Welcome to our 815th weekly edition; Thursday, October 18, 2012

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

Movie reviews:
(US, 2012) Dir: Oliver Stone. Stars Blake Lively, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Benicio Del Toro, Diego Catano, John Travolta, Salma Hayek. "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. "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.

NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* Bait 3D tops China box office;
* Jury is in for inaugural Cockatoo Island Filmfest;
* Asia Pacific Awards - Nominations;
* Four DigiSPAA finalists compete for prize:
* Inaugural Antenna Award winners;
* Stand In My Shoes - Change the World;
* Hitchcock silent thriller Blackmail starts fest;

BOX OFFICE: Reports & charts every Monday & Thursday (after 4pm)
The two crime dramas directed by fellow Australians Andrew Dominik (Killing Them Softly) and John Hillcoat (Lawless) which were in Competition at Cannes this year both opened at the weekend - to surprisingly soft takings. Lawless had screen averages of $3,997 on 211 ($843,377) while Killing Them Softly was almost as weak with $4,028 on 165 ($664,552). Part of the reason could be . (more)

Win one 10 double inseason passes to Safety Not Guaranteed, starring Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, courtesy Rialto. "A sweetly ingenious film that sits comfortably on its oddball base," says Louise; "It's best to let the film surprise you," says Andrew. (From the makers of Little Miss Sunshine.) In cinemas October 18.

Win one of 10 double passes to the Jewish International Film Festival in each of Sydney and Melbourne, courtesy JIFF. The tickets are valid for all sessions (even Saturday evenings) with the exception of opening and closing nights. Sydney: November 1 - 18 (Event Cinemas, Bondi Junction); Melbourne: November 7 - 25 (Elsternwick Classic, Melbourne).

Movie reviews:
(France, 2012) Dir: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano. Stars François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny, Audrey Fleurot, Clotilde Mollet. "There are countless magical moments worth recounting - many with humour and involving the clash of the classes - it is not surprising that the film has been a runaway hit in France and elsewhere in Europe. Don't miss it!" says Louise. "Buddy movies don't come more moving, funnier and more successful than The Intouchables, based on a true story," says Andrew. (Previews this week; Releases Oct 25)

Movie reviews:
(US, 2012) Dir: Woody Allen. Stars Judy Davis, Flavio Parenti, Roberto Benigni, Alison Pill, Alessandro Tiberi, Alessandra Mastronardi, Alec Baldwin. "There a frenzy of activity with abundant characters, fast one liners, amusing moments and clever ideas in Woody Allen's love letter to Rome, although after the finesse of Midnight in Paris, it seems rather trivial," says Louise. "To Rome With Love invites comparisons with Midnight in Paris - to the former's detriment. Opening and closing with Volare, one of the corniest in the Italian pop song repertoire, Allen wears the corny badge with pride throughout," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2012) Dir: Colin Trevorrow. Stars Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni. "Each of the four central characters is quirky and flawed; what is supremely interesting is how we change our minds about them all. What begins as an oddball idea is fleshed out by way of a myriad branches, leading into different but always credible directions," says Louise. "Comedy, romance, sci-fi ... and wonderful whimsy, come together in this surprising film. We love surprises in our cinema, especially ones made with such heart," says Andrew.

(Embargoed until 11am Thursday October 18)

Movies Now - 20th season starts October 24:
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]

[Coming soon, The Master, stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams. "This is an intriguing film, masterfully conceived and executed with provocative overtones," says Louise. "Much has been written about the two central performances from Phoenix and Hoffman, following the film's highly praised premiere at the Venice film festival ... I agree: they are both remarkable characterisations, complete and complex, visceral and riveting," says Andrew.]
List of films releasing soon...

Preview trailers of the latest films on your own screen:
Flight, stars Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Don Cheadle;
Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, stars Foxx, diCaprio, Waltz;
Gangster Squad, stars Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Sean Penn;
The Sweeney, stars Ray Winstone, Ben Drew;
Jesus Christ Superstar, stars Tim Minchin, Melanie C, Ben Forster;
The Sessions, starring Helen Hunt, John Hawkes, William H. Macy;
Skyfall, stars Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes;

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 Noomi Rapace, Logan Marshall-Green, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce. "Prometheus is no Alien, but the film makes provocative viewing, prompting fuel for thought and conversation," says Louise.

Competition winners:
To win tickets, courtesy Universal, we asked: Which female among family and friends would make an excellent crime lord and why? Ross Caldwell (SA) says: My Sister-in-Law is so devious that she can peel an orange in her pocket with one hand so she doesn't have to share. Great qualifications for a crime lord.

To win tickets, courtesy Hoyts Distribution, we asked: Who among family and friends would make a good hitman and why? Melanie Farrugia (VIC) says: Mwah! I watch and follow with a passion watching for detail and odd movements. Yep I'm a parent.

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, Better Than Sex (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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