Grim Pickings / 20 November 2018

Cinemas & Home Entertainment this week…

GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with one of the finest character-driven heist films to hit cinemas in recent years while home entertainment delivers a grizzly genre sequel that surpasses its predecessor!


Thursday November 22nd
Taron Egerton (KINGSMAN franchise) plays the titular role in director Otto Bathurst’s (PEAKY BLINDERS) ambitious and action-skewed retelling of the Robin Hood legend. Robin of Loxley returns to England after years of fighting in Crusades to find his estate destroyed and his neighbours impoverished, all by the command of ruthless Sheriff of Nottingham. Learning that his death has been falsely reported and his love, Marian, is involved with a local politician, Robin and co-conspirator Little John launch a covert crusade against the corruption. Robin uses his lethal archery skills to intercept tax collections destined for the Sheriff’s coffers, which he turns over anonymously to Marian, now a leader of the clandestine grassroots rebellion. Discovering a larger conspiracy that threatens the stability of Europe, Robin and his men launch an attack that solidifies his status as a legendary and unstoppable rebel leader.

Oscar-nominee Steve McQueen (12 YEARS A SLAVE) helms this complex and gripping thriller that defies genre norms with its female-lead cast to deliver one of the finest character-driven features in recent years. Four women with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands’ criminal activities. Set in contemporary Chicago, amid a time of turmoil, tensions build when Veronica (Viola Davis), Linda (Michelle Rodriguez), Alice (Elizabeth Debicki) and Belle (Cynthia Erivo) take their fate into their own hands and conspire to forge a future on their own terms.

Thursday November 22nd – Sunday November 25th
Return to where it all began when MONSTER FEST comes home to Cinema Nova this week from Thursday November 22nd to Sunday November 25th for MONSTER FEST VII: THE HOMECOMING. This year’s festival will open with the Australian Premiere of BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 filmmaker S. Craig Zahler’s DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE, starring Mel Gibson & Vince Vaughn. Other highlights include the Australian Premiere of the all-new horror anthology from the Master of Horror himself Mick Garris,  NIGHTMARE CINEMA with five stories directed by Joe Dante, Ryuhei Kitamura, Alejandro Brugues, David Slade & Garris himself. You can’t miss the Victorian Premiere of THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, this serial killer opus from master filmmaker Lars von Trier stars Matt Dillion in the titular role and our first session has already Sold Out with the second session Selling Fast. Fans of classic will pleased to know that we’ll be hosting the Australian Premieres of the 4K Restorations of John Carpenter’s ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and THE FOG along with a 25th Anniversary screening of the Australian classic BAD BOY BUBBY with stars Nicholas Hope and Natalie Carr in attendance to field a Q&A. Making its Australian Premiere is writer/director David Barker’s feature film debut, a taut and intense psychosexual thriller titled PIMPED, with our first session already Sold Out and our second session nearing capacity, we encourage you to grab your tickets now. Closing the festival is the Australian Premiere of Jonas Åkerlund’s stranger than fiction feature, LORD OF CHAOS and with our first session Sold Out, the time is now to secure tickets to our second and final screening. With 25 features and 62 shorts, MONSTER FEST VII: THE HOMECOMING is the undisputed champion of challenging new cinema in Australia and you won’t want to miss a minute of it, today!


Thursday November 22nd
If you weren’t fortunate enough to be among the audience at our Monster Fest Travelling Sideshow in Adelaide then you would have missed the only Australian theatrical screening of UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB but don’t despair as it’s hitting home entertainment this week and take it from us you NEED to see it! UNFRIENDED: DARK WEB is infinitely better than its predecessor with a clever and at times disturbingly real narrative, this sequel notches up both the suspense and grizzly deaths tenfold. When a 20-something finds a cache of hidden files on his new laptop, he and his friends are unwittingly thrust into the depths of the dark web.  They soon discover someone has been watching their every move and will go to unimaginable lengths to protect the dark web. Both Universal’s Blu-ray & DVD releases contain the three alternate endings that played at random during the film’s US theatrical release!
While this remake of the cult Blaxploitation classic may not attain the sheer in-your-face style of the original, it still contains enough visual flash and non-tensional humour to make it a worthy watch over a few beers with mates. Cocaine kingpin Youngblood Priest (Trevor Jackson) realizes that it’s time to get out of the game after surviving a violent attack from a crazed rival. Hoping for one last score, Priest and his partner travel to Mexico to arrange a deal. The career criminal now finds himself trying to outmanoeuvre the cartel, two corrupt police officers and all the double-crossers that threaten his path to freedom. Sony Pictures’ Blu-ray release features three production featurettes along with a music video and the making-of said music video.
While French filmmaker Xavier Gens has yet to better the benchmark he set with his debut feature FRONTIER(S), he has delivered some entertaining genre fare over the years with the likes of THE DIVIDE and THE CRUCIFIXION. Gens’ latest COLD SKIN while no masterpiece, is a step in the right direction, with its trademark bleakness, its Lovecraftian influence and solid performances by Ray Stevenson (THOR), David Oakes (VICTORIA) & Aura Garrido (THE MINISTRY OF TIME). On the edge of the Antarctic Circle, a steamship approaches a desolate island far from all shipping lanes. On board is a young man, on his way to assume the lonely post of weather observer, to live in solitude for a year at the end of the world. But on shore, he finds no trace of the man whom he has been sent to replace, just a deranged castaway who has witnessed a horror he refuses to name. The rest is forest, a deserted cabin, rocks, silence, and the surrounding sea. And then the night begins to fall.
It would seem an impossible mission to top 2015’s franchise standout ROGUE NATION though writer/director Christopher McQuarrie has done just that with this latest instalment. Tom Cruise returns to the role he was born to play as Ethan Hunt and once again risks life and limb to deliver death-defying stunts that will have you literally gasp in equal measures of awe and suspense. Despite its 147 minute runtime, there is absolutely no slack to this incredible actioner, its taut, tense and above all thoroughly entertaining.  Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and the IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent a disaster of epic proportions. Arms dealer John Lark and a group of terrorists known as the Apostles plan to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When the weapons go missing, Ethan and his crew find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands. Paramount’s 4K Ultra-HD & Blu-ray releases feature an absolute belter of a Dolby Atmos track along with a host of production featurettes, deleted scenes and three audio commentary tracks!
Brian Henson, son and protege of Jim Henson, helms this comedy mystery that pairs Melissa McCarthy with a literal puppet for what is sadly an unrewarding and somewhat soulless slice of muppetry. A filthy comedy set in the underbelly of Los Angeles where puppets and humans coexist. Two clashing detectives with a shared secret, one human (Melissa McCarthy) and one puppet, are forced to work together again to solve the brutal murders of the former cast of a beloved classic puppet television show.
After its world premiere at Sydney Film Festival earlier this year, Ben Lawrence’s GHOSTHUNTER, has been gathering strong praise and we can attest to the fact that this remarkable and heartfelt documentary is one not to be missed. A western Sydney security guard and part-time ghost hunter, Jason King has spent two decades searching for his absent father. As a survivor of trauma, he seeks to reconcile his fractured memories and piece together his past. When his search converges with a police investigation, an horrific family secret is exposed — forcing him to confront a brutal past in order to reclaim his future.

Grim Pickings is written weekly by Jarret Gahan.