Local cinemas this week

Have You Seen The Listers?

He’s been called an Aussie Banksy and even compared to Brett Whitely, though it’s a fair bet many Australians don’t know a lot about Anthony Lister – or even heard of him. He’s the former working class boy from the “boring Brisbane burbs” who has become one of the world’s most collectable artists, with his street-art inspired pieces hanging on the walls of “everyone from Geoffrey Rush to Pink and Hugh Jackman.” But yeah (and we all know this) fame and fortune has a price. Judging by Eddie Martin’s (All This Mayhem) candid “warts and all” doco, Lister by his own admission is one helluva screw-up. 

The artist was incredibly generous in allowing access to his extensive personal video collection and surrendering creative control over the final product to Martin though – the result could easily have backfired on someone who now works with the likes of Hermes, Vogue and Mercedes Benz. It could have been totally redundant as well – its not as if the world actually needs another portrait of one more grandstanding “genius” who forsook his wife and family in pursuit of his passion, only to belatedly realise he’d made a big mistake. But its the artist’s own self-effacing commentary, his honesty and genuinely expressed pain that make this one work so well. He knows that now that he has money, he’s surrounded by sycophants and hangers-on who feed off his fame and notoriety. He even confesses that a lot of the work he churned out, especially when on drugs, was actually “pretty crap.” Now would a Bansky or a Whitely ever admit that?

Sure, there is a sense that certain information is being held back, the circumstances of his extended estrangement from his eldest son is left hanging a bit and his formerly ultra supportive wife and muse Anika, with whom he’d been inseparable since they were teens, simply vanishes from the story. But it would take a very hard heart not to be utterly charmed by Lister’s attempts at redemption – particularly the strange exhibition staged in a public park that gives the film its title. It doesn’t quite go as planned, and provides a poignant heart-breaking moment – one of many in a raw film which packs an unexpected punch. M at Palace Central and Dendy Newtown from April 5. View the trailer here ★★★★

Note – Fortunately we don’t have shell out the 10-15 grand for Lister’s work – inner west locals can see his murals on walls at  Alexandria and Redfern.

A Quiet Place

Chances are you’ll be walking out of John Krasinksi’s A Quiet Place on tip toes, only daring to express your appreciation of the tensest, and scariest movie in a very long time in whispers. The director and co-star doesn’t waste any time in explaining what’s happened to the terrifying world he and his wife (Emily Blunt) and their small family are now surviving in. Just surviving – only if they don’t talk to one another or make a single noise – for the entire planet is apparently infested with lightening-fast ugly giant bugs who hunt by sound and scoop up their victims with their acid-dribbling fangs at the slightest sound. Fortunately the hideous predators are blind and appear to have no sense of smell, which at least gives the beleaguered but resourcefully plucky clan a chance – if only wife Evelyn wasn’t heavily pregnant as well. And well, we all know what new-born babies do… At a brisk 90 minutes, A Quiet Place is short and sweet and does everything that a 100% Rotten Tomatoes-approved thriller should do: yes, it is pretty good! Just one tiny wee qualm though – half way in during that excruciating birth scene, we do finally get to see the nasty drooling bastards up close. And doggone it, they look exactly like they’ve just scuttled off the set of the Alien series. In an otherwise thoroughly original shocker destined for wide release and such universal acclaim, couldn’t its army of CGI artists have thought of something else? M at Palace Norton St, Palace Central, Broadway, Burwood, Rhodes and Dendy Newtown from April 5. ★★★★1/2

Also opening this week

Walking Out  is a Sundance favourite about a father and son hunting trip set in the hauntingly beautiful Montana wilderness that goes badly. Unusually for an American indie too, it looks at masculinity and that country’s gun-culture without any of the usual preachy moralism. Not quite up there with Wind River or The Revenant, but this is similar turf. It also features stunning scenery and an angry grizzly. M Exclusive to Dendy Cinemas★★★1/2

Reviews – Russell Edwards