Movie Review – Birdie (2019 AACTA Awards Short Film Competition)

TL;DR – In some respects this is a very simple film, but it uses that premise to perfectly explore the building tension    

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Review

There are a lot of things films can do, they can excite, they can astound, they can terrify, and the can crush. However, one of the key things they can do is let you walk in another person’s shoes for a time, which can lead to some really powerful moments.

The story of Birdie is, well it is less of a story and more of a premise. A woman (Maeve Dermody) is on her way to see a new apartment so she takes the train. This is the framework, but this is where the tension is introduced because as she arrives at the Redfern station there are a couple of guys lurking around. You can feel that tension as her personal security lowers each moment they are around. How she tries to find people to be near so she is not alone, you feel every moment of this trial.

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Movie Review – Kidnapping Stella

TL;DR – It starts really strong with moments of real tension, but it is let down by a muddled ending.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Kidnapping Stella. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

Today we get to look at a film that is almost the reverse of the norm. It is not at all uncommon for there to be English adaptions of foreign language films as there is a long history of people assuming that subtitles are a real barrier for commercial success. Well, today we get to see a film that has made the reverse trip with Kidnapping Stella being the German adaptation of the English film The Disappearance of Alice Creed. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how well a film does going the other way across the channel. Though I must say that at times this is a deeply confronting film, and you should probably know that before jumping in.

So to set the scene, we open in on two gentlemen Tom (Max von der Groeben) and Vic (Clemens Schick) as they go about their day running errands and picking up supplies. They renovate a room, get a van ready, and put in a new bed. All really normal, but for the fact that they block out all of the windows, and that they have masks. Because what they are doing is not renovating, they are prepping the room for something, and that something is Stella (Jella Haase) who they kidnap off the street to ransom back to her parents.    

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Movie Review – Silent Panic

TL;DR – While there is a kernel of a really good idea here, all the moving parts never quite connect    

Score – 2.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Silent Panic. Image Credit: Indie Rights.

Review

When reviewing films, I really like when I come across a scenario that intrigues me. Well today we have just such a scenario where people’s lives become unravelled through no fault of their own, okay maybe a little fault of their own. However, while an interesting idea is a good start, it is not the end of the equation and unfortunately that is the case here.

So to set the scene, three friends Eagle (Sean Nateghi), Bobby (Joseph Martinez), and Dominic (Jay Habre), are out one weekend camping in the hills. They are catching up and talking about their past and future as Eagle is just out of jail after being set up in a break and enter. The weekend was great but when they get back to their car they discover that while they were gone someone had dumped a body in the back of their car. Immediately the question of what to do splits the group and things spiral out from there.

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Movie Review – Bird Box

TL;DR – There are moments of real suspense, and Sandra Bullock is amazing, but the structure of the story holds it back by revealing its hand too soon.      

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Bird Box. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

2018 has been a good year for the suspense thriller/ horror films, we have built on the strengths of 2017, a produced such amazing films as A Quiet Place (see review) and Cargo (see review). I bring A Quiet Place up because after the first few minutes you can tell that this is the film Bird Box is going to be compared to the most, and that is not entirely unfair. As they are both suspense post-apocalyptic films where you have to cover one of your senses to survive i.e. sound, or in this case sight. However, this was less the case of copying a more the case of producers seeing that suspense films are back (also they never left but that is an issue for another day) and optioning different books at around the same time. However, while it is a bit unfair to compare the two while watching you can’t help but do so, especially when the differences between the two are probably the reasons why I liked one more than the other.

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Movie Review – Searching

TL;DR – A film that is both revolutionary filmmaking, but also deeply centred on the question of what would you do if you lost everything

Score – 4 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Searching. Image Credit: Sony

Review

Films can be revolutionary for a number of reasons, maybe they have a new actor that blows the world away, maybe they are looking at a subject that no one dared venture before, or maybe they revolutionise filmmaking in some way. With Searching, we have the later because this is a film that is shot entirely from the perspective of a computer screen. We see the YouTube video, the webcam, the documents as if we were living in the screen and peering out in the world. It is both disorientating but also oddly comfortable as it has all the tactile notions of the world we live in. With that in mind, today we are going to see if this is a film that is just a gimmick, or if it is using this new technique to tell a story.

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Movie Review – Cargo

TL;DR – A beautiful, haunting, and often brutal look at what we do for those we love.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no end-credit scene

Cargo

 

Review

There was a time not that long ago where zombies were this interesting subset of the horror genre. Now in a world where every second video game has them as an enemy and we have seen nearly every possible permutation of it on the big and small screen, it honestly feels like we have become saturated with the living dead. Now frankly, this is a great pity because out there in the world of media there are still very powerful works of art being made that deals with these issues, like The Last of Us and Train to Busan. Well, today we are looking at a film that is joining these lofty heights with Cargo.

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TV Review – Picnic at Hanging Rock

TL;DR – A surreal experience that plays on the power structures of the time, an important retelling of an Australian classic that everyone should watch.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

 

Picnic at Hanging Rock banner

 

Review

What happened to the girls at the Hanging Rock?” It is one of the most famous questions in Australian mythology. Was there foul play, did they run away, was it something out of this world? The book by Joan Lindsay and the fictional yet presented as the real account is one of the most important works of literature to out of this fair country, and it was turned into a very successful film in 1975. Well, that was over forty years ago and today we have a new take at adapting the classic book into a mini-series format. Today we take a look at the world at the turn of the twentieth century, a world of pomp and ceremony, and a world of oppression and conformity.

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