Welcome to our 778th weekly edition; Thursday, February 2, 2012

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:
(France, 2011) Dir: Michel Hazanavicius. Stars Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo, John Goodman, James Cromwell. "It's easy to be captivated by this unique, universal piece that above all makes us care for its characters as we journey through a maze of emotions," says Louise. "Everything about The Artist is unique, from its beautiful black and white images as it pays tribute to the silent movies of the 1920s to the casting choices and the resolution," says Andrew. (Best Film, Golden Globes & Nominee Oscars)
INSIDER BRIEFING - Unique, romantic, bitter-sweet; the making of The Artist.

* Persian Film Fest for Sydney;
* Black & White & Sex favoured at Rotterdam;

Twice weekly reports & charts. Weekend, January 26 - 29. Mary Sum Says: Grossing almost $1.9 M (242 screens) on its debut, A Few Best Men had a stronger opening weekend than Red Dog, Bran Nue Day and Muriel's Wedding, all of which took over $10 M at cinemas before home entertainment sales & rentals. Underworld: Awakening topped the weekend chart with $2.68 M (214 screens) and The Descendants held steady at No 2 with $2.37 M 224 screens). Also opened: Weekend (MA, Rialto) $39,334 on 6.

AACTA Awards:
Red Dog was top dog at the inaugural AACTA Awards. In all, eight feature film and 12 TV awards were presented at Sydney's Opera House (Jan 31, 2012) in the second round of Australian screen awards, broadcast (later in the evening) on the Nine Network.

SAG Awards:
Perhaps the big surprise in the Screen Actors Guild awards is that neither hot favourites Meryl Streep nor Michelle Williams won the big female gong, but Viola Davis from The Help. Likewise in the supporting category, the actors preferred Octavia Spencer from The Help, leaving the other four Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Jessica Chastain, (The Help), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids) and Janet McTeer (Albert Nobbs) empty handed - and us surprised. But not critical.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2012) Dir: Asger Leth. Stars Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris. "With its grab-you title and reliable star power, Man on a Ledge delivers what the high impact concept promises: high voltage tension," says Andrew. "This is a ripper of a film that never runs out of puff," says Louise.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2011) Dir: Sean Durkin. Stars Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson. "It's a star turn from Elizabeth Olsen, whose vulnerable presence and gripping performance impacts as the narrative with its jagged edges of paranoia unfolds," says Louise. " .. a movie for film lovers who can handle disturbing subjects about the human condition and do not feel the need to see a cute puppy in every film," says Andrew.
COMPETITION - Win one of 10 double inseason passes to Martha Marcy May Marlene, starring Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson & Hugh Dancy, courtesy Fox. Only at the Movies February 2.

Movie reviews:
(UK/US, 2012) Dir. Josh Trank. Stars Michael B. Jordan, Dane DeHaan, Michael Kelly, Anna Wood. "A wish fulfilment sci-fi thriller like Chronicle is an ideal movie escape for 18 - 24 year olds who imagine the world would be a better place (for them) if they could do whatever they wanted," says Andrew. "..an interesting, unique quality, offering good reason for its raw camerawork that changes during the course of the narrative. This is inventive filmmaking," says Louise.

[Coming soon, Aki Kaurismaki's Le Havre, star André Wilms, Jean-Pierre Daroussin, Kati Outinen. "There's something extremely pure about this simple yet beautiful film in which ordinary people do extraordinary things," says Louise. "Le Havre could be described as the ever-quirky Aki Kaurismaki's 'wish list' film addressing today's tide of refugees who are usually faceless crowds or worse, corpses at the unintended end of their journey," says Andrew.]
Calendar of films releasing...

Preview trailers of the latest films on your own screen:
The Amazing Spiderman, stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone;
The Vow, stars Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum;
Carnage, stars Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz;
Thirst, stars Victoria Haralabidou, Myles Pollard;

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...)

Stars Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone. "Soulmates, one-night-stands, unrequited love and game changers are the ingredients of this delectable romantic comedy that cooks up a pretty and powerful head of steam," says Louise. "With a spider's web of relationships, Crazy, Stupid Love throws a whole lot of emotional pain into the mix to bake a cake of instantly recognisable joys and misadventures in pursuit of loving bliss. ," says Andrew.

Documentary. "If you have ever sat in a train as it sped through suburbs and caught glimpses of houses, backyards, apartment blocks, parks, fields, forests and lakes, cows, horses and goats, along valleys overlooked by mountains . then you have some idea of how Life in a Day looks like. Some of it is intriguing and you wish the train could stop, some of it is banal, some of it is beautiful and some it is dull. Yes, there is a cumulative effect of so many snapshots of life on earth, but it isn't meaningful so much as jumbled," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
To win one of 10 double inseason passes to A Few Best Men, starring Xavier Samuel, Kris Marshall, Kevin Bishop and Olivia Newton-John, courtesy Icon, we asked: Who among family and friends would you NOT want as your best man or bridesmaid and why? Narelle Williams (NT) says: Probably not my sister - she is a karaoke freak and can not control herself in front of a microphone!

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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