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TL;DR This Week In Cinema: Guardians, Guns, Girls And Godawful Accents

Welcome to Beat’s weekly rundown of what’s hot in the coming seven days of cinematic releases. Owing to the public holiday (and those cheeky buggers at Marvel), a few major releases snuck past me over the weekend, and I’m rectifying that issue by bringing them to you now – in full HD!

On top of two Aussie releases and the naturally unassailable Hollywood blockbuster, it’s a bonza week for fans of foreign-language films. Only of which has made my list, soz. Honourable mentions to Warren Beatty‘s Rules Don’t Apply (with bloody Alden Ehrenreich!), Indian comedy The Good, The Bad & The Corny, and the rom-coms Can’t Help Falling In Love and Love Off The Cuff – neither of which steam my glasses up in the way the filmmakers hoped. (That honour goes to The Handmaiden – see it now see it now see it now.)

 

 

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2

 

RT: 86%

 

This sneaky little babby came out on MONDAY, of all days, because Marvel are now too powerful to obey the laws of cinema release dates. And because they wanted the sweet, sweet public holiday money that only Australia and New Zealand can provide.

 

I’m in the minority when it comes to views on Guardians Of The Galaxy – I was excited for the first flick, but found it hewed far too close to the first Avengers to be truly groundbreaking. It was fun, and the soundtrack whomped, and it’s good to see James Gunn crushin’ it with the big leagues; still, a highly corporate experience coming in at 3 stars. At best.

 

Vol. 2 will undoubtedly be more of the same, with the Guardians – Peter Quill, aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper), and the now babified Groot (Vin Diesel) – off on another colour-drenched rampage, this time seeking out the orphaned Quill’s long-lost ‘rents. Which one of the trailers has already spoiled.

 

tl;dr That’s me, on the left, in the Nick Offerman suit.

 

FREE FIRE

 

(N.B. This is a red-band trailer and is NSFW.)

 

 

RT: 66%

 

The seventies are back, baby! Husband/wife creative team Ben Wheatley (director) and Amy Jump (screenwriter) retain the costumes from High-Rise and set out to update and elongate the stand-off from Reservoir Dogs for the kids of today.

 

The set-up is simple – Justine (Brie Larson) and Ord (Armie Hammer) arrange a straight-forward arms deal between IRA buyer Chris (Cillian Murphy) and South-African gun-runner Vernon (Sharlto Copley) in an isolated warehouse. Unease becomes chaos when a disagreement over terms leads to weapons being drawn, and the proverbial hits the fan with ballistic force.

 

It’s exploitation-city – wholly new territory for Wheatley & Jump, so whether or not their treatise on the insanity of gun violence delivers its message or not is yet to be seen. But really, we’re here for one-liners and balls-out action, and this cast of legends is sure to entertain.

 

tl;dr Wheatley prefers knives.

 

BAD GIRL

 

 

From the writer of Blinky Bill: The Movie (no kidding) comes this ’90s-esque thriller about classic emo Amy (Sara West), an adoptee at odds with her foster parents Peter (Benjamin Winspear) and Michelle (Felicity Price), who strikes up a friendship with ‘good girl’ Chloe (Samara Weaving).

 

While Amy’s parents think Chloe is a good influence on their daughter, they don’t know what Amy knows – that Chloe is both an object of desire for Amy, and is hiding a dangerous secret.

 

Critical response is mixed, which isn’t a bad thing, but it seems Fin Edquist‘s first outing as both writer and director falls prey to that classic Aussie cinema trope: the veneer of the arthouse, the need to be respectable. It could be the film’s downfall.

 

How a first time writer/director picks up Warren Ellis to do his friggin’ soundtrack is beyond me, but hey, Edquist, drop me a line sometime. Let’s swap contacts.

 

tl;dr Hey, you won’t hear me complaining about ’90s bad girls.

 

MY PET DINOSAUR

 

 

Poor accent work is, to me, like fingernails on a whiteboard – it’s a total deal-breaker, one that can shatter the experience of a film. But that’s hardly the worst part of the trailer for My Pet Dinosaur, an Australian aping of E.T. that showcases some gobsmackingly bad acting.

 

Matt Drummond, the writer/director of 2014’s straight-to-DVD Dinosaur Island, continues to milk the Spielberg nostalgia on which he’s built his career. Which, to be fair, is not a bad idea when done right. But desperately trying to court American viewers while alienating your own is a clunky and baseless decision, especially when you’re trying to feed off a borrowed childhood.

 

The Australian industry should stop championing sub-par copies of what’s been done before – we have enough original content and incredible talent to impress the world, and we need to have more faith in our creations, whatever their idiosyncracies (need I mention The Castle?). Only then will young Aussies have better holiday viewing than this.

 

tl;dr Even Spielberg can get Spielberg wrong.

 

BATTLE OF MEMORIES

 

 

This stylish Chinese thriller drifts between Total RecallMemento and Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind to land on a crime thriller about the unreliability of memory, in a world where the mind can be modified for money.

 

Renowned novelist Feng (Huang Bo) is sick of reliving his failed marriage, and has his memories erased. But when he regrets the decision and tries to have them reinstated, he finds himself remembering a murder, in which he was the perpetrator. He sees no other choice but to find out whose memories now reside in his head.

 

This is Leste Chen‘s eighth film as director (I haven’t heard of the rest), and his second with Journey To The West star Huang. It’s also the closest Chen has come to reliving his horror days since his debut, The Heirloom, released on Tartan Asia Extreme in 2005.

 

tl;dr guys if you erase your memory you’ll forget how fucking amazing Eternal Sunshine is so don’t ok

 

And now for THE VERDICT – maybe you only get to see one of these flicks on the big screen, and you don’t wanna waste that night out. So, drum roll please…
 
I can’t honestly say if Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump own the best release of the week, but while Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 will be the most broadly appealing film, I’m keen to throw my homies a bone. Join me and Sharlto Copley’s eyebrows in hating on guns while loving films with guns in Free Fire.
 
Until next week!