Since I don’t get to the cinema to see new releases that often anymore, this is my new weekly feature reviewing the latest releases on Sky Cinema Premiere (and in turn, Now TV). I will write a short review and rating for each of the films that I have watched and then give you the details for the ones that I didn’t get a chance to see.
This week’s feature sees the release of Pyewacket, Joyride, A Fantastic Woman, Night Owls, All The Money In The World, Insidious: The Last Key, and Lowlife.
24th September – Pyewacket
Synopsis: Angst-ridden teenager Leah dabbles with dark magic when her feisty if well-meaning, recently widowed mother relocates them to a house in the woods. After naively performing an occult ritual among the trees, Leah summons something truly terrifying with the intention of ridding her of her suffocating mom.
Director: Adam MacDonald
Cast: Nicole Muñoz, Laurie Holden, Chloe Rose, Eric Osborne, Romeo Carere, James McGowan, and Bianca Melchior
Review: A slow burner that takes a while to get into, but the final 20 minutes make a great turn of events. ‘Real horrors’ such as this one are always more impressive than ones that try to scare you in ridiculous ways, as Pyewacket tries to leave you feeling a genuine kind of terror, instead. Good performances but the first half did need filling out some more.
25th September – Joyride (also known as Pork Pie)
Synopsis: An unlikely trio – lovelorn Jon, car-jacker Luke, and animal rights activist Keira – pile into a mustard-coloured Mini and head across New Zealand in a mad-cap dash to halt the wedding of Jon’s ex – and true love – Susie. Unfortunately, the Kiwi police have other ideas, as the trio become accidental outlaws and are chased by a posse of cops and a media frenzy.
Director: Matt Murphy
Cast: Dean O’Gorman, James Rolleston, Ashleigh Cummings, and Antonia Prebble
26th September – A Fantastic Woman (Una Mujer Fantástica)
Synopsis: Twenty-something nightclub singer Marina (played by transgender actress Daniela Vega) is deeply in love with Orlando, a 57-year-old executive. However, when he suddenly dies from an aneurysm, her grief is ignored by callous doctors, she’s subjected to a humiliating police cross-examination and faces hostile indifference from Orlando’s family.
In Spanish with English subtitles.
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Cast: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Aline Küppenheim, Nicolás Saavedra, and Amparo Noguera
27th September – Night Owls
Synopsis: Workaholic Kevin has a drunken one night stand with unpredictable beauty Madeline, only to discover that she’s actually his boss’s jilted ex-mistress. When she takes a bottle of sleeping pills, Kevin is forced to keep her awake. Over the course of the night, the two begin to fall for each other.
Director: Charles Hood
Cast: Adam Pally, Rosa Salazar, Rob Huebel, Tony Hale, and Peter Krause
28th September – All The Money In The World
Synopsis: Based on the true story of teenager John Paul Getty III who is kidnapped in Rome, whose billionaire grandfather refuses to pay his ransom. However, the boy’s strong-willed mother hooks up with the old man’s enigmatic security man in a desperate race against time to persuade Getty to relent.
Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Christopher Plummer, Michelle Williams, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer, Roman Duris, and Timothy Hutton
Review: A return to quality for Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World looks fantastic and is full of talent. Despite the last-minute changes that had to be made to the film, you can’t tell that there was a lot of chaos and pressure going on behind the scenes. Christopher Plummer gives a brilliant performance despite the somewhat uncomfortable situation. Michelle Williams is phenomenal, of course. But I don’t know why people are only just starting to talk about her. She’s been giving amazing performances for years, so at least people are finally starting to take notice of her. Mark Wahlberg’s doesn’t really fit his role and his character seems unnecessary a lot of the time, but Charlie Plummer is brilliant and I can’t wait to see more from him after this.
Whilst I thought that the mystery/thriller was well-paced and interesting, it annoyed me to find out how different the real-life story is. The actual story seemed to have a lot more drama in it, and I also think that it would have been worth mentioning at the end more about how John Paul III’s life continued and recently ended in regards to what happened to him. Nevertheless, I would most definitely watch this again, despite how vaguely based on truth it is.
29th September – Insidious: The Last Key
Synopsis: Lin Shaye returns for the fourth and final instalment in the superior supernatural horror franchise. This prequel sees spirit-wrangler and parapsychologist Dr Elise Rainier investigate disturbances occurring in a family’s home in New Mexico. But it turns out that the house is the same one she used to live in when she was younger, propelling her even deeper into The Further.
Director: Adam Robitel
Cast: Lin Shaye, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, Kirk Acevedo, Caitlin Gerard, and Spencer Locke
Review: The Insidious films have been some of the very few horror films that I have liked over the past few years. The first two were great, and the third was average but likeable. But this one is pretty forgettable. It seems like a spin-off rather than a follow up as it doesn’t have the same feel to it as the others did. The distinguishing characteristics of the franchise have gone and, instead, this instalment is exactly like every other horror that you’ve seen this year – lacklustre and unoriginal. It spends too much time on irrelevant subplots rather than on the connections to the original films that would have made it work so much better.
30th September – Lowlife
Synopsis: Failed Los Angeles luchador El Monstruo has a volcanic rage and gets a gig working for his father-in-law Teddy, a scumball human trafficker who recruits dirty immigration agents to kidnap Latinos, whose organs he sells on the black market. Abduction, drug abuse, murder and suicide are all ingredients in this mordantly violent Tarantino-esque yarn.
Director: Ryan Prows
Cast: Nicki Micheaux, Ricardo Adam Zarate, Jon Oswald, Shaye Ogbonna, Santana Dempsey, and Mark Burnham