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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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TOP 20 FILMS IN RELEASE AT A GLANCE

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.

CALVARY
(Ireland/UK, 2014) Dir: John Michael McDonagh. Stars Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly. “Plaiting strands of drama with gentle black humour, McDonagh has created a solid platform for the superlative Gleeson whose soulful, grounded presence is a compelling guide for a rich insight into the small coastal village inhabitants’ sins and virtues,” says Louise.

CHARLIE'S COUNTRY
(Aust, 2013) Dir. Rolf de Heer. Stars David Gulpilil, Peter Djigirr, Luke Ford. “The haunting face of David Gulpilil is the overwhelming image that remains after watching Rolf de Heer's film about a man conflicted by living on the edge of two worlds. In many ways, it's an extraordinary film…,” says Louise.

EDGE OF TOMORROW
(US, 2014) Dir: Christopher McQuarrie. Stars Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Lara Pulver, Jeremy Piven, Marianne Jean-Baptiste. "An audacious concept, superbly executed, this grand scale sci-fi thriller will knock your socks off, combining white-knuckle tension with exhilarating action and a sense of humour... This is a role like no other for Tom Cruise, whose protagonist endearingly goes from smarmy coward to selfless hero. As for Emily Blunt, who could have predicted her transformation into a combat-goddess?" says Louise.

FAULT IN OUR STARS, THE
(US, 2014) Dir: Josh Boone. Stars Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe, Not Wolff, Laura Dern. “A myriad of colours and textures are examined through a multi-faceted kaleidoscope in this teenage love story in which truths about bottled up stars, puddles of tears and things that don't happen as they should, play out in a heart-wrenching journey. Within the subject matter of mortality, love and loss comes a touching tale about first love complete with equal portions of joy and angst and elevated by two stunning performances by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort,” says Louise.

JERSEY BOYS
(US, 2014) Dir: Clint Eastwood. Stars John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Christopher Walken. “Beyond the toe-tapping songs, it’s the drama that brings grit to Clint Eastwood’s Jersey Boys which, like the successful musical, explores the rough and tumble background, turbulent relationships, struggle for success and of course the unique musical sound created by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons,” says Louise.

THE LUNCHBOX
(India, 2013) Dir. Ritesh Batra. Stars Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazddin Siddiqui. “Sometimes the wrong train will get you to the right station is a key expression in this rich relationship tapestry as it weaves its textures of loneliness through culinary pleasures. In this case, it’s the wrong lunch that reaches the right recipient and writer director Ritesh Batra in his debut feature, stirs his flavours gently, allowing the delicate aromas of human interaction to blossom unexpectedly in a heart-warming romance,” says Louise.

MALEFICENT
(US, 2014) Dir. Robert Stromberg. Stars Angelina Jolie, Juno Temple, Elle Fanning. "In a word, Maleficent is magical, with Angelina Jolie hypnotic as the betrayed fairy from whose perspective this re-imagining of the Sleeping Beauty is told. Jolie has never looked more stunning – big eyes, ruby lips, porcelain skin and chiselled cheekbones – her face simply glowing and glowering from a range of emotions to match the fairy tale’s narrative," says Louise.

SEX TAPE
US, 2014) Dir: Jake Kasdan. Stars Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel. "Sex sells they say, but here, it's the Diaz factor that holds all the aces, elevating this rather smutty concept into a mostly playful affair with some unexpected laugh-out-loud moments," says Louise.

THE TRIP TO ITALY
(UK, 2013) Dir : Michael Winterbottom. Stars Steve Coogan, Rob Bryden, Rosie Fellner. “The scrumptious combo of good food, beautiful Italy and the unbridled wit of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon makes this a compelling affair… Everything soars – the improvised patter, the left of field humour, the lunacy of the movie star improvisations and the combative, easy relationship between the two men,” says Louise.

THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY
(UK, 2014) Dir. Hossein Amini. Stars Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Oscar Isaac. “This is a tale filled with secrets and shadows with all the elements coming together serendipitously – good storytelling, layered performances and edge of seat tension to keep us guessing,” says Louise. “.It’s the three central performances that define this thriller, with the two men as the ‘two faces’ - the duality that they represent. (Janus was the god of beginnings and endings for the Romans …),” says Andrew.

WORDS AND PICTUES
(US, 2013) Dir: Fred Schepisi. Stars Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche. “Sparks fly and dynamics shift in a stimulating exchange when language and art jostle for top spot. Elevated by two top performances from Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche, the film is thoroughly enjoyable on many levels,” says Louise. “Gerald Di Pego’s intelligent, articulate screenplay provides plenty of opportunities for both intellectual and emotional swordplay in this ultimately gentle romantic comedy, acting as the railway tracks on which the performances take us on an enjoyable adventure of hearts and minds,” says Andrew.



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Updated July 30, 2014

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