What's On

What's On Your Screen: festivals, great schlock, while Ladies in Black charms

Screenhub Hivemind

There is a pile of stuff on at the cinema for all possible tastes, including First Man and Bad Times at the El Royale, while festivals are in full flaunt as well.
What's On Your Screen: festivals, great schlock, while Ladies in Black charms

You know this looks like fun. Image: character studies for the film


Director Catherine Scott is enthusiastically launching into a cinema-on-demand campaign for her documentary, Backtrack Boys. The extended industry Hivemind loves this film, which won the audience award at both the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals, and it is playing at both the Adelaide and Brisbane fests as well. 

If you want to see it locally, go here for details. Gympie Heart of Gold audiences swooned over it, which suggests it could work really well for thoughtful teen audiences as well, Also, dogs. It opens in a couple of weeks so we will come back to it.


New releases

First Man, starring Ryan Gosling, is about the first moon landing and Neil Armstrong in particular. American critics including the trades are dazzled by this, both technically and as a story. It seems to far transcend the usual hoopla antics.d plays down the politics.

UK reviewers are slightly more restrained but still fall for its muscular, immersive charms. 

It will do very well.

Bad Times at the El Royale will haul us all in as well, though we won't hang out for 3D. A bunch of strangers arrive at a decaying motel and secrets ensue.. Peter Bradshaw is keen but not hugely keen on this:

Drew Goddard’s Bad Times at the El Royale is a single-location ensemble thriller with flourishes of brutal violence: prolix and theatrical in the manner of Tarantino, complete with flashbacks, rewinds and POV shifts. Like a lot of Goddard’s work – from The Cabin in the Woods in the cinema to his scripts for Lost on TV – it’s an ingenious puzzle with phased character revelations, but this longish film finally promises a bit more than it delivers.

But the Hivemind thinks this looks like a heap of fun.


The Domestics is a US survivalist movie for the genre tragics. With an estimated budget of US$10.5m it is not going to be instructive as a low budget example but the fans seem to like it. 

Doing Well

Ladies in Black, of course. Venom for monster lovers, Smallfoot for the kids, Johnny English for families, The House with a Clock in its Walls for family-ish scareys, Crazy Rich Asians.

The Hivemind also recommends A Simple Favour, The Nun and American Animals. And, we stubbornly point out, The Merger is still around at classy picture houses.


An embarrassment of riches. Adelaide Film Festival, Brisbane Film Festival while the Environmental Film Festival starts tonight in Melbourne. The Antenna Documentary Film Festival is running in Sydney until 14 October.

The Palestinian Film Festival runs until mid-November. The Japanese Film Festival is running around Australia and tickets are on sale in Melbourne from 11 October with added gems from the Classics collection.


Pine Gap (ABC, Sunday 14 October, 8.30pm and ABC iview)  

This eagerly awaited six-part ABC/Netflix drama is set in the secretive world of intelligence, within the walls of the mysterious joint defence facility in central Australia. A spy thriller inspired by today’s headlines, the story explores the relationship between Australian and American intelligence analysts when a shocking secret is revealed that will bring the world to the brink of war. Written by Greg Haddrick and Felicity Packard (Wolf Creek, Janet King, Underbelly), who are also producers, and directed by Mat King (The Wrong Girl, Wentworth), the Screentime production stars Parker Sawyers, Jacqueline McKenzie, Tess Haubrich, Stephen Curry, Steve Toussaint, Mark Leonard Winter and Sachin Joab, among many others. From the trailer, it looks tense and exciting. It's also significant as one of the few local co-productions with Netflix, who apparently had never heard of Pine Gap before they were pitched the show.

Imposters (STAN, series 1 & 2)

This recommendation comes to us from Jane Chisholm, Head of Business Development at ArtsHub and Screenhub. She reckons that she and her husband get enough of the series about a female con artist (Israeli actress Inbar Lavi) who marries men and then disappears with their money. Created by actor turned producer Paul Adelstein and Mozart In the Jungle writer Adam Brooks, Imposters is billed as a pitch-black comedy that delights in playing with audience expectations. Season One of the show has a 100 per cent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the Observer calling it the best series of 2017, praising its sharp writing, surprising plot twists and excellent work from Uma Thurman in her recurring role as a mysterious fixer.


After the Apology (Feature Documentary, Sunday 14 October at 8.30pm on NITV and SBS On Demand).

This documentary, written and directed by Larissa Behrendt (Under Skin in Blood, Clan, Innocence Betrayed) and produced by Michaela Perske (Black Divaz, 88, Boxing for Palm Island), follows four Aboriginal grandmothers who are each challenging government policies to bring their grandchildren home. The film has already screened at the Adelaide Film Film Festival, Harlem International Film Festival, Human Rights Arts and Film Festival and Maoriland Film Festival. Screenhub wrote extensively about it in May, with David Tiley noting: ‘This is a story about a fighting lawyer who has made a beautiful documentary which touches hearts while it is thoroughly infused with the bureaucratic process that is a snorefest for the rest of us.’

After The Apology Trailer from kiki dillon on Vimeo.


Image: Luca Guadagnino's eagerly anticipated Suspiria remake provides the arresting cover image for Senses of Cinema's 88th edition.

Senses of Cinema, Issue 88

If you’re a serious film lover you probably already know about Senses of Cinema, the quarterly online film magazine founded in 1999 by filmmaker Bill Mousoulis. In the decades since, it's grown into an internationally recognised treasure-trove for film buffs. It’s easy to lose track of the masses of great content published here by critics from all over the world: critical essays, overviews of the careers of key directors and international film festival coverage. The magazine’s current editors are Daniel Fairfax, Michelle Carey, Mark Freeman, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Dan Edwards.

 Highlights from the September 2018 issue include articles on French Cinema After the New Wave, Luca Guadagnino's Suspiria, Artificial Intelligence at the Movies, David Lynch and The Metamorphosis, Zhang Yimou and Interviews with Thom Andersen and Rana Eid. There’s a festival report from the 21st Revelation Perth Film Festival and overviews on Manoel de Oliviera and Apitchatpong Weerasethakul. Go have a browse, but beware: you may lose hours of your life.

About the author

Mostly David Tiley and Rochelle Siemienowicz, with contributions from friends, fans and Artshub staff. Between us, we flinch at nothing.