May 292016


It’s hard to get the winter blues in Australia when the two biggest film events of  the year, the Sydney Film Festival (June 8-19) and the Melbourne International Film Festival (28 July – 14 August) bring hundreds of films and plenty of fun to the chilly days and dark nights. Outside of the festival, there are a number of interesting films getting general cinema releases. We’ve picked 12 we’re particularly looking forward to seeing, check them out after the jump.


Money Monster – June 2

The latest film from Jodie Foster (her first feature since The Beaver) teams up George Clooney and Julia Roberts with Jack O’Connell in a thriller dealing with timely sociopolitical anger. Lee Gates (Clooney) is a Wall Street guru who picks hot stocks as host of the television show “Money Monster.” During a live broadcast a disgruntled investor, Kyle Budwell (O’Connell), storms onto the set and takes Gates hostage, and he must work with his longtime producer to diffuse the situation. [Andrew]



A Perfect Day – June 9

The subject of this anti-war comedy/thriller – the bureaucracy-plagued international aid program in the Balkans during the Bosnian War – was compelling on its own. Assigned the task of removing a body from a well before it contaminates the village supply, a misfit troupe of aid workers attempt to procure some rope. When all sorts of obstacles impede that mission the series of misadventures are equally hilarious and nail-bitingly suspenseful. The performances (headlined by a superb Benicio Del Toro, and also including Tim Robbins and Olga Kurylenko), and the unusual soundtrack, are also terrific.  [Andrew]



Mustang – June 23

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academic Awards, Mustang tells the story of 5 young Turkish sisters and the challenges they face growing up as young women in a relatively conservative society. There are relatively few films directed by women that get cinema releases in Australia, so when one with such critical acclaim actually reaches our big screens, it’s cause for celebration. Turkish-French filmmaker Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s impressive début feature film has been compared favourably to The Virgin Suicides, which is high praise indeed. Mustang also plays at Sydney Film Festival. [Sam]



Independence Day 2 – June 23

Will Smith may not be back for the sequel to 1996’s disaster film juggernaut, but Jeff Mother Flippin’ Goldblum is, so really we’re good. Can you all believe that this film is 20 years old? I have very vivid memories of seeing the Independence Day at the cinema and being completely wowed by the experience. Two decades on from the events in the previous film, Earth is facing a new threat from above. Stars a whole range of people including Bill Pullman, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and William Fichtner. Gimme, gimme. [Sam]



The BFG – June 30

If there is one classic Roald Dahl novel that has long-deserved a big-screen adaptation it is The BFG. Reviews have been more mixed than expected, but if there is anyone capable of capturing the peculiar wonderment of Dahl’s story it is Steven Spielberg. A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant (portrayed in a motion-capture performance by the wonderful Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies), who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul and an outcast from the other giants due to his refusal to eat children. Also screens at Sydney Film Festival. [Andrew]


Also out in June – The Measure of a Man, Now You See Me 2, The Conjuring 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Downriver, Finding Dory, Me Before You, Miles Ahead, Mr Right, Warcraft: The Beginning, Everybody Wants Some, Belle and Sebastian: The Adventure Continues, Central Intelligence, The Wait



Goldstone – July 7

Ivan Sen’s follow-up to the brilliant outback-set procedural Mystery Road is screening on Opening Night at the Sydney Film Festival and has been selected as part of the Official Competition. It is one of our must-sees of the festival, and looks stunning. Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen), the lead protagonist in Mystery Road, arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons enquiry, but what initially seems like a light duties investigation uncovers a web of crime and corruption. Also starring Alex Russell, David Wenham, Jackie Weaver and an all-star Australian cast.  [Andrew]



Sing Street – July 14

A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes. Directed by John Carney (Once, Begin Again), who has made the musical-romance-drama his own, this looks like the cinematic equivalent of a big warm hug – an infectiously charming and optimistic coming-of-ager with a toe-tapping soundtrack. Also plays at Sydney Film Festival, which quite frankly, could be the best possible place to see it – festival crows + feel good musical film = a great time. [Andrew]



Ghostbusters – July 21

Part of me wants this to succeed just to annoy the crying men babies who have waged an internet troll war against the film ever since it was announced. But largely, I want it to succeed because it looks like it could be a hell of a lot of fun. Paul Feig has a pretty good hit rate for female-driven comedies, and with this cast and their bucket loads of comedic talent, there’s no reason not to believe that Ghostbusters won’t be another win. [Sam]



Jason Bourne – July 28 [Sam]

Oh, I do like me some Jason Bourne. There’s something incredibly compelling about Damon’s damaged, but lethal spy; and have you seen the size of his arms in the trailer? Set 7 years after the events in The Bourne Ultimatum (because everyone is just pretending that the Jeremy Renner Bourne film didn’t happen), Jason Bourne resurfaces with the knowledge of who he really is, and lots of questions about his past.  [Sam]


Also out in July – The Legend of Tarzan, Maggie’s Plan, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, Septembers of Shiraz, Demolition, Out Kind of Traitor, Our Little Sister, The Purge 3, Swiss Army Man, Love and Friendship, Star Trek Beyond, Early Winter, Embrace of the Serpent, Ratchet and Clank


Sausage Party – August 11
This looks very very funny. If you loved This is the End, Superbad and Bad Neighbours I can’t imagine this will disappoint. The first red band trailer caused a lot of chatter online, and this looks like the gross-out frat-pack humour that we love so much… in animated form. Life is good for all the food items that occupy the shelves at the local supermarket. Frank (Seth Rogen) the sausage and Brenda (Kristen Wiig) the hot dog bun, included, can’t wait to go home with a happy customer. Soon, their world comes crashing down as they learn the horrifying truth that they will eventually become a meal. [Andrew]



High-Rise – August 18 [Sam]

Adapted from  J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel of the same name, High-Rise is a bombastic exploration of class wars, within the middle class. It’s the lower middle class families, vs. the upper middle class crust. Our guide in the 1970s luxury tower block is Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston), who moves into an apartment on the 25th floor of the 40 story building. All seems well at first, but it isn’t long until the facilities begin to deteriorate, along with the behavior of the residents. For something different, you can see this at the drive-in cinema as part of Sydney Film Festival. [Sam]



Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping – August 25

A good mokumentary is hard to do, but when one works there are few things more entertaining. The Lonely Island comedy trio (Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone) are tackling mega pop stars (think Justin Beiber) with this film about a rapper who is forced to reform his boy band after his album completely bombs. The film is absolutely packed with comedic talent such as: Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Will Forte, Sarah Silverman, and Joan Cusack. [Sam]


Also out in August – Kubo and the Two Strings, Absolutely Fabulous, Suicide Squad, Bad Moms, Down Under, Spectral, Free State of Jones,  Indignation, War Dogs, Ben Hur, Blood Father, The Founder, Life on the Road, Mechanic: Resurrection, The Space Between Us