The Ice Road (2021) – Driving On Thin Ice

Released: 25th June
Seen: 29th June

The Ice Road Info

In 2000 the History Channel had a series known as “Suicide Missions” and during that series they aired a special on the profession of Ice Road Truckers. This episode would prove to be popular during reruns and would lead to one of History Channel’s biggest hit series, known simply as Ice Road Truckers. The show went for 11 seasons, the last one ending in 2017. Now, what’s mildly interesting is that the first season was so popular that Fox bought the rights to make a movie out of it. I’m not sure if this is what that movie ended up being but it sure does seem like the kind of thing you commission in 2008 and bury for 13 years because it’s utter garbage.

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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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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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Cherry (2021) – Bowl of Pits

Released: 12th March
Seen: 9th June

Cherry Info

I’ll admit, I’ve been pretty neglectful when it comes to my Apple Plus subscription. I’ve had the service now for a while, never paid for it because it came free with my phone, and yet I’ve watched a grand total of about 6 things on it. A few episodes of Defending Jacob (never finished the series, I assume Jacob got defended), The Out on Television docuseries, Disclosure, Greyhound, Wolfwalkers and Palmer

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A Quiet Place Part 2 (2021) – Sounds Like Fun

Released: 27th May
Seen: 21th May (Advance Screening)

A Quiet Place Part 2 Info

In 2018 the film A Quiet Place came out and was an instant hit, along with just generally being one of the best films of the year. A tense instant horror classic that was nothing short of miraculous in how cleverly it played with the audience, turning every sound into the most terrifying thing imaginable. It was a film that taught me how to eat popcorn by slowly dissolving it between my tongue and the roof of my mouth for fear I would make a sound so when I heard there was a sequel coming out, imaginatively titled A Quiet Place Part 2, on March 20 of 2020 (a day after my birthday) you wouldn’t find anyone more excited than me.

…and then the world decided to end and this film got pushed back by well over a year. Was the wait worth it? Hell yes it was!

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The Woman In The Window (2021) – Put This In My Rear Window

Released: 14th May
Seen: 20th May

The Woman In The Window Info

Sometimes a film comes out and you can just see its influences before the film even begins. The Woman in the Window as a film is clearly lifting a lot from films like Rear Window and Copycat, which are both fine films to take as influences so you would think that would hopefully lead to an interesting tense movie. Well, apparently this film’s other influence was an overturned trash can that racoons have picked through because this is actual garbage.

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Songbird (2021) – Novid-19

Released: 20th May
Seen: 20th May

Songbird Info

When a disaster happens, it’s only natural for it to somehow end up being a part of people’s art. People process things in different ways and that includes filmmakers. With this deadly pandemic spreading worldwide it’s only natural that people would work it into the art they were making. TV shows like 9-1-1 have been working covid into the background of their stories, movies like Host have used the lockdown as an element of the story. Key word in that sentence is “ELEMENT”, what would happen if someone made an entire film that was just “What if the current pandemic… but worse?”… that person would be making Songbird and I would not like them very much.

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Stowaway (2021) – Smart-ish Sci Fi

Released: 22nd April
Seen: 26th April

Stowaway Info

Space, the final frontier. A place that very few have ever gone and a perfect location for a film about people stranded in the middle of nowhere. It’s a popular filming location and can be used for high drama (Apollo 11), horror (Alien) or even goofy ass stupidity that is more enjoyable than it has any right to be (Jason X). Of course, sometimes you can go for a high drama and end up somewhere a little closer to stupid but enjoyable… oh, hi Stowaway.

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