The New Movies You Can Watch at Australian Cinemas From July 14
Head to the flicks to see Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans face off in an action-thriller, and the comedic true tale of "the world's professional golfer".
July 14, 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 releases, Studio 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.
THE GRAY MAN
It's been four years since Ryan Gosling last graced screens, rocketing to the moon in First Man. No, Barbie set photos pored over on every internet-connected device don't count. Since he played Neil Armstrong, much has happened. There's the obvious off-screen, of course — but then there's Chris Evans farewelling Captain America, and also appearing in Knives Out with the scene-stealing Ana de Armas. After co-starring in Blade Runner 2049 with Gosling back in 2017, she leapt from that Evans-featuring whodunnit to palling around with 007 in No Time to Die. Also during that time, Bridgerton pushed Regé-Jean Page to fame, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood earmarked Julia Butters as a young talent to watch. This isn't just a history lesson on The Gray Man's cast — well, some of them, given that Billy Bob Thornton (Goliath), Jessica Henwick (The Matrix Resurrections), Dhanush (Maaran), Wagner Moura (Shining Girls) and Alfre Woodard (The Lion King) also pop up, plus Australia's own Callan Mulvey (Firebite) — for the hell of it, though.
Back in 2018, before all of the above played out, it's unlikely that this exact film with this exact cast would've eventuated. But plenty of action-thrillers about attempting to snuff out hyper-competent assassins already did flicker across celluloid — both John Wick and Atomic Blonde had already been there and done that, and the Bourne and Bond movies, and countless other predecessors. Still, the combination of this collection of current actors and that familiar setup isn't without its charms in The Gray Man, which makes the leap from the pages of Mark Greaney's 2009 novel to the big and streaming screens. Reportedly Netflix's most expensive movie to date, it lets its two biggest names bounce off of each other with chalk-and-cheese aplomb, and isn't short on globe-hopping action spectacle. The off-the-book spy versus off-the-book spy killer flick is knowing amid all that box-ticking formula, too, although not enough to make its cheesy lines sound smart and savvy.
Gosling plays Court Gentry, aka Sierra Six; "007 was taken," he jokes. Before he's given his codename — before he's paid to do the CIA's dirty work as well — he's in prison for murder, then recruited by Donald Fitzroy (Thornton). Fast-forward 18 years and Six is a huge hit at two things: being a ghost, because he no longer officially exists; and covertly wreaking whatever havoc the government tells him to, including knocking off whichever nefarious figure they need gone. But one stint of the latter leaves him in possession of a USB drive that his arrogant new direct superior Carmichael (Page) will ruthlessly kill to destroy. Actually, to be precise, he'll pay Lloyd Hansen (Evans) of Hansen Government Services to do just that, and to do the dirty work that's too dirty for the criminals-turned-government hitmen in the Sierra program, with Six the number-one target.
If you've seen one espionage-slash-assassin flick that sends a shadowy life-or-death fight bounding around the planet — here, Hong Kong, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Germany and Austria all feature, among other spots — then you've seen The Gray Man's template. Directing duo Joe and Anthony Russo helmed the Marvel Cinematic Universe's versions with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War, so they know the drill. That they've seen a heap of other entries in the genre is never question, either. That feeling radiates from the script, which is credited to Joe Russo with seasoned Marvel scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: End Game), and clearly styles its one-liners after superhero banter. Having Gosling and Evans sling it, one playing bearded, silent and virtuous and the other moustachioed, jabbering and unhinged, makes a helluva difference, however.
Read our full review.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN
If The Phantom of the Open was part of a game of golf, rather than a movie about the club-flinging, ball-hitting, bunker-avoiding sport, it wouldn't be a hole in one. It couldn't be; perfection doesn't suit the story it's telling, which is as real and as shaggy — as so-strange-it-can-only-be-true, too — as they can possibly come. That other key factor in spiriting dimpled orbs from the tee to the cup in a single stroke, aka luck, is definitely pertinent to this feel-good, crowd-pleasing, happily whimsical British comedy, however. Plenty of it helped Maurice Flitcroft, the man at its centre, as he managed to enter the 1976 British Open despite never having set foot on a course or played a full round of golf before. It isn't quite good fortune that makes this high-spirited movie about him work, of course, but it always feels like a feature that might've ended up in the cinematic long grass if it wasn't so warmly pieced together.
When Maurice (Mark Rylance, Don't Look Up) debuts on the green at the high-profile Open Championship, it doesn't take long for gap between his skills and the professionals he's playing with to stand out. In the words of The Dude from The Big Lebowski, obviously he's not a golfer — although what makes a golfer, and whether any sport should be the domain of well-to-do gatekeepers who reserve large swathes of land for the use of the privileged few, falls into The Phantom of the Open's view. So does a breezily formulaic yet drawn-from-fact account of a man who was born in Manchester, later settled in the port town of Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria and spent much of his life as a shipyard crane operator, providing for his wife Jean (Sally Hawkins, Spencer), her son Michael (Jake Davies, Artemis Fowl), and the pair's twins Gene (Christian Lees, Pistol) and James (Jonah Lees, The Letter for the King). Maurice had never chased his own dreams, until he decided to give golfing glory a swing.
For audiences coming to all this anew, director Craig Roberts (Eternal Beauty) clues viewers in from the get-go, via a recreation of an 80s TV interview with Maurice. The film's key figure chats, looking back on his sporting efforts after his attempts at golf have clearly earned him a level of fame, but he'd also rather just sip a tea with six sugars. That's an easy but pivotal character-establishing moment. He's a cuppa-coveting everyman accustomed to finding sweetness in modest places, which aptly sums up his whole approach to his middle-aged pastime. The jovial humour of the situation — in caring more about his beloved tea than talking on the television — is also telling. Using a screenplay by Simon Farnaby (Paddington 2) based on the actor and writer's 2010 biography of Maurice, Roberts laughs along with and never at his protagonist. He affectionately sees the wannabe golfer's eccentricities, and also values the new lease on life he's eagerly seeking.
That quest starts while watching late-night TV, after Michael advises that the shipyard where both men work — and Jean as well — will be making layoffs. With Bridge of Spies Oscar-winner Rylance dripping with sincerity and never cartoonish quirkiness, Maurice eyes the game on-screen like a man having a life-altering and surreal epiphany. Befitting anyone who's ever had a sudden realisation, he's instantly convinced. That he has zero know-how, nor the cash for the right attire, equipment and membership to the local club to practice, doesn't put him off. Neither does filling out the Open entry form, where he instructs Jean to tick the 'professional' box because that's what he wants to be. On the ground at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, he swiftly attracts attention for hitting 121 — the worst score ever recorded — with the press, as well as tournament bigwigs Keith Mackenzie (Rhys Ifans, The King's Man) and Laurent Lambert (Farnaby, Christopher Robin).
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 April 7, April 14, April 21 and April 28; and May 5, May 12, May 19 and May 26; June 2, June 9, June 16, June 23 and June 30; and July 7.
You can also read our full reviews of a heap of recent movies, such as Fantastic Beasts and the Secrets of Dumbledore, Ambulance, Memoria, The Lost City, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Happening, The Good Boss, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent, The Northman, Ithaka, After Yang, Downton Abbey: A New Era, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy, Petite Maman, The Drover's Wife The Legend of Molly Johnson, Doctor 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 and Sundown.
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