Welcome to our 782nd weekly edition; Thursday, March 1, 2012

FRONT UP ON YOUTUBE
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. New episodes every Thursday.

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Movie reviews:
CARNAGE
(France/Germany/Poland, 2011) Dir: Roman Polanski. Stars Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly. "It's fascinating, confronting and often extremely funny in the way only real life situations can be," says Louise. "The screenplay develops beautifully as layer after layer of civilised behaviour is pared back. The awkward interaction of parents about their boys switches gear to become a hostile interaction of couples about their inner demons and relationship struggles," says Andrew.

Latest:
NEWS:
* Gossip-free zone;

BOX OFFICE:
Twice weekly reports & charts.
Weekend February 23 - 26: Total gross for the top 20 films last weekend was down 13% to $9,829,714. Average per screen for the top 20 was $3,449. Mary Sum is Adelaide on assignment.

COMPETITIONS
LIKE CRAZY
Win one of 10 double inseason passes to Like Crazy, starring Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlie Bewley and Alex Kingston, courtesy Paramount Pictures. Only at the Movies on March 1.

Movie reviews:
A SEPARATION
(Iran, 2011) Dir: Asghar Farhadi. Stars Peyman Moadi, Leila Hatami, Sareh Bayat, Shahab Hosseini, Sarina Farhadi. "The performances and direction match the sharply observed screenplay, which is layered and nuanced, never settling for the pat answer. Indeed, it avoids answers as much as it can, giving audiences a far more interactive experience than most films," says Andrew. " .. thought provoking and powerful drama. One action becomes the trigger for the unravelling that filmmaker Asghar Farhadi explores: secrets, lies and truths are exposed," says Louise.

Movie reviews:
LIKE CRAZY
(US, 2011) Dir: Drake Doremus. Stars Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, Jennifer Lawrence. "In many ways it's a beautiful portrayal of innocence couched in idealism and romantic love. But there are frustrations. For me, the most off-putting thing about the film is Dustin O'Halloran's incessantly intrusive music score which drones constantly, especially through scenes in which there is no dialogue. It makes what could have been a sweet and involving tour de force into a rather heavy-handed drama," says Louise.

Movie reviews:
A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN
(US, 2011) Dir: Nicole Kassell. Stars Kate Hudson, Peter Dinklage, Gael Garcia Bernal, Whoopi Goldberg, Lucy Punch. "Peter Dinklage is the surprise package in this mash up . ... in which his role of an escort with a reputation to deliver 'a little bit of heaven' brings a welcome lift and unexpected honesty to a film that crumbles under its own weight and aspirations," says Louise.

Movie review:
PROJECT X
(US, 2012) Dir: Nima Nourizadeh. Stars Thomas Mann, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Oliver Cooper. "Officially classified MA15+, it should really be IM18- (suitable for immature audience under 18) ... I can't even defend the film on the grounds that it succeeds at its own intent, because it has no intent - it has nothing to say," says Andrew.

Movie review:
SIONE'S 2: UNFINISHED BUSINESS
(NZ, 2011) Dir: Simon Bennett. Stars Oscar Knightley, Robbie Magasiva, Shimpal Lelisi. "The screenplay is comedically peppered with cultural references and irreverent humour, and the performances are designed to fit in with the tone, as new director Simon Bennett intends. There is a simplicity to the film that is endearing and the expat community of New Zealanders and Polynesians will embrace it wholeheartedly, laughing approvingly of its cultural accuracy, even if it pokes gentle fun at them," says Andrew.

Awards:
OSCAR WINNERS
And the Oscars went to ...

French Film Festival 2012:
TWO KINDS OF WAR
Opening night at the 2012 Alliance Francaise French Film Festival - and the official French Oscar entry for 2012 - is Valérie Donzelli's Declaration of War, a contempo drama about a young couple defiant in the face of a baby with brain tumour; the Fest will close with the Francois Truffaut's 1980 classic, The Last Metro, starring Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve.

Insider Briefing:
HAVE CROWD, WILL FUND!
Inside a crowdfunding project - and some tips learnt by experience - by Michael Ney and Tim Maddocks.

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming soon, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. "Chasing dreams, embracing change and quoting Kipling are some of the elements of this funny, bittersweet and uplifting tale set on a chaotic, colourful backdrop in India," says Louise. "Just like the brochure for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the film, with its much loved British veterans such as Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Tom Wilkinson, holds out a promise of adventure and a rich, colourful entertainment," says Andrew.]
Films releasing soon....

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...)

DVDS THIS WEEK:
CONTAGION
Stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon. "Most effective as a social observation, Contagion works best as an overview; our empathy for those involved is limited," says Louise. "Steven Soderbergh's Contagion is a disaster movie with a message - well, more a warning: if the virus doesn't get you, your neighbour probably will. I'm not sure which is scarier," says Andrew.

THE CUP
Stars Stephen Curry, Brendan Gleeson, Daniel Macpherson, Jodi Gordon, Colleen Hewett, Bill Hunter. "It's a great story, but it's not a great film," says Andrew.

IN TIME
Stars Justin Timberlake, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy. "I felt strangely uninvolved and disappointed in what should have been a scorcher of a sci-fi thriller," says Louise.

MOZART'S SISTER
Stars Marie Féret, Marc Barbé, Delphine Chuillot, David Moreau, Clovis Fouin, Lisa Féret. "This is a journey into an era where status is everything and if you were born a woman, there are no choices in the happiness stakes," says Louise. "Who knew? Mozart had a sister? He did. 'What if' is usually the mantra for sci-fi movies, not biopics, but in this case we can't help but wonder what if Maria Anna 'Nannerl' Mozart had been born not in 1751 but in 1961, all her composing and vocal talents intact. Could she perhaps have made a brilliant career," says Andrew.

FIGHTING FEAR
Documentary featuring Mark Mathews narrated by Joel Edgerton. "when the publicity material says "surprisingly emotional, powerfully uplifting and utterly compelling film .." for once we can believe it," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
THE WHISTLEBLOWER DVD
To win one of 10 copies of The Whistleblower on DVD, starring Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz courtesy Hopscotch Entertainment, we asked: Who among family and friends is a role model, a figure of honesty and sincerity and why?

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, Little Fish (pic) and dozens more. Over 500 films.

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