Monday, May 20, 2013
The following article was written for Filmink.com.au
Melbourne movie geeks can expect some wild and wonderful evenings this winter, with the launch of a brand new late night line-up at Cinema Nova in Carlton.
Entitled Cultastrophe, the weekly program kicks off 9.45pm this Friday and will continue throughout May, June and July, showcasing a combination of newer and older cult films, from high-kicking kung-fu flicks to schlocky science-fiction. Each session will also be accompanied by a special pre-show reel consisting of retro trailers and old-school advertisements, specifically tailored to complement the feature presentation.
“There’s a definite edge to seeing something weird later in the evening,” says programmer Zak Hepburn. “Anyone can watch a cult film at home, but when you see it later at night, with a cinema full of true believers, the film is imbued with a different atmosphere.”
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Director: J.J. Abrams
Running Time: 123 minutes
Review by Tom Clift
Director J.J. Abrams demonstrates precisely why he’s been tapped to direct the upcoming Star Wars sequel with an exhilarating, fabulously entertaining entry in sci-fi’s other biggest franchise, one that should well and truly satisfy regardless of the extent of your fandom. Following on from the successful 2009 reboot, Star Trek Into Darkness continues the adventures of the fledgling Starship Enterprise, this time pitting the explorers against an enemy from within, one who will stop at nothing to achieve his malevolent ambitions. Indulging in neither the dour self-reflection nor the convoluted plotting of so many other recent blockbusters, Abram’s latest film, although by no means a game changer, is exactly what it needs to be: a straightforward, blessedly unencumbered popcorn flick brimming with excitement and slickly rendered spectacle.
Friday, May 10, 2013
1. Human Rights Arts & Film Festival (various cinemas)
Over the next two weeks, Melbourne’s annual Human Rights Arts & Film Festival will showcase films and artwork from all around the world in order to highlight some of the globe’s most pressing human rights concerns. Highlights of the program include Jonathan Couette’s latest documentary Walk Away Renee, about his mother’s struggle with mental illness, the multi-award wining thriller My Brother the Devil (pictured), plus the explicit urban slum “shockumentary” Mondomanila. For the full HRAFF line-up, visit the festival’s website, here. (Thur, May 9 – Thur, May 23)
2. Sunset Six + Q&A and Musical Performance (Cinema Nova)
In this new Australian rock ‘n’ roll comedy, Greg Stone leads a cast of local actors and musicians as a washed up rockstar given a second shot at the limelight. Check out the Nova website for information on the trio of screenings, each of which will be followed by a musical performance plus a Q&A with cast & crew. (Tue, May 14 – Thur May 16, 6:45pm)
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Director: Fede Alvarez
Running Time: 91 minutes
Review by Tom Clift
Few films boast a bigger cult following than The Evil Dead and its sequels. Schlockly, silly and stupendously bloody, their micro-budget mix of slapstick and slaughter have made them favourites of horror fans for decades, and launched the career of director Sam Raimi, who has since gone on to direct some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of all time (Spiderman, Oz the Great and Powerful). Now, thirty-two years later, Raimi, original lead turned co-producer Bruce Campbell and up-and-coming Uruguayan director, Fede Alvarez, have decided to dust off the Necromonicon once more, delivering a remake that, although weak on character and lacking much of the low-rent charm and humour of the originals, contains all the gore, carnage and bodily dismemberment that fans could have possibly hoped for.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Director: Harmony Korine
Running Time: 94 minutes
Review by Tom Clift
The following review was original published in September of last year as part of my coverage of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Bikini clad Disney girls go off the rails in Spring Breakers, a candy-coloured sledgehammer satire from notorious provocateur Harmony Korine. The story of four sexy college girls who rob a fast food outlet to fund their Spring Break vacation, the presence of tween icons Selena Gomez (Wizards of Waverly Place) and Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) belies the film’s seriously twisted approach, albeit one that’s made immediately evident once the movie begins via an extensive slow motion montage of drunken beachside revellers abandoning dignity along with their clothes. But although Spring Breakers is initially compelling – in Korine’s typically perverse and garish kind of way – its repetitious jabs at teenage hedonism and entitlement soon become grating, as the picture lags into a disappointing second half that, for all its explicit content, is actually kind of dull.
Friday, May 3, 2013
1. Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (various cinemas)
After a wildly successful season in 2012, the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne kicks off it’s sophmore year with a sixty plus film program, included in-depth retrospectives on the directorial work of the late Yash Chopra, as well as the film’s of Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, in town as a guest of the festival. In addition to the movies, the festival will host a series of Q&A sessions and filmmaking “Masterclasses”. For more information and the full program, visit the festival website, here. (Friday, May 3 – Wednesday, May 22)
2. Evil Dead Midnight Screening (Cinema Nova)
Few film series’ are as beloved to me as Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, so I’m thrilled to see the franchise continued in this remake written and produced by Raimi and directed by Fede Alvarez. Gore effects have come a long way since 1981, so you can bet that this R18+ rated film isn’t for the faint of heart. This midnight session will kick off a limited season exclusive to Cinema Nova. (Thursday, May 9, 12:01am)
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Running Time: 124 minutes
Review by Tom Clift
Stunning visuals and an awesome score may well take your breath away, but the subsequent shortage of oxygen won’t be enough to distract you from the clunky dialogue and derivative storyline, as the same shortcomings that plagued director Joseph Kosinski’s big screen debut Tron: Legacy rear their head in his follow-up, the self-penned sci-fi drama, Oblivion. Co-adapted by Kosinski from his own unpublished graphic novel, the film stars Tom Cruise (Jack Reacher) as a member of a terrestrial clean-up crew, whose job it is to mine the planet of its few remaining resources after a devastating alien war sees humanity immigrate off-world. Heavy on spectacle but light on thrills, loaded with contemplation but bereft of common sense, the film is an admirable failure; an overlong, awkwardly paced mishmash of cool but familiar ideas and all-too predictable plot-twists.
Friday, April 26, 2013
1.) Audi Festival of German Films (Palace Cinemas)
Screening at Palace Kino in Collins St and Palace Como in South Yarra, for the next two weeks the Audi German Film Festival will showcase over 40 contemporary German language films across a wide range of genres. Just a few of the highlights include This Ain’t California, a documentary about the East German skateboarding scene during the Cold War, and Breathing, a drama that was Austria’s submission to this years Academy Awards. The full program can be found at the festival’s website, here. (Wed, May 1 – Wed, May 15)
2.) Indonesian Film Festival (ACMI)
Not to be outdone by the Germans, Melbourne’s Indonesian Film Festival will also launch this week, with an eight film line-up running over seven consecutive days. Films on offer include Rectoverso, a series of five romantic vinettes by different filmmakers, and Modus Anomali, a rare example of an Indonesian thriller. Several inclusions in the program will also be accompanied by cast and filmmaker Q&A’s. For more information, visit the festival website, here. (Fri, Apr 26 – Thur, May 2)
Monday, April 22, 2013
Director: Brandon Cronenberg
Running Time: 108 minutes
Review by Tom Clift
Antiviral is the first feature from Brandon Cronenberg, son of legendary Canadian body-horror master, David Cronenberg, and within thirty seconds, it’s clear that the apple hasn’t fallen very far from the tree. A creepy, fleshy, viscerally disturbing sci-fi drama, the film bears an aesthetic that both recalls and, in some manner, surpasses the early work of Cronenberg Sr. But it also shares some of its flaws.
Friday, April 19, 2013
1. Fear & Desire // Killer’s Kiss (The Astor)
You can expect to see a lot of Kubrick in this article over the next couple of weeks, as the folks at the Astor Theatre kick of their retrospective on one of the greatest filmmakers to ever live. Session one covers his first two features, made while Kubrick was still in his early twenties: the wartime drama Fear & Desire, plus the gritty film noir Killer’s Kiss. (Sunday, April 21, 7pm)
2. The Man From Hong Kong (ACMI)
The first ever Australian martial arts film, The Man from Hong Kong is a prize piece of roundhouse kicking national cinema. Jimmy Wang Yu stars as Inspector Fang, a Hong Kong narcotics detective hot on the trail of a Sydney drug baron, play by 007 himself George Lazenby. (Saturday, April 20, 4pm)