Welcome to our 792nd weekly edition; Thursday, May 10, 2012

Surprise surprise... secret movie previews:
Join Andrew L. Urban for the 19th course of Movies Now, 6 new movies, Wednesdays from June 27 screening upcoming movies prior to their release followed by discussion. Presented at Dendy Newtown (Sydney) by the University of Sydney's Centre for Continuing Education. $234 (includes background notes & wrap drinks).BOOKINGS

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Movie reviews:
(US, 2012) Stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Chloë Grace Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter. " .. the film is drenched in Danny Elfman's 'old' Hollywood score, big enough to sweep all before it, including the debris of a broken tone. The clownish vampire with a Napoleonic hairdo and blood dripping from his chin is a great vehicle for the chameleon Johnny Depp, but the sort of fun we had with the Addams Family is also missing," says Andrew. "Highlight is the wild seduction scene between Johnny Depp and the voluptuous, scene stealing Eva Green, who slinks from her shiny red Chevy convertible to leap on her man with pent up passion... It doesn't quite soar, but there is fire among the shadows," says Louise.

NEWS - gossip-free zone:
* Indian superstar Vidya Balan to launch Indian FilmFest in Melbourne:
* Emerging cinematographer Jimmy Ennett to intern with Nicole Kidman's new film;
* New award at Indie Gems;

Twice weekly reports & charts. Weekend, May 3 - 6: Mary Sum Says: With Marvel's The Avengers holding on strongly -$8.23 M down 38% - given it had such a high opening weekend, the top 20 remained steady on $14.25 M. The Five Year Engagement took $1.94 M in its first week, while Act of Valour opened with a modest $432,795 on 150 screens - pretty much as expected. Also opened: King of Devil's Island (M, Palace) with $35,505 on 13; W.E. (M, Roadshow) with $9,349 on 41.

Win one of 25 double inseason passes to Iron Sky, starring Julia Dietze (1 ˝ Knights), Peta Sergeant (Satisfaction), Götz Otto (Downfall), Christopher Kirby (The Matrix Revolutions) and Stephanie Paul (Separation City, Crazylove), courtesy Hoyts Distribution. Only at the Movies May 10.

Sydney Film Festival 2012:
A curating partnership with Blackfella Films, a Bertolucci retrospective and a Competition list which includes films from the Cannes selection mark the inaugural program for incoming director of the Sydney Film Festival, Nashen Moodley.

Directors Fortnight, Cannes 2012:
The world premiere of Michel Gondry's The We and the I (US) will open this year's program of the Directors Fortnight at Cannes, presenting 21 features including 6 debut features. The world premiere of Camille Redouble by Noémie Lvovsky (France) will close the main program which includes six features and three shorts from Latin America. (Our full previews of the main programs of the Festival de Cannes, including The Aussie Dossier, will be published in next week's edition.)

Movie reviews:
(Aust/Finland/Germany, 2012) Dir: Timo Vuorensola. Stars Julia Dietze, Udo Kier, Peta Sergeant, Götz Otto, Christopher Kirby, Stephanie Paul, Monika Gossman. " . bold, brave and over-the-top with its fearless, irreverence and political satire. The idea alone is enough to fuel take-off and prompt inner-chuckling, although Finnish cult director Timo Vuoresola's wildly ambitious creation stops short of the madness nirvana it promises," says Louise. "It would have been better if director Timo Vuorensola had squeezed every drop of high camp out of the screenplay and given the film over entirely to wicked black pleasure," says Andrew.

Movie review:
(US, 2012) Dir: Boaz Yakin. Stars Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Chris Sarandon, James Hong. "Bullets ricochet, punches fly and the body count mounts in this Jason Statham actioner in which the Triad, the Russian Mafia and corrupt cops come to blows. A well written, if improbable screenplay by versatile writer Boaz Yakin, whose astute direction keeps the story-strands together and the action pounding. It's standard fare for Statham, who excels," says Louise.

Movie reviews:
(UK, 2011) Dir: Michael Winterbottom. Stars Freida Pinto, Riz Ahmed, Roshan Seth." Superbly made with a stunning lead performance by Freida Pinto . Trishna is a profoundly moving drama that vividly describes Indian culture and the consequences when privileges become confused," says Louise. "It feels contrived, even if that's not how the book reads," says Andrew.

Movie review:
(US, 2011) Dir: David Gelb. Documentary featuring Jiro Ono. "If you ever wondered what is the Art of Sushi, David Gelb's intriguing portrait opens up a whole new world, in which we learn about simplicity, balance and what defines 'deliciousness', says Louise.

Movie review:
(UK, 2011) Dir: Mark Sloper. Documentary featuring Ryuichi Kiyonari, Josh Brookes, Shane 'Shakey' Byrne and others. "Without doubt it's a nail biter: the winning margin in the final showdown is 6/1000th of a second," says Andrew.

[Coming soon, Chinese Takeaway, starring Ricardo Darin, Muriel Santa Ana, Ignacio Huang. "If it weren't based on a true story it would still be a great yarn, but real life often manages to outperform our imaginations when it comes to the human condition," says Andrew. "The absurdity of life is beautifully captured in this wondrously simple, yet complex film from Argentina in which fate and the incongruous collide. Nothing is what it seems, yet everything is exactly what it seems," says Louise.]
Films releasing soon....

Preview trailers of the latest films on your own screen:
Swerve, stars Jason Clarke, Emma Booth and David Lyons;
Men in Black 3, stars Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Emma Thompson;
The Dark Knight Rises, stars Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt;
Dark Shadows featurette, starring Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green;
To Rome With Love, stars Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg;
Hotel Transylvania, voices Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Selena Gomez;
Bel Ami, stars Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman;
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...)

Staars George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Nick Krause, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard. "Like the waves on the beautiful Hawaiian beaches, our emotions rise and fall in this splendid, emotionally rich drama," says Louise.

Stars Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes. "Bizarre, shocking, sexy and dark, this is Almodóvar at his brilliant melodramatic best as he toys with themes of obsession, revenge and playing God," says Louise.

Stars Jacki Chan, Bingbing Li, Winston Chao, Joan Chen, Jaycee Chan. "Made with the passion and integrity of a national historical project, 1911 is accessible to all by captioning key events and characters," says Andrew.

Stars Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Noomi Rapace, Rachel McAdams, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry. "Oh dear," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
To win one of 10 double inseason passes to The Five Year Engagement, starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie and Rhys Ifans, courtesy Universal Pictures, we asked: What is/has been the longest engagement among family or friends that you know of? Caroline Denny (VIC) says: My Grandma's. She's deaf and only discovered recently that her phone was engaged for over a year.

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, Japanese Story and dozens more. Over 500 films.

This travelling life:
Celebrating its 10th anniversary (in 2012) since reopening to the public in 2002, Gillette Castle in Connecticut now attracts over 300,000 visitors a year - yet it's virtually unknown internationally as a tourist attraction, with access to it only via beautiful, winding country roads. Andrew L. Urban drove out to see what's so special about it. (Photos by Louise Keller)
Join Andrew L. Urban in Mexico, Monaco and Tyrol . and Alien in Switzerland!

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