Seven movies worth checking out at Geelong cinemas these school holidays

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Seven movies worth checking out at Geelong cinemas these school holidays

Words by Anthony Morris

You might have noticed that things have slowed down a little at the cinema of late. Long-running favourites like Bullet Train and Elvis are still going strong (and we won’t even mention Top Gun: Maverick). 

But these school holidays there are a few new films coming up to lure you back to the big screen: here’s our guide to what’s now showing and coming up in cinemas.

Orphan: First Kill (in cinemas now)

The demented twists in the original Orphan made it the kind of experience that’s almost impossible to replicate – but Orphan: First Kill has a few tricks of its own up its deceptively child-sized sleeve. With the first film’s big surprise well and truly out of the bag – that the seemingly pre-pubescent and definitely deadly demon child Leena (Isabelle Fuhrman) is in fact a thirty-year-old con artist with a side hustle in murder – this prequel begins with Leena seemingly safely locked away in an Eastern European asylum… from which she promptly escapes, and decides to flee the country.

Her scheme is simple: adopt the identity of a missing US child and start a new life. Enter the parents of missing girl Esther, Allan Albright (Rossif Sutherland) and wife Tricia (Julia Styles), who swiftly fall for her ruse and bring her back to a life of luxury in the US. At first this seems to be a solid but unsurprising retread of the original, but events rapidly spiral down a new and almost as deranged path. Some strong performances and a pacy script give this a big boost, juggling suspense (just how long can Esther get away with it?) and slasher scenes to create a roller coaster of thrills, kills, and the occasional rat corpse discovered in a smoothie. Sometimes a pint-sized serial killer just can’t catch a break.

Ticket to Paradise (in cinemas now)

George Clooney and Julia Roberts are back on the big screen as a divorced couple who can’t stand each other but are forced to work together to thwart their high-flying daughter’s sudden marriage to a Balinese seaweed farmer. It’s the kind of screwball comedy set-up that should work – it’s not like Roberts and Clooney are without their charms – and yet the end result is little more than a forgettable wander through some scenic countryside (it was filmed in Queensland, doubling for Bali) waiting for the sun to go down and the drinks to come out.

Star power isn’t the draw it used to be, but this film often acts like it doesn’t need anything else to hold the audience’s attention. Jokes are few and far between, comedy set-pieces never arrive (the mystery of how Robert’s character slices bananas without opening them is never solved), the central plot is so mean-spirited the film gives up on it halfway through and the characters are so thin they vanish when they turn sideways. Clooney and Roberts clearly enjoy hanging around together (and the scenery is nice to look at), but that’s not enough to make this into a feature-length film.

Bodies Bodies Bodies (in cinemas now)

Seven young friends settle in for a party in a remote mansion during a hurricane, only to discover that the various faultlines between them are set to fracture in ways that not all of them will survive. Rich, poor, sober or stranger, in the end it doesn’t matter; when they decide to play a whodunnit game called “Bodies Bodies Bodies” – and then people start turning up dead for real – the survivors quickly turn on each other with hilarious viciousness. 

A teen movie genre mash-up for the TikTok age, this mix of snarky comedy and murder mystery from Dutch director Halina Reijn takes no prisoners. This isn’t a takedown of social media (for one thing, the characters have already moved beyond that); it’s more about the way the constant pressure from today’s society and their own wealth and privilege has warped these already unlikable – but always funny and entertaining – characters. Plus they keep on being murdered, which is always interesting.

Fall (in cinemas Sept 22)

How’s this for a high concept (literally): two young women drive out into the middle of nowhere to climb a two thousand feet tall disused television transmitter tower… and then can’t get back down. Safe to say that those with a fear of heights might want to sit this one out. It’s not all about dangling off a very slender and very rickety tower though, as this also features a fair amount of on-ground backstory that makes this more than just an excuse to give everyone in the cinema a bad case of vertigo.

After seeing her husband fall off a cliff, Becky (Grace Caroline) has spent the last year down the bottom of a bottle – but now her influencer bestie Shiloh (Virginia Gardner) has a great idea for her latest post and she needs a partner who knows her way around insanely tall objects. They go up, they don’t come down, and for thrill-seeking movie-goers that’s all you really need to know (though here’s a hint at what comes next: vultures).

See How They Run (in cinemas Sept 29)

The year is 1953, and Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap is celebrating its 100th performance on the West End. Plans are afoot for a movie adaptation, though those plans hit a snag when potential director Leo Kopernick (Adrian Brody) is found murdered after the party. Now it’s up to Inspector Stoppard (Sam Rockwell) and his over-eager assistant Constable Stalker (Saiorse Ronan) who figure out whodunnit within the whodunnit.

The mystery side of things ticks along fine, with a large cast of plausible suspects hamming it up, and there’s a nice seam of understated comedy running throughout that gives the various cliches (many of which are mocked even as they’re indulged) some life. But it’s an underplaying Rockwell (whose pathway to success when it comes to the UK accent involves keeping it close to a mumble) and a high energy Ronan – who easily deserves her own solo spin-off series – that make this a decent stab at the genre.

And for the kids:

Animation fans – and especially fans of animated animals – have a couple of decent choices this holiday season, with Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank and DC League of Super-pets both currently in cinemas. Paws of Fury is a samurai-era tale of one man (well, dog) stepping up to defend a village of cats from a ruthless enemy; Super-pets features Superman’s dog Krypto (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) battling Lex Luthor’s evil guinea pig with the help of a bunch of other super-powered animals. You want action laced with comedy? These two are ideal holiday entertainment.