Movies, TV & Music

Metro No. 195

Independent, outspoken and often polemical, Metro features writing by some of the region's foremost academics and critics, providing readers with comprehensive coverage of Australian, New Zealand, Asian, and Pacific screen industries. Combining a wide range of topics and disciplines, Metro offers a unique blend of in-depth scholarship and popular writing, perfectly capturing key trends and developments in screen culture.

Australian Teachers of Media Incorporated
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4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
who knows what we’re capable of?

Darkest Hour Within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history. Gary Oldman’s tremendous performance as Churchill has garnered near universal praise. He is surrounded by a gifted supporting cast including Kristen Scott Thomas as Clementine Churchill and Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI. (PG) “Oldman ensures…

11 min.
bad blood and bitterness colonisation and the western in warwick thornton’s sweet country

Whereas Samson & Delilah drew much of its power from the intimacy of its scale and its close proximity to its titular characters, Sweet Country widens its angle of view, employing a period setting and a broad cast of characters. Warwick Thornton attracted global accolades with his feature-film debut Samson & Delilah in 2009, and has been the subject of fevered anticipation ever since. In the intervening years, he has remained prolific in his work as a cinematographer (particularly for The Sapphires, Wayne Blair, 2012), documentary maker (especially We Don’t Need a Map, 2017), visual artist (Mother Courage, 2012), and fiction director (notably, the ‘Big World’ segment of the 2013 adaptation of Tim Winton’s anthology The Turning). While Thornton’s efforts in these various domains have been warmly received, the plaudits have…

14 min.
what will you do with your other life ? sci-fi, subjectivity and technology

A young man and woman sit on a beach during a lull in a free-diving session. Side by side, they stare companionably out to sea. She coaxes him back into the water … then wakes up abruptly in a high-rise city apartment, an inky tear rolling down her cheek. This is OtherLife, a 2017 Australian science fiction film co-written and directed by Ben C Lucas. Brilliant software engineer Ren Amari (Jessica De Gouw) has devised a revolutionary nanotechnology-based biological program. Administered as a black fluid in single-dose eye-dropper vials, it creates vivid virtual-reality experiences that last only seconds in real time but feel like hours to the user. Ren and her business partner, Sam Murphy (TJ Power), are about to launch it as a commercial product branded ‘OtherLife’, enabling consumers to…

11 min.
outback outbreak yolanda ramke and ben howling on cargo and the zombie film

Yolanda Ramke and Ben Howling are among that fortunate breed of filmmaker who builds a reputation on the strength of one undeniably good short film. In this case, their 2013 Tropfest effort, Cargo – a heartfelt, elegiac riff on the zombie subgenre – put them on the map with several million views on YouTube, soon after which they went on to sign with powerbrokers Creative Artists Agency (CAA). It’s worth recalling that similar good fortune struck for Leigh Whannell and James Wan, whose Saw prototype – made when they were recent RMIT graduates – was immediately snapped up by Hollywood and made into their first full-length feature, which premiered in 2004. It’s a brave new world. Ramke and Howling tell me their decision to develop a specifically Australian property as their…

11 min.
blood feuds and bloodlands steven kastrissios’ albanian horror-fantasy

Directed by Steven Kastrissios, Bloodlands (2017) is a co-production between Australia and the Republic of Albania, a small European country nestled on the south-west of the Balkan Peninsula. Yet the folklore, culture and history that lie at the core of this film are thousands of miles away – literally and figuratively – from The Horseman (2008), the director’s distinctly Australian debut. While The Horseman’s title is riddled with the apocalyptic overtones of the Book of Revelation, its folkloric associations with ‘Banjo’ Paterson’s iconic 1890 poem ‘The Man from Snowy River’ underscore its essential ‘Australianness’. The Horseman tells the story of Christian (Peter Marshall), whose teenage daughter Jesse (Hannah Levien) has died of a heroin overdose. When an anonymously sent adult movie called Young City Sluts 2, which includes footage of a…

11 min.
boys will be boys horror tropes and male privilege in chris peckover’s better watch out

An Australian–US co-production directed by Chris Peckover, who co-wrote the script with Zack Kahn, Better Watch Out (2016) is an immensely fun black comedy replete with horror tropes – as humorous as it is disturbing. It sets up a typical babysitter-versus-home-invader scenario before unexpectedly veering into a study of the twisted desires of a twelve-year-old psychopath. The film is about the moral panic surrounding adolescence, particularly the surge of hormones that leads to volatile emotions and risky behaviour. It also serves as a derisive critique of privilege, depicting the darkness concealed behind the charming picket fences of upper-middle-class suburban houses – and the dangerous expectation of male teens that they can do and have what they want, without consequence. After a limited festival release under the fairly generic title of Safe…