The New Movies You Can Watch at Australian Cinemas From August 18

Head to the flicks to see an Emma Thompson-starring sex comedy, David Cronenberg's thrilling return to body horror and a Byron Bay-shot father-and-son drama.
Sarah Ward
Published on August 18, 2022

Something delightful has been happening in cinemas in some parts of the country. After numerous periods spent empty during the pandemic, with projectors silent, theatres bare and the smell of popcorn fading, picture palaces in many Australian regions are back in business — including both big chains and smaller independent sites in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

During COVID-19 lockdowns, no one was short on things to watch, of course. In fact, you probably feel like you've streamed every movie ever made, including new releasesStudio Ghibli's animated fare and Nicolas Cage-starring flicks. But, even if you've spent all your time of late glued to your small screen, we're betting you just can't wait to sit in a darkened room and soak up the splendour of the bigger version. Thankfully, plenty of new films are hitting cinemas so that you can do just that — and we've rounded up, watched and reviewed everything on offer this week.



People have orgasms every day, but for decades spent closing her eyes and thinking of England in a sexually perfunctory marriage, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande's lead character wasn't among them. Forget la petite mort, the French term for climaxing; Nancy Stokes' (Emma Thompson, Cruella) big wrestling match with mortality, the one we all undertake, has long been devoid of erotic pleasure. Moments that feel like a little death? Unheard of. That's where this wonderfully candid, intimate, generous and joyous sex comedy starts, although not literally. Flashbacks to Nancy enduring getting it over with beneath her now-deceased spouse, missionary style, aren't Australian filmmaker Sophie Hyde (Animals) or British comedian-turned-screenwriter Katy Brand's (Glued) concern. Instead, their film begins with the religious education teacher waiting in a hotel room, about to take the biggest gamble of her life: meeting the eponymous sex worker (Daryl McCormack, Peaky Blinders).

For anyone well-versed in Thompson's prolific on-screen history, and of Brand's work before the camera as well, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande inspires an easy wish: if only Nancy had a different job. Back in 2010, the pair co-starred in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, a title that'd also fit their latest collaboration if its protagonist cared for kids rather than taught them. Jokes aside, the instantly charming Leo is used to hearing that sentiment about his own professional choices. Indeed, Nancy expresses it during their pre- and post-coital discussions, enquiring about the events that might've led him to his career. "Maybe you're an orphan!" she says. "Perhaps you grew up in care, and you've got very low self-esteem," she offers. "You could have been trafficked against your will — you can't tell just by looking at somebody!" she continues.

There are plenty of "if only" thoughts and feelings pulsating through Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, a film where its namesake's tongue couldn't be more important — yes, in that way, and also because talk is as crucial as sex here. If only Nancy hadn't spent half of her existence in a pleasure-free marriage. If only a lifetime of being middle class and socially conservative, and of internalising Britain's stereotypical 'keep calm and carry on' mentality, hadn't left her adrift from her desires. If only being a woman in her mid-50s wasn't seen as a libidinous void by society at large, a mindset that's as much a part of Nancy as the wrinkles and ageing body parts she can barely look at in the mirror. If only prioritising her sensual needs wasn't virtually taboo, too, especially in her mind — even after, two years since being widowed, she's booked an expensive rendezvous with Leo.

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande unpacks those if onlys — not the Nanny McPhee one, obviously, but the idea that Nancy's life is immovably stuck in the same rut it has always been. As played by Thompson at the height of her acting powers, at her absolute splintery, finicky yet vulnerable best even with Last Christmas, Years and Years, Late Night and The Children Act on her recent resume, she's nervous, anxious, uncertain and always on the cusp of cancelling, including once Leo strolls into the room, beams his easy magnetism her way and starts talking about what she wants like it's the most natural thing in the world. Slipping into the sheets and knowing what excites you is the most natural thing in the world, of course, but not to Nancy. As her four appointments with Leo progress, she comes up with a lineup of carnal acts she'd like to experience — and she may as well be reading from her grocery list. But getting her to shed her inhibitions is as much his focus as shedding her clothes, and the twentysomething won't let Nancy keep getting in the way of herself.

Read our full review.



It takes a brave filmmaker to see cancer and climate change, and think of art, evolution and eroticism in a possible future. It takes a bold director to have a character proclaim that "surgery is the new sex", too. David Cronenberg has always been that kind of visionary, even before doing all of the above in his sublime latest release — and having the Scanners, Videodrome and The Fly helmer back on his body-horror bent for the first time in more than two decades is exactly the wild and weird dream that cinephiles want it to be. The Canadian auteur makes his first movie at all since 2014's Maps to the Stars, in fact, and this tale of pleasure and pain is as Cronenbergian as anything can be. He borrows Crimes of the Future's title from his second-ever feature dating back 50-plus years, brings all of his corporeal fascinations to the fore, and moulds a viscerally and cerebrally mesmerising film that it feels like he's always been working towards. Long live the new flesh, again. Long live the old Cronenberg as well.

In this portrait of a potential time to come, the human body has undergone two significant changes. Three, perhaps, as glimpsed in a disquieting opening where an eight-year-old called Brecken (debutant Sotiris Siozos) snacks on a plastic bin, and is then murdered by his mother Djuna (Lihi Kornowski, Ballistic). That incident isn't unimportant, but Crimes of the Future has other departures from today's status quo to carve into — and they're equally absorbing. Physical agony has disappeared, creating a trade in "desktop surgery" as performance art. Also, a condition dubbed Accelerated Evolution Syndrome causes some folks, such as artist Saul Tenser (Viggo Mortensen, Thirteen Lives), to grow abnormal organs. These tumours are removed and tattooed in avant-garde shows by his doctor/lover Caprice (Léa Seydoux, No Time to Die), then catalogued by the National Organ Register's Wippit (Don McKellar, reteaming with Cronenberg after eXistenZ) and Timlin (Kristen Stewart, Spencer).

When Crimes of the Future stages one of Saul and Caprice's gigs, it drips not with blood but spectacle and seduction. Indeed, it's no wonder that a curious Timlin utters that catchy observation about medical slicing and intimate arousal shortly afterwards. Alluring, eerie, grotesque and enthralling — and the epitome of the feature's sparse yet entrancing look and mood in the process — it's a powerhouse of a scene, with a self-autopsy pod at its centre. Saul lies still, Caprice uses an eXistenZ-esque fleshy video-game controller to get the contraption cutting, and an enraptured audience hang on every incision. Saul and Caprice do, too, although their visibly aroused reactions have nothing on their time later in the suite alone. (Cronenberg does love eschewing traditional ideas about what titillates; see also: his 1996 film Crash, about characters excited by car crashes. It's a clear precursor to this, and the movie that purred so that 2021 Palme d'Or winner Titane, by filmmaker Julia Ducournau, could rev.)

Crimes of the Future's scalpel-equipped coffin is just one of Saul and Caprice's Lifeform Ware gadgets; if eXistenZ, Naked Lunch and Dead Ringers procreated, these are the devices the three flicks would spawn. HR Giger could've conjured them up as well, and thinking of the biomechanical artist's contribution to Alien, which saw him share an Oscar for visual effects, is as natural as feeling spellbound and perturbed by Cronenberg's movie in unison. This is a grimy world where a bed covered with skin and tentacles floats in Saul's home, calibrated to cater to his "designer cancer"-riddled body's needs as it slumbers — and where a chair that looks like a skeleton reassembled as furniture contorts Saul as he's eating, something he is having increasing trouble with otherwise. In other words, it's a world where the old flesh isn't doing what it always has, new flesh is sprouting in a changing and devastated reality, and technology fills in the gaps as it is always designed to.

Read our full review.



Remember the name Rasmus King. Based on 2022's slate of Australian films and television shows, that shouldn't be hard. The Byron Bay-born newcomer hadn't graced a screen, large or small, before this year — and now he has no fewer than four projects pushing him into the spotlight before 2023 arrives. Most, including surfing TV drama Barons, capitalise upon the fact that he's a pro on the waves IRL. Two, 6 Festivals and the upcoming sci-fi featurette What If The Future Never Happened?, get his long blonde locks whipping through the Australian music scene. The latter is based on Daniel Johns' teenage years, actually, and has King playing that pivotal part. If he's half as impressive in the role as he is in father-son drama Bosch & Rockit, Silverchair fans will have plenty to look to forward to.

When writer/director Tyler Atkins opens his debut feature, it's in the late 90s, along Australia's east coast, and with King as eager surfer Rockit — son to weed farmer Bosch (Luke Hemsworth, Westworld). Sometimes, the titular pair hit the surf together, which sees Rockit's eyes light up; however, Bosch is usually happy tending to his illicit business, making questionable decisions, and coping with splitting from his son's mother Elizabeth (Leeanna Walsman, Eden) with the help of other women. Then a couple of unfortunate twists of fate upend Rockit's existence, all stemming from his father. Begrudgingly, Bosch is pushed into stepping outside his drug-growing comfort zone by an old friend-turned-cop (Michael Sheasby, The Nightingale) and his corrupt partner (Martin Sacks, Buckley's Chance). When a bushfire sweeps through the region shortly afterwards, he's forced to go on the run to stay alive.

Bosch & Rockit approaches Bosch's absconding from Rockit's perspective, adopting the line that the former gives his boy: that they're going to Byron for an extended holiday. Atkins doesn't feed the same idea to its audience, but ensures that viewers understand why a bright-eyed teenager would take his dad at his word — not just because he doesn't know what Bosch does for a living, which he doesn't; or he's naïve, which he is; but also because he's eager to hang onto his biggest dream. There's sorrow in King's spirited performance, with Rockit more affected by his parents' split, bullying at school and the isolation that comes with finding solace in the sea, usually alone, than Bosch has the shrewdness to spot. There's earnestness as well, because what struggling kid who's desperate for the kind of love that genuine attention signifies, as Rockit visibly is, won't blindly believe whatever fantasy their dad or mum sells them for as long as possible?

King does a magnetic job of conveying Rockit's inner turmoil, and expressing his uncertainty, too. There's an effortlessness to his portrayal, whether Rockit is lapping up Bosch's presence like a plant swaying towards the sunlight, listlessly left to his own devices when his dad decides he'd rather chase Byron local Deb (Isabel Lucas, That's Not Me), or finding a kindred spirit in Ash (Savannah La Rain, Surviving Summer), another restless and yearning teen vacationing under less-than-ideal circumstances and feeling like she's alone in the world. Avoiding formulaic plotting isn't Bosch & Rockit's strong suit, however, as the film makes plain at every turn. That's evident in both of its namesakes' trajectories, for starters — with Bosch a small-time crim falling afoul of the wrong people, with help from bad luck, then trying to start anew; and Rockit an innocent kid stuck with subpar parents, forced to grow up faster than he should, but hanging onto whatever he can.

Read our full review.


If you're wondering what else is currently screening in Australian cinemas — or has been lately — check out our rundown of new films released in Australia on May 5, May 12, May 19 and May 26; June 2, June 9June 16, June 23 and June 30; and July 7, July 14, July 21 and July 28, and August 4 and August 11.

You can also read our full reviews of a heap of recent movies, such as Petite Maman, The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly JohnsonDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Firestarter, Operation Mincemeat, To Chiara, This Much I Know to Be True, The Innocents, Top Gun: Maverick, The Bob's Burgers Movie, Ablaze, Hatching, Mothering Sunday, Jurassic World Dominion, A Hero, Benediction, Lightyear, Men, Elvis, Lost Illusions, Nude Tuesday, Ali & Ava, Thor: Love and Thunder, Compartment No. 6, Sundown, The Gray Man, The Phantom of the Open, The Black Phone, Where the Crawdads Sing, Official Competition, The Forgiven, Full Time, Murder Party, Bullet Train, Nope, The Princess and 6 Festivals.

Published on August 18, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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