Welcome to our 924th weekly edition; Thursday, November 20, 2014

(US, 2014) Dir: Francis Lawrence. Stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore. "Capitalising on the Jennifer Lawrence factor, Part 1 of the final Hunger Games trilogy will please the fans, although there is too much padding around the key thrilling sequence; the film would have been more complete had the two parts of the split finale been merged," says Louise.

Latest: NEWS: Gossip-free zone * The Captive - free Sydney preview, Nov 24 - FULL HOUSE; * Hoyts goes Lux ; * True Aussie Grit - meet the filmmakers; * Hector Crawford Memorial lecture - Phillip Adams transcript; * AACTA Awards tickets onsale;

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

Win one of 10 double inseason passes to MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN, directed by Jason Reitman and starring Ansel Elgort, Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler, Emma Thompson, Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Judy Greer and Dean Norris. Only at the movies November 27. Copyright 2014 Par.Pics.

Movie review: THE DARK HORSE
(NZ, 2014) Dir: James Napier Robertson. Stars Cliff Curtis, James Rolleston, Kirk Torrance, Xavier Horan, Miriama McDowell. "Cliff Curtis delivers a spectacular characterisation, one which will no doubt be compared to Geoffrey Rush as brilliant pianist David Helfgott in Shine, as Gen has a mild mental condition for which he has to take medication, and is recently out following a stint in what he calls 'the ward'," says Andrew.

Movie reviews: MAPS TO THE STARS
(US, 2014) Dir: David Cronenberg. Stars Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, Carrie Fisher. "With its themes of incest, suicide, death and greed, Maps to the Stars is a caricature masquerading as a satire and playing like a nihilist expose," says Andrew. "Using the worst of Hollywood to glue its string of unlikeable, disturbed characters together, David Cronenberg has created a bizarre and repulsive reality of extremes. To his credit, Cronenberg goes for the jugular in this satire, although for me, it never quite hits the mark," says Louise.

Movie review: ROCK THE CASBAH
(French/Moroccan, 2013) Dir: Laila Marrakchi. Stars Nadine Labaki, Morjana Alaoui, Lubna Azabal, Omar Sharif. "The enigmatic presence of Omar Sharif as he gives a running commentary from the sidelines, is the best thing about Laila Marrakchi's film about secrets, lies and family feuds. The fact that the successful Moroccan businessman Sharif plays happens to be dead only adds to the mystique – it's as though he has at last risen above the scandal, bickering and angst, and plays the role of master of ceremonies with charm and aplomb," says Louise.

Movie review: THE MULE
(Aust, 2014) Dir: Tony Mahony, Angus Sampson. Stars Angus Sampson, Leigh Whanell, Hugo Weaving. "The performances are the Crown Jewels in this otherwise lackluster film, notably the veterans Hugo Weaving as a world weary detective who bends the rules and Noni Hazlehurst as Ray's doting mum," says Andrew.

[Coming in January, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Charles Dance, Mark Strong. "A riveting biopic," says Louise. "I am reasonably familiar with the subject matter, yet the film still manages to knock my socks off, " says Andrew.] Calendar of films releasing in November

Fat Pizza vs Housos, stars Paul Fenech, Johnny Boxer, Maria Venuti; The Theory of Everything, stars Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones; The Imitation Game, stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley; St Vincent, stars Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts; The Water Diviner, stars Russell Crowe, Olga Kurylenko; Men, Women & Children, stars Jennifer Garner, Adam Sandler;

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 Jason Yee, Samantha Streets. "A tinge of sweet nostalgia for the dark shadows of the hard boiled private eye genre swept through me as the film began with a shot of the cover of Dark Mystery magazine featuring a frightened, scantily clad blonde, a smoking gun and the movie title promising pages of thrills," says Andrew.

Stars David Gulpilil, Peter Djigirr. "The haunting face of David Gulpilil is the overwhelming image that remains after watching Rolf de Heer's film about a man conflicted by living on the edge of two worlds," says Louise.

Stars Reese Witherspoon, Dane DeHaan, Mireille Enos, Colin Firth. "There's something fundamentally dissatisfying about Atom Egoyan's film as it explores the shocking murder of three eight year old boys in North Memphis, Arkansas and the surrounding satanic cult theory," says Louise.

Competition winners: LOCKE DVD
To win, we asked: What kind of car reflects your personality and why? June Lawler (Vic): An old FJ Holden; I was made in Australia, very popular when I was young but my duco has faded, my gears are worn and I need a lot of maintenance.

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

Uniquely recalling the endings of relationships, this award winning museum is really a compelling collection of melancholy, intimate snapshots from the lives of strangers. Andrew L. Urban found its cathartic vibe surprisingly uplifting.

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