Welcome to our 872nd weekly edition; Thursday, November 21, 2013

Movie review:
THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
(US, 2013) Dir: Francis Lawrence. Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Slaflin, Jena Malone, Woody Harrelson. ".... encompasses the same themes of courage and sacrifice in a totalitarian regime as the first film and will no doubt thrill the fans, despite the fact that it delivers less. It is surprising that the odds are not in the film's favour, in light of the narrative's rich undercurrent of betrayal and pretence; it feels overlong, the emotional curve fails to ignite and the ending is anticlimactic. Jennifer Lawrence is the film's greatest asset..."

Latest:
NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* Cinema of The Street helps youth;
* In Bob We Trust, a film we like;

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

COMPETITIONS
ON MY WAY
Win one of 10 double inseason passes to On My Way, starring Catherine Deneuve, courtesy Umbrella Entertainment. Everyone who sees the film at the cinema goes in the draw to win a $10,000 trip to France, courtesy QANTAS, Prince de Galles and Le Meridian. In cinemas November 28.

Movie review:
20 FEET FROM STARDOM
(US, 2013) Dir: Morgan Neville. Documentary. "A life affirming, toe-tapping documentary that not only places the magnifying glass on back-up singers, their role and music, but examines the music scene and its icons during the past 50 years. We become involved in the lives of all the women but ultimately the film is about the music and the sound that the voices - the ultimate instruments - can make," says Louise.

Movie review:
BLACKFISH
(US, 2013) Dir: Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Documentary. "..made with the drive of a passionate filmmaker who wants to tell this story and make us understand that killer whales don't belong in theme parks. Isn't it ironic how we abhor whaling yet permit whale abuse," says Andrew.

Movie review:
FILTH
(UK, 2013) Dir: Jon S. Baird. Stars James McAvoy, Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Iain De Caestecker, Joanne Frogatt, Shirley Henderson, Emun Elliott, Eddie Marsan. "Dark, subversive, chaotic and confronting, Filth seems to have been enormous fun for the cast and crew, but I'm not sure if many audiences will revel in the filth that the title so openly warns us of. Of course, it's familiar territory for Irvine Welsh fans, but is the adaptation as successful an experience as his novel?" says Andrew.

Movie review:
AFTER MAY
(France, 2012) Dir: Olivier Assayas. Stars Clément Métayer, Lola Créton, Felix Armand, Carole Combes. "Beautifully epitomising the era of the early 70s, Olivier Assayas's film is rich in mood, as it depicts idealism, impermanence, dreams and disillusions of a better world..While I recognise the truthful and splendid depiction, like the characters whose lives are depicted, I found the journey frustrating and difficult," says Louise.

Movie reviews:
ADORATION
(Aust/France, 2013) Dir: Anne Fontaine. Stars Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Sophie Lowe. "Melodramatic with a plot more suited to a TV soapie, Christopher Hampton's adaptation of Doris Lessing's 2003 novella The Grandmothers is overblown and totally unbelievable," says Louise. "Their world seems to hover between their own fantasy and the castrated culture which Fontaine creates. A nothingness envelops them," says Andrew.

Short Film Fest:
TROPFEST 2013 FINALISTS
The 16 Tropfest finalists whose short films will screen on Sunday December 8, 2013 , were announced on November 19. With its signature item of 'Change', the films range from comedies, thrillers, dramas, documentaries and mockumentaries.

Winners:
AUSTRALIAN PRODUCTION DESIGN GUILD AWARDS 2013
The Docklands Studios Melbourne Award for Design on a Feature Film was shared by two feature films - The Sapphires (awarded to Melinda Doring, Janie Parker & Glen W Johnson) and The Great Gatsby, (awarded to Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy & Ian Gracie).

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming in December, The Gilded Cage, stars Rita Blanco, Joaquim de Almeida, Roland Graud, Chantal Lauby. "A delightful clash of cultures and classes, Ruben Alves's directing debut brings a touch of Portugal to Paris, peppering his comedy of errors with endless charm and humour," says Louise.]
Calendar of films releasing in November

NEW TRAILERS
The Lego Movie, voices of Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson;
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, stars Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine;
Xmen Days of Future Past, stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender;
Ender's Game, stars Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield;
Kill Your Darlings, stars Daniel Radcliffe, Elizabeth Olsen;
The Wolf of Wall Street, stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConnaughey;

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)

NEW DVDS:
BEFORE MIDNIGHT
Stars Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior. "The beauty of this film - like the two before - is its natural flow of conversation and ability to engage and transport us into the moment," says Louise.

A GUN IN EACH HAND
Stars Ricardo Darin, Luis Tosar, Javier Camara, Eduardo Noriega, Leonor Watling. "Countering the defects in the writing, the performances by the top notch cast are all wonderful, nuanced and engaging, even though the dialogue is rarely so," says Andrew.

AFTER EARTH
Stars Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Sophie Okonedo. "Shyamalan's films have become progressively worse since his brilliant 1999 hit The Sixth Sense, and sadly, After Earth reinforces the negative pattern," says Louise.

ONLY GOD FORGIVES
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.

GREETINGS FROM TIM BUCKLEY
Stars Imogen Poots, Penn Badgley, William Sadler. "In a way disconcerting, in a way touching, filmmaker Daniel Algrant intercuts between the musician son Jeff (Penn Badgley) and the musician father Tim (Ben Rosenfeld) Buckley," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY DVD
To win Monsters University on DVD, courtesy Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, we asked: Who is your most unlikely friend and why? Terrence Healey (SA): My dog because he lets me share his food; water and dog house. He understands me better than my wife.

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, Gillian Armstrong's Oscar and Lucinda, starring Ralph Fiennes & Cate Blanchett (pic) and dozens more. Over 500 films.

Travelfile:
HOTEL CHRISTINA, PERTISAU, TYROL, AUSTRIA
The first Australian to visit, Andrew L. Urban explores the Tyrolean village resort of Pertisau and its unique stone oil. (Photos by Louise Keller)

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