THE coming 12 months are set to be some of the most exciting for lovers of Australian cinema. From high concept sci-fi blockbusters to gritty crime dramas, the slate of 2014 releases is one of the most diverse in recent movie history. Here are Maria Lewis’ picks of the Top 10 Aussie films to keep an eye out for this year.
Joel Edgerton writes and stars in this cop drama, which is already generating plenty of buzz after a successful debut at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Melissa George, Tom Wilkinson and Jai Courtney — who is making some impressive movie choices at the moment — play people embroiled in the fate of a child after a tragic accident.
There’s something so very delightful — and rare — about an unashamedly commercial Aussie blockbuster. This modern retelling of Frankenstein sees Aaron Eckhart play an immortal caught up in a supernatural war. Audiences are in the trusty hands of Sydney screenwriter and director Stuart Beattie who has already had massive success with Pirates Of The Caribbean, Collateral and Tomorrow, When The War Began.
The prospect of Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson going head-to-head in Animal Kingdom director David Michod’s next film is an appealing one. Written by Michod and his Blue Tongue Films buddy Joel Edgerton (with brother Nash also starring), expect tension and blood shed. Uber talented indie actor Scoot McNairy is an exciting addition to the cast.
THE LAST CAB TO DARWIN
When two veterans of the Australian screen industry team-up, you pay attention. Michael Caton and Jacki Weaver star in this comedy-drama about a dying man’s final journey. It’s based on the true story of a terminally ill cabbie who drove 3,000km from his home in Broken Hill to Darwin in hopes of taking advantage of the Northern Territory’s voluntary euthanasia laws.
There are few local filmmakers more interesting or ambitious as filmmaking twins Michael and Peter Spierig (known as the Spierig Brothers). After massive success at the US box-office with their vampire flick Daybreakers, they’ve reunited with Ethan Hawke and local gal Sarah Snook for this time-travelling thriller that has more plot twists than a Christopher Nolan blockbuster.
With Angelina Jolie at the helm as director and producer, a hand-picked international cast and a moving based-on-a-true-story tale, there’s really nothing not to like about Unbroken. Given that it has been slated with a Box Day release — a prime awards season spot — they’re obviously optimistic about its Oscar chances.
WOLF CREEK 2
Tourist killing serial menace Mick Taylor is back in the sequel to the Aussie horror that made people afraid of the outback … again. With a bigger budget expect bolder set pieces, more action and plenty of terror. You cannot pass up the opportunity to see John Jarratt return to the role that has defined his career.
THE WATER DIVINER
Russell Crowe is directing and starring in this WWII tale that spans nations and is sure to touch hearts with its story of a father (Crowe) looking for his three missing sons after the Battle of Gallipoli. Former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko adds serious star power, with Aussie hot property Jai Courtney thrown in for good measure.
She’s the young Aussie star who Meryl Streep wanted to win an Oscar for her work in Jane Eyre, and now Mia Wasikowska has returned home for Tracks. The cinematography and acting look top notch. Few starlets choose more interesting or acclaimed roles than Wasikowska, so if she’s in a film that’s reason enough to see it. Girls actor Adam Driver co-stars.
KILL ME THREE TIMES
Patrick Hughes did the Australian neo-Western thing so well with Red Hill, now Red Dog director Kriv Stenders is having a go. Shot in Perth, the story has attracted a colourful cast in Simon Pegg, Teresa Palmer, Luke Hemsworth, Alice Braga, Bryan Brown and Callan Mulvey. Told from three different perspectives, this has ‘festival favourite’ written all over it.
Maria Lewis – follow Maria on Twitter here: @moviemazz or on top-rating film podcast Pod Save Our Screen, available now on iTunes.