Grim Pickings

Grim Pickings for Cinema & Home Entertainment this week…

04 April 2017

GRIM PICKINGS this week includes key dates to dismember with the theatrical release of a junked-up film adaptation of a largely forgotten late-seventies television series and the home entertainment arrival of a Mark Hartley documentary double-feature!

In Cinemas

Thursday April 6th
How Dax Shepard convinced a studio to produce a film that trades off the branding of a largely forgotten late-seventies television series is anyone’s guess but he did and the result has been met with near unanimous critical disdain. Jon Baker (Shepard) and Frank Ponch Poncherello (Michael Peña) have just joined the California Highway Patrol (CHP) in Los Angeles, but for very different reasons. Baker is a beaten-up former pro motorbiker trying to put his life and marriage back together. Poncherello is a cocky undercover Federal agent investigating a multi-million dollar heist that may be an inside job—inside the CHP. The inexperienced rookie and the hardened pro are teamed together, but clash more than click, so kick-starting a real partnership is easier said than done. But with Baker’s unique bike skills and Ponch’s street savvy it might just work…if they don’t drive each other crazy first.

A SILENT VOICE (Limited Release)
Last year’s Japanese box office hit, A SILENT VOICE, an all-new anime feature from Kyoto Animation gets a limited theatrical release in cinemas across Australia/New Zealand. Shoya Ishida starts bullying the new girl in class, Shoko Nishimiya, because she is deaf. But as the teasing continues, the rest of the class starts to turn on Shoya for his lack of compassion. When they leave elementary school, Shoko and Shoya do not speak to each other again… until an older, wiser Shoya, tormented by his past behaviour, decides he must see Shoko once more. He wants to atone for his sins, but is it already too late…?

RAW (Advance Screenings)
This Friday April 7th, Dendy Cinemas are holding Special Late Preview Screenings of RAW at their Sydney Newtown, Brisbane Portside & Canberra locations. Making its World Premiere at Cannes Critics Week where it won the coveted FIPRESCI Prize, RAW left audiences aghast with some of the most shocking and powerful on-screen imagery since Gaspar Noe’s IRREVERSIBLE. The atmosphere in the cinema that day was one of the most electric the Monster team had ever witnessed – from the start we could sense a nervous anticipation in the room, and then, from the very first scene, it kicks you in the head with a power that is raw and fierce. RAW is one of the finest directorial debuts in the genre space in a long time, it tells the story of a teenage girl who joins her sister at a prestigious veterinary college, and is forced to partake in a hazing ritual that sees her defying her vegan upbringing by consuming raw rabbit liver. From here she develops an insatiable desire for flesh – of all types, and what we witness is a coming-of-age like no other, an awakening that is carnal and primal and that takes its central character, and its viewing audience, on a journey that is simultaneously harrowing and beautiful. Filmmaker Julia Ducournau has made a something very special here, a gorgeous cinematic exploration of family and cannibalism, a film that’ll seep its way deep into your psyche and resonate long after the closing credits – make no mistake, this is one of the films of the year.

Home Entertainment

Wednesday April 5th
Umbrella Entertainment bundle award-winning documentarian Mark Hartley’s ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS & MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED into feature-laden Blu-ray double-feature. ELECTRIC BOOGALOO: THE WILD, UNTOLD STORY OF CANNON FILMS: Strap yourselves in and take an off-road cinematic rampage through the bowels of Hollywood’s least-loved film studio, CANNON FILMS. Responsible for churning out a breathtaking cavalcade of hits and misses (including DEATH WISH II, BREAKIN’, INVASION USA and MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE) that showcased ninjas, nudity, creaky monosyllabic action heroes, threadbare plots and accidental moments of near-genius – the folks at Cannon botched plots, bounced cheques and burned careers – and in doing so forever changed the way movies were made and marketed. MACHETE MAIDENS UNLEASHED: A non-stop Filipino femme-fest, all the way from the jungles of the Pacific via the trash cans of the critics! Boasting cheap labour, exotic scenery and non-existent health and safety regulations, The Philippines was a dreamland for exploitation auteurs whose renegade productions were soon engulfing drive-in screens around the globe like a tidal schlock-wave! This is the ultimate insiders account of a far away backlot where stuntmen came cheap, plot was obsolete – and the make-up guy was packin’ heat!
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF), ZERO DAYS ranked No. 7 in CULT OF MONSTER Grant’s Top 10 of 2016 and if that’s not an endorsement to see it, we don’t know what is! ZERO DAYS is the story of Stuxnet, a self-replicating computer malware, known as a “worm” for its ability to burrow from computer to computer on its own. The U.S.A. and Israel unleashed the virus to destroy a key part of an Iranian nuclear facility, and which ultimately spread beyond its intended target. It’s the most comprehensive accounting to date of how a clandestine mission hatched by two allies with clashing agendas opened forever the Pandora’s Box of cyber-warfare.