Wednesday, 19 April 2017

What's new in Odeon's this week : Thursday 20th April 2017.

With the release of 'Raw' this week (as Previewed below), I thought I'd spend a few sentences overviewing the Cannibal genre of exploitation films. This sub-genre would sit right up there as the most controversial, most often banned as 'video nasties', and most often depicting acts of graphic violence more often than not dispensed with cannibalistic natives in some far away remote jungle in the deepest darkest depths of the Amazon, or Papua New Guinea, or Vietnam, or some secluded island. Films exploring flesh eating cannibals preying on lost tourists or anthropologists, geologists and scientists on some kind of fact finding mission first began to emerge in the early '70's courtesy of Italian and Spanish filmmakers. The first film to emerge in the genre as it has come to be widely known today was 1972's 'Man from the Deep River' by Italian Director Umberto Lenzi, who also went on to helm 'Eaten Alive!' in 1980 and 'Canbibal Ferox' in 1981. Another Italian Director  famed to starting the genre is Ruggero Deodato who released 'Jungle Holocaust' (aka 'The Last Cannibal World') in 1977, and followed this up with 1980's infamous 'Cannibal Holocaust' which is considered one of the most controversial and brutal movies in the history of cinema, and which was seized, banned or heavily censored in many countries, and still to this day remains on the banned list in fifty countries. He released 'Cut and Run' in 1985 too. The late '70's and early '80's were the 'golden era' of cannibal movies that included 'The Hills Have Eyes' in 1977, 'Mountain of the Cannibal God' in 1978, 'Cannibal Apocalypse' and 'The Cannibals' in 1980, 'C.H.U.D.' in 1984 and 'The Green Inferno' in 1988 by which time the cannibal genre had almost become a thing of the past. Mainstream cinema picked up the genre, dusted it off, polished it up and started to throw more money and bigger names at these productions in the '90's which saw the likes of 'Silence of the Lambs' and its various spin-offs all featuring one Hannibal 'The Cannibal' Lecter as portrayed by Anthony Hopkins. Then there was 'Alive', 'Delicatessen', 'Ravenous', 'The Road', 'We Are What We Are' and most recently 'Bone Tomahawk' and 'The Neon Demon', and in between time reboots of 'The Hills Have Eyes', 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' and 'Green Inferno'. Of course there are a heap of others to dine out on at your leisure, and if your thing is sinking your teeth into a nice juicy rare steak with a glass of Chianti, then you may want to start with 'Raw'! Read on for more.

This week there are six new cinema releases to tempt that movie going dollar from out of your wallet, kicking off with a French acclaimed coming of age horror film that might just convince you to turn vegan . . . or maybe not! Then there is a backpacker thriller as a young Aussie lass gets banged up somewhere in Germany with little hope of escape it seems, before three octogenarians decide to take the law into their own hands by staging a daring bank heist to reclaim what is rightfully theirs. We then turn to a WWII film within a film as the Brits turn their hand to propaganda to lift the hearts and minds of their war torn country, followed up by disparate and dateless wedding guests bonding when they least expected it, and wrapping up with a bunch of early teenage kids and the rapidly growing product of an experiment gone wrong.

Be cordially reminded that when you have sat through your film of choice in the week ahead to share your movie going experience with your like minded cinephiles here at Odeon Online. Leave your relevant, pertinent and concise thoughts, opinions and views in the Comments section below this or any other Post as to any of those films as Previewed here, or as Previewed and Reviewed between these earlier Blog Pages. We'd love to hear from you, and meanwhile, enjoy your film.

'RAW' (Rated R18+) - this highly acclaimed French/Belgian coming of age horror film is Written and Directed by Julia Ducournau, cost just US$3.8M to make and was Premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival in the International Critics Week section where is took out the FIPRESCI Prize (International Federation of Film Critics). Since then the film has picked up another nine award wins and seven nominations from around the festival circuit, and was released in the US in early March, and in France a week later. Despite its 'horror' tag much praise has been heaped on this film that is as much about family, relationships, and discovery as it is about carnivorous cannibalistic tendencies. The film is fairly graphic in its content which may be shocking for some viewers, but needs to be taken in the context of the films subject matter.

The story here centres around shy, introverted life long vegetarian Justine (Garance Marillier) who upon arriving at veterinary school for her first day at College is subjected to a hazing ritual with all the other new freshers that sees her amongst other things doused in blood and having to wear blood soaked whites to her lectures, and consume a lump of raw meat that she is told is a rabbits kidney. This marks the beginning of Justine's transformation from vegetarian to meat eater, but her carnivorous cravings start to go much deeper than sausages, burgers and fillet steak as she develops a taste for human flesh that starts with her sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf) accidentally snipping off her own finger with Justine being on hand to have a taste of the dismembered digit. From this point there is no looking back at those by gone days of baba ganoush and felafels, as Alexia shows Justine the means of satisfying her hunger. In the meantime, there is Justine's sexual awakening, the bond and in turn the rivalry that develops between the sisters upon discovering their mutual interest, the revealing truth about their parents, the backdrop of young adult life at College and Justine's evolution as she discovers her true identity in life.

'BERLIN SYNDROME (Rated MA15+) - Directed by Australian Cate Shortland, and based on the novel of the same name by Melanie Joosten, this film tells of Aussie backpacker Clair (Teresa Palmer) who arrives in Germany and meets up with handsome local guy Andi (Max Riemelt) and has a one night stand. Waking up the next morning however, she soon discovers that the charming, gregarious Andi is not all he seems as he keeps Clair locked up in his apartment while he goes off to work as a teacher. Clair's nightmare of forced captivity and Andi's obsession with the holidaymaker soon spills over  as Clair comes to realise that he has no intention of ever letting her go. Filmed in Melbourne, Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January, released in Australia this week, the US in early May and the UK in early June, this film has so far received generally positive Reviews.

'GOING IN STYLE' (Rated M) - here Actor, Producer, Screenwriter, Comedian and Director of this film Zach Braff offers us a remake of the 1979 film of the same name that was back then Written and Directed by Martin Brest and starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg. Made for US$25M the film has so far grossed US$35M and stars three senior citizens with an average age of 80+ as played by Michael Caine as Joe, Alan Arkin as Albert and Morgan Freeman as Willie who are also life long best buddies. When their respective pensions are cancelled as a result of their former employer being bought out and restructured, the three old guys face new challenges. Joe faces the prospect of homelessness with his daughter and granddaughter and Willie is suffering from kidney failure and needs surgery. Joe witnesses a back robbery and is so inspired by it that he hatches an idea to rob the very bank that holds their pension funds and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. Aided by John Ortiz as Jesus, a man of questionable background but who is prepared to show them the means of conducting a bank heist, Matt Dillon as Agent Hamer who investigates bank robberies, Christopher Lloyd as Milton their ultimate alibi and Anne Margaret as Annie, Albert's love interest, this film shows that there's life in the old codgers yet, and that you can teach old dogs new tricks.

'THEIR FINEST' (Rated M) - Directed by Lone Scherfig and based on the Lissa Evans 2009 book 'Their Finest Hour and a Half', this WWII drama film is a film within a film as The British Ministry of Information set about making a morale boosting propaganda film about the evacuation of Dunkirk during the Battle of Britain and Hitler's devastating bombing raids on London. As bombs continue to rain down on London, the cast and crew of the film work frantically to produce their film designed to lift the spirits of the nation, boost confidence in the war effort, and spur the country on to victory. Gemma Arterton stars as Catrin Cole, the scriptwriter hired to brings a woman's touch to the proposed film, and Jack Huston as Ellis Cole her husband; Sam Claflin as Tom Buckley, the dashing film Producer; Bill Nighy as Ambrose Hilliard the former screen idol Actor with Richard E. Grant and Eddie Marsan all adding weight to this highly praised film.

'TABLE 19' (Rated M) - unlike the eagerly awaited often frequented 19th Hole at a golf course, 'Table 19' is the complete opposite for a bunch of disparate no hoper wedding guests relegated to the back where single and dateless entities are confined to the last table in the room farthest away from the official wedding party, who secretly hoped they would decline their invitations. And so it is with this comedy offering Directed by Jeffrey Blitz, Produced by Shaun Levy, Written by Jay and Mark Duplass and made for just US$5M. Here Eloise McGarry (Anna Kendrick) is one of those guests who was unceremoniously dumped two months before the big day by the Bride's brother and Best Man, Teddy (Wyatt Russell). Deciding to attend, having been the original choice as Bridesmaid she duly finds herself transplanted to the back of the room with five other guests - Jerry and Bina Kepp (Craig Robinson and Lisa Kudrow respectively), Renzo Eckberg (Tony Revolori), Jo Flanagan (June Squibb) and Walter Thimble (Stephen Merchant) - all of whom have a story to tell and their own reasons for attending the wedding. As these stories are revealed, Eloise comes to realise that she has things to learn from her fellow disenfranchised guests, and that you can't judge books by their covers! The film was released in early March in the US, has so far grossed US$4M and received mixed Reviews.

'MY PET DINOSAUR' (Rated G) - released in Australia on 22nd April, this Aussie family film is Directed, Produced and Written by Matt Drummond, was filmed largely in and around the Blue Mountains area west of Sydney, and tells the story of young lad Jake (Jordan Dulieu) who accidentally creates a new friend when an experiment he is working on goes awry. The creature of his creation begins to grow at an alarming rate, and it become increasingly difficult to keep his new pet a secret from his fellow townsfolk. Together with his friends and new girl in town Abbie (Annabel Wolfe), Jake and Co. it seems are not the only people who have an active interest in this mysterious cheeky dinosaur, but so too are some others keen to get their hands on it. Also starring David Roberts, Beth Champion and Joanne Samuel.

Six Easter holiday week films to keep you entertained at your local multiplex or independent cinema that range from very adult horror but all done in the best possible taste, to tense confinement thriller, to senior citizens on heist duty, to war time propaganda film making within a film, to unlikely guests at a wedding learning a thing or two about themselves and each other, and wrapping up with a family offering of dinosaur proportions. Share your movie going thoughts with us here, and in the meantime, I'll see you somewhere sometime in the week ahead at your local Odeon.

-Steve, at Odeon Online-

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