Grim Pickings for Cinema & Home Entertainment this week…
GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with a mind-bending suspense thriller from Gore Verbinski on the big screen and arguably the best zombie film in over a decade hitting home entertainment!
Thursday March 16th
A CURE FOR WELLNESS
After a successive run of high concept blockbusters, director Gore Verbinski returns with his first mind-bending suspense thriller since 2002’s THE RING. An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure.
THE SPACE BETWEEN US
Asa Butterfield, star of MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN & ENDER’S GAME leads an inter-stellar cast including Gary Oldman in this science fiction adventure come romance that’s suffered almost as many theatrical date push-backs as it has negative reviews. In this interplanetary adventure, a space shuttle embarks on the first mission to colonize Mars, only to discover after takeoff that one of the astronauts is pregnant. Shortly after landing, she dies from complications while giving birth to the first human born on the red planet – never revealing who the father is. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Gardner Elliot – an inquisitive, highly intelligent boy who reaches the age of 16 having only met 14 people in his very unconventional upbringing. While searching for clues about his father, and the home planet he’s never known, Gardner begins an online friendship with a street smart girl in Colorado named Tulsa. When he finally gets a chance to go to Earth, he’s eager to experience all of the wonders he could only read about on Mars – from the most simple to the extraordinary. But once his explorations begin, scientists discover that Gardner’s organs can’t withstand Earth’s atmosphere. Eager to find his father, Gardner escapes the team of scientists and joins with Tulsa on a race against time to unravel the mysteries of how he came to be, and where he belongs in the universe.
ROUGH STUFF (Limited)
Crashing into cinemas this week via limited release is Umbrella Entertainment Films’ ROUGH STUFF, a rollicking Aussie thrill-ride that’s currently garnering strong reviews locally. They call them “Rovers” – aimless wanderers and drifters living on the fringes of society in the vast Australian outback, looking to escape their pasts and start anew. Buzz (played by Gareth Rickards) has been to damn near every corner of the continent searching for the legendary Stray’s Gold – a haul that will keep him in parts and petrol for the rest of his days. But, just as he is ready to give up, Buzz is approached by Eric (Jamie Kristian), who has come into possession of a map to Stray’s Gold. Eric is happy to part with the map in exchange for passage – he and his activist friends Tori (Hayley Sullivan), Skye (Katie Garfield) and Tom (Adam Horner) want to stage a protest at the site of a new mine from mega mining company Madsen Minerals, headed by nefarious billionaire Daniel Madsen (Robert Babin). To get to the mine unseen, they must travel through the impenetrable Mamuya Valley. Seeing this as his last chance to fulfil his dream, Buzz convinces his ragtag crew of Rovers, Abe and Scraps (Vincent Andriano and Sam Glissan), to follow him on one last quest for the lost gold. With their modified off-road rigs piled high, the Rovers and Activists embark on the greatest adventure of their lives. But soon tensions rise and ulterior motives are revealed with exciting off-road chases, daring rescues and amazing discoveries to follow.
Wednesday March 15th
TRAIN TO BUSAN
With George Romero’s school of character development/investment that was present in his original trilogy and the narrative urgency of more contemporary works like 28 DAYS LATER & WORLD WAR Z, TRAIN TO BUSAN is an exceptional zombie film that is as much horror as it is heartfelt. During a train journey from Seoul to Busan on the KTX fast train, a viral outbreak takes place which spreads quickly across the country – and throughout the train – turning infected passengers into the murderous undead. Father & daughter Seok-Woo (Yoo Gong) and Su-an (Soo-an Kim), along with a small group of terrified passengers, find themselves trapped on a bullet train from hell, fighting for their lives as hordes of the living dead crash towards them, crawling closer with every stop. Suspicion is rife and tensions run high as some will do anything to survive and make it to Busan – a city that has managed to hold off the zombie hordes… or so everyone hopes.
Despite a leading cast of Anthony Hopkins & Colin Farrell, the mystery thriller SOLACE went without a cinema-run locally but after the damning critical reviews and a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 24%, it’s a little easier to understand why. A veteran FBI detective (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his younger ambitious partner (Abbie Cornish) who enlist the help of the reclusive, retired civilian analyst, Dr. Clancy (Anthony Hopkins) to help solve a series of bizarre murders. When Clancy’s exceptional intuitive powers, which come in the form of vivid and disturbing visions, put him on the trail of the killer (Colin Farrell), the doctor soon realizes his gift of second sight is little match against the extraordinary powers o this elusive murderer on a mission.
Abel Ferrara’s cult classic from ’92, BAD LIEUTENANT gets its first high-def release locally courtesy of Reel. From the seedy underbelly of a crime-riddled New York City comes the story of a police officer who is almost as morally bankrupt, ethically void and emotionally vacant as the transgressors he is employed to apprehend. Following an unnamed cop around the beat, Ferrara destroys any possible belief in law, order and morality. Instead, reality becomes a bleak, hopeless and pessimistic existence where the anti-hero is a hard-drinking, drug-taking, sexually-abusing-fiend whose only instance of moral repentance comes when he meets a nun who has been raped, yet forgives her attackers.