Grim Pickings for Cinema & Home Entertainment this week…
GRIM PICKINGS this week include key dates to dismember with the spawn of Ridley Scott’s debut feature in cinemas and the home entertainment hatching of Ben Wheatley’s J.G. Ballard adaptation.
Thursday November 17th
FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM
Harry Potter fans ahoy! J.K. Rowling’s FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM is here to fill that void left in our cinematic hearts after the conclusion of the Harry Potter series in mid-2011. There are growing dangers in the wizarding world of 1926 New York. Something mysterious is leaving a path of destruction in the streets, threatening to expose the wizarding community to the Second Salemers, a fanatical faction of No-Majs (American for Muggles) bent on eradicating them. And the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, after wreaking havoc in Europe, has slipped away…and is now nowhere to be found. Unaware of the rising tensions, Newt Scamander arrives in the city nearing the end of a global excursion to research and rescue magical creatures, some of which are safeguarded in the hidden dimensions of his deceptively nondescript leather case. But potential disaster strikes when unsuspecting No-Maj Jacob Kowalski inadvertently lets some of Newt’s beasts loose in a city already on edge—a serious breach of the Statute of Secrecy that former Auror Tina Goldstein jumps on, seeing her chance to regain her post.However, things take an ominous turn when Percival Graves, the enigmatic Director of Magical Security at MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA), casts his suspicions on both Newt…and Tina. Now allied, Newt and Tina, together with Tina’s sister, Queenie, and their new No-Maj friend, Jacob, form a band of unlikely heroes, who must recover Newt’s missing beasts before they come to harm. But the stakes are higher than these four outsiders—now branded fugitives—ever imagined, as their mission puts them on a collision course with dark forces that could push the wizarding and No-Maj worlds to the brink of war.
MORGAN (Limited Release)
The spawn of Ridley Scott, Luke Scott makes his debut feature film and while far from perfect it shows great promise for a director who looks to follow in his father’s shoes. A corporate troubleshooter (Kate Mara) is sent to a remote, top-secret location, where she is to investigate and evaluate a terrifying accident. She learns the event was triggered by a seemingly innocent ‘human’, who presents a mystery of both infinite promise and incalculable danger.
WAR ON EVERYONE
Writer/Director John Michael McDonagh, responsible for some of the darkest dramedies of recent years like Calvary & The Guard returns with quite possibly his most accessible film yet. A jet-black comedy about two corrupt cops in New Mexico who set out to blackmail and frame every criminal unfortunate enough to cross their path. Things take a sinister turn, however, when they try to intimidate someone who is more dangerous than they are. Or is he?
Wednesday November 16th
Visionary filmmaker Ben Wheatley adapts the J.G. Ballard novel HIGH-RISE with polarising effect upon audiences. 1975. Two miles west of London. Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston, The Avengers) moves into his new apartment seeking soulless anonymity, only to find that the building’s residents have no intention of leaving him alone. Resigned to the complex social dynamics unfolding around him, Laing bites the bullet and becomes neighbourly. As he struggles to establish his position, Laing’s good manners and sanity disintegrate along with the building. The lights go out and the lifts fail but the party goes on. People are the problem. Booze is the currency. Sex is the panacea. Only much later, as he sits on his balcony eating the architect’s dog, Dr. Robert Laing finally feels at home.
After a blink and you missed theatrical run, the controversial and highly praised Australian film DOWN UNDER arrives on home entertainment. On the day after the Cronulla riots, hotheaded Nick (Rahel Romahn) convinces his studious cousin Hassim (Younes) to join a small group of Lebanese men looking for retribution. Meanwhile Jason (Herriman) brings together a gang of racist whites including stoner, S***-Stick (Alexander England) and heavily bandaged Ditch (Justin Rosniak), whose body is liberally tattooed with Ned Kelly. Armed with baseball bats, crowbars and the odd firearm of dubious origin, the two groups pile into their cars to patrol the gaudily Christmas-decorated streets of The Shire in search of trouble. Sincere, though misguided, intent gives way to farcical ineptitude as this hilarious yet poignant story of ignorance, fear and kebab-cravings unfolds, and what was meant to be a retaliation mission turns into something neither side could have imagined.
In a day and age where a fart in an elevator is likely to result in someone being deeply offended and starting a petition to abolish rectal emissions in public places, it’s both a joy and a revelation that Hollywood would produce a film such as SAUSAGE PARTY. A misplaced sausage (voice of Seth Rogen) and his food friends embark on an existential adventure through the aisles of a massive supermarket in this raunchy animated comedy. While they are initially excited by the prospect of a Fourth of July sale, the perishable pals are soon horrified when they learn the full truth about what happens after they are purchased. Kristen Wiig, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Michael Cera, James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, David Krumholtz, Edward Norton, and Salma Hayek also lend their voices. Conrad Vernon (Monsters vs. Aliens) and Greg Tiernan directed from a script by Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir.
Quietly slinking its way to DVD locally, VIRTUAL REVOLUTION arrives after playing just about every sci-fi film festival across the globe. In a world where most of the population spend their time online, inside virtual worlds, Nash is a hybrid. Half of the time online, the rest of the time, in the real world, he is a private investigator/killer hired to track down and eliminate the terrorists who threaten the system and who killed his girlfriend. Torn between the past and the future, between virtual and real, Nash ends up having to make decisions that will impact not only his life, but also the society he lives in.