The New Movies You Can Watch at Australian Cinemas From June 16

Head to the flicks to see Pixar's new Buzz Lightyear-focused 'Toy Story' spinoff and the new eerie film from 'Ex Machina' filmmaker Alex Garland.
Sarah Ward
Published on June 16, 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.



In the realm of franchise filmmaking, "to infinity and beyond" isn't just a catchphrase exclaimed by an animated plaything — it's how far and long Hollywood hopes every hit big-screen saga will extend. With that in mind, has a Pixar movie ever felt as inevitable as Lightyear? Given the main Toy Story plot wrapped up in 2019's Toy Story 4, and did so charmingly, keeping this series going by jumping backwards was always bound to happen. So it is that space ranger figurine Buzz Lightyear gets an origin story. That said, the trinket's history is covered immediately and quickly in this film's opening splash of text on-screen. Back in the OG Toy Story, Andy was excited to receive a new Buzz Lightyear action figure because — as this feature tells us — he'd just seen and loved a sci-fi movie featuring fictional character Buzz Lightyear. In this franchise's world, Lightyear is that picture.

It's hard not to see Lightyear as a new cash cow — the Toy Story series' cash calf, perhaps. It's also difficult not to notice that the Disney-owned Pixar has made a movie that renders a famed character a piece of film-promoting merchandise, all while also releasing a new range of Lightyear-promoting merch so that IRL kids can have their own Buzz Lightyear toy again, too. In 2049, will audiences be watching a flick about someone who saw this as a child, nagged their parents for a Buzz and developed their own love of animation, space, franchises or all of the above? It wouldn't be surprising. Of course, there's form for making Buzz a movie tie-in toy; the overarching series' other main figure, pull-string cowboy Woody, stemmed from a fictional western TV show called Woody's Roundup. Maybe that's what Pixar will now make next.

Or, perhaps it'll release a film or show based on one of Lightyear's new characters, feline robot companion SOX. Yes, you can now buy toy versions of it in reality as well, because of course you can. Buzz Lightyear and a cute cat that talks? The head of Disney merchandising must've seen potential piles of cash stacked to infinity and beyond purely at the thought of it, and director Angus MacLane (Finding Dory) along with him. Thankfully, as calculated as Lightyear's existence clearly is — and it's as blatantly engineered by bean counters as any movie can be — it's still likeable enough. It only slightly feels like a flick that might've actually come out around 1995, though, even if Apollo 13 sat second at the global box office that year (behind Toy Story, fittingly). And, after sending the wonderful Soul and Turning Red straight to streaming during the pandemic, plus Luca, it's also a standard pick for Pixar's return to the big screen.

Buzz the live-action film hero — flesh and blood to in-franchise viewers like Andy, that is, but animated to us — also goes on an all-too-familiar journey in Lightyear. Voiced by Chris Evans (Knives Out) to distinguish the movie Buzz from toy Buzz (where he's voiced by Last Man Standing's Tim Allen), the Star Command space ranger is so convinced that he's the biggest hero there is, and him alone, that teamwork isn't anywhere near his strength. Then, as happens to the figurine version in Toy Story, that illusion gets a reality check. To survive being marooned on T'Kani Prime, a planet 4.2 million light-years from earth filled with attacking vines and giant flying insects, the egotistical and stubborn Buzz needs to learn to play nice with others. For someone who hates rookies, as well as using autopilot, realising he can only succeed with help takes time.

Read our full review.



Since popping up over the last decade, the term 'elevated horror' has always been unnecessary. Used to describe The Babadook, It FollowsThe Witch, Get Out, Hereditary, Us, Midsommar and more, it pointlessly claims that such unsettling flicks have risen above their genre. Each of these movies is excellent. They all boast weight and depth, trade in metaphors with smarts and savvy, and have style to go with their creeps and thrills. But thinking that's new in horror — that pairing unease with topical woes or societal fears is as well — is as misguided as dubbing Michael Myers a hero. With a name that makes its #MeToo-era point plain, Men has been badged 'elevated', too, yet it also does what horror has at its best and worst cases for decades. That the world can be a nightmare for women at the hands of men isn't a fresh observation, and it's long been a scary movie go-to. Still, Men stresses that fact in an inescapably blunt but also unforgettable manner.

The film's setting is an English manor, where Harper Marlowe (Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter) hopes for a solo stint of rest, relaxation and recuperation. Processing a tragedy, shattering memories of which haunt the movie as much as its protagonist, she's seeking an escape and a way to start anew. The initial hint that she won't find bliss comes swiftly and obviously, and with a sledgehammer's subtlety. Arriving at an idyllic-looking British countryside estate, Harper is greeted by an apple tree. She plucks one from the abundant branches, then takes a bite. Soon, she's told by her host Geoffrey (Rory Kinnear, Our Flag Means Death) that it's forbidden fruit. He also says he's joking — but in this garden, a woman will again shoulder a society's blame and burdens.

As overt and blatant as this early exchange is, there's an intensely unnerving look and feel to Men from the outset. Returning to the big screen after excellent sci-fi TV series Devs, writer/director Alex Garland isn't a stranger to visually stunning, deeply disquieting films that ponder big ideas; see: the complex, eerie and sublime Ex Machina, plus the similarly intricate and intriguing Annihilation. Oscar Isaac doesn't turn up this time, let alone dance. Buckley and Kinnear do turn in mesmerising and magnificent powerhouse performances amid the perturbing mood and spectacular imagery. Gender expectations also get probed and challenged, as do genres. And, things get strange and insidious after Harper tries to lap up her bucolic surroundings.

Those blood-red walls sported by Harper's atmospheric centuries-old home-away-from-home? That's another glaring warning. Also discomforting: the jump-scare glitch when she video chats with her best friend Riley (Gayle Rankin, GLOW), after being told by Geoffrey — who is polite but never direct, perfectly satirising both stiff-upper-lip Britishness and the fine line between being courteous and patronising — that reception isn't the best. And, when Harper ventures out of the house, she discovers scenic treasures alongside hardly hospitable locals. She's a woman plagued by troubles that don't begin as her own, and she's forced to devote everything she has to moving past them and surviving. That Harper is played with such instinctive and physical feeling with Buckley, who just keeps going from strength to strength thanks to Beast, Wild Rose, Chernobyl, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, Fargo and her Oscar-nominated efforts in The Lost Daughter, is one of Men's biggest assets.

Read our full review.



When a chef sticks to a tried-and-tested recipe, it can be for two reasons: ease and excellence. Whipping up an already-proven dish means cooking up something that you already know works — something sublime, perhaps — and giving yourself the opportunity to better it. That process isn't solely the domain of culinary maestros, though, as French filmmaker Louis-Julien Petit makes plain in his latest feature The Kitchen Brigade. The writer/director behind 2018's Invisibles returns to what he knows and does well, and to a formula that keeps enticing audiences on the big screen, too. With the former, he whisks together another socially conscious mix of drama and comedy centring on faces and folks that are often overlooked. With the latter, he bakes a feel-good affair about finding yourself, seizing opportunities and making a difference through food.

Returning from Invisibles as well, Audrey Lamy (Little Nicholas' Treasure) plays Cathy, a 40-year-old sous chef with big dreams and just as sizeable struggles. Instead of running her own restaurant, she's stuck in the shadow of TV-famous culinary celebrity Lyna Deletto (Chloé Astor, Delicious) — a boss hungry for not just fame but glory, including by dismissing Cathy's kitchen instincts or claiming her dishes as her own. Reaching boiling point early in the film, Cathy decides to finally go it alone, but cash makes that a problem. So, to make ends meet, she takes the only job she can find: overseeing the food in a shelter for migrants, where manager Lorenzo (François Cluzet, We'll End Up Together) and his assistant Sabine (Chantal Neuwirth, Patrick Melrose) have been understandably too busy with the day-to-day business of helping their residents to worry about putting on a fancy spread.

From the moment that Cathy arrives at the hostel, thinking she's interviewing for a restaurant gig rather than auditioning to cook for young men happy with ravioli, The Kitchen Brigade sets up a simple culture-clash scenario — in the realm of cuisine, contrasting its protagonist's gourmet expectations with the shelter's reality. When she cottons on to what's in store, she's gruff, wary and unimpressed, and learning to open up while making bonds with the hostel's inhabitants, all of whom yearn for new lives as well, comes as expectedly as pairing a baguette with cheese. Following familiar steps and still hitting the spot is a cooking staple, however, and it works with Petit's feature. He doesn't reach the pinnacle of charming culinary movies, or of underdog stories, but the end result goes down smoothly and is never less than palatable.

Unsurprisingly, The Kitchen Brigade is at its best when it's fleshing out its characters amid the recognisable narrative beats, with Petit scripting with producer Liza Benguigui-Duquesne and screenwriter Sophie Bensadoun based on Bensadoun's idea — and, when it's doing what the floral industry-set The Rose Maker did, which used a comparable setup to dive into the layers and prejudices engrained in French society. Like that thematically similar, also-sincere and perceptive movie, The Kitchen Brigade benefits from fine central performances, adding depth and texture that mightn't have bubbled to the fore otherwise. Lamy, the ever-reliable Cluzet, Fatoumata Kaba (Validé) as Cathy's self-starter best friend, first-timer Yannick Kalombo as aspiring chef GusGus and Mamadou Koita (Dernier maquis) as soccer hopeful Djibril: they all leave an imprint, seasoning the cinematic meal.


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 March 3, March 10, March 17, March 24 and March 31; April 7, April 14, April 21 and April 28; and May 5, May 12, May 19 and May 26; and June 2 and June 9.

You can also read our full reviews of a heap of recent movies, such as The Batman, Blind Ambition, Bergman Island, Wash My Soul in the River's Flow, The Souvenir: Part IIDog, Anonymous Club, X, River, Nowhere Special, RRRMorbius, The Duke, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 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 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 and Benediction.

Published on June 16, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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