Penguin Bloom

Penguin Bloom (2021) – Blooming Cute

Released: 21st January
Seen: 28th June

Penguin Bloom Info

So, here’s a fun number for you. 29. That is the amount of Australian produced films that were released in Australia in 2020, according to Screen Australia. Specifically, this includes Aussie co-productions and it’s a list that is… well, let’s put it this way, I literally try and review every film that comes out and I’m confident I missed most of these films.

In fact, going over this list (which I’ve linked to because it’s amazingly sad) I saw 5 Aussie films that were released in 2020, specifically The Invisible Man, Go!, True History Of The Kelly Gang, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears and Bloody Hell. I actively try to see everything and I saw 1 out of every 6 films my own country produced last year. That’s cos our industry isn’t as strong as it used to be so that’s why this year, I haven’t had a chance to review many of them… hell, the last one before today’s film that I got to review was The Dry.

Anyway, that’s why I don’t do more local content, because there isn’t much of it… and now, Penguin Bloom.

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Captive (2021) – Captivating

Released: 7th May
Seen: 28th June

Captive Info

Delusional Misidentification Syndrome is a term that covers a large list of mental illnesses that have ended up being used in media. Very simply put, these disorders can cause people to believe that their loved ones have been replaced or that they themselves are dead or even that multiple people are actually the same person in disguise. That last one, known as the Fregoli delusion, seems to be the foundation for the film I’m reviewing today called Captive.

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Me, You, Madness (2021) – Killing Me Slowly With Averageness

Released: 28th April
Seen: 20th June

Me, You, Madness Info

So… Louise Linton is an interesting person. If you’ve never heard of her, you might have heard of her husband, former US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. You might know her from that ghoulish photo of her and her husband holding a sheet of freshly printed bills where they look like the villains in a Batman movie, or maybe from an Instagram post where she tagged a bunch of designers while flying to Fort Knox, or maybe from her work as an actress… just kidding, no way do you know her for that. Anyway, after a break to be part of the fortress of evil that was the Trump administration, Louise has decided she’d like to try writing and directing, which was an interesting idea to say the least.

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Arlo the Alligator Boy (2021) – Smile At This Crocodile

Released: 16th April
Seen: 18th June

Arlo the Alligator Boy Info

Back in the 90s and early 2000’s, Disney had this thing that they did where they would make a movie out of the first three episodes of an upcoming series in order to get people used to what was to come. This led to such films as The Return of Jafar, Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face Off and Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins among a whole cornucopia of other films. 

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Luca (2021) – Looka At This, It’s Cute (and a little bit gay)

Released: 18th June
Seen: 18th June

Luca Info

With all the films that are going to Disney’s premier service lately I’ve noticed a weird pattern regarding the films that they don’t throw a surcharge on the second it pops up… namely that they’ve been, largely, kind of bad. Sure there’s exceptions like Soul or Onward, but other films like Magic Camp, Stargirl and Artemis Fowl (a film that, no joke, didn’t pop up on their site’s list of original films when I went to look before writing this). Basically if a film skips cinemas and just pops up on Disney Plus I’m going to be going in with some trepidation… and then they just throw something like Luca up there and I wonder if they even know when they have a good thing on their hands.

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Wish Dragon (2021) – A Charming Little Wish

Released: 11th June
Seen: 16th June

Wish Dragon Info

So earlier this year, Disney released the film Raya and the Last Dragon. It was a pretty great film as a lot of Disney’s animated fare tends to be but there was this weird thing going around where people wrote off its box office as a failure because it only made 130 million worldwide on a 100 million budget. For some reason this is a thing that keeps coming up this year where films are having their box offices judged based on pre-pandemic expectations, as though we’re completely through the wilderness. Spoilers, we’re not. Anyway I bring this up because I wonder if the supposed failure of Raya and the Last Dragon led to today’s film Wish Dragon not getting as much attention as it deserves which is a shame because Wish Dragon is charming.

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Psycho Goreman Header

Psycho Goreman (2021) – Glorious Cheese

Released: 3rd March
Seen: 16th June

Psycho Goreman Info

Sometimes it really does surprise me just how understated some reviews can be about certain films. Due to this being a very small blog, I don’t really get to be ahead of the curve that much. I’m not on any press lists unless Soda & Telepaths hooks me up, screeners for any of the major streaming services don’t tend to fall in my lap and throw on top of that the reality of me being in Australia which is usually late to get a lot of these weird films. That’s why there’s still at least 2 major Oscar films I never reviewed, it takes a while for me to get to some of these films and usually there’s a critical consensus about them already by the time I see them… The critics have undersold how gloriously bonkers Psycho Goreman is, in their defence the brilliant insanity of this film is something that might be beyond mortal comprehension but let’s try.

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Awake (2021) – Snoozefest

Released: 9th June
Seen: 15th June

Awake Info

Sometimes a film can have a simple well-worn idea and use it well enough to make something interesting, and sometimes a film can have an interesting original idea and be about as bland as paper made from milk toast and mayonnaise. Awake is going to be that second kind of film and you’re probably going to be as irritated as I am at just how badly they wasted a potentially interesting idea on a film that’s so forgettable and stupid.

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Oxygen (2021) – Breathe In The Goodness

Released: 12th May
Seen: 15th June

Oxygen Info

Alexandre Aja is a fascinating director. He first really came to prominence with his film Haute Tension, part of an era of horror cinema known as “New French Extremity” which, very basically, means French films that really messed with people in the early 2000’s. He would go on to make the Hills Have Eyes remake (one of the few good 2000’s horror remakes), Piranha 3D (another one of the few good 2010’s horror remakes) and Crawl (2019 Best Film honorable mention). His films have this weird pattern of somehow getting less extreme the longer he works, which is a fascinating projection for one of the founding members of the New French Extremity movement. It fits that pattern then that Oxygen might be his most subdued film yet, but it’s still really damn good.

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In The Heights (2021) – The Highest Heights

Released: 24th June
Seen: 14th June (Advance Screening)

In The Heights Info

In recent years, musicals have been… well, bad. Music was offensive to many communities, The Prom was brought down by one truly bad performance and a lack of style while Cats… well, I try not to discuss war crimes on this blog so let’s just not talk about Cats anymore. For a while now it’s felt like we might never have another great musical outside of animation, and even those are slowly dying since musical animated films appear to be happening less and less often. Thank goodness we now have In The Heights to remind everyone just how great a musical can be, I hope this is the start of a glorious resurgence for this little genre.

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