Instead of wrapping up a trilogy, writer-turned-director Leigh Whannell launches a new horror franchise with a movie that's scary even if it's not particularly original. Its trump card is a strong central performance from the wonderful Lin Shaye, who plays out a sort of origin story (although they could still go back further) for her memorable character from the first two movies.
She's Elise, a medium in touch with the spirits of the dead, and as this story starts she's closed down her practice for good. Then the bright teenager Quinn (Sophie Scott) shows up, desperate to speak to her recently deceased mother while she makes important decisions as high school comes to an end. But Quinn has inadvertently made contact with a much more malevolent spirit in her apartment building, and when her father (Dermot Mulroney) realises that her life is in danger, he convinces Elise to help. Meanwhile, Quinn's little brother Alex (Tate Berney) gets in touch with Spectral Sightings internet ghostbusters Tucker and Specs (Angus Sampson and Whannell), who are about to see their first real ghost.
The film looks terrific, from the everyday creep-outs in the creeky old houses and apartments to the much darker atmosphere of "the further", which Elise has to enter in order to rescue Quinn from "the man who can't breathe" (Michael Reid MacKay), a seriously gruesome spirit who isn't content just haunting the living: he wants them to join him. Shaye delivers a performance that's unusually complex for this genre, as Elise struggles to balance her past and present with a flood of emotions, a reluctant determination to help and a generous sense of prickly humour. Mulroney also adds some weight as a concerned single dad at the end of his tether. And Scott has a promising charisma in the opening scenes, less so when the plot reduces her to a scream queen.
Continue reading: Insidious: Chapter 3 Review
A year and a half ago, a young girl lost her mother. She misses her every day, and continues to relate the stories of her life to her mother, hoping that she can still be heard. The problem is, if you make contact with one ghost, all the ghosts can hear you. When Quinn (Stefanie Scott) becomes the subject of attention for a particularly harrowing phantom, Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) is forced to reluctantly agree to use her powers of communicating with the dead, with the hopes of freeing Quinn from the creature that has now possessed her.
Continue: Insidious: Chapter 3 Trailer
Leave it to a veteran to show the young sparks how to do it: it's been 30 years since George Miller last visited his post-apocalyptic hero Max Rockatansky, and now he's back with the best-staged action thriller of the year, a blockbuster that dares to have meaningful themes and complex characters. He also recreates Mad Max as a kind of James Bond franchise with a story that sits alongside the earlier films, not before or after, and an actor who brings a new energy to the role.
In a desert wasteland where people trade water and oil to survive, Max (Tom Hardy) is a loner haunted by the death of his family. Then he's captured by a gang from the Citadel, a towering rock city run by the tyrant Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), who has positioned himself as a god who keeps his enslaved people on a short leash. On a mission to collect oil, Joe's top imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) veers her war-rig off into the desert. So Joe sends a gang after her. Leading the charge is the gung-ho Nux (Nicholas Hoult), who uses Max, strapped to his car like a grille ornament, as a blood-bag to supply energy. But after a series of clashes involving three other gangs of desert marauders, Max and Nux end up on board Furiosa's rig, in which she is hoping to smuggle Joe's five young wives to safety.
The plot itself is fairly blunt, which means that the film requires very little dialogue (Max doesn't speak at all for the first 45 minutes, mainly because his houth is actually bolted shut). Even so, Miller fills every shot with telling details that strengthen the characters and provide insight into what they are doing, building more intriguing relationships with suspicious glances than most filmmakers do with endless conversation.
Continue reading: Mad Max: Fury Road Review
The world is messed up. Years after multiple calamities totally trashed the planet, the world is covered in nothing but desert, and populated by the people strongest and most likely to survive - many of whom happen to be mad. Max (Tom Hardy) is a former highway patrol man, who has an unrivalled knowledge of the desert that now covers the planet. When he accidentally runs into a group of possibly the last women on the planet, and agrees to escort them through the desert to safety, to ensure the continuation of the human race. But when Max ends up being captured himself, it is down to his new friends to rescue him from a gang of lunatics.
Continue: Mad Max: Fury Road - Final Trailer
Mad Max just keeps on running. With nothing else to lose in his life, his only instinct is to survive the ever more savage climate the world has become. Trapped in the Australian desert where water and oil run low and any resources are precious, he finds living easier when he's alone, occasionally interacting to rescue the odd tribe who have found themselves in serious trouble. When he his captured by power-hungry barbarians intent on claiming the world and its inhabitants as their own, he must escape; though sometimes that means using more force than you ever thought you were capable of. On the way he meets Furiosa, a desperate woman on a mission to re-discover her childhood home and find salvation. There's more sand-soaked stunts and death-defying action as Max hits the road in his most brutal adventure yet.
Continue: Mad Max: Fury Road - Extended Trailer
With the world first running out of oil, water soon followed. Planet Earth is now covered in endless deserts, and people driven completely insane through desperation. Across the lawless land, flee two rebels, desperately holding onto what could perhaps be the only chance for the world's salvation and order. Perusing them, is an evil, chaotic bandit leader, desperate to get his hands on what they carry. And then there's Max (Tom Hardy) - a simple man of action and few words, who just wants to live his life outside of all this madness. But in a world gone insane, just how long until he becomes Mad Max?
Over 35 years after his directorial debut with 'Mad Max', George Miller returns to the franchise that made him with 'Mad Max: Fury Road'. After almost 25 years in development hell, the fourth film in the 'Mad Max' series began its principle photography in July 2012 in Namibia, with filming finishing in December of the same year. In November 2013, certain parts of the film had to undergo re-filming before it was finally finished. 'Mad Max: Fury Road' is set to hit theatres on 15th May 2015 in the US.
A strong undercurrent of Aussie black humour helps make this revolting story just about palatable, although the solid cast struggles to make the idiotic characters very likeable. The film owes a lot to the Coen Brothers' classic Fargo, as a group of people make ridiculous decisions that lead to pain, conflict and death in a situation so complex that no one has a clue what's really going on. There are some very funny moments, but the filmmakers' real goal is to gross the audience out. And that they do.
Based on a true story from 1983 Melbourne, the film centres on Ray (Angus Sampson), a geeky TV repairman who wins the annual prize in his local football club and suddenly finds himself invited to the cool parties with the team captain, his childhood friend Gavin (Leigh Whannell). The club's president Pat (John Noble) wants Gavin to travel to Bangkok to collect a shipment of heroin, and Gavin talks Ray into doing the job, swallowing 20 heroin-filled pods. When Ray panics on reentering Australia, he's picked up by federal agents Croft and Paris (Hugo Weaving and Ewen Leslie) and held for seven days in a hotel room. But Gavin refuses to move his bowel, confounding them. Meanwhile, Pat is on a rampage trying to find his missing drugs and make sure Ray doesn't spill the beans, as it were.
Yes, this is literally an anal-retentive story, told with bone-dry wit by a group of filmmakers that includes actors Sampson and Whannell (who play ghostbusters Tucker and Specs in the Insidious movies). The film moves at a surprisingly slow pace, never building up much energy but keeping everything luridly trashy as these chucklehead characters flail pointlessly against everything that goes against them. Each person thinks they're in control, but no one is. And only the underused women are truly likeable: Georgina Haig as Ray's sassy-savvy public defender and Noni Hazlehurst as his increasingly frazzled mother.
Continue reading: The Mule Review
Max Rockatansky is a formidable traveller of the Australian outback, still fighting against the dystopian setting whereby population is low and resources are few. He is still suffering from past traumas - the loss of his family due to rogue criminals - and is scarred from his frequent rescue missions of the various tribes he has come across over the decades. This time, however, he is more prepared than ever to deal with the ever growing brutality of the ruffians out to kill him, and as usual he is prepared to be just as savage in order to survive. It's been a long time since any kind of law and order was held in the world, so sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. On his latest journey for peace, he meets Furiosa; a woman desperate to live life once again and is convinced that her childhood hometown on the other side of the desert holds the key to tranquility in her life.
Continue: Mad Max Trailer
After his assuredly traditional The Conjuring, director James Wan bounces back with a more playful horror movie that subverts cliches rather than revelling in them. Like 2011's Chapter 1, this sequel allows Wan and screenwriter Whannell to merrily reinterpret the story with events that take place before, after and even right in the middle of that first film. And they are clearly having a lot of fun in the process, which keeps us both entertained and frightened.
It picks up right where we left off: with their son Dalton (Simpkins) rescued, Josh and Renai (Wilson and Byrne) take their three kids and flee to stay with Josh's mother Lorraine (Hershey). But of course, the ghostly nastiness follows them, and extremely creepy things start happening all over again. Now Lorraine realises that this has something to do with an event from Josh's childhood, so she calls in an old family friend (Coulter) to help. But ace ghostbuster Elise (Shaye) isn't readily available this time, so they have to make due with her always-distracted sidekicks (Whannell and Sampson).
As before, Wan deploys every standard haunted house gimmick in the book, filling the screen with freak-out apparitions, scary noises, slamming doors and screaming babies. He also uses plenty of movie trickery to disorient us, including a jarring musical score and suggestive visuals. Meanwhile, Whannell is digging around in the original movie's plot for things he can play with, redefining events with clever revelations while adding a whole new underlying story to the saga. And the film continually shifts tonally, so we never know what to expect in the next scene.
Continue reading: Insidious: Chapter 2 Review
Reg and Lindsay Morgan are two Australian brothers who work in the organic fertiliser business, providing super growth treatments for crop farmers everywhere with their blood and bone fertiliser company Morgans Organic. When Reg comes across a very dead driver of a white van that's been involved in a car accident, an ingenious idea springs to mind to boost sales. He grinds the body and uses it in their magic mixture to increase the amount of potassium in their product. However, finding available fresh corpses on the road isn't the easiest thing to do, so when they discover three lost travellers in the middle of nowhere, their new opportunity is too good to resist.
Continue: 100 Bloody Acres Trailer
Instead of wrapping up a trilogy, writer-turned-director Leigh Whannell launches a new horror franchise with...
Leave it to a veteran to show the young sparks how to do it: it's...
The world is messed up. Years after multiple calamities totally trashed the planet, the world...
Mad Max just keeps on running. With nothing else to lose in his life, his...
With the world first running out of oil, water soon followed. Planet Earth is now...
A strong undercurrent of Aussie black humour helps make this revolting story just about palatable,...
Max Rockatansky is a formidable traveller of the Australian outback, still fighting against the dystopian...
After his assuredly traditional The Conjuring, director James Wan bounces back with a more playful...
Reg and Lindsay Morgan are two Australian brothers who work in the organic fertiliser business,...