Welcome to our 1,037th weekly edition; Thursday January 26, 2017

MOVIES NOW RETURNS:
Six Wednesdays at 6.30, from Feb 1, 2017: Join Andrew L. Urban for the 33rd season of Movies Now at Dendy Newtown, Sydney, screening hand picked new movies (unannounced) prior to their commercial release, followed by a discussion with special guests.

Movie review:
SPLIT
(US, 2016) Dir: M. Night Shyamalan. Stars James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy. "A terrifying psycho thriller, an acting showcase for James McAvoy, and a return to form for M. Night Shyamalan, whose body of work since his brilliant The Sixth Sense has otherwise been a mess," says Louise.

Latest:
BOX OFFICE:
Top 20 films with box office figures, number of screens, screen averages, release details, percentage rise/fall and comment - every Monday & Thursday (after 4pm).

COMPETITIONS
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Win one of 5 inseason double passes to Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, courtesy Universal Pictures. Copyright 2016 Universal Studios. Release date: February 2.

Movie reviews:
LIVE BY NIGHT
(US, 2016) Dir: Ben Affleck. Stars Ben Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Brendan Gleeson, Sienna Miller, Elle Fanning. "Set during the Prohibition era, Ben Affleck's slick, beautifully directed gangster story offers a real sense of time and place, but stops short of delivering the complete package," says Louise. "The film looks the goods, although at times it's lit too brightly to be really true to the spirit of that genre, but there is a muddle in the editing, which comes from a muddle in the writing," says Andrew.

Movie review:
xXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE
(US, 2017) Dir: D.J. Caruso. Stars Vin Diesel, Samuel L. Jackson, Toni Collette, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone. "Kiss ass, get the girl and be cool is the mantra of this popcorn movie that relies on its larger than life star and slew of stunts to make its mark. (But) it is short on thrills with action sequences that for the most part feel perfunctory..." says Louise.

Movie reviews:
PERFECT STRANGERS (2016)
(Italy, 2016) Dir: Paolo Genovese. Stars Giuseppe Battiston, Anna Foglietta, Marco Giallini. " Squirm a little; squirm a lot... Relationships falter and friendships are shredded in this techno-relevant Italian comedy of errors in which the mobile phone is revealed to be 'the black box of our lives'", says Louise. "The delicious promise is that this dinner party will be a feast for the audience, a series of embarrassing revelations which are entertaining if you are in your comfy cinema seat, but traumatic if you are at the table," says Andrew.

Feature:
OSCARS 2017: NOMINATIONS
Australian attention this year is on the six nominations for Lion (including Best Picture), Hacksaw Ridge (Best Picture nominee) and the Foreign Language Category, where Tanna is nominated; but Hollywood will be looking for La La Land ...

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming in March, Loving, starring Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton. "Painting his cinematic palette with economy and understatement, Midnight Special director Jeff Nichols allows this potent civil rights story to unfold - simply and without fanfare," says Louise.]
Calendar of films releasing in February

NEW TRAILERS
David Stratton: A Cinematic Life - documentary with David Stratton;
Miss Sloane, stars Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong;
Logan, stars Hugh Jackman, Boyd Holbrook;
Alone in Berlin, stars Daniel Bruhl, Brendan Gleeson, Emma Thompson;
Hidden Figures, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Costner;
Fences, stars Denzel Washington, Viola Davis;

NEW DVDS:
GIRL ON THE TRAIN
Stars Emily Blunt, Hayley Bennett, Luke Evans, Justin Theroux. "A case of hit and miss, this voyeuristic psychological thriller replete with time jumps and multiple points of view confuses and drags through its early scenes but comes together in the end," says Louise.

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK
Stars Tom Cruise, Cobie Smulders. "Lacking in suspense and devoid of the kind of thrills we have come to expect from a big budget Tom Cruise action thriller, this sequel is a sorry disappointment, despite no shortage of showy action scenes and heavy-duty firepower," says Louise.

Competition winners:
INFERNO
To win, courtesy Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, we asked: With whom would you team up if you had amnesia and why? Hollie Tomlinson (Qld): Most definitely Nemo! He can handle the drama from all the time with Dory!

AUSTRALIAN FILMS
Every Australian film we have ever reviewed (film / DVD / video release), or have reported from the set, or featured in any way, is listed here, going back to films made even before the launch of Urban Cinefile, such as The Piano, Romper Stomper, Muriel's Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Gillian Armstrong's Women He's Undressed (pic) and dozens more. Over 600 films.

Travelfile:
DEBRECEN: HUNGARY
Hungary's second largest city, home of the famous Debreceni sausage mixes long history with a buzzing contemporary culture, reports Andrew L. Urban.

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