Adapted from the beloved literary classic, THE CALL OF THE WILD vividly brings to the screen the story of Buck, a big-hearted dog whose blissful domestic life is turned upside down when he is suddenly uprooted from his California home and transplanted to the exotic wilds of the Alaskan Yukon during the Gold Rush of the 1890s. As the newest rookie on a mail delivery dog sled team-and later its leader-Buck experiences the adventure of a lifetime, ultimately finding his true place in the world and becoming his own master.

The Call of The Wild hits cinemas February 20, 2020


Based on the global blockbuster video game franchise from Sega, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG tells the story of the world’s speediest hedgehog as he embraces his new home on Earth. In this live-action adventure comedy, Sonic and his new best friend Tom (James Marsden) team up to defend the planet from the evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and his plans for world domination. The family-friendly film also stars Tika Sumpter and Ben Schwartz as the voice of Sonic.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, in cinemas February 13, 2020.





With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker only a few short weeks away, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to finally lock down my ranking of all the live-action films. Now I appreciate i'm flirting with both criticism and death alike, but here goes...

The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
A New Hope 
The Last Jedi
Rogue One
The Force Awakens 
The Phantom Menace
Revenge of the Sith
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Attack of the Clones

Feel free to tell me how wrong I am in the comments below or come and play on our Facebook page.

- Stu 






Directed by two-time Academy Award®-winner Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers and produced by Academy Award®-nominee Dana Murray, Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” opens in theaters on June 19, 2020. According to Docter, the idea for the story is 23 years in the making. “It started with my son—he’s 23 now—but the instant he was born, he already had a personality,” says Docter. “Where did that come from? I thought your personality developed through your interaction with the world. And yet, it was pretty clear that we’re all born with a very unique, specific sense of who we are.” “Soul” introduces Joe Gardner, a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz. “I think Joe is having that crisis that all artists have,” says Powers. “He’s increasingly feeling like his lifelong dream of being a jazz musician is not going to pan out and he’s asking himself ‘Why am I here? What am I meant to be doing?’ Joe personifies those questions.”

Pete Doctor directed Monsters Inc, Up and Inside Out; so it's fair to say his Pixar credentials are beyond reproach. Although this is only a teaser trailer, Soul is looking very promising. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.  

Soul hits cinemas June 2020 





The Furies follows rebellious high school students Kayla (Airlie Dodds) and her best friend Maddie (Ebony Vagulans) who find themselves abducted by a sinister presence. Kayla wakes up in a box in the middle of a forest with no idea how she got there, and no idea of Maddie’s whereabouts. She soon realises she is not alone – men in terrifying masks are stalking six other young women in the woods. As the threat of more killers closes in, Kayla races to save as many girls as she can. But when the girls turn on each other, Kayla's killer instinct is unleashed and she does whatever it takes to survive and seek revenge on her abductors.

I tend to avoid horror films. Not for any highfalutin cinematic reason mind you, but because I'm a scaredy cat. I don’t particularly enjoy jump scares and pushing the boundaries of gore effects ain’t my jam. Now I’m not begrudging those who dig the genre, it’s each to their own. With that in mind, I'll muster the courage to bring you my thoughts on The Furies, the latest offering from Aussie director Tony D’Aquino.

Arlie Dodds shines as Kayla, a young woman who finds strength in the most trying of circumstances. She previously wasn’t on my radar, but I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her moving forward. Taylor Ferguson and Linda Ngo steal enough screen time to warrant their casting. I fully appreciate that they’re all in the early stages of their careers, but they’re easily the best part of the film.

Like many horror films, The Furies looks as though it’s been delivered on a reasonably modest budget. Sadly these films are asked to compete on an international stage, against productions whose catering bill would probably eclipse this entire production. The film makes the most of its evocative Australian bush setting and use of gruesome practical effects to create an uneasy atmosphere, essential when disturbing the audience is high on the agenda.

The flip side to budget constraints seems to be the ability to be daring when playing with subject matter. In the same way the massive Marvel blockbusters need to play it safe, these down and dirty horror films can take visual and storytelling risks. The Furies contains challenging imagery, which borders on the exploitative. There’s extreme violence against women that some viewers may finding too hard to watch. But maybe that’s the point of these films? Maybe they’re needed to explore darker corridors of storytelling. I’d like to hope the exaggerated violence endured by the victims is part of a larger metaphor, acting as commentary on what women endure in society, unfortunately I'm not sure if the message necessarily pierces through the savage images.

Ultimately, I can’t say I enjoyed my experience with The Furies, but that’s on me not the film. It unsurprisingly hasn’t cured my issues with the genre, but if you’re after a thriller with some decent blood and guts, The Furies won’t let you down. It knows what it is, and doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Which is admirably in my books.

The Furies is playing in select cinemas from November 7. If you see the film and agree or disagree with my thoughts, feel free to drop a line below.

- Stu








Years following the events of "The Shining," a now-adult Dan Torrance meets a young girl with similar powers as his and tries to protect her from a cult known as The True Knot who prey on children with powers to remain immortal...

On paper Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep faces an immense challenge. Firstly it’s a sequel to arguably one of the most iconic horror films of all time; with a devout, sometimes fanatical fanbase (Room 237). Not to mention it’s dropping a mere 39 years after its predecessor. Next hurdle, it weighs in with a hefty runtime (155mins), which can test the patience of cinema goers. Plus the film must navigate the treacherous waters of familiarity versus ingenuity; showing reverence to The Shining, without being slavish to its iconography. Despite all this, Flanagan manages to deliver a wholly satisfying experience. For the record I haven’t read The Shining or Doctor Sleep.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of The Shining. I appreciate the craft on display and accept that I’m in the minority, but something never sits quite right with me about it. I ventilated these thoughts on an episode of The Sinner Files, the multi-award worthy podcast. Click here to have a listen.

Flanagan smartly bookends the film at the Overlook Hotel. The opening scenes, stimulates the old nostalgia cravings, but importantly exemplifies how aesthetically faithful to The Shining the film will be. Cleverly acting as a promise for what may come in the later acts too. You can’t help but be impressed by Flanagan’s creative choices, he toys with our memories of The Shining and horror tropes alike. But definitely knows how to tease an audience, without ever go for over-the-top gore or cheap jump scares. He’s well aware we all want to see the Hotel. After all it’s the Grand Daddy of horror locations.

Rebecca Fergusson revels as the villainess Rose the Hat. She plays an ancient being who leads a bunch of baddies cruising round eating the life force of gifted children. She’s always a delightful addition to any cast. Ewan McGregor plays the grown up Danny Torrance, who’s still haunted by the events of The Shining, but more importantly grappling with the memory of his father. Newcomer Kyliegh Curran plays Abra Stone, a young girl with ‘Shining” powers that rival Danny’s. She’s being hunted by Rose the Hat as her life force is so overwhelmingly powerful. Cliff Curtis also pops up for a strong supporting effort, which is always fun to see.

I recommend you get out to see Doctor Sleep, but do yourself a favour, make sure you re-watch The Shining if you haven’t seen it some time.

Doctor Sleep hits cinemas everywhere November 7. If you see the film and agree or disagree with my thoughts, feel free to drop a line below

#DoctorSleepMovie

- Stu




The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of The Skywalker saga…

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker releases in cinemas on December 19


2003. As politicians in Britain and the US angle to invade Iraq, GCHQ translator Katharine Gun leaks a classified e-mail that urges spying on members of the UN Security Council to force through the resolution to go to war. Charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act, and facing imprisonment, Katharine and her lawyers set out to defend her actions. With her life, liberty and marriage threatened, she must stand up for what she believes in…

Check out the trailer for Official Secrets form director Gavin Hood (Eye in the Sky, Tsotsi). I'm a huge fan of Hood's work. Check out my review for his 2015 Eye in the Sky. Super excited to see this. 

Hits cinemas November 21. 


- Stu 





Inspired by the viral New York Magazine article, Hustlers follows a crew of savvy former strip club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients.

You can either stand in the corner, or get in the ring” - Romona

Hustlers from Lorene Scafaria (The Meddler) explores stripping in New York from a female perspective. Their world is turned on its head by the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) requiring them to shift gears and do what they can to survive.

I rather liked 70% of what this film has to offer. Sadly the film ultimately bleeds out to quiet a death via self inflicted wounds (namely writing and a mismanaged framing device). In recent years films such as The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Short and to some extent Jodie Foster’s hidden gem Money Monster have wrestled with the complicity of Wall Street traders which led to the catastrophic crash. I’ve had enough of the preppy white guy in a suit doing badness for a little while. For me, the more interesting stories look at the folks on the peripheries; those who suffered when the money taps were shut off. Enter Hustlers.

Hustlers isn’t exactly condemning the actions of rogue Wall Street traders. If anything it likens the role of trader and dancer. Both opportunistic, thriving on the hard earned wealth of others. Suggesting the world is a strip club; you either have the cash or you’re dancing for it. Pretty sure that’s what Bill Shakespeare was going for with his “all the world’s a stage” take. If there’s money to be made, who cares where it comes. Just fill your pockets while you can. Sounds like a familiar story right?

The story is told predominantly from the perspective of Destiny (Constance Wu) a relatively inexperienced dancer, who gets taken (literally) under the Chinchilla-clad wing of dancing Queen Romona (Jennifer Lopez). The two have an instant bond, which is evident in their onscreen chemistry. I haven’t seen much of Constance Wu’s work, having missed the Crazy Rich Asian express nor have I seen Fresh off the Boat. For me her performance never sufficiently nailed the arc her character experienced; from babe-in-the-woods, Mumma turned shrewd operator and ultimately crashing back down in a heap of self realisation to avoid forcing the same fate she experienced on her own daughter.

J Lo on the other is a force of nature. Her performance is mesmerising. But first, I want to address the over hyped reaction to her physical appearance. It’s kind of unsettling that people are ogling her under the pretense that she “looks hot for a woman her age”. The conversation around her appearance has reinforced the negative stereotypes around female actors and, particularly, how age is yet another factor in the dynamic. Despite how far some have come, it seems that a woman’s looks is still seen as their most valuable commodity. The older they get and the better they look, the better the commodity. While we are less inclined to tolerate this kind of praise for younger actors, all of a sudden a woman hits 40, or 50 they’re free reign. All of a sudden we tolerate everyone reducing J Lo’s epic performance to how hot she’s managed to stay for her age.

That being said, yes she’s super fit, ridiculously strong and will have women signing up for pole-dancing classes. But more than her striking look, there’s an attitude which is the highlight for me. She dominates every moment, whether it’s on stage in micro lingerie or hanging out in or Netflix-and-Chill trackies. Her dance moves exude power, which aren't derived purely from her sexuality. Go watch Out of Sight and give me a call. Jennifer Lopez is still underrated as an actor.

Apart from Lopez and Wu, Hustlers features the likes of Cardi B, Mette Towley and Lizzo. Julia Stiles pops in to prop up the framing device. I’m always super excited to see female stories being told by women. This adds authenticity to the creative process, which we’re crying out for.

Hustlers never feels like it’s exploiting the ladies or leering hungrily at the flesh. Largely due to the fact it’s directed by a woman. Even in the stripping scenes it’s never about titillation. The bump-and-grind for the most part looks like any other boring day job. If you haven’t caught it yet, please check out Lorene Scafaria’s 2016 The Meddler, a sharply written mother/daughter relationship we can all relate to.

Hustlers hits its peak around the three quarter mark, but like most films depicting people up to no good, all good things must come to an end. The back quarter of the film suffers from forced dialogue, drama for the sake of drama and trying to cover too much ground too quickly. Which somewhat distracted me from the great work at the start of the film. That being said, it wasn’t fatal to my overall enjoyment.

Despite my few niggles here and there, I strongly urge you to get out to see Hustlers. It’s a take on the GFC we haven’t seen yet, from people whose stories usually don’t get their moment to shine.

- Stu

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, text and indoor

The Delphi Bank 26th Greek Film Festival is currently on at the moment and screening at Leichhardt’s Palace Norton Street Cinema and Palace Central Sydney, with tickets on sale now at www.greekfilmfestival.com.au

After several sold out sessions since Opening Night on Tuesday 8 October, additional sessions have been added to allow audiences to catch the Festival’s most popular films.

Audiences will be treated to additional screenings of touching documentary When Tomatoes Met Wagner; feel-good comedy Perimenontas Ti Nona; and Perfect Strangers, an adaptation of an Italian box-office hit.

EXTRA SESSIONS @ PALACE NORTON ST:
Sat 25 Oct – Perimenontas Ti Nona – 7.00pm
Sat 26 Oct – Perfect Strangers – 7.30pm
Sat 27 Oct – When Tomatoes Met Wagner – 5.00pm


- Billy