May 272015

inside out

Cold days and ever colder nights. Winter is the perfect time to escape to the cinema. For those in Sydney, the season starts with the annual film festival, this year running June 3-14; while Melbourne’s annual film festival kicks off in late July. Outside of the festivals, there’s still a fair bit coming to cinemas. Here’s our pick for 12 films to watch this Winter.


Aloha (Cameron Crowe) – June 4

Cameron Crowe, best known for Say Anything, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous, is in need of a resurgence in the world of popular opinion. Elizabethtown was widely disliked (though it has pockets of champions) and We Bought A Zoo (which I think is pretty hard not to like on some level, and a great family film) was forgotten about before it was even released. But, he is back with a new film. Does anybody care? We do. He still has a great strike rate, and this has a hot cast – Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams. Cooper stars as a celebrated military contractor (Bradley Cooper) who returns to the site of his greatest career triumphs and re-connects with a long-ago love while unexpectedly falling for Air-Force watchdog assigned to him. [Andrew]



Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow) – June 11 

I must admit it is the appeal of the ever-charming Chris Pratt, rather than the premise of the film, which has me looking forward to Jurassic World. Director Colin Trevorrow is an interesting choice for the fourth film in the Jurassic Park franchise, having only directed one feature film before, indie hit Safety Not Guaranteed (a film I was not fond of at all). In Jurassic World a fully functioning dinosaur theme park is both attraction and research centre. When a hybrid dinosaur is created in the hope of boosting visitor numbers, things go awfully wrong. Also stars:  Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, B. D. Wong, and Irrfan Khan.  [Sam]



Inside Out (Pete Doctor) – June 18

Pixar’s latest film, and first original one in a while, received a lot of praise out of Cannes with one notable critic declaring it as one of Pixar’s greatest films to date and the ‘Studio’s Spirited Away’. Directed by Pete Docter (Monster’s Inc. and Up), Inside Out features an all-star voice-cast including Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Mindy Kaling. Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. [Andrew]


Love & Mercy (Bill Pohlad) – June 25 

Screening at Sydney Film Festival ahead of its June 25 cinema release, Love & Mercy is sure to be a hit at the festival. The bio pic is about musician and songwriter Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and focuses on two times in Brian’s life – the 1960s when the band was particularly successful, and the 80s, when Brian was middle-aged and somewhat broken. The film switches between the two times, painting a picture of his creative process &  personal struggles. It’s a rather powerful film and not at all what I expected. Sound is employed in interesting ways and the film has a way of getting inside your head, giving you a real window into Brian’s psyche. Stars:  Paul Dano and John Cusack, who depict the young and old Brian Wilson, respectively; Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti. [Sam]

Also out in June: Ted 2, Far From The Madding Crowd, Minions, Going Clear: Scientology And The Prison Of Belief, Hot Pursuit, The Emperor’s New Clothes, Entourage


Amy (Asif Kapadia) – July 2

Another one to receive strong reviews at Cannes is Asif Kapadia’s Amy, a documentary exploring the public and private life of the British Grammy Award-winning artist who died in 2011 aged just 27 from alcohol poisoning. Kapadia (like he did with Senna, one of the best films of the last decade) seeks to tell Amy’s story from unseen archival footage and interviews, and shine a light on the celebrity-obsessed world we live in. Tragically Winehouse seemed to fall apart under the relentless media attention, her troubled relationships, her global success and precarious lifestyle. [Andrew]


Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs) – July 9 

Magic Mike XXL may not have Steven Soderbergh, but film nerds wanting an artistic excuse to go and see the film can use the fact that his long-time first AD, Gregory Jacobs, is in the director’s chair.  Okay, so now you have an excuse, let’s get to the real reason you’re seeing this. Those sweet dance moves and abs. The abs (totally GIF-worthy). Hey, if it’s anywhere near as fun as the first one, it should be a perfectly acceptable piece entertainment. [Sam]


Ant-Man (Peyton Reed) – July 16 

I feel the same way about Ant-Man as I do about Jurassic World – totally charmed by the leading actor, but completely ambivalent about the film itself. I would watch Paul Rudd in anything, and he’s the reason to watch this, because let’s be honest, aren’t we suffering from a little bit of superhero fatigue? I sure know I am. Had Edgar Wright still been directing, I know I would be a heck of a lot more excited. On the positive side, the film has a pretty great cast, which includes:  Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Wood Harris, Judy Greer and Michael Douglas. [Sam]



Trainwreck (Judd Apatow) – July 30

Judd Apatow is back, and contrary to opinion he still hasn’t made a bad film. Trainwreck unites him with stand-up comedian Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer). I am not familiar with Schumer’s comedy, so enjoyment could hinge heavily on her.  She stars as a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears about monogamy when she meets a good guy. What I do know about this is that it also stars Bill Hader – a now not-so-secret weapon, who gives every film a lift – and LeBron James. Apatow has built a trustworthy resume, so we were never going to miss this. [Andrew]


Also out in July: The Fantastic Four, Self/Less, Mr. Holmes, Man Up, Child 44, Madame Bovary, Terminator: Genisys



Last Cab to Darwin (Jeremy Sims) – August 6 

Vetern Australian actor Michael Caton stars as Rex, a terminally ill cab driver who decides to leave his hometown for the first time and drive across the country to Darwin, where new euthanasia laws could enable him to control his fate. Adapted from the successful play of the same name, the film tells a powerful story in a uniquely Australian way. The film is also screening at Sydney Film Festival in June, where director Jeremy Sims and actor Michael Caton will be involved in a filmmaker talk. [Sam]



Mission: Impossible 5 (Chrisopher McQuarrie) – August 6

The Mission: Impossible franchise has been improving (I am referring to III and Ghost Protocol here) of late and I am very much looking forward to what Tom Cruise and Christopher McQuarrie come up with this time. The pair worked together on the underrated Jack Reacher, and Cruise is now a trustworthy action hero. No one works harder in action films than Tom Cruise. We learn from the trailer that Cruise at one point will be hanging out of an airplane. Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner and Ving Rames return from earlier instalments, joining Cruise on a mission to eradicate the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF. [Andrew]


Man from U.N.C.L.E (Guy Ritchie) – August 13

Guy Ritchie (Lock Stock and Two Smokin’ Barrels) is back after a pair of Sherlock Holmes films – the first of which I really liked – with The Man From U.N.C.L.E, based on the Sam Rolfe novel and the 1964 MGM television series. In the early 1960s, during the Cold War, CIA agent Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin participate in a joint mission against a mysterious criminal organisation, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons. Check out this cast – Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, Alicia Vikander and Elizbeth Debicki. [Andrew]



Southpaw (Antione Fuqua) – August 20 

Jake Gyllenhaal  is a man on a hot streak. Nightcrawler, Enemy, Prisoners, End of Watch – he has picked interesting roles and has been absolutely smashing them out of the park. Gyllenhaal trained for 6 months for Southpaw, reportedly gaining about 12kg of pure muscle. The film was original written with Eminem in mind for the leading role – that’s hard to imagine when seeing the photos of pumped up Gyllenhaal. Boxing film, family film, revenge film – the primal need to protect your family is the film’s main thrust. The film also stars  Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris and 50 Cent. [Sam]

Also out in August: Vacation, Irrational Man, Criminal, Masterminds

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