The New Movies You Can Watch at Melbourne Cinemas From July 29
Head to the flicks to watch the latest Disney movie based on a theme park ride or a heist movie starring Pierce Brosnan.
It has finally happened again, Melburnians. The city's projectors remained silent, its theatres bare and the smell of popcorn faded over the recent almost two-week lockdown; however, Melbourne's picture palaces are now back in business.
Under stay-at-home restrictions, no one is ever short on things to watch, of course. In fact, you probably feel like you've streamed every movie ever made over by now, including new releases, comedies, music documentaries, Studio Ghibli's animated fare and Nicolas Cage-starring flicks. But, even if you've spent more time than usual over the past 18 months 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 films are hitting cinemas so that you can do just that. And, we've rounded up, watched and reviewed the new movies that have just arrived in theatres this week.
Take two charming actors, then couple them up for a feature-length volley of fast-paced banter: that's the screwball rom-com formula. Place this pleasing pair in a scenic but challenging setting — one that'll highlight their individual strengths, see them turn seeming weaknesses into new skills, and will obviously bring them closer together — and that's exactly how plenty of action-adventure movies have unfurled. Sending the always personable and likeable Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt to the Amazon, Jungle Cruise stitches together these two well-established formulas. It traverses its cinematic rapids in the slipstream of 80s fare like Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone (and their respective sequels), and even rollicks along in the footsteps of The Mummy franchise of the late 90s and early 00s (a series which actually gave Johnson his first big-screen roles). But, as anyone with even a passing knowledge of Disney's theme parks knows, Jungle Cruise also falls from the attraction-to-film mould that the Mouse House clearly loves. Pirates of the Caribbean is an overt influence, right down to the way that some of this new flick's villains look, and thrusting all these blatant templates to the fore — and together — doesn't quite result in movie magic. Indeed, despite Johnson and Blunt's charismatic and capable pairing, as well as the movie's visually boisterous imagery, the film's modest pleasures all fade oh-so-quickly, as happens with every amusement ride.
Directed by Unknown, Non-Stop, Run All Night and The Commuter's Jaume Collet-Serra, who makes a workmanlike but hardly memorable jump from unleashing Liam Neeson's special set of skills, Jungle Cruise wants to whisk viewers off on a spirited ride. That's the experiential aim of most theme park-based films: these flicks want audiences to feel like they've stepped inside the attraction from their cinema seat. So, before the movie's title card graces the screen, two sequences endeavour to set this tone. It's 1916, and Dr Lily Houghton (Blunt, A Quiet Place Part II) sneaks into an all-male science society to look for a treasured arrowhead from the Amazon. She's tasked her fussy brother MacGregor (Jack Whitehall, Good Omens) with deflecting the organisation's members by telling them her theories about a fabled South American tree, called the Tears of the Moon, that can cure any illness or break any curse. The men are dismissive, but she knows they will be. She's there to steal the trinket so it can lead her to the mythical plant, all while Prince Joachim of Germany (Jesse Plemons, Judas and the Black Messiah) tries to get his hands on it as well. When Lily comes out on top, the Houghtons are off to Brazil to hit the river, but they'll need a captain to guide their watery jaunt. In his introductory scene, the roguish Frank Wolff (Johnson, Jumanji: The Next Level) is spied conducting tourist trips down the Amazon, every step choreographed like an amusement park ride, and with his own pun-heavy showman patter narrating the journey. He's corny, and he has a jaguar in on the act, too. Accordingly, there are zero surprises when Lily enlists his services reluctantly and after some subterfuge on his side, or when he keeps trying to trick her into giving up her quest.
Read our full review.
Imagine Robin Hood meets Ocean's Eleven meets the Fast and Furious franchise, but helmed by the filmmaker behind Deep Blue Sea, and somehow starring the unlikely combination of Pierce Brosnan (Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga), Tim Roth (Luce) and rapper/comedian/TV presenter Nick Cannon (Chi-Raq). Then, picture a film set in the fictional Jeziristan, because appropriating a particular culture and applying it to a made-up place is apparently okay by this flick's powers-that-be — and also envision a movie so blatant with its Islamophobia at every turn that Cannon's character is almost constantly making fun of Middle Eastern accents and Arabic names, citizens of this part of the globe are largely depicted as terrorists or psychopaths, a group of villains is called the Muslim Brotherhood, but all the gloss and glitz of Abu Dhabi, where the movie is shot, is leered at (as are the scantily clad women seen in its hotels, too). No one wants to visualise this flick, but unfortunately it exists. And yes, The Misfits is as atrocious as it sounds. Director Renny Harlin (who also has Cliffhanger and The Long Kiss Goodnight to his name) seems like he's simply trying to recreate shots, looks and scenes he likes from far better films, but badly. And, the fact that co-screenwriter Kurt Wimmer also has the atrocious 2015 remake of Point Break on his resume makes a huge amount of sense, because this bag of tripe just stitches together plot points from almost every other heist feature there is (as exacerbated by dialogue as bland and cliched as every aspect of the narrative).
A big contender for the worst movie to reach Australian cinemas this year, and a film that surely wouldn't have ever gotten the chance if the pandemic hadn't upended the theatrical release slate, The Misfits brings together a ragtag gang of well-meaning criminals. They anoint themselves with the movie's moniker after ruling out 'motley crew' for obvious reasons, if you're wondering how stupid and inane this feature gets — and quickly. Bank robber Ringo (Cannon) usually flexes his light-fingered skills to rip off the wealthy and give back to the poor, so obviously he's keen to form a makeshift family with martial arts expert Violet (Jamie Chung, Lovecraft Country), who likes punishing terrible men; explosives-obsessed Wick (Thai popstar Mike Angelo), who blows up nasty businesses; and 'the Prince' (Rami Jaber, Tough Love), who may or may not be royalty in another made-up country. Their next target: a vault of gold hidden inside a maximum-security Jeziristan jail overseen by nefarious businessman Warner Schultz (Roth). Their latest recruits: UN-employed humanitarian Hope (Hermione Corfield, Sea Fever) and, if she can convince him, her conman dad Richard Pace (Brosnan), who of course has a history with their mark. Much that happens is nonsensical, which also applies to the messily staged and shot action scenes. The movie's sexism goes hand in hand with its blatant racism, too. Daddy issues, second chances, car chases, slow-motion explosions, pointless visual tricks — that's all part of this hideous package as well, alongside absolutely zero subtlety or enjoyment.
If you're wondering what else is currently screening in cinemas — or has been lately before lockdown — check out our rundown of new films released in Melbourne on March 4, March 11, March 18 and March 25; and April 1, April 8, April 15, April 22 and April 29; May 6, May 13, May 20 and May 27; June 3, June 10, June 17 and June 24; July 1 and just this week, when the last lockdown ended.
You can also read our full reviews of a heap of recent movies, such as Chaos Walking, Raya and the Last Dragon, Max Richter's Sleep, Judas and the Black Messiah, Girls Can't Surf, French Exit, Saint Maud, Godzilla vs Kong, The Painter and the Thief, Nobody, The Father, Willy's Wonderland, Collective, Voyagers, Gunda, Supernova, The Dissident, The United States vs Billie Holiday, First Cow, Wrath of Man, Locked Down, The Perfect Candidate, Those Who Wish Me Dead, Spiral: From the Book of Saw, Ema, A Quiet Place Part II, Cruella, My Name Is Gulpilil, Lapsis, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Fast and Furious 9, Valerie Taylor: Playing with Sharks, In the Heights, Herself, Little Joe, Black Widow, The Sparks Brothers and Old.
Published on July 29, 2021 by Sarah Ward