Tagged: Kyle McGrath

Summary:  An overweight teen is bullied by a clique of cool girls poolside while holidaying in her village. The long walk home will change the rest of her life.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  TBA

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: Spain

Director: Carlota Pereda

Screenwriter: Carlota Pereda

Cast: Camille Aguilar (Roci), Pilar Castro (Elena), Chema del barco (Juan Carlos), Fernando Delgado-Hierro (Juancarlitos), Irene Ferrerio (Claudia), Laura Galan (Sara), Richard Holmes (Desconocido), Lia Lois (Amaya), Carmen Machi (Madre), Stephanie Magnin (Rosa), Jose Vincente Moiron (Padre Pedro), Jose Pastor (Pedro), Claudia Salas (Maca), Fred Tatien (Padre Roci)

Running Time: 90 mins

Classification: TBC

OUR PIGGY REVIEWS

Kyle McGrath’s Piggy Review:

I love revenge movie of all types, horror, action, thriller etc. There’s movies like Death Wish which glorified vigilantism much to the chagrin of original author Brian Garfield and then there are movies like ‘Death Sentence’ which did the complete opposite. There are creative films such as a personal favourite Irreversible which in portraying a horrific act and the resulting vengeance in reverse order managed to make things so much more uncomfortable as the audience was robbed of all hope for catharsis. As a subgenre revenge films are more varied than many would give credit for.

Piggy is a drama/horror written and directed by Carlota Pereda based upon her previous short film. Sara (Laura Galán) an obese teenager living in a small Spanish village is the target of much derision from other more popular teenagers. While they spend their summer socialising and having fun she remains behind the counter of her family’s butcher shop, even in hiding she can not escape the taunts and online bullying. One hot day when she believes it’s safe to do so Sara travels to the local pool to cool off only to be accosted, tortured and humiliated by other girls. On her walk of shame back home she happens to witness the kidnapping of one of these girls by an anonymous stranger (Richard Holmes), in showing Sara an act of kindness a silent bond forms between the two. As other teens disappear and bodies start piling up all eyes in the small village begin to focus on Sara and she must decide what to do as her tormentors may very well now be at her mercy.

I was initially interested in the premise of the movie and seeing how it would blend the topics of modern bullying within a small town. What also drew me in was wondering how the obvious horror element (as promised by its poster of Sara drenched in gore) would play into it. I guess in some ways I would say the film subverts your expectations as it focuses much more on Sara’s moral struggles with the guilt of her bond with this unknown kidnapper than it does any traditional horror or gore aspect.

Laura Galan gives a great lead performance in her role as Sara. When film’s deal with characters with body issues I’m always impressed by the bravery of actors who are willing to put themselves in the spotlight where all eyes will be on them as the script itself points at them saying  “look how fat/old/ugly they are!”. These scenes of horrific abuse are extremely hard to watch and we immediately empathise with Sara and can even sonewhat understand her decision to stay quiet when her tormentors start disappearing one by one.

While the twist of not having this film be an all out splatter revenge fantasy film was not an entirely unwelcome one things still felt like they dragged for the majority of the movie. It was odd as the unspoken agreement occurs so early in the film I at first felt it was rushing things, instead the plot dragged as it built towards an unsatisfactory and poorly thought out conclusion. There is decent characterisation of Sara’s domineering mother Asun (Carmen Machi) however little of the victims before its too late to care about them.

Like some other recent movies (True Things, The Nightingale, The Lighthouse) this film is presented in a 4:3 ‘square’ aspect ratio, unfortunately unlike many of those films I failed to see the purpose here. Usually when modern films use this style there is a thematic or stylistic reasoning which serves to enhance the audience’s experience. In Piggy it largely served to frustrate me throughout the film as focal points were off screen or out of frame and coupled with a lack of establishing shots it felt like I often had to deduce what the characters were looking at rather than just seeing it for myself.

I did feel myself transported to this small village and thanks to a brave performance by Galán Piggy sucks you in early but unfortunately with nowhere really to go from there. As a horror film it’s lacking where it’s gore is only for temporary shock value and it feels like it only dips it’s toes into the heavy subject of bullying as a means to an end. The short film Piggy is based on was only 14 minutes and unfortunately despite the potential there just isn’t enough on display here to justify expansion to feature film territory.


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Summary:  A fictitious 1980s Japan. Soji, a soldier on furlough, returns to his country. He receives a request from Haya, who was sent from the World Bank, to help her on a mission to investigate the actual circumstances of a narcotic called “Golden Monkey” which is running rampant through Japanese society.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  TBA

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: Japan

Director: Yanakaya

Screenwriter: Yanakaya

Cast: Yoshino Fujima, Yui Fukuda, Yarita Jin, Toshihide Mori, Shinya Tomita, Yukina Tsuchida, Wataru Uenoyama

Running Time: 75 mins

Classification: TBC

OUR BATTLECRY REVIEWS

Kyle McGrath’s Battlecry Review:

I greatly appreciate films which are made as a labour of love by a small crew. Many of my favourite independent films feature stand out performance in bit parts by crew members who jumped I’m front of the camera out of necessity. Likewise there’s something admirable in today’s world of CGI heavy movies with thousands of crew members where films come along with a much smaller amount of people breaking their backs to make something. Filmmakers like Tim Miller or The Brothers Strause have been able to create impressive looking CGI feature films largely by putting in most of the hard work themselves to keep the budget down.

Battlecry is a CGI animated scifi thriller set in a fictionalised 1980s Japan. It follows Soji (voiced by Shinya Tomita) a soldier on leave who is approached by Haya (Yui Fukuda) an agent of the ‘World Bank’ with a request to assist her on a mission. Throughout the world bizarre shadow monsters are appearing unprovoked with apparent links to Japanese citizens. The new performance enhancing super drug ‘Golden Monkey’ is thought to be to blame for these monsters and together Soji & Haya must locate the source of this drug and shut it down. Discovering long hidden connections to Soji’s childhood and a government cover up along the way.

The interesting novelty behind Battlecry is that supposedly with the exception of voice actors and musical talent this entire film was written, produced and created as a solo project by it’s director Yanakaya. Apparently creating the entire thing on his laptop director Yanakaya has produced an anime-like action film which while nothing groundbreaking is one of the most interesting additions to the 2022 MIFF line-up and quite an achievement in low budget filmmaking.

The animation throughout Battlecry is extremely janky at times and it would come as no surprise to the unenlightened viewer that it was a one-man project. Having grown up with early EARLY examples of CGI animation such as 1993’s The Incredible Crash Dummies as well as Playstation 1 era video game cut scenes the aesthetic of Battlecry was one which brought back feelings of nostalgia to me. With character models being extremely simplistic what undoubtedly would look like placeholder pre-vis animation to audiences today I found myself enjoying. The foreknowledge of this film’s production meant that I was amazed by the detail the film exhibited thanks to it’s creator’s hard work rather than being disappointed by the lack of detail which it would be unreasonable to expect a production of this type to feature.

The stand out achievement of this movie’s style would be the beautifully realised locations and backdrops. It features cyberpunk design of illegal black market streets, love hotels and overhead tram systems. This creative flair more than made up for any shortcomings of the film’s more ambitious action sequences which I felt were the only times the director bit off more than it could chew on a technical level.

The storyline of Battlecry is very anime cliche heavy. Soji carries a sword for no real reason, the flashbacks to past trauma, the villain’s direct connection to the protagonist are all stock standard. Even the shadow monsters themselves seem to exist in the film solely so there can be action scenes combating them. Straight story wise there was no real reason for the shadow monsters to feature at all and even if Yanakaya is planning on building on them in follow up projects I think that time could have been better utilised on building up what minimal characters and plot the film had.

Which is to say that although the twists and turns the story goes through did still entertain me on a cheesy level the movie still feels too short. With such a scant seventy five minute runtime the hefty themes of past trauma, government conspiracies as well as the sub-plots involving childhood friends reconnecting years later all feel extremely half baked and rushed as a result.

While Battlecry may not look like much on a big cinema screen the sound design did still impress me with deafening explosions of dramatic gunfire. Not to mention the voice actors do a fine job even though there were some moments where the supposed English speaking characters are having trouble with their lines. In some ways the experience as an English only speaking audience member was just as janky as well. At least with the screening I had there were many grammatical errors, some subtitles disappearing off screen too quickly for anyone to have read them and at one point the dialogue went without any translation text at all with the subs picking up midway through a sentence.

Battlecry isn’t a brilliant film however there simply aren’t many movies it can be compare to and for that I give it credit. It is a quite literal ‘independent’ feature film and I can’t deny I enjoyed the aesthetic and appreciate that the director managed to create something very special all on his own. Now while it may not look the best….well it must be said Thor Love & Thunder cost 250 million and still looked awful in its own way!

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Summary:  Kitty, the imaginary girl who Anne Frank wrote to in her 1940s diary during WWII, seeks out the deceased diarist while also inspiring a wave of modern social justice for refugees.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  23rd June 2022 (Australia), 12th August 2022 (UK), 18th March 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Netherlands , Israel

Director: Ari Folman

Screenwriter: Ari Folman, Anne Frank

Cast: Nell Barlow (Elsa Platt (voice)), Skye Bennett (Margot (voice)), Emily Carey (Anne Frank (voice)), Sebastian Croft (Anne’s Peter (voice)), Ari Folman (Officer Van Yaris (voice)), Michael Maloney (Otto Frank (voice)), Ralph Prosser (Kitty’s Peter (voice)), Ruby Stokes (Kitty (voice)),

Running Time: 99 mins

Classification: TBC

OUR WHERE IS ANNE FRANK REVIEWS

Kyle McGrath’s Where Is Anne Frank Review:

I love animated films either made for adults or with more mature themes. The films of Pixar or Studio Gibli have shown us many times over the years a single animated picture can be used to entertain children and adults alike with both appreciating it for different reasons. It’s important to remember that animated films can be used to excite but also educate audiences of all ages with important messages.

Where is Anne Frank is an animated drama following historical events with a fictionalised fantasy twist. It follows the journey of ‘Kitty’ (voiced by Ruby Stokes) the imaginary friend Anne Frank (here voiced by Emily Carey) wrote her famous diary to as a tactic not to be writing to herself. Kitty through magical means comes to life in the modern era unaware of what has happened to Anne since her final diary entry. Flashing backwards and forwards though the decades we are presented with the heartbreaking story of Anne’s confinement as well as Kitty’s adventure throughout modern day as she experiences it in the face of Anne’s legacy.

While not a direct follow up to Waltz With Bashir (that would be the lesser appreciated The Congress) this is the latest film by Israeli born filmmaker Ari Folman with a creative use of animation in order to tell a documentary like story.

The idea of Kitty being the main character was an inspired choice as a way to both introduce us to Anne Frank who we all know but also to reflect what Anne Frank’s legacy means to us today. The ravages of time, censorship and endless retelling of history have inevitably led to a bastardisation of the facts and Folman does not shy away from saying that despite honouring Anne Frank by naming schools, streets, theatres and hospitals after her along the way the humanity and the soul of this young girl might be overlooked.

Not to mention turning the annex in which she and her family hid from the Nazis for years into a tourist attraction though done in the best of intentions is meaningless if nothing is truly learned from the experience in how we conduct ourselves today.

The animation throughout the film was stunning. I am not educated enough to know whether this was a true old style hand drawn animation however it was infinitely more soulful than something like the recent Chip n Dale film was. Likewise the mixing of 2D with 3D characters & environments blended in a flowing way and never took me out of the movie. There was always something real about the characters and how they were presented which couldnt have been achieved I think with a live action experience.

Both Stokes & Carey in their respective roles as Kitty & Anne were amazing. Two different actresses essentially playing the voice of the same true life figure worked much better than I believed it could have. Again simply dressing up modern day actors in period clothing would not have achieved the same level of emotional authenticity I believe this movie did using animation. There were times I felt that maybe having English speaking actors was a little bit anachronistic however years of ‘Hollywoodised’ historical films made this a non issue. Ironically the only voice which felt out of place was perhaps that of Ari Folman himself in his cameo voice role as a police officer Kitty interacts with in the modern timeline.

I feel that this movie achieved something brave by essentially telling us that in viewing Anne Frank as a historical figure and not seeing her as a true person we were like tourists stomping through her bedroom. Everyone knows what happened to Anne however witnessing a depiction of this beautiful girl with such a big heart and imagination slowly losing that spark in her confinement was a terrible thing to see. Through Kitty’s eyes we see not so much the exact details of what happened or who betrayed the Franks but her learning that this friend of hers ended the same way as millions of other Jewish children and it is absolutely heartbreaking.

I did find Ari Folman’s insistence that we need to see Anne as a person and not simply a concept an apt conclusion. Unfortunately I believe he hurts the message then by recontextualising everything he achieved and attempting to compare her story and that of the entire holocaust itself to current day immigration issues in Europe. While Folman pulls back from comparing immigration officials to actual Nazis (as they alone are depicted in a stylised demonic way in the past timeline emphasising a lack of humanity) the entire conflation between the two comes out of left field and may be considered quite problematic in how lightly it takes both issues.

Where is Anne Frank is a beautiful yet heartbreaking portrait of a young woman who lost her life like many many others during one of the darkest times in human history. While I feel Ari Folman betrays his own achievements in the film’s final moments everything up until then was a uniquely special film enhanced by the animated style.

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Summary:  Down on her luck and saddled with debt, Emily gets involved in a credit card scam that pulls her into the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, ultimately leading to deadly consequences.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  12th August 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

Director: John Patton Ford

Screenwriter: John Patton Ford

Cast: Jonathan Avigdori (Khalil), Bernardo Badillo (Javier), Megalyn Echikunwoke (Liz), Amje Elharden (Robert), Ricarlo Flanagan (Mike), Gina Gershon (Alice), Wesley Han (Mike), Sheila Korsi (Luna), Janice Sonia Lee (Becca), Roman Mitchyan (Armen), Tomas Pais (Taylor), Aubrey Plaza (Emily), Ben Rodgers (Jason), Theo Rossi (Youcef), Kimiko Singer (Sarah), Brandon Sklenar (Brent), Jack Topalian (Vaz), Lamar Usher (Lamar)

Running Time: 97 mins

Classification: M (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)

OUR EMILY THE CRIMINAL REVIEWS

Kyle McGrath’s Emily The Criminal Review:

I’ve always loved crime films regardless of what level of crime or what country these films come from. With The Godfather, Once Upon a Time in America, Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction being considered some of the greatest movies ever made it’s undeniable that many filmgoers feel the same way that I do. While not always realistic the genre can be approached from all sorts of angles not simply being about the crime itself but often as interesting character studies on people and what it is in their lives which drives them to the wrong side of the law.

Emily the Criminal is a drama thriller which acts as the debut feature film from writer director John Patton Ford. It follows Emily (Aubrey Plaza) a former artist with a past criminal assault record weighing her down. She struggles to make ends meet and pay her student debt with her low paying job, by chance one day a co-worker gives her the opportunity to make some quick cash via a credit card fraud ring operated by Youcef (Theo Rossi) and his cousin Kahlil (Jonathan Avigdori). Quickly Emily becomes seduced by the allure of making fast money and developing a relationship with Youcef however this new life of crime she has adopted begins leading her down an increasingly dark path she may not be ready for.

Along this entire journey is a distinct feeling of intensity which never let’s up. Although there is definitely a sudden change at some point I felt the film hadn’t earned up until then Emily feels like someone who doesn’t quite gather just how deep she’s digging this hole for herself and around this John Patton Ford crafts some nail biting sequences for sure.

What I found interesting about this movie is how it only really scrapes the surface of the crime world Emily becomes involved in. Some might find this disappointing however as there isn’t a lot to this story that we haven’t seen before in other films. We never go too far into the organisation or branch out into different areas it largely stuck with simple credit card fraud in action coupled with the bond which grows between Emily and Youcef.

I admit I have not seen all of Aubrey Plaza’s recent work however she always struck me as an actress with a particular charisma and she puts her all into this movie. As the stakes get higher and Emily goes from someone who is simply a cog in the machine to the person calling the shots it was great seeing that when pushed she can definitely take care of herself, all the while still there are hints that she is still a good person underneath.

The relationship which grows between Emily and Youcef leads to us seeing Youcef in a completely new light as time goes on. It never really struck me as a cliched ‘thief with a heart of gold’ character arc rather it was a role reversal I enjoy seeing done well in films. Through Theo Rossi’s great performance over the course of the film there is almost a switch as he becomes the out of his depth character while Emily is the one willing to get dirty and hurt people for a big pay day.

Something I disliked was how the film seemed to have the same issues a lot of others have in where to go with this type of story. This isn’t at all a good vs evil Robin Hood-type storyline and while I don’t wish for any morale grandstanding Emily’s ambitions are quite shallow and her capabilities and competency as a master criminal is debatable. As such I think the final act definitely needed work to create something with more significance all things considered.

Ford has does an excellent job creating a thrilling crime flick beginning to end with Aubrey Plaza & Theo Rossi nailing it showing off their respective talent. Unfortunately the film strikes me as not building towards an ultimate goal and I felt myself disappointed when the ending credits rolled on.

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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.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  15th August 2022 (Australia), 4th August 2022 (Thailand), 29th July 2022 (UK), 29th July 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

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

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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.

Year: 2022

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.

Average Subculture rating Out Of 5

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Summary:  In an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, a young girl is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  22nd September 2022 (Australia), 1st April 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: UK, Serbia, Australia

Director: Goran Stolevski

Screenwriter: Goran Stolevski

Cast: Leontina Bainovic (Nevena/Young), Amini Cishugi (Self), Carlotta Cotta (Boris), Arta Dobroshi (Stamena), Alice Englert (Biliana), Djorde Zivadinovic Grgur (Stoyan/Young), Anastasija Karanovich (Biliana/Young), Sara Kilmoska (Nevena), Anamaria Marinca (Maria/Wolf-Eatress), Felix Maritaud (Yovan), Djordje Misina (Miroslav), Marija Opsenica (Ur-witch), Milos Pantic (Dusan), Noomi Rapace (Bosilka/mother), Nikola Ristanovski (Milan), Irena Ristic (Elica), Danilo Savic (Yovan/Young), Komka Tocinovski (Yoana), Teodor Vincic (Vladimir), Mladen Vukovic (Stoyan)

Running Time: 108 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)

OUR YOU WON’T BE ALONE REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ You Won’t Be Alone Review:

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Kyle McGrath’s You Won’t Be Alone Review:

You Won’t be Alone is a fantasy horror film set in the 19th century and inspired by Macedonian folklore. It tells the tale of mute 16 year old Nevena (Sara Kilmoska) who’s mother has hidden her away in a cave since birth attempting to keep her safe from the evil shape shifting witch Old-Maid Maria (Anamaria Marinca). Inevitably the witch succeeds in capturing & transforming the girl into her protégée although frustrated by Nevena’s naivety & lack of malice quickly abandons her to wander the world alone. Completely isolated her entire life Nevena understands nothing of society or nature and after accidentally killing a nearby villager (Noomi Rapace) Nevena begins her new life as a skin walker taking the form of different people man or woman, adult or child experiencing a range of lifestyles as she attempts to understand this world. Always in the shadows Maria, bitter and twisted watches over her certain that Nevena will live a life as painful as her own.

A very peculiar and at times hard to watch film I first became interested due to the involvement of Noomi Rapace as executive producer as I’ve enjoyed many of the other weird and exciting films she has been involved with. Also a somewhat Australian film, it is shot entirely in Serbia in a Macedonian dialect but with post production provided by Film Victoria.

Macedonian Australian Writers/Director Goran Stolevski has traced myths and legends from his family’s homeland to create something familiar although with a fresh take which is not seen often on the big screen. European fairytales of evil witches and curses have been so watered down by Hollywood and made safe for children I appreciate when movies, books or video games get back to the nitty gritty and remember that these stories are actually supposed to terrify at times.

The decision to feature mostly in-camera and physical special effects is a wise one which pays off. With brutal gore, body horror and make-up effects throughout the only times I feel the effects hold the film back are those few instances where CGI was actually used. The results of which whether due to budgetary constraints or not appear out of place and inconguent with the natural flow the rest of the production has. I hate to say but the one time we see a transformation happening before our eyes it looks like something from the a late 1990s Nickelodeon kid’s show.

I can’t say enough good things about the beautiful scenery throughout this movie. A wider aspect ratio or at least transitioning to one later in the film, although gimmicky I think would have been beneficial as much is made of the world opening up to Nevena when she is finally freed from her protective confinement. The Serbian landscape provides at times both a picturesque yet haunting backdrop for this tale.

With multiple actors of varying ages and genders playing the same character this is a tall order for the cast with Rapace playing a much smaller role than one might think. She does however do the lion’s share as she plays ‘Nevena’ at her most curious at human interaction and social norms. Having never even had contact with another person save for her deceitful mother and the evil witch Rapace as Nevena delivers a heartbreaking and at times surprisingly amusing performance.

Not to be outdone the rest of the actors and actresses portraying Nevena do an amazing job at playing her at different points of her awakening and understanding of the world. Kilmoska who plays her at the beginning of the film and again several times throughout has the most screentime but everybody involved makes the role their own.

The overall standout of the film is Anamaria Marinca’s ‘Old Maid’ Maria. Between her performance and how Maria is written as a character this makes for one of the most interesting depictions of a witch I’ve seen in a movie. Although much screen time passes without her she is always in the back of your mind and you know she is watching.

Much like 2020’s Gretel & Hansel, You Won’t Be Alone is a twisted fairy tale showcasing the clash between two witches on opposite sides of the spectrum of morality however here I think much more is said about the very nature of the world, our roles within it and where we go from there. I honestly was not expecting to have moments of introspection while watching a supernatural fantasy film inspired by Macedonian folklore but Goran Stolevski has crafted a facinating movie which I highly recommend.

Average Subculture rating Out Of 5

Other Subculture You Won’t Be Alone Reviews:

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Trailer:

Summary:  After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete Mitchell is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  26th May 2022 (Australia), 4th May 2022 (Thailand), 27th May 2022 (UK), 27th May 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: USA

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Screenwriter: Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Monica Barbaro (Lt. Natasha ‘Phoenix’ Trace), Jennifer Connelly (Penny Benjamin), Tom Cruise (Capt. Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell), Greg Tarzan Davis (Lt. Javy ‘Coyote’ Machado), Jay Ellis (Lt. Reuben ‘Payback’ Fitch), Jon Hamm (Adm. Beau ‘Cyclone’ Simpson), James Handy (Bartender Jimmy), Ed Harris (Radm. Chester ‘Hammer’ Cain), Manny Jacinto (Lt. Billy ‘Fritz’ Avalone), Jean Louisa Kelly (Sarah Kazansky), Tommy Kijas (Big Roy), Val Kilmer (Adm. Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky), Raymond Lee (Lt. Logan ‘Yale’ Lee), Charles Parnell (Adm. Solomon ‘Warlock’ Bates), Jake Picking (Lt. Brigham ‘Harvard’ Lennox), Glen Powell (Lt. Jake ‘Hangman’ Seresin), Lewis Pullman (Lt. Robert ‘Bob’ Floyd), Danny Ramirez (Mickey ‘Fanboy’ Garcia), Bashir Salahuddin (Wo-1 Bernie ‘Hondo’ Coleman), Jake Schumacher (Lt. Neil ‘Omaha’ Vikander), Miles Teller (Lt. Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw), Kara Wang (Lt. Callie ‘Halo’ Bassett), Lyliana Wray (Amelia)

Running Time: 130 mins

Classification: M (Australia), 13 (Thailand), 12-A (UK), PG-13 (USA)

OUR TOP GUN: MAVERICK REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ Top Gun: Maverick Review:

Filmmaker Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion) has one of the toughest jobs in cinema this year. See it is Mr Kosinski who is the man responsible for bringing Top Gun: Maverick to the big screen. Mark my words if the film is a flop there will be people baying for his blood because the original Top Gun film is not just a favourite for many cinemaphiles it is an absolute classic that was lauded with changing cinema forever.

Now as if there isn’t enough weight already on Kosinski’s shoulders he’s also had to wait that little bit longer for the verdict on the film because it has been repeatedly pushed back due to the pandemic. By the time it opens in cinemas this week it will nearly be two and half years since the date it was originally scheduled for release.

Well perhaps we can lighten that load a little for Mr Kosinski because we have seen Top Gun: Maverick and as a fan who has been waiting over 30 years for another film in the franchise I can say the film more than lives up to expectations.

This time around we find Maverick (Tom Cruise Rainman) still technically a Navy pilot but now testing new era aircraft. It’s not his ideal role but at least it isn’t retirement but as usual Maverick tests the nerves and patients of the top brass and soon finds himself close to being forced to retire.

Luckily for him though he is saved by Iceman (Val Kilmer – The Saint) who is now a highly ranked officer and he is given the task of being sent to the Top Gun Academy to help train a team of pilots for a near impossible mission.

On arrival at Top Gun Maverick instantly finds he is not wanted by his new boss, Cyclone (Jon Hamm – The Town), and discovers that his former deceased flight partner Gooses’ son Rooster (Miles Teller – Divergent) is part of the team that he has to train. Like Cyclone Rooster soon shows that he also has not time for Maverick.

To the credit of Kosinski and Tom Cruise, who had a lot of creative input into the film, what we have here is a rare exception in the cinema landscape – a sequel that more than matches the original film. Even a quick glance at this film will show that the action sequences here sets it apart from anything that we have seen in cinema over the past decades. Marvel could only dream of creating something as original as this.

There are no shortcuts with this film as one of the rules Cruise had about being part of this film was that the use of CGI was to be limited. Yes just like the original film Top Gun: Maverick sees the filmmakers having to work very closely with the Navy and shots on aircraft carriers were filmed on real carriers and the sequences with actual fighter jets were mostly shot with actual jets. Even Cruise’s own private antique aircraft makes an appearance.

The result is something that nobody could have predicted. The scenes of jet fighters flying low through canyons or shooting off with their afterburner glowing is nothing short of spectacular and needs to be seen on the biggest screen available. Knowing that the cast including Cruise, Teller, Monica Barbaro  (The Good Cop) and Lewis Pullman (Them That Follow) are actually in a jet and experiencing the G’s that put agony across their face adds to a realism that an action film has no right happening.

Even the screenwriting team nail their jobs with this film. There is nothing in it that disrespects any of the characters from the past and given how ill Val Kilmer was when they were making this film they treat his character with the upmost respect. Unlike a lot of sequels or reboots even the new characters, which include an old flame of Maverick’s Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connelly – A Beautiful Mind), add to the storyline rather than hinder it.

In fact it is the performance of one of the actors playing one of the new characters that really steals the show here. Miles Teller is truly sensational as Rooster. It is obvious that he has studied the performance of Anthony Edwards who played his father, Goose, in the original film because he seems to capture all the same mannerisms that Edwards brought to his character in an eerily good way. Even the scenes where he has to stand up to Cruise, one of the best actors of our generation, have a raw power to them and it feels like an honour watching this young actor go from strength to strength.

There is simply just so much to love about Top Gun: Maverick from sensational visual and action sequences through to a plot that actually allows its stars the ability to put in some brilliant acting performances. As far as sequels go this is pure perfection!

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Kyle McGrath’s Top Gun: Maverick Review:

Kyle’s rating Out Of 5

Average Subculture Rating:

Other Subculture Top Gun: Maverick Reviews:

You can read our review of Top Gun: Maverick that appeared in The Phuket News right here –

https://www.thephuketnews.com/top-gun-maverick-big-action-for-the-big-screen-84350.php

Trailer:

Summary:  Broken teens trying to claim somethings their parents failed to provide – A Future and Purpose.

Year: 2020

Cinema Release Dates:  30th July 2020 (Australia), 7th August 2020 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: Available in all territories.

Country: USA

Director: Neil Goss

Screenwriter: Neil Goss

Cast: Jay Amari (Frank), Phil Blevins (Danny), Carole Richards Branch (Diarn), Joseph Cassese (Oliver), Kaleal Cerafici (Marko), Alfredo De Guzman (Thomas), Silvia Dionicio (Lin), Cha-tah Ellem (Nick), Amanda Greer (Victoria), John Living (Toby), Mitchell McCoy (Dale Jackson), Moses Meads (Ryker), Xavier Michael (Chris), James V. Rappa (Steven), Marie Smalley (Molly), Isaiah Kareen Speight (Quando), Corynn Treadwell (Sarah), Lily Yin (Jess)

Running Time: 118 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), R (USA),

OUR JUVENILE DELINQUINTS REVIEWS

David Griffiths and Kyle McGrath’s Juvenile Delinquints Review:

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Kyle’s rating Out Of 5

Average Subculture Rating:

Other Subculture Juvenile Delinquents Reviews:

Nil

Trailer:

Summary:  A man’s obsession with his designer deerskin jacket causes him to blow his life savings and turn to crime.

Year: 2019

Cinema Release Dates:  6th August 2020 (Australia), 16th July 2021 (UK)

VOD Release Dates: Available in all territories.

Country: France, Belgium, Switzerland

Director: Quentin Dupieux

Screenwriter: Quentin Dupieux

Cast: Maryne Cayon (Zita), Albert Delpy (Monsieur B.), Jean Dujardin (Georges), Adele Haenel (Denise), Youssef Hadji (Olaf), Tom Hudson (Yann), Panayotis Pascot (Johnny), Simon Thomas (Xavier)

Running Time: 77 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK),

OUR DEERSKIN REVIEWS

David Griffiths and Kyle McGrath’s Deerskin Review:

Kyle’s rating Out Of 5

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Average Subculture Rating:

Other Subculture Deerskin Reviews:

Nil

Trailer: