After seeing Scream 5 I was completely sucked back into this franchise. While the film wasn’t anything new, it was still an excellent sequel and a very entertaining movie. For the first time in maybe forever, I was excited for a Scream film. It had a great cast, good directors and most importantly a new premise. But Scream 6 surprised me in multiple ways I didn’t except – some for the best and some for the worst.
What I love about this franchise is simply how entertaining they are and Scream 6 is no exception. From the beginning to the end of this film, I was glued to the screen because there was never really a slump. It was such a fun and enjoyable ride that reminded me why I love these films so much.
A big push for this film was how aggressive and dangerous the new Ghost Face would be (something that really interested me). Now there is one scene early on where they do feel more threatening – the killer is killing randoms, twisting knifes deeper and using new weapons. But the rest of the film, it essentially reverts to the same old ghost face. I would have loved to see this continue, with a ghost face that’s even more unhinged (maybe torturing victims or fucking with them more).
Building on from this, I think the horror in Scream 6 is perhaps some of the worst it’s ever been. There was never any point that felt like it was really trying to be scary. Maybe it was intentional because the directors wanted to move in a more action focused genre, but I never felt tense like in previous Scream movies.
Something I didn’t expect from Scream 6 was to love the core cast as much as I did. In number 5, I found a lot of them annoying and over the top but in this film, they feel a lot more dialled back. Just like Drew Barrymore, Samara Weaving stole the opening of this film and I instantly wanted to see more of her. I also loved Melissa Barrera because she felt more dangerous than the killer and had this refreshing intensity to her. Finally, Mason Gooding really stood out with a natural charisma that makes me want to see him in everything.
I think an underlying issue with this franchise is they feel each one must repeat some core tropes – the group stuck in a room being killed, someone breaking down the rules of horror movies, the killer being revealed at the end blah blah blah, its boring and repetitive. None of this needs to happen for this franchise to be successful and loved. What was engaging to me about this movie was the new direction they allude to but which they didn’t follow through with. So thereby I present to you, the
THE FORTY-FOUR CLOVERS SCREAM FILM
As soon as I finished the film I was very excited to write about how I would have made it (no offense intended). The best scenes from Scream 6 were when the protagonists were out in the streets of New York. Now I understand that the budget wasn’t huge, and they wouldn’t be able to afford it but hear me out…
Imagine this film but completely set in one night on Halloween. You have Melissa Barrera starting off with a huge group of friends as they slowly get taken out. Like Die Hard, she gets more and more injured but because its Halloween no one takes notice. Having the ghost face masks everywhere is an amazing psychological horror element that wasn’t utilised enough in this film.
Melissa has this physicality to her of a true action star that should be explored. Imagine Escape from New York or the Purge 2 but a Scream Edition. It could have been an excellent action / horror film that completely revamped this franchise. You don’t even need to have one singular killer but instead have a group of Richie loyalists all out for revenge against Melissa (like the Batman).
I feel bad for the writers because trying to pick a killer who the audience doesn’t immediately suspect is near impossible. Nevertheless, this one felt particularly bad. It’s basically the most obvious guess you could have because they just did Scream 2 again. In my head, I was sure it was Mathew Lillard but that’s probably because I just wanted it to be (I pray they are saving him for the next one). While there were certainly some great twists, I don’t think the ending was as satisfying as previous films.
The Future of Scream
In Scream 5 and 6 they allude to Melissa Barrera being some sort of serial killer. In Scream 7, I know they will probably tap into this a little more, but I think the whole film should be about her having this violent streak. They can’t just do the same thing again or this franchise will fall off. Maybe a film about her taking on the mantle and killing anyone who is associated with the killers would be refreshing. While she is doing this, someone is chasing her down and trying to kill her (Mathew Lillard). I just think there is so much more potential for this franchise that isn’t being explored.
Josh Allan is a Brisbane based writer and director. Recently, he released a short film called 2:32AM which has won multiple awards and screened at countless festivals. It is truly an incredible short-film about human connection and finding your place in the world. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to grab an interview with Josh. Read on for our conversation about his short film, movies and his future.
What is 2:32Am about?
“It’s a short film about two lonely strangers learning to find that deeper connection that they’re both missing. Titus is this sort of rough around the edges, charismatic character that has an internal conflict he needs to address. Whereas Caleb is more of that reclusive Uni student who hasn’t made close friends.”
What was your process writing this short film?
“I find writing challenging. My process is kind of all over the place. It starts with messy feelings or ideas that I will start to write into a script. I have also learnt to integrate feedback a lot. My main process is trusting my intuition while also reaching out for help.”
What were the biggest challenges of creating an indie film and how you overcame them?
“I found that on set we had a limited time to shoot. It was difficult trying to work to a schedule while trying to preserve the quality. What I am always learning is to trust yourself, the material and the people around you. Trust amid the stress is key.”
How do you run your set?
“To me a lot of problems that you need to solve during production start in pre-production. I like to have in depth discussions before I get on set. Most of the tension on set comes from a lack of creative alignment. If someone is stressed or angry I just try and see it from their perspective.”
How you battle lack of motivation?
“The thing that helps me is if I am stuck on one project, I jump onto another temporarily. I am a filmmaker and I also do music, so I swap between them.”
What filmmakers inspire you
“Richard Linklater. I find the way he wrote stuff – from a very personal / semi-autobiographical place – very interesting. Rather than having an overt plot, conversation becomes the plot. In interviews for the Before Trilogy, he was saying the connection is cinematic enough.”
“Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. While they don’t influence my style, they inspired me to make films.”
Can you list four of your favourite movies?
“Manchester by the Sea I really like because my Dad and I connect through it. Short Term 12 I could watch that movie forever. One that has stuck with me and ignited something within was Whiplash. It showed me that a story based in the real world can be more anxiety inducing than a horror. Also, Kramer vs Kramer I clicked with it because my parents got divorced when I was that age.”
What’s next for you?
“I am one of the producers of an up-and-coming indie film studio. We have been making some micro short films and we have a drama/ thrill coming out called Sparring. It’s like a Whiplash style psychological thriller about a military guy being interrogated by a dictatorial figure.”
Where do you want Australian movies to move?
“Truthfully, I am not that wired into the Australian film industry and the trends. For me, I don’t feel much pressure to try and represent the whole country. It’s fine for filmmakers to make something that doesn’t have to be distinctively Australian. Also, I think filmmakers worry too much about what the market wants and appealing to a demographic.”
For some dumb reason, Australia gets all the best movies of the year 3 months later then we are supposed to. Around February/ March we get a dump of all the award-winning films, and it is a rush to see them before they are out of cinema. Therefore, I saw Aftersun probably four months after I should have. Nevertheless, I will continue to review this film that you have seen ages ago and don’t want to hear about anymore.
Aftersun is about Sophie, played by Frankie Corio, as she reflects on a holiday she had with her father Calum, played by Paul Mescal. At 11 years old, Sophie struggles with growing up while Calum struggles with the world outside of fatherhood.
Aftersun is undoubtedly one of the best screenplays of the year (the fact that it is not nominated for an Oscar is mind boggling). Charlotte Wells writes with so much restraint and simplicity it feels like this is her 10th film. This golden thread of memory and grief is something that has been ticking away in my head for the last 3 days. What’s so incredible is that Charlotte almost never explicitly says anything. The tiniest nods and clues create this harrowing tone that will allude to certain themes but let the audience decide for themselves.
While the writing is incredible, Charlotte Wells’ direction is equally skilled. Aftersun is one of those films that feels like you shouldn’t be watching it. It is so intimate and honest that I truly felt intrusive being in this space. Charlotte and Gregory Oke (DOP) work together to place the audience right next to our characters. The camera has any eye of its own. It wanders around the room, sometimes just watching Sophie and Calum as they sleep.
Paul Mescal’s performance is exceptional. He drip feeds the audience little lines and actions that eventually let them understand who this man is. Paul’s subtleties in portraying such a broken man never seem over the top or out of line with this character. He never has the big acting Oscar scene and yet undeniably delivers my favourite performance of the year.
I cannot talk about Paul without mentioning Frankie Corio. She was 11 years old at the time they shot this and delivers a beautiful performance and one of my favourites of the year. Like Paul, she never hams it up but instead focuses on embodying a girl who is lost in her youth but trying to hide it.
For me, I know a film is truly excellent when an ending stays with me. Once I finished Aftersun, I went home and watched the ending three times. Charlotte Wells skilfully shows the audience so much while telling them so little. Through the brilliant use of a song and incredible direction, the movie all comes together without explicitly saying a word. It is a haunting and harrowing conclusion that will stay with you for a long time.
Should you see Aftersun?
Absolutely. It is one of my favourite films of the year and is well worth your time. While it has a slower pace, it is deliberate in letting you understand this relationship and these characters’ lives.
For as long as I can remember, Science Fiction has been one of my favourite genres as a filmmaker and storyteller. Consistent rewatches of films like Star Wars, Alien and Blade Runner have never failed to transport me to galactic worlds and alien stars I couldn’t imagine on my own.
So I’ll admit, before the announcement that Denis Villeneuve would direct a film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 Sci-Fi Epic, Dune, I had no prior knowledge of the source material or legacy that the Dune saga had paved through pop culture during its history.
However, after viewing Villeneuve’s film adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic, I found myself tumbling down the Dune rabbit hole.
Upon researching and studying every book, short story, and journal penned by the late author, it became clear to me that the lasting legacy of the Dune saga has greatly influenced the modern genre of Science Fiction as we know it today, both through page and screen. Leaving behind an eternal legacy that transcends culture, language, and influence.
In this retrospective and analytical article, I wish to unpack what truly makes Dune so influential for both storytellers and audiences alike. By reviewing and scrutinising the written work of Frank Herbert’s Dune Saga, as well as the film adaptation directed by Denis Villeneuve (2021, 2023), only then can the full franchise’s impact be fully realized.
By the end of this paper, my goal is to truly showcase just how important and influential the Dune franchise has had on both filmmakers and storytellers alike.
Hopefully, this article will inspire others to delve deep into the Dune mythology itself and learn more about this universe before Villeneuve’s Dune Part 2 is released later this year.
Editor’s Note: I am only taking Dune books penned by Frank Herbert into consideration when discussing the cultural impact of the Dune Series. Any Dune books penned after Frank’s death, (1986), will not be taken into consideration.
Frank Herbert’s Dune Saga:
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.”
Before Dune’s first publication in 1965, Science Fiction literature was often depicted in short, self-contained, single-print narratives. Novels akin to George Orwell’s 1984 (1948), and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) were seen as the pinnacle of Science Fiction literature. However, there had been little to no attempt in novel writing to create a wide-spreading Sci-Fi universe with its own living ecosystem, society and, politics which evolves and adapts with its characters over time and with each subsequent novel.
However, with the publication of Frank Herbert’s Dune in 1965, this apparent gap in the sci-fi market had seemingly become filled. The original Dune novel is an extremely dense and rich, space soap opera, filled to the brim with warring houses, self-fulfilling prophecies, prophets, space witchcraft and, giant alien sand worms, all set on the desert planet of Arrakis, the most important planet in the Dune universe.
Pulling influence from both Middle-Eastern and Islamic settings, culture and ideology, the Dune saga primarily follows the journey of hero, Paul Arteides who gallantly defends the ownership of the desert planet, Arrakis against the archenemy Baron Harkonnen.
Dune (1965), follows Paul as he grows from a young man bestowed with great potential. Along his journey of self-discovery, Paul will learn what he was truly born to be, why his destiny lies in the Arrakis sands and, how to finally defeat the Baron Harkonnen.
Along Paul’s heroic journey, he will also be prophesied by the Bene GesseritSisterhood (Future Seeing Space Witches) to become The Kwisatz Haderach (The Chosen One). Paul is unknowingly sent down a path that will alter and change the course of the Dune universe for centuries.
Dune tells a story about what it truly means to become a messiah and why it’s so hard to be a leader.
Widely considered to be the book that propelled the Sci-Fi genre into the mainstream, the original Dune publication along with its subsequent sequels, (Dune Messiah, Children of Dune,God Emperor of Dune, Heretics of Dune and, Chapterhouse Dune), were all revered by both critics and audiences alike, providing a successful blueprint on how to create a compelling and fascinating Sci-Fi story.
Frank Herbet’s writing influence can also be seen in many books and films that subsequently came out after the Dune saga conclude, films such as Star Wars (George Lucas), 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick) and, Contact (Robert Zemeckis) all share similar elements that call back to Frank Herbert’s original work.
However, despite the Dune saga’s ability to captivate its audience and its capability to provide the groundwork on how to craft a compelling Sci-Fi story for the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers. Dune itself wasn’t as lucky when it came to the transition from book to film.
Dennis Villeneuve’s 2021 Dune:
“The willow submits to the wind and prospers until one day it is many willows—a wall against the wind. This is the willow’s purpose.”
Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim
Prior to Denis Villeneuve’s Dune adaptation, there had been several attempts within Hollywood to convert Brian Herbert’s magnum opus to the silver screen, all of which produced less than stellar results.
Films like David Lynch’s Dune (1984), John Harrison’s Dune miniseries (2000) and, Alejandro Jodorowsky cancelled Dune project all failed to properly adapt and live up to the ingenuity of the original Dune book saga. This consistent inability to adapt Dune to the big screen caused many within the film industry to believe that Dune was unfilmable and too difficult to adapt.
Enter Denis Villeneuve, coming off the critically acclaimed Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Denis Villeneuve proved he could handle large Sci-Fi projects that rely heavily on subtext and layered storytelling. Plus with Villeneuve eager to adapt Dune himself, it made perfect sense for Warner Brothers to put Denis Villeneuve at the helm.
Thus, after entering production in 2018 and having its release date pushed back several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dune: Part 1 was released to the public on October 22nd, 2021 to widespread acclaim. Renowned for Villeneuve’s direction, its cinematography/visuals and its adaption of Frank Herbert’s original vision for the Dune universe.
To ensure that this adaptation of Dune’s narrative flowed smoother than previous attempts, Denis Villeneuve and co-writers, Jon Spaihts and Eric Roth, opted to split the book’s story into two parts, allowing for the 155-minute story to breathe and delve deeper into the political and messiah themes that form the story backbone of Dune’s narrative.
This film covers the first half of Paul’s story, showcasing his struggles with the concept of leadership, his fears about becoming the Kwitsatz Haderach and the transition from a boy to a leader. This setup of Paul’s character, however, feels natural and fluent thanks to Timothée Chalamet’s stellar performance and Villenuve’s direction.
Dune: Part 1 also marks Denis Villeneuve’s first collaboration with Australian Cinematographer, Greig Fraser. Notable for his work on both The Batman (2022) and Rogue One (2016), Greig Fraser’s expertise with a camera is on full display in this feature. Each frame of Dune: Part 1 feels like a painted portrait, with character, composition and craftsmanship oozing from each shot.
From the harsh yellows and oranges that radiate off the Arrakis sand dunes, to the calm blues and greens of planet Caladan. Both colour and set design play vital roles in Fraser’s cinematography, these elements are used to properly cement the audience into the Dune universe and establish just how different this world is from our own.
Greg Fraser would go on to win Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards for his work on Dune. Dune would also sweep the Oscars in the technical department, winning Best Visual Effects, Production Design, Costume Design and, Makeup / Hairstyling—a true testament to Dune’s production team.
Overall, Dune: Part 1 serves as the beginning of something special. Not only does it stand as a technical masterpiece that balances both Denis Villeneuve’s dense storytelling and Greg Fraser’s gorgeous cinematography. Dune: Part 1 also finally breaks the long-standing notion that Frank Herbert’s work is impossible to transition from page to screen successfully.
Dune: Part 1 firmly pulls Frank Herbert’s classic Sci-Fi story into the 21st century and finally gives filmatic justice to what many consider to be the original Sci-Fi Epic.
Dune’s Legacy on Storytelling and Filmmaking:
“Dreams make good stories, but everything important happens when we’re awake”
Ever since Dune’s first publication in 1965, Frank Herbert’s work has seemingly influenced many stories that subsequently released after the Dune saga had concluded.
Sci-Fi films such as George Lucas’s ‘Star Wars’ (1977), Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) & Blade Runner (1982) and, the Wachowski’s Matrix (1999), all seemingly take inspiration and elements from the Dune universe and rework them to become each director own.
Luke Skywalker and Paul Atreides share similar Sci-Fi heroic journeys, being destined to bring stability to a galaxy needing saving from an evil dictator (Star Wars’ Empire and Dune’s House Harkonnen).
Heroes like Neo from ‘The Matrix’ and Case from the ‘Neuromancer’ series also follow this Sci-Fi heroes journey that was popularised by Frank Herbert’s Dune publication in 1965. Characters that are pulled out of their normal lives to explore their world and better the universe they live in.
“Before The Matrix, before Star Wars, before Ender’s Game and Neuromancer, there was Dune – the great science fiction novel ever written.”
First Paragraph of Dune’s 50th anniversary blurb.
Frank Herbert’s Dune Saga has done so much to popularise and solidify Science Fiction as a staple in the cultural zeitgeist. Dune proved to both creatives and critics that Sci-Fi stories can be compelling and engaging while also having stakes that are bigger and more complex than ever thought before 1965.
And while Dune for the longest time failed to receive the recognition it deserved for its major influence on modern Sci-Fi. Dune’s recent film resurgence and success, led by Denis Villeneuve, has helped revitalise the series and helped Frank Herbert’s original work finally receive the praise it has long deserved.
Dune is Science Fiction’s original epic and still stands as one of the genre’s best even 50 years after its inception.
At the 2022 Golden Globes The Fabelmans won Best Drama and Steven Spielberg won best director. Personally, I could not give less of a fuck about award shows and in particular the Golden Globes (I think that’s most people now anyway). Nevertheless, I think these results have a lot of people who are curious about this film. And since it was only just released in Australia, there is a huge market still waiting to be won over. So the ultimate question becomes did The Fabelmans deserve these awards or is it over hyped?
The Fabelmans is a drama/ coming of age that is based on the life of Steven Spielberg. It follows Sammy Fabelman as he falls in love with movies and struggles with his family and high school.
Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg have written a beautiful script. From beginning to end, I was glued to the screen. Since this is based on Spielberg’s early life, it adds a depth to these characters that a lot of family dramas are missing. As a result, it never felt like the movie slowed down. The pacing worked so well because of how layered these characters were.
The Fabelmans starts of as a straightforward Spielberg movie. But about halfway through, it transforms into a 50s style high school drama. The student characters became cliches and its even shot similar to Rebel without a Cause. Maybe I am on my own here but this sudden change in the style and tone kind of shocked me. I loved this aesthetic and allusion but just wished it really committed to it from the beginning.
What I did love about this film was the passion for filmmaking. Every scene that involved a camera reminded me why I love what I do – the desire for storytelling. Spielberg has such a deep and profound love for stories that he effectively imparts upon the audience. The scenes of him creating shorts as a kid and showing his family was some of the most relatable film content I have ever seen. I walked away from The Fablemans more motivated to make short films then I ever have before.
The performances in the Fabelmans were a little underwhelming. I loved Gabriel Labelle as Sammy Fabelman and Paul Dano as his father but everyone else felt kind of miscast. It’s not that they were bad I just think everyone seemed to be doing different things that tonally felt off. For example, Seth Rogen was doing Seth Rogen while Michelle Williams was trying to audition for Marriage Story. It made me feel a little lost in these characters and the tone of the movie.
I won’t spoil the end scene of the movie, but it is easily the best part of the film. In particular, the performances by Gabrielle Labelle and David Lynch. These two reminded me how excited I am for the rest of my filmmaking journey – something that is often clouded in negativity. That final shot displays clearly why Spielberg is one of the greatest American filmmakers ever. It so eloquently summarises the core themes of this film and perhaps his career – his love for stories.
Ultimately, I liked The Fabelmans. While it isn’t my favourite movie of the year, it was still extremely enjoyable. I think Spielberg did deserve those awards. Not only for his career achievements but also the bravery to be this personal with a movie in a way he never has before. Now all we need is a sequel that dives into his early years making movies.
Should you see The Fabelmans?
Simply for the fact that this may be Spielberg’s last movie, I would definitely go see this in cinemas. While it follows a predictable plot, the writing and directing are still beautifully crafted and well worth your time. If you are into filmmaking whatsoever you will definitely like this movie.
About 4 years ago, I went to the Brisbane Backyard Film Festival. Two films from that night stuck with me that I truly loved and have never stopped talking about. One is Follow that Taxi (I did an interview with Sam Monaghan this year) and the other is It’s Christmas. It is one of the funniest and most original short films I have ever seen and my favourite Christmas short ever. On top of this, it won the audience award at the Brisbane Backyard Film Festival. Before you read this interview, go and watch this film below, it is well worth your time.
Recently, I did an interview with the writer of It’s Christmas – Tyson Yates. Tyson is a Brisbane based writer and director. On top of this project, he has written Lemonade – a comedy web series – and wrote and directed Smashed – a comedy short which won Audience Choice at West End Film Festival. Read on for more.
What inspired the story of It’s Christmas?
“I used to work in journalism, but my number one thing was writing for film. One year I upped and left and do a year of film school. I plopped myself down in Brisbane and did a year at university.”
“The whole idea is just kind of a typical Christmas for me, I am from a small country town in Northern NSW. It was hot, sweaty, there was drama over the prawns. This one was just one of the first scripts that just flowed out of me. I don’t think I struggled to write that one at all. It was just taking tid bits from my family and inserting into the script. And also just who doesn’t love writing genre.”
What was your process writing for this and writing in general?
“When you are writing you put a lot of pressure on yourself. I think the unspoken thing though is that no one has it right – even some established filmmakers and writers. There has never been this smooth process in writing. But I think the background in media and written journalism really helped the discipline of it. When someone is paying you to write a story you don’t have an option of not feeling it or having mental block – the deadline is 5.”
As someone who writes and directs did you find it hard handing over the It’s Christmas Script?
“I have directed the last couple of things I have done. I released smashed a couple of years ago and that was the first major thing I directed. I just decided to Direct to get it done in the exact way it’s in my head. With It’s Christmas, I must have been a terrible person to have on set because I was following the director around and buzzing around like a fly. I think in the future I will focus less on directing and more on script writing because it’s just a huge commitment.”
Are there any specific Christmas movies you love or are inspired by?
“I really love the tone of A Moody Christmas. It spoke so much to me and I think they were aiming for the same thing because it feels like a person experience of an Aussie family. I have had a couple Christmas’s in the cold, and you miss it when you’re not here. I also love genre Christmas movies like Krumpus.”
Were there any general movies that inspired it as well?
“Absolutely Sean of the Dead. Edgar Wright is a perfect example of a filmmaker who can take ridiculous concepts and squeeze sentiment into it.”
Creating both Smashed and Lemonade, what have you learnt from both projects and would advise filmmakers about starting a web series?
“I am from the school of keep it simple. Everyone does their share house comedy, it’s low stakes. You watch some amazing comedies like Arrested Development and Scrubs, the comedy just comes from the simplicity and characters – something I am still learning. Don’t be discouraged by not nailing something. It was interesting at film school how many people wanted to be at the finish line already. I have resigned myself to the fact that it’s going to take a long time to learn but the best way to do that is to keep it simple.”
As someone who also did one year of film school, I was wondering your opinion on it and if think it’s worthwhile?
“There are two different camps, I guess. I learnt a lot from film school and especially what not to do in a safe situation. You are at the mercy of whoever else happens to be in your cohort. It can be a bit of a scramble to get on top. I didn’t have that problem to much as I had some pretty set goals. There was also good teachers I learnt a lot from. But the reason I left was because the classes and lessons were starting to repeat themselves.”
What is next for you?
“I recently got a job in a production company so any of my film projects just stopped at that point. I had a hiatus for a few years and then recently we jumped back on board with the short stack guys and shot a short film in August. It’s very similar to smashed in that it’s a couple of locations and housemates together. We are just doing the assembly edit now so it’s looking good.”
If someone came to you with one film wish, what would it be?
“I don’t know if I would want to wish my way to the finish line. But me right now I feel I am still finding my way through writing and directing. I would be absolutely horrified to have a world class actor standing in front of me asking what do to. It would be something small like making an indie feature that is well within my means. I would love to have this indie gem of a film that is well regarded. And then I am happy to be sky rocketed into making a Marvel film, substance abuse, not seeing my family – you know, the Hollywood dream.”
Where do you want to see the Australian film scene in 5-10 years?
“I think I have never really put much thought into getting funding. “I guess i believe that a good script will have it’s time and eventually get made. I know people bang on about funding being political, but those people usually have a shit script. I like to believe that a good idea, a good script, will get picked.”
Knives Out was one of the best movies of the last 5 years. It is one of the most entertaining and rewatchable movies I have seen in a long time and will undoubtedly be considered a classic in 10 years. So… the question becomes how do you top this and more importantly is it even possible? Can Rian Johnson improve upon one of the most loved and successful movies of the last 5 years? Truthfully, yes… Read on for more.
(Since this movie is very easy to spoil and I understand how easy it is to ruin it, I will keep it very broad and simple.)
Before I watched this, I was trying to work out what Rian Johnson could do to keep the audience guessing and surprised. As a filmmaker, it is embarrassing for me to admit that I had no ideas. Despite this, Rian creates a new and compelling that story that will keep you glued to the screen from the beginning. It goes in directions I didn’t expect at all and plays upon the traditional narrative perfectly. Rian Johnson knows exactly what the audience is expecting and manipulates it from beginning to end.
One of the best parts about the first Knives Out is the characters. They each feel completely different to the other and are addicting to watch. I truly believe Knives Out A Glass Onion has better characters. Each one is a very clever and refreshing take on the modern celebrity. But what’s even more important is that they feel like real people. They have multiple layers that are revealed as the movie progresses and while they have flaws, you understand where they are coming from.
On top of this, they are cast perfectly. Everyone in this movie brings these characters to life. With a different cast, this movie is nowhere near as gripping and entertaining. I think lately films just load up on huge casts only to get ticket sales. But with Knives Out 2, it feels like each actor was chosen for the character and not for their level of fame. Cough Cough Amsterdam cough.
Before I move on, I have to talk about Daniel Craig. This character that him and Rian Johnson have created is one of the best movie detectives I have ever seen. He is this weird mix of being an idiot while also a genius that I love. It is a unique and refreshing character that I could truly watch an entire season of. Also, he is just very funny. No matter how simple the line is, he manages to always deliver it perfectly.
While I loved this movie, there was definitely a slump. About halfway through, I just found myself a little bit bored. I think in moments it treats the audience a little stupid and takes too long explaining things. It isn’t terrible it’s more just feels like the run time could be cut down by about 10-15minutes. Also, I think some of the humour doesn’t really work. It occasionally just feels forced and never seemed to get many laughs in the cinema.
One of the most important parts of a murder mystery is the twist. Now in the first Knives Out, the reveal never felt surprising or satisfying to me. In the sequel, I kind of feel the same way. But I think that’s on purpose. There are so many other twists and turns in this movie that the killer or killers doesn’t seem important. Instead, I think Rian Johnson wanted to focus on creating twists as the movie progresses instead of in the last few moments.
Should you watch Knives Out A Glass Onion?
Definitely. This movie is a very entertaining and enjoyable watch that will keep you guessing from the beginning. While the cinema run is over, watch it as soon as it’s out on Netflix so it doesn’t get spoiled for you.
Lachlan and Austin Macfarlane are two filmmakers based in Brisbane, Australia. For over 14 years, they have been making sketch comedy shorts with heavy VFX. Now they both work tirelessly on their TikTok and YouTube Chanel – racking up millions of views and even starting viral trends. Read on for more.
You both have been making short films and content for over 10 years, what created this attitude to just make stuff and get it done?
“I started making films just for the fun of doing them when I was like 10. It was just doing things for the fun of it. By the time I got to the end of school it was even more of an incentive to make videos. Also, when you’re at Uni you only make 7-8 things and I feel you want to finish with more than that.” – Lachlan
“I started getting into editing because I was making Marvel trailers. The reason I got into VFX was because I wanted to make Doctor Who intros. It harkens back to us being kids and having lightsabre fights and thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if we could make actual lightsabre fights.” – Austin
Across your careers, you can see how much your VFX has improved. Is this from school, University or just teaching yourself?
“I would say both but mainly self-taught.” – Lachie
“In year 8 and 9, every lunch time I would do a VFX shot. I would shoot it on my laptop, and I would do stuff like shooting a door and it would explode. Another day, my friend punched me and turned into a lunchbox.” – Austin
What’s your process in making these insane TikTok’s and reels you create?
“We will write, shoot, direct, star in, all ourselves. We split up the post tasks because we each have our own strengths. I will usually do the VFX while Lachlan will do the editing.” – Austin
“We will try to film as much as we can on the weekend and then work on it through the week and then get started on the next one straight away. It’s ultimately just about maintaining that repetition.” – Lachlan
“We both have so many ideas but unless it’s something we instantly jump at, we don’t even film it. Our sister is a good judge…. If we show it to her and she laughs it’s probably going to be good…” – Austin
Looking back on film school are you glad you did it or do you wish you did your own thing?
“There are way more people saying don’t do film school than there are saying do it. I would say it depends… When I went to film school, I found it hard to stand out from everyone else. It was difficult, I think at my school you needed a big personality and to be different from everyone. But ultimately it got kind of easier as you get to know people and I found it worthwhile in the end as I got heaps of connections who later got me a job.” – Lachlan
“I think for Uni you get out what you put into it ultimately. I work full time now as a junior online editor and I wouldn’t have got that job if I didn’t go to Uni, and the programs I use at work I learnt from uni.” – Austin
Can you explain the whole Michael Buble story?
“We love him and have loved his Christmas album since we were kids. We made this TikTok where we take him out of the ice for Christmas. I opened my phone the next morning and he had sent us a message on TikTok and commented it. I will ride that high until I die and we are very chuffed about that” – Austin
What filmmakers really inspire you.
“The Daniels definitely. It was very inspiring seeing how they went from small little sketch stuff to features. They are a team of two guys and we have taken a lot of inspiration from their style and we took on that comedic black comedy tone. Also, Edgar Wright and how he shifts your focus so well and so uniquely.” – Lachlan
What are some of your favourite films?
“The World’s End is one of my favourite Edgar Wright films because it has that emotional side. Also, any of Alfred Hitchcock’s films are incredible. Ours are both the same basically as well.” – Lachlan
“Swiss Army Man is my all-time favourite. Parasite, Psycho and the 400 Blows. I love Belfast, Little Women, Whiplash and Star Wars.” – Austin
Where do you want the Australian film scene to move?
“I would like there to be more. I am very new to the industry, but I would love the public to be more into it and proud of it. Also, shows that it doesn’t have to be about Australia.” – Lachlan
“I love how many productions are happening on the Gold Coast.” – Austin
What is next for you guys?
“We are going to make bigger short films. But for now, we are just doing TikTok and YouTube. Next year we are going to try for the Screen Queensland Skip Ahead program.” – Lachlan
I think I must be one of the few people in the world who didn’t love the first Black Panther. While the first two thirds were great, that last act was so terrible that I cannot rate the movie highly. But after seeing the trailer for Black Panther Wakanda Forever, I was excited for the sequel. It looked like a completely new direction for this series and the MCU entirely. But does it live up to the hype of the first movie? Read on for more.
Black Panther 2 is unlike any other Marvel film (the closest one I would compare it to is Winter Soldier simply for the pacing). It is a carefully crafted movie that takes it’s time with each character. While it does have some moments where it drags, the story doesn’t feel like we are trying to get from Point A to Point B but instead delves into some heavy concepts. In particular, the exploration of grief and vengeance creates one of the most emotionally layered and complex Marvel Movies. It effectively feels like such a breath of fresh air in the recent slate of formulaic films.
What adds to this excellent writing is a beautiful looking film. Each shot is vibrant and bursting with colours. The costumes, lighting and set design keep your eyes glued to the screen and add a depth to these incredible worlds. On top of this, the VFX look realistic. With the recent Marvel films looking like garbage, Black Panther 2 once again stands out. Only 2 shots in this movie look a little rough and that is completely respectable considering the scale of these set pieces.
The action in Black Panther Wakanda Forever never feels like the focus of the film. It is simply a backdrop for the story. Nevertheless, the few actions set pieces in this movie are very entertaining. Ryan Coogler weaves in his signature style to create fast paced and high stakes fight scenes. Each punch feels like it hurts and for once we see some people get stabbed.
What I loved most about this movie was the performances. Maybe it is because they are drawing from Chadwick Boseman’s passing but every actor is bringing 120%. In particular, Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett. How they portray their grief for T’CHalla’s death is some of the most outright heartbreaking acting the MCU has ever seen. I also loved the introduction of Tenoch Huerta as Naymour and Dominique Thorne as Ironheart. As usual, they have cast actors who are perfect for these roles, and you instantly want to see more of.
The final act of this movie had me on the edge of my seat. Not because of the suspense or stakes but simply because I thought they would botch the ending like every other Marvel film. But honestly, they didn’t. Ryan Coogler wraps up this spectacular film with an amazing action set piece and a touching conclusion for Chadwick Boseman.
Should you see Black Panther Wakanda Forever?
Definitely go see this in cinemas. It is an epic story that deserves to be seen on a big screen. And if you loved the first film, this one is even better.
At the beginning of this year, I interviewed Archie Waterson on a documentary he produced – The Diamond from Sierra Leone. Recently, the short doco was selected into the Heart of Gold Film Festival (a pretty big deal for a filmmaker so young). Once again, Archie is back with a brand new project he has been working tirelessly on. Polyamorous is a mockumentary web-series made in 8 weeks. After watching it once, I instantly went back and watched it again because I was amazed how much him and his team pulled off in such a short amount of time. It is funny, clever and most importantly, original. Read on for more.
What is Polyamorous?
“It is a mockumentary story about 6 people in a polyamorous relationship and the highs and lows they go through trying to be free spirited. It follows the perspective of Mackenzie who is monogamous and is in denial who is following her partner who wants to join a polyamorous relationship to leave her.”
What inspired this story?
“I was having a beer with my friend, and he told me he was in the dating game. He went on a tinder date and this girl who he got along well with and she said I’m in a polyamorous relationship. I didn’t know what this was and I kind of got obsessed with it and started watching a ton of documentaries. Through all these shows, I kind of discovered 6 architypes through it.”
What was the writing process and how did you go about it leading a writers’ room?
“The process came from fleshing out the story first. I wrote the character breakdowns, the log line, the pitch and all these characters so I knew who they were and what they would be like in this relationship. I wrote the pilot then I got all my writers and from there, each writer was linked to an episode, and we built this arch for Mackenzie, Jake and Tash and the rest of the relationship.”
How do you the test out the joke /comedy?
“For me, it was weird because I never really wrote for the screen, comedy wise. I feel like if I’m in a social setting I am kind of funny and I make people laugh. I have always wanted to do comedy. What I found is that I try and give to people who I find funny and if they like it, I know I’m onto something.”
What has been the most challenging part of making a web series?
“Overall, it was an intense process we did in 8 weeks. The hardest part for me was finding confidence in myself at the start when I’m pitching it. The stress and anxiety of trying to appease 50 people was challenging. But other than that, it was a very smooth process and I didn’t find too many challenges.”
Are there any other plans to release it other than the festival run?
“Once this all ends, it will be released onto YouTube and Vimeo. I also want to take it to the ABC as a proof of concept to show them.
Do you ever have periods of self and lack of motivation and how do you combat that?
“I have in my life. At this point, I feel weirdly motivated and confident which helped in the process. The pressure allowed me to always remain motivated. I feel like the way to get out of these slumps is to reassess why you do it and that creating is a blessing.”
What movies and shows inspired Polyamorous?
“In terms of style, ‘’What We Do in the Shadows” and “The Office” were two big style guides. “Shameless (US)” for the dynamics between the characters and their chaos.”
What filmmakers do you look up to?
“I love Larry David. I just want to be one of those guys who seems effortless but really cares for the craft. I love Taika Waititi who is this creative inspiration, making stuff from a place similar to where we come from.”
What is the worst thing people do in the cinema?
“People chewing popcorn loudly. Some people are just loud chewers and it’s fucked.”
Where do you want the Australian film scene to move?
“I want comedy to not be Australian cliches. I think people living in urban parts should have a voice because they are just as interesting as people in London and New York. I want there to be a blend where it’s not just tourism but beautiful Australian stories.”
What is your one film wish?
“I would love to get coffee with Larry David. I would love to have a job comedy writing for a TV series.”
What is next for you?
“Probably the grad slate next year. Just writing again and getting back into the development phase again.
Anyone you want to shoutout?
“I want to shoutout Amy Lightbody, my producer on the show. She put in so much work and she just made the process super smooth for me.”
All photos taken by Sam Goldsmith and Felix Lovell.