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AFTRS short 2014
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, September 30, 2014 - Edition No 917 

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TOP 20 FILMS IN RELEASE AT A GLANCE

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.

BOXTROLLS, THE
(US, 2014) Dir: Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi. Voices of Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Ben Kingsley, Jared Harris. “The stop-motion animation is extraordinary, but there is something lacking in this third film from Laika Studios – heart,” says Louise.

BOYHOOD
Stars Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette. "There is something quite extraordinary about Richard Linklater's film as it depicts a fictional representation about growing up, family, relationships and life's choices - using real time as its bookmark and calling card. It's like being a fly on the wall and watching 'ordinary' life change in front of our eyes," says LouiseStars Ellar Coltrane, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette. "There is something quite extraordinary about Richard Linklater's film as it depicts a fictional representation about growing up, family, relationships and life's choices - using real time as its bookmark and calling card. It's like being a fly on the wall and watching 'ordinary' life change in front of our eyes," says Louise.

THE EQUALIZER
(US, 2014) Dir: Antoine Fuqua. Stars Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz. “The pensive, brooding calm of an in-form Denzel Washington as the man who has to do what he does - because he can - alleviates this gritty thriller from Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, in which Washington plays the Russian mafia as if it were a deadly chess game,” says Louise.

GIVER, THE
(US, 2014) Dir: Phillip Noyce. Stars Brendan Thwaites, Odeya Rush, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes. “With consummate skill, director Phillip Noyce orchestrates all the complexities of the tale and its parallels with the state of the world, blending together its fantasy and thriller elements with a rich emotional heart,” says Louise. “Phillip Noyce has cast the film to ensure it has gravitas and we are engaged: Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges are the representatives of the two ends of the philosophical divide, and if he had cast unknowns, I suspect the film would have been less compelling, not to take away from a fine screenplay,” says Andrew.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
(US, 2014) Dir: James Gunn. Star Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, voices of Bradley Cooper & Vin Diesel. "Not since Han Solo and Chewbacca hit the galaxy has there been as much raucous energy and sheer fun as in this blast of a sci-fi fantasy involving a daredevil adventurer and a mysterious orb," says Louise.

HOUSE OF MAGIC 3D
(US, 2014) Dir: Jeremy Degruson, Ben Stassen. Voices of Cinda Adams, Edward Asner, George Babbit, Murray Blue. “It's the whimsy and mix of lovable characters that make this animated family film from Belgium a winner, especially for the youngsters, who will giggle and warm to the colourful visuals,” says Louise.

HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY, THE
(US/UK, 2014) Dir: Lasse Halstrom. Stars Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, Charlotte Le Bon. "I loved the book with its incongruous elements of food, culture clash and dreams, but the film is nothing but a schmaltzy saccharine shadow constructed with commercial realities in mind," says Louise. "Disappointingly, the talented Lasse Hallström has reduced the poignancy and earthiness to cinematic dross," says Andrew.

INTO THE STORM
(US, 2014) Stars Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Callies, Matt Walsh. "Engulfed in a plethora of terrifying special effects, it’s like being caught in the middle of a twister…. Steven Quale’s film delivers as expected, providing a sense of immediacy and urgency as a group of storm chasers, daredevils and students are thrown together in terrifying circumstances," says Louise.

THE LITTLE DEATH
(US, 2014) Dir: Craig Johnson. Stars Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader. “Dark secrets are revealed and raw emotions laid bare in this hard-hitting and moving film in which an indestructible bond between twins is both the trigger and the solution,” says Louise.

LUCY
(France, 2014) Dir: Luc Besson. Stars Scarlett Johansson, Analeigh Tipton, Morgan Freeman. “It might be too bizarre for some, but Luc Besson’s high concept exploration of the meaning of life as it deals with the human brain and its capacity, is wildly fascinating and blatantly sensational… an audacious film that stimulates and tantalises both visually and intellectually. Impossible to categorize, it’s a crime thriller cum sci-fi roller coaster…” says Louise.

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT
(US, 2014) Dir: Woody Allen. Stars Colin Firth, Emma Stone. "Rational thought and logic is pitted against magic and optimism in Woody Allen's delightful comedy in which Colin Firth and Emma Stone epitomise both ends of the spectrum. Of course love has something to do with it," says Louise. "The end is nigh for 79 year-old Woody, and thoughts of the afterlife after soak into his screenplays…It's all a bit over-simplified and overstated," says Andrew.

THE MAZE RUNNER
(US, 2014) Dir: Wes Ball. Stars Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Patricia Clarkson. “It doesn't quite have the bite or originality of The Hunger Games, but there are parallels in this first of a new sci-fi action fantasy franchise about survival in a controlled environment,” says Louise.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR
(US, 2014) Dir: Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez. Stars Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Rosario Dawson, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke. “The stylistic brilliance of the Sin City sequel is much the same as its forerunner in 2005 - an explosive interpretation of Frank Miller's graphic novels in which dames are curvaceous temptresses and men are killing machines at the ready,” says Louise. “The mood is dry as gunpowder - and as explosive,” says Andrew.

SKELETON TWINS, THE
(US, 2014) Dir: Craig Johnson. Stars Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader. “Dark secrets are revealed and raw emotions laid bare in this hard-hitting and moving film in which an indestructible bond between twins is both the trigger and the solution,” says Louise.

STEP UP ALL IN
(US, 2014) Dir: Trish Sie. Stars Gyan Guzman, Briana Evigan, Adam G. Sevani. “Sensational high energy dancing with inventive choreography and sassy rhythms make this fifth film in the franchise fly, even though the plot is wafer thin and the girl boy dynamic wanting. Oh if only Channing Tatum, who leapt to stardom in the 2006 film had returned to be part of the ‘all in’ casting, rather than relying on the presence of Ryan Guzman, who has all the physical attributes – except charisma,” says Louise.

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS
z9NZ, 2014) Stars Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi Jonathan Brugh. "Filled with throw away humour and occasional LOL moments of the ghoulish kind, the film's technical achievements help audiences take it seriously while at the same time laughing along with the comedic ideas," says Andrew.



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Updated September 30, 2014


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