There’s a mix of famous faces and newcomers in the diverse crop of Australian movies heading your way in the next six months. Here’s your guide to what’s coming to cinemas, and when.
18 Aug 2014 - 12:39 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 10:29 AM


In cinemas: August 21 (ACMI)

Debuting at Melbourne’s ACMI (whose website will also make the film available via video on demand), the debut feature from Kasimir Burgess is a revenge thriller couched as an art film, with the rugged beauty of Victoria’s logging country the unnerving backdrop for an obsessive, grieving father (Matt Nable) who goes undercover as the workmate to the man (Daniel Henshall) just released from jail after killing his young daughter in a hit and run accident.

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In cinemas: August 28

The in demand actor Joel Edgerton continues to prove himself as a screenwriter of Australian stories, penning this thriller about a police detective (Edgerton) whose off-duty slip-up creates conflict with the mentor who covers it up (Tom Wilkinson), the investigating officer pursuing him (Jai Courtney), and his own wife (Melissa George). It’s a welcome return to cinema screens for the talented Matthew Saville, who has done television work since directing 2007’s impressive Noise.

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In cinemas: August 28

A knotty, precise time travel plot makes this sci-fi thriller both too difficult and unwise to explain, but suffice to say that the young Australian actress Sarah Snook delivers a revelatory performance opposite Ethan Hawke as someone whose very life defies explanation. Queensland genre masters Michael and Peter Spierig continue to improve with each film, and their follow-up to the 2009 vampire spin Daybreakers is a brain bender that plays out as a genuine tragedy.

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Read interview with the Spierig brothers and actress Sarah Snook


The Reckoning

In cinemas: September 4

A good old-fashioned police thriller: a troubled detective (Jonathan LaPaglia) investigates the murder of his partner (the third Hemsworth brother, Luke) and finds himself drawn into a web of corruption and deception alongside a new partner (Viva Bianca) while searching for a missing teenage girl whose actions could reveal the truth (Hanna Mangan Lawrence). The commercial drama gets a local release after selling in numerous international territories.

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The Little Death

In cinemas: September 18

After co-starring with the likes of Will Ferrell and Don Cheadle, Australian actor Josh Lawson returns home to write and direct a comedy about the sex lives of five supposedly ordinary couples from one Australian neighbourhood. His directorial feature debut, which ranked number two amongst audiences at this year’s Sydney Film Festival, has an exemplary ensemble cast: Lawson, his brother Ben, Bojana Novakovic, Lachy Hulme, Damon Herriman, Lisa McCune, and Patrick Brammall.

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The Infinite Man 

In cinemas: September 18

More time travel, although with a completely different tone than Predestination. This low-budget South Australian production, the second feature from writer/director Hugh Sullivan, turns romantic obsession and scientific dedication into a multi-identity screwball comedy as a man’s efforts to create the perfect weekend with his girlfriend becomes caught up in rival manifestations and flawed schemes. Starring Josh McConville, Hannah Marshall and Alex Dimitriades, it attains a deliriously loopy yet coolly dry tone.

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Read interview with director Hugh Sullivan


John Doe: Vigilante 

In cinemas: October 16

In the long tradition of vigilante thrillers, a police officer (Lachy Hulme) tries to make sense of an anonymous man, John Doe (Jamie Bamber), who has become a serial killer in his quest to eliminate career criminals who have flaunted the lax processes of the criminal justice system. Even as the killer’s motives are explored, his actions spur popular protests and copycat tributes. Expect some grisly, morally conflicted, pulp.


Son of a Gun

In cinemas: October 16

Australian writer/director Julius Avery, whose short film Jerrycan won the Jury Prize at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, makes his feature debut with this criminal thriller told from the perspective of a naïve minor criminal, 19-year-old JR (Brenton Thwaites), who finds himself in jail but taken under the wing of the dangerous Brendan (Ewan McGregor). The career criminal makes the teenager his protégé, expecting him to assist in not only his jailbreak but a daring robbery.


The Mule 

In cinemas: October 30

One of the under-appreciated assets of Australian acting, the genially deceptive Angus Sampson, makes his debut behind the camera co-directing this black comedy – co-written and co-starring Saw and Insidious creator Leigh Whannell – where he plays a novice drug mule caught by the authorities who literally refuses to pass the evidence he’s previously swallowed. The unlikely concept comes with a heavyweight supporting cast that includes Hugo Weaving and stage luminary Ewen Leslie.


The Water Diviner 

In cinemas: December 26

In a season of first-time directors, none has the stature to match Academy Award winner Russell Crowe, whose period drama gets a prestigious Boxing Day release. The Gladiator and Noah star also fronts the camera, playing a grieving Australian farmer who travels to Turkey in the wake of World War I to look for his three missing sons, who fought in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign. Crowe says he went only a single day over schedule on a 53-day shoot – which may re-create the bloody trench warfare – that also features Olga Kuylenko, Isabel Lucas, and Jai Courtney.


Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

In cinemas: TBC

There’s no shortage of great B-movie anecdotes in this entertaining documentary about 1980s B-movie magnates Yoram Globus and the recently deceased Menahem Golan of Cannon Films – a request for “that Stone woman” meant to designate Romancing the Stone’s Kathleen Turner instead got Sharon Stone hired on 1985’s King Solomon’s Mines – and Not Quite Hollywood director Mark Hartley skilfully draws them out despite a lack of co-operation from his subjects. If you ever wanted to know how 1987’s Masters of the Universe movie got (badly) made, the answers are here.

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Read interview with director Mark Hartley


Paper Planes

In cinemas: January 15

If all of the above fare poorly, then you can take comfort from Robert Connolly, one of Australia’s best filmmakers (The Bank, Balibo) and savviest producers (The Turning), being first off the rank in 2015. Connolly wanted to make a film suitable for his own children, and the result is the story of a boy from Western Australia, Dylan (the gifted Ed Oxenbould), who discovers an aptitude for making and flying paper planes that takes him all the way to the world championship in Tokyo while revealing more about his family, including his father (Sam Worthington).