Australia

A24

As it turns out, you can take the vampire out of Twilight and find some pretty unexpected results. With The Rover, the new film from director and writer David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), Robert Pattinson sheds his sparkly teen vampire image yet again to take part in a dark and dreary drama devoid of all supernatural intervention. Pack all your girlish screams away somewhere, because this isn’t the time or place. “Anarchy is loosed upon the world,” and it’s up to Eric (Guy Pearce) to dig through that chaos as “things fall apart” in the Australian outback (things are really bleak out there). His quest: to hunt down a strange band of criminals who have taken hold of his last possession as he attempts to stay alive and keep his head above water in the process. In his journey, he meets Rey (Pattinson), one of the members of the gang who have messed with his life. Rey is injured and alone, no longer the menacing threat he used to pose to Eric when he and his gang stormed into his life long before. But now Eric recognizes that Rey can no longer hurt him, and scoops him up along for the ride. With Rey’s gang leaving him in the dust by himself at the beginning of the trailer, he doesn’t have much of a choice, now does he? Check out the trailer for The Rover below.

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John Jarratt in WOLF CREEK 2

Director Greg McLean‘s 2005 feature debut, Wolf Creek, made a big splash in the horror community thanks to its cruel spirit and dark efficiency, and when he followed that up two years later with the underrated crocodile creature-feature Rogue it seemed genre fans had an exciting new talent to watch. And then six years passed without a peep from McLean. That dry spell finally comes to an end this week as Wolf Creek 2 hits American shores with a vengeance, but while it’s a bigger and bloodier affair it loses the elements that made the first film stand apart from the crowd. The gorgeous views throughout the Australian Outback continue to call their siren song to tourists the world over, and Mick Taylor (John Jarratt) couldn’t be happier about it. A pair of German backpackers are his latest targets, but when one escapes his grip and finds a good Samaritan (Ryan Corr) willing to help Mick’s plans for his unwilling bed buddy take a backseat to catching this latest do-gooder. And by “do-gooder” I of course mean unlucky sap.

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Sarah Snook and others in PREDESTINATION

Movies featuring time travel as a central plot device immediately and unavoidably put a target on their back for the numerous plot holes and inconsistencies sure to arise from such a twisty narrative structure. Even the best will sometimes have moments or scenes that just don’t work given too much thought, but if audiences are willing to go along for the ride those inevitable bumps in the road can be smoothed over through execution and other strengths. Predestination is one such film, and a few caveats aside, it’s one of the most dramatically thrilling and emotionally satisfying time-travel movies of the past several years. Two figures fight in the basement of a busy travel hub. One is trying to blow up hundreds of people, and the other is trying to stop it. Injuries from the ensuing blast leave a Temporal Agent (Ethan Hawke) burned and near death, but he pulls through and is soon assigned a new mission from the past. The confusingly-named “Fizzle” bomber will be destroying a few blocks of NYC in 1975, and the time traveling government agency has been unable to stop him in time again and again. The agent is sent back to recruit fresh blood, a man named John (Sarah Snook), and together they set out to stop the bomber before he kills again. Again.

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review the babadook

A child’s imagination is fertile ground for monstrous explanations of things that go bump in the night, but what would it take for an adult mind to succumb to those same fears? Amelia (Essie Davis) and her son, Samuel (Noah Wiseman), haven’t had an easy go of life. Her husband died six years prior while driving her to the hospital pregnant with Samuel, and she still grieves at the loss. The boy’s birthday is a particularly painful reminder each year, but this time things worsen in dramatic fashion. Samuel’s been having nightmares, and when a mysterious pop-up book appears on his shelf the boy is finally able to put a name to the terror. Amelia tries to handle him with patience and pills, but his increasing aggression and her growing lack of sleep lead toward a horrific conclusion. The Babadook is a child’s tale brought to life by a lethal combination of fear and grief, and as Amelia’s already tenuous affection for her son threatens to sever completely it adds a moving, psychologically devastating layer of terror to potential supernatural threat. It’s a simple tale, wonderfully told, and pretty much guaranteed to send chills coursing through your body.

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caption 100 bloody acres

Not everyone agrees that horror and comedy can work together in unison, but those people are fools. Insidious, Return of the Living Dead, and Cabin in the Woods are just a few examples of movies that mix laughs and gore (and/or scares) to near genre perfection. Not to be outdone the beautiful land of Australia has gotten into the action with 100 Bloody Acres. It’s heavier on the laughs than the scares, but it’s chock full of the red stuff. And now you can win your very own copy on Blu-ray! All you have to do to win is hit the comments section below and offer up your best caption for the picture above by end of day Tuesday (10/1). From there, we’ll choose a random winner (or the one that makes us laugh the loudest) to receive a Blu-ray of this very funny, very bloody, and very Australian movie. It’s that simple. Winners must live in the U.S. No P.O. Boxes. OK? The film is a sweet little tale of two brothers struggling to keep their fertilizer company afloat without sacrificing quality. Instead, they’re sacrificing people to maintain quality. It’s tough being a small business owner these days. 100 Bloody Acres hits Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD on Tuesday, October 1st. Check out the trailer and official synopsis below.

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review 100 bloody acres

Editor’s Note: Our review of 100 Bloody Acres originally ran during this year’s inaugural Stanley Film Fest, but we’re running it again now as the movie hits VOD and limited theatrical release starting June 28, 2013. It’s been said before (by me) that the horror/comedy hybrid is one of the toughest genre mash-ups to get right. More often than not one of the two suffers as the filmmakers focus on one to the detriment of the other. It’s not that the two need to be equally represented, but they need to be equally sincere. A recent and rare example of one that succeeds is the new Australian film, 100 Bloody Acres. It’s a very funny comedy through and through, but it never shies away from the red stuff. When the going gets tough the tough get grinding, and in the Morgan Brothers’ case what they’re grinding are human bodies. They’re not murderers per se as they rely almost exclusively on accident victims, but what else are small business owners to do when they discover that humans are the secret ingredient that makes their fertilizer more popular than ever? When Reg (Damon Herriman) passes three twenty-somethings on a back road and offers to give them a lift the trio learn the lengths he and his brother Lindsay (Angus Sampson) will go to secure the necessary ingredients to satisfy their customers.

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The Coroner

Once upon a time Australia was a hotbed of genre filmmaking bringing horror, action, sci-fi and more to the screen with an unparalleled sense of enthusiasm and energy. The high point ran through the ’70s and ’80s (covered affectionately in the entertaining as hell documentary, Not Quite Hollywood), but since then it’s been a fairly slow trickle of releases. Recent years have seen a step up in frequency and quality of crime films, thanks in large part to the Edgerton brothers’ Blue Tongue Films, and straight up horror, thanks in large part to large crocodiles, but what about the dark nuggets of sci-fi weirdness? Enter the Crawlspace. A military research facility in Australia goes silent so an elite squad of soldiers is sent in to investigate. As is prone to happen in top secret military labs doing god knows what with their experiments… things go a wee bit awry.

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The Proposition

You see, Ray Winstone plays Captain Stanley – and delivers an amazing monologue – in The Proposition, but he’s also one of the dwarfs in this Friday’s Snow White and the Huntsman. Yes, that is a stretch, and it’s not the real reason we decided to cover The Proposition in this week’s Commentary Commentary. It’s the John Hillcoat connection. It’s the fact that the director’s latest, Lawless, played Cannes last week and guess who saw it. We can all torch Simon out of jealousy later. There’s a commentary to get to first. The Proposition, a Western set against the Australian backdrop and a very realistic depiction of life at that time, was Hillcoat’s first feature film collaboration with Nick Cave, singer, songwriter, screenwriter, rustic harbinger of death. Friends call him Nicky. The film is every bit as somber and depressing as you would expect from the head of the Bad Seeds. The Proposition is so melancholic, you half expect Lars Von Trier to throw a planet in its general direction. You also can’t wait to see what went on with the making of this movie. And that’s where we come in. So sit back, crack open a Foster’s – which no decent Australian would be caught dead drinking. – and have a gander at all the wonderfully tenebrous and fly-ridden items we learned from listening to Hillcoat and Cave talk about The Proposition.

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If we were all to make lists of the young faces in Hollywood who are clearly destined for acting greatness, chances are that Mia Wasikowska’s name would appear near the top of most. From her coming-of-age turn in The Kids Are All Right, to her period work in Jane Eyre, to the mountains of box office business she did with Alice in Wonderland, Wasikowska is an actress who has shown limitless potential up to this point. It’s not hard to imagine that if she stays her current course, she’s bound to become one of those actresses who has a number of gold statues sitting up on her mantle by the time she decides to call it quits. So it’s with great interest that we follow the next few crucial steps that she takes on her career journey, and it just so happens some news on a new project the actress has signed on for has come out of Cannes today. Variety is reporting that Wasikowska has signed to star in Tracks, an adaptation of the memoirs of Robyn Davidson that’s set to be helmed by The Painted Veil and Stone director John Curran. Davidson’s memoirs, of the same title as this adaptation, have become pretty beloved since their mid-90s publication. Amazon describes her book by saying, “A cult classic with an ever-growing audience, ‘Tracks’ is the brilliantly written and frequently hilarious account of a young woman’s odyssey through the deserts of Australia, with no one but her dog and four […]

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X opens with a bang, and by ‘bang’ I mean Tupperware party, and by ‘Tupperware party’ I mean women-only shindig where the featured entertainment is a young guy with a shaved ball sack who screws in front of them and whose finishing move is a cocky spritz onto a call girl’s stomach. Don’t act like you’ve never been to one of those parties. Holly (Viva Bianca) is professional escort in Sydney, Australia looking to get out of the business after one last night on her back. Shay (Hanna Mangan Lawrence) is new to the streets, brand new in fact, and is starting her very first evening as a sex toy for hire. They meet by chance when Holly finds herself in need of a partner for her final gig. The pair proceed to party with a coked-up, low level criminal, but things turn from sexy to scary when the man’s business partner arrives and turns the john’s head into a bowling ball. The girls take off running with the killer in pursuit, and what should have been a night of sex, drugs, and Vegemite instead becomes a desperate bid for survival. This is a dark and violent reminder that no one, at no time, should ever say aloud that they’re going to retire after “one last job.” It’s just not going to work out the way you think people.

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J awakens one day to find his mother dead from a heroin overdose. He waits, calmly, while the ambulance attendants take her away, and then he calls the only other family he has. His grandmother, Janine (aka Smurf), picks him up and welcomes him into her home. J soon discovers why his mother tried to keep him away from this extended family… his three uncles along with a friend are involved deep in Melbourne’s criminal underworld including drug dealing, bank robbery, and possibly murder. J’s arrival coincides with a stepped-up police investigation into the family’s activities, and when a seemingly concerned detective singles out J as a possible witness the teen realizes survival of the fittest is no game… it’s a way of life. And death. Animal Kingdom is writer/director David Michod’s debut, and it’s this year’s answer to The Hurt Locker when it comes to pure, unrelenting tension. J is our window into not only the personal realm of one crooked family but also of the dangerous and menacing world outside. His Melbourne streets are the urban equivalent of the African Veldt where everyone is prey until they figure out the rules of nature and their place in it. Michod presents J’s indoctrination into this landscape as an uncertain path between a family determined to maintain their lifestyles at any cost and a police department hell-bent on taking them down by any means necessary. It’s as smart and assured of a film debut as anyone could have hoped, and […]

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I remain cautiously optimistic about Animal Kingdom, the blessed child of Cannes that’s gotten intensely high praise. It’s the story of a young man caught between a crime family and the long helpful arm of the law that’s intending to get him out before he’s pulled back in. Unfortunately for it, its premise, praise and promise of violent drama make it sound far too much like The Square which turned out to be more boring than riveting. Joel Edgerton’s involvement here doesn’t help the cause either.

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The sixth match up of Round One finds an Oscar-winner and a celebrated Western from down under. It proves to be a tough pairing, and it’s almost impossible to predict whether the critically-acclaimed Lives of Others will pull out a win against the popularly-loved Proposition.

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The screenwriter of Moulin Rouge! and the directors of Daybreakers carry on the Henson torch.

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Once again it’s time for After Dark Horrorfest, and just like last year Robert Fure refused to watch any of the releases from foreign lands. You’d think he would have grown or matured some in twelve months, but no, he still believes that foreign horror is inferior to our own domestic terrors.

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An import from Australia is hitting theaters soon, but will American audiences care about what goes on down under?

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Tomorrow, When the War Began

A new trailer for the Australian film Tomorrow: When The War Began has appeared online, and it’s basically Red Dawn relocated to the outback. The film is based on the first in a bestselling series of novels by John Marsden that follow the adventures of a group of young adults dealing with a military invasion of Australia.

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Road trip movies are fairly common and often mundane, but there’s a subset within the genre that has a greater appeal to someone like me… and that’s road trips gone bad.

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Prisoners, escapes, tasmanian devils (of the human variety), murder, vegetation, and flesh-eating!

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fo-thesquare

Foreign Objects travels the world of international cinema each week to look for films worth visiting. So renew your passport, get your shots, and brush up on the local age of legal consent, this week we’re heading to… Australia!

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