Welcome to our 887th weekly edition; Thursday, March 6, 2014

OSCARS: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, Cate Blanchett, Catherine Martin ... and all the winners.

Movie reviews:
TRACKS
(Aust, 2013) Dir: John Curran. Stars Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver. "Solitude and a great sense of place is central to this gripping tale recounting Robyn Davidson's trek across the vast Australian desert in 1975, walking 1,700 miles with four camels and a dog as company," says Louise. "John Curran has delivered film that has many more plusses than camels with big, sad eyes and hilarious lips. Above all, it has Mia Wasikowska as Robyn Davidson, absolutely authentic and credible as a character as well as being insightful about her," says Andrew.

Latest:
NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* Chauvel Collection restored, reissued on DVD;
* 100 free click-through movies on SBS;
* OK for Orry-Kelly doco;
* Aussie actress in awarded new horror pic;

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

COMPETITIONS
ALL IS LOST
Win one of 15 double inseason passes to All Is Lost, starring Robert Redford, courtesy Universal Pictures. Copyright line: ©2014 Universal Studios. Only at the Movies March 6.

Movie reviews:
ALL IS LOST
(US, 2013) Dir: J.C. Chandor. Stars Robert Redford. "Uncluttered by narrative or dialogue, Robert Redford gives an astounding performance - spending most of the film literally and psychologically hanging on," says Louise. "Full of detail, the film is almost claustrophobic at times as we stay inside the cabin of the yacht while the ocean heaves outside, the wind howls, the boat shrieks... it's a unique work," says Andrew.

Movie review:
300: RISE OF AN EMPIRE
(US, 2014) Dir: Noam Murro. Stars Sullivan Stapleton, Rodrigo Santoro, Eva Green, Lena Heady, Jack O'Connell, David Wenham. "Gory for the greater glory of the genre, 300: Rise of an Empire delivers what its predecessor promised, with all the skills of the filmmakers focused on gripping our senses and exciting them," says Andrew.

Movie review:
VAMPIRE ACADEMY
(US/UK/Rom, 2014) Dir: Mark Waters. Stars Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry, Danila Kozlovsky, Gabriel Byrne, Dominic Sherwood, Olga Kurylenko. "I really did try to channel the 17 year old high school girl within, byzantine, bitchy scheming an' all, but it's a stretch too far, and had to be content with enjoying the performances," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
MR MORGAN'S LAST LOVE
(Germany/Belg/US/France, 2013) Dir: Sandra Nettlebeck. Stars Michael Caine, Clémence Poésy, Michelle Goddet, Jane Alexander, Gillian Anderson, Justin Kirk. "It's the labouring nature and tone of the story that eventually wore me down in this tale about grief, love and loss, despite a wonderful cast headed by Michael Caine. Glorious Paris in autumn looks wonderful too," says Louise. " . has a bitter sweet quality that will appeal to an older demographic whose empathy with the themes will overcome the glitches," says Andrew.

Feature:
THE BIG PICTURE FILM FESTIVAL - PREVIEW
Fittingly enough, one of the films in the Big Picture festival program is The Missing Picture, Rithy Panh's unique film in which little clay figurines represent Cambodians slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge in the 70s, including his own family, of whom no pictures or images remain. Andrew L. Urban reports. (The Missing Picture opens commercially on March 20.)

Obituary:
ALAIN RESNAIS: 1922-2014
Nick Roddick reflects on one of cinema's late, great contemporary masters.

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming in April, Chinese Puzzle, stars Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou, Cécile de France, Kelly Reilly. "Time has passed and circumstances have changed, but the sense of upbeat fun that Cedric Klapisch first created in Spanish Apartment (2003) and Russian Dolls (2005) continues in this third film of the trilogy about a young man's search for his dreams," says Louise.]
Calendar of films releasing in March

NEW TRAILERS
The Zero Theorem, stars Christoph Waltz, David Thewlis, Matt Damon;
Godzilla, stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen;
The Grand Budapest Hotel, stars Saoirse Ronan, Jude Law, Ralph Fiennes;
Half of a Yellow Sun, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton;
Noah, stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly;
The Other Woman, stars Kate Upton, Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann;

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:
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
Stars Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman. " .. a story with all the ingredients required to deliver for a thrilling, heart-in-mouth experience," says Louise.

THE BUTLER
Stars Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, John Cusack. "Overall engaging with sympathetic performances by Whitaker and TV Queen Oprah Winfrey, there is much to absorb," says Louise.

THOR: THE DARK WORLD
Stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba. "If I were a 13 year old boy I'd want to go straight back in and see it again," says Andrew.

FRUITVALE STATION
Stars Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand. " .. a heartfelt tribute to Oscar, and a devastating indictment of the local police - and the vagaries of fate," says Andrew.

Competition winners:
TRACKS
To win double passes to Tracks starring Mia Wasikowska, courtesy Transmission Films, we asked: Who among family and friends (or pets) would you rely on if you took a solo trek through the Australian desert and why? Karen Dethomas (VIC): My Dad: He has the bladder of a camel and a 'dry' sense of humour so he would fit in perfectly!!

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, Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom, Rolf de Heer's Bad Boy Bubby (pic), Romper Stomper, Muriel's Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and dozens more. Over 500 films.

Travelfile:
LAKE COMO, ITALY
Finding the Hotel Carramazza almost by accident, Andrew L. Urban meets the man whose family has lived there for 430 years - enough time to accumulate many secrets. The hotel is now gone, but the secrets remain...

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