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AFTRS short 2014
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, September 18, 2014 - Edition No 915 
Reckoning

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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.

A MOST WANTED MAN
(US, 2014) Dir: Anton Corbijn. Stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel Adams, WIllem Dafoe. "Moody intrigue is the tone of this slow burning espionage thriller from John Le Carre in which Phillip Seymour Hoffman's solid presence as a scotch-drinking, chain-smoking, crumpled German operative leaves an indelible mark," says Louise.

BEGIN AGAIN
(US, 2014) Dir: John Carney. Stars Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, Hailee Steinfeld, Mos Def, Catherine Keener. "Music is the driver of this utterly charming film about songs, lost stars and being alone in New York City. Like different instruments that express their own statement as they play together, the characters each have a sound of their own, forming an orchestra of emotions, complete with harmonies, discords, textures and cadences," 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.

FELONY
(Aust, 2013) Dir: Matthew Saville. Stars Joel Edgerton, Tom Wilkinson, Jai Courtney, Melissa George. "The swaying of the moral tightrope brings tension, contemplation and alarm in this taut and absorbing psychological thriller… A cracker of a film," says Louise. "A rich and engaging screenplay that borrows from the police procedural and blends it with the themes of a morality play makes Felony compelling viewing," says Andrew.

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.

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.

THE INBETWEENERS 2
(US, 2014) Dir: Damon Beesley, Iain Morris. Stars Freddie Stroma, Tarnia Kari, Emily Berrington, Simon Bird, James Buckley. "It's hard to imagine a more lowbrow brand of humour, with its excess of male genitalia, crude language and excrement jokes, yet there is an endearing element regarding these puerile juveniles as they venture Down Under for a new adventure," says Louise.

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.

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.

PREDESTINATION
(Aus, 2013) Stars Ethan Hawke, Sarah Snook. "It might bewildering, but chances are, you’ll enjoy the trip from the inventive Spierig Bros, whose wild concepts about inevitability, reshaping wrong doings and time travel will prompt agile brain gymnastics," 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 16, 2014


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