Showing posts with label australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label australia. Show all posts

14 November 2013

Review - John Pilger's Utopia

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Release Date:
15th November 2013 (UK)
John Pilger
Watch Utopia:
cinema listing here
Film Official Website:
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In new documentary Utopia, the Australian journalist John Pilger sets out to examine the suffering felt by his native country’s indigenous population, a problem caused by the British Empire’s colonisation of Australia.

Pilger’s film is a noble attempt to highlight the poverty and awful living conditions felt by the Aboriginal people, an issue that most of the world - and Australia’s European descendants – remain blissfully unaware of. This is made evident when Pilger interviews individuals whilst they are celebrating Australia Day, enquiring as to what the original population should take away from the country’s national day. Each interviewee shows incredible ignorance of the subject, stating that the Aboriginal’s want to live that way – in shacks with no running water or functioning toilet. Pilger also conducts interviews with members – past and present – of Australia’s government whose job it was to protect these people, and failed. Footage of Aboriginal living conditions today compared with that filmed several decades ago seems to show that nothing has changed at all.

In Utopia, Pilger firmly asserts that for such a wealthy country, Australia’s indigenous people should not be living this way; and that, this vast land was in fact never for the taking in the first place. These are issues that everyone should know about, but with a long running time combined with a slow, ponderous pace, the film may not appeal to the audiences that need to be informed.

UTOPIA is in cinemas from 15 November with a Nationwide Q&A with John Pilger on Monday 18 November at Picturehouse Cinemas. Available on DVD 2 December


Sophie Stephenson

5 August 2013

Australian cult classic Wake in Fright To Get The Masters of Cinema Release In UK.

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Eureka! Entertainment are delighted to announce the theatrical and home video releases of Ted Kotcheff's cult classic Wake in Fright (1971) as part of The Masters of Cinema Series, a fascinating rediscovery of a key work of the "Australian New Wave" and so-called "Ozploitation" movement, which was nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 1971 Cannes film festival.

Neglected for decades, Wake in Fright was expertly restored in 2009 by Australia's National Film and Sound Archive and hand-selected by legendary film director Martin Scorsese to screen at Cannes once more. Wake in Fright's reputation as a brutally haunting, psychologically gripping one-off has been growing exponentially since, and we are proud to be able to bring this seminal shocker to audiences in the UK and Ireland.

Wake in Fright's theatrical run will be co-ordinated by Eureka! Entertainment with screenings in selected cinemas nationwide in early 2014, following a première at the Film4 FrightFest fantasy and horror film festival in London, August 22–26, 2013.

Blu-ray/DVD releases will follow, in very special editions with a raft of special features to be announced nearer the release date, as part of Eureka! Entertainment's award-winning The Masters of Cinema Series.

Wake in Fright is based on the 1961 novel by Kenneth Cook and stars Gary Bond and Donald Pleasance. It was first released under the title Outback, describing the film's arid, sweltering, wasteland setting of Bundanyabba ("The Yabba"), an earthy mining town where schoolteacher John Grant (Gary Bond) descends into a living hell when he is stranded on his way to meet his girlfriend in Sydney. Struggling to escape a men-gone-wild nihilistic world of binge drinking, habitual gambling, and senseless violence, Grant plunges headlong towards his own destruction, joined for the ride by alcoholic doctor "Doc" Tydon (masterfully played by Donald Pleasance).

Ron Benson, head of Eureka! Entertainment, comments: “This once-feared-lost Australian cult classic is a hugely welcome rediscovery, a film that is at once both grimly horrific and frightfully compelling.”

"Have a drink, mate? Have a fight, mate? Have a taste of dust and sweat, mate? There's nothing else out here."

24 February 2013

Crawl Blu-Ray Review

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When you witness an audience that has a reputation of been very vocal sit in silence mesmerized in what their watching you know your watching something truly special. That audience is the world famous Film4 Frightfesters who love to show their appreciation, the venue was 2012 Film 4 Frightfest at Glasgow Film Festival, the film is The China Brother's directorial début Crawl. One year one it's your chance to relive the suspense of the festival favourite in the comfort of your own home.

Seedy bar owner Slim Walding (Paul Holmes) hires a mysterious Croatian hitman (George Shevtov) to murder local garage owner over a shady business deal gone bad. The stone faced stranger planned a double-crossing which backfired when barmaid Marilyn (Georgina Haig) becomes involved. Eagerly waiting at home waiting for the return of her sweetheart Travis (Andy Barclay) as Marilyn believes this is the night he'll propose however that romantic turns into a night of survival as the single dark road outside her house the psychopathic Croatian and Travis paths have intersected leading the killer to take Marilyn hostage in her own home.

The legacy of the masters of cinema is alive and well in Crawl serving a nice homage  especially to the Coen Brothers. This may not be exactly be Blood Simple but the China Brothers (Paul & Ben) do show why the Coens are such an inspiration to them with even a bit of No Country For Old Men thrown in for good measure too further inspiring them to create a film that packs so much punch for its 80 minute running time.

Whilst the brothers heroes mould the film's backbone, the film's methodical pace is a reminder of an era when things where simple  and effective playing at a pace that let you appreciate what you where watching. Crawl may not be blessed with non stop action but what it does do is make up that up with unnerving tension, atmosphere and suspense that even the master of suspense himself Alfred Hitchcock would be proud of.

What really stands out in this film is the silence. So if you thought Silent but deadly was just another crude way of saying you broke wind think again as Crawl utilises the minimal dialogue to great effect. It makes you feel as if you are taking every step with Marilyn (whose character surname is Burns another homage this time to Texas Chainsaw Massacre), visually as well auditory. I've also said time after time music plays a vital part of the film and in Crawl Christopher Gordon's Bernard Hermann style score plays it's part adding an extra dimension of tensions, suspense working harmoniously with the atmospheric parts of the movie too.

Crawl may not be the finished article but the China brothers have created something truly remarkable. a chilling piece of genre cinema  delivering a nice balance of suspense and even dark humour, even more is the fact they create a film whose story is the main focus not the CGI or who is in the cast. Those little niggling flaws over time will be sorted out  and we can look forward to see some fantastic films from these brothers in the near future.

Paul Devine


BD/DVD Release Date: 25th February 2013  (UK0
Buy Crawl:Blu-ray / DVD

15 February 2013

Hold On To Your Sons Wright And Watts Want Them In Trailer For Two Mothers

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How many men have you heard been labelled 'Mummy's Boy', probably quiet a few in Anne Fontaine's Two Mothers starring Robin Wright and Naomi Watts want your sons!

Wright and Watts play long time friends Roz & Lil who live in Australia both with Twenty something sons (Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville) who end sleeping with each others sons. There seems to be a bit of a resurgence in the erotic based films with the likes of Fifty Shades Of Grey film adaptation on the cards however in Two Mothers does have a bit of style, elegance and 2 actress with a bit of class, so don't expect the tackiness of erotic that have been and gone. However if you caught this film at last month's Sundance Film Festival the response for the film was a bit on the jaded side.

Two Mothers is based on a novel by Doris Lessing, The Grandmothers adapted for the big screen by Christopher Hampton (Atonement, Dangerous Method) the film also stars Ben Mendelshon with no confirmed UK or USA release date but expect sometime 2013.


29 October 2012

The Hunter Blu-Ray Review

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When it comes to films starring Willem Dafoe his performances are nothing more but mesmeric, outstanding even when the film he stars in is truly awful. The actor is one of films great gems who delivers wonderful performances that are deserving of awards but the true professional he is he doesn't complain just gets on with the job. Past 20 years or so Willem Dafoe has been making big noises in arthouse / world cinema and his latest film The Hunter the actor excels once again as a hired hand to find one of the world's rarest commodities whilst battling his own morality.

The Hunter is based on a novel by Julia Leigh that tells the story of Martin(Willem Dafoe) a mercenary sent from Europe to Australia by mysterious Biotech company.Martin heads to Tasmanian wilderness to embark on a dramatic hunt for the so called last Tasmanian Tiger despite the creature been reported extinct since 1982. As he searches the elusive creature he discovers the mysteries hidden within the wild landscape, triggering long forgotten emotions, but can a human who has led an immoral life find connection and redemption too?

What really grabs your attention in The Hunter is the central performance of Willem Dafoe. As I mentioned earlier in the review the actor rarely disappoints, he also rarely gets a chance to a lead a film and when he gets he grabs the bull by the horns delivering something truly fantastic. Martin is a charismatic emotionless man but when he's on his own especially in the wilderness he's in his element becoming part of the land, a predator, animalistic with frightening tenacity. When there's no dialogue you really do get drawn into something rather haunting,atmospheric gving you a chance to appreciate the surroundings he's in as well as his predatory skills.

We have to also give a mention to Morgana Davies and Finn Woodlock who play the children at the farm Martin stays at, they deliver a performance so naturalistic as they are given a chance to be..children. They bring out the parental side of Martin as they adopt him as a father figure with their own father lost in the wilderness, this makes Martin feel awkward. Even the children's mother Lucy (Frances O'Connor) whose in a depressive state drugged up, constantly sleeping greets Martin's presence within her home she embraces him when he sorts out the power and when he becomes more comfortable it then his morality is questioned even his loneliness.

It's Films like The Hunter that make you think twice at how small the world is becoming at a frightening pace. This is a film that doesn't just question the morality but environmental issues but the allegorical message of the film is terrifying and throughout the film thanks to the smartly written script reminders of the world changing drastically are scattered throughout the film: the desrruction of the Tasmanian rain forest (like many other forests globally), job losses that impact local towns as they loose jobs, conservation groups been harassed by multi-national companies but most of all hunting a extinct creatures. The latter sort of ask you why do you hunt these 'mythical' creatures and why should we only read about these creatures in books and for the sake of the creature and it's environment maybe they should stay 'extinct'?

The Hunter is an beautifully shot film thanks to Robert Humphrey's breath taking cinematography that captivates the desolation and beauty of the wild terrain of Tasmania. The world is getting smaller and these hidden tranquil treasures are becoming as elusive tiger asking you what can you do to make sure these lands don't disappear?

The Hunter wont be a film which will appeal to everyone as it's a slow burning psychological thriller will keep you engaged until the end.It's atmospheric, beautifully shot and masterfully performed by an underrated esteemed actor in the industry today.

Paul Devine 


DVD/BD Rating: 29th October 2012 (UK)
Directed By: Daniel Nettheim
Cast:Willem Dafoe, Sam Neill , Morgana Davies, Frances O'Connor
Buy The Hunter:Blu-ray / DVD
Win The Hunter on DVD here