Welcome to our 775th weekly edition; Thursday, January 12, 2012

Andrew L. Urban's Front Up, the prime time social documentary interview series from the 1990s, is getting a second life on YouTube with a dedicated playlist on the SBS Australia Channel - the first time SBS ever hosted full episodes on YouTube.
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Movie reviews:
Dir: Alexander Payne. Stars George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Beau Bridges. "Like the waves on the beautiful Hawaiian beaches, our emotions rise and fall in this splendid, emotionally rich drama in which laughter and tears are balanced on the precarious surfboard of life," says Louise. " .. heartfelt and sometimes heartbreaking story about love, death, duty and responsibility," says Andrew.
WIN one of 10 inseason double passes to The Descendants, starring George Clooney, courtesy 20th Century Fox. Only at the Movies January 12.

* A feast of silent masters;
Weekend, January 5 - 8: Twice weekly reports & charts. Mary Sum says: Sherlock Holmes had a good weekend, taking $6.43 M, with screen averages of $16,674 (on 386). Chipmunks did well, too in second weekend, with $3.64 M - $13,617 avg on 268. The Iron Lady had the third highest averages, with $10,099 on 116 ($1.17 M).

Movies Now:
A new series of 6 'surprise premieres' begins on February 1 at Dendy Newtown hosted by Andrew L. Urban for Sydney University's Centre for Continuing Education. This, the 18th course, will include Bruce Beresford as a discussion guest. The course offers unannounced films to screen each Wednesday prior to their commercial release.

Featured Preview:
Shortly after her divorce, Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), a writer of teen literature, returns to her small hometown in Minneapolis to revisit her glory days and attempt to reclaim her happily married high school sweetheart Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson). When returning home and reclaiming Buddy proves more difficult than she thought, Mavis forms an unusual bond with a former classmate Matt (Patton Oswalt) who has demons and challenges of his own.

Featured Preview:
When David (Xavier Samuel) travels to Australia to marry the love of his life, his three best men give a whole new meaning to the phrase 'for better or worse'. The chaos-filled wedding is a classic culture clash between his friends and her family . because blood is thicker than water and so are David's mates!

Movie reviews:
Dir: David Fincher. Stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson. "This stylish film soars; it's a remake worth seeing," says Louise. "Satisfyingly complex and captivating, the film holds our attention for the entire 158 minutes of running time," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
Dir: Martin Scorsese. Stars Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Ray Winstone, Emily Mortimer, Jude Law. " .. there is a dip in the film when youngsters will become restless and adults will be gazing at their watches. But there are many lovely things in this film it is easy to forgive its small shortcomings," says Louise. "Never mind that the tone wavers and the pace is mostly plodding, the film champions all the right things and the beautifully crafted images (in 3D glory) leave a lasting impression," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
Dir: Stars Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Rashida Jones, Alan Arkin. Voices Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz. "I smiled throughout this madcap joyous adventure in which the Muppets are funny, silly, colourful and totally endearing in what must be the happiest film of the New Year," says Louise. "The innocence is slightly twisted, the harmonious camaraderie is slightly corrosive and the characters are slightly eccentric," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
Dir: Hiromasa Yonebayashi. Voices (English) Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, Olivia Colman, Phyllida Law, Luke Allen-Gale, Mark Strong. "The film has a reasonably high Japanese cute factor, but the overused music is not so much cute and gratingly sentimental. All the English charm has been sucked out of the story and replaced by less appealing replica in which the joys are few and far between," says Andrew. "A somewhat charming experience, albeit not as successful as Spirited Away or Howl's Moving Castle," says Louise.

At a glance:
TOP 20
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...)

[Coming soon, Buck, documentary with Buck Brennaman and Robert Redford. "It's honest, earnest and engaging," says Andrew. "Horses are a mirror of your soul, says Buck in this unique documentary about a unique man whose philosophy dealing with horses goes much further than the stable," says Louise.]
Upcoming release schedule.

Preview trailers of the latest films on your own screen:
Carnage, stars Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz;
Thirst, stars Victoria Haralabidou, Myles Pollard;
A Few Best Men, stars Rebel Wilson, Xavier Samuel, Olivia Newton-John;
The Vow, stars Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum;
The Amazing Spiderman, stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone;

Stars Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic. "There are many wonderfully insightful moments in this rather odd little film," says Louise.

CHALET GIRL - Stars Felicity Jones, Ed Westwick, Tamsin Egerton, Bill Nighy, Brooke Shields. "..combines the underdog genre with fish out of water and ugly duckling themes to surprisingly good effect," says Andrew.

Stars Neil Patrick Harris, Jayma Mays, Hank Azaria; voices Jonathan Winters, Katy Perry, Alan Cumming. "A smurfection of blue cutedom, The Smurfs (in 2D and 3D) makes good the promise that feeling blue can be a happy thing," says Louise.

HAPPY EVER AFTERS - Stars Sally Hawkins, Sinead Maguire, Tom Riley. "A touch of African music is the highlight of this misconceived Irish screwball comedy but unfortunately there is not very much of it," says Louise.

13 ASSASSINS - Stars Koji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yusuke Iseya, Goro Inagaki. "There are many deft touches, a sprinkling of humour and a great deal of grunting and shouting as men clash in hand to hand combat," says Andrew.

ZOOKEEPER - Stars Kevin James, Rosario Dawson, Leslie Bibb; voices: Adam Sandler, Sylvester Stallone, Judd Apatow. "When you hear the giraffe yelling May Day, right at the beginning of Zookeeper, take heed; it's a distress signal that we are about to witness a disaster," says Louise.

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, Head On (pic) and dozens more. Over 500 films.

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