Grim Pickings for Cinema & Home Entertainment this week…
GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with the theatrical release of a Matt Damon monster movie come fantasy epic and the home entertainment release of a film that’s suffered almost as many delays as the Gunner’s infamous Chinese Democracy.
Thursday February 16th
THE GREAT WALL
Matt Damon teams up with visual virtuoso Zhang Yimou (HERO, HOUSE OF THE FLYING DAGGERS) for a fantasy actioner that sees Batflick’s pal do battle with a horde of monstrous creatures. The story of an elite force making a valiant stand for humanity on the world’s most iconic structure. The first English-language production for Yimou is the largest film ever shot entirely in China. THE GREAT WALL also stars Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau.
Martin Scorsese helms an adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s 1966 acclaimed novel that has taken almost thirty-years to bring to the screen. The story of two Christian missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) – at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden.
Unfortunately it’s not a US remake of Dario Argento’s 2001 Giallo, NON HO SONNO (aka SLEEPLESS), it’s a new actioner with Grammy Award-winning musician and Oscar winner*, Jamie Foxx. SLEEPLESS stars Jamie Foxx as undercover Las Vegas police officer Vincent Downs, who is caught in a high stakes web of corrupt cops and the mob-controlled casino underground. When a heist goes wrong, a crew of homicidal gangsters kidnaps Downs’ teenage son. In one sleepless night he will have to rescue his son, evade an internal affairs investigation and bring the kidnappers to justice. *Despite popular opinion, Foxx did not win the 2005 Best Actor Academy Award for STEALTH, it was for his role as Ray Charles in RAY, also released that same year.
Wednesday February 15th
Anthony Perkins’ offspring, Oz Perkins (I AM THE PRETTY THING THAT LIVES IN THE HOUSE) helms this tale of a malevolent force, one that seemingly has transcended the narrative to affect the distribution of the film itself, after countless holdbacks and even a title change in the US (to THE BLACKCOAT’S DAUGHTER), FEBRUARY finally arrives in Australia albeit on DVD & Blu-ray. High school is rough for everyone, but things get a little more complicated when your prestigious all-girl prep school is severely isolated across a frozen landscape and your parents mysteriously fail to pick you up for winter break. Such is the case for Rose and Kat, the unfortunate teens at the centre of FEBRUARY. The film follows Rose and Kat along with a third young woman named Joan – identified as “beautiful and haunted,” who starts a journey to come save them. But as she gets closer, Kat starts experiencing terrifying visions, and Rose is only able to silently watch as she becomes possessed by a sinister, unseen energy.
Ben Affleck leaves the Bat Suit at home in favour of a regular suit, tie and shotgun in this explosively relentless actioner from director Gavin O’Connor (WARRIOR, PRIDE & GLORY). Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for numbers than people. Behind the cover of a small-town CPA office, he works as a freelance accountant for some of the world′s most dangerous criminal organisations. With the Treasury Department′s Crime Enforcement Division, run by Ray King (J.K. Simmons), starting to close in, Christian takes on a legitimate client: a state-of-the-art robotics company where an accounting clerk (Anna Kendrick) has discovered a discrepancy involving millions of dollars. But as Christian uncooks the books and gets closer to the truth, it is the body count that starts to rise.
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’ (Anya Taylor-Joy) who presents a mystery of both infinite promise and incalculable danger.
THE WINDMILL MASSACRE
One by one the hapless tourists meet their maker in some of the coolest carnage of recent years. Aussie favourite Noah Taylor shines as Nicolas, one of the ill-fated tourists in this freakishly ferocious slasher, that’s more fun than a weekend smoking hydro in an Amsterdam café! Jennifer is an Australian girl on the run from her past who washes up in Amsterdam. In a desperate attempt to stay one step ahead of the authorities, she joins a coach-load of tourists embarking on a tour of Holland’s world famous windmills. When the bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere, she and the other tourists are forced to seek shelter in a disused shed beside a sinister windmill where, legend has it, a Devil-worshiping miller once ground the bones of locals instead of grain. As members of the group start to disappear, Jennifer learns that they all have something in common – a shared secret that seems to mark them all for doom.
TRASHFIRE (DVD Only)
Richard Bates Jr. (EXCISION, SUBURBAN GOTHIC) returns with his Sydney Underground Film Festival official selection, a morbidly funny romance set amidst a horrifying web of lies, deceit and murder. Owen (Adrian Grenier) is an alcoholic misanthrope prone to seizures. His girlfriend Isabelle (Angela Trimbur) is sexually disinterested but still won’t leave. She forces Owen to visit the grandmother (Fiona Flannagan) and sister (Annalynne McCord) he’s abandoned after a family tragedy he causes, which claimed his parents. What they find at grandma’s house is sinisterly horrifying, but it may just save their relationship. Stay tuned this week as courtesy of Bounty Entertainment, we’ve got 3 DVDs of TRASH FIRE to giveaway!
Indie Horror darling Mickey Keating (CARNAGE PARK, POD) delivers his most artistically-driven outing to date with DARLING, a sharp black & white tale of a young woman’s violent descent into madness. A lonely young woman who moves into an old, mysterious Manhattan mansion. Hired as caretaker, it’s not long before she discovers the estate’s haunted reputation and troubling past – stories that slowly transform into a backdrop for her twisted and violent descent into madness…
L.A. SLASHER (DVD Only)
What’s Mischa Barton doing these days when not hanging pantless from a fence screaming ‘the end is nigh’? Acting in b-grade…well maybe c-grade horrors with the likes of Andy Dick & Danny Trejo. Bet she’s wishing she agreed to sign on for the fourth season of THE O.C. now! L.A. SLASHER takes aim at the current state of the entertainment industry, where it is acceptable (and even admirable) to gain influence and wealth without merit or talent – but instead through shameful behavior, and the notoriety that comes from it. Incensed by the tabloid culture that promotes this new breed of “celebrities,” the L.A. Slasher publicly abducts a series of reality TV stars, which leads the media and the general public to question if perhaps society is better off without them.
CONSUMPTION (DVD Only)
Brandon Scullion makes the leap from shorts to feature filmmaker with a stalk n’ slash in the snow where nothing is as at seems, titled CONSUMPTION or LIVE-IN FEAR as it’s known in foreign territories. In the snowy mountains of Utah, as four friends gather in a cabin, and scare each other with ghost stories of an ancient curse and a demonic bride, an evil force is awakened and starts to terrorise them. It preys on their darkest secrets, as the evil passes like an infection from one friend to the next.
PLANET OF THE SHARKS (DVD Only)
Vendetta’s latest addition to their Mock Buster by Pop range is serial offender Mark Atkins’ PLANET OF THE SHARKS, a WATERWORLD meets JAWS on a SyFy/Asylum budget affair that may be for die-hards only given it’s 2.8/10 rating on IMDb. In the near future, glacial melting has covered 98% of Earth’s landmass. Sharks have flourished and now dominate the planet, operating as one massive school led by a mutated alpha shark.
THE HORROR NETWORK
Bounty Entertainment deliver a new DTV anthology horror comprised of five stories. Serial killers, ghostly phone calls, inner demons, otherworld monsters and creepy stalkers collide in this frightening anthology.