Welcome to our 874th weekly edition; Thursday, December 5, 2013

Movie review:
ENDER'S GAME
(US, 2013) Dir: Gavin Hood. Stars Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfield, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin, Moises Arias. "Don't let the title or the inclusion of the word 'game' fool you - Enders Game is a biting morality tale with themes of power, manipulation, child soldiers and genocide. Hood's superb screenplay quickly sets up the premise and immediately involves us ... is a powerful, disturbing and thrilling experience. Unforgettable," says Louise.

Latest:
NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* Shadow of Doubt - Canberra screening for Civil Liberties Aust 10th anniv;
* Paul Walker dies in car crash;
* Stars come out for European Film Awards in Berlin;
* Chaplin films 100 years anniv;

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

COMPETITIONS
THE RAILWAY MAN
Win one of 10 double inseason passes to The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, courtesy Transmission Films. 'As moving as The King's Speech... and as beautifully made,' says Andrew. 'There are many vital ingredients to this story - courage, love and redemption - each playing their part in our tumultuous journey, which in turn is elevated by the film's elite cast,' says Louise. In cinemas on December 26.

AACTA Awards Nominations 2014:
RANGE, DIVERSITY, GEOGRAPHY
Symbolising the range and diversity of Australian cinema, the two feature films with the most AACTA nominations for the past year are Baz Luhrmann's big budget, New York-set, literature-derived The Great Gatsby (14) and Ken Mordaunt's low budget Laos-set life-experience-derived The Rocket (12). Likewise in the feature documentary category, where nominations range from Warwick Ross' Red Obsession, about China's thirst for Bordeaux to Eve Ash's Shadow of Doubt, revealing a new miscarriage of justice with echoes of the infamous Lindy Chamberlain case.

Movie reviews:
KILL YOUR DARLINGS
(US, 2013) Dir: John Krokidas. Stars Daniel Radcliffe, Jack Huston, Ben Foster, Dane DeHaan, Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Jason Leigh. "With its underbelly of dark themes, this is a disturbing and intriguing film with rich performances and whose characters are liberating in that they disregard the consequences - and pay the price," says Louise. "There are some great moments, some lively sexual scenes and lots of intellectual posing. But the film's self-consciousness tends to work against it dramatically," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
THE SPECTACULAR NOW
(US, 2013) Dir: James Ponsoldt. Stars Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Kyle Chandler, Brie Larson, Masam Holden, Dayo Okeniyi, Jennifer Jason Lee. "We may have seen different versions of this coming of age story but there is something fresh and enticing about this one. Today and tomorrow - what a difference a day makes!" says Louise. "Nothing wrong with the performances, it's the writing and directing that fail to deliver," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2
(US, 2013) Dir: Cody Cameron, Kris Pear. Voices of Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte, Kristen Schaal, Terry Crews, Andy Samberg, Neil Patrick Harris, Benjamin Bratt. "Visually extraordinary, this rainbow-coloured 3D animated sequel set in an eco system of living food, is as whimsical as the original 2009 film, even though its plot is lumpy enough to cause indigestion. What's wonderful is the filmmakers' sheer innovation with galloping bananas, elephantine watermelons, flower-eating shallots ... sardine-eating cucumbers..." says Louise.

Movie reviews:
NIGHT TRAIN TO LISBON
(Germany/Switzerland/Portugal, 2013) Dir: Bille August. Stars Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, Melanie Laurent, Jack Huston, Bruno Ganz, Lena Olin. "... mystery romantic thriller whose execution fails to live up to its superlative cast. Based on Pascal Mercier's novel, Bille August's film struggles to marry the story's two timeframes with the narrative leapfrogging back and forth," says Louise. "A melancholy film with a big, soft heart," says Andrew.

Movie review:
THE SPIRIT OF '45
(UK, 2013) Dir: Ken Loach. Documentary. "The Spirit of '45 is a fond postcard from Ken Loach from the era when British socialism with a democratic spirit gripped the nation in a post-war embrace. His sense of cinema serves him well and he knows how to elicit emotions with the various tools at his disposal," says Andrew.

Movie review:
DELIVERY MAN
(US, 2013) Dir: Ken Scott. Stars Vince Vaughn, Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt, Britt Robertson. "Vaughn's juvenile personality is used to drive home all the comedic angles the writers dream up in this entirely plastic comedy. There is hardly a true thing in it, which lets the air out of its tyres and leaves it flat," says Andrew.

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming later in December, Philomena, stars Judi Dench, Steve Coogan. "Steve Coogan and Judi Dench pitted against each other make this a winner," says Louise. "Hugely involving and totally satisfying, Philomena is a film for posterity," says Andrew.]
Calendar of films releasing in December

NEW TRAILERS
Her, stars Joaquin Phonix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Scarlett Johansson;
The Railway Man, stars Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman;
American Hustle, stars Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams;
Philomena, stars Judi Dench, Steve Coogan;
Grudge Match, stars Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger;
Nebraska, stars Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb;

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:
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Stars Patrick Bruel, Valérie Benguigui, Charles Berling, Guillaume de Tonquedec, Judith El Zein. "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.

A LADY IN PARIS
Stars Jeanne Moreau, Laine Mägi, Patrick Pineau. "The most satisfying part of the film is the way we learn about each of the three main characters, who in turn become interdependent," says Louise.

ABSOLUTE DECEPTION
Stars Cuba Gooding Jr, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Evert McQueen, Ty Hungerford. "A solid genre script by Kraig Wenman is efficiently realised in the masterly genre-loving hands of Aussie director Brian Trenchard Smith," says Andrew.

FAREWELL MY QUEEN
Stars Léa Seydoux, Diane Kruger, Virginie Ledoyen. "While the film offers a fascinating voyeuristic glimpse into the surrounds of its lavish settings and splendid costumes, we are always kept at arm's length," says Louise.

THE WORLD'S END
Stars Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, David Bradely, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine. "There's a wonderful zany energy about this offbeat comedy from the Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz team," says Louise.
INTERVIEW - Simon Pegg - happy to be not like his character Gary King.

Competition winners:
THE WAY WAY BACK DVD
To win DVDs courtesy Universal Sony Home Entertainment, we asked: Who among family and friends has been an inspiration at some time in your life and why? Elise Smith (NSW): My friend Dave has been an inspiration in my life. He has shown me how to let go of past pain and hurt and live life to the fullest again. I don't dwell on the past any more or let it affect my future.

ENDER'S GAME
To win double inseason passes courtesy Icon Film Distribution, we asked: Who among family and friends would you trust to save the world and why? Lachlan Morrison (WA): Only me. When you've played as many hours on strategy games as I have; it's a no-brainer

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, George Miller's Mad Max 2 (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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