Welcome to our 797th weekly edition; Thursday June 14, 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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Caught in the act(ion):
June 2012 is the month of action at Universal Sony Home Entertainment, with three top action movies releasing on DVD and Blu-ray: Safe House, Contraband and Man On A Ledge. To get into the action spirit, Urban Cinefile sent our resident action man, Sebastian Urban, to experience the rush of filming action scenes, with help from Universal's stunt team at the studios of the Australian Film TV and Radio School at Fox Studios. This is his REPORT - and FOOTAGE of the action.

NEWS: Gossip-free zone
BOX OFFICE: Twice weekly reports & charts.

Win one of 10 double inseason passes to A Royal Affair, starring Mads Mikkelsen, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Alicia Vikander, courtesy Madman. Winner of the Best Actor and Best Screenplay awards at the Berlin Film Festival, and starring internationally acclaimed Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Coco Chanel & Igor Stavinsky). Only at the Movies on June 21.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2012) Dir: Adam Shankman. Stars Tom Cruise, Malin Akerman, Julianne Hough, Bryan Cranston, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Paul Giamatti, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand. " .. it's Cruise, wearing black nail polish, earring, decorative jock-strap and black leather that fascinates as he writhes and prances, tongue-kisses, spreads his legs and puts on a turn you are not likely to forget as the debauched rock star that has lost touch with reality. The film is not likely to be the rock of ages it promises, but it's in tune, in time and offers its share of excess," says Louise.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2012) Dir: Sarah Polley. Stars Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman, Aaron Abrams. "While the film's nudity expresses the baring of the soul and there are some revelatory truthful moments, patience is required to take the journey that Polley signposts," says Louise. " .. essentially a suburban love triangle, told with undue lack of haste and an uninspiring dramatic flatness that is intended, I suspect, to read as subtlety. To my perhaps insensitive taste, the film is more contrived than convincing," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
(France, 2011) Dir: Daniel Cohen. Stars Jean Reno, Michaël Youn. "In this froth of a film, everything is a bit larger than life, but it's done with a nice sense of abandon and it's grounded by the performances," says Andrew. "Light and broad comedy fuse together harmoniously in this frothy comedy set in the restaurant world in which cuisine, relationships and careers are agitated precariously in a mixing bowl of surprises. The humour plays out courtesy culinary odd couple Jean Reno and Michaël Youn, whose scenes together range from the harmonious to the ridiculous," says Louise.

Movie reviews:
(Aust, 2012) Dir: Owen Elliott. Stars Henri Szeps, Maria Venuti, Shaun Goss. "She may not have many lines, but the presence of Maria Venuti as the elderly, demented cabaret artist Franky haunts this ambitious, bittersweet drama that explores the fine line between fantasy and reality," says Louise. " .. an intimate film, not suitable for the harsh and bloated ambiance of the multiplex, and while it is modest, it is also sincere," says Andrew.

Dungog Film Festival 2012:
The pioneering festival of Australian films in the charming Hunter Valley town of Dungog at 6 years old is going back to its roots and moving its dates (June 29 - July 1). In its wake, the town's James Theatre is getting a new lease of (digital) life. Andrew L. Urban reports.

[Coming soon, The King is Dead, stars Dan Wyllie, Bojana Novakovic, Gary Waddell. "It's a far cry from Ten Canoes for Rolf de Heer, but his wicked sense of fun is evident as it was in that much acclaimed 2006 film," says Andrew.]
Calendar of films releasing ..

Preview trailers of the latest films on your own screen:
Your Sister's Sister, stars Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt;
Bathing Franky, stars Henry Szeps, Maria Venuti, Shaun Goss;
The King is Dead, stars Dan Wyllie, Bojana Novakovic, Gary Waddell;
To Rome With Love, stars Woody Allen, Penelope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg; Judy Davis;
Hotel Transylvania, voices Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Selena Gomez;
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...)
Stars Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris. " ..edge-of-seat thriller that never stops in its revelations and twists," says Louise.

Stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Judi Dench, Dermot Mulroney. "Undeniably interesting in general, the film fails to catch fire because there are scant specifics to make it riveting," says Andrew.

Stars Mark Wahlberg. "Mark Wahlberg brings his A for Action man game to Contraband, while cinematographer Barry Ackroyd brings his S for supershaky and laborious hand held game - again," says Andrew.

Stars Alex Russell, Michael B. Jordan, Dane DeHaan. " ..is inventive filmmaking that brings its own freshness to the screen," says Louise.

Stars Elizabeth Olsen, John Hawkes, Sarah Paulson, Christopher Abbott. " ..a movie for film lovers who can handle disturbing subjects about the human condition," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
To win one of 10 copies of Pedro Almodòvar's The Skin I Live In, starring Golden Globe nominee Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya, courtesy Transmission Films, we asked: If you went to a plastic surgeon, what would you like him to change? Fiona Chambers (NSW) says: My bum... it's gigantic! At a fancy dress party once; someone commended me on the effort I'd gone to with `the cushion down the back of your pants!` Humiliating!

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, Mad Max 2 (pic) and dozens more. Over 500 films.

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.

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