Welcome to our 777th weekly edition; Thursday, January 26, 2012

OSCAR NOMINATIONS - The Artist and Hugo acclaimed across most categories


What's the secret, people ask, why do people openly discuss their lives with you on national television? Scroll through the episodes; you can't stop watching.. Andrew L. Urban's Front Up, the prime time social documentary 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. Read More

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Movie reviews:
(Aust, 2011) Dir: Stephan Elliott. Stars Rebel Wilson, Olivia Newton-John, Xavier Samuel, Tim Draxl, Kris Marshall, Elizabeth Debicki, Kevin Bishop. " .. cleverly combines its culture clash and buddy themes with a wild tale embracing family secrets, a drug deal gone wrong and a romantic wedding filled with hilarious mishaps," says Louise. "Olivia Newton John is an absolute hoot as mother in law Barbara in this madcap romantic comedy that brings together English and Australian humour in earthy earnest," says Andrew.
INTERVIEW - Steph Elliott reveals his little director's tricks to get the best (worst) out of Olivia Newton John.
WIN - Win double passes to A Few Best Men, starring Xavier Samuel, Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop and Olivia Newton-John, courtesy Icon. Only at the Movies January 26.

Gossip free zone
* Box office slips in 2011 but Dog on top;
* Any questions for Any Questions.;
* Festive spirit to help Aust films;
* Green's Redd ready;

Twice weekly reports & charts. Weekend, January 19-22. Mary Sum Says: Golden Globes mean golden glow for The Descendants, with takings up 5% in its 2nd, post GG weekend, to $2.4 M and the No 1 spot in the top 20, ahead of Journey 2, which opened with $1.9 M - and on lower averages: $5,438 on 352 v $11,083 on 217. Tinker Tailor made its debut at No 6, with $1.4 M ($9,879 avg on 144 - second highest for the weekend). Young Adult, out on just 57 screens, took $236,336, and the top 20 was down 14% to $16.98 M.

Movies Now - Course begins February 1:
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.

This movie manipulates the viewer, director Jason Reitman happily tells Andrew L. Urban, and he can't think of anyone better to play Mavis than Charlize Theron.
REVIEWS - "Irresistible entertainment for those who enjoy life at its unfiltered best," says Louise; ".. an endlessly edgy film in which we are kept slightly off balance - but never fall," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2011) Dir: Clint Eastwood. Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Judi Dench, Dermot Mulroney. "DiCaprio's boyish looks don't age well, no matter how talented the make up team. For those familiar with Hoover's appearance, this is accentuated to a serious degree. It shouldn't matter - and if the storytelling were more robust and powerful, it perhaps wouldn't," says Andrew. " .. an elegant film from a classy filmmaker that will satisfy a discerning, intelligent audience," says Louise.

Movie reviews:
(UK, 2011) Dir: Andrew Haigh. Stars Tom Cullen, Chris New. "In an intimate exploration of its central relationship, this boy meets boy story addresses all the issues of being gay and meets them head on," says Louise. "Made with all the technical disadvantages of a home movie - dirty and confusing sound recording, sloppy camerawork (but here it's intentional, meant to look arty)," says Andrew.

Movie review:
(US, 2012) Stars Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, India Eisley. "More creature feature than vampire movie, this fourth edition of Underworld tries to emulate the stylistics of Len Wiseman's 2004 original, with Wiseman leading the writing team. Kate Beckinsale as Selene is as likeable now as she was then, but there is a jarring jumble sale approach to the film, with too many derivatives," says Andrew.

[Coming soon, They Grey, starring Liam Neeson. "Neeson is magnificent, leading a small but excellent cast in what is a haunting and chilling experience," says Louise.]
Calendar of films releasing.

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

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...)

- Craig Roberts, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor, Paddy Consadine, Sally Hawkins. "Richard Ayoade's debut feature about the inner turmoil of an adolescent brings a fresh, appealing voice to a subject that's as old as time.. The humour ripples along subtly, like an ambling brook rather than a gushing river: the smiles are inward," says Louise.

- Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin. "Fright Night has all the elements you'd expect from a teenage vampire movie in 2011 - and that's one of its problems: predictability. But it is also its strength, in that it sticks to the comic horror genre template," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
To win one of 10 double inseason passes to Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron, courtesy Paramount, we asked: Which old flame would you like to have a date with and why?

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 and dozens more. Over 500 films.

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