possessed, in both the play and reality.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 7th May, 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: France, Switzerland, Germany, USA, Belgium
Director: Olivier Assayas
Screenwriter: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Juliette Binoche (Maria Enders), Brady Corbet (Piers Roaldson), Lars Eidinger (Klaus Diesterweg), Johnny Flynn (Christopher Giles), Chloe Grace Moretz (Jo-Ann Ellis), Bene Peverelli (Berndt), Aljoscha Stadelmann (Urs Kobler), Kristen Stewart (Valentine), Angela Winkler (Rosa Melchior), Hanns Zischler (Henryk Wald)