Cinemas & Home Entertainment this week…
Grim Pickings this week includes key dates to dismember with an Aussie zombie thriller and a hotly anticipated superhero sequel duking it out in cinemas while home entertainment offers up a DTV sequel to a beloved 90s shark flick!
Wednesday May 16th
David Leitch, one half of the directing duo responsible for killing the dog in JOHN WICK, helms this sequel to the runaway 2016 hit and what a follow-up it is. DEADPOOL 2 ups the ante on just about everything, the ironic and meta-driven humour, the outrageous and relentless action, the ridiculous and highly-stylised set pieces but what it also adds is a degree of emotion rarely seen in superhero features. After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfil his dream of becoming Mayberry’s hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavour – finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World’s Best Lover.
Thursday May 17th
From the producers of THE BABADOOK comes the next Australian genre sensation! An outback zombie film boasting a unique Australian perspective – and starring the inimitable Martin Freeman – the film manages to pack everything from parental obligations to environment conservation to indigenous representation into a lean and thrilling package. So if you like zombie films with brains: this is the ticket! In a desperate bid to outrun a violent pandemic, Andy and Kay have holed up on a houseboat with their one-year-old daughter Rosie. When their peaceful river existence is shattered by a violent attack, Andy takes his family ashore to seek help for his badly injured wife. But this decision ends in tragedy when Kay meets a grisly demise and Andy is not only infected himself but left with only 48 hours to find a new guardian for their child, before he transforms into one of the creatures they have fought so long to evade. As Andy travels further inland, it becomes apparent that Rosie’s best chance of survival may be with a flourishing Aboriginal community. But their merciless attitude toward the afflicted also poses a grave threat. Andy’s fate soon becomes entwined with that of a young Indigenous girl Thoomi, who could be his safe passage into this community. But unfortunately, the girl has no desire to return to her people – she is on a quest to cure her own infected father by returning his stolen soul. Each in their own way, Andy and Thoomi are both seeking salvation… but they will need to work together if they truly hope to achieve it.
I KILL GIANTS
Based on the graphic novel of the same name, I KILL GIANTS is likely to remind viewers of 2016’s A MONSTER CALLS due to the similar setup – child protagonist deals with trauma by retreating into a fantastical world filled with monsters. The film distinguishes itself largely by the strength of star Madison Wolfe’s performance and its willingness to tap into young female rage. The result is a somewhat familiar, but undoubtedly moving, teen fable. Barbara Thorson (Wolfe) is a teenage girl who chooses to escape the realities of school and a drab family life by retreating into her magical world of Titans and Giants. With the help of her new friend Sophia (Sydney Wade) and her school therapist (Zoe Saldana), Barbara will learn to battle her Giants and face her fears – tackling the mean bullies at school, her sister (Imogen Poots) and her difficult home life and eventually her biggest dread of the unknown.
Wednesday May 16th
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Another 2017 Best Picture candidate, the divisive but undoubtedly original THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI can finally be savoured in the comfort of your own home! Bolstered by career-best performances from Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell and tackling timely issues like sexual assault and police bigotry, this is a defining film of 2017 and one that’s worth owning. Mildred Hayes (McDormand) makes a bold move, commissioning three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated. The 4K Ultra-HD & Blu-ray versions feature a short film by director Martin McDonagh and a featurette titled ‘Crucify ‘Em: The Making of Three Billboards’.DEEP BLUE SEA 2
Those chomping at the bit for the giant-shark action promised by upcoming THE MEG may find something to savor in this sequel to 1999s DEEP BLUE SEA (an uninspired but effective thriller best remembered for SAMUEL L. JACKSON’s surprising death scene). Anyone looking for something beyond genetically altered sharks in their cinema, though, may want to look elsewhere. Van Etten, a pharmaceutical entrepreneur, tests drugs on bull sharks in hopes to extract their antibodies to cure human diseases. Before he can continue with his experiment, he tries to enlist Misty Calhoun, a shark conservationist, and other scientists to lead and endorse this project. The drug-enhanced sharks quickly begin to adapt and learn new hunting skills. The humans lose control over the laboratory and now they have to fight to survive.
Jake Gyllenhaal’s 2017 feature about a survivor of the Boston Marathon Bombing was warmly received by critics but ignored by audiences, resulting in a box office flop. Maybe home entertainment will prove a better venue for this difficult but rewarding film. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Jeff, a 27-year-old, working-class Boston man who was at the marathon to try and win back his ex-girlfriend Erin (Tatiana Maslany). Waiting for her at the finish line when the blast occurs, he loses both his legs in the attack. After regaining consciousness in the hospital, Jeff is able to help law enforcement identify one of the bombers, but his own battle has just begun. He tackles months of physical and emotional rehabilitation with the unwavering support of Erin and his family. Both DVD & Blu-ray feature ‘Faith, Hope & Love: Becoming Stronger’, a featurette on the film.
Grim Pickings is written weekly by Jarret Gahan.