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!
They say that the lights never go out in Hollywood. Well if they aren’t fully out at the moment then they are certainly very, very dim. As the Covid-19 virus goes on its deadly wave right across the planet Hollywood and the world’s film industry has become one of its biggest victims.
Right now as i write this this most of the world’s cinemas are in darkness – the projectors have stopped and the doors are closed. In Thailand cinemas are closed until April 1st while in America the cinemas are closed indefinitely. In Australia the cinema chains desperately tried to keep the doors open, but finally the week came where only one new film opened in cinemas and as people had started to fear going out in public the film was playing to empty cinemas. When you consider that film was The Current War starring the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon and Tom Holland the fact it wasn’t drawing an audience just went to show how afraid people really were. Luckily the nation’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the decision for the cinema bosses when he included cinemas in the list of non-essential services that had to close as the nation went into a Stage One lockdown.
For the rest of the world the first inkling that Covid-19 was going to hit the cinema industry hard was when Sony Pictures made the announcement that they were postponing the release date of the latest Bond film No Time To Die. Sony, it seemed made the right call especially after we all saw the hit that the much-hyped Bloodshot starring Vin Diesel took upon its released. Its studio decided to brave the Covid affected cinema numbers and released the film amidst the chaos – the result was taking just nine million dollars at the box office in its first week of release in the USA. Desperate not to see the same fate happen to Diesel’s other blockbuster – Fast & Furious 9 – its studio decided to push its release back to 2021.
Some companies decided to get creative. Realising that they were going to have a captive housebound audience for potentially the next few months Universal Pictures have decided to chance its arm and in some territories has released potential blockbusters The Invisible Man and Trolls World Tour onto streaming services. It now seems likely that Disney will do the same with the eagerly anticipated Pixar animation Onward.
While the release dates of some of the year’s biggest films seem to be moving around like chess pieces on a board it leaves us with one big question – if Thailand’s cinemas do re-open on April 1st what do audiences have to look forward to? While films such as Daniel Radcliffe’s all action affair Guns Akimbo and new horror film Fantasy Island are slated for release not long after the doors open for several months audiences will have to watch locally made films and smaller international films while Hollywood prepares to re-launch itself with their all-conquering blockbusters. That is not necessarily a bad thing though as it means for awhile locally made films will have very little competition at the box-office for awhile.
Of course box office aside Covid-19 has also had catastrophic affect on the people of Hollywood and film industries right around the world. At the moment every major studio in America has shutdown production meaning that hundreds of thousands of people are currently out of work – many not knowing when those studio doors will open again.
The human side of Covid-19 in Hollywood became even more apparent when two of its biggest stars tested positive to the deadly virus. In Australia working on a new movie about the life of Elvis Presley Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson contracted the virus resulting in Australia’s Nine Network television network having to place some of their on-air talent in isolation after they had come in contact with the pair. It was later proven that Nine’s head Entertainment Reporter Richard Wilkins had actually contracted Covid-19 after interviewing Wilson.
The next Hollywood celebrity to test positive to Covid-19 was Thor: Ragnarok and Star Trek Beyond star Idris Elba and only a few hours ago it was confirmed that former Hollywood producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein has tested positive to the virus in prison.
Globally nobody has been able to safely predict when the Covid-19 crisis might be over but the one thing we do know is it is going to take a long time for Hollywood to recover from cinema’s darkest days.
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:
You know that great feeling when you’ve seen a good film and then you sit down and chat to your mate about it? Well that is exactly what Popcorn Conspiracy is. Before they were film journalists Dave Griffiths and Kyle McGrath were just two film lovers that would watch a movie and yack about it, and now they do that, record it, box it up and call it Popcorn Conspiracy. From the latest films at the cinema, to the latest on VOD/DVD/Blu-Ray and sometimes even the odd film they’ve pulled off their shelf for a watch, the boys will always give an entertaining and in-depth look at any film that choose to have a chat about.
You can listen to past episodes of the Popcorn Conspiracy podcast below.
Kyle McGrath is a life-long film and television fan who has an encyclopedic knowledge of films. Kyle loves all kinds of films but is an expert when it comes to cult cinema and action films. He has also worked as a video game reviewer.
Over the years Kyle has had a number of roles in the media world from a production assistant at Melbourne Channel 31 television station and an executive producer on the popular X-Wired television show. Currently he works not only as a film reviewer for Subculture Entertainment but also for The Popcorn Experience podcast. He also writes reviews for HEAVY Mag and hosts a popular video games podcast for them.
Currently Kyle McGrath has 37 Reviews on Subculture Entertainment