Lloyd Marken is a freelance writer with a passion for the arts who has been published with Scenestr, Heavy, Buzz, X-Press, FilmInk and Weekend Notes. Visit my blog at https://backtothedrawingboardproductions.com/
The 2019 Brisbane International Film Festival wraps up this weekend but there are still plenty of films to check out. There are five participating cinemas with Reading in Newmarket, the New Farm Six Cinemas, the Elizabeth Picture Theatre in the heart of the Brisbane CDB, as well as the home base of GOMA at Southbank and the State Library of Qld next door.
Some of the films on offer have included thought-provoking pieces from around the world, a large raft of excellent documentaries and classics from this year's patrons Baz Luhrmann and Catherine Martin.
One film showed was the Australian zombie comedy Little Monsters starring Lupita Nyong'o, Alexander England and Josh Gad. Another Australian genre film sporting some American actors in lead roles, Little Monsters also sports the Australian sensibility of taking the piss whether that be out of genre tropes or what the characters represent.
England stars as Dave, an arrested man-child, recently dumped with a stalled music career and looming mid-life crisis. He takes refuge with his sister Tess, a single Mum (Kat Stewart sorely wasted here) and his adorable nephew Felix (Diesel La Torraca).
Having met his nephew's teacher Miss Caroline (Lupita Nyongo'o) he volunteers to be a chaperone on a school excursion to meet children's TV host Teddy McGiggle (Josh Gad) in the middle of a farm retreat.
At first, the male characters are so pathetic that the gender politics get a bit on the nose but as the film goes on characters are allowed to become complex and nuanced beings. While the plot is a little predictable at times there are also some pay-offs to previous set-ups that satisfy greatly.
The cast of kids give great performances that make the characters distinct from each other. England proves game and Gad and Nyongo'o seem to be having the time of their lives playing their roles.
Writer-director Abe Forsythe makes wonderfully crude and hilarious dialogue and his tongue in cheek humour also shines through in the more than serviceable action sequences.
Lupita, in particular, makes great use of a hero landing and there is a neat juxtaposition of a child in a Darth Vader costume getting past a bunch of zombies that works on a few different levels.
Little Monsters may not be a cinematic revelation but it is a lot of fun, the kind of film bound to have some re-watch value and prove an instant crowd-pleaser.