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17/12/2015: ANTICIPATING MOVIES NOW 2016

Pardon this self serving story (by Andrew L. Urban), but with the final course of Movies Now for 2015 behind us, participants are looking forward to the 11th year of private movie premieres, starting on Wednesday, February 3, 6.30pm, at Dendy Newtown: “As always, this course continues to exceed expectations. Looking forward to the 2016 offerings!” said one; “This course forces me to watch movies I would not normally pick which is good as I usually end up enjoying them,” said another.

The most recent course, ending December 2, included 99 Homes (ahead of its Nov. 19 opening), co-starring Michael Shannon, who has just been nominated for a Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor Award. Also in the program was Brooklyn (opens Feb. 11, 2016), whose star Saoirse Ronan is nominated for Best Actress as well as Steve Jobs (opens Feb. 4, 2016), whose star Michael Fassbender is nominated for Best Actor and his co-star Kate Winslet is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

Also in the program was a unique Sydney screening of The End of the Tour, which is only releasing in Melbourne (from December 3). This is the story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg) and acclaimed novelist David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel), which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace's epic, groundbreaking novel, Infinite Jest. (Based on a true story)

Rolling Stone’s much liked film critic Peter Travers wrote of the film: “Where's the drama and, hell, the laughs in the nonspectacle of two writers talking with and at each other? For a riveting answer, check out The End of the Tour.”

The course ended with a preview of French comedy hit The Belier Family (opens Dec. 26), in which a deaf farming family locates to a new village and amid the cows and the cheese and the idiot Mayor, their daughter, the only one who hears and speaks, is discovered by the school’s music teacher to have a glorious voice.

Presented under the auspices of Sydney University’s Centre for Continuing Education at Dendy Newtown, the course is presented by Urban; screened prior to its commercial release, each film is followed by a discussion with special guests, from the film where possible. For example, the score for 99 Homes was written by Australian screen composers Antony Partos and Matteo Zingales – both joined the participants and contributed to the discussion with anecdotes and insights into working on the film with director Ramin Bahrani.

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