Cinemas & Home Entertainment this week…
GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with what’s set to become a Kiwi classic hitting cinemas and an all-new Nic Cage genre outing debuting on home entertainment!
Thursday July 26th
THE BREAKER UPPERERS
From producer (and neighbouring Kiwi) Taika Waititi, THE BREAKER UPPERERS looks set to deliver on his signature style of surrealist gut-busting humour. Starring, directed and written by up-and-coming comedian’s Jackie van Beek and Madeleine Sami, their comedic chemistry and commitment to delivering audiences a good time is already receiving sizeable praise on the international circuit – a clear sign this deserves the support of the Aussie cinema-going public! Fifteen years ago, Mel (Sami) and Jen (Beek) discovered they were being two-timed by the same man. Bitter and cynical they became fast friends and formed THE BREAKER UPPERERS, a small-time business breaking up couples for cash. Now they’re in their late-thirties and business is booming. They’re a platonic, codependent couple who keep their cynicism alive by not getting emotionally involved with anybody else. But when they run into an old victim, Mel develops a conscience and their friendship is truly put to the test.
Brad Anderson, director of cult genre fare like SESSION 9 and THE MACHINST, tries his hand at spy/espionage territory in this 80s-set thriller. BEIRUT has received praise for harkening back to the golden age of thrillers in the 70s and 80s, and the powerful leading performance by MAD MEN-alum Jon Hamm – both good arguments that this is worth checking out. Mason Skiles (Hamm), a top U.S. diplomat, left Lebanon in the 1970s after a tragic incident. Ten years later, the CIA calls him back to a war-torn Beirut with a mission only he can accomplish. Meanwhile, a CIA field agent who is working undercover at the American embassy is tasked with keeping Skiles alive and ensuring that the mission is a success. Without knowing who is on his side and with lives on the line, Skiles must outmaneuver everyone to expose the truth.
Wednesday July 25th
THE HUMANITY BUREAU
With the critically-praised MANDY and off-the-wall MOM AND DAD, cult fave Nicolas Cage is experiencing something of a renaissance by working on low key genre projects. The latest addition to this list, THE HUMANITY BUREAU, doesn’t remotely come close to the heights of the aforementioned – but is helped by an intriguing premise and Cage’s typical commitment to his roles even if his motivation is purely a paycheque. The year is 2030 and, in a desperate attempt to restore society, the Government has created The Humanity Bureau – whose job is to assess and remove citizens deemed to be a burden on the system. When veteran Agent Noah Kross (Cage) is sent to investigate the case of a single mother and her young son, it sets off a chain of events that could change everything?exposing the Bureau’s secret methods and the fate of those it has judged.
This grisly under-the-radar sci-fi film is exactly the kind of thing that begs to be discovered on home entertainment. Boasting a hell of a premise, and containing enough twists and reveals to keep viewers hooked, RADIUS is a DTV gem sure to appeal to sci-fi and horror fans alike! Liam wakes from a car crash at the bottom of a deep ditch with no memory of who he is. As he makes his way into town, he discovers that anyone who comes within a 50-foot radius of him dies instantly. Out of options, he tries to live in seclusion to protect others, until the day a woman comes to him who doesn’t die in his presence. With her arrival, Liam’s murderous power now seems to have subsided. The woman, Jane, is also amnesiac and looking for answers. Together, they embark on a search to uncover who they are and what happened to them on the night of the accident.
A predictable and needlessly confusing spy thriller, the only noteworthy fact about DAMASCUS COVER is that it marks the final performance of screen legend John Hurt’s career. In this dramatic thriller, a veteran spy is sent undercover to smuggle a chemical weapons scientist and his family out of Damascus. Within days of arriving things start to go wrong; he’s being followed, his partner doesn’t show up, and a mysterious group of men are trying to kill him. Soon, this supposedly routine mission unravels completely, revealing a string of murderous conspirators. Now, marked for death and caught amid a maddening puzzle, he must risk everything in a desperate bid to escape Syria and ultimately save his life.
Grim Pickings is written weekly by Jarret Gahan.