Welcome to our 850th weekly edition; Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hot from Sydney Film Festival: Salman Rushdie's MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN: Now on iTunes, Google Play & Sony Ent; DVD & Blu-ray from July 31. "Our interest rises and falls like a boat on the waves," says Louise. "A lesson in the 'human geography' of India and its blood-born sisters Pakistan and Bangladesh," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
WORLD WAR Z
(US, 2013) Dir: Marc Forster. Stars Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Eric West, James Badge Dale. "Brad Pitt, zombies and an all-out assault of chaos, stunts, 3D special effects and a surprisingly good script all resonate in this hero's journey with scale, style and bite," says Louise. "Part disaster movie, part sci-fi and part zombie movie - none of the parts being particularly satisfying but at least the sc-fi element is interesting," says Andrew.

Latest:
NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* $15 m Gold Road to Chinese movie gold rush;
* Only God Forgives wins Sydney Film Prize (see our reviews below); The Rocket wins Audience Award;
* Fans furious at Yank Max in Mad Max videogame;
* Doco maker Dennis O'Rourke dead at 67;
* Tell us about us - including Indigenous us;
* CinéfestOZ launches Cine-Snaps for schools;
* Aussie retro science-fiction homage The 25th Reich releases today;

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

COMPETITIONS
LINCOLN DVD
Win one of 10 DVD copies of Academy Award winning director Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, starring Daniel Day Lewis in his Academy Award winning role as America's 16th President and Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, courtesy 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD.

Movie reviews:
DESPICABLE ME 2
(US, 2013) Dir: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud. Voices of Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan, Russell Brand. "The kiddies at my preview squealed with delight, but the adults weren't bored either, with hoots and laughs all the way. The screenplay is pitch perfect and the animation seamless, dynamic and utterly convincing," says Andrew. "...an ultra smart screenplay that first and foremost establishes character, throws in a simple plot that has scale and then has great fun with the premise, flinging equal serves of humour and heart," says Louise.

Movie review:
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
(US, 2013) Dir: Dan Scanlon. Voices Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Helen Mirren. "It is the sheer wit and charm of Pixar's quirky, multi-coloured characters that make this cleverly conceived prequel such an enjoyable romp," says Louise.

Movie reviews:
SATELLITE BOY
(Aust, 2012) Dir: Catriona McKenzie. Stars Cameron Wallaby, Joseph Pedley, David Gulpilil, Rohanna Angus, Dean Daly-Jones. "The distinctive Australian outback setting with its arid landscape, coarse grasses, tender pink sunsets and skies filled with sparkling stars form a rich backdrop for this gentle coming of age story about a young Aboriginal boy who discovers his connection to the land and his roots," says Louise. "A kind hearted exploration of the struggle for self in a complicated world," says Andrew.

(Controversial) Sydney Film Prize Winner:
ONLY GOD FORGIVES
(France/Denmark, 2013) Dir: Nicolas Winding Refn. Stars Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm. "And maybe God does forgive Nicolas Winding Refn for this error of judgment of a film, but the Cannes festival audiences didn't," says Andrew. "Viciously gruesome . The lack of connection to any character is an emotional roadblock and the cumulative callousness of the film retches onscreen in an ugly graphic display of senselessness," says Louise. (In cinemas July 18, 2013)

Movies Now celebrates 8 years:
CHALLENGING AND FUN
Robert Rodriguez' graphic adaptation of Frank Miller' graphic novel Sin City was the very first movie 'premiered'- unannounced - at Movies Now on July 6, 2005 at Dendy Newtown, a week prior to its commercial release, inaugurating the then unique new movie appreciation course presented by Andrew L. Urban. On the eve of the 22nd course of 6 'secret' movies, we take a look at this enduring part of Sydney's screen culture through Sydney University's Centre for Continuing Education. "Challenging and fun," says director Phillip Noyce; "A simple idea perfectly executed," says producer Al Clark. BOOK NOW

Great stories from our archives:
COMING UP IN OUR 1000TH EDITION (150 to go)
When we published our first weekly edition on February 27, 1997, we had no DVD reviews; indeed, there was no such thing in Australia as a movie on DVD. We couldn't download movies from the internet nor were there any digital cinemas. Nobody had an iPod and plasma meant blood, not home cinema screens. In our 500th edition on October 5, 2006, we looked ahead to what might be in our 1000th edition - hologramovies, perhaps (pic).

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming soon, What's in a Name, stars Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigui, Charles Berling. "A little joke becomes the catalyst for the unravelling of relationships in this jocular French comedy in which egos, political beliefs, sexual orientations and trusts are thrust like daggers," says Louise. "No less compelling and engaging than a bruising and bloody 15 round heavy weight fight, What's In A Name (nominated for the Best Film Cesar) is a comedy but only if you like blood sports," says Andrew.]
List of films releasing in June

NEW TRAILERS
The Wolf of Wall Street, stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConnaughey;
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, stars Steve Coogan;
Man of Steel, stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams;
Behind the Candelabra, stars Michael Douglas, Matt Damon;
Frozen, voices of Kristen Bell, Josh Gad;
The Way Way Back, stars Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell;

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
AMOUR
Stars Jean-Louis Trintignan, Emmanuelle Riva, Isabelle Huppert. "The two central performances are faultless and the love that Anne and Georges have for each other is expressed in a myriad of ways," says Louise.

PARANORMAN
Voices of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. "Chris Butler's screenplay skates across the edgy ice of adult-family material to deliver plenty of fun, freaks and frights for all," says Andrew.

SAFE HAVEN
Stars Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, Cobie Smulders. "While none of the elements of this . chick-flick are remarkable in themselves, in the gifted hands of director Lasse Hallström, there is definitely magic at work," says Louise.

HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCHHUNTERS
Stars Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Peter Stormare, Famke Janssen. "A sorry witches' brew of tedium that burns all too slowly, despite its brisk 88 minute running time, there's no trail of enticement (or even breadcrumbs) to lead us into the forest," says Louise.

Competition winners:
ANNA KARENINA DVD
To win DVDs of Anna Karenina, courtesy Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia, we asked: What language would you prefer to use around the house to show how classy you and your family are - and why? Christine Crosswell (ACT): Spoken English. Between texts; facebook; post-it notes; our busy household has become transfixed by the easy message.

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, Scott Hicks' No Reservations (pic) and dozens more. Over 500 films.

Travelfile:
THE CLOISTERS, NEW YORK, USA
Nearly 75 years (and nine centuries) later, Andrew L. Urban steps into a Medieval monastery - on Manhattan.

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