Welcome to our 896th weekly edition; Thursday, May 8, 2014

Movie reviews:
BELLE
(UK, 2013) Dir: Amma Asante. Stars Gugu Mabatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Miranda Richardson, Sam Reid. "Conviction and principle are the powerful bullets of this gripping drama in which issues of racial discrimination, slavery and class are canvassed," says Louise. "It is a credit to Assante that she weaves together the story strands and the emotional arcs so powerfully, giving us insight and empathy as payoffs," says Andrew.
COMPETITION - Win one of 10 double inseason passes, courtesy Icon. In cinemas on May 8.

Latest:
NEWS: Gossip-free zone
* Heath Ledger Scholarship finalists for 2014 announced;
* Touch to premiere at Sydney Film Fest;
* Movies Now, the 'movie club' returns for its 25th season (from Wednesday, July 9) of mystery films screened prior to their commercial release, presented by Andrew L. Urban, at Dendy Newton (Sydney;

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

Movie reviews:
CHEF
(US, 2014) Dir: Jon Favreau. Stars Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johnasson, John Leguizamo, Sofia Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, Bobby Cannavale, Robert Downey Jr, Emjay Anthony, Oliver Platt. "There's a formulaic element to the plot which offers few surprises but the film is mostly a crowd pleaser...straddles the genre encompassing its food specialist nature with themes of the father son relationship and road trip adventure," says Louise. "... the film belongs to Favreau in every sense, and his father-son relationship with Percy is at the heart of the film's heart. It begins, of course, with a well written and well 'made' screenplay, with its clear structure and strong, character driven plot," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
HEALING
(Aust, 2014) Dir: Craig Monahan. Stars Hugo Weaving, Don Hany, Tony Martin, Robert Taylor, Jane Menalus, Xavier Samuel. "Raptors with broken wings and inmates with broken lives are the subject of Craig Monahan's film about rehabilitation and letting go. It's a unique drama in which bird and man face parallel challenges as they struggle with their fate and surroundings," says Louise. "Supple, meandering and sometimes besotted with the beauty of its own creations, the screenplay tries to embrace several inter-related themes, but fumbles the process," says Andrew.

Movie reviews:
BAD NEIGHBOURS
(US, 2014) Dir: Nicholas Stoller. Stars Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne, Zac Efron, Dave Franco, Lisa Kudrow, Christopher Mintz-Plasse. "There's a whole lot of shaking going on - and I'm not referring only to the penis and dildo gags - but to the insanity of ideas in what is essentially an outrageous, crude party that broadly explores the divide between youth-inspired excess and turning the corner into adulthood," says Louise. "The premise of a 'nightmare on baby street' is all that keeps the screenplay going, with some late additions of 'this is what it's like to become a parent' and feeling 'older'," says Andrew

Movie review:
SEDUCED & ABANDONED
(US, 2013) Dir: James Tobrack. Documentary. "As a film trade journalist in the 80s and 90s I covered the Cannes film festival 20 times, and seduced and abandoned is how I always felt...It's like three different docos slapped together, none of them complete and coherent - or satisfying," says Andrew.

Awards:
ADG AWARD WINNERS
The Rocket director Kim Mordaunt was awarded the ADG Award for Best Direction in a Feature Film at a black tie ceremony and dinner on Friday night, May 2.

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming in July, Calvary, starring Brendan Gleeson. Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly. "Plaiting strands of drama with gentle black humour, McDonagh has created a solid platform for the superlative Gleeson whose soulful, grounded presence is a compelling guide for a rich insight into the small coastal village inhabitants' sins and virtues. Like the pull of a quicksand, the deeper we tread, the more we are sucked in," says Louise]
Calendar of films releasing in May

NEW TRAILERS
The Trip to Italy, stars Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon;
The Jersey Boys, stars Christopher Walken, Freya Tingley, Francesca Eastwood ;
Sex Tape, stars Sex Tape, stars Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel;
The Babadook, stars Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman;
Maleficent, stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning;
Grace of Monaco, stars Nicole Kidman, Tim Roth;

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:
SAVING MR BANKS
Stars Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti. "Take a tissue and be prepared for a heartfelt experience; the true story of author P.L. Travers and the rocky road travelled for her famous character Mary Poppins," says Louise.

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
Stars Meryl Streep, Dermot Mulroney, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Abigail Breslin. ".an emotional blockbuster in which characters are assassinated, homes destroyed and (personal) demons run rampant, breathing fire," says Andrew.

THE SPECTACULAR NOW
Stars Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Kyle Chandler, Brie Larson. "We may have seen different versions of this coming of age story but there is something fresh and enticing about this one," says Louise.

MADEMOISELLE C
Documentary featuring Carine Roitfeld. "This is a vanity project with a capital V that will daze rather than amaze," says Louise.

Competition winners:
FROZEN DVD
To win DVDs, courtesy Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, we asked: What's your personal tip for staying warm in extreme cold / wet weather? Totally ignoring your fear of skyrocketing electricity price, turn the aircon to a lovely warm temperature. This particular tip has an unexpected bonus; weight loss when you eat less to pay the bill.

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 (pic), Muriel's Wedding, The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and dozens more. Over 500 films.

Travelfile:
VILLEFRANCHE, FRANCE
It's the most popular cruise ship destination in the Mediterranean, but by drink o'clock, Villefranche is all yours. And the locals are friendly, as Andrew L. Urban discovered staying at the aptly named Belle Vue apartment in the old and charming Medieval port within easy reach of all the glam spots on the Riviera.

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