Welcome to our 882nd weekly edition; Thursday, January 30, 2014

AACTA Award winners - The Great Gatsby grabs the gold.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2013) Dir: Steve McQueen. Stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Lupita Nyong'o. "McQueen shoots long takes in which the action (as in the emotional action, or intention) is the focus, involving us deeply and meaningfully in the characters, their circumstances and the broader context. The impact is strong," says Andrew. "Involving and disturbing with an inspiring central performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor, this is a ballsy film with themes every bit as confronting as those broached by McQueen in his earlier films Hunger (2008) and Shame (2011)," says Louise.
Insider Briefing - Not only brilliant cinema, it's an extraordinary, sober presentation of 'American Slavery' as it really was, writes historical consultant to the production Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* Jackie Weaver gets Raymond Longford Award;
* Grace of Monaco with Nicole Kidman to open Cannes No 67;

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

Win one of 20 double inseason passes to Labor Day, starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, courtesy Paramount Pictures. ©2014 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. Only at the movies February 6.

Movie reviews:
(US, 2013) Dir: Peter Segal. Stars Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Basinger, John Bernthal, Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin. "Not really a boxing movie for boxing aficionados, not like Fighter was with Mickey Rooney a wrestling film, say, but there is a ghastly fascination for these 60 somethings behaving like 30 somethings and looking like weird somethings, each in their own way," says Andrew. "It's low on laughs and tries much too hard, but the fact that De Niro and Stallone at the ripe old ages of 70 and 67 respectively are back in the ring giving it their best shot brings veteran entertainment value. The problem lies with the shallow, lack-lustre script..." says Louise.

Jim McElroy Interview:
Crowdfunding is moving into the mainstream, with Australian producer Jim McElroy seeking almost $1 million from the general public to help finance his next feature film, the $10 million drama, Zebras, written by David Williamson, to be directed by Bruce Beresford, starring Luke Hemsworth and Bruce Greenwood. Andrew L. Urban talked to Jim on Skype the day Kick Starter launched the Zebras campaign.

[Coming in February, Dallas Buyers Club, stars Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner. 'Two stand-out performances and the claustrophobic depiction of a death-infested reality are the significant elements of Dallas Buyers Club," says Louise. "On how a reprobate womaniser, boozer, snorter and hustler made a difference to hundreds if not millions of lives ... and how an actor called Matthew McConaughey resurrected the remarkable spirit of Ron Woodroof, in a performance that swallows the actor - body and all," says Andrew.]
Calendar of films releasing in January

The Grand Budapest Hotel, stars Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Ralph Fiennes;
The Other Woman, stars Kate Upton, Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann;
Jupiter Ascending, stars Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean;
Chinese Puzzle, stars Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Cecile De France;
Nebraska, stars Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb;
Xmen Days of Future Past, stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender;

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 Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, Juno Temple, James Franco, Sharon Stone. "..there's more tragedy than titillation in this story about a young girl intimidated by her perverse, abusive husband," says Louise.

Stars Dane DeHaan, James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo. "The film begins and ends with an empty stage. What happens in between is a rock metal fest of aggression," says Louise.

Competition winners:
To win double inseason passes to The Past, courtesy Madman, we asked: Who among family and friends is good at nurturing relationships and what is their secret? Sanja Ajzerle (QLD): That would be my friend Nina. Her secret is a simple one: just follow the famous quote "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."

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, Mark Joffe's The Man Who Sued God (Billy Connolly, Judy Davis, pic) and dozens more. Over 500 films.

It's a steep walk from Gruyères railway station to the historic Swiss hilltop village of Gruyères, world famous for its cheese. But Gruyères (population 300) has a dark secret which only the most curious - or well informed - will discover: the gallery of H. R. Giger, Oscar winning designer of the alien in Ridley Scott's Alien (1979) and other things similarly subversive, erotic, fantastic and out of this world. Andrew L. Urban reports.

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