Welcome to our 980th weekly edition; Thursday December 17, 2015

Movie reviews:
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
(US, 2015) Dir: J.J.Abrams. Stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson. "The old and the new are seamlessly interwoven in this swashbuckling intergalactic adventure that satisfies on every level with its superb storytelling, endearing characters, splashy visual effects and a masterful score," says Louise. "Well, was it worth the wait and the anticipation? In my book, yes," says Andrew.

Latest:
NEWS:
Gossip-free zone;
* Movies Now 'continues to exceed expectations' ... participants are looking forward to its 11th year;

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

COMPETITIONS
DADDY'S HOME
Win one of 5 Daddy's Home prize packs comprising a double pass to the film starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg and a Merchandise Pack (Basketball Hoop, T-Shirt, Mug, Lunch Box), courtesy Paramount Pictures. Copyright 2015 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. Only at the Movies December 26.

FREE TICKETS TO ELIXIR (SYDNEY)
40 double passes are available to our Sydney readers for a special free screening of Brodie Higgs' debut feature ELIXIR, following its World Premiere in Berlin, where it was described as "Sumptuously shot, ELIXIR is the deliriously culture-mashing feature film debut..." Screening: Monday December 21 at 6.30pm, Dendy Newtown. Q&A with Andrew L. Urban follows the screening. Register for access.
Full story

Feature:
TOP 10 FILMS OF 2015
If you only saw 10 films this year, these were the ones we would have recommended as the year's best - according to Louise Keller.

Movie review:
YOUTH
(US, 2015) Dir: Paolo Sorrentino. Stars Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Jane Fonda. "It is the scale and sheer audacity of Paolo Sorrentino's seductive drama that elevates it into a class of its own. It's remote yet accessible; realistic yet surreal; aloof yet personal," says Louise. (Special advance screenings)

Movie reviews:
THE BELIER FAMILY
(France, 2015) Dir: Eric Lartigau. Stars Karin Viard, Francois Damiens, Eric Elmosino, Louane Emera. "Original and in perfect pitch with its audience, The Belier Family is a charmer," says Louise. "Good comedy rests on genuine dramatic foundations, a rule this film surely affirms," says Andrew. (Special advance screenings)

Feature:
EUROPEAN FILM ACADEMY AWARDS YOUTH
Paolo Sorrentino's latest film, Youth, has been voted European Film of 2015, with Sorrentino also winning the European Director Award, and his star Michael Caine awarded Best Actor - as well as receiving the Academy's Honorary Award. (Youth opens in Australia on December 26, 2015)

AACTA Awards 2015:
THE DRESSMAKER FITTING FOR THE PEOPLE
Jocelyn Moorhouse's dark farce, The Dressmaker, is the People's Choice Award winner at this year's AACTA Awards, with its cast - Judy Davis, Hugo Weaving and Kate Winslet - also going home armed with awards, while George Miller has the Best Director Award for Mad Max: Fury Road, which is also the big winner of Best Film.

Awards:
GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINEES 2015
George Miller with Mad Max: Fury Road (Best Drama) and Cate Blanchett (pic) for her role in Carol (Best Actress) are the high profile Australians in the list of nominees for the Golden Globe Awards to be presented on January 10, 2016 in Los Angeles.

UPCOMING FILMS
[Coming in January, Snoopy & Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie. "An endearing family film," says Louise.]
Calendar of films releasing in December

NEW TRAILERS
The Hateful Eight, stars Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell;
Youth, stars Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel;
Zoolander 2, stars Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell;
The 33, stars Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin;
Joy, stars Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper;
The Danish Girl, stars Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander.;

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 our favourites if they don 't make the top 20)

NEW DVDS:
MR HOLMES
Stars Ian McKellan. Every detail matters in this meticulous portrait of the ageing Sherlock Holmes as he struggles to tidy up unwieldy loose ends, says Louise.

I AM BIG BIRD
Documentary with Caroll Spinney. This adulatory doco of Spinney's life and work is a handful of love stories glued together by Spinney, who is at the centre of it, says Andrew.

Competition winners:
YOUTH
To win double passes courtesy Studio Canal, we asked: Who among family and friends would benefit from reliving their youth and why? Kim Morrison (WA): My grandfather was a 'ten pound Pom' orphan from England. His youth was spent in a boys' home. I bet he'd like to relive his youth; but with a different storyline.

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, Chopper (pic) and dozens more. Over 550 films.

Travelfile:
VILLANY- HUNGARY: CABERNET FRANK COUNTRY
On the eve of the 2015 harvest (promising) and the launch of a new marketing campaign to promote the Southern Hungarian wine region of Villany with its star wine, the cabernet franc, Andrew L. Urban harvested this story.

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