In 2005, Australian author Tim Winton collected a series of 17 short stories and published them under the title 'The Turning'. The stories revolve around the character Vic Lang (Dougie Baldwin, Richard Roxburgh, Josh McConville, Casey Douglas and Dan Wyllie), with themes involving companionship, sentimentality and drug abuse. The book received multiple awards for the stories, and went on to become a part of the Western Australian English curriculum in schools. In 2013, the book was turned into a movie, nominated for numerous awards at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards.
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This may not be the brightest thriller in the cinema, but it's made with such a ripping sense of energy that it's thoroughly entertaining. With his first feature, Australian filmmaker Julius Avery packs the screen with intense characters, raucous set-pieces and suggestions of all kinds of metaphorical meaning. He also assembles a terrific cast of actors willing to chomp merrily on the scenery. So even if the movie never actually cracks the surface, it's a true guilty pleasure.
Set in Western Australia, the film centres on 19-year-old JR (Brenton Thwaites), who begins a six-month stint in prison with a determination to rise to the top. His bravado nearly gets him killed, but he boldly aligns himself with notorious criminal Brendan (Ewan McGregor), and in exchange for protection inside JR agrees to help Brendan from the outside. Sure enough, in six months Brendan launches an audacious prison break, after which he and Brendan get to work with dodgy mobster Sam (Jacek Koman) on an even more elaborate gold heist. JR is loving the gangster lifestyle but still refuses to follow the rules, which puts him on a collision course with Sam as he openly flirts with Sam's prized moll Tasha (Alicia Vikander). Now JR thinks he can steal Tasha, ditch Brendan and get away with the gold. As if.
Yes, the film is a web of double-crosses and betrayals, none of which is much of a surprise. All of the final act's twists and turns are loudly announced early on, as are the strained metaphors of chess-playing criminals and father-son mentoring. Avery's script and direction constantly suggest that nothing is what it seems, although it's hard not to see what's really going on. But what's on-screen is so much fun that we don't mind at all. Thwaites, McGregor, Vikander and Koman all have a great time playing with our expectations. Each character is cocky and sure that they're in control, when it's clear that they're not. And the sparks between them make each scene sizzle.
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A young man, JR (Brendan Thwaites) is only 19-years-old when he finds himself in an Australian prison. There, he comes under the protection of Australia's Public Enemy number one, Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor). In exchange for not being ganged up on or killed in prison, JR is going to have to help Lynch as soon as he is released from prison. This begins with a daring rescue attempt to break Lynch out, and then moves into a plot to steal a vast amount of gold. When JR's attention is diverted, Lynch reveals that their partnership may, in fact, be coming to an end.
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JR (Brendan Thwaites) is receiving a lesson from his protector, Brendan Lynch (Ewan McGregor) over a game of chess. Lynch reveals that when an old friend of his performed a stunning opening movie during a game, no one knew what hit them. This move in particular was a bold one, and ensured that there would be no draw in the game from that start. Lynch revealed the true meaning of the lesson - there were to be no half measures. Later, JR wakes up in the house of his protectors, knowing that they are going to be angry after a date he went on. When he reveals that all he did was have dinner with a girl, Lynch informs him how if anything had gone on, an associate would have killed both JR and the girl. There are no half measures; if you are in the group, you are IN the group.
'Son of a Gun' is the feature debut of director Julius Avery. The film is set in and was filmed in Australia, and premiered in Australia on 16th October 2014. It is due to be released in the US on 16th January 2015, with a UK release following on 30th January.
Ex-convict Richard B. Riddick is back and more formidable than ever before. He is alone after being left for dead on a burning planet (not for the first time) but, as he is preyed upon by a new army of deadly creatures, he becomes more and more powerful making himself the biggest predator on the planet. His adversaries soon return, however, determined to finally have his head (literally) but with more than one advantage over them such as the ability to see in the dark, it becomes a brutal and deadly chase with only one likely victor. Riddick has his enemies just where he wants them in his bloody scheme to rescue his home planet Furya.
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