Welcome to our 785th weekly edition; Thursday, March 22, 2012

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Movie reviews:
THE HUNGER GAMES
(US, 2012) Dir: Gary Ross. Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Lenny Kravitz. "Courage and sacrifice are the themes of this futuristic thriller, fantasy and video game that are mashed up into one hell of a tasty package .. exciting, edgy and unpredictable and leaves its audience well satisfied as it waits for the next instalment," says Louise. "The cinematic visualisation of the upper class of Pinem - the nation that has replaced America - is painted with a surrealist brush that Salvador Dali might have dropped...(but the film) falls short of expectations, registering a low emotional score despite all that is at stake and a muddled intellectual essay despite the vivid elements," says Andrew.

Latest:
NEWS:
Gossip-free zone
* Upbeat news for Deadbeat Dads;

BOX OFFICE:
Twice weekly reports & charts. Weekend, March 15 - 18: With an opening of $4 M, 21 Jump Street took almost 40% of the top 20's take of $10.25 M (up 12%), with a screen average of $13,568 on 300. Ghost Rider came in 3rd with $0.83 M, and Margin Call 5th with $0.45 M on 57 screens. The Rum Diary (67 screens) took $0.31 M. Also opened: The Kid With A Bike (Madman) $8,814 on 2; Vincent Wants to Sea (Umbrella) $3,803 on 11 - a very disappointing result for both these film.

COMPETITIONS
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Win one of 10 double inseason passes to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel and Maggie Smith, courtesy Fox. Only at the Movies March 22.

Movie reviews:
THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
(UK, 2011) Dir: John Madden. Stars Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith, Dev Patel. "Chasing dreams, embracing change and quoting Kipling are some of the elements of this funny, bittersweet and uplifting tale set against a chaotic, colourful backdrop in India," says Louise. " .. a chaotic and colourful mixture of the predictable, the charming and the contrived," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
AFRICA UNITED
(UK/Sth Africa/Rwanda, 2010) Dir: Debs Gardner-Paterson. Stars Eriya Ndayambaj, Roger Nsengiyumva, Sanyu Joanita Kintu, Yves Dusenge, Sherrie Silver. "Road movie, adventure, comedy drama, a will-they-make-it .. no matter what label you give it, Africa United is a unique piece of filmmaking, full of the joys and wounds of Africa," says Andrew. "Like its infectious music and indelible African landscape, the sheer enthusiasm of this upbeat film championing friendship and dreams instantly rubs off," says Louise.

Movie review:
THE RAID
(Indonesia, 2011) Dir: Gareth Huw Evans. Stars Iko Uwais, Ananda George, Ray Sahetapi, Verdi Solaiman. " .. an extraordinary endurance test for audiences, with silat (Indonesian) martial arts action that is more protracted, more violent and more authentically staged than anything I have seen in the genre," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
BLACK & WHITE & SEX
(Aust, 2011) Dir: John Winter. Stars Katherine Hicks, Anya Beresdorf, Valerie Bader, Roxane Wilson, Michelle Vergara Moore, Dina Panozzo, Saskia Burmeister, Maia Thomas. "Bravura filmmaking on a taboo subject .. rips off the covers and thrusts us into the open volcano of the sex worker's inner persona," says Andrew. "Foreplay, penetration, orgasms and happy endings are the pitstops of this ambitious, fearless film... It's confronting, intriguing, sensual and utterly complicated, as only men, women, life and sex can be," says Louise.

Movie review:
GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE 3D
(US, 2012) Dir: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor. Stars Nicolas Cage, Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba, Violante Placido. "Astonishing effects, brilliant production design, great locations, relentless pace and some wry lines well delivered give the film excellent entertainment value," says Andrew.

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming soon, Dr Seuss' The Lorax, voices of Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Betty White, Ed Helms, Danny DeVito, Rob Riggle. "Multi-coloured trees resembling fairy floss are the focus of this inventively funny, eco-friendly 3D animated confection from Dr Seuss in which it's raining marshmallows, humming fish sing in harmony and a young boy initiates change to impress his dream girl," says Louise. "Entertaining, sharply paced but accessible, The Lorax has enough maturity to engage adults and enough adventure to enthrall children," says Andrew.]
Calendar of films releasing .

NEW TRAILERS
Preview trailers of the latest films on your own screen:
Wish You Were Here, stars Felicity Price, Joel Edgerton;
Bel Ami, stars Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman;
First Night, stars Richard E. Grant, Sarah Brightman;
Men in Black 3, stars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson;
A Dangerous Method, stars Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley;
Black & White & Sex, stars Katherine Hicks, Anya Beyersdorf;
The Amazing Spiderman, stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone;
Marvel's The Avengers, stars Robert Downey Jnr. Scarlett Johanssen;

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
THE DEBT
Stars Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, Sam Worthington, Jesper Christiansen. "Superb filmmaking," says Louise. "A thriller with such powerful and emotive elements as The Debt towers above the everyday crime thriller, drawing on the cinematic oxygen of Nazi atrocities and their legacy," says Andrew.
INTERVIEW - Director John Madden talks about the making of The Debt.

HIGHER GROUND
Stars Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, Dagmara Dominczyk, John Hawkes. "I felt slightly brainwashed by the end and couldn't wait to head into the sunlight," says Louise.

RED STATE
Stars Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, John Goodman, Michael Angarano, Deborah Aquila. " .. cinematic hand grenade at rampant moral selectivity in contempo American life," says Andrew. "Sex, religion and politics are the three subheadings in the closing credits of Kevin Smith's strident Red State, which pretty much describes the film's themes. Each of them is equally sordid, which is how I felt at the end of this ugly film that negates everything that is good, pure and beautiful," says Louise.

IMMORTALS
Stars Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt. " .. this sword and sandal epic from the producers of 300 and The Fighter, plays out like a video-game," says Louise.

Competition winners:
THE DEBT DVD
To win one of 10 copies of The Debt on DVD, starring Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas and Sam Worthington, courtesy Universal. Available on DVD and Blu-ray on March 28, we asked: Who among family and friends owes a debt of some kind - to whom and what/why? Jenny Hermus (QLD): Abraham Lincoln once said; No one is poor who had a good mother. To all those great mothers out there - we owe you big time!

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, Rabbit Proof Fence (pic) and dozens more. Over 500 films.

TRAVELFILE - our new section:
HOTEL CHRISTINA, PERTISAU, TYROL, AUSTRIA
The first Australian to visit, Andrew L. Urban explores the Tyrolean village resort of Pertisau and its unique stone oil. (Photos by Louise Keller)

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