Oct 222014


David Ayer’s (End of Watch) WWII-set tank epic is a hulking, mechanical beast of masculine adrenaline that rumbles along to Steven Price’s (Gravity) incredible operatic score. It does a lot of the heavy lifting in this rousing drama, that in bursts thematically resembles great war films like Platoon or Saving Private Ryan, only to fail on a few fronts – with its stock characters, romanticised machismo and somewhat extreme depictions. Still, the tanks have heft and character and Fury is an intense, grueling, visceral and claustrophobic representation of the sheer horrors of war – the incineration of life, the loss of innocence, the transformation of an ordinary human being into a monster– and the authentic mud-drenched combat sequences are very well done indeed.

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Oct 192014


“You are all my children again and you are all grounded”, Hilary Altman (Jane Fonda) announces to her adult children who have gathered at the family home after the passing of their father. It was his dying wish that the family sit Shiva, a week-long mourning period, and Hilary will see to it that this wish will be granted. This Is Where I Leave You is reviewed after the jump.
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Oct 192014


Screening at the upcoming Jewish International Film Festival, Zero Motivation, the excellent début feature from Israeli writer/director Talya Lavie, won the top prize for narrative world cinema at the Tribeca Film Festival. A black comedy addressing the mundanity of Israeli Army base HR management and secretarial duties, it focuses on a unit of female conscripts who find their camaraderie tested by the base’s comings and goings, and are willing to do anything to make their service bearable – while keeping their sanity and dignity.

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Oct 172014

Top Five was a big hit at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and is one of those films that I am kicking myself for missing out on. Friends who have seen it have all said how smart, funny and fresh it is. It’s another film which is in some ways examining identity and the performer – something which I feel has been a very prominent theme in 2014 (Venus in Fur, Clouds of Sils Maria, Birdman are a few examples of others).

The official synopsis is as follows:
Written, directed by, and starring Chris Rock, “TOP FIVE” tells the story of New York City comedian-turned-film star Andre Allen, whose unexpected encounter with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) forces him to confront the comedy career—and the past—that he’s left behind.

The cast is absolutely packed with comedic talent including Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Kevin Hart, Tracy Morgan, and Cedric The Entertainer.

Top Five will be released in Australia on January 29.

Oct 162014

The Imitation Game

The Emirates British Film Festival full 2014 program of 21 titles, including 13 Australian premieres and a retrospective has been launched and tickets are now on sale.

Testament of Youth based on the famous memoirs of Vera Brittain and starring Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina) and Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) will open the festival nationally; and the Closing Night selection is The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing who cracked Nazi Germany’s Enigma code during World War 2. The Imitation Game is not released nationally in Australia until January, so this is a great opportunity to see the highly anticipated film early.

Other highlights include: Mr Turner - Timothy Spall  in his 2014 Cannes Film Festival-winning performance as the famed painter J.M.W Turner from writer-director Mike Leigh; Miss Julie - Jessica Chastain is Miss Julie in the latest adaptation of August Strindberg’s 1888 play, directed by Liv Ullmann; ’71 – in this critically well-received début feature from director Yann Demange, Jack O’Connell (Starred Up, Skins) leads a talented cast in a story of abandonment and conflict on the dangerous streets of Northern Ireland.

Festival dates & locations

MELBOURNE 5 – 26 Nov
SYDNEY 6 – 26 Nov
ADELAIDE 5 – 16 Nov
PERTH 5 – 16 Nov
CANBERRA 6 – 23 Nov
BRISBANE 6 – 16 Nov
BYRON 6 – 16 Nov

For the full programme and information about how to buy tickets, visit the official festival website

You can also follow the festival on Twitter 

Oct 112014


Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall star as father and son in the David Dobkin (Shanghai Nights, Wedding Crashers) directed family drama, The Judge. From a story and screenplay by Nick Schenk (co-written by Bill Dubuque) Downey Jr. is Hank Palmer, an arrogant big shot New York defence attorney who returns to his hometown of Carlinville, Indiana, for his mother’s funeral. While there he re-bonds with his brothers Glen (Vincent D’Onofrio) and Dale (Jeremy Strong), and an ex-flame Samantha (Vera Farmiga), but soon discovers that his estranged and seriously ill father Judge Joseph Palmer (Robert Duvall), is suspected of murder and soon to face trial. With Joseph initially unwilling to allow Hank to represent him, a firm motive and the inexplicable gaps in his testimony leave plenty for prosecutor Dwight Dickham (Billy Bob Thornton) to use to put him away. That is unless father and son can put aside their difference and mend decades of conflict.

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Oct 092014

white god

The 9th Windows On Europe Film Festival will showcase 16 brilliant new films from the member states of the European Union at Dendy Opera Quays in Sydney, 17-23 November, and Dendy Canberra 20-24 November.

Presented by the European Delegation to Australia, supported by EU member states and programmed by non-profit company The Festivalists, many of these films are being shown in Australia for the very first time.

Fair Play, a film by Andrea Sedlackova, will open the festival in Sydney on 17 November. Set in the 1980s, the Czech drama charts one young woman’s efforts to train for the Olympics as a sprinter, as a way to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. The screening will mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, the non-violent movement that saw the end of communist rule in Czechoslovakia.

Other highlights of the festival include Cannes Un Certain Regard winner White God and gay drama Land of Storms from Hungary, In The Courtyard starring French screen legend Catherine Deneuve, Spanish relationship drama 10,000 Km, Berlin Film Festival winners Violet and Stations Of The Cross, and gritty Scandinavian coming-of-age dramas from Denmark (Northwest), Sweden (Sanctuary) and Finland (Concrete Night).

The documentary program also includes Cathedrals Of Culture, a series of 3D documentary portraits of iconic buildings by filmmakers such as Wim Wenders, Robert Redford, Michael Madsen and Michael Glawogger; Hubert Canaval’s snapshot of the global energy crisis Energized and Alex Fegan’s endearing portrait of traditional publicans, The Irish Pub.

Mathieu Ravier, the festival’s French-Australian programmer had this to say about this year’s program: “This is a fabulous festival from which to sample the rich culture of modern Europe. I invite you to enjoy the vibrancy and quality of European cinema, with stories that will move you and keep thinking long after the credits have rolled.”

Festival dates & locations: November 17-23 (Dendy Opera Quays Sydney), November 24-30 (Dendy Canberra)

For more information, visit www.eurofilmfest.com.au & for tickets visit www.dendy.com.au


By Andrew Buckle