Welcome to our 813th weekly edition; Thursday, October 4, 2012

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

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Movie reviews:
MENTAL
(Aust/US, 2012) Dir: P. J. Hogan. Stars Toni Collette, Liev Schreiber, Anthony LaPaglia, Caroline Goodall, Kerry Fox, Rebecca Gibney, Deborah Mailman. "..there are brush strokes of genius and dark clouds of overkill in this ambitious film in praise of family and being accepted for who you are... There are laughs but not enough, and the moments of pathos do not come naturally," says Louise. "... the humour is sometimes used to hide the pain, while at other times the drama takes precedence and asks us to switch modes. This ambivalent approach is also evident in the differing styles of performance," says Andrew.


Latest:
NEWS: Gossip-free zone.
* Stratton & Thompson on stage at Cremorne Orpheum;
* Rolling Stones' Crossfire Hurricane screening;
* Community theme for Mission Beach Film Fest;
* The Dead Man And Being Happy - audacity wins at San Sebastian;

BOX OFFICE: Reports & charts every Monday & Thursday (after 4pm)
The holidays fuelled another hefty hike in the top 20 takings, driving it up 38% to $14.31 M, after the full week climbed 27%. But over $10 M of the gross went to the top four films.

COMPETITIONS
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING DVD
Win one 10 DVD copies, starring Cameron Diaz, Matthew Morrison, Elizabeth Banks and Jennifer Lopez, courtesy Roadshow Home Entertainment. Available October 3 on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download.

Inaugural Cockatoo Island Film Festival 2012:
MY BIG FAT NEW ISLAND FESTIVAL - IN SYDNEY
Ambitious, diverse and crammed full with events, the inaugural Cockatoo Island Film Festival is a private-public partnership in the arts with film at its centre, reports Andrew L. Urban, and it opens with the buzz film from Venice, Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix.

Movie reviews:
TAKEN 2
(France, 2012) Dir: Olivier Megaton. Stars Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace, Rade Serbedzija. "Neeson is the film's greatest asset ... (but) banal dialogue aside, I worried about Olivier Megaton's direction of the action scenes, when frenetic editing, jumpy camera work and tight close ups that collide to suck out all the juice and sense of what is happening," says Louise. "The script often feels perfunctory as if written by a template," says Andrew.

Movie review:
DANGEROUS LIAISONS
(China, 2012) Dir: Jin-ho Hur. Stars Ziyi Zhang, Dong-gun Jang, Cecilia Cheung. "This reset version from the original 18th century Paris to early 20th century Shanghai certainly looks fabulous, and the cast are all great. But maybe they're not quite the right cast for the characters," says Andrew.

Movie review:
I WISH
(Japan, 2011) Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda. Stars Koki Maeda, Ohshirô Maeda, Ryôga Hayashi. " .. natural performances from the two real life Maeda brothers carry the film and the way Kore-eda immerses us in provincial Japanese life is exceptional," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
(Sweden/UK, 2012) Documentary with Sixto Rodriguez. "I was instantly hooked by this unique documentary that begins as a detective story about a cult 70s singer songwriter and turns into an amazing human story about happiness and the richness of the soul," says Louise.

Movies Now - 20th season starts October 24:
FINE & DANDY AT DENDY NEWTOWN
The expanded and renovated Dendy Newtown cinemas will welcome participants in the 20th course of Movies Now, a secret selection of movies screened prior to their commercial release - each followed by a discussion with a special guest and hosted by Andrew L. Urban (pic). "Outstanding organisation! Great to see movies before they are released. The discussions following the movie are very beneficial." [previous participant]

Preview:
SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL ANIMATION FESTIVAL 2012
From its Late Night Bizarre program restricted to adults over 18 to the B&W Oscar nominated noir drama from the Czech Republic, Alois Nebel (pic), this year's Sydney International Animation Festival is a showcase of the freshest Australian and international animations. Andrew L. Urban reports.

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming in October, The Intouchables, stars François Cluzet, Omar Sy. "Buddy movies don't come more moving, funnier and more successful than The Intouchables, based on a true story about the wealthy, wheelchair bound Parisian Philippe (François Cluzet) whose broken neck is only a small part of his trouble," says Andrew. "... a surprisingly uplifting film that made my heart laugh, cry and sing," says Louise.]
List of films releasing soon.

NEW TRAILERS
Preview trailers of the latest films on your own screen:
The Sweeney (pic), stars Ray Winstone, Ben Drew;
The Sessions, starring Helen Hunt, John Hawkes, William H. Macy;
Shadow Dancer, stars Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Gillian Anderson;
Argo, stars Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman;
Anna Karenina, stars Keira Knightley

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 OUT THIS WEEK
DECLARATION OF WAR
Stars Valérie Donzelli, Jérémie Elkaïm, César Desseix, Gabriel Elkaïm. "The underlying drama holds the film together even when self indulgence and the rawness of inexperience weakens the film," says Andrew.

THE DICTATOR
Stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, John C. Reilly, Ben Kingsley. "This is the least clever or funny of Cohen's previous characters - there's a blatant shortage of ideas," says Louise.

IRON SKY
Stars Julia Dietze, Udo Kier, Peta Sergeant, Götz Otto. "Irresistibly offbeat, the basic concept for Iron Sky is genius, perhaps something Quentin Tarantino might have tackled," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
ARBITRAGE
To win one 25 double inseason passes Arbitrage, starring Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, courtesy Madman, we asked: To whom among family and friends would you never lend any money and why? Mike Smith (NSW): My son. Not because he spends it; but because he loses it! It either falls out of his pocket; or he puts it somewhere and can never find it.

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, Two Hands (pic, stars Heath Ledger, Bryan Brown, Rose Byrne) and dozens more. Over 500 films.

Travelfile:
GILLETTE CASTLE: CONNECTICUT, USA
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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