Welcome to our 807th weekly edition; Thursday, August 23, 2012

New on VisionStream: all the latest clips, interviews, extra trailers and background features. Over 100 videos.

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Movie reviews:
HOPE SPRINGS
(US, 2012) Dir: David Frankel. Stars Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell. "Every bit as scrumptious as anticipated . . . an intimate peek into the life of a middle-aged couple who have fallen into a rut of mediocrity and complacency," says Louise. "The premise is built on such solid and serious drama - and is so sharply observed - that it can take quite a heavy battering of humour, which it does, thanks to Vanessa Taylor's fine screenplay and David Frankel's adroit direction," says Andrew.

Latest:
NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* Hail hailed at Melbourne Film Fest;
* History author
Antony Beevor at Cremorne Orpheum, Sydney;
* Director Tony Scott dead at 68.
* NSW indie cinemas scoop awards on Gold Coast;
* Life in Movement online;
* Claudia Karvan as Patron of Natalie Miller Fellowship;
* Mission to Lars;
* Satellite to Toronto.

BOX OFFICE: Reports & charts every Monday & Thursday (after 4pm)

COMPETITIONS
HOPE SPRINGS
Win one of 25 double inseason passes to Hope Springs, starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell, courtesy Roadshow Films. Only at the movies August 23.

Movie reviews:
TOTAL RECALL (2012)
(US, 2012) Dir: Len Wiseman. Stars Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston. "With Mars no longer represented as a destination, the overall mood has changed from a sci-fi adventure to yet another big explosion action thriller with a loud music score and derivation from countless movies," says Louise. "... relentless in its use of camera, editing and music to keep our engines revving in top gear, so much so we tend to flood our carburettors," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
BAD KARMA
(US/Aust, 2012) Dir: Suri Krishnamma. Stars Ray Liotta, Dominic Purcell, Vanessa Gray, Aaron Pedersen. "A gutsy, edgy and taut thriller, Bad Karma knows its genre chops and uses them effectively for a tense 84 minutes with not a moment wasted," says Andrew. " .. revenge and redemption are at odds in this well made psychological thriller, where the laid-back lifestyle makes for a resonant contrast to its gangster undertones. Concise storytelling and good direction," says Louise. (Selected cinemas)

Movie reviews:
HOLY MOTORS
(France, 2012) Dir: Leos Carax. Stars Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Kylie Minogue, Eva Mendes. " .. full of references that are vaguely aligned (at least in his mind) with the ethereal fantasy of the afterlife as a place to borrow ghosts for re-enactment of certain scenes, usually dramatic or deadly," says Andrew. "Raising more questions than answers, this is a circus of a film themed on death, that is all at once drama, comedy, tragedy, mystery, thriller, farce, erotica and even a musical. There is a tour de force performance by the eminently mouldable chameleon Denis Lavant," says Louise.

Movie review:
BULLY
(US, 2011) Dir: Lee Hirsch. Documentary. " .. we are taken into the lives of three troubled children and their families for whom bullying has coloured and devastated their everyday existence . Hirsch's treatment does not especially engage us nor allow an emotional connection - surprising, considering the subject matter," says Louise.

Movie review:
BARRYMORE
(Canada, 2011) Dir: Erik Canuel. Stars Christopher Plummer. "A spectacular showcase for Christopher Plummer, Barrymore is a fascinating piece of theatrical cinema . basically an 80 minute monologue. But make no mistake, in the hands of an actor of such calibre as Plummer, it is riveting stuff. And often hilarious, risqué, even coarse on occasion," says Andrew.

iTHINK:
THE LURE OF THE STRETCH
Two films releasing in August take place largely inside a stretch limo - well, not the same one, two different limos. Although the similarity ends there, it is nonetheless an intriguing phenomenon, partly because a stretch limo symbolises so many things and hits our emotional 'wealth & glamour' button, says Andrew L. Urban.

Movie Convention Keynote - Kim Williams AM:
STEALING MOVIES ONLINE IS STILL THEFT
In a punchy speech aimed at stirring debate on copyright law reform to suit this digital age, News Ltd CEO Kim Williams AM, devoted his Movie Convention keynote address (on August 21, 2012 at Jupiters Casino, Gold Coast) to the challenges of online theft. He also listed his top 10 movies ...

UPCOMING FILMS

[Coming soon, Savages starring Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Benicio Del Toro, Diego Catano, John Travolta, Salma Hayek. "Bloody violent, bloody savage and bloody wonderful, Oliver Stone's Savages shows how well a talented filmmaker can transform a novel into a movie," says Andrew. "Spraying flair as well as blood, Oliver Stone's über-colourful and graphically violent thriller depicting drug cartels, double dealings, foul play and sex is a wild, full throttle experience," says Louise.]
List of films releasing soon ...

NEW TRAILERS
Preview trailers of the latest films on your own screen:
Anna Karenina, stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson;
The Words, stars Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons;
Skyfall, stars Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes;
Mental, stars Toni Collette, Anthony LaPaglia;
Here Comes the Boom, stars Kevin James;

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 HUNGER GAMES
Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Wes Bently, Stanley Tucci, Donald Sutherland. "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," says Louise.

PASSION PLAY
Stars Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Rhys Ifans. "..a cast prepared to dive in, the film has traction and intrigue as it works its way into the noir genre ... with a touch of magic realism," says Andrew.

AMERICAN PIE: REUNION
Stars Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Seann William Scott, Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge, Mena Suvari. " .. delivers everything that is expected, plus a little bit more," says Louise.

THE LUCKY ONE
Stars Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner. " .. reservations aside, there is much to enjoy in Hicks' controlled and skilfully made film," says Louise.

Competition winners:
BAD KARMA
To win one of 15 double inseason passes to Bad Karma, starring Ray Liotta, Dominic Purcell, Vanessa Gray, Aaron Pedersen, courtesy IFM Film Distribution, we asked: Who among family and friends would you take on a Gold Coast escape weekend and why? Billy Rabbit (NSW) says: My wife. We were supposed to go there years ago on our honeymoon but didn't make it due to a family emergency. Would like to take her there for our 10th anniversary.

PASSION PLAY DVD
To win one of 10 copies of Passion Play on DVD, starring Mickey Rourke, Megan Fox, Bill Murray, Kelly Lynch, Rhys Ifans, courtesy Eagle Entertainment, we asked: Who among family and friends could be a secret angel and why? Falon Downing (NT) says: My son...he`s even named after one; `Gabriel`.

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, The Goddess of 1967 (pic) and dozens more. Over 500 films.

Travelfile:
HONG KONG - CONTEMPO AND SKY HIGH
Shortly after its first anniversary, the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong, welcomed Andrew L. Urban and Louise Keller for 24 hours of indulgence. Unlike others in the famous chain, with their English gentleman's club ambiance, this one is ultra modern and ultra high ... the highest hotel in the world.

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