The New Movies You Can Watch at Australian Cinemas From October 13
Head to the flicks to see the latest 'Halloween' film, a French crime-thriller and a powerful New Zealand drama.
October 13, 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.
Whenever a kitchen knife gleams, a warped mask slips over a killer's face or a piano score tinkles in a horror movie — whenever a jack-o'-lantern burns bright, a babysitter is alone in someone else's home with only kids for company or October 31 hits, too — one film comes to mind. It has for four-plus decades now and always will, because Halloween's influence over an entire genre, slasher flicks within it and final girls filling such frames is that immense. That seminal first altercation between then 17-year-old Laurie Strode and psychiatric institution escapee Michael Myers, as brought to the screen so unnervingly by now-legendary director John Carpenter, also valued a concept that couldn't be more pivotal, however. Halloween was never just a movie about an unhinged murderer in stolen mechanic's overalls stalking Haddonfield, Illinois when most of the town was trick-or-treating. In Laurie's determination to survive Michael's relentless stabbing, it was a film about trauma and fighting back.
As played by Jamie Lee Curtis (Everything Everywhere All At Once) for 44 years — her big-screen debut made her an OG scream queen, and she's returned six times since, including now in Halloween Ends — Laurie has never been anyone's mere victim. In the choose-your-own-adventure antics that've filled the franchise's ever-branching narrative over 13 entries, her tale has twisted and turned. The saga's has in general, including chapters sans Laurie and Michael, films that've killed one or both off, and remakes. But mustering up the strength to persist, refusing to let Michael win and attacking back has remained a constant of Laurie's story. That's all kept pushing to the fore in the current trilogy within the series, which started with 2018's Halloween, continued with 2021's Halloween Kills and now wraps up with an instalment that flashes its finality in its moniker. Laurie keeps fighting, no matter the odds, because that's coping with trauma. This time, though, is a weary Haddonfield ready to battle with her?
First, a just-as-pressing question: is this David Gordon Green-directed and co-written, Jason Blum-produced movie ready to fight back itself? Green (Stronger, The Righteous Gemstones) has been the mastermind behind the franchise's revival with co-scribe Danny McBride (The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter) — and while their first dance with the boogeyman (James Jude Courtney and Nick Castle), and the woman pursued by him, gave the Halloween series its best sequel yet, their second lurked in lacklustre been-there, done-that territory. Despite a title that's bound to be proven wrong down the line because that's just the way Hollywood goes, Halloween Ends leaps forward after its average-at-best most-recent predecessor, thankfully. It does so weightily, eerily and gorily, in fact, albeit sometimes clumsily as well, in a mostly fitting swan song for Curtis that understands what it means to spend half a lifetime shrouded in tragedy.
Halloween circa 2018 and Halloween Kills sliced into the same night, 40 years after Michael initially attacked Laurie, but Halloween Ends covers two other October 31s. In the first, a year later, a babysitter, a child and Haddonfield's understandably on-edge vibe are all present — as is Carpenter's 1982's masterpiece The Thing, playing on a TV — and a bloody end results. Jumping forward three more years, Laurie is penning a memoir about moving on from her ordeals, and has begun to re-embrace life while living with her granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak, Foxhole). Still, around them, their home town is uncertain in Michael's absence. Accustomed to having a big bad responsible for their woes, fears and misery, its residents now point fingers at twentysomething Corey Cunningham (Rohan Campbell, The Hardy Boys), who's already escaped a murder accusation but is forever branded in the community's eyes.
Read our full review.
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
War makes meat, disposable labour and easy sacrifices of us all. In battles for power, as they always are, bodies are used to take territory, threaten enemies and shed blood to legitimise a cause. On the ground, whether in muddy trenches or streaming across mine-strewn fields, war sees the masses rather than the individuals, too — but All Quiet on the Western Front has always been a heartbreaking retort to and clear-eyed reality check for that horrific truth. Penned in 1928 by German World War I veteran Erich Maria Remarque, initially adapted for the screen by Hollywood in 1930 and then turned into a US TV movie in 1979, the staunchly anti-war story now gets its first adaptation in its native tongue. Combat's agonies echo no matter the language giving them voice, but Edward Berger's new film is a stunning, gripping and moving piece of cinema.
Helming and scripting — the latter with feature first-timers Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell — All My Loving director Berger starts All Quiet on the Western Front with a remarkable sequence. The film will come to settle on 17-year-old Paul Bäumer (astonishing debutant Felix Kammerer) and his ordeal after naively enlisting in 1917, thinking with his mates that they'd be marching on Paris within weeks, but it begins with a different young soldier, Heinrich Gerber (Jakob Schmidt, Babylon Berlin), in the eponymous region. He's thrust into the action in no man's land and the inevitable happens. Then, stained with blood and pierced by bullets, his uniform is stripped from his body, sent to a military laundry, mended and passed on. The recipient: the eager Paul, who notices the past wearer's name on the label and buys the excuse that it just didn't fit him. No one dares waste a scrap of clothing — only the flesh that dons it, and the existences its owners don't want to lose.
Paul's parents are against him signing up with the Imperial German Army, but his pals Albert Kropp (Aaron Hilmer, The Island), Franz Müller (Moritz Klaus, Die Chefin) and Ludwig Behm (Adrian Grünewald, also The Island) are doing it, so he's soon forging a signature and receiving his pre-used uniform. You could say that the high schooler and his friends get the shock of their lives once they make it to the front, because they do; however, as the Germans and the French keep tussling over a ridiculously small stretch, making zero impact upon the greater war in the process, Paul and company's lives — shocks and all — couldn't be more expendable. In the unit's first big push, the teenagers' numbers already diminish. Building upon the movie's potent opening, Berger ensures that nothing about war remains romanticised in their gaze. Call it hell, call it a nightmare, call it a senseless throwing away of innocent life and a needless robbing of the future: they all fit.
Eighteen months later in November 1918, All Quiet on the Western Front moves to Paul and his compatriots behind the trenches. Trying to survive is still their only aim, and any sense of excitement, passion, enthusiasm and patriotism for their service has long dissipated. Sometimes, with the older and brotherly Stanislaus "Kat" Katczinsky (Albrecht Schuch, Berlin Alexanderplatz), making it through the day involves attempting to steal food from French farms. Sometimes, it means looking for new recruits who haven't shown up. When orders come as they unavoidably do, though, the front is inescapable. Alongside 1917, All Quiet on the Western Front proves a masterclass in conveying armed conflict's relentlessness, terror and futility — from a first-person perspective, and also via lengthy, unbroken, like-you're-there shots steeped in gut- and heart-wrenching wartime brutality.
Read our full review.
THE NIGHT OF THE 12TH
On the night of the 12th, the incident that makes that date worthy of a movie's moniker happens quickly, heartbreakingly and horrifyingly so. It's October 2016, in the French Alps-region city of Grenoble, and Clara Royer (Lula Cotton-Frapier, Mixte) is walking home alone after an evening at her best friend Nanie's (Pauline Serieys, Grown Ups). It's 3am, the streets are quiet, and she's giddy with affection, sending a video message telling her pal how much she loves her. All it takes is a hooded figure emerging from the dark, whispering her name, dousing her with liquid and sparking a lighter, and Clara will never arrive home. Before this occurs in The Night of the 12th's opening scenes, director and co-writer Dominik Moll (Only the Animals) shares details just has distressing and dismaying: the French police are tasked with solving 800 murders a year, 20 percent of them never can be and, sadly, the case in this feature is among the latter.
It might seem a strange decision, giving away the film's ending before it even begins; however, while The Night of the 12th is about the search for Clara's killer, it's never about the murderer. Instead, as it adapts 30 pages from Pauline Guéna's non-fiction book 18.3 — A Year With the Crime Squad, takes a Zodiac-style procedural approach and opts for a Mindhunter-esque survey of interrogations as well, it makes clear how easy and common it is for situations like this come about, especially in a world where women are slain at men's whims with frequency (then typically blamed if any of their own actions can be wrongly perceived to have put themselves in danger). Alongside David Fincher's serial killer fare, Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder casts a shadow, too, as detective Yohan Vivès (Bastien Bouillon, Jumbo) and his partner Marceau (Bouli Lanners, Nobody Has to Know) scour the area for suspects and answers. "The problem is that any one of them could have done it," Yohan observes after potential culprit after potential culprit fields their queries and flouts their engrained misogyny.
Was it the bartender boyfriend (Baptiste Perais, The Companions), who saw Clara as nothing more than a fling on the side? The gym buddy (Jules Porier, Simone Veil, a Woman of the Century) that's guffawing seconds after the cops bring up the killing, all while bragging about a friends-wth-benefits setup? A rapper (Nathanaël Beausivoir, Runaway) knew the police would come calling because he wrote a song about setting Clara alight, while an awkward local squatter (Benjamin Blanchy, Spiral) welcomes the attention. By the time that her dalliance with an older man (Pierre Lottin, Les Harkis) with a violent past and convictions for domestic abuse comes up, one of Yohan and Marceau's colleagues is joking about Clara's taste in men. Judgemental views about women don't just fester among the interviewees; how many cases have been hindered by such prejudiced perspectives, The Night of the 12th silently gives viewers cause to wonder.
Played as meticulous and passionate by Bouillon, the newly promoted Yohan isn't one of those chauvinist officers. More prone to splashing his feelings around in Lanners' hands, neither is Marceau. The film's central duo is dutiful and dedicated, and their efforts turn The Night of the 12th into a chronicle of devoted and hard-working people doing what they're supposed to — and well, and with care — even if viewers instantly know they won't achieve their desired outcome. In the script by Moll and his regular co-scribe Gilles Marchand (Eastern Boys), both men find the case impacting them in different ways, though, including the fact that their obsessive endeavours don't and won't wrap up the case. Amid chasing leads, making enquiries and sitting down with the men in Clara's life, Yohan lives a spartan existence in his spick-and-span apartment and in his relationships. Marceau is navigating a marriage breakdown, and his emotions run high personally and professionally.
Read our full review.
Defiant, powerful and passionate at every turn, Muru depicts a relentless police raid on New Zealand's Rūātoki community. Equally alive with anger, the Aotearoan action-thriller and drama shows law enforcement storming into the district to apprehend what's incorrectly deemed a terrorist cell, but is actually activist and artist Tāme Iti — playing himself — and his fellow Tūhoe people. If October 2007 springs to mind while watching, it's meant to. Written and directed by Poi E: The Story of Our Song and Mt Zion filmmaker Tearepa Kahi, this isn't a mere dramatisation of well-known events, however. There's a reason that Muru begins by stamping its purpose on the screen, and its whole rationale for existing: "this film is not a recreation… it is a response". That the feature's name is also taken from a Māori process of redressing transgressions is both telling and fitting as well.
Kahi's film is indeed a reaction, a reply, a counter — and a way of processing past wrongs. In a fashion, it's Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion turned into cinema, because a spate of instances across New Zealand over a century-plus has sparked this on-screen answer. Muru's script draws from 15 years back; also from the police shooting of Steven Wallace in Waitara in 2000 before that; and from the arrest of Rua Kēnana in Maungapōhatu even further ago, in 1916. While the movie finds inspiration in the screenplay Toa by Jason Nathan beyond those real-life events, it's always in dialogue with things that truly happened, and not just once, and not only recently. If every action causes an opposite reaction, Muru is Kahi's way of sifting through, rallying against and fighting back after too many occasions where the long arm of the NZ law, and of colonialism, has overreached.
Played by Cliff Curtis (Reminiscence) with the brand of command that he's long been known for — and with the unshakeable presence that's served him through everything from The Piano, Once Were Warriors and Whale Rider through to The Dark Horse, Fear the Walking Dead and Doctor Sleep — Police Sergeant 'Taffy' Tawhara sits at the heart of Rūātoki's us-and-them divide. A local cop, he has the nation's laws to uphold, but he's also beholden to the community he hails from. His homecoming is recent, with his father (Tipene Ohlson) ailing and undergoing dialysis. So far, it has also been quiet. On the day that Muru begins, Taffy drives the school bus, takes the Aunties for medical checkups at the local mobile clinic and does what everyone in the valley does in their own manners: watches out for and tries to support 16-year-old Rusty (Poroaki Merritt-McDonald, Savage), the nephew of fellow officer Blake (Ria Te Uira Paki, The Dead Lands), who has the role of Rūātoki's resident wayward teen down pat.
When Rusty smashes up shop windows that night, Taffy takes the call, then makes Iti's Camp Rama his second stop. A gathering of locals that champions survival skills and Tūhoe culture, it's designed to foster and reinforce the area's identity, which Taffy thinks Rusty can benefit from — even if that evening marks the sergeant's first attendance himself. But Camp Rama has also been under surveillance by the NZ police's special tactics group, with haughty leader Gallagher (Jay Ryan, The Furnace) and his quick-tempered second-in-command Kimiora (Manu Bennett, The Hobbit) deciding that Iti and his friends are a threat to national security. The highly armed tactical unit descends upon the community the next day, aided behind the scenes by colleagues Maria (Simone Kessell, Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Jarrod (Byron Coll, Nude Tuesday), overseen by an MP (Colin Moy, Guns Akimbo) determined to make a statement, and ignoring Taffy's pleas that their mission is mistaken.
Read our full review.
MONA LISA AND THE BLOOD MOON
When Ana Lily Amirpour made her spectacular feature filmmaking debut in 2014, and made one of the best movies of that year in the process, she did so with a flick with a killer title: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. That moniker also summed up the picture's plot perfectly, even if the Persian-language horror western vampire film couldn't be easily categorised. Take note of that seven-word name, and that genre-bending approach. When Amirpour next made wrote and directed The Bad Batch, the 2016 dystopian cannibal romance started with a woman meandering solo, albeit in the Texan desert in daylight, and also heartily embraced a throw-it-all-in philosophy. Now arrives her third stint behind the lens, the hyper-saturated, gleefully sleazy, New Orleans-set blend of superheroes, scams and strippers that is Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon — which, yes, features a female protagonist (Jeon Jong-seo, Burning) strolling unescorted again, back under the cover of darkness this time.
Mona initially walks out of a home instead of towards one, however. And Amirpour isn't really repeating herself; rather, she has a penchant for stories about the exploited fighting back. Here, Mona has been stuck in an institution for "mentally insane adolescents" for at least a decade — longer than its receptionist (Rosha Washington, Interview with the Vampire) can remember — and breaks out during the titular lunar event after gruesomely tussling with an uncaring nurse (Lauren Bowles, How to Get Away with Murder). The Big Easy's nocturnal chaos then awaits, and Bourbon Street's specifically, as does instantly intrigued drug dealer Fuzz (Ed Skrein, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil) and a determined but decent cop (Craig Robinson, Killing It). With opportunistic pole-dancer Bonnie Belle (Kate Hudson, Music), Mona thinks she finds an ally. With her new pal's kind-hearted latchkey kid Charlie (Evan Whitten, Words on Bathroom Walls), she finds a genuine friend as well.
Amirpour's movies sport a kinetic feel that's as natural to them as breathing is to watching audiences. Her love of movement shines through as brightly as moonlight, too — and Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is another glowing example. Directed with style and boldness to spare, this is a garish, on-the-go, howling-at-the-sky kind of southern Gothic horror flick, purposefully and strikingly so. Slinking along with it is inescapable, whether Mona is unleashing her supernatural skills, navigating the French Quarter's hustle-and-bustle nighttime vibe, or wholesomely dreaming of a safer future. First, though, Mona has to break out of the bayou-adjacent facility she's been forced to call home, which happens in a grim, revenge-seeking, attention-grabbing fashion. The aforementioned nurse usually spits insults the straightjacketed, catatonic Korean detainee's way, including while clipping her toenails. Then the inmate snaps back into focus — maybe the moon that's stirred her? — and uses her gifts to wreak havoc.
Without touching the nurse, or anyone else she imposes her will upon throughout the movie, Mona can take control of their bodies. There's no flesh-swapping (another spin on Freaky Friday, this isn't); here, via voodoo-esque physical manipulation, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon's main figure waves her hands or nods her head, then whoever's in her gaze does as she directs. That's a skill that comes in handy once she's out on her lonesome, meandering the city barefoot with threats lurking. It's also a talent that Bonnie observes during a fast-food store car park catfight, with Mona saving her bacon. Deciding that those telekinetic capabilities can be put to cunning, canny and profitable use — look out, strip-club patrons — Bonnie is swiftly offering up her companionship, and her home, although the metal-loving Charlie warns their new houseguest to be wary.
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 July 7, July 14, July 21 and July 28; August 4, August 11, August 18 and August 25; September 1, September 8, September 15, September 22 and September 29; and October 6.
You can also read our full reviews of a heap of recent movies, such as 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, 6 Festivals, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Crimes of the Future, Bosch & Rockit, Fire of Love, Beast, Blaze, Hit the Road, Three Thousand Years of Longing, Orphan: First Kill, The Quiet Girl, Flux Gourmet, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Moonage Daydream, Ticket to Paradise, Clean, You Won't Be Alone, See How They Run, Smile, On the Count of Three, The Humans, Don't Worry Darling, Amsterdam and The Stranger.
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