By Bo Nicholson - Managing Editor Pop Culture
Each week The Pioneer Australia will give you a guide to the films hitting cinemas in Australia. This week we’ll discuss Kevin Hart’s new comedy, a John Callahan biopic directed by Gus Van Sant, a survival thriller set in the Ice Age, an Argentinian period piece and the highly acclaimed debut film by Xavier Legrand that won the Silver Bear at the Venice Film Festival.
Malcolm D. Lee, director of the successful 2017 comedy Girls Trip, is at the helm and has brought the best thing about that film to Night School; the hilarious Tiffany Haddish. Anything that you can remember about Girls Trip is almost certainly because of Haddish’s talents and she will add some much needed freshness to this premise, which is looking a little tired and dated.
With 6 credited writers we don’t hold out much hope of there being a coherent story to be told, but knowing Hart’s previous material it will surely be an inoffensive feel-good story that references race issues but doesn’t mine into them too deeply.
Verdict: If you’re a Kevin Hart fan or just after a light-hearted, feel-good movie with a bit of a laugh, check out Night School at most cinemas across Australia.
Rooney Mara is a tremendous talent who seems wasted on the sidelines as a one-dimensional well-wisher, while Phoenix looks like he’s in full Oscar-bait mode as he, once again, gives all of himself to the character that he is playing. Expect some buzz around Jonah Hill’s supporting performance.
Callahan was a complicated man who drew his humorous art with an ominous tone and an offensive streak. It’ll be interesting to see if Gus Van Sant can temper the dark comedy elements with the inspiring message many audience members will be wanting to receive.
All of the ingredients are there for this to be one of the best films of the year but we recommend caution with this film, it will be difficult to maintain a consistent tone with this material
Verdict: If they get it right, it’s going to be one of the best of the year. Seems unlikely, though. Manage your expectations, because Callahan’s is a story worth knowing and you can catch Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot on limited release across the major cities.
Along the way they must battle the elements and wild creatures that will threaten the boy, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, a young Australian actor who you may remember as Nightcrawler from X-Men: Apocalypse.
While the film seems to want to raise the stakes and make the story more epic than it deserves to be, it looks beautifully shot and Smit-McPhee is a good talent so we can expect to be well-engaged for the short runtime of 96 minutes.
It’s only rated PG so the scares aren’t likely to be too intense, but maybe think twice before bringing any young children along to the cinema.
Verdict: Reviews are mostly positive and the cinematography looks lush; support a young Australian actor by seeing Alpha at most cinemas across the country.
It’s a little known fact that Argentina have been quietly chipping away for years making some of the best movies in the world, seems we can add Zama to that list.
Verdict: Zama is on an incredibly limited release so if you are lucky enough to have it playing at a cinema near you and you don’t mind watching some subtitles, do yourself a favour!
Starring Lea Drucker and Denis Menochet (from THAT opening scene of Inglourious Basterds) with a performance from young Thomas Gioria that has critics fawning over him, Legrand seems to have found the perfect cast to balance the delicate emotions at play.
Verdict: This film won the Silver Bear at the Venice Film Festival for a reason; we could be seeing the start of one of cinema’s great directorial careers. Custody is in limited release around the country so be sure to check it out.