Welcome to our 853rd weekly edition; Thursday, July 11, 2013

GET FRONT UP BACK UP - Meet Tom from Texas - in Perth and looking for a wife - in this episode of Front Up. Fans of Front Up can call 1800 500 727 (toll free) or write to encourage SBS to bring back Front Up!

HIRE ANDREW L. URBAN to speak at your event.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2013) Dir: Guillermo del Toro. Stars Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman, Clifton Collins Jr. "Michael Bay eat your heart out. Guillermo del Toro has made one bigger, louder, faster and more destructive than you. Pacific Rim is Transformers on steroids, Godzilla to the power of 10, The Avengers turbo-charged and bigger-suited than Iron Man," says Andrew. "With eye-popping visuals that resemble a digital lightshow, Guillermo del Toro's film about an alien invasion combated by man-operated giant robots is extravagant in scale and loudly strident," says Louise.

NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* Claire Denis retro at Brisbane's GOMA;

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

Win one of 10 prize packs comprising a DVD copy of each of the three films: The Imposter (incredible true story), Save Your Legs! (Aussie cricket comedy) and Barbara (Cold War drama), courtesy Madman. All three films available on DVD from July 10, 2013.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2013) Dir: Paul Feig. Stars Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Tony Hale, Marlon Wayans. "It's not as funny as I hoped, but there's a great dynamic to the odd-couple combo of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as the stitched up New York FBI agent and slap-happy Boston cop with the foul mouth," says Louise. "At half an hour, it would rip your bloody guts out. At almost 2 hours it looks more like a one note joke that doesn't know whether it's a black comedy or a plastic comedy with lots of swearing," says Andrew.

Movie review:
(US, 2013) Dir: Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg. Stars Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Emma Watson, Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Jonah Hill. "Fans of Seth Rogan, James Franco, Jonah Hill and the rest of the gang are the target market for this crude, rowdy, self-indulgent buddy-movie mash-up travesty about the end of the world, in which smoking weed, ejaculation jokes, exorcism and a decapitated head kicked around like a soccer ball are par for the course," says Louise. (Sneaks from July 12; opens July 18)

Great stories from our archives:
From one Chopper to another, Eric Bana went from playing Chopper in the iconic bio-pic to flying one in Blackhawk Down. He starred alongside Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor and Sam Shepard with director Ridley Scott. Andrew L. Urban interviews him (February 2002).

[Coming in August, Now You See Me, stars Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco. "A hugely enjoyable thriller whose sleight of hand is both audacious and ambitious, Louis Leterrier's film is considerable in scale and daring. But be warned: The springboard on which the film is balanced is one that asks its audience to take a leap of faith - and embrace the illusion and the impossible," says Louise. ]
Calendar of films releasing in July

Runner Runner, stars Justin Timberlake,Gemma Arterton,Ben Affleck;
The Counselor, stars Michael Fassbender,Penélope Cruz,Javier Bardem,Brad Pitt;
Blancanieves, stars Maribel Verdú, Daniel Giménez Cacho;
The Way Way Back, stars Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Sam Rockwell;
The Bling Ring, stars Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard;
One Direction: This is Us, documentary with Harry Styles, Niall Horan;

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.)

Documentary featuring Frédéric Bourdin. ".. the most admirable aspect of this documentary is the way Layton manages to unravel each aspect, every twist, with the patience of a brain surgeon," says Andrew.

Stars Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, Rainer Bock, Christina Hecke. "A meticulously crafted drama in which the depiction of character, place and circumstance evolves slowly and with intrigue," says Louise.

Stars Jessica Chastain, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Megan Charpentier. "Haunting with its tragically melancholy story, Mama doesn't treat audiences as naïve fools," says Andrew.

Stars Stephen Curry, Brendan Cowell, Damon Gameau, Pallavi Sharda, David Lyons. "..amiable enough with its bunch of rowdy, likeable characters, but just like what happens on the pitch, nothing really fires," says Louise.

Stars Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, James Gandolfini. "Sometimes the story telling loses its coherence but the thrust and the tension remain," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
To win a DVD of Compulsion, we asked: What kind of food do you think you could become obsessed about and why? Cecilia Warrick (NSW): Definitely could get lost in cheeses; the varieties are endless; hard; soft or smelly; it turns my legs to jelly; and the taste almost always pleases.

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, Bob Ellis' wonderfully titled Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train (Wendy Hughes, Colin Friels) 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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