Jul 212016
 

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Opinion has been sharply divided over the two rebooted Star Trek films spearheaded by J.J Abrams. Many long-term fans of the sci-fi behemoth have been underwhelmed, dismissing the films as action films set in space. Others with less investment in the property, myself included, have found great enjoyment in them for precisely the same reason.
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Jul 172016
 

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Hello all. You may have noticed we’ve been a little quiet since Sydney Film Festival wrapped up last month. We thought it was time to provide an update. For the foreseeable future we have decided to scale down our efforts on An Online Universe. For a long time we’ve posted festival news, weekly release schedules, reviews of new films and more on a fairly regular basis. While rewarding, it is extremely time-consuming, and that’s time we just don’t have to give at the moment.

We’re not closing down or going away. When we see something we want to write about or have something to say, we’ll post it on here, it just won’t be to any schedule – we might post 4 things one week and then go 3 weeks without posting anything else, but we’re still going to be here in some form. We hope you’ll still stop by time to time. You can also still find us spouting opinions regularly on Twitter.

Sam & Andrew

Jul 132016
 

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John Carney (Once and Begin Again) has become the master of the romantic-musical-dramedy, and his irresistible latest film Sing Street, his most personal – mined from his own experiences as a youth – and best to date, is a charming feel-good portrait of ’80s Dublin. With a truly awesome nostalgic Brit-pop soundtrack featuring The Cure, Duran Duran, Hall & Oates and Joe Jackson, likeable, engaging performances from the talented young cast and a poignant examination of teenage romance, brotherly love, and the power of music to provoke creativity, unite, define, rebel and change your life, Sing Street is a joy to behold. Read why it is one my favourite films of the year after the jump.

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Jul 052016
 

Eyeinthesky

June was crammed packed with amazing films thanks to Sydney Film Festival. It’s a weird feeling when the festival is done – on one hand I don’t want to see a cinema for a little while, but on the other hand I mourn the end of the fabulous array of films and wonderful people who visit Sydney to see them. I haven’t written about the festival films in my round-up this month, I think I said enough online, in our festival awards post, and in my various reviews. Brief thoughts of everything else I watched, including two of the year’s best, are after the jump.

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 Posted by at 20:47
Jun 302016
 

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June, as usual is all about the Sydney Film Festival. A binge of films for two weeks, followed by a period of very few. I watched a total of 34 films at the Sydney Film Festival. I wrote about them all, to various lengths, in four diary entries. You can read about them all here, as well as full-length reviews, and a festival awards round-up written by Sam and myself. These are not listed below – ended watching 44 films in June + 20 episodes of TV.

I also played a good chunk of Witcher 3.  I am so close to the end, after almost a year of intermittent playing. Certainly one of the greatest games I have ever played. I am also very close to finishing A Little Life. A tremendous, life-changing novel that deserves all of the praise and dialogue it has provoked. Perhaps my album of the year (not a surprise for anyone who knows my music tastes) is The Glowing Man by Swans. While it still clocks in at close to two hours it is a much more subdued and penetrable effort than their previous two works. It still evokes the feeling of swimming in a deep, dark ocean, but here Swans offer some flashes of light. I also very much enjoyed Puberty 2 by Mitzki, Bottomless Pit by Death Grips, and Freetown Sound by Blood Orange.

Read beyond for a recap of everything I watched outside of the Sydney Film Festival.

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Jun 302016
 

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In cinemas this week: The BFG, Central Intelligence, Ice Age: Collision Course, Belle and Sebastian: The Adventure Continues and The Wait. 

The BFG – Ten-year-old Sophie is in for the adventure of a lifetime when she meets the Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). Naturally scared at first, the young girl soon realises that the 24-foot behemoth is actually quite gentle and charming. As their friendship grows, Sophie’s presence attracts the unwanted attention of Bloodbottler, Fleshlumpeater and other giants. After traveling to London, Sophie and the BFG must convince Queen Victoria to help them get rid of all the bad giants once and for all. A personal childhood favourite, and despite the mixed reviews I am intrigued to see how Steven Spielberg can make this work for the screen.

Central Intelligence – Bullied as a teen for being overweight, Bob Stone (Dwayne Johnson) shows up to his high school reunion looking fit and muscular. While there, he finds Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart), a fast-talking accountant who misses his glory days as a popular athlete. Stone is now a lethal CIA agent who needs Calvin’s number skills to help him save the compromised U.S. spy satellite system. Together, the former classmates encounter shootouts, espionage and double-crosses while trying to prevent worldwide chaos. One to catch on VOD later in the year, because it looks quite funny. Johnson and Hart will, no doubt, make a great comic duo.

Ice Age: Collision Course – Scrat’s epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World. To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, travelling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colourful new characters. Another one? It must be the school holidays.

Belle and Sebastian: The Adventure Continues – The young boy and his big shaggy dog from 2014’s Belle & Sebastian are back in a new tale of adventure! Set at the close of the Second World War, Sebastian (Félix Bossuet) is now ten years old and ready for an action-packed search in the Alps for his friend Angelina (Margaux Chatelier) who has gone missing after a plane crash. The first film was lovely. And this will at least have some beautiful scenery. 

The Wait – A young woman (Lou de Laâge) waits for the arrival of her boyfriend (Giovanni Anzaldo) in Sicily, but the man’s grieving mother (Juliette Binoche) does not tell her that he is dead. Fans of Melanie Laurent’s incredible Breathe will recognise Lou de Laâge here, working alongside the legendary Juliette Binoche. Yep.

Weekly Recommendation: The BFG, but we’re not at all sure what to expect. The Wait is screening regularly at Opera Quays this week if you missed it at the French Film Festival earlier in the year.

Jun 292016
 

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As per usual, the New Zealand International Film Festival is absolutely packed with an amazing variety of fantastic films. I have been lucky enough to see a fair amount of the films showing, so I’ve gone through the programme and picked 12 films I think are worth adding to your festival schedule. Check them out after the jump.

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Jun 262016
 

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After looking forward to it for so long, it’s hard to believe that another Sydney Film Festival is done and dusted. The quality of films was exceedingly high this year, and we had a wonderful time at the festival. Thanks and congratulations to the entire festival team and all of the volunteers.

The Sydney Film Prize (the prize given to the winner of the Official Competition) was this year awarded to Kleber Mondonca Filho’s Aquarius, which also happened to be our favourite film from the festival. The Audience Award (Feature) was awarded to Deniz Gamze Ergüven’ s Mustang; while the Audience Award (Documentary) went to Australian documentary Zach’s Ceremony, directed by Aaron Petersen. 

After the jump we have picked out favourite films, performances, music, cinematography, and other achievements, from the films we saw at the festival. For context, Sam saw 40 films and Andy saw 49 – about 1/5 of what was playing. These selections are purely based on what we saw, and we have no doubt we missed some gems – please let us know what they are! We highly recommend you seek out any of the films mentioned in our “awards” after the jump.

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