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Risk

This is a very stylised film that tells of the lies and behind-the-scenes powerplays capable of occurring in the corporate world. Alan White (Erskineville Kings), as the director, gives us a rarely seen image of the culture of an insurance company, complete with a confident exploration and sexual intrigue associated with a company’s workings

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The Good Thief

Set in the seedy underworld of the French Riviera, Bob Montagnet (Nick Nolte) is about to gamble everything he has on a casino heist with a difference. There are to be two casino robberies staged – one genuine, one fake

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A Beautiful Mind

Ron Howard makes his best ever movie with “A Beautiful Mind” because it is intelligently conceived and well crafted. With another brilliant performance by Russell Crowe, the story is moving and stimulating, in being based on the life of John Nash (Crowe), a brilliant mathematician who had to confront serious mental problems on the way to winning the Nobel Prize in 1994

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Rock Star

Mark Wahlberg plays Chris Cole, the lead singer of a band called Blood Pollution, and arguably the best Steel Dragon cover band in Pennsylvania. He takes the role very seriously – the look, the image, the vocals, the attitude, all needing to be exactly like his hero Bobby Beers (Jason Flemyng), the lead singer of Steel Dragon

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The Circle

This film by Iranian director Jafar Panahi tells of the plight of women in his country. It’s quite a hard-hitting drama, especially at the beginning, where a grandmother has been told that her daughter has just given birth to a baby girl

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Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers

The Two Towers, the “central” piece in director Peter Jackson’s adaptation of J.R

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28 Days Later

28 Days Later is the latest collaboration from British director Danny Boyle and producer Andrew Macdonald (Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, and The Beach). This time bringing along writer, Alex Garland (The Beach) for the ride

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Quills

When you think about a film featuring the Marquis de Sade, you know that the content will be explicit in a sexual nature and that it won’t be merely a light-hearted romp. With a hugely talented cast, “Quills” offers two hours of undeniable viewing

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Say It Isn't So

Say It Isn't So is a classic boy meets girl, bay falls in love, boy loses girl, but with the twisted comic genius of the Farrelly brothers. Heather Graham (Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me) plays Jo Wingfield a pretty, dumb but down to earth, hairdresser

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A Walk To Remember

Based on the best-selling novel by Nicholas Sparks, “A Walk To Remember” tells a story of life, love and the inevitable. It’s a film for teenagers and could be seen as sappy and over-sentimental

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Made

This film reunites actors Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, from their 1996 hit film “Swingers”, which Favreau wrote. “Made” will please fans of the duo

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ANALYZE THIS

We all have problems at some stage of our lives, and occasionally seek guidance and stability from an outside party. This film has no trouble attracting laughs because even a notorious gangster like Paul Vitti (Robert De Niro) has the need to talk out his feelings

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Intimacy

“Intimacy” follows the weekly sexual rendezvous of two working class strangers in London. Jay (Mark Rylance) has left his wife and family to begin an affair with Claire (Kerry Fox)

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Blue Crush

It might be very easy to view Blue Crush as simply a big summer surf movie, with bikini-clad girls and surfers riding 30-feet waves, and emphasising the girl power thing. Yes, it is that, but more

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The Banger Sisters

Suzette and Vinnie are the Banger Sisters, or at least they were in the sixties. In the golden age of rock these girls were to be found hanging of the arm or some other appendage of just about every rock star around

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Wrong Turn

It seems that the current crop of teen slasher films has temporarily died down, until along comes another to resurrect them yet again. “Wrong Turn” attempts to take the terror back into nature and this time our foes are mutated cannibal people-things called Three-Finger, Saw-Tooth and One-Eye

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Harry, He is Here to Help

The title hides what turns out to be an excellent suspense thriller from France. It is expertly polished with black comedy and dry wit as it is, with unnerving psychology

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Ring 2

Viewers of independent cinema, and perhaps Ring (1), will want more of the story they’ve heard about in this Japanese success. The next instalment of the psychological thriller by Hideo Nakata journeys further within the realms of the new media inspired cursed video outlined in the first movie

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Spy Kids 2: The Island Of Lost Dreams

Writer/ Director/ Producer/ Director of Photography/ Production Designer/ Editor/ Composer (amongst several other roles) Robert Rodriguez should have enlisted in some help with some of these roles for Spy Kids 2. Returning again with the Cortez family, this sequel (as is so common and almost expected these days) is not quite up to the calibre of the first Spy Kids movie

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Curse of the Jade Scorpion

For fans of Woody Allen’s Annie Hall, Manhattan, Crimes and Misdemeanours and many others, the last few years have been disappointing. The inimitable Allen seems tired, the jokes strain with visible effort for a laugh, and the pacing too slow for the zany comedies he has been attempting of late, like last year’s Small Time Crooks

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Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets

Chamber of Secrets is the second film adaptation in JK Rowlings astoundingly popular Harry Potter series. The first, The Philosophers Stone, released in 2001 garnered three Academy Award Nominations, seven BAFTA nominations and quickly became the second highest grossing film of all time giving The Chamber of Secrets just a little something to live up to

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The Score

You can go back to the days when movies were built around star billing. It was the cornerstone of a movie’s attraction

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Blackboards (Takhte Siah)

Set on the Iraqi border near the city of Halabcheh where the Iraqis gassed the Kurds in the Iran/Iraq war, Blackboards is the second feature film of 21 year old Samira Makmalbaf, daughter of prolific Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf. Her feature film debut The Apple received international recognition in 1998 and Blackboards won the Special Jury Prize at Cannes last year

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The Ninth Gate

This film had received a mixed rating when it showed at the Melbourne International Film Festival a few months ago. But it popularly attended because it had Johnny Depp as the lead actor, and there was a fascination towards it being directed by the controversial Roman Polanski

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Undead

If you’ve never seen a Sam Raimi film, from Evil Dead to The Quick and the Dead, Undead will seem like an original zombie horror/comedy. For those who have, it will be a case of been there, done that

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THE SKULLS

Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson) is a college student who dreams of completing a degree at a prestigious law school. Without the money and connections of some of his classmates, his prospects seem bleak when he is invited to join a secret college society called The Skulls

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Malena

Malena is the latest film by Award-winning Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore (Cinema Paradiso). The film works as an affecting coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Fascist Italy

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Sexy Beast

Cockney British accents set against the beauty of the Spanish Costa, Sexy Beast is Jonathon Glazer’s ‘adult love story’ about the English gangster world. Sexy Beast is Gal (Ray Winstone), a 50+ English ex convict living his retirement poolside in ‘speedos’ alongside wife and houseboy

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The Mummy Returns

‘The Mummy Returns’ basically does the same thing as the original film, ‘The Mummy’ but it does it louder, faster and sillier. A more cartoon like version of the Indiana Jones films it too is set in the 1930’s and turns archaeology into adventure

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24 Hour Party People

“24 Hour Party People” transports viewers to Manchester in 1976 where it all began, at the beginning of the most influential music era to date. Cambridge educated Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan), a TV presenter, is at a Sex Pistols gig

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Croupier

Mike Hodges, best known for the original Get Carter, has directed another film with a deadpan, inscrutable male lead. Much like Michael Caine in Get Carter, Clive Owen’s Jack Manfred is an emotionless man, creating his own system of morals in an amoral world

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The Limey

From acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh (aka Peter Andres, Sam Lowry) comes the new film, The Limey, starring Terrence Stamp, Peter Fonda, Lesley Ann Warren and Luis Guzman. After winning the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme D’or Award, the Independent Spirit award for best director and an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Sex Lies and Videotape in 1989 Soderbergh retreated into relative obscurity

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Songcatcher

Nothing extravagant, nothing gimmickry; “Songcatcher” is a unique charmer that may not normally be the sort of film to draw a large audience. But, in winning a Special Jury Prize for an Ensemble Cast at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, the film shows a well-researched script and incorporates music unlike no other film that I’ve seen

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Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World

There are whispers of Oscar nominations for this film amongst critics, many of whom have heaped adorable praises on director, Peter Weir, and Russell Crowe, as if in awe of their reputations. Master & Commander is not the same calibre as the Titanic, rather it is a slightly above-board swash-buckling adventure on the high seas

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You Can Count On Me

Prior to its release in Australia, this film had much going for it, in terms of the awards and accolades it had won in North America. Therefore, the various movie aficionados around town have eagerly awaited its release here

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Life As A House

A man who makes models for an architect is compelled to rebuild his decrepit house in an upper class beach district, when fired from his job. Although he held a desk job for twenty-five years he uses labour and building knowledge to teach his son and neighbours a grounding life lesson

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Kandahar

Kandahar presents the journey of an Afghan born female journalist as she returns to the country to visit her sister. It is the comparison of social standards for women set in Afghanistan where landmines dismember appendages and poverty is the cause of disease

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Happy Times (Xingfu Shiguang)

Zhao (Zhao Benshan) is desperate to get married and realising that his time is nearly up he enlists the services of a dating agency in order to help find a wife. Through the agency he finally meets the woman of his dreams who agrees to marry him if he can obtain the required funds to do so

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Bonhoeffer

I had never heard of Dietrich Bonhoeffer before seeing this documentary about his life. He was on of the few voices in the church in Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s who spoke out against Nazism, war and the annihilation of the Jews and eventually was executed for his involvement in a plot to assassinate Hitler

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Australian Rules

Paul Goldman’s feature debut, Australian Rules is set in the small racially divided coastal town of Prospect Bay (Tidy Town runner up). The film examines life, love and football through our main protagonist, the 16 year-old ‘supernova of seduction’ Gary (Blacky) Black (played by Nathan Phillips)

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Our Lady Of The Assassins

In Colombia the townsfolk shoot fireworks when a shipment of cocaine reaches the US. It’s a gangster world of young men and guns set against the culture of writer Fernando and higher-class gay

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Unbreakable

This has been a highly anticipated film because it marks the follow-up feature film by M Night Shyamalan to his smash hit of 1999, “The Sixth Sense”. With “Unbreakable”, he hasn’t ventured too far from this territory, yet he takes many of the stylistic elements to bring us a tale of a kind of super hero

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Alexandra's Project

Following the critical success of The Tracker, Rolf De Heer takes an unexpected turn in directing, writing and producing a much smaller film, a “psycho-sexual thriller about the sexual politics of marriage” in Alexandra’s Project. Again starring Gary Sweet and accomplished theatre actress Helen Buday, this unexpected thriller centres on Steve’s (Sweet) family and his marriage to wife Alexandra (Buday)

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Marie-Jo And Her Two Loves

Set against the luminous surroundings of Marseilles, director, writer and producer Robert Guediguian explores the live and loves of Marie-Jo. Married to construction worker Daniel and mother of teenage Julie (Julie-Marie Parmentier), Marie a hospital patient driver, finds herself dissatisfied with her life and marriage and seeks out an adulterous relationship with a ship’s captain, Marco

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The Italian Job

This film has been re-interpreted from the 1969 version of The Italian Job, which starred Michael Caine. Enough has changed to see the films in a completely different light

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The Taste Of Others (Le Gout Des Autres)

The Taste of Others is the feature film debut of critically acclaimed French actor Agnes Jaoui, who wrote the screenplay with husband Jean Pierre Bacri. What has come of this collaboration is a wonderful film, simple and yet extraordinary in its themes, raw and honest in its performances and absolutely perfect in its execution

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8 Femmes

8 Femmes is set around the murder of Marcel, one idyllic morning in the snowy mountain countryside. It is discovered that the phone line is dead and the dogs have not barked at all during the night, which can only mean one thing… the murderer is in the house!

Director, Francois Ozon (Under the Sand), adapts and directs this wonderfully pure nostalgic comedy/murder mystery/musical based on the 1960s crime play on the same name

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Gosford Park

Imagine one of those old Agatha Christie movies, take out Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot, give it a tremendous cast, a naturalistic directing style and make the murder occur over half way through instead of at the start and you will have imagined Gosford Park.

Robert Altman, an American director (The Player, Short Cuts), has moved over the ocean to make a quintessential British film

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Die Another Day

Forty years strong, James Bond, Agent 007, returns in Die Another Day. The name has been so recognisable throughout the years that it is almost impossible to make a bad Bond film

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Pay It Forward

The set-up of this film is deceptively simple. Trevor (Haley Joel Osment) is 11 and starting his first day of high school

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Like Mike

Calvin Cambridge (Lil Bow Wow) is a 14 year-old orphan at the Chesterfield Children's Home. His two great dreams are to be adopted and to be a famous basketball player

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Vanilla Sky

I came away from this film with no real feeling at all. In trying to absorb what I’d seen and taking into account the high quality of actors on show, I’ve come to the conclusion that Vanilla Sky is a mass of inexplicable confusion, and bewilderment at the lengths made to effect the production

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Ali

Director Michael Mann (The Insider) chronicles ten years in the life of the great Muhammed Ali. It’s a difficult process to undertake because so much happened to the former boxing heavyweight champ and, to provide those pivotal moments in 156 minutes, requires great balance in the presentation of the facts

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Help! I'm A Fish

The story and characters of Help! I’m a Fish display about as much imagination as the title. However the target audience may be too young to remember the Little Mermaid or Atlantis so perhaps the predictable plot will only bore their adult chaperones

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CUT

After much lead-up and preparation, this is the debut movie for Australia’s Mushroom Pictures. The producers have undertaken great efforts in reaching this milestone and it was felt that a teenage slasher movie, in the footsteps of the “Scream” stories, would appeal to a wide international audience, especially as the genre had enjoyed a recent revival

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Baise-Moi

It takes an extreme situation for a film to be banned in France. Yet this controversial French film is brought to Australian cinemas as a tough, uncompromising piece of work

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TWIN FALLS IDAHO

Twin Falls Idaho is the subdued story of brother's Blake and Francis Falls who share a union closer than any other. They are Siamese Twins

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The Life of David Gale

The issue of capital punishment is explored in The Life of David Gale. Starring Kevin Spacey, Kate Winslet and Laura Linney, directed by Alan Parker

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Thirteen Days

If you are a Cold War or Kennedy buff, then Thirteen Days is the film for you. If you’re not, it’s an over long history lesson, missing the emotional and visceral impact of films such as JFK (also starring Costner) and Apollo 13

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E.T.: The Extra Terrestial - 20th Anniversary Ed

It seems like only yesterday that audiences around the world were first introduced to E.T

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CHOPPER

The name Chopper refers to one of Australia’s most recent criminals, Mark “Chopper” Read. The big screen is the focus to observe some of his notorious standover tactics and deranged actions

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MICKEY BLUE EYES

It’s easy for the cynics to be gun-ho and stand on their pulpits to criticise any attempt to delve into the lives of mobsters, particularly with a spoof of the culture. There is a fascination of the Mafia lifestyle by the public and it’s been seen over and over since the memorable Godfather films of the 1970s

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MAGNOLIA

It’s quite an ambitious step to make a three-hour movie, particularly with inter-connecting storylines and the ensemble characteristics. Director Paul Thomas Anderson ensures that Magnolia is no mangled mess

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Pirates Of The Caribbean:curse Of The Black Pearl

Directed by Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt, The Mexican, The Ring), Produced by action supremo Jerry Bruckheimer, Written by Ted Elliot, Terry Rossio (Shrek and currently Shrek 2) and several others, and based on a Disney theme park ride (huh?), this film has “blockbuster hit” written all over it. But one wonders out of all this extremely talented and experienced team, did nobody even stop to wonder why this “theme park ride” based film have to be so long? (2 and a half hours!) Hmmm!

A rogue gypsy pirate, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), and handsome young sword smith, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), sails the seven seas in search of the Black Pearl ship and evil Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush)

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Cypher

Morgan Sullivan (Jeremy Northam) lives an ordered, boring, suburban life sometime in the future. But everything changes when he gets a job at a mega corporation, Digicorp, as a spy, infiltrating their rival mega corporation Sunways

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The Princess Diaries

The premise of a young, awkward girl finding out that she is really a princess seems to be aimed perfectly at the early teenage girl market. It’s a chance for them to see their fantasy lived out

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TERRA NOVA

Terra Nova is the name of a run down, low rent apartment block which serve as sanctuary for a woman on the run. Ruth (Jeanette Cronin) is a single mother who has fled to Australia from New Zealand and her parents, after stealing her daughter Tuesday (Eloise Etherington) away from them

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Lucky Numbers

The set-up is Hollywood gold. It must have been the easiest movie anyone's ever had to pitch

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American Pie 2

A couple of interesting changes occurred in the making of this sequel. The “force” behind American Pie, brothers Chris and Paul Weitz, have only Executive Producer credits, indicating a low level of involvement

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Pearl Harbour

Much has been suggested about “Pearl Harbour” since early in the year when its release was highlighted for 2001. One of the main thrusts immediately stated by the film’s producers was not to expect a true historical document on what occurred in the attack by Japan on America on December 7, 1941

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The Story Of My Life


About Adam

A romantic comedy usually rests solely on the charm of the two protagonists, or as in the case of About Adam, the four of them. We want desperately for them to get together, to live happily ever after, to show us that true love is possible for two people we would like to think we might be

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La Stanza Del Figlio (the Son's Room)

This has been a film that I’ve been keen to see. It has won several European awards, including the prestigious Palm D’Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival

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Ma Femme Est Une Actrice (My Wife Is An Actress)

Yvan Attal is a French/Israeli director, who also writes and stars in this humorous French romantic comedy. He seems to have taken much influence from the American movie culture while ensuring it is a French film

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Take Away

The notion of take away food is a big talking point these days as society grapples with the unhealthy state of today’s youth, because of the cheap convenience of take away food from the big franchise stores. This Australian comedy looks at the traditional nature of the fish & chips shop where it has been an accepted practice by many families for a weekly dose of fish & chips, potato cakes, dim sims, etc

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The Monkey's Mask

Based on a bestseller by Dorothy Porter written entirely in verse, The Monkey’s Mask is the second film for Australian Film Television and Radio School graduate, Samantha Lang. Susie Porter (Better Than Sex) stars as an ex cop turned private investigator who is searching for a missing girl, a poetry student, played by Abbie Cornish

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Shadow Magic

Shadow Magic is the story of the first motion pictures to be shown in China. The invention brought over by an Englishman gave the Chinese an eye to the wider and white world through introducing the audiences to the moving photograph

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Mystery Road


Trojan Warrior

This time last year, a fire at Melbourne’s Planet X studios virtually destroyed the whole place, including the master tape of this film. Cinema purists may well say that, after viewing “Trojan Warrior”, there isn’t much to save

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Moulin Rouge

One thinks back to the glory days of the old MGM musical. All the splendour, colour, art, and all the entertainment a movie watcher could want.

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Kissing Jessica Stein

This is the adaptation of a play that ran off-off Broadway It is the story of two women who decide to explore crossing-over sexually for all the wrong reasons. Jessica because she hasn’t had a date in a year, her brother is getting married and all her past dates have been nightmares and Helen because she has so many different lovers but none who really interest her and she is bored

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CHILDREN OF THE MARSHLAND

Narrated by five year-old daughter of Riton, Cri-cri reminisces about the adventures shared by four eclectic friends – Garris, Riton, Mr Richard, and Amedee – who live in rural France in the 1930s. Garris (Jacques Gamblin), a self-sufficient, demobilised World War I soldier, and Riton (Jacques Villeret), who seeks solace in bottles of “pomerol”, are marshdwellers

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Blow

‘Blow’ is the true story of the introduction of cocaine to a hungry American market and George Jung, the man who made it all happen. With a funky soundtrack and clothes/hairstyles to match, it takes us from George’s life as a young boy, deciding that he was never going to struggle for money like his dad, to his hippie pot smoking days in California and his eventual rise to Pablo Escobar’s right hand man

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Russian Ark

Filmmaker/Director Alexander Sokurov is, in his own words, “…sick of editing”. His thirteenth film Russian Ark has found fame as the first-ever single screen, single-take full-length feature

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The Wannabes

This is the first directorial effort for likeable Melbourne comedian Nick Giannopoulos. He has been a star of television, theatre, and film

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Under The Sand

Fans of Anthony Minghella’s Truly, Madly, Deeply, will be familiar with the terrain of Under The Sand (Sous le Sable). A woman’s grief for her dead husband stops her from moving on with her life

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The Goddess Of 1967

This Clara Law film takes us on an outback journey and elves into a multicultural stance to provide a quirky, well-acted adventure. A young Japanese man JM (Rikiya Kurokawa) dreams of owning a 1967 Citroen DS (the Goddess), which he has tracked down via the Internet

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The Adventures Of Rocky And Bullwinkle

It’s a difficult exercise in bringing cartoon to the live action motion picture. Many filmmakers have suffered through the inability to sustain a full-length feature

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Shiner

It’s time to visit and experience London’s gangster underbelly as Michael Caine stars as dodgy boxing promoter Billy “Shiner” Simpson. He has a tendency to throw cash around and pushes his boxing son Eddie “Golden Boy” Simpson (Matthew Marsden) into the deep end of a championship fight

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Treasure Planet

‘Treasure Planet’ is a Disney adaptation of the Robert Louis Stephenson classic ‘Treasure Island’. Fifteen-year-old Jim Hawkins, a fatherless boy growing up on the planet Montressor, longs for adventure

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The Anniversary Party

Your classic low budget first film is almost always set in one location over a small amount of time, with a ‘talky’ subject matter and your friends as the cast and crew. The Anniversary Party is no different, except that the writer/directors happen to be Alan Cumming (Josie and the Pussycats) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle), and the friends they cast in the film include Kevin Kline and Gwyneth Paltrow

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Last Orders

Fred Schepisi is a remarkable Australian feature film director. His extraordinarily diverse body of work includes films such as The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Roxanne, The Russia House, Evil Angels and Six Degrees of Separation

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THE PERFECT STORM

Based on a true story, the time in 1991 and the swordfishing boat “Andrea Gail” had returned to port in Gloucester, Massachusetts with a less than desired catch. Captain Billy Tyne (George Clooney) wants to attempt one more run before the fishing season ends

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Invisible Circus

A sister travels to Europe to come to terms with the suicide of her older sibling who died during a holiday seven years before. Its 1976 and at graduating age Bean (Jordana Brewster) evaluates her life in the shadow of memories of her outgoing sister (Cameron Diaz)

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The Tuxedo

It’s hard to figure out the Hollywood attitude towards Jackie Chan – whether it understands him properly or if it can write a good script for him. He is a box-office drawcard, known for his athleticism and comedic brilliance

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Head Over Heels

With a cast comprising high-profile models and youthful exuberant actors, sexual innuendo underpins the theme of “Head Over Heels”, therefore the “M” rating. As in the film “Coyote Ugly”, the titillation factor is just that, without showing anything

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Japanese Story

This film has been highly acclaimed at the Cannes Film Festival and the Melbourne International Film Festival. “Japanese Story” deserves the accolades, as it is a challenging, yet warm, story that reaches the heart of the Australian cultural outlook

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Meet the Parents

“Meet The Parents” is an unceasingly entertaining treat because of the performances of two people: Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller. The film plays off De Niro’s intimidating features from previous tough guy roles, as he portrays a young guy’s nightmare, in playing the girlfriend’s father, Jack Byrnes

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Ten

Abbas Kiarostami is Iran’s most successful and well known filmmaker with a career spanning thirty years and garnering several major awards including the Palme d’Or at Cannes with Taste of Cherry (1997). Ten was also nominated for the prize in 2002

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Heartbreakers

Even though I had been looking forward to this film for some time, I was concerned about the long running time for a comedy of this kind. The concern seemed justified because it just became a little repetitive and fell away in the end, even though I enjoyed most of the amusing script and the general thrust of the story

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ONEGIN

This movie is a Fiennes family affair. It’s the directorial debut of Martha, stars her brother Ralph, and is scored by her other brother Magnus

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Lantana

Written by Andrew Bovell, based upon his stage ply, ‘Speaking In Tongues’, Lantana is the long awaited follow up for director Ray Lawrence, who made the much acclaimed ‘Bliss’ fifteen years ago. The lantana is a dense, spiky weed, which grows beautiful aromatic flowers and is the thematic symbol of the film that tells the tale of a missing woman and the lives her disappearance entangles

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Freddy Got Fingered

MTV icon Tom Green co-writes, directs and stars in a film he calls “a touching story of a young man who desperately wants to make his daddy proud”. When 28 year old Gord (Green) decides he wants to be an animator, he gets a job at a cheese factory to pay the bills and tries unsuccessfully to pitch his idea about an animated TV show to a producer

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Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War

Thelma Caldicot is fed up with her life. Having served and waited on her husband hand and foot for 30 odd years she sees his death as her chance to start living her life for herself

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Hart's War

Harts War is the latest film by acclaimed television director Gregory Hoblit. Hoblit is responsible for programs such as “Hill Street Blues”, “LA Law” and “NYPD Blue” and feature films “Frequency” (Dennis Quaid), “Fallen” (Denzel Washington, John Goodman, Donald Sutherland & James Gondolfini) and “Primal Fear” (Richard Gere, Laura Linney)

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MY NAME IS JOE

“My name is Joe and I’m an Alcoholic”. That says it all

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Guinevere

Guinevere, the latest film by Audrey Wells, writer and producer of “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” features an award winning cast including Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter, Go, Existenz ), Stephen Rea (The Crying Game, Michael Collins, Interview with a Vampire), Gina Gershon (The Insider, Showgirls, Face/Off) and Jean Smart (The Odd Couple 2, The Brady Bunch Movie, Mistress) and uses every inch of their emotional and physical presence to tell a love story with a difference.

From the very beginning, Guinevere sets itself an almost impossible task

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Swordfish

Swordfish opens as every good action movie should- with the calm before the storm. One minute a triple espresso, a scary looking cigar and an even scarier looking cigar lighter are flashing across the screen in semi- focused close up’s with some idle chit chat about Hollywood going on in the background, the next, a bomb attached to an attractive young hostage is exploding causing everything within a 5 mile radius to fly into the air with that kind of “frozen action” that characterised the Matrix

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Mullet

A mullet, we are told in the first scene of this film, is a useless fish, no good for anything. And sure enough a character arrives in town, nicknamed Mullet, and is no good for anything

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Planet Of The Apes

Mark Wahlberg portrays Captain Leo Davidson, an astronaut who trains apes for space missions. He crash lands on a strange planet after chasing a lost chimp through a time and space rift

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Silent Partner

“Silent Partner” is the second feature of Director/Producer Alkinos Tsilimidos. The first, Everynight…Everynight, was a raw interpretation of Ray Mooney’s play of the same title about the violence in Australia’s prisons

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The Sum Of All Fears

This is the prequel to other Jack Ryan films (The Hunt For Red October, patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger) and confuses a little with this story showing the young man just starting out at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and having the scenario fixed in to current day 2002. So, is this a time warp? It’s best to just think about the compelling drama that ensues

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Danny Deckchair

One word to describe many (or most) Australian comedies is “quirky”, and yes this one is another one of those “quirky” comedies. Starring “Notting Hill” scene-stealer Rhys Ifans as Danny (yes, he was more memorable than the leading actor), Miranda Otto as Glenda and Justine Clarke as Trudy, “Danny Deckchair” details the bizarre adventures of an ordinary city bloke who feels like he desperately needs a change of scenery, and does so literally

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The Pianist

Each year, around Academy Award time, a collection of dazzling films hit the screens hoping to be in the running for the prize acclaim. While a wide array of films make it to the nomination stage, the historical epic is one type of film that, done well, will always be popular come award time

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Two Weeks Notice

Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) is a Harvard educated, socially conscious attorney hell-bent on using her knowledge for good, not evil. Having spent time with the Rainbow Warriors, this bohemian is determined to stand up and fight for the little people

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BILLY'S HOLLYWOOD SCREEN KISS

The traditional formula of a gay romantic comedy is worked here without encroaching into ambitious territory. It doesn’t offend the audience greatly because it wouldn’t attract a viewer who can’t handle an all-male lip service

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I Capture The Castle

From the producer of ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and ‘The Madness of King George’, “I Capture The Castle” is a coming-of-age film set in 1930s England and is based on the novel by the same name by author Dodie Smith who also wrote 101 Dalmations.

Seen through the eyes of 17 year-old Cassandra (Romola Garai) who narrates the film through the writings in her journal, the films tells the story of the eccentric Mortmain family struggling to survive in a rented, dilapidated castle

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La Veuve De Saint Pierre

Patrice Leconte’s film is a beautifully shot story of cruel bureaucracy that can appear emotional and harrowing. He displays an ability to fill the viewer with visual innuendo and it says much through gestures

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Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas)

Writer/director Fabian Bielinsky provides an entertaining feature film debut with Nine Queens. This is a likeable film that puts the sting back into the con artist

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Shadow Of The Vampire


RIDE WITH THE DEVIL

In this Civil War film, director Ang Lee treats the American South with some sympathy and dignity. We’d seen his excellent work in The Ice Storm, and now he shows his great ability to cut right to the point of the Civil War

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L'Ultimo Bacio (The Last Kiss)

This Italian film won the World Cinema Audience Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and scooped the Italian Oscars last year. It comes to Australian cinemas with fine credentials, and it doesn’t disappoint

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Doctor Dolittle 2

The Nutty Professor 2 came out of the Eddie Murphy comedies, and the second instalment of the remake Doctor Dolittle, has the actor once again play the strange yet likeable expert. The film takes the synopsis of the classic children's story by Hugh Lofting to a new level as Dolittle juggles work and family life

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Tomb Raider

Well there's one thing that viewers of Tomb Raider will agree on, and that's Angelina Jolie pouts even better than her digital counterpart Lara Croft! She holds her own in the fighting, wise cracking and gun-holding departments too, and defies gravity in ways that 15-year-old boys dream about. Unfortunately, none of that is enough to save this film from verging on awful, and what's worse is that stella performances from Noah Taylor as Bryce, Lara's geek-boy assistant, and Chris Barrie as Hillary, the woefully under-used, wise-cracking butler, end up being horribly wasted

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Ghost World

Based on a comic book of the same name, Ghost World is as teen flick with a twist. Ditching the all too familiar themes of beauty, popularity and superficiality seen in most teen comedies of late, director Terry Zwigoff has taken the oddball approach with his latest film and created a thought provoking portrayal on the world as unique outsiders

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STRANGE FITS OF PASSION

Elise McCredie's debut feature STRANGE FITS OF PASSION is a frank and humorous look at a Melbourne girl’s search to lose her virginity. It's about time someone tackled this terrain from a girl’s point of view

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Cabin Fever

If you’re so inclined you can count the movie homages, or less generously, rip offs, in Cabin Fever on two hands, and a couple of toes and, like “Undead”, the last low budget horror film that made a splash, Sam Raimi is top of the list.

A group of vacuous, pretty and randy college students head out to a cabin in the woods, their youthful invincibility soon crashing headlong into a killer virus that works something like Ebola on speed

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Bend It Like Beckham

Having a name like Beckham in the title gives immediate world focus, especially on the back of the recent World Cup. David Beckham is a football icon and it’s an interesting reference to a cheerful, upbeat film about a young Indian girl who wants to emulate her sporting hero

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What's Cooking

Set in the middle class Los Angeles neighbourhood, this enjoyable film follows the Thanksgiving feast of four families. It’s another link between cooking and life, in the mould of Babette’s Feast and Big Night

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Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone

Having read all four Harry Potter books currently available (it will eventually be a series of seven), and loved the world of wizards and muggles that J. K Rowling created, I anticipated the movie version with a mixture of dread and delight

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THE DINNER GAME

In his own adaptation of his play, director Francis Veber’s archaic comedy is one of the most pleasurable films you’ll see over the summer season. It’s a nice antidote if you’re not feeling like those gross blockbuster productions

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Red Dragon

If I had to sum up Red Dragon in one line, all I would say is that, “It scared me shitless.” So much so in fact that after coming out of the screening, faced with a walk to the tram, in the dark, in the middle of a deserted North Melbourne, I had to call my Mum and talk to her while I walked

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Driven

Driven is the latest vehicle of writer/producer/performer Sly Stallone. The effort and money put into the sets is impressive and the footage of racing…the real-McCoy

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Nurse Betty

Neil Labute’s third feature and the first he hasn’t written himself, sounds promising enough. A waitress, (Zellwegger) in a small town, obsessed with a soap opera, goes out of her mind when she witnesses a traumatic event and becomes convinced that the soap opera is real

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Yolngu Boy

3 Men, 1 Skin, 1 Dream

In the current Australian political climate, Yolngu Boy was always going to be an ambitious project. Not least because the film addresses the issues facing 3 Aboriginal youths from the Yolngu Tribe, one of the oldest living peoples on earth, who remained largely untouched by Balanda (European) culture until 1935

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Perfect Strangers

No, it’s not the big screen version of that 80’s TV show with Balki and Cousin Larry. This Perfect Strangers is something else all together

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Beware Of Greeks Bearing Guns (Fovou Tous Ellin

With three packed cinemas, a crowd who had come prepared to laugh and laugh loudly and with trays of tasty treats and wine waiting for after, a screening of “Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns” was the perfect way to open the 10th Greek Film Festival, held again this year at Cinema Como. Shot partly in Crete and partly in Melbourne the film was directed by John Tatoulis, who commented before the film that it is his personal tribute to his youth growing up at the Westgarth Theatre watching cheesy Hollywood flicks by day and some of Greece’s finest cinema by night

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SWEET

Critics have always looked for screen situations and the real life of woody Allen when judging his films. He continues to make films despite being more reclusive in the past five years

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Springtime In A Small Town

It is spring in a small country town in southern China in 1946. Dai Liyan and his wife Yuwen have returned to find their home half in ruins

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Brother

Takeshi Kitano writes and directs under his full name and acts under his nickname “Beat” Takeshi, which is taken from his old comedy days. “Brother” marks his ninth film as a director and his American filmmaking debut, but it still registers as one of his own Japanese films

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Open Hearts

Open Hearts, the latest Dogma film to come out of Europe was created by producers of Dancer in the Dark and from new feature director Susanne Bier.

It is the story of two families living in Copenhagen; a young couple and a family of five leading completely separate lives, whose paths are unlikely to cross

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PECKER

For a John Waters film (well known for the films Pink Flamingos and Serial Mom), this is not a thought-provoking, daring feature. It’s so conventional and mellow by other standards, that some people may see it as dull

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Jackass: The Movie

Borne from the television series of the same name, Jackass: The Movie is yet another example of how, within contemporary culture, big money maketh the film, not big ideas. Financially backed by MTV and popular skater culture magazine, Big Brother, this film is a legacy to idiots, consisting solely of the most offensive, ridiculous, dumbfounding and inane stunts you could ever possibly imagine

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Nowhere In Africa

Nowhere in Africa is described in its publicity as a love story spanning two continents. Herein lies the problem with an otherwise solid and interesting film: they’re not in love; in fact they appear to dislike each other immensely (but more on that later)

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Heaven

This film is the extraordinary fusion of the talents of director Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run) and writers Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz (Co–authors of the Three Colours Trilogy). Add to that Frank Griebe’s visionary camerawork and Kate Blanchett and Giovanni Ribisi’s wonderful performances, throw in a couple of powerhouse producers and enchanting locations and you have ‘Heaven’

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The Hard Word

What starts out as a promisingly slick, fast paced Aussie film very quickly degenerates into a muddled, clichéd mess that looks like the off-cuts of Two Hands, Australia’s last, and infinitely superior, heist film.

There seems to be a lot of confusion, both for the audience, and the filmmakers

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La Spagnola

“La Spagnola” (The Spanish Woman) lives alone with her daughter in an Italian community, in a dusty Australian town. In a South Australian Film Corporation assisted story, illustrations of migrant feelings of living in a foreign country, racism and prejudices of the 1960s are shown

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Dragonfly

In recent times there has been a huge curiosity with the afterlife as many psychic mediums’ and collective thought has surfaced to mainstream media. It seems as if in this day and age there is a wider interest and discourse on what exists after we die and what evidence, if any, is out there

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High Crimes

It's Christmas in San Francisco and, for Tom and Claire Kubik, life is swell. Trying for a baby amongst their busy schedules, Claire (Judd), a criminal defence lawyer, and Tom (Caviezel), a self-employed contractor, appears to have it all worked out

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My Little Eye

This new psychological thriller is best described as a cross between television reality show, Big Brother and Indie horror film, The Blair Witch Project. Directed by Marc Evans and written by David Hilton and James Watkins, My Little Eye was shot on a next to nothing budget on digital video cameras rigged up to look like web cams, featuring a cast of relative unknowns and an ending that will kill you

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15 Amore

When stories of war are told, emotions run deep and it tears at the heart to relive personal experiences. Director Maurice Murphy, a veteran of films and television in Australia, found the time and space to recount his childhood years, when he lived through the closing period of World War II

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Rugrats Go Wild

In this third instalment of the Rugrats on screen, the Pickles families, the Finsters, the DeVille’s and Tommy’s friend Susie Carmichael head off to an ocean adventure for their holidays. Missing the huge cruise ship, the gang are devastated to discover that inventor whiz Stu has something else in mind, a makeshift boat he built himself ready and just barely able to accommodate all its passengers

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About A Boy

About A Boy is the third adaptation of British writer Nick Hornby’s novels, following Fever Pitch with Colin Firth and High Fidelity, starring John Cusack. Whereas High Fidelity was transplanted to the USA to appeal to American audiences, About A Boy has thankfully remained set in England, however an American screenwriter and directors are at the helm

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In The Bedroom

In The Bedroom studies the appropriateness of human nature when laid against the judicial law of words. An older tempturing woman brings a middle class family into contact with a world of acceptable violence in the name of love

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Enemy At The Gates

Enemy at the Gates, the new feature film by producer/ writer/ director Jean Jacques Annaud (Black and White in Colour, The Name of the Rose, Seven Years in Tibet) depicts the most influential military battle of the 20th Century, the Battle of Stalingrad during World War 2.

During the summer of 1942 Germany initiated their attack on the Soviet Union, Australia, Britain and Americas’ ally during World War 2

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Behind Enemy Lines

Given the current unprecedented levels of patriotism in America and its anti-terror coalition partners, “Behind Enemy Lines” is perfectly tuned to instil further pride about Americans in battle. It is certainly a must see for capturing the human spirit at its best when all that around it is trying to destroy it

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Captain Corelli's Mandolin

John Madden’s direction of the best-selling novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres is flat and uninspiring. Set on a most beautiful Greek island, it is soft-centred and lacking in the emotional depth available in a love story set during World War II

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Series 7: The Contenders

As the rest of the world sat at home and waited with baited breath to see who, out of Andy, Sarah-Marie or the architect with the weird hairdo whose name always escapes me, would get kicked out of the Big Brother household, I went and saw my own piece of reality television on the big screen, “Series 7”, the new feature film by writer/ director Daniel Minahan (I Shot Andy Warhol).

Not being a fan of the reality television genre, I have never quite understood what made not only millions of Australian viewers, but also some of the most intelligent and discerning people I know, become fixated on watching 12 of the most uninteresting and self obsessed individuals play hacky sack and frolic in a swimming pool on the off chance that they might see a bit of testiness, back stabbing or girl on guy action (or guy on guy, girl on girl action- even better)

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D-Tox

When FBI agent Jake Malloy finds his angelic girlfriend strung up from their dining room ceiling by the cop-killer he has been chasing, he cannot get passed the fact that he wasn’t there to protect her. In fact, he was the cause of her death, as it seems the killer was personally avenging himself against Malloy

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Just Married

A chance meeting and instant love results in rich American girl Sarah McNerney (Brittany Murphy) and sports-mad radio host Tom Leezak (Ashton Kutcher) getting married. They are very young and, despite protests from family and friends, go through with exchanging vows and head to Europe for their honeymoon

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Respiro

This is a very beautiful film set in Lampedusa, an island near Sicily. The island is small enough to be cut off from television and the rest of the modern world

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Kill Bill Vol.1

At the start of Kill Bill the credits inform us that this is the fourth film by Quentin Tarantino, in case we’d lost track, or were confused by the many imitators he’d spawned with Pulp Fiction. Or perhaps he was worried we’d forgotten him after the long delay between Jackie Brown and the first instalment of Kill Bill

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Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Based on his international bestseller “Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress” writer/director Dai Sijie brings to the screen an affectionate and moving tale of three young people in a Maoist re-education camp in early 1970’s China.

Two of the three main characters, Ma (Liu Ye) and Luo (Che Kun) are best friends who have been sent high into the hills of rural China to be ‘re-educated’ in ways befitting the Cultural Revolution and have all traces of intellectual or bourgeois learning eradicated

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Calendar Girls

Calendar Girls is based on the true story of a group of middle aged women in Yorkshire who raised money for Leukaemia Research by posing nude for a calendar – when such a thing was still the domain of models and stars. They became media darlings and, more importantly, raised a lot of cash

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The Recruit

It's that time again, kiddos. The CIA is recruiting and you're invited

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The Man From Elysian Fields

This is an interesting story about a struggling writer Byron Tiller (Andy Garcia) who isn’t making enough money to support his wife Dena (Julianna Margulies) and their young son. Dena provides loving support to Byron in his attempt to have his latest book published, but he can’t anyone to like it

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Molokai: The Story of Father Damien

Director Paul Cox has always shown a great interest in telling stories of human suffering. This film, the story of Father Damien deVeuster of Belgium, sees the light after being made in 1999

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Lies (Gojitmal)

“Lies” is based on “Tell Me A Lie”, a novel by Jang Jung II, which was deemed so scandalously sexual in Jang’s native South Korea, that the author was actually jailed for several months as a consequence. Director Jang San Woo was similarly threatened with prosecution, and ended up having this film banned in South Korea and Japan

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The Rage In Placid Lake

This isn’t a film about something dramatic occurring at the well-known Lake Placid in New York. Instead, it’s an oddball Australian comedy that has to release fresh from winning the Audience Choice Award at the recent Melbourne International Film Festival

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Focus

Focus is a well-intentioned film that comes undone with too much earnestness and not nearly enough credibility. It’s the 1940’s, near the end of World War Two and America is getting ready for the return of their boys

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Kiss Of The Dragon

Kiss of the Dragon, the new film written by Jet Li (Lethal Weapon 4, Romeo Must Die, Shaolin Temple) and Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element, The Big Blue) is exactly what you would expect it to be- action packed.

Li, plays Liu Jian, China’s top secret agent, who travels to France to assist in the top level investigation of France’s biggest drug lord who has been importing drugs from China

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HURLY BURLY

Based on David Rabe’s celebrated stage play, HurlyBurly feeds out lines that are provocative and questionable. It deals with an overload of dialogue that seems to question why everything we do is done

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Together (also known as Han Ni Zai Yiki)

Together is the story of a father Liu, and son Chun, who travel from a small country town to the big city of Beijing so that the young boy can further his studies in the violin. He has won every award he can in his town and his father dreams of a big future for him, whilst hiding a secret about his past

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Along Came a Spider

Morgan Freeman reprises the role of police detective Dr Alex Cross from the movie “Kiss The Girls”. The seemingly ageless Freeman is a natural for the role

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The Shipping News

E. Annie Proulx’s award winning novel, The Shipping News, seems like one of those books that are unfilmable

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Mamadrama

Jewish mothers are to comedy what smoked salmon is to bagels. They are an instantly recognisable stereotype, loud, complaining, smothering, illogical

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A Ma Soeur

Having received mixed reactions, and especially a hostile reception at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival, this film by French director Catherine Breillat has been eagerly anticipated. This is the story of sisters Elena (Roxane Mesquida) and Anais (Anais Reboux) who are on holiday with their parents

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The Night We Called It A Day

Australia was going into a new phase in the early 1970s with a sense of being true to itself and a wider view of the world. We were becoming more cultural and opening our doors to new people and new ideas

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Rabbit-proof Fence

It would be a good idea for as many Australians as possible to see this film. It’s a story about real people, particularly in the neglect shown towards a part of the Australian population in the first half of the 20th century

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The Hours


Three women in different places in time come to terms with how the relationships in their lives have affected them over the years. Each one deals with the repressive constraints placed upon them in their “worlds” dealing with their depression, dependence on others and longing for a life that they can own, a day in the lives of these extraordinary women

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He Died With A Felafel In His Hand

Danny (Noah Taylor) is a wannabe writer trapped in share house hell. He is living in his 47th share house in tropical Brisbane

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Everybody Famous

This Belgian story is a lighthearted take on the entertainment industry, with parallels to Australian cinema and an Australian story. Two main characters leave the Belgian music industry to become unknown in Melbourne Australia

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GUEST HOUSE PARADISO

Fans of the Three Stooges rejoice. Violent poke-em-in-the-eye, burn-'em-in-the-oven and crack-them-in-the-nuts comedy has returned to the big screen

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Miss Congeniality

Sometimes the previews are better than the movie. Or, all the best scenes are already in the trailer, so nothing is new when you actually see the film

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Intolerable Cruelty

Joel and Ethan Coen give us a screwball comedy, something looked upon less favourably than their more serious filmmaking. Their intelligent and offbeat films have been underrated

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Holes

Known for directing action thrillers like The Fugitive, Chain Reaction and Collateral Damage, Andrew Davis turns his hand to the young audience genre. No, it’s not a rowdy bunch of kids making mayhem and overdosing the audience with their saccharine cuteness

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Bully

Director Larry Clark’s debut feature film was titled “Kids”, and that reflected a shocking, though fictional, slice of disaffected American youth. He has now made “Bully”, a film based on real events detailed in author Jim Schutze’s award-winning book of the same name

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The Dancer Upstairs

Based on Nicolas Shakespeare’s adaptation of his novel of the same name, The Dancer Upstairs marks John Malkovich’s feature film directorial debut. Filmed in Spain, Ecuador and Portugal, The Dancer Upstairs features a truly international cast of actors from Italy, Argentina, Spain, Portugal and England

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Return To Me

At first glance, a movie about a man falling in love with a woman who received his dead wife's heart in a transplant operation sounds anything but funny, romantic or light-hearted, but when you leave the theatre, you'll feel, dare I say it? Heartwarmed! Under the light and comedic touch of writer/director Bonnie Hunt, this sensitive subject is given the feel-good Hollywood treatment and comes out smiling.
Agent Fox Mulder is left in the closet and David Duchovny at last proves that he is a romantic leading man to be reckoned with

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The Quiet American

Adapted from the Graham Greene novel, director Phillip Noyce recreates the South-East Asian war in French occupied Vietnam in the 1950s. Set in Saigon during Vietnam’s fight for independence, London Times journalist Thomas Fowler claims the American murdered body found, belonged to a friend of his

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Blurred

Debut feature filmmaker Evan Clarry gives us a story about the annual pilgrimage of school leavers heading to the Gold Coast in Queensland for Schoolies’ Week. It’s been a long-held tradition where sex, alcohol, and wrecked apartments are part of the experience

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Better than Sex

What could be better than meeting an attractive guy at a party who‘s going overseas in three days? No strings attached, a one-night stand without the burden of waiting for the phone to ring for weeks afterwards - surely every modern single girl's dream? Well this intimate look at a couples’ one night that develops into something much more takes a stab at exploring what is better than sex – only trouble is, we never get to see it. What we do get to see is the three days of sex, discovery and developing intimacy and it looks like loads of fun

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Sweet Sixteen

The mean streets of Glasgow, Scotland are the focus of this film by Ken Loach. He takes a thoughtful look at a young man’s attempt to escape the destiny paved for him by his family and environment

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Catch Me If You Can

The latest Steven Spielberg film portrays the life of professional con artist Frank Abagnale Jr. Based on or “inspired by” the true life of the real Abagnale and adapted from his book, the film traces Abagnale’s real life escapades from running away his parents divorce at 16 and being apprehended by the F

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BLACK CAT, WHITE CAT

Black Cat, White Cat sees director Emir Kusturica, known for his critically acclaimed films “Underground” and “Time Of The Gypsies”, make a welcome return to his gypsy roots for a delightfully exuberant story of rivalry, blackmail, love and folklore. Two rivalling gypsy families are presided over by their esteemed eccentric grandfathers, Grga Pitic (Sabr Sulejmani) and Zarije Destanov (Zabit Mehmedovski)

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Phone Booth

A man is making a call at a phone booth and suddenly… it rings. What do you do? Do you pick up? Yes you do, although you don’t expect that it’s going to last eighty-one minutes on screen

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Legally Blonde

The long awaited release was marked on the calendar - naturally it coincided with National Blonde Day, although the words ‘natural’ and ‘blonde’ should rarely be used in the same breath. The break between Legally Blonde and Bridget Jones had led to ‘empowered 2000 girlie flick’ withdrawal

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The Bourne Identity

Fished from the ocean by the crew of an Italian boat is a man without a memory (Matt Damon). With two bullets in his back and encapsulated bank details stitched into his hip; he possesses linguistic skills, superior fighting abilities, and an acute perception of his surroundings.

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THE LOVE LETTER

A floating love letter awakens a quaint, quiet New England seacoast town. It’s anonymous and it falls into the knowledge of various people and propels them into romantic thoughts

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Hardball

This is a very different role for Keanu Reeves and he shows flashes of how good an actor he can be. He plays Conor O’Neill, a gambling addict who is up to his neck in debt

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The Nugget

This is morality tale Aussie-style about three mates in a country town who are divinely led to the world’s biggest nugget. Loading it into the back of their Ute they plan to take it back into town and bury it in Lotto’s backyard until the work out how to get the best price

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Travelling Birds

Travelling Birds is a visually spectacular three-year filming odyssey that takes us all over the world. The film follows the spring migration of numerous Northern Hemisphere species of birds on their journey north to the Arctic Circle

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American Splendour

A true original film in every sense, American Splendour, written and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, combines animation, adaptation and documentary to present to us the life and times of Harvey Pekar, comic book writer, music & book critic and hospital file clerk. A renowned writer, who began writing his autobiographical comics American Splendour in 1976, Pekar was, and is, the American idol of the “working-class Everyman”

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Narc

This film will inevitably be compared to Training Day, but it’s better, and had it come out earlier, Training Day wouldn’t even have reached the radar. Jason Patric (The Lost Boys) and Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) give the performances of their careers as narcotics cops out to solve the murder of one of their own

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PLAYING BY HEART

A fine ensemble cast is assembled for this warm-hearted series of interconnected stories about people’s relationships. They are in search for love, lust and fulfilment and it’s set in modern-day Los Angeles

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Frailty

Bill Paxton, a regular in the films of James Cameron and Sam Raimi, makes an impressive directorial debut with Frailty, a disturbingly sinister gothic thriller in the same vein as the chilling Seven, etc, in which religious mania becomes a justification for murder.
In Dallas a vicious serial killer known as God's Hand is at work

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Samsara

From the age of five, Tashi has been in study and meditation to become a monk. After 3 years of solitary meditation he is brought back to his monastery in Ladakh, in the Himalayas and slowly reawakened to the world

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Walking On Water

Charlie, Anna and Gavin are best friends. They live together, party together and know all there is to know about each other- together through thick and thin

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Jeepers Creepers

Despite the silly title, Victor Salva’s “Jeepers Creepers” is a grimly effective horror film that packs in elements of the great horror flicks of the past into a lean ninety minutes. It is a nightmarish start for two young travellers, in the vein of the classic “Duel” film of the 70s, where they are nearly run off the road by an unseen figure in a giant tanklike truck

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Men of Honour

What happens when fictional cinema and true stories meet can be magic. All too often these days, however, there is a little voice in each viewer’s head questioning which parts are true, and which is Hollywood fiction

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One Night The Moon

“One Night The Moon” is the product of collaboration between MusicArtsDance Films and mdTV (Music Drama Television), and is a cross between a narrative drama and a modern opera. The first scene sets the tone, Paul Kelly, who also composed much of the music, sings about the pain of his lost child as he moves about the kitchen

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Divided We Fall (Musime Si Pomahat)

If, like me, you balk at the thought of yet another film about WW2, particularly one with the almost ubiquitous Oscar nominations, do not be put off seeing Divided We Fall. Winner of the Most Popular Film at the Sydney Film festival, Divided We Fall manages to do what so few of the recent Holocaust films have been able to achieve- that is, humour without belittlement, characters that are complicated, Nazi’s that are not just Seig Heiling cardboard cut outs of evil and heroes that are as flawed as the next man

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Almost Famous

Based largely on writer/director Cameron Crowe’s real life experiences as a teenage rock critic for Rolling Stone magazine, Almost Famous is a coming of age film for anyone who has ever been a fan. Fifteen year old William, played with wide eyed innocence by newcomer Patrick Fugit, gets the chance of a lifetime when he is commissioned by Rolling Stone to interview Stillwater, a band on the brink of stardom in 1973

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Someone Like You

This movie is adapted from Laura Zigman’s novel “Animal Husbandry”, and it primarily serves the purpose of showcasing the acting talents of Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman. In this Tony Goldwyn (A Walk On The Moon) film, Ashley Judd plays Jane Goodale, a woman struggling to find meaning in the heartbreaking realities of romance by studying the behavioural patterns of men

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Show Me Love

Quite different from an American perspective of a teenager’s existence, “Show Me Love” is not bound by the constraints of typical feel-good teen romance stories by American filmmakers. Director Lukas Moodysson, in his debut feature, provides a powerful, affecting story of the tribulations of two teenage girls who struggle with their sexuality and identity

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Before Night Falls

Reinaldo Arenas had the misfortune to be a writer and a homosexual in post revolutionary Cuba, where being either one could send you to prison. “Before Night Falls” is the almost documentary like depiction of Arenas’ life, from his poverty stricken childhood, to his imprisonment, exile and eventual death in New York from AIDS in 1990

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Donnie Darko

This is the latest film by Adam Field’s production company. Donnie Darko is a highly intelligent but disturbed teenager

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Get Over It

From the writer of “She’s All That” (R. Lee Fleming Jr

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Mostly Martha

Audiences might see this film in the light of previous food fest films such as Big Night and Babette’s Feast from several years ago. Though the taste bud trappings will be apparent, writer/director Sandra Nettelbeck gives us a story of the heart and it’s gratifying and affecting

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Small Time Crooks

A refreshed Woody Allen steps back to his more farcical filmmaking years in bringing this light-hearted comedy to the screen. His last two films, “Celebrity” and “Sweet And Lowdown” have been on the serious side of funny

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Baran

According to the Red Cross, the number of refugees working illegally in Iran after fleeing the 1979 Soviet invasion numbers around two million. Lateef (Hossein Abedini) is a good natured and lazy Iranian boy who works on a building site in Teheran

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Solaris

My usual reaction to Steven Soderbergh films is that they are triumphs of style over substance, however this is not so with his latest feature Solaris. A remake of a 1972 film by acclaimed Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky, which is said to have inspired Kubrik to make 2001: A Space Odyssey, the original film was based on a science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem

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Ararat

Any film about genocide is going to be heavy viewing. Ararat is about the extermination of over a million Armenians in Van, Turkey in 1915

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The Man With The Iron Fists

The Man With The Iron Fists is a silly, hip-hop infused Kung-Fu action film with a poorly written script and an even poorer, generic plot.

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Standing In The Shadows Of Motown

In much the same way that the Buena Vista Social Club endeared itself to many as a worthy tribute documentary to unsung musicians, Standing In The Shadow Of Motown recognises the importance of a group of musicians known as the Funk Brothers. They were a supremely tight band of backing musicians whose wonderful grooves helped fuel the famous Motown sound of the 1960s and early 1970s

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Live Forever

Live Forever is a documentary chronicling the re emergence of British pop music in the nineties after the cultural and political stagnation of the eighties and the Thatcher era. It features candid interviews with Noel and Liam Gallagher from Oasis, Damon Albarn from Blur and Jarvis Cocker from Pulp, the trinity of Cool Brittania and the leaders of the rebellion against the cultural hegemony of the United States

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The Guru

Ramu Gupta (Jimi Mistry) is a New Delhi dance instructor, teaching housewives the Macarena while dreaming of Hollywood stardom. He decides to follow his dreams to America but finds himself working in an Indian restaurant to get by

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A WALK ON THE MOON

Into the era of American sixties culture we head again. There was the age of drugs, free sex, anti-war sentiment, and musical free spirit

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Serenades

Serenades seems to be the quintessential Australian film. It has multi culturalism, it’s set in the outback with some Aborigines in the background, has a strong female lead, and little chance of a big box office

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It Runs In The Family


It Runs In The Family is a bland, middle class story about a bland, middle class family, a story that would never have got off the ground were it not for the involvement of the Douglas family. Three generations of Douglas’s appear in the film, Kirk Douglas as the patriarch, Mitchell Gromberg, his son Michael Douglas, as his son Alex Gromberg, and his son (Kirk’s grandson) Cameron as Asher Gromberg

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Clean


Les Convoyeurs Attendent (the Carriers Are Waiting

This Belgian film uses French language and subtitles in a story about the problems of a dysfunctional family whose central dominant figure is the father. The Carriers Are Waiting is a thinking film; arthouse and dry comedy

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High Fidelity

You're always going to get various camps debating whether the movie is better or worse than the novel, and in this case, Nick Hornsby's hilarious bestseller of the same name is a difficult beast to top. Add to this the problem of how English the novel is and how American the owners of the rights - Disney - insisted the film should be

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Requiem For A Dream

Every so often there is a film that demands attention and leaves you reeling. Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem For A Dream” is one of the most darkest and forceful anti-drug narratives ever shown on film

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Don't Say A Word

Reputable New York psychiatrist Dr Nathan Conrad (Michael Douglas) takes on a unique case that threatens the safety of his normal family. Don’t Say A Word makes this psychiatrist the hero, while his perfect home life is disrupted with the kidnapping of his young daughter

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Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too)

Finding themselves free for the holidays after their girlfriends take off on a trip to Europe, Tenoch and Julio are ready to let the good times roll.

The boys spend their days smoking pot and fantasising about their absent girlfriends, still unsure about the adventures the period will bring

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Ring

A new horror takes a look beyond the shock of blood found in slasher films. The psychological horror relies on inferred tension created by familiarity with the horror genre, but is a little cleaner

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A SIMPLE PLAN

Director Sam Raini is not a conventional filmmaker. The evil factor once again consumes Raini with his excellent feature The Simple Plan

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Nicholas Nickleby

Life’s never easy for the characters of a Charles Dickens novel and Nicholas Nickleby is no exception. His father dies and leaves his family in debt and his rich old uncle banishes him to a boarding school for boys, which could not be further from the boarding school world of Harry Potter

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Coyote Ugly

Much hype and glamour surrounded the lead-up to this film. After all, being targeted at the youth market, it contains good-looking, bare-midriffed girls dancing wildly on a bar counter and kicking whatever butt is in their way

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You Can't Stop The Murders

‘You can’t stop the Murders’ is based on a sketch written for television by Gary Eck, Akmal Saleh and Anthony Mir. The film has an excellent comedy premise: A biker, construction worker, sailor, cowboy and Indian are murdered in a small country town

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Ned Kelly

The story of Ned Kelly has been immortalised several times (four on film and once on television) and regardless of the hype surrounding the fact or fiction in retelling Kelly’s life yet again, director Gregor Jordan and writer John Michael McDonagh have accomplished a worthy adaptation of Robert Drewe’s book “Our Sunshine.”

We meet our protagonist when he is imprisoned for stealing a horse in a place whose authority (the coppers) discriminate against the early immigrant settlers of the town

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Crocodile Dundee In L.A.

The biggest trouble with sequels is that they often try to recreate the first film too closely. The studios try to reduce risk, assuming that audiences that found certain gags funny the first time will laugh at the repackaged versions

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Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring

Very few films in recent years have lived up to the hype that has preceded them, to the point where the more hype a film has, the more one would be advised to avoid it, films like pearl Harbour and The Phantom Menace spring to mind. The first instalment of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy has changed all that

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Fast Food Fast Women

This film won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, and it finally comes to Australian cinemas. “Fast Food Fast Women” is a delightful and witty film about lonely people looking for love in New York City

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IT ALL STARTS TODAY

This French film touches on a subject very dear to many people’s hearts. It surrounds the battle of Daniel (Phillippe Torreton), a school principal, in his efforts to afford his pupils a decent education

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Amelie

‘Amelie’ is the return of director Jeunet to quirky French films after his disappointing foray into Hollywood with the last in the Alien series, “Alien Resurrection”. His first two films, “Delicatessen” and “The City of Lost Children” told innovative stories, shot with breathtaking ingenuity

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Jurassic Park 3

Dinosaurs have fascinated humans since they completed their first grade school project about them. They represent a world where humans are not at the top of the nature chain, a world where many bullets will not stop a giant carnivorous Spinosaurus

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Pane e Tulipani (Bread

It’s a welcome change to see an Italian film screen in Australia. The initiative of bringing an Italian Film Festival in Melbourne and Sydney is to be commended and “Pane E Tulipani” opened the recent event

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There's Only One Jimmy Grimble

“There’s Only One Jimmy Grimble” is the feature debut of television director John Hay as a feel good comedy that the whole family can enjoy, which comes at the start of the Christmas Holiday Season. It is a coming of age story, which in essence is no different to your stock standard one, but it differs in a couple of essential ways

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EARTH

One of the most viewed and admired movies from the recent Sydney and Melbourne film festivals was Earth, a moving passage of emotions set in post-war Lahore. The central character is eight years old Lenny (Maia Sethna), a cripple, who is from a middle class family

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The Weather Underground

Way before September 11 and the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, in the late ‘60s and ‘70s, there was a group of American revolutionaries who aimed to overthrow the United States government by blowing up a couple buildings. This was in retaliation for the US government’s crimes against humanity committed in Vietnam, the racism and oppression of Black Americans, and the abuse of wealth and privileges of the white capitalist class

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No Man's Land

Two soldiers, one Bosnian, one Serb, find themselves trapped in a trench in the no man’s land between the two opposing sides. If they try to leave, the enemy will shoot them, if they stay, it is only a matter of time before the third soldier, mistaken for dead, moves, and sets off the mine that will kill all three of them

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Greenfingers

Greenfingers is a pleasant British comedy that tells the true story of a group of murderers housed in an alternative minimum-security prison, HMP Edgefield. Colin Briggs (Clive Owen) is sent to Edgefield, after already serving 15 years for the murder of his brother, is a prison where its criminals are encouraged to be rehabilitated and make something of themselves

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Iris

Iris is the portrayal of the mind debilitating Alzheimer’s disease on a scholarly acknowledged person. The film is based on the true life of Dame Iris Murdock written from accounts of her biographer and that of her husband

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Rush Hour 2

It was obvious after 1998’s “Rush Hour” that a sequel would be demanded. That film saw a real breakthrough in Jackie Chan’s Hollywood career and it was very successful at box offices

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Shallow Hal

Shallow Hal is a high concept film, where the story has been so obviously constructed to suit the concept, that usually reliable actors are left floundering. Jack Black, the funny guy from High Fidelity and Jesus’ Son, is Hal, a man who has impossibly high physical standards for women that he will date, whilst not applying those same standards to his own pudgier and balding self

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The Lost Son

This is contemporary film noir, with sobering subject matter. Set in London and seen through the eyes of a French private detective, Xavier Lombard (Daniel Auteuil)

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Broken Wings (knafayim Shvurot)

Broken Wings is the first feature of Israeli director, Nir Bergman. It follows the struggles of a family trying to cope with the tragic and almost absurd death of the father

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Monsters Inc.

Animated films in the last few years have been getting better and better, often outdoing live action films in the story and character development departments as well as visual innovation and appeal to adults as well as children. Monsters Inc is no exception, and is probably the best of the recent animated offerings, including Shrek

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The Lizzie McGuire Movie

New teen sensation in the making, 15-year-old Hilary Duff stars in the big screen version of the Disney cable television series “Lizzie McGuire”. “The Lizzie McGuire Movie” brings the cast together for a big screen adventure in Rome where Lizzie finds love, friendship and romance through a variety of mishaps including mistaken identity and newfound friends

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Runaway Jury

The major force of this latest John Grisham adaptation is the dynamic pairing of Gene Hackman as the evil, callous and calculating jury “consultant” Rankin Fitch and Dustin Hoffman as idealistic good guy, Southern lawyer Wendall Rohr. Also starring John Cusack as Juror number 9, Nick Easter and his cohort Marlee (Rachel Weisz) in this fast paced, plot driven court room drama (where have they gone?)

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The Cat's Meow

The Cat’s Meow is undoubtedly Bogdanovich’s best film since Mask (1985), though since his career has been in a decided slump for the last decade, that isn’t necessarily a huge compliment. Bogdanovich, as well as being an actor, is also known as a film buff, with a particular interest in Orson Welles, and so it is interesting to see him tackle the arguable subject of Welles’s Citizen Kane- William Randolph Hearst, a media mogul of the 1920’s

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Mallboy

A sense of satisfaction would have gone through musician-turned-director Vincent Giarrusso’s mind in seeing the outcome of this long poem he wrote from seven years ago. He puts his hand into directing a subject that tears into the poorer part of Australian suburbia by his clever portrayal of fifteen year-old boy, Shaun (Kane McNay)

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Italian For Beginners

The fifth in a line of Danish Dogme films, Italian For Beginners is a refreshingly uncomplicated tale about six individuals living and working in a small Danish village. When Andreas (Berthelsen) is relocated to take over duties as the local pastor, he not only finds himself feeling a little out of place but also rather lonely

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The Gleaners And I (les Glaneurs Et La Glaneuse)

Agnes Varda is known as the grandmother of the French New Wave and has been making films since 1954. At 74, Varda has produced a deceptively playful masterwork; confidently wandering from the fields of Provence to the streets of Paris exploring what it means to glean or harvest

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Josie And The Pussycats

Josie and The Pussycats is probably best described as ‘Charlie’s Angels’ for the younger generation. It’s for those not yet old enough to really understand the meaning of ‘Backdoor Lover’, the hit single sung by the all boy band, Du Jour, who mysteriously disappear at the start of the film to make way for the instant stardom of Josie and the Pussycats

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The Core

In Boston, 32 people with pacemakers suddenly drop dead within a 10-block radius. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco collapses, resulting in hundreds of deaths as cars are sent plummeting into the sea

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Hypnotic

Hypnotic is a contemporary thriller set in London and starring Goran Visnjic, of ER fame. He plays an American hypnotist, Dr Michael Strother, who has moved to London to escape a professional disgrace back home

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Serendipity

Serendipity pairs the likeable actors John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale in one of those feel-good movies. Cusack plays Jonathan Tragar and Beckinsale plays Sara Thomas

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Girlfight

It’s not hard to see why this film was this year’s co-winner of the Grand Jury Prize in the Sundance Film Festival dramatic competition. From first-time director Karyn Kusama, “Girlfight” is a well thought and emotionally satisfying film

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The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course

This is a bizarre combination of Steve Irwin’s Cable TV show and a B-grade spy spoof. Steve and wife Terri travel the outback rescuing crocs, delving through lizard poo and coming far too close to a hungry spider

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Sweet Home Alabama

Director, Andy Tennant, says this is a “love story where the decision came down to a great guy or the right guy”. It is also about “self-discovery and learning to be okay with yourself

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I Cento Passi

Having already achieved success in Italy with five Italian Oscars, and received plaudits at various European Festivals, this has been a keenly anticipated film. It’s an exceptional true story from Italy about the history of Peppino Impastato (Luigi Lo Cascio), a social and political activist

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Secretary

Secretary presents sadomasochism as the perfect outlet for its disturbed yet likeable characters. Director Steven Shainberg sets the scene for something believable but quirky

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City of God

City of God is a thrilling and often violent drama about the rise and fall of gangsters and drug dealers in the slums of Rio de Janiero. These are actual events from the 1960s and 1970s and formed the background for the novel of the same name

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The Magdalene Sisters

The Magdalene Sisters was inspired by the British Channel 4 documentary ‘Sex in a Cold Climate’. Deeply moved by the documentary, writer/director Peter Mullan was equally disgusted by the Vatican’s denial of the concentration camp conditions women were subjected to

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Windhorse

A unique insight into a Tibetan family and their struggle to survive and is the first feature film to be shot in the Tibetan language. In this film we see three children Dolkar, her brother Dorjee and their cousin Pema playing together in their village

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The Golden Bowl

The Golden Bowl is the story of how position and money can affect marriage and the effects of infidelity to a higher-class couple in the late eighteenth century. It is also an insight into the New World pastiche of influential people as America's bourgeois socialise with rich English and Italian

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Bandits

Firstly, it’s interesting to note that the film was originally meant to be an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel “Bandits”, to which Bruce Willis owns the film rights. The producers felt that it was too weak and brought in writer Harley Peyton to write a new script from scratch

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Waking Life

Made by shooting live actors on video and then painting over them to create a hybrid of animation and live action that has not been seen before, Waking Life is visually stunning. Unfortunately, much as I loved looking at the pictures, I wished I could drown out the sound

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OFFICE KILLER

Photographer Cindy Sherman has made a name for herself as a leading American visual artist. She now enters the world of filmmaking with a wry, quirky horror flick – without overdoing the associated gore

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Vengo

Writer/director Tony Gatlif (Latch Drom, Gadjo Dilo) describes Vengo (“I come”) as a hymn to the Mediterranean, and certainly there is much obvious love in the depiction of gypsies, their lives and their music. There is not much plot however

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Big Fat Liar

There has rightly been some criticism levelled at the low-class level of Hollywood live action teen films where we see sameness in the plot, the characters, insufficient laughs, and politically correct messages. “Big Fat Liar” is actually quite good as far as family entertainment is concerned

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Mr Accident

Yahoo Serious returns to the big screen for the first time since 1993 and places the emphasis in this film on spontaneity and slapstick. He directed, produced, wrote and stars in “Mr Accident”

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Time And Tide (seunlau ngaklau)

“Time and Tide” is Tsui Hark’s first film since his rather unspectacular Hollywood efforts- the Jean Claude Van Damme vehicles, “Double Team” and “Knock Off”. Hark is a legend of Hong Kong film making, with over fifty films to his credit, including the cult favourites, “Peking Opera Blues”, “A Chinese Ghost Story” and the “Once Upon a Time in China” series

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Swimfan

John Polson has been a great actor (The Boys) and a forgettable one (Mission Impossible 2) and unfortunately so far, his directing efforts have been largely forgettable. His debut feature, Siam Sunset, made in Australia, was a jumble of attempted quirkiness in a romantic road movie chase film

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IN A SAVAGE LAND

Director Bill Bennett’s quietly anticipated latest feature “In A Savage Land” is an ambitious film that, under the guise of a romantic epic, attempts to tackle sexual politics and the effect that western imperialism has had on primitive cultures. It’s all a bit too much to take in but if you’re prepared to suspend disbelief and digest the many themes presented; it’s a journey worth taking

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Bowling For Columbine

Fasten your seatbelts boys and girls! This time Mr. Tell It Like It Is gives us the lowdown on America's culture of guns and violence

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Virgin Suicides

Much speculation surrounded the first directorial effort by Sofia Coppola, daughter of the great Francis Ford Coppola. The Virgin Suicides, by Jeffrey Eugenides, happens to be Sofia’s favourite novel, and she felt it appropriate to bring the adaptation to the screen

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THE END OF THE AFFAIR

The End of the Affair is based on a Graham Greene novel. The film is very tastefully written and directed by Neil Jordan, and elegantly photographed by Roger Pratt

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Insomnia

Detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) and his partner Hap Eckhart (Martin Donovan) are sent to Nightmute, Alaska to investigate the murder of a seventeen year-old girl. In this perpetual daylight town, Dormer and Eckhart meet local Detective Ellie Burr (Hillary Swank), a recent graduate who studied Dormer’s life and work at the academy and is eager to learn from him and use his expertise in solving the case

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UNE LIAISON PORNOGRAPHIQUE

With a visible cast of just two, this is a fantastically simple film. The grandness of the film means that the characters are un-named.

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State And Main

Films about filmmaking are a difficult proposition. You risk alienating the average viewer with too many in-jokes or boring the people involved in the industry with clichés and cynicism

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Let's Get Skase

As “Lets Get Skase” opens, extracts of news and current affairs programs outline the Rise and Rise of Christopher Skase. But then of course, within moments, in the tradition of Western Australian businessmen of the 80’s and 90’s, the bulletins turn to the inevitable dramatic fall, taking with him millions of dollars of the Australian public’s money

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Naked States

Naked bodies make good stories, and art. Flesh will sell whatever the context, stripping back the confusion of man made ideals the raw shape can be confronting

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Spellbound

Yes, how interesting can a spelling bee competition be? You have no idea! Spellbound is a look into the world of competitive spelling, for pre-teen Americans all around the country, the best of the best, who all flock to the 1999 National Spelling Bee competition. It's so big it gets broadcast live on ESPN, not to mention the $10,000 prize

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Bad Eggs

This is the debut directorial work of well-known Australian comedian Tony Martin. As such, he has gathered, through his pre-conceived plan, a wealth of comedic talent; his “friends”, in shaping a very accomplished and funny film, which is set in Melbourne

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THE HURRICANE

Acclaimed director Norman Jewison, whose credits include “In the Heat of the Night”, “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Moonstruck”, had always thought that the story of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was one that had to be told on screen. Two books, Carter’s autobiography “The Sixteenth Round”, and “Lazarus & the Hurricane” form the basis for this triumphant true story of an innocent man’s fight for justice

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Basic

Tom Hardy (John Travolta) is an ex-Army Ranger turned DEA agent, who is drawn into an ever-widening mystery surrounding the disappearance of the feared and hated Sgt. Nathan West (Jackson), as well as several of his elite Special Forces trainees

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DROP DEAD GORGEOUS

Well, as far as black comedies go, Drop Dead Gorgeous is certainly the most colourful! Set in the small-town-America community of Mount Rose, Minnesota, it's the accents that hit you first. (Remember Fargo?) This stellar cast, of mainly beautiful women, does a hilarious job of playing kill or is killed, in the cutthroat annual Mount Rose, Miss Teen Princess America pageant

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NOTTING HILL

It’s interesting to note that this film teams up Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. Grant, especially, has been looking for the right vehicle to supersede his efforts in “Four Weddings And A Funeral” from 1994, while Roberts has been aiming for a major hit to follow her best work in “Pretty Woman” and “My Best Friend’s Wedding”

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Down To Earth

Directors Chris and Paul Weitz have taken the old Warren Beatty movie “Heaven Can Wait” and plundered it as a vehicle for the black comedian Chris Rock to showcase his talent. It’s fair to say that not a great amount was gained in the exercise

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One Day in September

This is the Academy Award-winning documentary about the terror of the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. It was ten days into the Games when eight members of the Palestinian Black September group stormed the Israeli team quarters at the Olympic Village

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Enigma

During World War II the foundation of German military and intelligence communication was the Nazi Enigma Code. One of the crucial turning points of World War II was in March 1943

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Il Cuore Altrove (A Heart Elsewhere)

A Heart Elsewhere tells the story of a young man in search of a wife and is looking to provide an heir to go into the family business in an Italian city.

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We Were Soldiers

War through the ages has always possessed an element of mystery and misconception. Questions relating to the who, what, when and where of war often lie unanswered or are utterly misconstrued to suit the individual.

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The Ring

‘The Ring’ centres on a teenage urban legend; cursed videotape. Victims watch the tape, the phone rings and a voice tells them that they will be dead in seven days

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The Last Castle

Rod Lurie’s previous film, “The Contender”, was a taut, contentious political piece, with terrific performances and an intelligent script. It is difficult to see how he could have gone so wrong with his next effort, “The Last Castle”

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Lost In La Mancha

Lost in La Mancha attempts uncharted territory of a documentary based around the making of a film that was just not meant to be. The film looks at the creation of Terry Gilliam’s adaptation of ‘Don Quixote’, a film which has had a massive ten years of development and leaves two previous failed attempts in its wake

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Unfaithful

Unfaithful explores the relationship between married couple Edward (Richard Gere) and Connie Sumner (Diane Lane) and the consequences they face when one if them is indeed, unfaithful. We are introduced to a typical upper middle-class American family, who own their own business, suburban house just outside New York, complete with dog and child, Charlie (Erik Per Sullivan)

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From Hell

I love Johnny Depp. Have loved him since 21 Jump Street, adored him in Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Donnie Brasco

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Raising Victor Vargas

Raising Victor Vargas is easily one of the best coming of age stories about the awkward pains of first love and growing up to hit screens of recent years. It lacks the phoniness and slickness of so many similar tales from Hollywood, and audiences will connect with the believable characters and their situation

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Kung Pow: Enter The Fist

“Kung Pow- Enter The Fist” is possibly the strangest film I have ever seen. It has been a couple of days now since I saw it and I still couldn’t make up my mind what the hell I thought about it

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Kate

This film marks a lighter change of pace for director James Mangold. He has previously been associated with dark, brooding drama like “Copland” and “Girl Interrupted”

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Black and White

From a screenplay by well-known writer Louis Nowra, director Craig Lahiff provides us with a fascinating Australian drama laced with the legal framework behind a murder case that carries racist overtones. He has cast some talented actors in demonstrating the gripping off-courtroom scenes and general affecting nature of the key characters

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Austin Powers In Goldmember

The third instalment of the Austin Powers series of films offers the same successful mix of what’s occurred previously: celebrity cameos, lavatory humour, and accurate parodies of pop culture. It’s a bigger production with an all-action humorous spoof sequence at the beginning featuring some familiar Hollywood faces

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THE CUP (also known as PHORPA)

Footy fever in a Tibetan monastery-in-exile. Strange but true

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Star Wars Episode 2: Attack Of The Clones

When it comes to reviewing a movie such as Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, or indeed any film involving trilogies, sequels or prequels, I think it is only fair to state your position on the phenomenon generally at the outset. The first Star Wars film, now named Episode 4: A New Hope, was released the year I was born, 1977

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Final Destination 2

A year after the terrible and tragic deaths of the freak survivors from flight 180, Death returns with his own “design” pushing sole survivor, Clear Rivers (Ali Larter), closer to his door. This time death is taking a whole bunch of other unassuming ineffectual (potentially gruesome ways of dying) people with him

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Jalla! Jalla! (the Best Man's Wedding)

Best Man's Wedding is a Swedish romantic comedy that centres on the lives of two friends; Roro (Fares Fares) and Mans (Torkel Petersson). Both employed by the city council as parks maintenance workers, they each find themselves dealing with some rather perplexing issues within their romantic
relationships

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When Brendan Met Trudy

Kieron J Walsh’s directorial debut “When Brendan Met Trudy” is sure to delight moviegoers as an Irish romantic comedy, steeped in cinematic memories. Working from a script written by Roddy Doyle (author of “The Snapper” and “The Commitments”), Walsh crafts a likeable story between two completely opposite personalities

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Bulletproof Monk


For many centuries the ancient Tibetan Buddhist Monks have passed on an ancient scroll that contains the secrets to infinite immortal power. The carrier or protector of this scroll is called the Bulletproof Monk

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Biker Boyz

“Burn rubber, not your soul” as head biker honcho Smoke tells his young novice Kid pretty much encompasses the emotional depth that this movie holds. Essentially a reworked somewhat modernised western played out against the backdrop of “Cali” (California), “Biker Boyz” attempts to do to motorcycle street racing what “Fast and the Furious” did for car street racing

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Kevin

British comedian Harry Enfield has enjoyed life with his top rating television shows, in particular “Harry Enfield & Chums”. Known for his character impersonations, he decided to bring two of them, Kevin and Perry, to the big screen

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O Brother, Where Art Thou?

The Coen brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski), now present us with O Brother, Where Art Thou? Three criminals (George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson), escape imprisonment to embark on a journey to hidden treasure. We get Clooney, good crim

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Angst

This Australian film had a run at the Cannes Film Festival and created a good impression. It creates quite an impression, particularly after I had a little time to digest the content

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Queen Of The Damned

We should firstly note that the film is dedicated to the late actress-singer Aaliyah. “Queen Of The Damned” will be classed by most as the sort of film you will either love or hate

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The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky

The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky is Paul Cox’s twentieth feature film and the first film by him I have seen in its entirety. Unfortunately, I also think it may be the last, never have ninety minutes been so long before

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The Mexican

How could it not be a blockbuster? The Mexican, the new film by Gore Verbinski (Mouse Hunt) stars Queen of Hollywood, best actress academy award winner Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich, Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias) and reigning man of the moment, Brad Pitt (Fight Club, Twelve Monkeys, Legends of the Fall) together in not just a romantic comedy, but a romantic comedy with guns.

Brad Pit as Jerry

When Jerry (Brad Pitt) accidentally crashes into mob boss Arnold Margolese and consequently has him arrested when a person is discovered tied up in his boot, Jerry's life gets put on hold, for five years

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Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself

Directed by Lone Scherfig, “Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself” is Scherfig’s first English language film and fourth feature. Having gained much appraisal and success with “Italian For Beginners,” “Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself” looks set to do the same, voted most popular film at the Sydney Film Festival

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The Transporter

If you‘re the kind of person who loves their action flicks, then The Transporter has just been elevated to the top of the 'must see’ list. Starring Lock, Stock and Snatch tough guy Jason Statham, this film is loaded with elaborate action scenes, secret espionage-type missions and some utterly funny moments

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La Ville Est Tranquille (The Town Is Quiet)

A baby born of a heroin prostitute grew healthy sleeping outside the womb of her poisoned mother in La Ville Est Tranquille. A reformed criminal will not live long in harsh Marseilles society

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MY LIFE SO FAR

The calibre of the director/production team on this movie is reason enough to go see it - with movies like “Cal”, “Local Hero”, “The Killing Fields”, and “Chariots of Fire” under their collective belts, you know what kind of quality you're in for. But as serious as that list sounds, “My Life So Far” is quite a lighthearted tale, told through the eyes of an innocent - 10 year old Fraser Pettigrew (Robert Norman)

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The Others

The Others is the story of a lonely higher-class mother (Nicole Kidman) and her two children who live in a large manor. Her sanity is left to question as she runs household with the aid of servants while her husband is away at war

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Seabiscuit

Some readers well remember the movie from 1949 titled “The Story of Seabiscuit”, which starred Shirley Temple and little Irishman, Barry Fitzgerald. It was a wonderfully warm movie that touched many hearts

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Chicago

Originally written as a play back in the 1920s by Maurine Dallas Watkins, the story of Chicago has had many reformations. First performed as a play in 1926, it was adapted for the screen first in 1927 as a silent film and then again in 1942 under the name Roxie Hart

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Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

George Clooney’s directorial debut is much like George Clooney himself; slick, good-looking and a little smug. To his credit, Clooney did not pick a self-righteous talkfest in which to display his own depth, unlike many an actor turned director

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Igby Goes Down

Igby Slocumb (Kieran Culkin) is an angry, rebellious and sarcastic seventeen-year-old, at odds with his world of wealth and privilege. His father Jason (Bill Pullman) is in an institution suffering from schizophrenia, his mother Mimi (Susan Sarandon) is a pill popping, self obsessed socialite who is dying of cancer, and his brother Oliver (Ryan Phillippe) is a cold, young republican, college student

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Buffalo Soldiers

What seemed like a good idea one day became problematic and unthinkable the next. Executives from Miramax studios took Gregor Jordan’s second feature film Buffalo Soldiers on board the evening of September 10, 2001

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Exit Wounds

From muscling his way into the screens in the late 1980s, Steven Seagal provided a fresh face and take on the martial arts market. He won many movie fans and he helped make Aikido a more familiar term in the genre

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Extreme Ops

An extreme sports commercial director and producer team buckle under their Japanese investors wishes and agree to film a commercial in the Austrian slops for a digital camera. Mission: to film this extremely dangerous commercial and assemble skiing/snow boarding talent for trip

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AUSTIN POWERS : The spy who shagged me

We left the original International Man of Mystery with Austin Powers (Mike Myers) honeymooning with agent Vanessa Kensington (Elizabeth Hurley) while Dr Evil (Mike Myers) drifts through space in his Big Boy rocket. That provided some terrific comic moments

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About Schmidt

It is clear to see why this film deservedly won Jack Nicholson a best Actor Golden Globe and won its screenwriters Jim Taylor and Alexander Payne (director) best screenplay awards. It is simply one of Nicholson’s best performances as the portrayal of Warren Schmidt, a man reaching the twilight of his years forced into retirement from years of service as a V

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Rosetta

ROSETTA, the Belgian film that was this year’s Palme d’Or winner, works so successfully at going to the core of a disturbed young woman’s mental state that if you accept it in on its own level it can really get under your skin.
Yet, it’s not the kind of film that’s easy to recommend because it’s tough to watch, it’s not particularly enjoyable and the main character is proudly selfish and presented as a severely serious nutcase

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The 25th Hour

In 24 hours, Monty Brogan (Edward Norton) is going to prison for seven years. After a long and successful career as a drug dealer, he finally gets busted and has to say goodbye to his life as he new it

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Roger Dodger

The thing that is immediately noticeable upon reflecting on this film is the amount of dialogue contained. It’s a case of almost all talk and no action

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Liam

The film opens on New Years Eve, the air filled with the festivities of the season and the promise of the coming year. It is however set in an Irish Catholic community of Liverpool in the 1930’s and circumstances for seven-year-old Liam (Anthony Burrows) and his family are about to take a turn for the worse

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What's The Worst That Could Happen?

A new comedy gives the black hustler a cleaner image as he duals with millionaire Max Fairbanks (Danny Devito) in What's The Worst That Could Happen? Martin Lawrence plays Kevin Caffery, the smooth-talking burglar of the more expensive kind, stealing artworks, jewellery and wine after casing the auctions and rubbing shoulders with Boston's richest.

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Prisoner Of Paradise

A little half-way into the viewing of “Prisoner of Paradise”, I realised that this documentary was made as a homage to German-Jewish actor, director and cabaret star, Kurt Gerron, on his short life as an artist during the Nazi era.

I should have known from the detailed and rather lengthy exposition on Gerron’s beginnings in Berlin in the 1920s and ‘30s

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The Bank

Endorsed by the Australian Film Commission The Bank is the story of one boy’s life work to take on big banks. David Wenham plays the thesis-strapping mathematician with a computer program called BTSE designed to predict patterns in the stock market, and save small businesses from folding in a crash

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Shrek

Based on the children's book by William Steig, “Shrek” is brought to life as three-dimensional CGI animation, much along the lines of “Toy Story”, “Antz” and “Bug's Life”. What sets this apart from those films is the superb use of dialogue in correlation with animated facial movements and extensive use of what we would recognise as human figures (as opposed to animals, insects or toys)

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Sex And Lucia

Sex and Lucia certainly has a lot of the former, much of it with the latter, though some involves a shower head, a dildo, the boyfriend of a pornstar mother and a fateful night on an island beach. Confused yet? Don’t worry, you will be

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Monster's Ball

A few interesting issues are touched on in “Monster’s Ball”. Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) works as a prison guard on death row in a Georgia penitentiary

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Bounce

This film provides exactly the sort of thing that viewers want from a romantic drama: two people who fall in love from unusual circumstances, then pushed apart by complications before finding happiness again. “Bounce” has no real surprises or twists, but contains very good dialogue to make it a generally pleasant experience

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The Dish

Having been acclaimed for their fine work with “The Castle”, the meticulously minded Working Dog Production team bring us a touching and humorous story with “The Dish”. Set in Parkes, NSW in July 1969, it tells of a satellite dish installation that was to serve as a relay between NASA and the Apollo 11 mission, to bring pictures of man’s first walk on the moon

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Purely Belter

Gerry and Sewell are teenage kids who believe the university of life is so much more worthwhile than school. They are best mates, life is tough and there seems little meaning to it apart from avoiding your drunkard dad and seeing what you can get away with

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ANY GIVEN SUNDAY

The egomaniac tendencies of Oliver Stone are evident here as he pulls a few tricks in providing an intriguing story set around the American football scene, and with an excessive running time. He gives us a dose of slow-motion sequences, black and white fading, quick cuts, and other gimmicks

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Kaante

Directed by Sanjay Gupta and “written” by Anurag Kashyap, Kaante has been described by the New York Times as a “reimagining” of Reservoir Dogs… whatever that means. Having the honour of being India’s biggest budget film to date, and entirely shot outside of India, (in L

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Sensitive New Age Killer

It had been evident in the lead-up to the release of this film, of the magnitude in the efforts of the production team in realising their dream for “Sensitive New Age Killer”. Producers John Brousek and Mark Savage (Mark is also the director and co-writer) have worked on the project for several years and they even attended all the media screenings to gauge reaction prior to the release date

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Startup.com

Startup.com tells the story of two school buddies in their 20’s who go into business together, raise $60 million of venture capital, and create govWorks

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Rain

Rain is a coming of age story for pubescent Janey, just discovering her powers as a woman and the instability of her parent’s marriage as they spend the summer at their beach house. A charismatic photographer comes into their lives and a chain of events is set in motion that will end in tragedy

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COOKIE'S FORTUNE

The story centres on the suicide of long-grieving widow, Cookie (Patricia Neal) who has been a fixture in the small town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. She is so lonely for her long-dead husband that she decides she wants to join him prematurely

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One Night At McCool's

A night at a seedy bar named McCool’s is the basis for three interweaving storylines. Liv Tyler is Jewel, a woman who changes the lives of three guys, Randy (Matt Dillon), Randy’s brother Carl (Paul Reiser), and Detective Dehling (John Goodman).

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Mambo Italiano

If you liked My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and the producers of this film are clearly banking on the fact that you did, then you’ll probably like Mambo Italiano. If, on the other hand, you thought Greek Wedding was a plotless, forced recycling of age-old cultural stereotypes with an uncharismatic cast and pedestrian direction, then that pretty much ensures you’ll think the same of this film

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Behind The Sun (Abril Despedacado)

A young boy lives with his parents and older brother, Tonho, in barren part of the Brazilian badlands in 1910. The family extract sugar from the cane fields

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Va Savoir

Just one of the highlights in the 2002 Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, “Va Savoir” is the latest accomplishment by renowned French director Jacques Rivette. Containing perspectives on love, relationships and desire

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Bridget Jones's Diary

Ally McBeal was the television assurance to the professional female that it was normal to feel anxieties about an unsuccessful love life, while having good careers and financial independence. It was also an assurance that television, sometimes seen as the weight of the working class, also supported a higher niche market

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Real Women Have Curves

In the days of tabloid celebrities Renee Zellweger, Calista Flockhart and the like, it is rare to see fat rolls, stretch marks or cellulite in any type of media. So it is refreshing to see all three, not only shown but also celebrated on the big screen

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I Am Sam

Ask many parents and they will say that parenthood is a tough task. Imagine what it’s like when a child’s intelligence is greater than that of the parent

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Whale Rider

Based on the novel written by acclaimed New Zealand writer Witi Ihimaera and written and directed by Niki Caro, Whale Rider is a powerful and poignant film that explores the themes of family and culture in a small coastal tribal village in New Zealand.

We are introduced to a contemporary Maori community where the Chief Koro’s eldest son Porourangi’s twin children are about to be born.

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The Deep End

The Deep End is an involving and intelligent thriller and, unlike similar films in its genre, doesn’t rely much on narrative twists and turns. The complexity lies more in the characters than in the plot

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Antitrust

If you’ve ever thought that taking the plot of The Firm, mixing it with the world of The Net and casting it with nubile young things was a great commercial idea, then look no further that Antitrust. Milo Hoffman (Ryan Phillipe) is a promising young computer programmer about to launch a high tech start up with his best friend Teddy, an idealist who believes knowledge belongs to everyone

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The Importance Of Being Earnest

Rupert Everett seems to have been born to star in adaptations of Oscar Wilde’s plays, having already been in An Ideal Husband, also directed by Oliver Parker. He excels at the slightly smug, witty delivery required and it is perhaps the only circumstance where audiences will accept him as a straight romantic lead

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Forty Days and Forty Nights

It was bound to happen eventually. The creation of another cinematic sex comedy with all the trimmings: sharp script, sexy setting, and of course, spunky stars

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The Piano Teacher

Michael Haneke’s film, “Funny Games” screened at MIFF in 1997, a confronting and uncomfortable exploration of screen violence, the complete antithesis of the comic strip violence of most Hollywood films. It manipulated you, made you see you were being manipulated, then made you examine why you wanted, as an audience, to be manipulated

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Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek Nemesis is the tenth instalment in the hugely successful Star Trek story. After years of travelling the universe, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) sees the potential break up of his Starship Enterprise crew

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AGNES BROWNE

“Agnes Browne” is adapted from Brendan O’Carroll’s best-selling Irish novel “The Mammy”. It is set in Dublin in 1967 and it sees the return of Anjelica Huston to the role of director/actor

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Far From Heaven

The beautiful, yet repressed, atmosphere of America in the 1950s is brought to the screen in Far From Heaven. Viewing this film was revisiting the old style movie matinee, where the cinematography is a high point in bringing to detail all the colours of autumn in Hartford, Connecticut

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Training Day

Director Antoine Fuqua’s film “Training Day” is an intense look at the notion of street crime and justice. He uncovers the fine line between undercover police tactics and corruption but just fails to deliver a proper scrutiny in potentially powerful situations

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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life

Verdict: Absolutely a blast. This film falls into the category where the sequel is better than the original - the stakes in action stunts and technological wizardry have been upped dramatically

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Jimmy Neutron:Boy Genius

Animated films are getting better and better, and getting the credit for it, with a special section in the Academy Awards (though some would argue that Shrek is a better film than some that are nominated in the live action category). Out of the nominated animation films, Jimmy Neutron is special

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2 Fast 2 Furious

The sequel to 2001s The Fast and The Furious, in a very rare and extreme case. 2 Fast 2 Furious could possibly surpass its predecessor as a better story and better film

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DINOSAUR

Dinosaur" brings Disney to the forefront of digital technology and sets a new standard for the integration of computer-generated imagery and live-action. With more than thirty different species of prehistoric creatures ranging in size from the twelve-inch gliding lizard to the one hundred and twenty foot long, hundred tonne Brachiosaur, the film is both scientific and fantastical

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Amy

Even though she diced with trouble, Winehouse’s death still came as a shock to fans all over the world who had followed her long standing battle with drugs and bulimia, her tumultuous relationships and even more, her incredible music career.

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Valkyrie

You better believe it, Tom Cruise is back! He is actually back at his brilliant best because ‘Valkyrie’ will go down as one of the films of the year.

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Damsels In Distress

Damsels in Distress is cute, charming, sweet and all-over positive. It’s a comedy that leaves a smile on your face; a comedy whose eccentricity prevents it from melting away into the obscure periphery of its more generic genre kin.

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Godzilla

The good storyline and decent action sequences make it a worthy watch and Gareth Edwards should be congratulated for that, but sadly some elements of the script will still leave some serious film lovers wanting more.

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The Human Stain

Nathan Zuckerman, played by Gary Sinise, is the narrator and observer of the story of Coleman Silk, a light skinned black man who decided in his youth that life would be easier if he passed for white.

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Away We Go

It is not a challenging or ground breaking film, but it draws you in nonetheless as Burt and Verona find who they want to be, and perhaps more importantly, who they do not.

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Intolerable Cruelty

Joel and Ethan Coen give us a screwball comedy, something looked upon less favourably than their more serious filmmaking. Their intelligent and offbeat

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One Perfect Day

Though tinged with sad moments, this is an ambitious and generally uplifting film about dance culture that should be seen by wide audiences.

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Never Let Me Go

Make no mistake you will be emotionally affected by this dark yet enchanting film that will have you questioning humanity for a long time after the final credits have ended. One of the best British films to surface in a long time…

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The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

The Diary Of A Teenage Girl is a must for anyone that likes alternative cinema and doesn’t mind making some brave decisions. The film will be hard to watch for some but is also one that will completely stun its audience. Thought provoking and confronting The Diary Of A Teenage Girl not only reveals Bel Powley as an actress to watch but also announces Marielle Heller as a filmmaker to watch.

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The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years

The most celebrated and scrutinised group in music history once more falls under the spotlight in Ron Howard‘s suitably fab documentary. Focusing on the period from 1962 - when Ringo first joined Paul, John and George in the line-up - to the Beatles’ final bow at San Francisco's Candlestick Park in August '66, the film captures all the excitement, antipathy and exhaustion of the band's years on the road.

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Kiki, Love to Love

These are some stories that often give rise to bizarre situations, but director Paco León (who also wrote to the script) knows how to make a smooth movie that is very humorous. With a light tone, all kinds of fetishes are illuminated and, as a viewer, you always wonder what will happen to the various situations.

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Roy Hollsdotter Live / Harvie Krumpet

Two brilliant Australian short films get together for one worthwhile screening. Roy Hollsdotter Live and Harvie Krumpet are acclaimed dramatisations that have gained substantial overseas recognition.

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Hit And Run

Hit And Run could well be one of the surprise hits of 2012… this slick action film deserves all the credit it gets.

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Touching The Void

A terrifying tale of survival unfolds amid dazzling beauty of the Peruvian Andes, in what is deservedly the most successful documentary in UK box-office history.

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My Best Enemy (Il mio miglio nemico)

Carlo Verdone is justifiably acclaimed as one of Italy’s greatest comedic actors of the last thirty years. This film, in which he directs, co-writes, and acts, was one of Italy’s best of 2006 and it sees Verdone at the top of his game.

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Under The Skin

While Glazer really shows himself as an important filmmaker with Under The Skin the film also reminds the audience just what a fine actress Scarlett Johansson is. She really is one of the most diverse actresses in modern cinema, …

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Zack And Miri Make A Porno

It sounds like a ridiculous storyline for a film but it is pulled off with some excellent writing from Kevin Smith, this script is nearly as good as his ‘Chasing Amy’ script and has the potential to do what so few comedies remember to do these days and that is keep an audience laughing.

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A Bigger Splash

The pacing and subject matter of A Bigger Splash may not equal mass appeal, but it is a worthwhile film for those willing to take a punt. It is the sort of film that engrosses and amuses in equal measure.

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Irreversible

Irreversible is powerful and unforgettable. If you can stomach some of its ingredients, this unique venture by Noe demands to be seen from a terrific filmmaking perspective.

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Lygon Street - Si Parla Italiano

The influence of several of the great innovators became widespread across the Victorian and Australian landscape. Directors Angelo Pricolo and Shannon Swan have provided a fascinating insight into some of the people who shaped Italian culture and brought what is second nature to many Australians now - coffee, pasta, pizza, olive oil and style.

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Everest

This is a visually commanding film of the true story of a two groups who attempting to climbing Everest in 1996, were caught in a violent storm that claimed eight lives.

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American Hustle

Despite its flaws “American Hustle” is still a film that demands a viewing. It’s good not great but it will be the film that everybody is talking about this holiday and awards seasons.

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All The Money In the World

Scott did the unthinkable with the film. How other filmmakers will follow suit in similar instances remains to be seen. It's a rare peek into the generational nuances of a family that's well worth a look.

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The Broken Circle Breakdown

From the best screenplays to hit cinemas in a long while to two of the most amazing acting performances of 201 there is a lot to like about The Broken Circle Breakdown. Added to that is a sensational bluegrass soundtrack and a gritty ending that shows that some filmmakers are still willing to take chances

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The Stepford Wives

While touted as an expression of modern feminism, The Stepford Wives is more about love and compromise between two people than the success or happiness of either by themselves.

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My Week With Marilyn

Screenwriter, Adrian Hodges doesn’t quite hit the spot with how dramatic some of the scenes could be but Williams takes what she is given and enhances each scene but giving one of the dramatic performances of the year. There has always been the argument of who has done the best work since Dawson’s Creek, Katie Holmes or Williams? This is the film that proves that Williams is streets ahead.

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Watchmen

Watchmen favours plot over action, a fact proven by its length - a whopping 163 minutes. But its length is what allows director Zack Snyder to probe into the superheroes’ psyches and successfully bring them to life as individuals, rather than a group of masked fighters, each with their own unique skill.

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The Avengers

The Avengers is epic in every form of the word. Whedon is edgy with his directing style, there is some brilliant cinematography and the CGI (even of The Hulk) is out of this world. Add all that to a script that reminds us what a genius Joss Whedon is and you are left with a film that raises the comic book/action genre bar just that little bit higher.

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Adam

If you are looking for romantic comedy then ‘Adam’ is not the film for you; instead this is romantic drama at its very best. Dancy and Byrne shine in a film that you can’t help but fall in love with.

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Ghost Town

…something strange happened during Ghost Town – I actually laughed. A few times. This was not because the film defied any genre trends – far from it – but because Ricky Gervais’ performance made the experience bearable.

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Aliens In The Attic

Aliens in the Attic is a frenzied comedic adventure with enough sustained activity to keep it humming along without the risk of boredom ever really setting in.

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Chandni Chowk To China

Akshay Kumar also shows his class as a comedy actor with a performance that is as good as anything Adam Sandler or Jim Carrey could produce. He has expert slapstick and comedy timing as well as facial expressions that are on par with Rowan Atkinson.

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Machete

Exploitative and self-reflexive, Machete is a film detached from the real world, operating in its own movie reality where it pertains to its own rules, politics and logic.

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Frost/Nixon

Ron Howard does an expert job at making this story interesting for the audience. He expertly uses Peter Morgan’s screenplay to call upon the audience’s human nature and divide this into a good guy versus the bad guy which only goes even further to enhance the boxing subtext that bubbles along through this film.

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Letters To Juliet

Being a huge fan of Shakespeare’s work means if filmmakers are going to use the Bard’s work or name as a pre-tense then they also better pray that their film is stunningly impressive enough that I’m not going to walk out in disgust. Luckily for the creators of ‘Letters To Juliet’ some good writing makes this the best romantic comedy to surface in a while.

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The Tall Man

For any Australian that believes that Aboriginals get equal treatment to white people this is the doco that will put the truth into perspective… it’s certainly one that you will be talking about for ages after the final credits close.

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Moolaadé

Mooladé is indeed a film that will challenge and evoke a greater understanding of the pertinent issues surrounding the tradition of purification. But the strength of the film lies in its results,…

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Planes: Fire & Rescue

There are some adults out there who will love to find faults with this film. Maybe the humour isn’t exactly to their taste, or they don’t find the film suspenseful enough, but at the end of the day you have to remember that this is a film designed for kids. With the humour that the script provides this time around and some of the dramatic fire scenes it is obvious that this is a film that is going to be lapped up by its target audience.

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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (3D)

This film will provide food for thought about the western world’s greedy relationship with food (while the rest of the world goes hungry) – particularly the convenience of fast food, where you don’t have to lift a finger and food pretty much falls on your plate, like in the film.

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The Gambler

All the negatives aside, the film keeps you hooked from start to finish. The gambling scenes are especially intense and Wyatt knows when to change the beat of the film - just when you start to feel edgy that the film is going nowhere, Wyatt interjects another scene which draws your full attention, getting you interested again.

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G-Force

It’s just unfortunate that all of actors seem to have been briefed to over act. Wide facial expressions, slap stick and over use of emotion grows tired very quickly, and it actually does seem at times like even the humans are CG as well.

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The Red Turtle

The Red Turtle is a rewarding experience overall, however it requires patience. In a film that relies purely on visuals, the story is key. Thankfully the story has enough in it to hold your attention, though some might find it tedious.

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The Daughter

The acting is superb, headed by two Antipodean heavyweights in Rush and Neill, both in restrained less-is-more modes. The 16-year-old Odessa Young, as the titular daughter Hedvig, is a passionate addition exploring a new-found sexuality and shooting cans with her boyfriend using her grandfather’s shotgun – one that has a role to play in forthcoming events.

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A Film With Me In It

It is impossible to fault ‘A Film With Me In It’ as Mark Doherty’s script is genuinely funny while director, Ian Fitzgibbon gets the best out of an already brilliant cast. Doherty has created some truly memorable characters and a storyline that actually makes fun of itself in a sense.

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Two Fists, One Heart

While the idea of a watching a boxing film may not appeal to some, ‘Two Fists, One Heart’ is a boxing film with a difference. This is a film that isn’t about the sport; you could replace boxing here with any occupation and this film would still work. This is a film that has heart and it ranks right up there amongst other great boxing films, …

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The Social Network

The Social Network tells the story of Facebook, starting with the original idea (for all intensive purposes, from the movie, stolen), through the set-up, to the explosion and finally the lawsuits. The Social Network’s plot was inter-woven between the set-up and the depositions of the two lawsuits between Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin, and Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss twins and their business partner, Divya Narendra.

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Little Johnny the Movie

Little Johnny The Movie works nicely as a film, and you have to credit the filmmakers for creating a film that will have its audience laughing. My only concern is that it will struggle to find an audience.

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Jane Eyre

Fukanaga’s rendering of Jane Eyre breathes new, contemporary life into a classic novel which brilliantly depicts the themes of social class, gender relations, love and autonomy. Inspired casting, art direction, and costume design make this dark, romantic, thriller a most impressive filmic adaptation of a seminal novel.

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Moneyball

If Pitt doesn’t get an Oscar nom for Moneyball it’s a shame. If Hill doesn’t get one then a downright crime has been committed.

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I Do (Prête-moi ta main)

This movie is very sweet and appealing to those wanting to see a light hearted comedy with some feel good romance thrown in for good measure.

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The Wedding Ringer

The Wedding Ringer combines elements from various comedy film sub-genres, including rom-coms and gross-out humour. While some of those sub-genres might not be everyone’s cup of tea, there are elements in this film to please a variety of different audiences and whether you like it or not, the film is funny.

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Contagion

This goes to close to be the perfect Hollywood thriller. With a terrific cast and amazing script Contagion was always going to be a winner but with the genius known as Steven Soderbergh at the helm it has an edge that makes a film that is a must see.

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Outfoxed

Outfoxed gives an insight into the Fox news channel as well as many of the tricks of the trade used to influence the viewing public whilst pushing right-winged view points.

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And If We All Lived Together

This is the kind of film that you will watch once and thoroughly enjoy, but it’s not the kind of film that will you have wanting to watch it over and over.

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The Way Way Back

This is a smartly written, well performed film that separates it from a lot of the other coming-of-age films that are out there.

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Disgrace

‘Disgrace’ may not be a comfortable watch but it is well worth the effort. The storyline of this film makes it one of the best films of the year, and is so powerful that you will remember this film for a long time to come.

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Swinging Safari


Tangerine

But at the end of the day Tangerine deserves more credit than just ‘good for a film shot on a phone’ because this is a film that has some wonderful acting performances and some good directing that makes this seem like one of the most natural films you will see this year.

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Code 46

The story is as together as an Irishman at a wake. The dead pan set up doesn’t allow us to empathise with the characters, and the film quickly falls away afterwards. There’s also a real lack of dynamic in the narrative,…

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Sky High

Like a classic Disney film, it offers moral guidance to its audience and is a celebration of family values and the importance of loyalty among friends.

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Wedding Crashers

Wedding Crashers is one big party of a film. There is a good dose of crass and crude one-humour, wrapped up in some hilarious one-liners, dancing, singing, and sexual antics.

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Tulpan

It may not be a masterpiece, but Tulpan’s gentle affirmation of the importance of family and its insight into life in a remote and rarely filmed land makes for a worthwhile cinematic experience.

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Under The Tuscan Sun

By setting this paper-thin story in the beautiful scenery of Italy it’s at least another reason why one can tune out to the story and just watch the beautifully shot images of the country and seaside villages unfold.

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Quartet

No matter your age you will find yourself drawn to the characters of ‘Quartet’. It’s a heartfelt story and let’s be honest you don’t have to be in this film’s demographic to know what heart ache or the lack of self-worth feels like. Don’t take any notice of the advertising this really is a film that can be enjoyed by all age groups.

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The Rebound

Ageist themes aside, it’s a straightforward, run of the mill romance flick. It has the regular ups and downs and will-they/won’t-they that isn’t ground breaking, but it manages to bring something a little different to the Rom-Com landscape.

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Fighting Fear

With insightful interviews with the likes of Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning and vision that you have to see to believe Fighting Fear is a worthy doco that anyone seeking inspiration will want to see over and over again.

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Are We There Yet?

The title role was rejected by Adam Sandler for good reason and it’s a great pity Ice Cube didn’t do the same.

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Red Cliff (Chi Bi)

‘Red Cliff’ certainly shouldn’t be ignored because it is an ‘Asian’ film, this is an amazing film that is far superior to a lot of the action films that are coming out of Hollywood at the moment.

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Leatherheads

Leatherheads’ is an intelligent comedy that will be greatly appreciated by film lovers that just don’t find most romantic or teenage comedies funny.

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Monster-in-Law

Most of the film consists of scenes between the two female stars. In a way, they are forced to behave in ways that contradict human decency. The film turns into a series of gags and games between the two.

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The Visitor

McCarthy’s work is extremely good. His script is laced with gentle humour throughout, whilst exploring the political themes of detention. The viewer is engaged into becoming deeply involved in the journey of all the characters.

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Triple 9

Triple 9 is a derivative action-drama that meets the entertainment standards a film such as this is expected to deliver, but ultimately it had the potential to be a lot more. A cast such as this could’ve attributed to an amazing film, but rather we are given a by-the-numbers film that could’ve just as easily come out direct to video. Thankfully, the twists and turns along with the dark and gritty style justify some of the issues with the film.

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Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters 3D

Visually, Hansel and Gretel excels in all departments, especially in creature effects. The witches all look great and grotesque. The visual effects are up to par and the 3D definitely helps add extra depth and dimension to the visuals.

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La Finestra Di Fronte (Facing Window)

Much expectation greeted my viewing of this film. It had “cleaned up” at Italy’s David di Donatello film awards in 2003, in particular for Best Film, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Best Music.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The film is a visual tool of the original text, but for those who are not familiar with the beloved 1954 story, it is an enchanting fantasy genre film with special effects that are breathtaking, yet thankfully not excessive.

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Great Expectations

Even for those unfamiliar with the original text or the litany of film/TV adaptations, you are aware that the mechanics of a great story are at work here, but through clumsy handling we are left with a far weaker, less grand, and inconsistent adumbration of the original, nowhere near as great as the expectations it excites.

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The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

It has a great dramatic story, with bits of humour, romance and fantasy. The performances are all above par and the direction is outstanding.

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Nanny McPhee

Humour is a focal point of the film and a food fight at the intended wedding of Mr Brown and Ms Quickly is a highlight as is the children’s ploy to embarrass their father into forcing himself upon the pretentious Ms Quickly prior to their engagement.

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Les Choristes (The Choir)

Though a remake, Les Choristes is a beautiful film in its own right, with genuine sympathy for the unloved children as the innocent victims in the story.

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9

Though likely to be seen by a far more limited audience, it’s filled to the brim with creative flair and unadulterated imaginative power; visually it makes for a startling spectacle, with a freshness that sets it apart from the pack.

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Brideshead Revisited

While not a classic in the period-piece genre, ‘Brideshead Revisited’ will be found to be more than adequate for anyone who enjoys films such as ‘Pride And Prejudice’.

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Ocean's Thirteen

This is probably the type of sequel that fans have wanted; even more so that Ocean'e Twelve perhaps. Las Vegas is a place in itself and the characters seem more at home in the environment existing in this story.

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Elegy

The film would have been in constant danger of from falling victim to too-heavy a subject-matter, if not for the subtle injection of this humour in what is a serious and complicated story.

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Shall We Kiss? (Un baiser s'il vous plaît)

It is a simple story about the complications of falling in and out of love and trying to avoid hurting people you still greatly care for. Mouret communicates how we all have so much love within us, it is often hard not to desire more than one lover.

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Bride Wars

In fact the whole idea that friends would sink to the lows of a personal war like this is implausible as their friendship is set up as a strong bond that couldn’t be broken.

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Batman Begins

Thankfully, it has quickly erased the memory of the previous few films in one quick swoop. The film exceeds expectations and should be admired by long-time Batman fans who have waited for a filmmaker to get the true picture of this hero.

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Lord Of Dogtown

The film’s saving grace is Heath Ledger's great performance as the always drunk but charismatic, surf-shop owner, Skip Engblom. Ledger ensures Skip is the most believable and complex character of the film.

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Les Miserables

If you are willing to endure a seriously lacklustre first half then ‘Les Miserables’ will reward you with a second half that makes this one of the finest movies of 2012.

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2012

Unless you’re like me - uncontrollably frothing at the mouth at the mention of another disaster movie - you’re probably thinking ‘How many times can you do the same thing before it becomes boring?’ Well the answer to that is, at least one more!

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The A-Team

Good acting, great script and an amazing ending make for one wonderful action film Don’t be scared off by this re-working of a classic… it is a standout in the action genre.

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IMAX: The Mystery of the Nile

Pasquale Scaturro, a geophysicist, leads an expedition on a four month journey in the hope of being the first team to traverse the Nile from source to sea.

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Darkest Hour

Rather than span the course or Churchill’s accomplished life, screenwriter Anthony McCarten was wise to narrow it down to the span of just one month. The best biopics are the ones that do just this: find a moment in their life and focus on that. This is what makes Darkest Hour work so well…

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Knocked Up

The crude humour and touching moments are a credit to the excellent screenplay. Judd Apatow, himself an underdog, as a movie maker, has climbed a big stage in making one of the best movies of 2007.

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The Happening

Shyamalan has tried to capture his old brilliance but it is nowhere to be seen in ‘The Happening’; a film that you feel would have been better off in the hands off a talented director such as Danny Boyle.

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Iron Man

Iron Man can be comfortably chalked up as another in a long list of successes for the Marvel Entertainment empire.

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How About You

Director, Anthony Byrne also does a fabulous job by not only capturing the spectacular Irish countryside but also manages to capture each character's emotions in a way seldom seen in modern film.

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The Women On The 6th Floor

As usual Fabrice Luchini puts in a brilliant effort but the real star here is Natalie Verbeke. More widely known for her work on French TV she makes the step up to feature films with ease. She has a classic style of beauty, and has acting ability to add to her pretty face.

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The Square

It is hard to believe that this is Joel’s Edgerton’s first script let alone that this is Nash’s first attempt at directing a feature film. There are writer/director teams out there that have been making films for decades who can’t make a film half as good as ‘The Square’.

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12-12-12

12-12-12 is a documentary that no music fan should miss. It is also the kind of film that anyone who needs to renew their faith in mankind needs to see. It’s a film that looks at how community should pull together in the face of a tragedy whether they be your average Joe on the street or a wealthy musician…

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Step Brothers

…Step Brothers is not so much a movie driven by plot but rather a film based on a big concept tailor made for stars Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, the end result a mostly funny yet constantly crass comedy.

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Macbeth

Macbeth is a visceral moviegoing experience. Kurzel has expertly handled the source material while adding his own unique touch. The film is violent and tense and the acting is of a high class. Shakespeare would be proud of this adaptation.

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Syriana

Syriana is an excellent drama, which even though can get confusing at times with the tangled storylines, plays on a tense tune throughout the film, keeping the viewer engaged up until the final multiple climaxes.

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March Of The Penguins (Marche de l'empereur, La)

Picture a film based in the sub-zero depths of Antarctica that tells the story of love and loss, betrayal and hardships and you will begin to have small idea of what Luc Jacquet’s Academy Award-winning documentary ‘March of the Penguins’ is about. It is hard to imagine that one could fit all of this in a documentary, but that is exactly what this unique filmmaker has achieved.

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Life As We Know It

‘Life As We Know It’ looks so promising. Heigl and Duhamel play great characters and early on this a film with real heart and emotion, but unfortunately it is ruined by a clichéd ending. One of the better romantic comedies of the year but be prepared to be completely disappointed with the ending.

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Shrek 2

Full of hilarious moments and references, Shrek 2 is as funny as the original with the ability to make anyone laugh.

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Sweet Virginia

Building tension is a special skill that takes some filmmakers years to develop, yet newcomer Jamie Dagg has perfected it, making Sweet Virginia an unsettling puzzle for viewers piecing together the history of various characters as they anticipate their next jolt.

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Scott Pilgrim vs The World

The narrative jumps around (much like the games it is channelling) and skips forward in order to move onto the next scenario quickly, much like a transporting character from a computer game. The editing is quick and tight, the colours flashy and bright, but the storyline is very simple and enjoyable.

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Rise of the Guardians 3D

Rise of the Guardians is a fun holiday family film that should appeal to a younger audience, however it doesn't quite meet the high standard set by other recent Dreamworks animated films…

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Conviction

Conviction is one of those films that fits neatly into the theme of “tough underdog fights the system”. It tells the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank), whose loveable loser brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell) is given life without parole for a grisly murder she’s certain he didn’t commit. She decides to get her law degree in order to defend him.

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Love In The Time Of Cholera

So you leave the cinema with heavy eyes and unexpectedly the magical Caribbean imagery returns to you like a second wind. The feeling is a lot like looking at photos of an average holiday and remembering how beautiful the scenery was.

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Clash of the Titans 3D

…Clash of the Titans is just another typical Hollywood blockbuster. It is purely an action centrepiece with no care taken to provide any narrative enjoyment. It is just watchable and barely worth the price of admission – especially the 3D ticket price.

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Quiet Chaos (Caos Calmo)

‘Quiet Chaos’ is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt films to surface in quite a long time. This is one film that has the potential to totally captivate and audience while taking them through a variety of emotions.

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Solo

Set in Sydney, ‘Solo’ is a dark journey into the heart of the Australian underworld. The plot is edgy, fun, a little violent and thoroughly entertaining from beginning to the end.

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Trainwreck

Considering the plot, Trainwreck had the potential to be the opposite of Apatow’s hit The 40 Year Old Virgin but instead they’ve traded edgy comedy for what is essentially a sappy love story with only some highlights throughout the film.

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Griff The Invisible

However, the anti-coming-of-age narrative was refreshing and the character of Melody was engaging: a space cadet through and through with a unique perspective of the world, a guardian angel to our awkward protagonist, a perfect match for Griff, and this is the charm of the film – it is a story of hope, of soul mates colliding in a mundane world.

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Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

This film can be used as a benchmark for other upcoming video-game franchises as it rights the wrongs of other adaptations before it. Prince of Persia is a fun, entertaining, fast-paced action adventure film suitable for all audiences.

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Sightseers

It may be one of the small releases this Boxing Day but ‘Sightseers’ is also one of the most gruesome… and best.

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A Prophet (Un prophète)

French film A Prophet is not the kind of movie that will have you settling back in your cinema chair, with a bucket of popcorn in one hand and a smile playing at your lips. Instead, this film will have you on the edge of your seat, ever fearful what’s going to happen next. A Prophet packs a punch and will remain with you long after you leave the cinema.

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Re-Living Off The Land

‘Re-Living Off The Land’ is a smart little comedy that basically says ‘yeah we know the first film we tried to make was no good… but let’s laugh about it.’ This is one small budget Aussie film that is certainly worth a look.

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The Magician

The sense of humour is akin to Tarantino films, and the dark content is bound to draw that parallel. There are quibbles on pop culture, and the mundane aspects of Ray's line of work are poked fun at.

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Sharkwater

An important documentary, Sharkwater would have been much more effective and educational viewing experience had Stewart taken himself out of the picture, and focused his attention instead – and deservedly so – to the creatures he loves so dearly.

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Vicky Cristina Barcelona

After having a lean time over the last fifteen years (with the exception of ‘Match Point’), Woody Allen spectacularly returns to form with “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” his funniest movie in years and arguably his sexiest.

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Melancholia

This is also the film that has shown the world just what a fine actress Kirsten Dunst has turned into. Forget about her roles in stuff such as Bring It On or Spider-Man, this is the moment where she really announces herself.

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Belle

Belle is far a disappointment but discerning film goers are likely to want a little more out of their film. Still it is good to see such an important story making it onto the big screen.

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Shark Night 3D

There are a few laughable moments in Shark Night 3D but if you love cheesy slasher-like horrors you’ll be in your element with a film that follows all the simple horror templates but still manages to surprise from time-to-time.

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The Women

An inconsistent yet at times wickedly astute film, The Women makes sharp observations about the power of gossip, the hypocrisy of glamour magazines, and the influence both have on young girls finding their way as women in the modern world.

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Brokeback Mountain

As Ennis, Heath Ledger leaves audiences in no doubt that he is a serious talent. He becomes this tragic figure, and reveals his character’s torment in every word and expression.

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Dear John

This is a very American film. The lovebirds hail from Charleston in the south. Savannah lives in a big white house with horses while John is an upstanding military man.

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Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Wallace and Gromit translate well to the longer feature format with plenty of plot twists and plasticine action to maintain the pace over the hour and a half.

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Ben-Hur

t is difficult to recommend this film to a particular audience, due to its lack of substance. Its moral message falls flat, so if you’re looking for an emotional, intelligent film about Christianity, forgiveness, and redemption, you likely won’t find it in Ben-Hur.

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Departures (Okuribito)

Making ‘Departures’ an even better film is the wonderful acting performance of Masahiro Motoki in the lead role. Seriously the guy was robbed at the Oscars, he should have bagged the Best Actor Oscar easily. His performance is so natural that your eyes don’t leave him, he could teach a lot of the Hollywood-wannabes a lot about their craft… let’s hope they take notice.

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The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones

While “The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones” is far from a great film, it does enough to suggest that this franchise could remain interesting if a new director is put at the helm the next time around.

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Rebellion (L'ordre et la morale)

With this violent and troubling sage based on real-life events, Mathieu Kassovitz makes a powerful comeback, both in front of and behind the camera.

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Pooh's Heffalump Movie

Pooh's Heffalump movie delivers all you can expect from a great toddlers movie. Classic animation, incredibly cutesy, gentle singing, nothing too scary and heroic mums saving the day.

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Babylon A.D.

Thank goodness that Vin Diesel has turned his back on family films and returned back to what he knows best; a hard edged action thriller with a storyline that actually keeps its audience interested.

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Shattered Glass

Shattered Glass is based on the exploits of real-life journalist, Stephen Glass, whose fertile imagination and persuasive charm fooled his editors and colleagues at The New Republic into believing the star reporter that he was.

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The Old Man Who Read Love Stories

The film was shot in French Guyana and the locations are beautiful. It is lovely to see Richard Dreyfuss in a role a world away from his usual fare…

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I Am Love (Io sono l'amore)

Artistic film-lovers will jump to the defense of ‘I Am Love’ but a brilliant performance by Tilda Swinton isn’t enough to gloss over the fact that the story is weak and only saved by a brilliant ending.

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Good Night, And Good Luck

Director and co-writer George Clooney gives us a fascinating and compelling film about a subject which gripped the Cold War period in the 1950s, and a theme that, in a different context, still resonates in the 21st century.

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Tower Heist

As far as heist movies go, Tower Heist is similar to the Ocean’s Eleven franchise. The dialogue is funny, the star status high, the acting genuinely good and the plot original enough to not get boring, but familiar enough to be the perfect afternoon action/comedy flick.

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21 Grams

Now that we’ve sobered up and settled into the New Year, we can deal with weightier themes of loss, pain, loneliness, retribution and acceptance.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

At times the sudden plot changes can make the viewer fall slightly off track with the story, but where Pirates lacks in this department, is made up for in its witty script and superb action sequences. The visual effects and action choreography are some of the best available on the big screen.

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Life During Wartime

There are some interesting thematic forces at work here, unfortunately though there is not much gusto, not much drive to the film. The characters simply float about this emotionally damaged landscape, dark, grizzly reality sending this world into autistic retreat.

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The Station Agent

A funny and respectful film, The Station Agent is endearing without being too saccharine and manages to escape the banal ‘feel good movie of the year’ description, even though it might be tempting to call it that.

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Bunny and The Bull

Bunny and The Bull is a British black comedy from writer/director Paul King. The movie centres on Steven Turnbull (Edward Hogg) an agoraphobic, obsessive compulsive who hasn’t left the house in almost a year. When his perfectly timed daily routine is disrupted by an infestation of mice, Steven find himself recreating a European road trip and series of events that led to his isolation.

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The Wait (L'Attesa)

‘The Wait’ is a beautifully shot Italian film that makes me eagerly await for Piero Messina’s next film. His style his visually impressive and he can tell a story in a way that very few filmmakers can.

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The Kings Of Mykonos: Wog Boy 2

The comedy is more mature and there is an under current of seriousness that may lift the film a little but does diminish the quirky ‘wog’ humour of the first film.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The film neither introduces, or concludes any storylines; instead it’s main focus is to reinforce what is to come – the final showdown between good and evil and to this end, the film delivers.

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Animal Kingdom

As a film ‘Animal Kingdom’ does everything right. Each scene has been perfectly written by director/screenwriter, David Michod who also manages to keep the audience constantly guessing what is going to happen next, but expertly not giving anything away before it happens.

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Jackass 3-D

Johnny Knoxville, Steve O and Bam Margera, along with the rest of the Jackass crew, return for their third film outing, this time in splendid 3D. It’s a shame however that the 3D element is probably the aspect that works the best in this film, with the comedy on the backburner.

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Annie

Annie isn’t exactly going to be the film that you are going to be raving about for years to come but it is funny enough that you won’t exactly be leaving the cinemas complaining about it either. It’s cute and enjoyable, but never gets annoying, while it’s reworking of the story is just modern enough to make it work and create its own identity.

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The White Masai (Die Weisse Massai)

The film delivers a great insight into the African culture - successfully capturing its traditions and customs.

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Shot Caller

Nikolaj Costner-Waldau delivers his best performance to date. “Jaimie of the Thrones” here aspired to the throne in both fictional incarnations. Earlier as successful stock broker, later as prisoner struggling to position himself in the harsh and unforgiving system.

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Veronica Guerin

We are taken to the North side of Dublin in the mid 1990s; to a community falling apart at the seams. Heroin plagues the streets and dealers prey on the youth, operating business from the back seat of their Mercedes.

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Girls Trip

Girls Trip does have a little issue with its comedic tone but for the most part this is a film that works pretty well. There are moments that will make you chuckle, which is more than you can say for a lot of comedies these days, while there is enough heart to win over any audience.

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Black Book (Zwartboek)

Black Book is a solid piece of work which keeps the audience entertained throughout the two-plus hours of film reel. It is at times chilling and then cheeky. It contains some graphic scenes which furthermore intensifies the film’s setting.

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New York, I Love You

The film consists of eleven vignettes, all directed by international art house directors such as Shekhar Kapur, Fatih Akin, Yvan Attal, except for one by actress Natalie Portman. Some of the vignettes are too short, while others outstay their welcome by several minutes.

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Max Payne

It was most likely the strength of the script that attracted seasoned actors like Mark Wahlberg and Beau Bridges to the project, while the casting team also took some big risks that worked beautifully.

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The Informant

In trying to achience an early 90s look to the film the filmmakers have ended up with a result the looks like a poor 1970s cop show. Add this to the fact that the film’s storyline twists and turns so much that many audience members will be left in total confusion and the whole ‘The Informant’ experience is not a pleasant one.

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Hancock

Since Hancock does not play slave to a source material, it does not come off as generic. The only film which comes close to matching its concepts would be the excellent animated film The Incredibles. Yet while its script may be shaky – especially with its talk of Gods walking amongst men – the film's performances and Berg’s spirited direction make up for whatever flaws are present.

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Capote

This film can be slow at times, but clearly demonstrates Capote’s complex personality.

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The Prince & Me

The film will appeal to some as a fun, sentimental sort of story. Julia Stiles is very easy to empathise with and her varied moods are engaging. She is good at despising the aimless, laconic actions of Eddie, but then accommodates him as a friend…

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The Chronicles Of Riddick

The Chronicles of Riddick isn’t all that bad; not to say that it’s all that good either, although it was quite enjoyable with visual overload and imagination to behold.

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Monsters vs Aliens

Once you get past the annoyingly obvious title, Monsters vs Aliens is an extremely likeable kiddie flick. I saw the movie in a cinema packed full of children with an average age of about seven. It was a pleasure to hear them squealing with delight over the wonders of 3D and the inevitable bodily excretion gags while their parents chuckled away at some well aimed parodies of presidents and such.

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47 Metres Down

…it‘s a fairly simple set-up, but there's a growing air of desperation and claustrophobia which makes 47 Metres Down particularly nail-biting. Roberts is really good at capturing the girls’ growing panic, and the shark effects, though minimal, are very effective.

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Brave

With a brilliant script and some of the best animation work that you are ever likely to see Brave is one film that will be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

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A Cold Summer

This is the best Australian film that has come out in a long time.
There needs to be more films like this, immediate, rough, without any quirkiness or pretty landscapes.

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Towelhead

Yet from the depths of its seedy demeanour, Towelhead emerges as a damning commentary on the sexualization of young girls, brought on by an irresponsible culture which preaches promiscuity above all else.

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The Class (Entre Les Murs)

‘The Class’ consists of some terrific acting performances but runs slightly over time and has a script that both thrills and frustrates at the same time.

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Wreck It Ralph

Wreck It Ralph is a great take on an original, interesting premise and the film very much lives up to it and more. We get a nostalgic look back on past arcade and in-home entertainment heroes who delivered so much joy at various junctures throughout, which is a nice touch. The animation is first class and some of the views are outstanding as we really do get a very real look at arcade games from the other side of the screen.

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52 Tuesdays

Filmed amidst grubby-chic suburban Adelaide interiors, 52 Tuesdays is a fictional story following a teenage girl’s struggle to adjust as her mother embarks upon a female-to-male gender transition.

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Alice In Wonderland

Stylistically, Tim Burton was an excellent choice to direct this version of Alice In Wonderland. He takes the already bizarre world of Wonderland and its characters and puts his defining twisted touch to it as he does with all his films and it works well.

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Doubt

Doubt is a seemingly simple story that deals with the ever-complex themes of political, religious and social change, and the clashes brought about in the wake of progress.

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The Loved Ones

This is not only one of the best Australian horror films to surface this year it is one of the finest horror films to be released this year. ‘The Loved Ones’ has everything – a great script, good characterisation, plenty of gore and acting performances that deserve to attract awards.

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Wonderland

The Wonderland murders of 1981 were a horrific event in Hollywood in which four people were brutally murdered. What caused the tragedy to become a high-profile case was the involvement of the notoriously well-endowed porn star John Holmes (Val Kilmer).

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Layer Cake

The director of Layer Cake, Matthew Vaughn, is best known for his work as the producer of Guy Ritchie’s gritty English comedies Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. This film fits snugly into the same genre, with endearing pommy gangsters and enough plots twists to make your head spin.

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Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star

There are some absolutely absurd moments in this film, especially the countless cameos from every child star imaginable and their dog. This includes the extended child star sing-along at the film’s closing credits, and a few Hollywood heavyweights making their “guest” appearances.

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Last Vegas

Sure Last Vegas is not a roll-around-in-aisles-with-laughter style comedy, nor is it a film that will earn Freeman, De Niro, Douglas or Kline another Oscar but this is still a likeable film that can be enjoyed by an audience of all ages.

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Where The Wild Things Are

There are so many things to love about this film, from Jonze’s brave decisions right through to the fact that he makes this film look absolutely beautiful. From wonderful scenery to the most realistic CG you are ever likely to see, this film is a feast for the eyes.

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Bride and Prejudice

If you’re new to Bollywood, Bride and Prejudice is a fantastic introduction. It’s far shorter than the usual marathon of melodrama, and the songs are sung in English and tuned to a western ear. In true Bollywood style the audience is greeted with a rainbow of swirling saris, drama and humour.

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Broken Embraces (Los abrazos rotos)

Very few filmmakers command the screen in the way Pedro Almodovar does. Many will criticise ‘Broken Embraces’ for being too long, but they are wrong in doing so because Almodovar’s script is so tight it keeps you captivated for each minute that it plays out on screen. More importantly he manages to capture the ‘film-inside-a-film’ concept so well that it works sensationally well and never comes across as lame.

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The Bling Ring

Despite its couple of flaws, “The Bling Ring” is a good crime genre film that once again reminds people what a great young director Sofia Coppola is.

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The City Of Your Final Destination

James Ivory really does need to be congratulated for creating such a beautiful film. While parts of the story may be predictable you can easily overlook that while you an awe of such a stellar cast and characters that you can’t help but care about.

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The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Who would have thought that one of the years most intriguing and suspenseful films would be a documentary involving two grown men battling over the supremacy of an arcade game?

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Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips plays out more like a docudrama rather then a typical Hollywood film which is normally fine, but in this instance it would have been nice to add some of that Hollywood magic to liven up the film.

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Journey to the Centre of the Earth

So all in all this latest adaptation of Journey to the Centre of the Earth is clean cut entertainment recommended for a family night out, although some scenes may frighten the little ones.

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Last Cab To Darwin

…overall, Last Cab To Darwin is told with good humour and the right amount of pathos. It's a film for the world to enjoy but it is hoped that Australians can truly enjoy the Australian spirit that the filmmakers shape through a sentimental journey.

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Bitter & Twisted

A sombre film, Bitter & Twisted is not Friday night entertainment, but rather a poignant look at grief and its ramifications.

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Because of Winn Dixie

There are no standout performances in this film and even the dog looks unnatural, blundering his way through poorly directed slapstick scenes. The screenplay relies heavily on literary narrative that works well on the page, but doesn’t suit this medium.

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Avengers: Age of Ultron 3D

Avengers: Age of Ultron is a fun and entertaining film and that’s all you can really expect from Marvel offerings. It’s not the type of film you would go see and discuss the deeper meanings of it afterwards, rather it’s the spectacle you go for and Age of Ultron succeeds in hitting that mark flawlessly.

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John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick: Chapter 2 has it all for action-film fans. It’s pure entertainment at its best, filled with colourful characters that would fit just as comfortably on the pages of a graphic novel as they do on the screen. It’s fast-paced, stylish and most importantly, a film that won’t easily be forgotten.

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Dancer

Even though the film does a fine job of presenting the audience with his humble beginnings, the filmmakers never really take the time to examine the rebellious behaviour. It's a bit of a missed opportunity to make a larger statement about the world of ballet and celebrity.

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Chappie

Thankfully, the writers have done just enough to make the characters in the film resonate with the audience. Once broken down, you can find several faults in Blomkamp’s Chappie, but as a purely entertaining sci-fi film with a twist, Chappie succeeds on all fronts.

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X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Despite some of the film’s flaws in character and story, it serves as a fantastic action film, containing some outstanding action set pieces.

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Guardians of the Galaxy

Director James Gunn, with only two other small budget films under his belt prior to this, takes the Guardians source material and characters and expertly crafts a film to rival the best that Marvel has offered to date, including the super-popular The Avengers film.

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Defiance

Daniel Craig is nothing short of brilliant in ‘Defiance’ and it is good to see him in a role where he can once again show the world that there is more to him than just James Bond.

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Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)

Like all good horror films, Let the Right One In is at its best when it is operating on the “less is more” principle of a good scare. Interestingly, on the occasions when the horror is revealed, be it spontaneous combustion, dismemberment or disfigurement, it is played for laughs rather than the fear factor.

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Stake Land

Finally this is what horror fans have been waiting for all of 2011. A great horror flick that isn’t a remake or a reboot (or whatever fancy words the companies are using that means ‘it’s all been done before’). Stake Land is a brilliant film that shows there is still creativity out there in the ‘horror world’ and shows that filmmakers don’t need to use special effects in a bid to scare the pants of their audience.

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The Skin I Live In (La piel que habito)

The Skin I Live In is certainly one of the most twisted films to hit the cinemas this year. This is a film that you will remember for a long, long time to come.

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Precious

Despite the film’s glaring shortcomings, including a lack of subtlety, its most hopeful message of a spirit that refuses to assent to unjust forces, both social and biological, comes through loud and clear, assuring a measure of real credibility.

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Look Both Ways

There are some visually interesting effects to be found here, though. Director Watt brings her background as an animator to the story using some interesting use of psychological montage.

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Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy

Part love story, part drug drama Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy is an absolute ripper of a film. With some great acting and one of the best scripts to surface for a while this film is an absolute must see… and you’ll be talking about for a long time to come.

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Journey To Mecca (IMAX)

I am not alone in my ignorance of Battuta, however. Very little exists in cinema on one of the greatest explorers of the Old World.

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Alien: Covenant

The balance of horror, thrills, philosophy and science-fiction is almost on-point, but just not quite. Strangely enough though, there’s a good chance you’ll want to see it for a second time, if only to see Michael Fassbender’s show-stealing performance.

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1

In the long run Breaking Dawn Part 1 does tell an important part of the Twilight story, but it really is the slowest and weakest film in the series so far and I am already finding myself hoping that Part Two is a hell of a lot better.

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The Age Of Stupid

‘The Age Of Stupid’ is a very powerful doco indeed, and it certainly is important for people to have access to this information… I’m just not convinced that the way this information is processed here is the right way to have done it.

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The Sapphires

The Sapphires is an amazing film that works on all levels. The fact that it mixes music, drama and comedy together so well makes it an absolute gem.

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Disturbia

Shia LeBeouf and Sarah Roemer work smoothly as capable young actors. Both are headed for bigger things.

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Summer Coda

A little more time spent tightening up the film, the scenes and the script and less on the soundtrack and Summer Coda could have been something.

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Camp

Camp isn’t strictly a musical. Nobody breaks into song to express his or her emotions or progress the plot.

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The Tale of Despereaux

One of the warmest films of the year and clearly wins the title of ‘Animated Film of 2008’, this will go down as a classic that families will be watching for generations to come.

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Inside Job

Coming in at under two hours, while not the most riveting documentary I have seen, it is still a telling and enjoyable tale no less.

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Beauty

Beauty may be a confronting film but if you can get over that and ignore the slow parts it is a worthy drama thriller.

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Gone

Being critical of the actors in Gone seems very unfair, considering what they had to work with. All the detectives were given absolute rubbish to deliver and as a result all were pretty unremarkable.

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The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas

This film will stay with you long after leaving the cinema.

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The Savages

The Savages is an absorbing watch; it holds your attention from start to finish but never bombards you with action or heavy dialogue.

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Prime Mover

Prime Mover is a likeable film, celebrating Australia’s daggy, suburban heart in a similar vein to Strictly Ballroom and Muriel’s Wedding. It would be nice to see Australian filmmakers step a little outside of this style (dose of glamour, anyone?), but, all in all, it’s a pleasing film, well worth seeing.

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Transamerica

‘Transamerica’ is a delightful, but also enlightening film. Bree is constantly faced with challenges that the average person would take for granted. She struggles to keep her voice and body feminine, and she is extremely self conscious about her body, clothing and makeup.

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Fast Food Nation

Whilst the film touches on several important and current themes such as illegal immigration, drug use, sexism and bullying in the workplace and the power of ‘big business’ - none of the themes are ever really develop and the viewer is left with an unsatisfactory patchwork of loose ends.

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Quantum Of Solace

When the title for the latest Bond movie, Quantum Of Solace, was announced many months ago, it sounded quite tame and lacking aggression. But you need to watch the movie to realise how much action and violence there is.

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Manual Of Love (Manuale d'amore)

The Manual of Love shows human nature at its best and the obvious blunders we stumble through as we journey through love. Mix this with typical Italian personality, not to mention drama, and how could this provide anything but entertainment?

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Canopy

Writer/director Aaron Wilson brings us Canopy, a war-time adventure set in 1942. The film is an Australian-Singaporean co-production that was a passion project eight years in the making for director Aaron Wilson and producer Katrina Fleming.

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Revolutionary Road

Once again Mendes manages to turn a depressing suburban drama into a beautifully filmed masterpiece. Great directing, great script and brilliant acting…what else can you ask for in a film?

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A Single Man

‘A Single Man’ has been unfortunately raped in the hands of an over-zealous first director.

With the story in tatters due to poor filmmaking the only thing that saves ‘A Single Man’ is a truly memorable performance by Colin Firth… he is a modern legend.

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Mao's Last Dancer

Beresford manages to once again create a film of true beauty. This amazing film comes to life with scenes of spectacular dance and intense drama that will captivate audiences both young and old.

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Mysterious Skin

Mysterious Skin is based on the critically acclaimed first novel by Scott Heim. It's a film about facing the past, learning to deal with it, and surviving.

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Music And Lyrics

The film is light-hearted and funny, although Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore do not quite have that powerful chemistry between them to bring the film together.

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Welcome To The Sticks

French stand-up comedian turned actor/director Dany Boon’s Welcome to the Sticks has become the highest grossing film of all time at the French box office, and not without good cause.

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Shine A Light

Five minutes into the show and after some old Stones interview footage, Bill Clinton opens the concert to hundreds of screaming fans and as the lights fade and light back up again, so too does the roar. You’re lost in the buzz of the audience, the heat of the lights and the electric guitar starts to blare… the Rolling Stones take centre stage.

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Healing

The film’s title applies to several stories contained within the narrative. Like the injured birds, there are several characters who in a variety of ways, either atone or recover from past mistakes or heartbreak. The film contains some deeply moving imagery, aided brilliantly by composer David Hirschfelder’s epic percussive soundtrack,…

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Gangster Squad

‘Gangster Squad’ could have been one of the films of the year but sadly an inept screenwriter and editor drag it right down amongst the other average films.

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Coriolanus

Unfortunately Coriolanus is really only for the hardened Shakespeare fans. Fiennes tries really hard but sadly just doesn’t pull off this story on the big screen… still he is a director to watch.

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Eat Pray Love

The novel has revolutionised millions of women across the world and I have no doubt the movie will do the same. I wanted to take Liz’s journey and discover myself; it made me question my life and what I was doing with it.

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Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game is an entertaining and well conceived science fiction film. Whilst it slightly suffers in its ability to deeply connect its audience to the characters, the performances and visual style of the film are good enough to keep viewers interested from beginning to end.

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Moon

Moon is a rare example of a film able to pay homage to genre ancestors by integrating key elements with sparkling original ideas of its own, producing a riveting and surprising cinematic gem that’s sure to be regarded as one of the year's finest.

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The Island

The Island borrows heavily from classic 70s sci-fi, but revamps the genre in a decidedly modern, if Hollywood, way.

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IMAX - Operation Red Flag

Director Stephen Low is no stranger when it comes to filming the wide blue yonder. His first IMAX film was 1985’s ‘Skyward’. As in that film he does a splendid job in capturing the graceful movement of the fighter jets as well as the psychological stress of air pilots who often have to make life or death decision in a matter of seconds.

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Star Trek Into Darkness – IMAX 3D

Star Trek Into Darkness is a highly entertaining second entry into the reboot of the widely popular Star Trek franchise. The film is very action-centric, which is its biggest flaw as well as its biggest strength.

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The Woman In Black

It’s nice to sit down and watch a horror film and be genuinely scared rather than have to sit back and watch countless people hacked up for some sicko’s pleasure, no The Woman In Black goes back to that old Hitchcock style horror that has you jumping out of your seat throughout the film.

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Strings

Strings touches on ideas such as the futility of war, the value of freedom, and the overwhelming power of love. However the most interesting theme the film explores is the interconnectivity between all living things.

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Green Zone

While some may feel they will be made sick from motion sickness if you can stomach that then this is a film you certainly won’t want to miss. The truths exposed here show why filmmaking can be such a valuable medium while Greengrass shows why he is one of the best directors going around, and Damon reminds us that he isn’t just another action star.

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U2-3D

I just could not see what could be accomplished with a 3-D screening of a rock concert. However, by the end of the show, not only was I thoroughly impressed with what I saw, but was damn near ready to watch it all over again.

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Stuck On You

The latest target of the Farrelly brothers consists of Bob and Walt Tenor, conjoined twin brothers with a dream in their pockets and the world in their hands…

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Red Riding Hood

At the end of the day Red Riding Hood simply doesn’t cut it. It may impress some teeny boppers who think this is a terrific ‘re-working’ of a fairy-tale they have grown up with. However, serious film-goers will see this film for what it really is… a blatant Twilight rip-off.

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Rio

Rio is the kind of family film that is a joy to take the kids to. The kids will be entertained for ninety minutes by a film that captivates the imagination and the parents won’t find themselves bored out of their brain as they struggle to put up with a kiddy-film.

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Notorious B.I.G.

‘Notorious B.I.G.’ is a great drama that consists of everything a good film needs. A good script, great acting and the ability to engross the audience in the film’s story.

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My Pet Dinosaur


The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games will surprise quite a few people. It’s is beautifully shot and really puts some of the latter Twilight films to shame. A highly enjoyable action film that produces some truly suspenseful moments.

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Just Friends

Just Friends is a laugh-a-minute romantic comedy which covers the sensitive nature of the hidden crush and the inevitable “friend zone”, when two people do not share a mutual feeling for each other.

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The Story Of My Life

The Story of My Life is a movie that deals with all those unanswerable questions generation X’s and Y’s face today. Who are we? What do we want from our careers? Do we believe in love? Marriage? Would I be better off with him or her?

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Million Dollar Baby

However, with this new offering, Clint has taken the thoughtful, considered pace of his best work and combined it with a story that delivers emotionally and lasts with you for hours after you’ve left the cinema.

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Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

Director Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has come to a brilliantly spectacular conclusion. Arguably, it is placed with, and surpasses, such others as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Matrix and even The Godfather.

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The Town

A sensational film that is not be missed by serious film lovers…

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Marley & Me

This film goes into the very depths of what makes a family; the tragedies, the happiness and everything in between. The thing that makes this film is the script and characters allow the audience to go on the emotional rollercoaster with them.

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Penguins of Madagascar

Perhaps the biggest problem for this film is that it follows hot on the heels of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, a film that many fans say is the clear best in the series. Penguins Of Madagascar had a lot to live up to but sadly fails on most levels… a fault that sadly falls at the feet of the screenwriters.

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Goal!

Visually, “Goal!” delivers on the scenic as well as game fronts. Excellent shots of St. James Park and Newcastle’s surroundings, and in-game footage sets an accurate atmosphere of game-play and crowd excitement in the game of football.

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The Cooler

Expect a different kind of love story from writer-director Wayne Kramer’s debut feature film. This gritty, imaginative piece is set amidst the glamour and seediness of Las Vegas where life is a game of chance and the odds always favour the casino bosses and their heavies.

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The French Kissers (Les beaux gosses)

never thought I would see the day where I was listing a teenage comedy as one of the films of the year but I completely fell in love with ‘The French Kissers’. I found myself barracking for Herve and Camel, but more importantly this was one comedy that had me laughing all the way through. ‘

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A Million Ways to Die in the West

A Million Ways to Die in the West will appeal to fans of MacFarlane’s past work, but moviegoers not so familiar with his style of humour and your more conservative audiences might struggle, as MacFarlane does not hold anything back in the film.

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The Departed

The screenplay is the great asset here. It features some of the best dialogue heard in a long time. Therefore, it all adds up to Martin Scorsese being in top form and he has produced one of the sharpest films in years.

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The Passion Of The Christ

'The Passion Of The Christ’ works on its own terms. The film leaves an indelible imprint and will be remembered for all time. This is the gutsy and determined artistic achievement that Mel Gibson had longed for. He leaves us with a benchmark that will be long referred to.

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Wah Wah

Wah-Wah may not be a CGI-packed blockbuster, but it’s not just for film-buffs and lovers of art-house flicks either. This human story is captivating and boasts some of the best developed characters we’ve seen lately.

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The Call

Halle Berry is in desperate need of a good film. It’s almost become laughable that she is an Oscar Award winning actress as her career seems to have gone downhill since her infamous performance in ‘Catwoman.’ Well, she doesn’t exactly set the world on fire with her performance in ‘The Call,’ but it is a step up from the very ordinary B-Grade movies she has been making over the last few years. The good news for film buffs is that ‘The Call’ is also a lot better than your normal popcorn thriller.

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The Passenger

The Passenger is a beautiful rendition of the traditional man-on-the-run story, often haunting and full of mystery and suspense. It is a movie that will stay in your mind for weeks after viewing, still questioning the film’s many motives. The film is thought provoking, covering themes of politics, the self, identity and of revolution.

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Talladega Nights, The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

The film is good, but it’s not perhaps one that would have you going back to see it again. If however, you love laughing at really silly things, then this film will have you in stitches.

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L'Emmerdeur (A Pain In The Ass)

Even those people who find it hard to laugh at films will see this comedy as a laugh-out-loud film that will have them chuckling for days afterwards. To say ‘A Pain In The Ass’ is one of the best comedies of the year is an underestimation; it is one of the best comedies ever made.

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Kokoda

As a war film, Kokoda captures the brutality and suffering of the soldiers excellently. The battle scenes are action packed and quite graphic of nature, as the soldiers face their fears in the well hidden enemy, the gruelling setting and their own mindsets.

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Did You Hear About The Morgans?

Hugh Grant seems to be right at home in this movie. He has worked with director Marc Lawrence on both Two Weeks Notice in 2002 and Music and Lyrics in 2007. Grant plays the same goofy yet accidently witty new-age man that he does in the other two Lawrence films.

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Lust, Caution

It’s an elegant looking film with care going into every detail in terms of make up, costume and set. However, in its lengthy running time of two and a half hours, it requires a great deal of patience by the viewer.

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Make It Happen

Director, Darren Grant has done a wonderful job with a film that breaks new ground. While we’ve seen hip-hop, ballet and ballroom dancing explored in previous films, burlesque dancing is new territory; if not risky territory considering the main appeal of this film will be to a teenage audience.

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Body of Lies

What it is not, is a fist thumping, finger pointing, post 9/11 political piece, which has turned off critics and viewers alike.

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Sukkar Banat (Caramel)

The stories of these women are extremely touching, as each of them try to obtain love and freedom on their own terms.

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Un Secret

Claude Miller’s latest offering eschews more grandiose military or political dramas, instead maintaining a minutely domestic focus that dares to complicate the frequently one-dimensional notion of ‘Jewishness’ during this period.

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Balibo

Part political thriller, part docu-drama, and part action film, Balibo is perhaps the best Australian film produced in recent years. Director Robert Connolly’s retelling of the events that led to the death of five Australian journalists in East Timor during the 1975 Indonesian invasion is ballsy and masterful - a brilliant tribute to both the journalists that lost their lives and the people of East Timor.

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21

If the so-called non-fiction book is basically a lie, it is definitely reflected in the movie, where the audience is asked to believe that a handful of young adults could use simple hand gestures and transparent disguises to cheat the system and get rich.

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Casino Royale

Casino Royale thrills from start to finish and contains fantastic action sequences. The scenes are graphic and violent, ensuring the adaptation is in keeping with the original dark overtones. Daniel Craig is a revelation and he already ranks highly amongst all the previous Bonds.

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Sin City

…the film employs a masterful use of modern technology to create art out of popular cinema. It will thrill anyone who can handle seeing a little blood.

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Love Actually

Being released at Christmas is perfect for this film which is dipped in lots of feel-good sentiment. You may feel as though it’s overdone in this goodwill and romanticism, but Love Actually is the appealing type of film to step from the old year to a new year of happiness and optimism.

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Trumbo

The set, costume design and overall aesthetic of the film are also fantastic. The filmmakers have nailed the look of the era, which really draws the viewer into the world they’ve created.

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Australia Day

Through the lives of three Australians, the film takes a look at contemporary issues of racial tension and national identity that simmer beneath the surface of modern Australia.

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She's Out Of My League

She’s Out Of My League’ is certainly an interesting comedy. With no big names at the helm the film’s script is what gets it through. The film will have you laughing out loud while Jay Baruchel shows why he is a star on the rise.

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The Reader

The word ‘beautiful’ gets bandied about in film reviews a lot… normally in the wrong context. But the only way to truly describe ‘The Reader’ is a beautiful, sensual yet alarmingly dramatic film that will leave an imprint on its audience’s mind for a long time to come.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Overall, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a solid entry as the first film of a series, but suffers from an underwhelming villain and some plot points that seemed to serve little purpose to the overall story. It tries hard to appeal to both adults and children, and there are things in it for both demographics, even if they’re a bit unbalanced.

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is one of those films that will have you feeling many emotions throughout it, as it balances it’s delicate, heartwarming moments with mostly subtle, but sometimes hilarious comedy. It has laughs, style, sentiment and action - the whole package.

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And When Did You Last See Your Father

There are so many things to love about ‘And When Did You Last See You Father’, that this review could go on forever. There seriously isn’t a weakness. The directing, acting and screenplay are all top notch and you can only hope that this team continue making films together in the future.

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The Fighting Temptations

It’s a sweet movie with joyful music and a simple, but moving, moral message
Although, the feel-good result is generally more forced than it is uplifting.

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Her

Director Spike Jonze has nailed it with Her. He brings us a heartwarming love story with the underlying terror of where we might find ourselves in the future. He also successfully manages to appeal to our emotional side, making us want the best outcome for Theodore and also by making us feel like we need to shout out advice to him throughout the film and hope he’ll listen.

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Beautiful

O’Flaherty also knows the power of the silence and he can capture just as much in a look as he can with a page full of dialogue…something that a lot more filmmakers could stand to learn from.

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Shame

While it examines how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us, you just never really feel a connection to Brandon or ever care enough for him. And in today’s high turnover of films, that’s important.

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Funny People

Everything Apatow touches with this script is comedy gold. His characters are well-rounded, the one liners will have you laughing and he even manages to pull off a ton of cameos without cheesiness creeping in.

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Ida

With so many films coming out each year that focus on the Holocaust sometimes they seem to lose their impact. “Ida” isn’t one of those films though, the impact hits hard and this is a film that will be long remembered after the closing credits have rolled.

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The Stoning Of Soraya M

Director Cyrus Nowrasteh made a brave decision to make this film. This is a film that will anger Muslims across the world but Nowrasteh puts this aside to tell a story that he knows the world needs to see.

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Rumour Has It...

Shirley McLaine really steals the show as usual, as the original seductress who will not respond to ‘Grandmother.’ She gives the most climatic performance in the movie, when she confronts the stud, the excusably sleazy Borroughs.

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Tomorrow When The War Began

Beattie does a sensational job creating what has become an excellent action film. My biggest fear about this film was that you would forget you were watching an Australian film, but Beattie has managed to mix some uniquely Australian teenagers, with a typical Australian town and then add the gloss and special effects of an American film in a way that I never thought be possible.

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The Haunted Mansion

Obviously buoyed by the unexpected runaway success of Pirates Of The Caribbean, the big budget spectacular based on a theme park ride, Disney have plundered another popular attraction for the big screen. But this time
around they have miscalculated, as The Haunted Mansion is a first rate stinker!

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50/50

50/50 is a comedy with heart that can also educate loved ones about what it is like to have cancer. This is one of the better comedy to surface in recent times.

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ParaNorman

Throughout though, this film has everything you could ever ask for. humour, originality, action, great dialogue and so much more. With plenty of visual gags and jokes throughout, and some simply stunning sets, cinematography and colour design, added to a great story, ParaNorman is a trully spectacular film and will have you smiling, laughing and remembering it long after you’ve left the cinema.

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Night

Cinematographer Laurie McInnes provides startling images which are equally awe inspiring and frightening, while composer Cezary Skubisewski contributes a stirring and momentous score.

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Cowboys & Aliens

There maybe some clichéd moments in Cowboys & Aliens but if you view it as simply a film there for pure entertainment it certainly does what it sets out to do. A great ride that rejuvenates the Western genre.

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Win Win

Director/writer, Thomas McCarthy has really created the perfect drama with Win Win. This film takes the audience on a journey that they aren’t likely to forget for a long, long time.

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Steamboy

The latest film from the director of Akira, Katsuhiro Ôtomo, is a pacy thriller anime set in an alternate 1850s London, in the middle of the industrial age.

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Lost In Translation

Lost In Translation is a simple and beautiful film about the unlikelihood of two people meeting at the exact same points in their lives and forming a powerfully deep connection. They meet and fall in love at crucial moments in their lives amidst the chaotic and frenzied pace of Tokyo.

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Hacksaw Ridge

As an overall viewing experience, Hacksaw Ridge is hard to fault, but is not faultless. There's definitely a bit of Hollywood glamorisation involved which probably shouldn't have belonged there, however it does make the film a bit more accessible to a wider audience.

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Annabelle

Annabelle does everything that good old fashioned horror fans look for in a film. It sets up a rather evil nasty in a creative way, brings something new cinematically to the table and has just enough plot twists and turns without ever going over the top.

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The Hateful Eight

While the end of the film drags a little, I can say that Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight definitely delivers. Anyone with even the slightest fondness for westerns will be delighted and Tarantino fans will wear a smile from the very beginning. It may not be his best film, but this is hardly hateful.

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Bran Nue Dae

Bran Nue Dae is, at the very least, a crowd-pleasing film and is a fine piece of Australian cinematic work.

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This Is The End

This Is the End for the most part, hits the mark on the comedy front. It may have been possible to cut its length back a bit, but generally it is a laugh-a-minute feature.

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The Blind Side

A classic heart-warming story, the well-off Tuohy family takes in poor Oher from the side of the road one horribly cliché, raining, wintery night. And thus begins the first day of the rest of his life.

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Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

While this film may change some people’s opinion of Bieber, at the end of the day it is just an okay doco that could have been much better. Young musos will see how hard the popstar lifestyle can be, but other important topics are simply just glanced over,…

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The Giver

Thankfully The Giver was nowhere near as bad as The Host - it’s watchable, but only just. It is the kind of film though that will be ripped to shreds by any young budding screenwriter out there as its implausible plot just makes less and less sense as the film plods along.

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The Singing Detective

The cast are all sufficiently good in their specific scenes, but Downey Jr. is the stand out, acting up a storm beneath his hideous cosmetic exterior.

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Embrace of the Serpent

Embrace of the Serpent is the type of film that requires a patient audience. It may not be very entertaining in the classic sense, especially in comparison to other adventure genre films, but it's a film that should be appreciated as a total cinematic experience and is one that will stay with you long after you've seen it.

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A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.

The film looks at an array of relationships between lovers, family members and friends and the endurance and weakness each of the characters deal with.

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The Taking Of Pelham 123

While the visual style of ‘The Taking Of Pelham 123’ can be a little off-putting as a whole the film works. It holds up its suspense and will keep the audience guessing.

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Date Movie

This film spoofs many others, like Wedding Crashers, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Hitch, Scary Movie, Meet The Parents, and even King Kong, amongst others.

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Only God Forgives

Only God Forgives is a pure, stylistic film. It’s as if each frame of the film is a gorgeous photograph that’s come to life to capture a moment of time in the narrative

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Gerry

Gerry is a slow-moving film, and not to everyone’s taste, but it is worth your patience. The drama of the situation has been down-scaled, sentimentality removed, so that when emotions are expressed, it becomes particularly poignant.

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The Artist

The Artist may not be a film you will class as your all-time favourite but it certainly is a great watch and will only be enhanced if you go and see it in an old-time cinema… just for nostalgia sake.

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Fast & Furious 6

The filmmakers of Fast & Furious 6 have found a winning formula that’s perfect for the big-screen. They’ve created a highly enjoyable, emotive blockbuster that rivals the best of them.

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A Good Woman

This is a clever adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan” and set on the beautiful Amalfi Coast in Italy.

The gorgeous Mediterranean scenery is a pleasure to view as a backdrop to local observances and the society goings-on.

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Kill Me Three Times

All these elements together make it a fun experience for the indie film lover, especially those who love the Tarantino-esq weirdness. It’s a balanced blend of comedy, action and absurdity.

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Kick-Ass 2

When comparing Kick-Ass 2 with the first film, it’s obvious to see that the sequel misses the mark. As a stand-alone film, its blend of violence and crude humour is entertaining at times, but essentially the film leaves you disappointed once the credits begin to roll.

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Torque

The film is sharply edited and is visually attractive. The costumes and breakneck speeds are all Khan’s influence.

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The Hangover Part II

Surely director Todd Phillips must have realised that this script was a little too close to the original, I mean without giving anything away it is the same old story with some new jokes and new characters thrown in for good measure. Yet the strange thing about The Hangover Part II is that you will still find yourself giggling…

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Source Code

Where Source Code shines is in the intense pace the story is told in. It provides enough twists and turns to keep the audience awake at all times.

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Son Of A Gun

Son Of A Gun is a film that seems like it is desperate to make the same grade as classic Australian crime films like The Boys, but sadly the films weak last quarter really drags it down and leaves a bad taste in the audience’s mouth. Worse is the fact that the opening of the film is so good that you are left wondering how the same screenwriter could be responsible for such a letdown of a finale.

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Cars

The story, which is set along America's Route 66, brings with it a moral, which is to take the slow lane sometimes and to stop and enjoy yourself.

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The Fault In Our Stars

The film also reiterates that Shailene Woodley is Hollywood’s ‘it’ girl at the moment. It is seriously coming down to the question of is there anything that girl can’t do? From action heroine in Divergent to a witty cancer patient in The Fault In Our Stars the roles couldn’t be more different, yet somehow this talented young actress manages to pull off these roles with ease.

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Slumdog Millionaire

Danny Boyle has a fantastic eye for movement and emotion, making you feel as if you were right there in colourful India with the characters, all performed superbly by the cast.

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The Hunter

Director, Daniel Nettheim really grabs hold of this script and brings out it ‘thriller’ nature right to the fore. Without even realizing it as an audience member The Hunter keeps you on the edge of your seat once Martin arrives in Tasmania.

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Sucker Punch

One can sum up “Sucker Punch” by saying that the film is a collection of spectacular action set pieces and violence featuring scantily clad young women wrapped around it. Therefore, Snyder has connected fully with the teenage boy bracket who will “get” the story more than adults might.

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John Carter

A sensational plot and creative new world are enough to make you forget this film’s shortfalls. Epic sci-fi adventure at it’s best.

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Deception

Although one can guess most of the twists in the film well before they are revealed, the film’s industrial rock soundtrack, frantic editing, use of silence, mis-en-scene and scenery, all combine to maintain suspense through to the final scenes.

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Bad Neighbours

Bad Neighbours is the kind of film where everything comes together perfectly. A hilarious script, some great comedic directing and a cast willing to go to great lengths for laughs all come together and deliver one of the funniest films to have surfaced in a long time.

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The Expendables

…I would have to say that for the large part ‘The Expendables’ is an enjoyable ‘leave-your-brain-at-the-door’ action film, but you just can’t shake the feeling that with some tweaking it could have been even better. Surprisingly better than expected ‘The Expendables’ will be a quick fix for any action junkies out there.

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Rats And Cats

The actors are all very capable and full credit goes to director Tony Rogers for coming up with such a professional film on a small amount of resources available.

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It Might Get Loud

This film depicts how hard each worked to get to where they are - before we came to know them. It also demonstrates how each has had their own stamp on the instrument’s sound, including Page’s double-neck guitar, The Edge’s array of effects pedals, and White’s guitar with a custom-built mike.

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Red

RED offers a little something for everyone and is a refreshing take on the classic action comedy duo. The romantic storyline doesn't distract from the plot and rather than a story centred on the young, new class of heroes we see a cast of older retired veterans of the game who just can't seem to give up the action

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The Missing

…on the whole, The Missing is a convincing, if overlong, western that adds little to the genre but doesn’t disgrace it either.

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Frozen River

Watching the film you would swear that this is the work of a seasoned professional. Visually the film is stunning, and there is not one wasted scene, not even one wasted line of dialogue.

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Legion

There were moments of humour, not always intended, but the corny and weak moral of the story was too serious and too awful for words.

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The Pursuit of Happyness

Will Smith produces what is probably his finest performance to date (considering his earlier repertoire of mainly action flicks) in this emotionally charged film. The on-screen chemistry between movie version and real life father and son is utterly believable as the two go through some tough moments in their lives.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

It is bigger, louder and sillier than the first Transformers and just exhausting to watch. The film is a clear exploitation of the cinema blockbuster genre and let’s hope that it is not used as a standard for future blockbuster films.

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Terminator Salvation

What strikes me most about Terminator: Salvation, is that there is a lot of action once it gets started, but the action is badly used. There are too many gratuitous, random and chaotic action scenes.

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Welcome To Mooseport

With the initial potential of becoming a good political satire like Primary Colors or Wag The Dog it is anything but, moving more towards ludicrous (but not in the good, funny way) and unoriginal.

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Alex Cross

Alex Cross does have its weaknesses - some of the bit part actors are pretty woeful but for the post director Rob Cohen has brought together the right mix of drama, suspense, thrills and of course his trademark action.

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Madagascar

This latest animation from Dreamworks is focused on animals from New York Zoo who are accidentally stranded in Madagascar during transportation. A hippo, zebra, lion and giraffe must learn to survive in the wild for the first time.

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The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

A complicated plot already, the viewer is eventually left feeling confused about who exactly they should feel sorry for.

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De-Lovely

Porter’s cavalcade of memorable musical numbers are performed in a variety of ways by big name artists and segue between more conventional biographical development – introducing a structure which in some ways reflects the indulgent personality of the composer himself.

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The Hangover Part III

Sadly, it seems that Todd Phillips really ran out of ideas for ‘The Hangover’ franchise and as a result this final installment is a ho-hum affair that is largely a disappointment to all who have loved the previous films.

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Mystic River

After a series of rather disappointing films like Blood Work, Space Cowboys and True Crime, Clint Eastwood has once again made a film with depth and resonance. The fact that he’s assembled a magnificent cast instead of taking the lead himself as he usually does, complete with improbably young love interest, helps

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The Sentinel

This film isn’t particularly deep, but is simply good for what it is. The experienced cast play their roles with ease.

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Skyfall

From the outset, with the heart-pounding chase scene and Adele’s beautifully befitting title song, it is made abundantly clear that Bond is still very much in business.

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The Return

Zvyagintsev’s film leaves the big narrative questions unanswered; a fact that can hinder the enjoyment or understanding of many films. However this device really works in The Return, giving the film a mysterious mythical quality, drawing the viewer into the intrigue as opposed to being simply told a story.

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Mad Hot Ballroom

The upbeat music and dancing will have you vowing to sign up to your nearest dance class however the most compelling aspect of the film is the interviews with the kids themselves. Discovering their opinions on their future, life, love and other catastrophes is great viewing.

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Ocean's Twelve

…the ensemble cast works well together and there is more humour spread amongst the gang this time. The gifted cast looks like they’re having a good time and the improbable plot is part of the charm.

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Bronson

…the violence is stylised, often set to music or laced with humour, rather than being gratuitous, so it is palatable. Although it is a rather oddball, gritty movie, it does have you on the edge of your seat…

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My Blueberry Nights

It is the characters that makes ‘My Blueberry Nights’ a joy to watch. The audience is given enough insight into the lives of Elizabeth and Jeremy that you actually care what happens to them. Even the peripheral characters like Arnie, Sue Lynne and Leslie are set up as three-dimensional realistic characters…

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Bernie

Bernie is the kind of film that has the potential to have you laughing until you cry. A brilliant comedy.

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Gone Baby Gone

Gone Baby Gone is that rare thing; a thriller that actually thrills without cheapening the issues it raises, a film that poses questions without forcing the answers from them.

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The Combination

The Combination is real, topical, honest and gripping. You can tell that everyone on screen has lived and breathed the story themselves. This film deserves to be seen by the wider Australian community.

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Atonement

Although, Atonement is quite drawn-out in its narration, and Keira Knightley comes off as a stiff pretentious character as the upper-class Cecilia, the film brings home a powerful and poignant message about forgiveness - one that will take the audience by surprise.

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Autumn Spring

…Autumn Spring is a wonderfully directed and perfomed story about the Autumn years of life and Fanda’s incredible will to embrace and enjoy it rather than mourn the end.

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Separate Lies

The film is not so much a social commentary as it is an exploration of those things that maintain the delicate fibres of our relationships: honesty and trust, sacrifice and appreciation, and of course, mutual love.

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Keeping Mum

The film’s cheeky humour comes from playing up on the more serious issues of marriage, family and religion by adding in murder, adultery and other indecencies in a well-written script.

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Babel

The film itself, with four converging stories and a multicultural cast, illustrates the modern day concept of globalisation, as opposed to the scattered, disconnected humanity resulting from the destruction of the tower of Babel.

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Somewhere

This is a very different role for Stephen Dorff, who we are used to seeing in films as a much more villainous character. His character here is much more real. He is identifiable and vulnerable.

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Millions

The endless possibilities let the audience share in the boys’ excitement and make it a very engaging story for any age. It is the film debut of both Etel and McGibbon but they lead the film with confidence and prove themselves natural comics.

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Transporter 2

It’s not so much that Transporter 2 is a bad movie, it’s just one causes you to constantly reassess whether or not the filmmakers have done enough for you to accept the more fantastic elements of the story. Good will can carry an audience a long way, especially in this genre.

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Flowers of the Night

Jennifer ensures a heavy commitment in making the fight scenes as real as possible. None of the action slows down and delivers all of its intended effect with good choreography and cinematography. It's a terrifically impressive piece of filmmaking that Jennifer and co should be very pleased with.

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Memoirs Of A Geisha

…the dance scenes are exquisite and trembling drums build momentum to the strong theatrical tension. The movie is a wonderful feat of dramatic and flowing creative energy,…

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Kill Bill 2

Less samurai inspired and more spaghetti western, Kill Bill Volume II is a stand-alone film in its own right, whilst also being a fitting conclusion to the events of Kill Bill Volume I.

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A Prairie Home Companion

The beauty of a Robert Altman film, amongst other things, is his ability to capture his subject in a slice-of-life fashion, and take the viewer on an all-access pass behind its façade, exposing the characters and emotions that lie within it.

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Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace, the latest cinematic offering from director Michael Apted, is based on the life of William Wilberforce, an 18th century English politician, who spent the better part of his days tirelessly campaigning against the African slave trade.

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End Of The Century - The Story Of The Ramones

A bunch of misfits from the local high school discovered they liked the same music and despite their differences, they became friends. Eventually, they would become legendary punk band The Ramones.

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Closer

Closer is a startlingly honest portrait of love, sex and selfish passion. Writer Patrick Marber has stayed faithful to his original play, with clever dialogue that balances wit with heartache, and a cast of only four characters.

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Mean Girls

This is a teen flick with a difference though. It’s surprisingly hilarious, thoughtful and is more of a satire of the teen genre rather than just another predictable reincarnation.

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Easy A

The whole film was set out as a web-cam; Olive telling her side of the story. The acts were clearly defined and I really enjoyed the new way to show a movie – something new and fresh.

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Out Of Time

Life in the town of Banyan Key, Florida seems fairly pedestrian. Matthias (Matt) Whitlock, played by Denzel Washington, is the police chief who is generally an honourable guy in the community. He has been lauded recently for a successful drug bust.

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A Place For Me (aka Stuck in Love)

A Place for Me is a beautiful, life-affirming and rewarding personal drama. Its honesty is stirring, its emotion is real, its relatability is highly affective. While only May, A Place for Me could well be one of the dark horses of the year.

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Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty is a fascinating visual account of ten years of conjecture, both public and classified, in the hunt for a man seemingly eternally concealed behind a labyrinth of bewildering Arabic names and characters that takes the viewer from the World Trade Centre towers to the comparatively primitive locales of a compound in proximity to an allied Pakistani Army base.

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Mirrors

Mirrors’ is a genuine horror/thriller that really has the potential to get into your brain and terrify you in the way few films manage to do these days.

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Inglourious Basterds

‘Inglorious Basterds’ deserves its title as one of the films of the year. Suspenseful, poetically violent and beautifully written, this will is destined to become a classic.

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Just Like Heaven

Moments are quite hilarious, others are moderately touching. It’s the supernatural elements that make it funny

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Saw 3

Whannell and Wan have worked hard to create another story in this trio that is just as shocking and surprising as the previous two. Although the audience is prepared for a twist, they will never guess the depth of this dark and sinister story until the final moments.

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In America

“In America” is a semi-autobiographical story of Sheridan’s life, as seen through the eyes of his daughters.
It is a kind of film that will cause a lump in your throat because we can identify with loss, grief, love, friendship and being dead broke, well most of us, anyway.

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Beyond The Sea

…as an old-fashioned style musical, fans should be delighted by Spacey's portrayal and of the supporting cast.

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Wish I Was Here

At the heart of Wish I Was Here is a character piece, a film where a man who has simply lived for himself now has to become a real man for his family. It is deep and has meaning, but Braff certainly doesn’t set out to send his audience into a spate of depression so he breaks it up with some humour that works part of the time but also misses a beat here and there as well.

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Beautiful Kate

This is a family-mystery in its purist form and is easily one of the best films to be released this year.

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Our Kind Of Traitor

The dynamic between these two characters is what sets the tone to this indelible picture, as there’s a certain sadness that is prevalent within the work of le Carré, and it’s on show within Our Kind of Traitor, as you realise that both men are living out a somewhat lonely existence.

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Me Before You

Me Before You should appeal to most fans of romantic films but it doesn’t offer much depth in its plot or characters. It still however is engaging enough to keep you interested through the length of the film and it’s almost impossible to say you didn’t like it afterwards, even if you don’t want to admit it.

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Nowhere Boy

Still most of the credit for ‘Nowhere Boy’ being such a great film has to lie with Matt Greenhalgh. Like he did with Ian Curtis, he exposes all the good and the bad about Lennon’s life, all while making this a heart-wrenching watch that is likely to stick with you a long time.

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Midnight In Paris

Midnight In Paris is an intelligent romantic-comedy that is humorous and thoroughly enjoyable. It is a sensational film that shouldn’t be missed.

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Shaun Of The Dead

For those who want a bit more information, “Shaun of the Dead” is an extremely well made film. It tells the tale of Shaun, a man-boy on the verge of thirty, still droning through life in an unsatisfactory manner. His workmates are adolescents who show him no respect, his home life would be familiar to John Birmingham, and his girlfriend is extremely tired of their social life consisting of endless trips to the local pub. Something has to give.

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Crash

Beginning with what seems like a random car accident Crash rewinds time and connects nine seemingly unrelated people to the one event that will profoundly change and affect each of them.

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King Kong

The effects are mind-blowing. The re-creation of 1930s New York and the scenes on the ship are excellent before the fantastic action sequences take hold. King Kong looks amazing – seemingly real and natural.

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In the Shadow of the Moon

Director David Sington has crafted an important film which re-establishes the bravery and sacrifices of these men who dared to venture into territories not yet known to man.

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The Other Guys

…it is a fun take on the buddy cop film and machoism, delivered in a tone that is both ridiculous and exaggerated yet somehow friendly and, dare I say, humbling.

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The Dark Knight

Ledger’s portrayal of the infamous comic book villain has less to do with the glorious pomp and theatrics of Jack Nicholson’s Joker, and everything to do with anarchy, chaos, and destruction all done with a twisted smile on his face and sadistic menace in his black heart.

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Jackie

The iconic first lady is given emotional complexity and rich understanding through a stirring and ambitious performance by Natalie Portman. She creates a touchingly fragile yet resolute Jackie, made up of nervous smiles and a whispery voice, and a straight-shouldered, gentle defiance.

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The Witch

Most witch films we’re subjected to these days are sensationalised and fantastical, whereas The Witch really focuses on the themes of suspense and terror of the subject, as well as family dynamics. With it’s great cast and acting, excellent cinematography and score, dreadful build-up and unsettling payoffs, The Witch is a must-see for all horror film fans.

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A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash

A Crude Awakening is a crash course (83 mins) on the decline of our most valuable resource in society: oil. This documentary style film poses vital questions as to what we, as a global community are going to face when we run out of this non-renewable fuel.

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Rachel Getting Married

Still for the most part ‘Rachel Getting Married’ is a joy to watch. Screenwriter, Jenny Lumet’s script reeks of a realism that most films fail to deliver. This script combined with what could be an award-winning performance by Anne Hathaway certainly makes you feel like you are watching a home video; even the dialogue flows just like a natural conversation.

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Thumbsucker

Thumbsucker delves into a world of questions which don’t have easy solutions and suggests that always needing to find a solution may be a problem in itself.

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50 First Dates

The comedic abilities of Sandler and Barrymore combined, with a little bit of help from a script chocked full of gross out one liners often involving the size of a Walrus’ nether regions, simply makes for a very watchable film.

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Avatar

For the most part ‘Avatar’ is a true spectacle. You can’t help at marvel at how the film looks. Pandora literally comes to life right in front of you and the beauty of the film just showcases James Cameron’s true genius.

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Charlie’s Farm

Charlie’s Farm may not bring anything new to the horror table but its brute force is enough to make sure that this is a horror film that is certainly going to be noticed. Some of the dialogue may not be great, but seriously would anybody be expecting Shakespeare from this film, but the film has a load of suspense and the kind of slash gore that true fans of the genre are only too happy to cheer along to.

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The Shallows

The Shallows brings nothing new to the table. It is the story of a girl who is trying to find herself and is able to do so after facing an unlikely shark. It is a beat-for-beat story that tries to force character depth that the audience is able to read from a mile away.

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The Damned United

‘The Damned United’ is a great drama that is made up of one of the best scripts you are ever likely to see. This film is a British gem and if people choose not to see it because of its soccer theme, then they are doing themselves a disservice.

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Stormbreaker

The film is action packed with high speed car chases, big names and booming music. ‘Stormbreaker’ has a lot to live up too and, in the world of kids movies these days, it is a lot to ask.

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Mr Popper's Penguins

There are some moments of true drama and emotion required from Carrey and he pulls that off so well that when he does do an outlandish comedy move it seems to be completely of place.

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The Ugly Truth

The Ugly Truth is both hilarious and cringe-worthy in equal parts. And, strangely, it peaks at its very centre, while the intro and ending are less strong.

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In Bruges

In Bruges is as violent, sharp and silly as something the Coens can do, just not the right shade of black.

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Shark Tale

It’s hip and upbeat, bright, colourful, and looks fantastic in the tradition of Toy Story, Shrek, Monsters Inc. or Finding Nemo. It has all all-star cast and one of its directors, Vicky Jensen, also directed Shrek. So, how could it be bad? Who knows, but it certainly manages somehow.

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Hating Alison Ashley

Despite some changes, Hating Alison Ashley is as fun and colourful as the book. It should have huge appeal for teenagers over these school holidays and for adults, it’s a bit like having a laugh over your old school photos.

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Kick-Ass

It is bright and colourful on the outside, but savage on the inside. It is funny without being too ridiculous and equal parts distressing, pushing the boundaries for this type of film.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Following the general rule of thumb, Prince Caspian is much darker and mature compared to its previous effort. There are several terrifically tense scenes bound to scare the kiddies, as well as plenty of PG violence in well choreographed and shot action sequences.

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Oyster Farmer

…full of surprising twists, sub-plots galore and quirky characters. Most of all, there are so many laugh-out-loud moments of great Australian humour I have no hesitation recommending this as one of the best films I've seen this year.

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Antichrist

The one thing you can’t fault with ‘Antichrist’ though is the acting. Dafoe and Gainsbourg put in the performances of their lives. I just wonder how much their therapy sessions cost while they were recovering from their traumatic roles.

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Pineapple Express

Usually Judd Apatow’s films speak of the need to grow up and take responsibility, and a key scene in Pineapple Express does touch on this issue. However this time that message is lost in a glorification of drugs and violence,…

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Courageous

It is rare these days to find a film that is truly unpredictable but Courageous certainly fits into that category. Be prepared to question your own life but also be prepared to be blown away by a drama that will totally captivate you.

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The Interpreter

At about two and a half hours a great deal of patience is required in this well-constructed and plot-heavy thriller that is certain to pay off. Its second half filled with tension, conspiracy and explosions aplenty is sure to please.

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Paycheck

The premise at the heart of Paycheck is intriguing. An engineer finishes a job, the time he took to do the job has been erased from his memory to protect copyright, and in exchange he gets a hefty pay cheque. But when he goes to collect he discovers that he forfeited the money in exchange for an envelope of seemingly useless everyday objects.

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The Last Song

Of course all eyes in this film will be on the performance of Cyrus who is trying to desperately break away from her Hannah Montana characters. Playing Ronnie gives her a chance to be rebellious and also a chance to show that she does in fact have an acting range out of her comfort zone.

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Restless

A lot of credit must also be paid to Lew’s script. You can’t help but like Enoch and Annabel and you want them to be happy even though you know that the happiness will be short lived. Lew has created two unique characters and you find yourself wanting to know more about them, in fact you could even say that they are two of the most unique characters to ever grace the screen.

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Four Of A Kind

As far as a crime drama goes the story contained in ‘Four Of A Kind’ holds up very well. It is easily better than most of the crime-dramas that grace our TV screens, as Helen Collins’ script takes an in-depth look into the character’s lives,…

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Zombieland

This is one time where the comedy/horror crossover works amazingly well, and I’m proud to say that this is one of my films of the year.

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Pitch Perfect

Surprisingly ‘Pitch Perfect’ doesn't fall into the same traps that so many of these type of films do. While ‘Step Up’ falls when it introduces lacklustre storylines and character cliches, ‘Pitch Perfect’ does the opposite.

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Run Fatboy Run

It’s not a remarkable script, and certainly not the most original storyline, but it’s a fun film, and doesn’t pretend to be groundbreaking. Indeed it serves more like a ‘safe comedy’ than anything else, with fairly common humour and some obvious sequences.

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The Dark Knight (IMAX)

The film’s cinematography and score are excellently crafted to retain a ‘dark’ theme throughout the film. All this is further magnified on IMAX as there are also a handful of scenes shot on IMAX cameras, which is truly superb to behold on the massive screen.

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A Tale of Two Sisters (Janghwa, Hongryeon)

…if it weren't for the odd ghostly figure this could be a winning thriller. There's intense tension and the mystery is elusive and twisting right to the end.

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2 Guns

Fans of the old style buddy-cop films are going to absolutely lap up “2 Guns.” This smartly written film does enough to keep its audience entertained and certainly goes beyond expectations.

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The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

While ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year, it also has the potential of becoming one of the most frustrating films of the year. Many audience members will find themselves being blown away as director, Peter Jackson once again takes them on a journey into Tolkien’s Middle Earth world but sadly the film is also let down by the fact that Jackson has experimented with a new of film-making.

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Robots

Robots is the latest non-Satanic attempt by a rival studio to try and take on the juggernaut and, although it ultimately falls short, it is a very worthy attempt.

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The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl leaves viewers wondering many things about the morals of the central characters in this film and lacks an emotional edge.

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A Very Long Engagement (Un Long Dimanche De Fiancailles)

A Very Long Engagement is a sumptuous foreign-language blockbuster that combines the ingenuity and passion of acclaimed French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie, The City of Lost Children, Delicatessen) with Hollywood epic extravagance.

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Matching Jack

‘Matching Jack’ has its weaknesses but for the most part it is a well-written film that has produced some of the best acting performances you are ever likely to see…

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Choke

Choke’ shows that quite often a low-budget film can outclass the latest one hundred million dollar blockbuster when it comes to character and story. ‘Choke’ is the kind of film that will have you talking about it for days…

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The Road

While The Road is at times difficult to watch, it is ultimately an extremely rewarding and unique cinematic experience.

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Lost Things

This is the first feature film for stand-up comic turned director, Martin Murphy and the first film for Charlie Garber and Alex Vaughan (Brad and Tracey). The inexperienced youngsters are guilty of some fairly stilted acting early on, but they settle into their roles as the film progresses. All the performances are very natural, intended to portray real Aussie teens as opposed to Hollywood-perfect people.

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Tropic Thunder

The script by Stiller, fellow actor Justin Theroux and Etan Cohen contains some rather astute musings on the nature of Hollywood. A conversation between Stiller and Downey Jr. about the Academies insistence on rewarding actors who depict those who are mentally challenged is a highlight, as are the scenes depicting what goes on behind the scenes in the upper echelons of Hollywood.

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West of Memphis

However, the film mainly focuses around the dark, poetic presence of Echols who is absolutely captivating. A humble and spiritual being, Echols says he would not take back even one day spent on death row as it helped shape who he is today.

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Grown Ups

‘Grown Ups’ sadly falls in a heap. A brilliant cast goes to waste with a sub-standard script that rarely raises a laugh. This may be listed as a comedy but if it makes you laugh I’ll be surprised.

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The Bounty Hunter

There are some cheesy, formulaic moments in this film, but it’s also a fun ride, with plenty of twists and turns and laugh-out-loud moments.

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What's Your Number?

The other bright spark with What’s Your Number? is Anna Faris who really has come a long way since her Scary Movie role. You can even see a vast change from her appearance in Yogi Bear and you get the feeling that on the back of this performance that she may replace Katherine Heigl as the new ‘rom-com-it-girl’.

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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

…Hellboy II does not live up to its great expectations, but it does have some fun along the way with some great characters.

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Little Fish

The film begins with nostalgic images of childhood sun washed days at the seaside. It echoes a loss of innocence and longing for a fresh start and clean beginning.

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Live By Night

Live by Night is Ben Affleck’s fourth directorial effort and a sound entry to his collection of films. This isn’t his best work, however it’s definitely up there on the entertainment front. The film is brutally violent, with some excellent action set-pieces and it’s stunning to look at. It probably won’t end up being the most memorable gangster film, though it does enough to fill the void until an eventual future masterpiece comes out of the genre.

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Oddball

A great script that manages to mix humour and drama together well without becoming to adult for children is a rarity these days, but here it works well and allows it’s talented cast to really show there skills.

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Ae Fond Kiss...

Ae Fond Kiss contains excellent and believable performances from all concerned. In a simple and real exploration of two people in love, seeking to overcome the numerous obstacles in their way, the film never threatens to become a soppy love story.

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Wasted On The Young

Confrontational and disturbing don’t even begin to describe the movie. Solid acting by the leads pulls this incredible story along.

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Finding Neverland

Explore an idyllic summer of games, picnics, and Cowboys and Indians between a simpatico group: Depp, Winslet, the four Du Maurier boys and a dog. It’s thrilling to witness the birth of such a well-loved story.

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Unbroken

Unbroken is essentially a tale of survival and that is it’s main focus. We are subject to viewing countless scenes of distress under extreme circumstances, which is pivotal to the story, but unfortunately the foundation is not strong enough to to carry those scenes.

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The Tree

A great script and some of the best characterisation that you are ever likely to see making for a stunning film that will be etched in my memory for a long time.

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A Nightmare on Elm Street

The latest re-imagining of the horror film A Nightmare on Elm Street is a perfect example why classic cult films should not be re-made for the latest generation of moviegoers.

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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

An amazing film which can only be described as one of the finest espionage films ever made. This film keeps you guessing minute-by-minute and has your heart in your mouth at all times.

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Toy Story 3

Director, Lee Unkrich does such a wonderful job with this film that you literally forget that you are watching animation. The characters are so realistic with emotions and feelings that you can be excused for thinking they are real. ‘Toy Story 3’ is one of those rare films that makes it appealing to both adults and children alike…

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Parental Guidance

As a sign at just how bad ‘Parental Guidance’ really is, the lead actors are out-acted by the kids all the way. Billy Crystal really shouldn't have come out of retirement for this rubbish while Marisa Tomei and Bette Midler seem to have been instructed to ‘just look pretty and whatever you do don’t act’.
One of the unfunniest comedies you are ever likely to see, ‘Parental Guidance’ is not even worth a look.

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Sylvia

‘Sylvia’ stars Gwyneth Paltrow as American poet Sylvia Plath and tells the story of her love affair and eventual marriage to British poet Ted Hughes played by Daniel Craig (Road to Perdition).

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2

Whoever made the decision to split The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 into two films has a lot of answering to do. Director Bill Condon saves himself with a brilliant looking battle scene, but the damage is done, the fact that the last novel in the series had to be stretched out to four hours of screen time means there is just too much filler to make the films as good as they could have been.

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The Secret Life Of Bees

…you can’t help but form emotionally ties with the characters in this film and then share their journey with them sometimes causing sadness and other times, happiness. To be honest I haven’t seen a film so powerful enough to affect an audience as emotionally as ‘The Secret Life Of Bees’ does, for a long time.

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Seduced And Abandoned

Hearing the likes of Ryan Gosling and Diane Kruger talking about what it means to be an actor in Hollywood these days is an interesting piece of cinema, as is hearing some of the legendary directors that we all look up to talking about their careers and what film-making means to them.

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Robin Hood

Combined, Scott and Crowe have made a worthy film and as a lover of history I have to admit I did thoroughly enjoy it, but it is let down by some terrible audio and the fact that Cate Blanchett didn’t get nearly as much screen-time as she deserved.

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Les Femmes de L'Ombre (Female Agents)

…the decision by Salome to show – and imply to – such atrocities enhances not only the film's realistic setting, but also the sacrifices made by the brave women of not only WWII but of all wars.

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Non Ti Muovere (Don't Move)

This is a beautifully made dramatic film directed by Sergio Castellito. He has been renowned for his terrific acting talent but, in only his second time as director, enthralls us with one of the better foreign films of this year.

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Sahara

For a big dumb no-brainer, Sahara is fun. All three lead actors manage to be believable in their unbelievable roles. The totally improbable action occurs at unpredictable times which prevents too many clichéd action movie moments

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The Last Witch Hunter

The Last Witch Hunter is essentially a B-grade horror-action film with some big names, that would have best been suited as a straight-to-video release, rather than an attempt at building a new franchise - that’s seemingly set to fail.

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The Green Hornet

The morality of the film may be a bit mixed up, but on the whole it’s a mildly enjoyable, occasionally entertaining affair, light, with moments of innovative action and glimpses of Gondry’s own unique signature.

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The Wolfman

The Wolfman, though providing occasional thrills on a visceral level and for fans of showdowns fought with CGI armies, is a bitter disappointment for anyone hoping for a classic updating of an integral story in horror movie history.

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It Follows

It Follows is certainly a film for the true horror fanatic. Anyway expecting to tune in and get a few cheap thrills as someone gets hacked to death is in for a real surprise. While the film itself may kind of hark back to teenage horrors like Disturbing Behaviour or The Faculty David Robert Mitchell’s naturalistic style of filmmaking has ended up creating a smart horror with a very natural film to it.

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Death Proof

It is all about big butts in tight small shorts; swaying hips and giving lap dances; scoring pot and downing shots; and (a personal favourite of mine), leaving your friend alone with a strange man in the backwoods of Tennessee as collateral for a car…

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War Horse

Visually War Horse looks spectacular and this is a film that you have to see on the big screen, a TV screen just won’t do it justice. Dramatic and easy to understand War Horse once again shows that Spielberg really has perfected the formula of making these kind of films.

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Watermark

Shots are framed from interesting angles (stairwells for example), giving the audience voyeuristic insight into the characters. And the dreamlike infusion of water, the beach and sea into the story adds sensuality and a mythical quality to the film.

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The Barbarian Invasions

This film has some genuinely moving moments without having to drag emotion out of its audience with trite sentiment or emotive music.

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High School Musical 3: Senior Year

‘High School Musical 3: Senior Year’ is the first weak link in this series so it will be a pity if this is the film that ends the reign.

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Match Point

Many film observers have lamented the fact that, despite promise of a return to form in “Melinda & Melinda”, director Woody Allen has not made a memorable film for many years. His fans can be well and truly pleased now, because “Match Point” is one of the most impressive and enjoyable films I have seen in recent times.

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The Devil Wears Prada

The film takes an ironic, yet subtly sympathetic, look at the fashion world. Yet it is no lightweight fluff, despite it being a film about fashion, and at times is loosely moralising, poking fun at the fashion industry so much as to highlight serious issues

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Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

The story is predictable, and the script misses the mark slightly with its dramatic speeches and attempted wit, but it does the job and will probably earn itself a sequel. This film has its moments, and I’m sure there will be plenty of fantasy fanatics who thoroughly enjoy it because it does its job.

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Logan

With a touching story, fantastic performances, edge-of- your-seat action and an epic score, Logan not only stands on its own as the greatest film to be featured in the X-Men film universe, but also one of the greatest dramatic superhero films to date. Jackman will be missed.

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Marmaduke

Storywise ‘Marmaduke’ works well. Yes there have been criticism about the fart jokes, but hey Marmaduke is a dog, dogs fart… and if anything the jokes show the cheeky side to his character, and if you are moving the character along then who cares how it happens. The story of ‘Marmaduke’ flows well and as an adult you will find yourself just as captivated as the kids.

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2:37

The film’s idea came from dramatic circumstances of the director himself. Murali K Thalluri, in his first feature film, encountered his own precarious situation that led to him writing the story. The thought-provoking script is important to be recognised.

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500 Days Of Summer

The most likable thing about ‘500 Days Of Summer’ though is that its lead roles have been cast extremely well. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel wouldn’t be most people’s first pick for the leads in a film like this but they pull it off really well. They suit their parts to a T, are a believable on-screen couple and an absolute joy to watch.

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Safe

…confusion over who owned the distribution rights for Australia caused the delay of the release of the film here ever since. Fortunately those matters have now been resolved as Safe is an incredible insight into a director we have seen go from strength to strength since the making of that film.

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Jarhead

Jarhead is surprisingly funny for a war film, and interesting, in that not one single person actually gets killed. It is a war film for those who are interested in the hierarchy and power play of emotions which circulate among men at war, but without the violence.

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Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain will no doubt be compared to Anthony Minghella’s previous adaptation of a literary sensation, The English Patient. But while The English Patient was a dull, emotionless exercise, miscast and misconceived, Cold Mountain is a beautiful, poetic success.

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Connie & Carla

Written by Nia Vardalos, who also stars as Connie, it has her ‘big fat’ stamp all over it. Not as hilarious as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, but Connie and Carla is packed with huge characters and energy to spare.

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$9.99

While the interesting, well-developed characters are there, the story falls away into something just a little too strange for this reviewer. If there was a message in there somewhere it was certainly lost on me.

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Rocky Balboa

The training and fight scenes still stir the soul. The music is unforgettable and inspirational – one of the best scores in history. Stallone brings enormous energy and sentimentality into peeling us back thirty years to the memorable original Rocky film.

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Death Defying Acts

Here however we remain almost perversely rooted in the literal and historical, in a work whose carefully crafted execution of cinematic sleight-of-hand cannot fail to distract its audience from its essential lack of substance.

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Five Minutes Of Heaven

…the film's purpose is to explore whether these destructive forces unleashed in youth remain in adulthood, or whether the powers of reconciliation prove stronger.

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Julieta

The filmmaking is anything but dull though, as Almodovar’s wonderful eye for production design and gorgeous approach to framing and camerawork is all on display here to the nth degree. Like so much in Julieta, it’s stunning to look at but it’s not in service of a narratively, emotionally or thematically rich narrative and therefore it simply feels wasted.

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The Nice Guys

The classically mismatched duo are both broken men battling their respective demons, but together, they’re a loveable pair of losers who bring out the best in one another. Black and co-writer Anthony Bagarozzi’s dialogue crackles with wit and humour, while the chemistry between Gosling and Crowe is outstanding.

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Poseidon

Waterfalls of fire created with fuel and water, gruesome deaths for unwary extras and sets that turn upside down, make Poseidon an exciting roller coaster ride of a film.

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Melinda & Melinda

With a cleverly comprised ensemble cast and a witty premise, this film is one I consider to be Woody Allen’s best in years.

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The Incredibles

…The Incredibles is notable for the lifelike facial expressions of its characters, the retro futuristic set and a plot that’s structured like clockwork.

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First Girl I Loved

First Girl I Loved touts a non-traditional narrative structure - which is just one reason why you should see it. The events that take place in the plot aren’t uncommon nor particularly noteworthy by themselves.

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The Beaver

Forget what the Americans have said about The Beaver, this is an amazing film that deserves to be held in the highest accord. Hopefully down the track The Beaver can be recognised as a great film and be included with other cult classics such as Donnie Darko. One of the films of the year.

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I Origins

I Origins is certainly the kind of film that is going to make you think long and hard after you have left the cinema. The theories that it explores it well looked into by Mike Cahill’s screenplay but the film is eclipsed by his debut effort, Another Earth. I Origins is slow in patches but when it’s on key it delivers some moments of true suspense and really has the audience guessing what will happen in the latter stages.

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Nine

Overall, Nine is filled with treats for the eye and ear, because in the end Marshall is no slouch in the talent department. When the film is fulfilling its duties as a musical, it's terrific.

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The Dictator

The thing that really holds The Dictator back as a film is that we know that Sacha Baron Cohen and director, Larry Charles) are capable of so much more.

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Una pistola en cada mano (A Gun In Each Hand)

At its micro-level, the film is a treat. The vignettes are consistent and remarkably well handled, each endowed with its own twist. There is a patience to the directing that really allows both the performance and the subtle dramatic shifts of the script space to breath.

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Australia

Some of the acting performances are sensational. Hugh Jackman and Brandon Walters deserve awards for their performances while David Wenham even makes the villainous Neil Fletcher a treat to watch. The big disappointment is Nicole Kidman.

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A Haunted House

While ‘A Haunted House’ is easily better than most of the ‘parody horror’ films that have been surfacing recently, it sadly lets itself it down and eventually becomes a bore for the audience to watch.

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The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect stars Ashton Kutcher in a performance aimed at marking his coming of age from teen hits such as “Just Married” and “Dude, Where’s My Car”.

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The Disappearance of Alice Creed

‘The Disappearance Of Alice Creed’ isn’t for the faint-hearted and to be honest some audience members are likely to be repulsed by the film, but if you are in the mood for a excellent thriller that constantly keeps you guessing then this is the film for you.

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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou has the same slowed pace and quirky humour that director Wes Anderson delivered in The Royal Tenenbaums. Like The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic is a story about a family who have lost confidence in a father figure and this man’s fight to regain their respect.

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Piranha 3-D

Aja has delivered a funny B-Grade Horror that makes heading back into the cinema fun. ‘Piranha 3D’ doesn’t take itself seriously and as a result we have a gory horror that is just great fun to watch. Put the brain away and just enjoy yourself.

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King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

It’s humorous, visually stunning, action-packed, and filled with interesting characters. The story may be considered trite and predictable at times, however the film has enough entertainment value going for it to allow you to look past its faults.

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Focus

It’s breezy and light-hearted, but it could have been so much more with another few tricks up its sleeve.

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Daddy's Home

Sure Anders certainly didn’t deliver a comedic masterpiece with Daddy’s Home but any filmmaker deserves not to have their ‘surprises’ or ‘laughs’ intended to impress the audience ruined by the trailer that is supposed to promote the film. With that putting the film behind the eight ball already Daddy’s Home is an up-and-down the film.

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In Time

With a brilliant performance in The Social Network and not much to work with in Friends With Benefits and Bad Teacher all eyes are going to be on Justin Timberlake’s performance. Well he doesn’t put in an Oscar-winning performance but he does put in an effort credible enough to prove that he does actually have a future ahead of him as an actor.

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Savages

Not surprisingly at 131 minutes, the film drags and yet we are treated to a “rewind” ending. Stylistically jarring, this unannounced post-modern miscarriage represents itself as arrogant and forced.

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Unfinished Sky

Duncan’s social commentary about sex trafficking in Australia (which even reaches its vast rural territories) should be applauded, yet would have been much more potent if looked upon more often.

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Iron Maiden: Flight 666

It is great to hear this humble band’s thoughts in between shows as they fly around the world in such a short period of time and we get to see their reactions to the stresses of touring along with the crazy fanfare that goes with it.

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Thor 3D

It is a textbook comic-book film, with big action and big effects - but little suspense and under-developed drama. It does however immensely succeed as an entertaining action film that will appeal to the masses.

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Bridesmaids

Director, Paul Feig is really able to sit back and let this film go along in cruise control as the laughs certainly aren’t coming from him. The script is absolutely sensational…a comedy gem… but never lets the laughs get in the way of also telling a story that totally captivates you.

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Death Race

…it's worth mentioning that Statham looks the essential tough guy. The man knows how to wear a tattoo and a shaved head, and he only gets better as his youthful prettiness wears off. Above all, he is given the space he needs to go to work by the fast direction.

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Live And Become (Va, vis et deviens)

It is a story that deals with healing and searching for a real sense of self. The audience is frequently reminded that in this world, one is defined by terms and names.

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The Day After Tomorrow

Emmerich has utilised much computer skill for the great effects and he cast a couple of fine actors – Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal – to be at the forefront. It is, however, the visual effects that will take hold.

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Twisted

Director Philip Kaufman is known for his sex/thriller films (Quills, Rising Sun, to name a couple), and he’s very good at both styles. “Twisted” cleverly crosses both paths…

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The Motorcycle Diaries (Diarios de motocicleta)

While you can appreciate The Motorcycle Diaries simply as a travel film, it’s more than that. It illuminates the apartheid existing in Latin America at the time through Che and Ernesto’s encounters with market sellers, impromptu tour guides and disenfranchised families.

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The Notorious Bettie Page

What she’s done is craft a film that, like its subject matter, is beautiful to look at and effortlessly charming. For a career as short and ultimately as frivolous a Bettie’s, perhaps a deeper investigation was not required.

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The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada

It also reveals an accurate account of the cultural differences and ongoing tensions that exist between the United States and Mexico as a result of the border that separates them. The movie cleverly jumps from past to present in order to enhance one of its main themes of friendship…

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Genova

‘Genova’ is a film that any serious film lover will warm to an instant. Firth and Keener are truly memorable while this could well be Winterbottom’s best-ever film.

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The Reckoning

The Reckoning is a must see for those that like their crime thrillers with a bit of edge. John V. Soto’s paranormal genre background shows in this film, his murders are a little edgier than you wouldn’t normally expect in a crime film while the found-footage storyline also brings something different to the table.

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The Aviator

However, if there is one thing that a three-hour film has to do, that is to nail the ending. The indulgences the filmmakers and actors succumbed to in various parts of The Aviator could have been entirely forgiven if the ending had been done well, but unfortunately, as my friend declared as we left the cinema, it fell distinctly into the category of pop culture Freud.

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Ted

Ted is a sensational comedy that will have you laughing from start to finish. Just remember if your asthmatic to take along your ventolin and if required pack your pads.

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The Nanny Diaries

“The Nanny Diaries” ultimately feels emotionally true to itself - that rare and enjoyable slice-of-life that doesn't often get released from major studios. This alone is something worthwhile.

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Synecdoche New York

‘Synecdoche New York’ is a film for the lovers of the experimental, although it is impossible to feel disappointed in a film that Kaufman has managed to capture so much feeling and human emotion into it.

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Prey For Rock And Roll

In allowing her play to be adapted to film, Cheri Lovedog demanded authenticity. As a result, Gina Gershon sang all the tracks live during the filming and the band members were coached in their respective instruments to avoid cheesy miming.

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Based on the 1979 Broadway musical originally staged by Harold Prince, Sweeney Todd is the gruesome story of a man ruined by injustice, driven madly into revenge and exploited by a capitalist system.

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The Karate Kid

The fight scenes are the most impressive of the entire film where much of the talent lies within the young actors and their martial arts skill. Impressive as the skill are, at times the fighting is a little overwhelming.

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The Life And Death Of Peter Sellers

There are enjoyable and insightful moments but perhaps not as satisfactory a biopic to what Peter Sellers deserves. The film, like Sellers throughout most of his life, lacks something in the centre…

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Etre et Avoir (To Be And To Have)

Etre et Avoir isn’t a traditional documentary film. Director Nicolas Philibert has employed a more ‘fly on the wall’ technique to film the children and their teacher.

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Paparazzi

Director Paul Abascal begins the film energetically, and in its early stages it’s the very credibility of these awful photographers, who describe themselves as “the last of the great hunters”, that will shock you.

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Firewall

Although at times it stumbles into the repetitive genre of the action/kidnap films, Firewall is very entertaining and does have some depth. The feeling that someone could infiltrate your life so completely is truly disquieting and will have you wondering just how secret your own passwords really are.

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The Kingdom

From the way it starts, The Kingdom has the feel of a documentary. A brief history of the Middle East establishes credibility, and unlike in real politics, oil is mentioned and established as a clear motive for some of the turmoil. But it’s not a documentary, and while it has the feel of a very serious film, it is still a Hollywood movie.

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Sideways

Sideways is a comedy without gimmicks. It is just the strength of the story, powered by remarkable performances that make it the film by which all other films this year will be judged.

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The Great Gatsby

‘The Great Gatsby’ is one of those films where the visuals originally win you over, but as you leave the cinema and mull over everything in your mind you soon realize that despite the glitter and glam, this is an average film at best.

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Man Of Steel

“Man Of Steel” is one of those films that will divide audiences and critics alike. Those who are not familiar with the tones or storylines of the comics may struggle to fully appreciate the film, but those who are massive Superman fans are going to be in superhero paradise as they lap up this film.

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Casanova

Historically, the movie has interesting innuendos to the subject of the females in Venice at the time - full of nuns, virgins, upper class and corruption that affected all of them.

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Mrs Henderson Presents

…Judi Dench as Mrs. Henderson has such a wonderful colour and humour to her character, that the film has no choice but to sparkle.

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The Raid 2

The only way to sum up is to say that The Raid 2 is equal to The Raid and once again is going to be a film that will be adored by action film fans right around the world.

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Elektra

If you’re still scratching your head and trying to work out what the hell an Elektra is, don’t feel bad. Hollywood’s current obsession with turning every comic book property into a movie means that our screens are going to be littered with these obscure characters for quite some time.

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Perfect Stranger

Halle Berry is well cast for her sensuality and manipulative abilities, but probably moves, as the story does, in a rollercoaster fashion. She looks beautiful on screen, however.

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Snow Cake

Without Weaver, the movie wouldn’t have much left. She really is impressive in playing the part of Linda, infectious yet infuriating with child-like abandon.

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Jindabyne

This story is about the small issues between husbands, wives and friends as much as it is about the big issues of gender equality, race and social responsibility.

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Hard Candy

Hard Candy is not what you’d call an enjoyable film. Although the violence isn’t particularly graphic, its themes of paedophilia, torture and revenge make this an uncomfortable and confronting hour and a half.

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Red Dog

The other amazing feat that Red Dog manages to do is use an American actor in a way that doesn’t seem forced or out-of-place.

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Carol

Rooney Mara’s performance particularly impressed me, conveying the sense of a young girl who has not yet figured out what she wants in life, from her career to her loves, frustrated by the roles that society expects her to play, in both career and relationships.

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Rogue

…McLean’s monster is an ultra-realistic and unnerving design which does its job of scaring the audience half to death, and does it well.

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Rock School

It is sometimes heartening when old world wisdom proves to be correct, such as the chestnut about truth being stranger than fiction. This is nowhere more apparent than in Rock School, an oddball documentary that is so engaging and periodically surreal, that you’d swear they’d made it up.

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Monsieur Chocolat,

In Monsieur Chocolat, Zem continues to examine the historical impact and connotations of race and bigotry in France with the film charting the rise and fall of the first enormously popular Afro-Cuban artist during the Belle Epoque in Paris.

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Oldboy

Adapted from a Japanese comic book, Oldboy has much that would appeal to the director of Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction, with loads of violence and offbeat humour.

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2046

Beautifully shot with no less than three different cinematographers, 2046 is a visual indulgence with a melancholy tone.

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Jeepers Creepers 2

The sequel follows the standard horror film plot: teenagers, lacking in any distinctive personality or dimension, picked off one by one by a sadistic, unstoppable monster.

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Dead Man Down

At the end of the day, it is Dead Man Down’s tonal ambivalence that is its greatest enemy. Forgetting a few plot points that seemed a little too convenient, this film had the potential to be a strong, moody, if somewhat unoriginal, revenge flick…

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Die Hard 4.0

The story has moved into the modern times of violent terrorism and therefore has a different edge and, in turn, greater sophistication in the style and technology attached to the plot.

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Django Unchained

Quite simply if you like Tarantino, you’ll love this. It is up there with Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill as some of his best work.

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier certainly puts the ‘BIG’ back into big action blockbuster. Its out-of-this-world special effects and great action sequences plus this franchise back at the heights it deserves to be at.

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The Matrix Revolutions

If you were waiting for the final instalment of the Matrix trilogy to clarify the jumbled mess that was Matrix Reloaded, you will be sorely disappointed. Revolutions is, if possible, even more oblique and nonsensical than its predecessor

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Orchestra Seats (Avenue Montaigne)

Although ‘Orchestra Seats’ will not take you on a deep journey, it will take you on a fairy-tale like ride that most viewers will find a pleasant and surprising watch.

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The Day The Earth Stood Still

While the environmental message found in ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’ is a worthy one, this was unfortunately a film doomed before it was even released because there was absolutely nothing they could do to outclass the original.

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Inland Empire

Shot over several years on hand held digital video camera, “Inland Empire” was not supposed to be a feature film but a series of short films. Yet Lynch noticed a common theme had developed and it then morphed into a feature.

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The Assassination of Richard Nixon

It is a chilling drama with a strong message and a surprise debut for Mueller. If nothing else it should be viewed for its impressive character driven dialogue and remarkable acting.

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Into Great Silence (Große Stille, Die)

While this movie did eventually drive me insane, it has a lot to offer. The fact that this movie made me anxious, fidgety and completely uncomfortable is precisely the point.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 brings back everything we loved about the first film, and adds even more to the overall viewing experience. It’s expertly directed, written and performed, with a great soundtrack.

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The Box

There is a lot resting on the release of ‘The Box’… to be blunt one man’s career rests on whether this movie does well. If it flops then director, Richard Kelly will be known as the one-hit wonder who had a hit with the film ‘Donnie Darko’; but if it does well then we will all forget about his last film, ‘Southland Tales’ and just forget that it ever happened. I can only offer my point of view but I seriously think Kelly redeems himself with ‘The Box’.

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Footloose

There are going to be people that say Footloose doesn’t hold up to the original, but don’t let them fool you. As far as remakes go this one is pretty good.

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The Fate of the Furious

Despite the average performances, corny script, and clichéd plot, The Fate of the Furious will likely still be more exciting as an overall package than a lot of other blockbusters released in 2017. You’d think after so many films the series might have gone stale, however with its great blend of innovative action, likeable characters and humour, the Fast and Furious film series feels fresher than ever.

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Margot At The Wedding

We have solid performances from Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Jason Leigh but they're burdened with characters who have nowhere to go.
As a result, the audience doesn't get the proper picture and the entire experience is near pointless.

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Attack The Block

Attack The Block doesn’t look like the kind of film that a critic would be raving about, but seriously I can’t recommend this film enough. It just goes to show that you can’t tell by the packaging how good the present will be.

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Underworld: Evolution

…Evolution is faster and sleeker than its predecessor; the movie kicks off with an action-packed opening sequence and the pace rarely lets up from there. Levels of gore and violence are high throughout;…

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American Gangster

American Gangster lives up, if not exceeds, the hype on all fronts. It is engaging from start to finish and you never feel the 157 minutes run time, which is a big compliment to give.

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Honey

Poor Jessica Alba, her career seemed so promising so what on earth happened? Who allowed her to do this film? Honey is a story of a poor girl from the bad side of town who has three jobs to support her dream of becoming a hip-hop dancer in music videos.

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The Three Stooges

Either way, the Stooges have always been culturally significant; their classic shorts have always been shown on TV for new generations of fans to discover. I hope that The Three Stooges inspires younger people to watch some of the original shorts

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X-Men: The Last Stand

The action packed storyline and magnificent special effects almost demand a big screen viewing. X-Men fans will not be disappointed and neither will the curious punter!

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Palindromes

Palindromes is unforgiving to its audience, demanding both respect for its originality and a concerted mental effort to keep up.

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Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo

This society is known for the mastery over techniques that normal men have never heard of, with suggestive names that boggle the mind. These double entendres and cheap visual gags are the basis of Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, which has neither strong writing or production values.

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Russian Dolls (Les Poupées Russes)

…avant garde editing techniques, quirky story expression and scenarios communicated through an entertaining and thought-provoking script. It’s also packed with the same satisfying degree of funny and deeply human moments.

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Becoming Jane

All in all, Becoming Jane, would interest those who can’t get enough of anything to do with Jane Austen or love the Victorian era genre movies, but of course, they will be disappointed if they expected more than an American softening of Austen’s character,…

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Licence to Wed

Licence To Wed will be seen by teenage girls on a Friday night at the movies or at senior citizens' weekly movie nights. It is a pleasant enough movie to view if you are after a light, fluffy time waster that won’t give you nightmares.

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The Drama Club

However, the sense of camaraderie between old friends and the heartache that comes not fulfilling one's expectations shows a good balance in the way this film has been produced. The strong scenes and heartwarming passages serve their purpose well and make the film most enjoyable.

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Carnage

Every film lover has an opinion on director, Roman Polanski, but no matter what you think of his personal life you can’t say that he isn’t a brilliant film maker. Just to prove it along comes his new film, Carnage which is nothing short of a cinematic masterpiece.

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The Eye Of The Storm

…this is a memorable Australian film. It looks beautiful, the performances are excellent, the themes and characters are explored confidently and in all their intricacies, and the dialogue is well-crafted.

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Thunderbirds

I have some fond memories of “Thunderbirds” from my childhood, as do many people. Potentially, this film could have at least been decent.

…all these fond memories were at least a decade old, and Thunderbirds the film does its best to destroy them all by association.

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Perfect Strangers (Perfetti Sconosciuti)

You don't ever know enough of the people who are close to you. Perfect Strangers has a public life, a private life and a secret life. The latter will come out in the course of a dinner where you gather a bunch of old friends during a lunar eclipse.

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Blindsight

Along with its strong emotional pull and engrossing personalities, “Blindsight” also features some breath taking images of the Himalayas, and some nerve wrecking scenes that would make does of us who are afraid of heights to start sweating bullets.

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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman will break more barriers than any other DC film that’s come before it, and likely any other comic book film that’s come before it, and that is a very prestigious attribute for a film to attain these days.

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Spotlight

The movie retraces the probe conducted in late 2001 and early 2002 by the “Spotlight” investigative team of The Boston Globe into allegations of the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, as well as the church’s systemic cover-up of the misconduct. This will resonate strongly with Australian audiences because of the current inquiry into sexual abuse by Catholic priests.

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V for Vendetta

The filmmakers get away with such sensitive themes through the comic-book feel of the movie and the suspenseful score, as we are made to feel empathy for the film's protagonists.

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Meet The Fockers

Dustin Hoffmann and Barbra Streisand give fantastic performances, appearing as Bernie and Roz Focker, Greg’s highly sexed, new-age parents. They add something new to the old “Meet The…” formula, which saves this film from the all too common ‘Curse of the Sequel’.

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Aim High in Creation

More broadly, the film encourages reflection on the passive/aggressive propaganda-as-advertising that proliferates in most countries beyond the borders of North Korea. Broinowski describes her time in North Korea as being a form of advertising detox as there are no billboards or commercials in the streets or on buses. Her film highlights another side of a country which is most often defined by harrowing tales of human deprivation, gulags and extreme secrecy.

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A Lot Like Love

The couple that provides that warm and fuzzy feeling in ‘A Lot Like Love’ is Amanda Peet as Emily and Ashton Kutcher as Oliver.

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Sydney White

Its white washed version of reality will probably do more damage to the kids it is supposedly trying to inspire. Its talk of tyranny, democracy, and equal rights is well meant, yet poorly presented in a fantasy like setting such as this.

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Iron Sky

Iron Sky isn’t for everybody but if you enjoy a sci-fi that is a little left-of-centre but doesn’t become a farce than you certainly won’t be disappointed if you give it a glance.

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Deja Vu

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Tony Scott (their sixth film collaboration), Déjà Vu is a big explosions and intense car-chase action thriller from the onset as is most common in Bruckheimer produced films.

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Standard Operating Procedure

Yet despite these often consistent bumps, Morris achieves his goal in bringing forth the stories beyond the photos, while asking which of these moments of ugliness are a criminal act, and which are standard operating procedure.

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The Amazing Spider-man

Director Marc Webb, a man whose name begs to be at the helm of a Spider-Man film, and screenwriters James Vanderbilt, Alvin Sargent, and Steve Kloves have more than done justice to the Spider-Man screen legend. In fact, they may have improved it exponentially, much in the same way that Batman Begins surpassed the previous Batman films.

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Guess Who

The genesis of Kutcher’s interest in the subject of mixed race relationships evolved from his friendship with hip-hop impresario Sean “P Diddy” Combs, which generated a great deal of interest in the media.

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La Tigre e La Neve (The Tiger And The Snow)

Whatever one says, Roberto Benigni is an incredible person and his abilities as a storyteller are unique. This story sees him back to form in a way of giving us humour and optimism.

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He’s Just Not That Into You

This is a film that speaks to both males and females and surprisingly works really well. With a good cast and great storyline, “He’s Just Not That Into You’ is set to become a favourite with those that enjoy a good romantic tale.

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Kenny

The company’s slogan ‘We’re number one with your number two’s’ is indicative of the so-called toilet humour which resonates through the film.

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Outsourced

The film is a barrel of laughs. It’s explosive script ensures there is never a dull moment.

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Baby Driver

There is much to like about Baby Driver, the above-mentioned soundtrack speaks for itself, the incredible driving sequences (which should be experienced on the largest screen possible), rapid fire dialogue, loveable rogues, convincing psychos and some moments of razor sharp dialogue.

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Lovelace

As far as biopics go, “Lovelace” works. It expertly manages to tell the story twice and get both sides of the story across while also allowing its cast to show exactly what they are capable of.

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Van Diemen's Land

Savage and disturbing, Van Diemen’s Land is a remarkable debut; drawing powerful inferences from a tumultuous history, it illustrates how little dignity is salvaged from the instinctive drive to maintain life in the face of dark, elemental forces, both from nature and within.

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The Campaign

The clear standouts here are the leading men. This is one of the times when Will Ferrell is at the top of his game, he has a good script to work with and relishes it. Alongside him we also see Zach Galifianakis once again showing why he deserves to be called as Hollywood’s best current comedic actor.

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Sunday

Sunday is a joint New Zealand/Australian production starring Dustin Clare and Camille Keenan who, in writing the script alongside director Michelle Joy Lloyd, have extended their off-screen relationship into a relationship on screen set in the backdrop of a broken Christchurch, New Zealand following the savage earthquake. Filming focused on as much of the undamaged areas of the city and gives the film a theme of hope and strength, with the ability to rebuild.

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Magic In The Moonlight

Magic In The Moonlight is far from one of Woody Allen’s best films. The romance coming to the fore towards the end does let it down a little, but for the most part it does work. Just be warned that the film is aimed for an older demographic so if you are a little on the younger side this may not be the film for you.

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Flyboys

Flyboys can be cast as your typical war-film with heroic themes, however it does score points in its engaging story and superbly choreographed action scenes, with some of the best dogfight scenes to hit out screens in recent time.

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Jurassic World

Twenty-two years ago this week we were all walking into cinemas expecting to be wowed by the fact that visionary director Steven Spielberg had brought dinosaurs to life on the screen in a way that nobody would have predicted. Here we are two decades later and once again the expectation of getting to see dinosaurs on the big screen has our cinematic pulses beating in a mammoth way.

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Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

It has the look and sensibilities of something straight out of Hollywood’s Golden Age but in reality, is a triumph of modern day special effects and technological wizardry.

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La La Land

La La Land is the type of film that will have you walking out with a smile. Its simplistic themes are overshadowed by its use of entertaining musical set pieces and superb direction by Damien Chazelle. Gosling and Stone fans will be pleased with their performances, as the two stars lead the way in what is an expertly crafted film, and one of the year’s best.

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African Adventure 3D: Safari in the Okavango (IMAX Feature)

African Adventure celebrates a lot of the continent’s physical beauty, yet at the same time shatters the myth of Safaris being nothing but endless animal watching.

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Step Up 3D

With a weak story at his disposable it was all up to director, Jon Chu to make this film entertaining, and he certainly does this by using the 3D technology to the best of his ability. The dance sequences do look amazing in 3D, but a word of warning; don’t sit too close to the screen because the constant movement can possibly make you feel nauseous.

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The Darkest Hour

You also have to feel sorry for the cast. Hirsch, Minghella, Thirlby and Taylor. They do a good job with what they have, but the poor blighters were not only given lame dialogue to deliver but also had no room for their characters to develop.

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The Orator

At times The Orator is brilliant but sadly it doesn’t remain that way throughout. Still it has the kind of impact that will emotionally affect some and gives you a good insight into life in a Samoan village.

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The Dreamers

Set against the background of the Paris riots of 1968, and the burgeoning growth of the youthful protest movement of the era, legendary Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci's latest film offers a heady mix of rebellion, youthful idealism, a sensational soundtrack of 60's music, numerous filmic references and sex.

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The Ringer

After watching The Ringer I can see how it could be viewed as a slightly controversial comedy because of its close shave with political incorrectness. However I believe instead that the Farrelly brothers delivered an endearing, sweet, if slightly predictable humorous film.

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The Amityville Horror

Originally based in fact, then told in Jay Anson’s novel of 1977, played out on the big screen in 1979, now remade as a big budget film in 2005, The Amityville Horror is one of those scary stories that loses nothing for being told a hundred times around a campfire.

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We Need To Talk About Kevin

Don’t be put off by We Need To Talk About Kevin’s alternative opening… in hindsight it turns out to be one of the best opening sequences to a film we have seen in a long time. This is an intense drama that is certainly award-worthy.

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Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man

Sure to please diehard Cohen fans and the newly initiated, Lunson’s film is a beautiful record of captivating music, and an intimate portrait of a truly singular artist.

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Amreeka

This a beautifully written film that will emotionally affect anyone that watches it. Some wonderful directing and an exceptional script from newcomer Nisreen Faour makes this a must see.

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Vera Drake

Despite requiring a little editing towards the end, Vera Drake is a masterful character study that is memorable…

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Cheri

Unfortunately, however, the film itself does not live up to its visual accompaniment. If Michelle Pfeiffer was hoping this would be her comeback movie, I believe she will be sadly mistaken. This film cries of desperately trying to claw one’s way back than a real career revival.

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The Illustrated Family Doctor

This film could have been much more significant in acting out certain elements of life. It stays on the brink.

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The Hobbit: The Battle Of Five Armies

It is sad that Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth saga has come to a close, it is even sadder that it has had to happen with such a mediocre film, especially when you take into consideration the lofty heights set by The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. That may well be something that comes to haunt Jackson’s career from here on in as it is just too easy to compare anything he makes now back to a series that really changed the cinema landscape.

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Spider-Man: Homecoming

…but it is the combination of excellent handling of the film's pace and beats by Watts, the relatable characters, the great performances, its humour, and some cool set pieces that really invigorate this third effort of a Spider-Man film series.

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The Golden Compass

The real star is 13-year-old Dakota Blue Richards. She has lots of charm and confidence in playing Lyra Belacqua, a pre-teen who has been raised as an orphan in an Oxford college under the sponsorship of her “uncle”,…

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Intimate Strangers (Confidences Trop Intimes)

Patrice Leconte is an enigmatic director who conjures up the shrewdest of stories.
The French-language drama layers delicate charm over disturbing intensity and it shows Leconte at the top of his game again.

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The Vow

The Vow does have some substance… well at least enough to keep you occupied for the 104 minutes that it runs for. Better than expected!

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Friends With Benefits

This is a rom-com that has the lot. A great story, good cast and characters you care about. Friends With Benefits is one of the best rom-coms of the year.

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Resident Evil: Afterlife

…if you are a fan of the other movies then you should go and see this one too, if not only so you can tell people that you’ve watched all of them and which was your favourite and why you don’t like the last one. It will make good, possible slightly inebriated, pub conversation.

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Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Despite a couple of corny moments in the dialogue, of which the originals also had their share, Revenge of the Sith is a film to watch again and again. However, the story’s foundation in war creates some scary moments, so it’s not one for the kids.

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Razzle Dazzle

The idea strikes Mr Jonathan almost too late: what his dance troupe really needs is some razzle dazzle. And, despite a promising idea and a solid cast, so it was with the film.

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The Tree Of Life

Malick tries to be experimental with this film (and experimental filmmaking can be sensational), however Malick pushes it too far and The Tree Of Life becomes some scattered that you feel the only person who truly understands what the film is about is Malick himself.

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Sunshine

The film’s stunning use of sound contribute to the claustrophobia and suspense created and the visual images of the sun are simply fantastic on the big screen.

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Confessions Of A Shopaholic

I would argue that I can't believe how badly timed the film is, considering that most women watching the film who are up to their eyeballs in debt and possibly dealing with foreclosures on their homes and are more likely to be crying, rather than laughing, in recognition.

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Crazy Heart

First time director Scott Cooper adapted the novel by Thomas Cobb and does a commendable job. This is a purely character-driven film with a small cast and simple plot. The intimacy between Blake and Jean is tender and a testament to the hard struggle relationships can be when both people come with baggage and a tumultuous past.

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Meek’s Cutoff

Meek’s Cutoff shows that are still some creative films that can surface from the U.S. and only proves the fact that Kelly Reichardt is one of the most important filmmakers of our generation.

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Get Rich Or Die Tryin'

Get Rich or Die Tryin' is an interesting real life portrayal of 50 Cent's upbringing for those interested in rap culture but for the rest of us is perhaps just the cliched struggle of a black musical wannabe trying to make it out of the hood and into the spotlight.

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Hidden Figures

It’s fair to say that it’s not a very well-known story and one that deserves to be heard and seen by all audiences. Who would have thought that a group of unimposing, modest African-Amercian women would literally have a hand in shaping the future, in a time that treated them like outcasts? It’s hard to believe, but thankfully the story of these women is now out in the world for all to see.

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The Nothing Men

Directed by debutant feature filmmaker Mark Fitzpatrick, who worked his own script, The Nothing Men shows how brutal, stubborn and disrespectful people behave under pressure.

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You Don’t Mess With The Zohan

It’s just the same old Sandler formula of uninspired gross out humour (how the hell did this film only warrant an M rating?) based upon a big concept.

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Ten Empty

…Ten Empty is a distressing and sad film to watch. Co-writer/director Anthony Hayes sets up tense altercations for his actors, and captures the carnage in several scenes that are held in a single frame, not flinching from the conflict before him.

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White Noise

White Noise starts off well, but a lack of imagination and completely woeful third act means that not even Keaton’s sincere, focussed performance can save it.

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The Lakehouse

'The Lakehouse’ is the most recent romantic film to hit Australian screens. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves, two of Hollywood’s biggest stars, are brought together again in this laid back love story with a bizarre twist.

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Team America: World Police

However, despite the splatter gun approach to social commentary, there is genuine bite behind Team America: World Police. Although it has been criticised for attacking well-known actors, the film actually attacks celebrity culture, rather than politically active individuals.

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28 Weeks Later

Despite its abundant gore and horror, 28 Weeks Later is quite thrilling and adrenalin-pumped in most parts.

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Zodiac

It’s almost nothing like a serial killer film at all; we never learn anything about the psychology of the man responsible, but what we do see is the effect that primal fear and unhealthy fixation can have on an ordinary people.

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Celebrity Dominick Dunne

Now from directional newcomers, Kirsty de Garis and Timothy Jolley comes ‘Celebrity Dominick Dunne’, a documentary that outclasses most others while not forgetting how to keep the audience interested.

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Charlie St. Cloud

While ‘Charlie St. Cloud’ may not be the film of the year it is certainly dramatic and well-written. If you haven’t read the novel then there are a few surprises that will catch you off guard.

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Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Resident Evil’s slick production values make the film inherently watchable on the big screen. The director Alexander Witt has honed his skills as second unit director on previous Hollywood blockbusters…

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Oranges And Sunshine

f you like movies that make an important statement then Oranges And Sunshine is a must see. This fine movie should open the eyes of people right across the world and hopefully bring shame to the people that helped cover-up this disgusting secret.

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Jobs

Jobs is an entertaining film that keeps viewers engaged from start to finish. Anyone that has read the Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs may find disappointment at how parts of Jobs’ life were skimmed over in the movie, however those that do not know much about Apple’s history will likely and rightly, find the film to be informative.

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Saw

Former RMIT students in Melbourne, James Wan and Leigh Whannell, cleverly build suspense in their chilling debut film, Saw. Saw is both a horror and the best psychological thriller since Seven.

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Filth

Filth successfully manages to force an emotional reaction out of the audience. Be it love or hate (or somewhere in between), the film will have an affect on you after the credits role.

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Runner Runner

Early on, “Runner Runner” shows a lot of promise, but the film ends up tripping over its clichés and in the end comes to a halt with a finale that has no bang with it all. It is actually one of the dullest film endings you will see all year.

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The Lunchbox

The Lunchbox certainly is a slow burn but it is well worth the effort to sit through it. Technically it is a much better romance to a film like The Notebook.

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Super 8

The train crash scene is enough to show anyone that J.J. Abrams is one of the finest directors we have around at the moment. It’s intense and stunning (without going over the top) and you do genuinely find yourself worried about the characters as they run through it.

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I Don’t Know How She Does It

Director, Douglas McGrath must have breathed a sigh of relief when he first read Aline Brosh McKenna’s script. This film had ‘awful romantic comedy’ branded all over it, but luckily McKenna’s script drags it out of that area. She takes it into the interesting area of drama and even manages to mix-up the story with some to-the-camera moments

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Tais Toi!

Written and directed by Francis Veber (The Dinner Game, The Closet), Tais Toi is a fast paced, crazy film in the great French farce tradition.

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My Architect

My Architect follows Kahn’s life through chronologically examining his buildings, and interspersing their beauty with the story of a charismatic, but selfish and emotionally immature genius.

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Big Momma’s House 2

BMH2 is simply another vehicle for Lawrence to demonstrate his considerable comic ability and milk the profits of Big Momma’s physical prowess yet again - though it’s yet to be seen if viewers will go in for her antics a second time around.

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Once Upon A Time In Mexico

It may be the classic good versus bad with all the guns, violence, bloodshed, corruption, revenge, action and stunts in between, but this thrilling movie is indeed, extremely good.

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Ray

Poor casting spoils so many biographical films, but the filmmakers were spot with this one, choosing Jamie Foxx to play the lead. The ex-comic proves his versatility and talent as a serious actor and makes it easy to get drawn into the story.

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Twin Sisters (De Tweeling)

Based on the book of the same name by Tessa de Loo that was a best seller in both Germany and the Netherlands, the film was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2004 Academy Awards.

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Against The Ropes

The inevitability of this film doesn’t make a match for some previously great films of this genre. To its credit, though, Against The Ropes avoids the pitfalls of not having Jackie Kallen presented with a heart of gold. She is as ruthless as the men she’s up against.

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Hoodwinked

Suited to children in the tween market, kids will warm to the dialogue and the amazing digital animation. ‘Hood-winked’ is a brave and bold attempt at re-telling an old favourite,…

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Ice Age: Continental Drift

While at times during Ice Age: Continental Drift it seems like the filmmakers behind the series have lost control of their storyline this still ends up being an enjoyable watch that will be loved by both kids and adults alike.

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Black Swan

Everywhere you look in Black Swan there is brilliance. The film is a certainty to scoop the Oscars for best costume and possibly best music score while the brilliant script creates a story so intense that even the most hardened ballet-hater will be labelling this a work of art

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Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

…the film that shows that Tom Cruise is once again back at his game but also is the latest of a string of action films that actually requires its cast to put in some acting effort as well.

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Creation

…given that the film is based on what are obviously affectionate rememberances of a scientist and family man, and written by a direct descendant, the film is certainly of interest as, but perhaps more fitting as a tele-movie than a feature film.

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Alfie

But it is really Law’s film. Underneath Alfie’s swaggering bravado and undeniable charm is a fractured character that is not as sure of himself as he may first appear. It’s in these moments of true vulnerability that Law’s talent really shines.

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Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

The action sequences will keep you on the seat of your edge but it is hard to get past the under-development of character of the Surfer who plays a major role in the film.

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Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair is a direct adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s 900-page novel of the same name. Director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) has been faithful to the story and has brought it to life with a warm and colourful production.

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The Corporation

In the mid 1800’s, American corporations won the rights of a legal person under laws originally designed to protect freed slaves. This gave them the right to own property, to take others to court and to be taken to court themselves, as a single entity. Mark Achbar, Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott take a critical look at this individual in their new documentary, The Corporation.

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Meet The Spartans

But one has to question whether this is a clever and humorous way to critique American pop culture, or if it is exactly a part of the problem; that other favourite American pastime: making trash for the masses for the sake of a buck? The fact that this opened in top spot at the US box office in its opening weekend, one can safely assume it’s the latter.

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First Daughter

To be fair, some of the acting isn’t too bad, but it can’t compensate for the script. Forest Whitaker even appears in the film as narrator, but still can’t get the story moving. As a director he hasn’t built the drama well, or maintained it when something of interest does happen.

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The King Is Dead

The comedic part of The King Is Dead lets it down but aside from that the film is a worthy suburban thriller made even better by the touch of the genius that is Rolf de Heer.

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Surviving Georgia

The other thing that makes Surviving Georgia so special is its amazing cast. Pia Miranda and Holly Valance are sensational in the lead roles, and this is the movie that really shows Valance’s true acting ability.

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Billabong Odyssey

Surf clothing and accessories label Billabong was pleased to sponsor this film and the competition at its centre, The Billabong Odyssey. Billabong has long been associated with water sports events, except on this occasion, the surf gear manufacturing giant has its name connected to the most venturesome, lengthy and rewarding quest in the surfing world

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Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol [IMAX]

If anyone is tossing up whether to watch this film in IMAX or at the regular cinema, the answer is a no-brainer. Ghost Protocol must be watched in IMAX. More than a few of the film’s scenes were shot at the full IMAX resolution and the results are absolutely amazing.

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Owning Mahowny

This true story of an unremarkable man who committed an audacious crime is as fascinating as it is sad.

It is the story of personal struggle against the thrill of a bet and gives a sympathetic insight into the social scourge that is gambling addiction.

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The Brothers Grimm

Unfortunately, this film substitutes a coherent plot for some startlingly good special effects and good looking leading actors and actresses. On the plus side, the weak attempts at being “grimm” will probably not frighten your average eight year old.

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Terminator Genisys

At the end of the day Terminator Genisys is an entertaining and very different Terminator film that grew on me more and more the longer it went. Given it is nowhere near as good as Terminator or T2, but then did any of us expect it would get close to their perfection, but is a lot better than the very bland Rise Of The Machines.

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A Separation

A Separation is sensational from start to finish. If you love crime drama you will find yourself totally engrossed by the film while you desperately try to figure out whether Nader has committed the crime he is accused of or not.

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Metallica: Through The Never 3D

The last time we saw Metallica on film, they were having some personal and professional issues in the warts-and-all documentary Some Kind of Monster (2004). Metallica: Through the Never proves they have made it past these issues and shows the band performing live in glorious 3D, ‘in-the-round’ during the Canadian leg of their 2012 tour.

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Aliens of the Deep 3D

This one hour documentary is made all the more fascinating by its 3D format. It’s great fun to wonder whether that weird fish is smimming right for your nose, or whether the submarine is planning its landing on your head.

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The Housekeeper (Un Femme De Menage)

A man in his fifties finds his life falling apart after his wife leaves him. His apartment is a complete mess, so he places an ad for a cleaner in his local cafe. A young attractive lass responds to his ad and not long after working for him, asks if she could move in as her relationship with her boyfriend is over and she has nowhere to go.

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Maleficent

Dark yet beautiful Maleficent is certainly one of the surprise hits of 2014. While many may have dismissed this as a family film it ends up being a brilliantly made film that once again captures that magic that Disney has been known for in the past.

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Diary Of A Wimpy Kid

Don’t expect any miracles but I’m confident in saying that your kids will love ‘Diary Of A Wimpy Kid’. Don’t expect to laugh much yourself as it doesn’t cater for adults, but at least it will keep the kids quite for a while. Adequate but could have been better.

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A Common Thread (Brodeuses)

This film is imbued with a pleasant earthiness throughout. From the green fields to Claire’s dewy young skin, everything is fresh and fertile, which fits well with the creation of art and new life.

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Rock 'n' Roll Nerd

And, unlike most documentaries that supposedly follow the life of a celebrity, this is a no holds barred documentary that captures all the important moments in Minchin’s career; both the good and the bad.

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Two Lovers

The film is beautifully shot, with the cinematographer’s palette firmly restricted to the shades of a Brooklyn winter.

The viewer is also given a glimpse into Jewish suburbia, with its associated parties and rituals.

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The Legend Of Zorro

Fans of Zorro, or the ‘legend’ of Zorro will not be disappointed, nor will they be terribly surprised either. This sequel has more of a personal aspect than the traditional Zorro format, fight, save, fight, win… and get the girl.

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The Good German

In a film that looks and sounds like a 1940s mystery/thriller with its use of vintage camera lenses, an old-style score, simulated rear projections for background shots and the traditional swipe cut to shift scenes, The Good German fails to totally engage.

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A Tale Of A Naughty Girl

Buddhadev Dasgupta, portrays the characters with sensitivity and there is freshness to the technique that is so conventional that anything relatively mundane can seem significant.

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Happy Feet

This is animation of the highest order; quite breathtaking with the mass of computer generated penguins and beautiful cinematography. The long camera shots of the penguin population and close-ups of character interactions are exceedingly good.

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Hey, Hey It’s Esther Blueburger

A resolute if not erratic film, Hey, Hey It’s Esther Blueburger does leave an impression with its imaginative and brave approach to a stock standard story.

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The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises is a film that must be seen on the big screen, once again Christopher Nolan has delivered a film that can instantly be filed under film classics.

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Après Vous (After You)

Après Vous is a delightful French farce about an unlikely friendship and life’s little surprises. It stars acclaimed dramatic actor Daniel Auteuil, who returns to his comedic roots in this double act with Jose Garcia.

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Dredd 3D

Overall, Dredd 3D is a solid action film. Its lack of a an interesting storyline hurts its validity as a top player in the comic book adaptation hierarchy of films, but it will still appeal to fans of the genre, fans of the comic books and action film fans.

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Under The Radar

Surfing and gangsters come together at last in a very Aussie road trip movie. Under the Radar is an action/comedy that features one of Australia’s top models, a well-known comedian, and decent sized body count.

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Ghostbusters (remastered version)

Having Ghostbusters remastered is the perfect excuse to give this old classic another watch and if you’re family hasn’t seen it yet then I guess you’ll just have to make a trip to the cinema as soon as you can. Even after 30 years Ghostbusters is still a comedy that will have you laughing throughout the entire film.

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Dolphins & Whales: Tribes Of The Ocean 3D

The 3D does allow you to become closer to dolphins and whales, just don’t expect it to make this doco a must-see. Okay, but could have been a lot better.

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Beginners

The real standouts in this film have to be Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor. Plummer puts in one of the best performances of his long-lasting career while McGregor tackles a difficult role with vigour and pulls it off in such a way that he deserves to win awards for it.

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Shopgirl

The film presents a real look at the raw and gritty problems people face when getting into serious relationships and the hurt they cause one another failing to be honest in their union.

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L'apprendista stregone (The Sorcerer's Apprentice)

‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ isn’t exactly dead-on-arrival, there is a sign of life but unfortunately what should have been a great film is held back by a woeful script. An ordinary film that should have been ten times better.

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Gone

Despite the fact that the Australian landscape could have been better utilised, there is enough intrigue and interest that makes Gone enjoyable.

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9 Songs

Getting down and dirty over nine songs indicates that while the passionate couple bare a lot of skin, they fail to get below it. The film may be too uncomfortable, even for Winterbottom fans that know his proven talent. He pushes the envelope perhaps to the detriment of what he really wants to deliver.

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The Fast & The Furious: Tokyo Drift

The trouble is when Hollywood tries to pass off a video game as a film, like Tokyo Drift. You see, the problem with films is that they generally require some kind of plot.

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Bad Teacher

Bad Teacher is an awful film that apart from the odd laugh provides the audience with nothing at all. Avoid like the plague.

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Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster

It is with this in mind that you approach “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” and the behind the scenes revelations it holds, into not only the members of the band individually, but the multi-million dollar corporate machine behind them. If this had just been a documentary about the making of a studio album, then it is likely that its appeal would have been very limited in scope.

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Club Dread

Club Dread appears to be a funny, satirical slash film, but it hasn’t achieved any of these goals.

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The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady is a brave and unique look at a historical figure that will be foreign to the younger generation. With a ground-breaking script from Abi Morgan and a brilliant performance from Meryl Streep this is one of the must sees of 2011.

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The Final Destination 3D

The film itself is average at best and I normally wouldn’t recommend it had it not been shot in 3D, however I would recommend this film to people seeking a different kind of cinema experience as it purely only works as a novelty cheap thrills film.

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Failure To Launch

It’s in the chick flick genre, but in this day in age where guys secretly don’t mind being dragged to a film of this nature, they wont mind it. And there’s paintball scenes and purchasing of guns to keep the macho aspect sorted.

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Hide and Seek

Had Hide and Seek been made five to ten years ago, the twists might have surprised, but now they seem almost formulaic. One interesting device this film does use, is that it was made with alternate endings.

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Kingdom Of Heaven

When it comes to epics you can’t really go past Ridley Scott. That’s not to say that Scott can only make those kinds of films. In fact, compared to the other three directors mentioned he has a very diverse CV. It’s just that when he does venture into large-scale storytelling he does it bloody well. His latest event movie, Kingdom Of Heaven will undoubtedly draw comparisons to Gladiator if for no other reason than they are both about men with swords. But if you dig a little deeper you with see more legitimate similarities both thematically and stylistically.

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The Door In The Floor

It’s a matter of taste whether you can face up to the two main characters, Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges) and his estranged wife Marion (Kim Basinger), as both portray unsavoury and disturbing personalities.

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Hitch

For most of its running time, the new film from director Andy Tennant (Sweet Home Alabama) and first time writer Kevin Bisch is hilarious.

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Be Cool

Despite the one liners peppered throughout the film in an attempt to turn it into a parody of film sequels and Hollywood generally, “Be Cool” is simply not as cleverly written as other such send ups like the Austin Powers and Naked Gun series.

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Win A Date With Tad Hamilton

The chemistry between the three leads is virtually non-existent making it difficult to care about these characters let alone like them. Gary Cole as Rosalee’s dad is great and has the best of a bad lot of dialogue but, unfortunately, his scenes are too few and far between.

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Bright Young Things

Actor Stephen Fry begins his foray into directing with Bright Young Things. An adaptation from Evelyn Waugh’s novel Vile Bodies, about the rise and fall of young, high society in pre-World war II England.

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Goodbye, Lenin

The Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, capitalism won and the borders of Germany became one. Within nine months, vestiges of socialist East Germany had all but disappeared, in its wake, a dramatically different East Germany emerged.

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Head-On (Gegen Die Wand)

Although it's grungy, Head-On avoids the indulgence of this genre; the darkness is an inevitable result of the characters’ headspace.
Head-On is both a love story and a passionate journey into life’s underbelly, informed by an exploration of the clash between secular and Islamic culture.

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Superhero Movie

The film does have some laugh out loud comedy at times, but mostly provides giggles and cringe-worthy moments.

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Jersey Girl

From disgruntled workers to renegade angels, the improbable to the impossible, Kevin Smith’s distinctive style is full of laughs and controversy. Jersey Girl is a new direction, not strictly a comedy and controversial only among fans concerned about his ‘selling-out’.

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Not Suitable For Children

If you’re looking for a romantic comedy (some would even argue drama) that breaks new ground the Aussies certainly deliver it with Not Suitable For Children.

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The Longest Yard

Regardless of what can be said about the plot, character development and the merits or otherwise of the Sandler grin, the inescapable appeal of his films are the plethora of new and inventive ways to execute a sight gag

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

As a film, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is highly accomplished, however as a book adaptation, it will disappoint many die-hard fans. It is not the literal representation of J.K. Rowling’s words that we saw in The Philosopher’s Stone or The Chamber of Secrets.

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Thirteen

Thirteen is more than just a story about teenage rebellion. It portrays their confusion and insecurity.

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Little Children

Little Children is a film that will stay in your mind - long after the credits are finished. The film challenges viewers to search for its exact meaning, of which perhaps there are many, and will vary for individuals.

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Joyeux Noel (Merry Christmas)

Peace and harmony on the front lines of World War 1. Yes, that’s the scenario played out with a handful of British, French, and German soldiers on Christmas Eve 1914.

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Spider-Man 3

In this journey the creators have explored character development, delving into the darker side of our favourite hero, but the action hasn't suffered as a result of this.

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National Treasure

Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is part of a long line of amateur historians and dreamers who have been seeking the lost treasure of the Templar Knights. When he discovers there’s a hidden map on the back of the US Declaration of Independence, he has to beat an unscrupulous former financer of his expeditions (Sean Bean) to the treasure.

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The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

It does survive, however, with a strong cast, a very well-voiced narration and the unfailing concept that life is ridiculous, even on a universal scale.

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Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Gibney’s documentary respectably charts the details and events that led to the Enron demise. To a certain extent, it does well to steer away from the ‘Michael Moore over-populated territory of politics’ and have its focus remain faithfully on ‘the real-world capitalism’ theme instead.

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The Cat In The Hat

Mike Myers playing The Cat In The Hat in the film of the same name should have been a wonderful thing. What transpires over the 82 minutes running time is frenetic and somewhat disjointed.

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The Fountain

There is certainly no lack of ambition on Aronofsky’s part. It is positively laden with sentimentality and the cinematography is expressive and grandiose. Viewers may never see a film quite like this again.

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The Help

The Help is a magnificent film, not only because it exposes past wrong-doings but because it offers a story of hope. Brilliantly written and containing some sensational acting performances from its leads The Help is a film that certainly shouldn’t be missed.

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Lone Survivor

Luckily for movie fans out there Lone Survivor falls into the realm of good war films. So good in fact that it deserves to be mentioned alongside films such as The Hurt Locker and Black Hawk Down. Yes Peter Berg served his time with the studio and worked on Battleship and has now once again been allowed to show the world what a fine filmmaker he really is.

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Water

Water is a refreshing experience with an unexpected finality. Mehta cleverly ensures the audience empathises with each character and the strong Hindi traditions.

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Walk On Water

Often the best result for the movie is when the filmmaker can combine the two successfully - cinematic brains and brawn - so that the end result is a smart movie told well. Walk on Water is a fairly successful attempt at such a marriage, deftly walking a tight rope of cultural and racial taboos whilst simultaneously delivering a compelling thriller storyline.

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Suddenly 30

Suddenly 30 does have comedic moments, but is more melancholy than its promotional material suggests. This sweet story will have a broad appeal, as it satisfies the child’s wish to be a grown-up as well as the adult’s reminiscence of childhood.

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Descent into the Maelstrom

No prior knowledge of the band is required to enjoy this film as we hear the band tell their own fascinating story. The film is a great addition to the steadily growing oeuvre of Australian rock music documentaries.

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Seducing Doctor Lewis (Le grande seduction)

Week after week, the out-of-work men line up for their welfare cheques and it prompts the mayor to move away in shame. Hard time indeed for the 120 residents. Even the bank manager has no employees because there is no economy.

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Reaching For The Moon

Sadly the script also holds back the performances of the cast as well. While Miranda Otto does get a chance to remind us that she can be a great actress and shouldn’t just be remembered for Lord Of The Rings her cast mates really do suffer. Gloria Pires and Tracy Middendorf are never given the grit in their roles that they deserved and as a result their performances barely raise a blip on the screen.

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The Punisher

He is not a superhero with special powers. He is a dark character, very much in the style of a vigilante…

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Napoleon Dynamite

Writer/director Jared Hess (his wife Jerusha co-scripted) has created a cult hit and shot the film’s gangly lead, Jon Heder, to relative stardom. But despite the eccentricity and occasional hilarity of this film, there’s no emotional core.

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Inferno

One thing Inferno does have going for it though is it’s excellent production values. Set mostly in the stunning streets and museums of Florence, Italy, the film is gorgeous to look at. Add to that some excellent, hellish imagery via way of hallucinations that Langdon experiences, the film hits the mark on the visual aesthetic. Likewise, Hans Zimmer’s score matches the tonality of the film, but his music won’t really leave a lasting impression.

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Take Shelter

Take Shelter’ is a fantastic genre mix of thriller, drama and supernatural horror propelled by a great lead performance with a very believable script and story. There is no doubt this film will appeal to many viewers for a whole lot of reasons.

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Battle Of The Year

“Battle Of The Year” certainly isn't a film of the year but it doesn’t even close to becoming one of the worst films of the year either. Credit must be paid to Benson Lee for daring to do something a little different in the dance film genre.

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Troy

Some of the best scenes are the personal duels fought between the story’s star warriors. The famous fight between Hector and Achilles will stand out in the mind of the viewer.

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Breaking and Entering

Set in London’s infamous King’s Cross, ‘Breaking And Entering’ is an emotional story about the intertwining of two different socio-economic classes and the family struggles faced in both.

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I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

But it is not just an unfunny main character that brings down the film. There are holes in the plot. This is never a good thing! It moves too slowly as well. It is not logical either.

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Kong: Skull Island

A film like Kong: Skull Island will rarely, if ever, feature deep character development with an intricate plot. We watch it for the action and in that regard it excels, and looks beautiful doing it.

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Chronicle

Finally something new and fresh has landed in the sci-fi field. Chronicle by far outweighs expectation and this sneaky little sci-fi is a film worthy of blockbuster status. A must for sci-fi fans.

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Three Dollars

Three Dollars showcases the city of Melbourne quite moodily and the visuals are quite absorbing. There is much substance in how the dark side exists and it’s done with integrity and ingenuity.

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Miami Vice

Mann’s latest effort, Miami Vice, is another one that bucks the popcorn flick trend, by offering us a crime movie that challenges us to think. The characters are complex and morally ambiguous and no time is taken to spoon feed the audience as the first scene drops you smack bang in to the middle of a stakeout.

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Cop Out

The chase scenes are dull, the bad guys are uninspiring and nothing happens that could actually justify the making of a movie.

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In Darkness

In Darkness is a gut wrenching film that is equal to Schindler’s List when searching for a truth-based Holocaust film.

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Secret Window

This is a thriller based on Stephen King’s ‘Secret Window, Secret Garden’. It stands up well due to another terrific acting performance by Johnny Depp. His style is so original that it’s becoming riveting to observe.

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Drive

If you can’t stand on-screen violence than Drive isn’t for you, but then again if you miss it you will be missing one of the best films of the year. Drive is an amazing film that deserves a massive amount of awards

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Collateral

In Collateral we see a talented filmmaker in control of his medium. No screen time is wasted on cliched plot developments or unnecessary characters. Instead the three main actors are given room to display their capabilities…

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The Lives of Mount Druitt Youth

Adam chooses to explore the topic in depth and first of all explore whether these problems are as problematic as the commercial media likes to make out, and then explores the impact that lifestyle has on the people involved in it.

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The Cup

While, The Cup could have been a hell of a lot more dramatic it is worth a look to see this amazing story up on the big screen.

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Everybody's Fine (Stanno tutti bene)

This is a honest and heartfelt account of the trails and tribulations of what it is to be a modern family.

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Dallas Buyers Club

Dallas Buyers Club is an emotional drama based in sensitive times of American modern history. It has great direction and a great screenplay, with outstanding performances. The film almost entirely rests on McConaughey’s shoulders and he carries it well, all the way to the credits.

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Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London

The first Agent Cody Banks film was an enjoyable enough teen Bond adventure, but this inevitable sequel appears rushed and lacks much of the original's winning style.

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Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

I’m not much of a fan of director Garry Marshall’s work – although Pretty Woman’s a classic, Runaway Bride, Raising Helen and the original Princess Diaries are very ordinary films. But in this enchanting sequel, he and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes give us a character that’s not just beautiful and funny.

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Suburban Mayhem

It's bound to leave a lasting impression and the principal person who will leave it that way is young New Zealand actress Emily Barclay.

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Ella Enchanted

Ella Enchanted is based on a Gail Carson Levine’s best-selling book, yet this film, while pleasantly entertaining, certainly isn’t groundbreaking. It is a fairytale romance very much in the genre of Ever After, Princess Diaries (1 and 2) and the Prince and Me.

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Wicker Park

Scottish director Paul McGuigan brings a brooding and enjoyable look to Wicker Park. This film unravels before your eyes; each revelation adds another piece to a puzzle, creating an interesting climax.

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Christmas With The Kranks

It’s almost impossible to enjoy Christmas With The Kranks, although being a child or an American might assist. Although there are some humorous moments, particularly earlier on in the film, even Jamie Lee Curtis’ normally welcome presence can’t save this movie.

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Stage Beauty

Stage Beauty, the latest film by respected British director Richard Eyre, has all the trappings of your standard period fare, angelic faced stars Claire Danes and Billy Crudup, plenty of Shakespearean prose and lace bustiers barely concealing voluptuous flesh beneath.

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Get Smart

All things considered, Get Smart is not bad, but I remain of the view that the brand should be left as an untouchable when it comes to remakes or reinterpretations.

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Horrible Bosses

The other major factor in Horrible Bosses working is the fact that once again the casting team of a movie have realized that casting good actors in the minor roles leads to a thoroughly enjoyable film.

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Face To Face

Apart from flashbacks most of the drama takes part in one room but so well written is the dialogue and characters that you never grow bored, and the tension can only be likened to what the audience felt when they saw Twelve Angry Men for the first time.

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Thunderstruck

Five young guys attend an AC/DC concert in Sydney in 1991 as part of the band’s Razor’s Edge Tour.

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The Crop

It’s all pretty good fun. It may not reach the high performance levels expected, but the Aussie larrikin is well portrayed and there are some effective comic moments.

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XXX 2: The Next Level

I have read the premise behind the XXX series variously described as “007 meets extreme sports” and “Bond on steroids” which is perhaps why they hired Lee Tamahori who shot the last Bond film, “Die Another Day” to direct. But that proposition really just turns in upon itself when you recall that Die Another Day failed to deliver what Bond films of old have delivered consistently for years - action with a little bit more.

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Dave Chappelle’s Block Party

The idea of the film is based around well renowned comedian Dave Chappelle presenting a massive free party/concert set in one of Brooklyn’s neighbourhood blocks. The whole film was shot on location in Brooklyn and Ohio-Chappelle’s home town, where he invites locals who would not normally have the chance to attend a rap concert…

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The Mummy: The Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor

‘The Mummy: Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor’ isn’t the disappointment that so many people have predicted. It slots into the series quite well, and the inclusion of Maria Bello lifts Brendan Fraser’s acting performance as well. One of the blockbusters of the year it even outshines the new ‘Indiana Jones’.

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The Guard

A little offensive and very much over-the-top The Guard is a surprise comedy hit. If The Guard doesn’t make you laugh you need to see a doctor about your sense of humour.

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Control Room

Control Room provides a valuable look at the “Coalition of the willing” through Arab eyes, and attempts to bridge the gap between the two colliding cultures.

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Role Models

While there are some funny moments – the Kiss costumes are worth a chuckle – Role Models is probably one to avoid unless you’re keen on juvenile sex humour or a thirteen-year-old boy with not much to do during your summer holidays.

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Hail, Caesar!

Of all the troubling things about the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar! – and there are plenty to choose from – the most problematic is that it’s barely a movie at all, but rather a serious of loosely stitched together sketches of wildly varying quality. Known for some of the most creative and tight screenplays in contemporary film history, it’s absolutely baffling to see the Coens deliver something with next to nothing at stake and zero involvement from a character perspective.

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Magic Mike

But the star of Magic Mike is Matthew McConaughey who puts in a blinding dramatic performance (and shows that he is well ripped for a 40-year-old) that shows as a character actor he is certainly back in the game.

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Raise Your Voice

Raise Your Voice needed an exceptional singer such as Emmy Rossum (Phantom of the Opera) in the lead role to have even a chance of working. Even then the script would need major revision.

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Crazy, Stupid, Love

I have always felt that Carell has been hit or miss with his film roles over the years but I absolutely loved him here. He is believable and likeable and truly makes the film an enjoyable experience for the whole audience.

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Big Dreamers

“Big Dreamers” is a quintessential Australian film which focuses on a small town struggling for survival. Director Camille Hardman does a fine job capturing the spirit of small town Australia, and should be applauded for truly documenting and not exploiting the town’s hardships or their eccentricities.

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Garden State

Garden State is a rare cinematic experience – a commercially successful independent film that’s heart-warming, but not irritating…

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The Chumscrubber

A movie with an element of dark humour, ‘The Chumscrubber’ makes a clever and bold statement about today’s detached and perhaps repressive society.

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Coffee and Cigarettes

Not a feature-length film as such, it is a collection of eleven short films, shot over the last two decades, with a variety of stars of varying luminosity, from Cate Blanchett to Alfred Molina, from Bill Murray to Steve Buscemi. For the most part they play themselves.

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You Instead

You Instead is a okay film with a great soundtrack. Be prepared to be blown away by some great visuals but also be prepared for some lows due to a weakened script.

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Infestation

“Infestation” is not going to blow you away, and with its evidently low budget, it does not feature the greatest mystical creatures you will see in a horror/sci-fi film.

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Hairspray

Adam Shankman – who pulled double duty as the film's director and choreographer- has created a vibrant, extravagant, extremely well structured and well paced movie filled with infectious musical numbers, big colourful sets and excellent costumes.

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Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen

One of the best things about this film is that it allows the characters to simply be teenagers and make mistakes with what they say, wear and do.

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A Good Year

Crowe has a presence and an image these days that is virtually inescapable. Seeing him lumbering about in tennis whites and tortoise-shell glasses is akin to seeing a plumber trying to fit in at a launch party for The New Yorker.

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Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

There’s the same excruciating humour, but now you know Bridget a little better, you realise that despite her utter dorkiness, she’s a sweetie, befriending taxi drivers and Thai prostitutes alike.

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Chalet Girl

The casting of Chalet Girl is yet another reason why it works. Felicity Jones works hard at her role and the goods are there for all to be soon but it is the two Bill’s that steal the show. Bill Bailey plays the forlorn father really well while Bill Nighy manages to steal the limelight in every scene he is in…

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Vampires Suck

Don’t even think about seeing ‘Vampires Suck’ if you haven’t seen the ‘Twilight’ movies… in fact don’t even think about seeing it at all… instead save your money and go do something that will be less painful for you – like having dental surgery without the anesthetic.

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The Thing

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes showed us earlier this year that prequels to classic films can work, and The Thing only enhances that. This is a great modern horror that due to its great direction and terrific script uses suspense to make its audience jump… and that is all you can ask for from a good horror film.

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The Football Factory

The Football Factory does not reach the heights of similarly themed Fight Club and Trainspotting. It does explore a lot of interesting ideas, has some good performances and a decent soundtrack. It definitely has moments of merit…

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The Simpsons Movie

The animation in The Simpsons Movie is superb, shedding a bright and fantastic new vision of the family on the big screen and it is certainly visually impressive.

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Night Train To Lisbon

“Night Train To Lisbon” is a slow burn to watch and the fact that it never really seems to move out of first gear makes you wonder whether or not it deserves it’s title of thriller at all.

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Judy Moody & The Not Bummer Summer

Judy Moody & The Not Bummer Summer will be lapped up by kids but will divide adults. Some will see it as a fun time that will offer a couple of laughs while others will see it as a dull waste of time.

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Birth

This film had received much pre-release hype due to the scene where Anna is in a bathtub with the 10-year-old boy Sean (Cameron Bright). But, put into the perspective of how that moment is part of the general treatment of Anna, the mystery is delicately placed.

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Deep Blue

On the one hand, the music transforms the ocean world into a ballet of living creatures, full of joyous dolphins and sinister sharks. On the other, it leaves exciting and bizarre footage unexplained and our curiosity unsatisfied.

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12 Years A Slave

The film’s visual style is stunning. Steve McQueen’s regular cinematographer Sean Bobbitt returns to provide a beautiful and haunting look at the film’s setting whilst capturing the visceral range of each of the characters. Couple that with an outstanding score by Hans Zimmer and the film’s audio and visuals component is as emotionally engaging as the screenplay and performances that it complements.

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The Change-Up

It may have been done before but The Change-Up is a must for those who want to see a movie that will make them laugh. This is Reynolds and Bateman at their hilarious best.

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Wolf Creek

Many will need to look away for certain scenes and others will walk out, but if you can sit through Wolf Creek’s darker moments you will be rewarded with a landmark piece of Australian cinema and a chilling conclusion.

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Puzzole alla riscossa (Furry Vengeance)

‘Furry Vengeance’ has its heart in the right place but its important message about the environment is lost in a wave of unfunny humor and dreadful script-writing.

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You And Your Stupid Mate

You and Your Stupid Mate doesn’t push any new boundaries in the ‘Stupid’ genre and unfortunately misses a potential fan-base with its 15+ rating. The humour is lowbrow but not shocking, unique or particularly funny.

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The Village

…Shyamalan sets an enthralling atmosphere; this atmosphere is produced through some excellent cinematography, great dialogue and a rich cast…

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Yes Man

Credit must be paid to Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel who have taken Danny Wallace’s book and created a screenplay that not only has a decent storyline but allows Carrey to show just what a comic genius he is while playing a well-rounded character that isn’t only made up of comic slap-stick.

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Milk

‘Milk’ is a sensational film full of love and compassion that will leave any film lover absolutely breathless. Penn puts in the performance of his life while Van Sant proves that Hollywood still has the right recipe to make a ‘great’ film.

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The Extra

In telling of the life of an aspiring actor who simply fills roles as an extra, the film is sure to be enjoyed as good fun with charismatic moments and plenty of personality.

Jimeoin’s likeable persona and the generally clean humour help provide some genuinely funny moments.

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Saved

Saved is an enjoyable teen comedy that has some important subtexts: it argues for tolerance of diversity, and the importance of looking beneath the superficial when choosing friends.

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Sex And The City: The Movie

Although clichéd in some parts, ‘Sex And The City: The Movie’ delivers what fans want; sex, love, laughter, fashion and most important of all the undeniable loyalty of four devoted old friends.

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Bad Education (La Mala Educación)

This is Almodovar’s most complex film yet, but its emotional resonance makes it much more than a puzzle.

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Toomelah

Toomelah is perhaps one of the most important films to be made in Australia this year. While it’s not everyone’s cup-of-tea it is a good film that deserves to be seen.

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Bad Santa

Glen Ficarra and John Requa’s pacy script injects some much-needed originality into the redemption formula and despite the unpleasantness of most of the characters, you begin to care about their tawdry lives.

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Two Brothers

Beautifully filmed, Two Brothers captures stunning footage of tigers at play and fuses outstanding visual elements with personality and warm emotion. This lovely film will appeal to children of all ages and anyone who delights in animals and adventure.

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Offside

It is interesting to view the dark side of world football – in the symbolism attached to the treatment of women. We don’t see any of the actual game, just the emotional depth of what it means to people.

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Coach Carter

It is yet another recent movie going way past its curfew at just over two hours. It’s a shame that there isn’t so much ado about the man himself, his past and his personal life.

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Anonymous

If you love conspiracy theories than you certainly shouldn’t miss Anonymous. This is the kind of theory you’ll be telling your friends about for a long time to come.

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The Wind That Shakes The Barley

The Wind that Shakes the Barley takes a sympathetic look at Republicans in early 20th century Ireland, and two brothers who are torn apart by anti-British rebellion. The film won the Palm D’Or for director Ken Loach but won’t be to everyone’s tastes especially considering the heavy violence and grisly number of torture scenes.

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The Whole Ten Yards

I can not figure out how this film got the green light; sequels must just be in fashion. The audience is completely underestimated, or the comedy went straight over my head, because it was not enjoyable or funny at all.

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Twice Upon A Time (Désaccord parfait)

A French/English hybrid, “Twice Upon a Time” is a movie with unlimited potential, that begins promisingly only to constantly stumble at every turn.

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She’s The Man

This film has some great messages for young people, encouraging them to overcome peer pressure and empowering them to pursue their dreams. Several of the jokes do fall flat, but these moments are rare and quickly replaced by a cinema full of giggles and gender-bending enjoyment.

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Shot Caller

Nikolaj Costner-Waldau delivers his best performance to date. “Jaimie of the Thrones” here aspired to the throne in both fictional incarnations. Earlier as successful stock broker, later as prisoner struggling to position himself in the harsh and unforgiving system.

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Darkest Hour

Rather than span the course or Churchill’s accomplished life, screenwriter Anthony McCarten was wise to narrow it down to the span of just one month. The best biopics are the ones that do just this: find a moment in their life and focus on that. This is what makes Darkest Hour work so well…

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All The Money In the World

Scott did the unthinkable with the film. How other filmmakers will follow suit in similar instances remains to be seen. It's a rare peek into the generational nuances of a family that's well worth a look.

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Melbourne Premiere of Swinging Safari

International superstar Kylie Minogue returned to her hometown for the Melbourne Premiere of her latest movie, SWINGING SAFARI, at Rivoli Cinemas in Camberwell on Thursday 14 December 2017.

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The BBQ set for January 2018 release

Label Distribution’s Tait Brady and Madman Entertainment’s Paul Wiegard recently announced that the two companies will jointly release the new Australian comedy The BBQ, starring Shane Jacobson and Magda Szubanski. The national release date is January 18, 2018.
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Cast announced for True History of the Kelly Gang

George MacKay (Captain Fantastic, Pride), Academy Award Winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, The Water Diviner), Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men, Tolkien) and Essie Davis (The Babadook, Game of Thrones) have been announced to star in True History of the Kelly Gang, a film by the creative team behind the unflinching and award-winning Snowtown.
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