Dave Griffiths keeps counting down is top 30 films of the year. Today we look at the Top 10.
10. THE GENTLEMEN
After the year that we have had it is hard to believe that the brilliant Guy Ritchie film was a 2020 film – but it was it landed on January 1st. Ritchie at his pure best!!!
9. A WHITE, WHITE DAY
Brutal and unrelenting this drama simply reminded me why I love Scandinavian cinema so much.
Waves is simply one of those films that will stay with you a long time after you have watched the film. Brilliant acting and a film with a twist that you will never see coming.
7. UNDERGROUND INC: THE RISE AND FALL OF ALTERNATIVE ROCK
A brilliant documentary that not only celebrated the rise of alternative rock but also revealed the dark side of the music industry that forced a lot of bands to give up.
6. THE DRY
Harshly beautiful The Dry is the perfect crime thriller. Eric Bana is sensational and we are all reminded just how good Robert Connolly is as a filmmaker.
5. THE INVISIBLE MAN
Horror re-boots are not supposed to be this good, right? Somehow though Leigh Whannell managed to take an old concept and turn it into something so, so terrifying.
Beautiful yet brutal at the same time. This foreign language film about child soldiers is destined to become a cult classic.
3. THE COMEBACK TRAIL
It is rare for a comedy to ever get this high on my Best Of lists but The Comeback Trail was something special. Funny, an all-star cast that brought their A-Game and a look back at Hollywood’s past – what wasn’t there to like?
2. THE PEANUT BUTTER FALCON
Few films stuck with me in 2020 like The Peanut Butter Falcon. A touching story that also showed why Shia LaBeouf is never an actor that we should forget about.
1. ABOUT AN AGE
The perfect coming-of-age film. This Aussie film came out of nowhere and reminded us all just how great a film can be with perfect casting and screenplay that is full of natural dialogue. An Aussie classic!
Summary: When Cecilia’s abusive ex takes his own life and leaves her his fortune, she suspects his death was a hoax. As a series of coincidences turn lethal, Cecilia works to prove that she is being hunted by someone nobody can see.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 27th February 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 13th March 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: Australia, United States, Canada, United Kingdom
Director: Leigh Whannell
Screenwriter: Leigh Whannell
Cast: Michael Dorman (Tom Griffin), Harriet Dyer (Emily Kass), Amali Golden (Annie), Benedict Hardie (Marc), Aldis Hodge (James Lanier), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Adrian Griffin), Nick Kici (Taylor), Renee Lim (Doctor Lee), Elisabeth Moss (Cecilia Kass), Storm Reid (Sydney Lanier), Sam Smith (Detective Reckley)
Running Time: 124 mins
Classification: MA15+ (Australia) 18 (Thailand)
OUR THE INVISIBLE MAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Dave Griffiths’ The Invisible Man Review:
There has been a lot of commentary recently about the ‘new breed’ of horror films. The term has been given to films like Midsumma and Hereditary, films that supposedly show that the ‘new breed’ of horror filmmakers who are now ‘woke’ and incorporate social issues into the horror that their characters face.
To say that is a new form of filmmaking though is probably a little bit of a misconception as you could possibly argue that horror filmmakers were doing that a long time before it became a Hollywood trend. Early horror films regularly used the ‘horror’ to point out so-called anti-social behaviour. Remember all those slashers where the babysitter got killed because she fooled around with her boyfriend rather than watching the kids? Yep, that was filmmakers making a social commentary about promiscuous teens. Then there were films like Saw and Hostel that graphically look at the impact of greed and lust on society.
On the flip side there were also films like I Spit On Your Gave. Released in 1978 the controversial film showed what happened when a woman decides to get bloody revenge on a group of men that sexually assaulted her. Then in 2014 came James Cullen Bressack’s Pernicious which showed the dire consequences of what happens after three young backpackers disrespect Thai culture while visiting the country.
Most of the films I have just mentioned were pretty hard-hitting, but nothing will prepare you for the psychological horror of Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man. A lo of people will probably write this off as another remake of the famous 1930s film which of course was based on a novel by H.G. Wells. Nothing could be further from the truth though as Whannell takes the basic character of an invisible man and turns it into a menacing villain looking to further torture a woman who has just left him to escape an abusive relationship.
When it comes to the horror genre Whannell is one of the modern day godfathers. As a writer he created the paranormal worlds of franchises like Saw and Insidious, while as he director he also gave us the criminally under-rated Upgrade. With The Invisible Man he introduces us to Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss – The Handmaid’s Tale) a woman trapped in a severely abusive relationship with a psychopathic scientist named Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen).
With the help of her sister Emily (Harriet Dyer – Love Child) and her good friend Detective James Lanier (Aldis Hodge – Straight Outta Compton) Cecilia manages to escape the prison that is Adrian’s home. But as she goes into hiding she suddenly finds herself stalked by an entity that she can’t see – an entity that she believes is Adrian. The torture then begins as the ‘invisible man’ sets out to separate her from those she loves and hurt anyone that he feels stands in his way.
What Whannell has done here is take the invisible man character and deliver it to the audience in a way that no filmmaker has ever done before. We thought Hollow Man was spine-cilling but that is child’s play compared to what Whannell does here. The terror that Cecilia is put through by her tormentor mirrors what domestic abuse sufferers go through every day of their lives. The fear of not being able to leave their own home, having family members and friends not believe what is happening to them and of course the awkward legal meetings that they must endure should they chose to report their tormentor. Here those moments are brought to the screen as circumstances force Cecilia and Emily to meet with Adrian’s lawyer – his own brother Tom (Michael Dorman – Daybreakersi).
Whannell allows this film to hit its audience with the subtleness of a sledgehammer. His unique directional style allows the audience to always know where the invisible horror is and as a result they find themselves just as on edge as Cecilia is. As a filmmaker Whannell knows not to bother frightening his audience with jump scares and lame horror sequences instead he will reveal what to the naked eye looks like an empty frame on the screen only to then suddenly have a knife appear and you know that the ‘horror’ is present. It is easy to see that Whannell is a well-versed film fan and he strives to deliver the kinds of movies that he as a viewer would be impressed with as well. What he is created here is psychologically terrifying movie that even Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud of.
As is the tradition of Blumhouse produced horror films The Invisible Man allows for some lesser known actors and actresses to shine. Moss shakes off her ‘television actress’ tag with an amazing performance that should deservedly gain some Oscar talk when it comes to the next lot of nominations. As an actress she has to deliver everything from serious dramatic moments talking about her trauma through to fight sequences against a villain she can’t see… that is some pretty physically demanding work right there.
She is also well supported by the dangerously under-rated Michael Dorman who has previously shown his brilliance in films like the chilling Acolytes and vampire flick Daybreakers. Here Dorman plays the menacing lawyer Tom remarkably well and hopefully this gives him more of a profile in Hollywood.
The Invisible Man is a chillingly brilliant horror film that again shows why Leigh Whannell needs to be considered one of the best filmmakers currently going around. The psychological nature of the film takes the horror genre to a whole new level and shows why the term ‘modern day re-telling’ need not always mean a film that is going to be groan-worthy. If you are a serious film lover than please do not write of The Invisible Man as just another popcorn horror film as this is one of the best films that you are likely to see in 2020.
Kyle McGraths’ The Invisible Man Review
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment The Invisible Man Reviews:
There is no disputing that director/screenwriter Leigh Whannell is one of the kings of modern day horror. The Australian was the writer behind both the Saw and Insidious franchises while in recent years he has also sat in the director’s chair for films like Insidious: Chapter 3 and the under-appreciated Upgrade.
Now Whannell returns as the director/screenwriter/producer of The Invisible Man – a modern day Blumhouse take on one of Universal Pictures most loved horror characters. And as we chat to Whannell in Melbourne we learn that this is not a task that he took lightly.
“I actually wasn’t thinking about doing an Invisible Man movie at all, says Whannell as we begin to talk about the origins of this film. “I had just finished Upgrade and I had been bitten by the action movie bug and I think I was keen to go and shoot the fifty million dollar version of Upgrade. You know we could crash forty cars instead of one car… i was keen to get my Michael Bay on. Then this idea was suggested to me… the idea of doing The Invisible Man and it was not something that I had given any thought to, but then as soon as it was in my mind it was truly an inception.”
“It wouldn’t leave my brain,” says Whannell with a big smile on his face revealing just how excited he was about the product. “It just kept taking up space rent free. And then I just couldn’t stop thinking about it and that is usually the first sign that I am going to make a film – when it just won’t go away. That’s how it came about and then I just went back to Blumhouse and Universal and said that I was interested in doing this and we were off to the races. It was remarkable just how quickly the pieces all came together.”
As we begin to talk craft I ask Whannell whether or not the fact that the idea of the film was planted in his mind rather than him just thinking it up changed the way he went about writing the original screenplay. “It did in the sense that I was aware of this legacy that was behind me,” he says after pausing to think about the question for a moment. “Other people have made Invisible Man movies and I wanted to avoid repeating them. I didn’t want anybody to be able to say ‘well this is just a retread of so and so.’ And so if anything it was more of an awareness to avoid those other movies- that was the biggest thing – trying to take this character and modernise it and make it very new. In other words I wanted to make it feel like no other Invisible Man movie had ever existed and that this was the first. I can’t tell you how many scenes I came up with that I put on the reject pile because I felt that they had been done before.”
Whannell’s version of The Invisible Man takes on a very different voice to any of the Invisible Man films of the past have. Here Whannell explores the dark topic of domestic violence and depicts in a very dark way that few filmmakers have been brave enough to do in the past. “Really early on I knew that I wanted it to be dark,” he explains. “I knew that I wanted to make something that was really tense and suffocating – not light-hearted at all. I didn’t want anything that was frolicking or fun I wanted to make something that was really relentlessly tense and suffocating to the audience.”
“That was a decision that I made very early on and then I began building out the story,” he explains. “The thematic elements of the movie about a woman being in an abusive relationship that just came out organically. As you start to put the pieces out on the table those things just kind of emerge on their own without you forcing them. It was all really organic and that is how it all fell together.”
With the legacy of the Invisible Man being so entrenched in Hollywood history and certain amount of fandom is also there, and that is something that Whannell is more than aware of. “Any movie whether it has a legacy like The Invisible Man or if it is stand-alone like Upgrade makes me nervous,” he says laughing out loud. “Even just thinking about it now is making me nervous. I think it is because you put so much of yourself into a movie an then you release it to the world and they get to judge it and it is just a scary moment. Eventually the nerves ease off once the movie is out there and you can’t do anything about it. Then you a start to relax but right now I am right in the middle of the white hot centre of nerves because it is just starting to get out there.”
The Insidious: Chapter 3 trailer has been released. Go back to the beginning in this terrifying prequel to Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2 and take a darker-than-ever journey into The Further.
Written & directed by franchise co-creator, Australian filmmaker Leigh Whannell (Saw, The Mule) and produced by James Wan (Saw, The Conjuring, Fast & Furious 7).
The newest chapter in the terrifying horror series is written and directed by franchise co-creator Leigh Whannell. This chilling prequel, set before the haunting of the Lambert family, reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.
Insidious: Chapter 3 stars Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Lin Shaye, Angus Sampson and Leigh Whannell.
Entertainment One and THE MULE filmmakers are thrilled with the results of their decision to release THE MULE first to digital on November 21, followed by Blu-Ray, DVD and digital rental on December 3 in Australia.
This strategy, which allows the film to be seen immediately on any device, at any time, saw THE MULE open in, and maintain, the #1 position on the iTunes charts in the Independent genre. It is currently the iTunes #2 Thriller, #2 Drama and #4 Comedy, and ranked #8 on the iTunes charts against all films on store, in the company of a number of heavyweight blockbusters.
THE MULE DVD and Blu-Ray has also received significant support and engagement from retail and rental partners. It has shipped close to 11,000 units three weeks out from Christmas, a time of year dominated by blockbusters.
Along with a national marketing campaign, the local release of THE MULE was supported with a Sydney and Melbourne publicity tour, which included screenings and public Q&A sessions. Events for the film extended to a world first virtual premiere; an experience for fans to join the filmmakers, cast, as well as their international guests, in communal movie-watching and live tweeting. Fans from around the globe pressed play on Sunday 7 December at 3pm EST simultaneously with Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell, Ewen Leslie, John Noble, Georgina Haig and Chris Pang, resulting in #TheMuleLive trending as the 4th highest topic Australia wide on Twitter, where it continued to trend for 90 minutes.
Louise Balletti, Head of Digital at Entertainment One said “Results for THE MULE are on target with our forecast for our elevated campaign. We are thrilled that people have engaged in this new way, and we’re very pleased with the outcome”.
Australian critics have embraced THE MULE; including 4 stars from Margaret Pomeranz (At The Movies) calling it “savvy, funny, and at times vicious… a tense, well-acted and very original thriller”, 3.5 stars from Leigh Paatsch (News Limited) stating “The Mule never buckles under the weight it must carry” and 4 stars from Luke Buckmaster (The Guardian) labeling it “fiendishly smart and entertaining comedy”.
THE MULE is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Download in Australia and New Zealand. The film is also available digitally in USA and Canada.
ABOUT THE MULE:
Directed by Angus Sampson and Tony Mahony, THE MULE is a darkly comic ride through crime, corruption and one man’s ability to defy his bodily functions. Penned by Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious), Angus Sampson and Jaime Browne, it stars Hugo Weaving alongside Sampson and Whannell, plus an ensemble cast including Ewen Leslie, Geoff Morrell, Georgina Haig, Noni Hazlehurst and John Noble.
Summary: Inspired by true events, The Mule tells the story of a naive man who is detained by federal police with lethal narcotics hidden in his stomach. Alone and afraid, ‘the Mule’ makes a desperate choice; to defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence… literally. By doing so he becomes a ‘human time bomb’; dragging cops, criminals and concerned family into his impossible escapade.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 21st November, 2014
Australia has always had a knack of making good retro drama films. Films like Two Hands, Dirty Deeds and even Animal Kingdom spring straight to mind. Throw in the fact that despite the amount of times he has been horribly mis-cast on the big screen Aussie audiences still seem to love Angus Sampson and you would think that The Mule is a sure fire winner for Screen Australia.
But as every film journalist seems to like reminding people to film in Australia in its darkest days. So dark at the moment that the people behind The Mule have decided to go about its release in a very unique way. Instead of The Mule being screened in cinemas right across the country it will only appear on a couple of screens before then becoming available to the mass community online. Of course all that aside you would still expect that The Mule be a decent film if the people are expected to watch it. And that’s where you might be in for a surprise.
Flashback to 1983, a simpler time in Australia and the mighty Aussies were locked in a seven race fight with America to win the America’s Cup for the first time. At the same time a little Aussie battler named Ray Jenkins (played by Angus Sampson) was involved in a battle of his own. See normally Ray was a sensible man, he listened to his mother (Noni Hazelhurst), he played footy and he fixed televisions for a dodgy boss.
But then during an end of season footy trip to Asia, which his Mum didn’t want him to go on in the first place, Ray listened to his Dad (Geoff Morrell) and his wannabee criminal mate, Gavin (Leigh Whannell), and decided to fill his stomach with condoms full of heroin. It should have been an easy crime but instead Ray messed up at Melbourne Airport and soon finds himself locked in a room with hardened Federal Agent Croft (Hugo Weaving) and the kinder Federal Agent Paris (Ewen Leslie) who decide they will hold onto Ray until he literally spills his guts. That’s when Ray decides that he can sit them out and hold out… or should that be on… until they can longer hold him.
The Mule is actually a breath of fresh air in the Australian film industry because it gets so many things right. First of all as a first time director Tony Mahony (who shares the directional duties with Sampson) pretty much nails this film. He captures the period of 1983 well (despite the odd modern train appearing) and manages to mix the right amount of violence, comedy, drama and suspense together in a way that is not too dissimilar to an early Quentin Tarrantino. It’s rare that you watch a film where you find yourself barracking for a drug trafficker but just like the legendary Australian 2 yacht, here Ray is an Aussie battler taking it right up to the ‘big giants’ that want his scalp.
Mahony is of course aided by a wonderfully written script by Sampson and Whannell. While the film doesn’t quite find itself in the realm of Two Hands it does mix its genres well and is enough to make its audience go through a whole range of emotions. There are moments when you are find yourself laughing out loud, gagging and almost vomiting at some of the things that Ray has to do with the condoms and at other times find the cinema to be in a state of suspense and it becomes unclear just how far Pat Shepherd (John Noble) and is henchmen are willing to go to silence Ray and his family. And as if the script hasn’t already delivered enough to like by then it then has a huge twist that most audience members certainly won’t see coming.
The cream on the cake in this film is the casting. The normally strong Noni Hazlehurst and Geoff Morrell once again deliver gold but it is the two leading men here who lead this ship to the winning post. It’s not too cruel to say that Sampson has been badly miscast a number of times over his career, none more obvious than in Incidious, but here Sampson delivers everything you would want to see a comedic leading man deliver. The fact that he also does well during the dramatic scenes shows that perhaps we have all misjudged Sampson over the years and he just need the right role to show us all what he is really capable of.
Then opposite Sampson of course is Hugo Weaving who goes into complete bad guy mode playing ruthless, sexist, 1980s Federal Agent Croft to a tee. Croft allows Weaving to deliver some well timed punches to the stomach, sarcastic wit and beautifully delivered snarls alarmingly well and you hope the fact that this is one of Weaving’s best roles might mean that a few more people want to hunt down a copy of The Mule and give it a watch.
The Mule could well be Australia’s sleeper hit film of the year. It seems to take the qualities that most Australians like to see in their cinema and place it all together – the crime grit of a movie like Animal Kingdom mixed with that quirky Australian humor that saw Red Dog become such a big hit and just a hint of the battler story that made The Castle a must see. While the electronic release may frighten off some people The Mule is one Aussie film that is a must see this year.
Entertainment One and THE MULE filmmakers are thrilled to announce the Australian feature film THE MULE will launch to Australian audiences on iTunes and other digital platforms on November 21, ensuring that the film can be seen immediately on any device, at any time. The film will simultaneously launch in the USA, Canada and New Zealand.
THE MULE filmmakers and actors Angus Sampson, Leigh Whannell and Hugo Weaving will support the local release via a Sydney and Melbourne publicity tour, including event screenings and public Q&A sessions, ahead of its local launch.
This innovative release model is a unique offering for an Australian film, and will allow viewers to watch THE MULE how and when they want, on the device of their choice. THE MULE will be available for customers to pre-order on iTunes from Monday 29 September.
Troy Lum, Managing Director of Entertainment One Australia said “This style of release is testament to the vision of the filmmakers to present their film to the widest possible audience across the country and for eOne’s desire to drive new and unique ways to connect films with audiences in an ever changing landscape.”
Inspired by true events, THE MULE tells the story of a naive man who is detained by the federal police while he has lethal narcotics hidden in his stomach. Alone and afraid, ‘the Mule’ makes a desperate choice; to defy his bodily functions and withhold the evidence… literally. By doing so he becomes a ‘human time bomb’; dragging cops, criminals and concerned family into his impossible escapade.
Directed by Angus Sampson and Tony Mahony, THE MULE’S darkly comic screenplay was penned by three of Australia’s most exciting on and off screen talents; Leigh Whannell (Saw, Insidious), Angus Sampson and Jaime Browne. It stars Hugo Weaving alongside Sampson and Whannell with a fantastic ensemble cast including Ewen Leslie, Geoff Morrell, Georgina Haig, Noni Hazlehurst and John Noble. Filmed primarily in Melbourne, and Bangkok Thailand, the film received funding support from Screen Australia and Film Victoria.
THE MULE premiered to widespread acclaim at the 2014 South by Southwest festival and has been invited to enjoy its European premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October.
Following the film’s digital release, THE MULE will be available on Blu Ray, DVD and on digital rental from December 3.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Nick, Adam and Greg take a look at new release films ‘Fruitvale Station’, ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’ and ‘The Councelor’. This episode also features interviews with Forest Whittaker, James Wan, Leigh Whannell and Cameron Diaz. The boys also preview the Jewish Film Festival