TOP 20 FILMS IN RELEASE AT A GLANCE
TOP 20 FILMS IN RELEASE AT A
Short and sweet (or not) opinions on the most popular
current releases. An easy reference for choosing which movie to
see tonight ... or tomorrow ... or right now! (Occasionally we
also slip in a few
of the editors’ favourites if they don’t make the top 20...) This
list does not necessarily include new releases this week; for
this week’s new releases, please see our FRONT
PAGE or the REVIEWS menu.
A PLACE FOR ME
(US, 2012) Dir: Josh Boone. Stars Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins, Logan Lerman, Kristen Bell. “The outcomes may be a tad predictable, but the observations made in Boone’s screenplay are rich and textured. The film begins and ends with Thanksgiving; what happens in between is a moving highway where love, commitment and acceptance are travelling at high speed,” says Louise.
(US, 2013) Dir: Brad Anderson. Stars Halle Berry, Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut, Michael Eklund, David Otunga. “ .. tense and gripping nail-biter that involves us in the moment-by-moment revelations of a terrifying abduction case,” says Louise. “Hi, I’d like to order an abduction thriller set around the 911 emergency call centre in Los Angeles. Sure, would you like a psycho with that? Ah yes, and while we’re at it can I upsize to the hero being …er, a heroine … and black. Done,” says Andrew.
COMPANY YOU KEEP, THE
(US, 2012) Dir: Robert Redford. Stars Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Anna Kendrick, Richard Jenkins. “The changing face of idealism is the theme of this gripping, runaway thriller that meshes the generations and takes off the moment it begins… Redford has cherry picked an ideal cast of baby boomers,” says Louise. “Redford teases out a fictional but credible scenario about a group of characters who were once glued together in the Weather Underground protest group,” says Andrew.
(US, 2013) Dir: Kirk De Mico, Chris Sanders. Voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone, Catherine Keener, Clark Duke, Cloris Leachman. “Kids will respond to the slapstick humour and the physicality of the action, and adults will find moments of insight and emotion,” says Andrew.
(Aust, 2012) Dir: Morgan O’Neill & Ben Nott. Stars Sam Worthington, Myles Pollard, Xavier Samuel. “If screen surf perving is your thing, you will revel in Drift. It’s a sort of amalgam story of how surf gear culture and business began in the 70s in Australia, dotted with the struggles of two brothers… More grit and truth in the screenplay would have given the film the sort of wave that it needs to give us a really good ride,” says Andrew.
ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH
(US, 2013) Dir: Cal Brunker. Voices of Brendan Fraser, Rob Corddry, Ricky Gervais, Jonathan Morgan Heit, Jessica Alba. “Aliens of all shapes and sizes provide amusing banter in this likeable, happy and colourful 3D animation in which planets are saved and family ties nurtured. While the plot per se may not offer anything new, the characters are so darned likeable and the film’s tone light, bright and frivolous, it’s a happy innings for kids and adults alike,” says Louise. (Releasing this week in Victoria and Queensland.)
(Denmark, 2012) Dir: Thomas Venterberg. Stars Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Bjarne Henriksen, Lasse Fogelstrom, Annika Wedderkopp. “Mikkelsen delivers yet another superlative performance … The film builds to a stunning crescendo, playing out in the candle-lit church on Christmas Eve with heartbreaking conviction. But there is more to come, in a chilling postscript,” says Louise. “Nuanced but robust, the screenplay is a masterclass in exposition, drama, character portraiture - and cinema. It is also a vivid warning to society that yes, ‘thought is a virus’ that can maim and even kill,” says Andrew.
IRON MAN 3
(US, 2013) Dir: Shane Black. Stars Robert Downey Jr, Guy Pearce, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Kingsley, Rebecca Hall, Ty Simpkins. “The stunts are spectacular and the suits – whether flying or fighting - are terrific, while the humans add an edginess to the always fast-paced proceedings. The adults are, as you would expect, well oiled and seamless in their roles, but it’s young Ty Simpkins as Harley the smart kid who surpasses expectations,” says Andrew. “What’s not to like about a super-hero flick that delivers in imagination, excess, humour and star power? Humour is central to the plot but the storyline never loses sight of its commendable themes: good versus evil, integrity, loyalty and courage,” says Louise.
(US, 2013) Dir: Joseph Kosinski. Stars Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Andrea Riseborough. “… does its best to dazzle by its myriad of special effects, videogame-esque sequences and a plot that pretty well succeeds at confusing itself. I must not forget to mention the belligerent music. But it’s not all bad. Superb production design ensures the film’s visuals and for me, the best part is the contrasting dynamic between Cruise and his two striking female co-stars,” says Louise. “ .. writers who direct their own rather complex stories often are too familiar with the material to be able to really clarify it for the audience,” says Andrew.
OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN
(US, 2013) Dir: Antoine Fuqua. Stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Echhart, Finley Jacobsen, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Angela Bassett. “If this film were a pizza, it would be with double cheese plus all the trimmings you can pile on, and the base would be thick and heavy,” says Andrew. “If it’s just bullets, bangs and wham-bam action you are after, this is the film for you. If you’re looking for a credible tale with an emotional hit and something extra, you’ll be disappointed,” says Louise.
PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
(US, 2012) Dir: Derek Cianfrance. Stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendez. “Mike Patton’s grumbling song The Weight of Consequences eloquently reflects the hard-hitting theme of this provocative and gripping film in which three troubled roads are travelled,” says Louise.” With the final act, as we see the longer term impact of earlier actions, the film attains something akin to epic status, stirring notions of classic Greek tragedy before scaling back and completing itself as a contemporary morality tale,” says Andrew.
(US, 2013) Dir: Ric Roman Waugh. Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Jon Bernthal, Susan Sarandon. “Delivering above expectations, Snitch ratchets it up beyond the average superficial action thriller in its portrayal of a gritty slice of life, being the consequences for actions taken in dire circumstances,” says Louise.
SONG FOR MARION
(UK/Germany, 2012) Dir: Paul Andrew Williams. Stars Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston. “The sentiments expressed are sincere and the performances have great veracity so it is a shame that the film itself lacks the juice and pace proffered by its energetic cast,” says Louise.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS 3D
(US, 2013) Dir. J.J. Abrams. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg. “It is with grand scale, good storytelling and a real spirit of adventure capturing the essence of the Star Trek brand that J.J. Abrams’ second film torpedoes onto the screen in 3D, bringing with it the kind of special effects fantasies are made of. Fortunately, the solid characterisations, humour and relationships are given equal weight,” says Louise. “Except for the occasional 3D indulgence of things flying at your face, making you wince and duck, Star Trek Into Darkness is, for me, a pleasant surprise; thrilling and engaging, sometimes harrowing and always cinematically satisfying,” says Andrew.
(Portugal/Germany/Brazil/France, 2012) Dir: Miguel Gomes. Stars Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira, Henrique Espirito Santo. “If you are still awake after the first hour of this challenging and at times off-putting film from filmmaker Miguel Gomez, you may find some unexpected ethereal rewards in the second half, when a curious, dialogue-free narrative is the vehicle that transports us into another realm,” says Louise.
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Updated May 21, 2013
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