Welcome to our 844th weekly edition; Thursday, May 9, 2013

EDITORIAL: Go Big or Go Extinct: the Hollywood mantra. By Andrew L. Urban

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Movie reviews:
(US, 2013) Dir. J.J. Abrams. Stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Alice Eve, Karl Urban, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg. "It is with grand scale, good storytelling and a real spirit of adventure capturing the essence of the Star Trek brand that J.J. Abrams' second film torpedoes onto the screen in 3D, bringing with it the kind of special effects fantasies are made of. Fortunately, the solid characterisations, humour and relationships are given equal weight," says Louise. "Except for the occasional 3D indulgence of things flying at your face, making you wince and duck, Star Trek Into Darkness is, for me, a pleasant surprise; thrilling and engaging, sometimes harrowing and always cinematically satisfying," says Andrew.

NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* Human Rights Arts & Film Fest begins this week; see Andrew L. Urban's essay "Images, Democracy & Human Rights";
* Cate Shortland wins Best Direction for Lore at ADG Awards;
* Noni Hazlehurst joins AFI/AACTA Board;
* AMPAS opens voting access for Oscars;

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

Win one of 10 double inseason passes to The Place Beyond the Pines, the new film from Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) starring Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes, courtesy Roadshow Films. IN CINEMAS MAY 9.

Win one of 10 double inseason passes to Snitch, starring Dwayne Johnson, Barry Pepper, Susan Sarandon and Benjamin Bratt, courtesy STUDIOCANAL. IN CINEMAS MAY 16.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2012) Dir: Derek Cianfrance. Stars Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendez. "Mike Patton's grumbling song The Weight of Consequences eloquently reflects the hard-hitting theme of this provocative and gripping film in which three troubled roads are travelled," says Louise." With the final act, as we see the longer term impact of earlier actions, the film attains something akin to epic status, stirring notions of classic Greek tragedy before scaling back and completing itself as a contemporary morality tale," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
(Netherlands, 2013) Dir: Hans Perk. Voices of Sandra Agababyan, Tutti Druyan, Sophie London, Julia Lipman. "Sure to delight the very young (3-6 year olds), this first Miffy Movie is a sweet, colourful adventure set at the zoo - as Miffy and friends venture on a treasure hunt. This is the perfect first film for children - at 70 minutes it is not too long and attention spans are not tested. It's ultra sweet," says Louise.

Sydney Film Festival 2013:
With the feel of a Western and fusing that genre with police procedural, Ivan Sen's murder mystery, Mystery Road will open this year's Sydney Film Festival, taking the rise of Indigenous filmmaking another step forward, while the 12 Competition films (for the $60,000 Sydney Film Prize) include Berlinale Golden Bear winner, Child's Pose and Cannes Competition contenders Borgman and Grigris - and Wadjda, the first feature shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, and by that country's first woman filmmaker. It's a truly enticing window to cinema of the world, says Andrew L. Urban.

[Coming soon, Michael Winterbottom's The Look of Love, stars Steve Coogan, Imogen Poots, Anna Friel. "As the self-obsessed Raymond, Steve Coogan is perfectly cast, brazenly indulging in his every sexual fantasy; the film concentrating on his desires and urges, as his empire and wealth grow," says Louise.]
List of films releasing in May

Preview trailers of the latest films on your own screen:
Before Midnight, stars Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy;
Thor: The Dark World, stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins;
Two Guns, stars Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg;
Star Trek Into Darkness, stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto;
World War Z, stars Brad Pitt;
Fast and Furious 6, stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson;

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 Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan. "The extraordinary images of a boy and a Bengal tiger stranded in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean may be arresting cinema, but it is the emotional impact of this unimaginable story that sweeps us away," says Louise. (Next week: Win a copy of Life of Pi on Blu-ray)

Stars Raul Julia, Richard Jordan, Ana Alicia, Eddie Velez. "Australian filmmaker John Duigan's heartfelt, passionate and compelling film about Salvadorean Bishop Oscar Romero is unashamedly partisan," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
To win one of 10 double inseason passes to The Hunt, starring Mads Mikkelsen (Best Actor, Cannes Film Festival 2012), Thomas Bo Larsen and Bjarne Henriksen, courtesy Madman, we asked: Who among family and friends has been unfairly accused of some wrongdoing? Meg Attwater (QLD) says: Me! I get accused of stealing the remote control by my husband! Just because I take it in my bag shopping with me does not mean I am a thief!

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.

The mostly misnamed loyalty programs of major airlines are looking increasingly like Frequent Foolers programs, intended not so much to reward loyalty to the airline as to demand it. What began as a marketing tool has developed into a sales trap, writes Andrew L. Urban.

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