Cinemas & Home Entertainment this week…
GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with Shane Black bringing the ultimate hunter back to cinemas while Leigh Whannell drops the ultimate weapon to home entertainment.
Thursday September 13th
Filmmaker Shane Black (THE NICE GUYS), who actually starred in 1987’s PREDATOR as Hawkins, returns to the long dormant franchise as co-writer/director on THE PREDATOR and shares script duties with beloved cult filmmaker Fred Dekker (THE MONSTER SQUAD, NIGHT OF THE CREEPS). While early reviews out of the Toronto International Film Festival have been mixed, we’ve been waiting a long time for this and our enthusiasm will not be dampened. Now, the universe’s most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a young boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled science teacher can prevent the end of the human race.
Writer/director Michael Pearce’s debut feature, BEAST, is quite the achievement, a stunning modern gothic thriller that defies expectation and unsettles with its every move, featuring an exceptional performance by lead Jessie Buckley. Moll (Buckley, TABOO) is 27 and still living at home, stifled by the small island community around her and too beholden to her family to break away. When she meets Pascal, a free-spirited stranger, a whole new world opens up to her and she begins to feel alive for the first time, falling madly in love. Finally breaking free from her family, Moll moves in with Pascal (Johnny Flynn, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA) to start a new life. But when he is arrested as the key suspect in a series of brutal murders, she is left isolated and afraid. Choosing to stand with him against the suspicions of the community, Moll finds herself forced to make choices that will impact her life forever.
A SIMPLE FAVOUR
While his name is typically synonymous with comedy, director Paul Feig (BRIDESMAIDS) delivers a stylish, sophisticated and of course funny suburban-noir lead by Anna Kendrick & Blake Lively, whose onscreen chemistry is a raging blaze! Stephanie (Kendrick, PITCH PERFECT) is a mommy blogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s (Lively, THE SHALLOWS) sudden disappearance from their small town. Stephanie is joined by Emily’s husband Sean (Henry Golding, CRAZY RICK ASIANS) in this thriller filled with twists and betrayals, secrets and revelations, love and loyalty, murder and revenge.
After a lacklustre year of mainstream thrillers, along comes A SIMPLE FAVOUR and SEARCHING all in the one week! Similar to UNFRIENDED, SEARCHING uses a computer desktop as its canvas whereby John Cho’s mouse clicks directs us through the narrative. Suspenseful though often predictable, SEARCHING manages to overcome its gimmicky storytelling to deliver an engaging modern thriller. After David Kim (Cho, STAR TREK)’s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter’s laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter’s digital footprints before she disappears forever.
Wednesday September 12th
Aussie horror maestro Leigh Whannell, the creative force behind both INSIDIOUS and SAW franchises, re-teams with Blumhouse Productions for his latest feature, UPGRADE. Shot in Melbourne, this international production is garnering strong critical praise and rightly so with its Cronenberg gone cyberpunk aesthetic that even manages to elicit the odd nervous laugh with its jet-black humour. Grey Trace, a technophobe in a utopian near-future when computers control nearly everything – from cars to crime-surveillance – is paralysed in a freak mugging that leaves his wife dead. But when a billionaire technologist offers him an experimental paralysis cure – an implanted computer chip called STEM – Grey finds that the chip has a voice and a mind of its own. Together Grey and STEM embark on a mission to avenge his wife’s death.
First-time feature filmmaker Benjamin Barfoot directs this blood-splattered British comedy-horror that’s weighted more toward laughs than frights but does so with sheer gusto and heavy gore! Meet innocent Jim (Danny Morgan, IDEAL), terrified of girls, and on a reluctant quest to prove his manhood the night before he turns 30. He and his cocky friend Alex (Michael Socha) think they’ve hit the jackpot when they meet the beautiful siblings Kitty (Kelly Wenham) and Lulu (Georgia Groome), who seem up for anything on a wild party-fuelled night. But little do they know that the femmes fatales want to make Jim lose much more than just his virginity… Getting laid has never been so bloody difficult.
Gina Corano (DEADPOOL) leads this uninspired low budget post-apocalyptic western that’s directed by the chap who should be held accountable for 2003’s JOHNNY ENGLISH, oh how the mighty fall. The planet suffered an environmental collapse. The air became dangerous to breathe, the water became toxic, and billions of people died. Generations later mankind has finally re-established a rudimentary society, in which bounty hunters roam the land in search of wanted eco-criminals. Bounty hunter Attica Gage (Gina Carano) has a chance at the bounty of a lifetime: bringing down the ruthless outlaw, Thomas Jackson (Ryan Robbins). Gage infiltrates Jackson s gang, and everything is going to plan until she meets a slave girl that reminds her of her dead sister. With her loyalty to only herself now tested, Gage learns that there might be more to life than just survival.