Environmental Film Festival Australia 2015

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Aug 162015


Back for its 6th year, and this time expanding from Melbourne to also include to Canberra and Hobart, the Environmental Film Festival uses the power of film, music and debate to unite filmmakers, environmentalists, politicians, scientists, experts, and the broader public in their desire to actively engage in issues that affect all of our futures.

The interesting and thought-provoking programme features a selection of features, shorts, panels, and even a trip to the planetarium.

Some highlights include:

A planetarium is a pretty unique place to watch a film and that’s what you’ll be doing if you attend the session of Australian artist Lynette Wallworth’s Coral: Rekindling Venus. Visit the mysterious realm of fluorescent coral reefs, and meet bioluminescent sea creatures and rare marine life. Learn about how our fate is intertwined with the fate of the coral community. This film looks to be both beautiful and a little bit terrifying…how badly are we stuffing up?

Filmed over a several years Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth follows six young Maya in Guatemala and Chiapas through their daily and ceremonial life, revealing their determination to resist the destruction of their culture and environment. As corporations go to the ends of the earth to extract resources at any cost, the Mayan cosmovision, in which all life is sacred and interconnected, presents a deeply compelling alternative to the prevailing worldview. The photography in the trailer for this film looks absolutely gorgeous and it’s not a setting or a culture that we see very often on film.

This film won the audience award (24 Beats Per Second) at the 2015 SXSW film Festival. Set in an extremely poor community in Paraguay, the film is about an ingenious music teacher who salvages scraps from the rubbish dumps to help bring music to the children. Filmed over 5 years the film follows the children as they grow in confidence and begin to perform, first on a locally and then internationally. This document sounds like a straight to the gut, heart-swelling sorta of film. What’s a film festival without a least one of those?


What: Environmental Film Festival Australia 2015
When: Sept 3-10 (Melb), Sept 11-13 (Canb), Sept 18-21 (Tas), 2015
Where: Melbourne, Canberra, Hobart
Website / Full Program / Tickets: www.effa.org.au

The Hateful Eight Teaser Trailer

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Aug 132015

The first teaser trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s highly anticipated new bloodbath, The Hateful Eight has hit the web. It features a loaded cast of Tarantino veterans, including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen, and a return from legendary composer Ennio Morricone to provide the score.

We still don’t really know much about the story – that’s the beauty of the teaser, even one at over 2 minutes – but it looks like a lot of crazy fun. Tarantino’s regular DP Robert Richardson shot the film in Ultra Panavision 70.

The film will première for a one week exclusive season in 70MM at selected cinemas (of which there are maybe 2 in Australia??). It will then open nationwide, with the release date TBC. US audiences get a limited 70MM release from Christmas Day, with wide digital release from January 8 2016.

We can’t wait. Tell us what you think of the trailer.

In Cinemas 13 Aug 2015

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Aug 122015

Girlhood film - 2015

In cinemas this week: The Man From U.N.C.L.E, Girlhood, Iris, 5 Flights Up and Survivor.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E – Henry Cavill stars as Napoleon Solo opposite Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin in director Guy Ritchie’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” a fresh take on the hugely popular 1960s television series. Set against the backdrop of the early 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, it centers on CIA agent Solo and KGB agent Kuryakin. Forced to put aside longstanding hostilities, the two team up on a joint mission to stop a mysterious international criminal organization, which is working to proliferate nuclear weapons. Alicia Vikander and Elizabeth Debicki co-star. I still embrace Guy Ritchie’s (overused)style, and with a fun cast added to the mix this looks like it has plenty of opportunities to please.

Girlhood – Fed up with her abusive family situation, lack of school prospects and the “boys’ law” in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her style, drops out of school and starts stealing to be accepted into the gang. When her home situation becomes unbearable, Marieme seeks solace in an older man who promises her money and protection. Realizing this sort of lifestyle will never result in the freedom and independence she truly desires, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands. Girlhood is wonderful. One of the very best films I saw in Toronto last year. It has been a longtime coming, but Celine Sciamma’s (Tomboy) third feature explodes with style while being incredibly observant and intimate. 

Iris pairs legendary 87-year-old documentarian Albert Maysles with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how, even in Iris’ dotage, a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. Iris portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life’s sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression. I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows. Reviews have been strong, and there was a lot of talk at the Sydney Film Festival about this fascinating lady.

5 Flights Up – Forty years ago, artist Alex Carver (Morgan Freeman) bought a run-down apartment in a sketchy part of Brooklyn with his wife, schoolteacher Ruth (Diane Keaton). Today, their neighborhood is now very hip and their apartment worth a small fortune. The now- retired Ruth and Alex haven’t changed – they are still as much in love as ever. But they have let Ruth’s niece Lily (Cynthia Nixon), a real estate agent, list their property to see what the market might bear. On the eve of their open house, the Brooklyn Bridge is rumored to be under a terrorist attack, sending the media into a frenzy and people’s attitudes about living in New York. Closer to home, Dorothy, the Carver’s beloved dog, is suddenly having trouble walking. While Dorothy is having expensive treatment at the vet, Ruth convinces Alex to go apartment hunting in Manhattan, where they miraculously come across an ideal place they might actually be able to afford. As the world around them seems to mirror their own chaos and confusion, Ruth and Alex realize the same bond of love that has kept them together all these years will allow them to see their way through this crazy weekend as well. This premiered at Toronto last year and I didn’t hear a thing about it. 12 months on and I still haven’t.Freeman and Keaton will draw in the crowds.

Survivor – After being mysteriously framed for a terrorist bombing, a Foreign Service Officer (Milla Jovovich) must evade government capture and death by a ruthless assassin (Pierce Brosnan) in order to stop the real perpetrators’ master-and much deadlier-plan. Ouch. This sounds like so many other films.

Weekly Recommendation: Girlhood. Will be predominantly screening at Palace (in fact, it could be exclusive) but well worth seeking out. Amongst the Top 10 to hit Australian cinemas in 2015 so far. 

Giveaway: INSURGENT DVD & T-Shirt Pack

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Aug 122015



Thanks to eOne, we have 3 x prize packs consisting of an INSURGENT DVD and T-Shirt to give away INSURGENT is available on Digital, DVD, & Blu-Ray from August 12th

Official synopsis:

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT raises the stakes for Tris as she searches for allies and answers in the ruins of a futuristic Chicago. Tris (Woodley) and Four (James) are now fugitives on the run, hunted by Jeanine (Winslet), the leader of the power-hungry Erudite elite. Racing against time, they must find out what Tris’s family sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris, with Four at her side, faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately the future of their world.

To Win Tell us what faction you would be in and why. Send your answers, along with your name and postal address to sam@anonlineuniverse.com by 9pm on Tuesday 18th August, 2015.

Check out the terms & conditions of the competition after the jump.

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2015 Melbourne International Film Festival Recap

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Aug 102015


Having seen a substantial amount of films in Sydney at our annual international film festival, the weekend my wife and I had pre-programme booked offered risky choices. Unfamiliar with most of the 9 films on our schedule, we were either in for plenty of surprises, or some endurance tests. In the end it was a bit of a mixed bag. Great weekend, though. While the escape from the hustle and bustle of Sydney city life, for the slightly colder, greyer and more relaxed hustle of the Melbourne inner city was a necessary one, we made the most of our limited time. In addition to the films, we met up with many of our dear friends for lunch and dinner and satisfied our inner-Bowie with a visit to the excellent ACMI ‘Bowie Is’ exhibition. You can find a quick analysis of all films viewed after the jump:

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Sydney Underground Film Festival 2015

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Aug 062015


Sydney’s weirdest and most wonderful four days of cinema mayhem is back for its 9th year, with the Sydney Underground Film Festival (SUFF) announcing their programme for the September 17th -20th festival, held at The Factory Theatre in Marrickville.

SUFF will screen over 100 films (comprised of features & shorts) sourced from the very best in subversive, experimental, and controversial cinema. With Australian premieres, retrospectives and Q&A screenings alongside masterclasses and special musical performances, it’s going to be a massive four days.

Sydney, get ready for a money shot in 3D!!! I mean, get ready for provocative art house director, Gasper Noe’s newest film, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. LOVE is about exactly that, love. This controversial film is certainly an appropriate opener for a festival that prides itself on bringing controversial and challenging cinema to Sydney audiences.

Closing out SUFF this year will be Eli Roth’s latest thriller KNOCK KNOCK, starring no other than the enigmatic, Keanu Reeves.

In between LOVE and KNOCK KNOCK, there’s the festival favourite shorts like LOVE/SICK and REALITY BITES; a 5oth anniversary screening of the sexploitation classic FASTER, PUSSYCAT KILL! KILL!; the nest film from prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike, YAKUZA APOCALYPSE: THE GREAT WAR OF THE UNDERWORLD; and many more!

Head over to suff.com.au to check out the entire programme and to book your tickets

In Cinemas 6 Aug 2015

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Aug 052015

In cinemas this week: Trainwreck, The Fantastic Four, Last Cab to Darwin, Good Kill and The Farewell Party. 

Trainwreck The latest film from writer/director Judd Apatow (Knocked Up) is just as much an Amy Schumer joint. The current stand-up comedy queen and creator of hit television series Inside Amy Schumer writes and stars in the overstuffed and rough-edged, but undeniably entertaining rom-com Trainwreck. From a young age Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) has taken her father’s mantra that monogamy isn’t realistic to heart. Now a writer for men’s magazine S’nuff and in her early 30’s, she continues to live by that credo. Uninhibited by what she perceives to be stifling romantic commitment, she is a freewheeling partier, sleeping around and always drinking too much. When she finds herself starting to fall for the subject of the new article she’s writing, a charming and successful sports doctor named Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), Amy starts to consider that there might be someone out there she is willing to commit to, and begins to reconsider her wild ways. Full review at the link.

The Fantastic Four A contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. The drawcards here: Josh Trank (director of Chronicle) and the young cast including Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell.

Last Cab To DarwinThis tender film unites some of Australia’s finest actors in a story about life and love. Director Jeremy Sims has worked on the project for 13 years, since its inception as a play at the Sydney Opera House, but has now realised his dream of bringing it to the screen. Rex (Michael Caton) is a cab driver who has never left Broken Hill. When he discovers he doesn’t have long to live, he decides to drive through the heart of the country to Darwin, where new euthanasia laws could enable him to control his fate. Unwilling to burden them, or even talk about his condition, Rex leaves behind his best friend Polly (Ningali Lawford-Wolf) and his crew of drinking buddies, and sets off on the 3000km journey. Along the way, on his very Australian odyssey, Rex meets people who force him to re-evaluate his life. With pitch perfect performances from the leads and a supporting cast that includes Mark Coles Smith, Emma Hamilton and Jacki Weaver.

Good Kill – In the shadowy world of drone warfare, combat unfolds like a video game-only with real lives at stake. After six tours of duty, Air Force pilot Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke) yearns to get back into the cockpit of a real plane, but he now fights theTaliban from an air-conditioned box in the Las Vegas desert. When he and his crew start taking orders directly from the CIA, and the stakes are raised, Egan’s nerves-and his relationship with his wife (Mad Men’s January Jones)-begin to unravel. Revealing the psychological toll drone pilots endure as they are forced to witness the aftermath of their fight against insurgents, Andrew Niccol (Gattaca, Lord of War) directs this riveting insider’s view of 21st-century warfare, in which operatives target enemies from half a world away. Saw this provocative film at TIFF, and beside the compelling performance from Hawke and the convincing and unsettling representation of drone strikes this unfortunately lacked substance at every juncture. 

The Farewell Party – A unique, compassionate and unlikely funny story of a group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home who decide to help their terminally ill friend. When rumors of their assistance begin to spread, more and more people ask for their help, and the friends are faced with a life and death dilemma.

Weekly Recommendation: Last Cab to Darwin is a beautifully photographed and rather powerful personal odyssey with an impressive central performance from veteran icon Caton, as well as terrific support from the two youngsters Smith and Hamilton. Trainwreck is loaded with laughs and reflects well – and sure to entertain whether you go along for Amy Schumer’s comedy or Lebron James’ astonishing acting debut – but isn’t quite up to the level of the rest of Judd Apatow’s resume. 

Monthly Round-up: July 2015 [Sam]

 Monthly Round-up  Comments Off on Monthly Round-up: July 2015 [Sam]
Aug 022015


Three of the seven films I caught at the cinema during July are among the very best films I have seen this year. It has been an excellent cinema-going month. It helps that I have seen less and been more selective about my film-going choices; but it’s also indicative of how strong the blockbuster season has been this year. Sure there’s been the usual duds and flops, but overall it has produced some really excellent films. The best film I saw in July wasn’t at the cinema however, it was one I missed and saw at home. My round-up is after the jump.

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