Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
The SWITCH team has fought tooth and nail to take down the top action films streaming right now!x
review, Dreamland, Dreamland, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Henry Rollins, Juliette Lewis, Astrid Roos, Bruce McDonald, Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

DREAMLAND

★★★

SURREALIST NOIR

SYDNEY UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
13th September 2019

Director Bruce McDonald (‘Hard Core Logo’, ‘The Tracy Fragments’) has been one of the most prominent indie voices in Canadian cinema for the past three decades. He is known for his love for pop culture and aptitude for cheekiness in his films. His filmography spans far and wide, covering a plethora of diverse genres and themes.

McDonald and Tony Burgess first teamed up in 2008, when McDonald directed Burgess’ screenplay adaptation of his own novel ‘Pontypool Changes Everything’. The result was the sublime ‘Pontypool’, which followed a morning radio DJ named Grant Mazzy (veteran character actor Stephen McHattie, in the role he was born to play) as he began his normal day at a new gig in a small Canadian town with his producer Sydney (Lisa Houle).

Without warning, reports arise of people saying strange things, chanting, spouting gibberish. It turns violent. From there, the situation spirals out of control. It’s a thinking man’s zombie movie, a satisfyingly weird piece of filmmaking that feels like it could have been made 50 years ago, would have been particularly relevant ten years ago, and still hums in the age of Twitter and YouTube. To say much more would be to spoil its twist on a classic horror trope, but the film ends on a weird note, with a noir-inspired post-credit sequence that doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the movie.

McDonald’s latest film, a strange mix of noir atmosphere and surrealism called ‘Dreamland’, not only reunites him with Burgess, McHattie and Houle, it also acts as a spin-off to that unusual post-credit sequence from ‘Pontypool’.

Johnny Dead Eyes (the always superb McHattie, ‘Come to Daddy’) is a skilled gun for hire working for crime boss Hercules (Henry Rollins), who runs a nightclub called Al-Qaeda. For his next job, Hercules wants Johnny to take the right little finger from drug-addicted jazz trumpet player The Maestro (also McHattie, but with better grooming). Dead Eyes and The Maestro are doppelgängers, although this never factors into the story aside from the hitman musing: "We start out as a bunch of people, but we end up as one." However, Dead Eyes begins to get second thoughts about the job when he discovers that Hercules has begun a human trafficking operation. "Don’t be a fuckface," advises Hercules, clad in a gold-sequined jacket and wielding the manic demeanour of a David Lynch character.

Dead Eyes discovers that a kidnapped 14-year-old girl is being sold to The Countess (a scenery-chewing Juliette Lewis, ‘Ma’, ‘Nerve’) and will be married off at an elaborate ceremony, soundtracked by The Maestro. When Deadeyes inquires who the groom might be, Hercules replies: "The Countess’ brother. Some kinda vampire, I don’t know," because the brother (Tómas Lemarquis, ‘Blade Runner 2049’) actually is a bald Nosferatu-like vampire. Like the many other weird events in the film, nobody acts surprised by this. Dead Eyes must prevent this wedding with the assistance of Lisa (Lisa Houle), who... well, I’m not quite clear on her identity or what her relationship to anyone else is.

The violence and insanity of ‘Dreamland’ have a lightness and imaginative quality that feels quite unique - this is a film driven by a hazy, dreamlike logic.

The violence and insanity of ‘Dreamland’ have a lightness and imaginative quality that feels quite unique - this is a film driven by a hazy, dreamlike logic. Set against an unnamed Eastern European city and refusing to elaborate on its exact time period, the film is awash with odd moments and unexplained quirks. In one scene, a woman puts a rifle to the head of The Maestro and implores him to kill her husband, as the husband nods understandingly. A short time later we see the couple again, the previous encounter seemingly forgotten. This comes just moments after the hitman is gunned down by a squad of neatly-dressed children armed with pistols, barely escaping with his life.

McDonald has always been an ambitious and difficult-to-categorise director, and his latest film evokes the jumps in logic, tone, and setting that its name implies. The movie is an intentional mishmash that, if you look too closely, may well seem convoluted and the unsettling nature of the film ends up being more irritating than inviting. But there is also a genuine sense of fun that makes up for it.

‘Dreamland’ is an extremely strange movie, and that strangeness will either endear it to you or alienate you. Equal parts violent, tragic, comic, silly and surreal, your best bet is to go limp and let the madcap moments of the film wash over you.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 32m
CAST: Stephen McHattie
Lisa Houle
Henry Rollins
Juliette Lewis
Astrid Roos
DIRECTOR: Bruce McDonald
WRITERS: Tony Burgess
Patrick Whistler
PRODUCERS: Rob Merilees
Morris Ruskin
SCORE: Jonathan Goldsmith
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Looking for more Sydney Underground Film Festival reviews? Click here to check out our collection of this year's highlights.
The Sophia Loren Collection: Volume One - See the screen legend like never before
TRENDINGWIN THE SOPHIA LOREN COLLECTION: VOLUME ONESee the screen legend like never before
Spies in Disguise - An awesome animated spy film for the whole family
TRENDINGWIN SPIES IN DISGUISEAn awesome animated spy film for the whole family
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best action films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best action films streaming right now
Pixar Animation, ranked - Revisiting and ranking the films of the animation powerhouse
TRENDINGPIXAR ANIMATION, RANKEDRevisiting and ranking the films of the animation powerhouse
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best family films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best family films streaming right now
28 Days Later - ...15 years later
TRENDING28 DAYS LATER...15 years later
Birds of Prey - I'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
TRENDINGBIRDS OF PREYI'm here to report a terrible crime: DC has saved cinema
Vivarium - What makes a house a (horrific) home?
TRENDINGVIVARIUMWhat makes a house a (horrific) home?
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Sleeping Beauty - A history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
TRENDINGSLEEPING BEAUTYA history of Disney's masterpiece on its 60th anniversary
How to Train Your Dragon - An animation that reached new heights
TRENDINGHOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGONAn animation that reached new heights
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best comedy films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best comedy films streaming right now
A Guide to Second Date Sex - A quintessentially awkward British romantic comedy
TRENDINGA GUIDE TO SECOND DATE SEXA quintessentially awkward British romantic comedy
Back of the Net - Misses the net, and then some
TRENDINGBACK OF THE NETMisses the net, and then some
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
Lion - A raw and powerful journey of identity
TRENDINGLIONA raw and powerful journey of identity
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
TRENDINGCHILDREN OF THE SEASunk by a soggy script
Lockdown and Catch Up - The best action films streaming right now
TRENDINGLOCKDOWN AND CATCH UPThe best action films streaming right now
© 2011 - 2020 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us