Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Releases (10/11)

Just three new releases in Australian cinemas this week. That's a couple less than usual, but often I have seen a few prior to the release date. This week I haven't seen any of Moneyball, The Debt and Shark Night 3D.

Moneyball - Based on a true story, Moneyball is a movie for anybody who has ever dreamed of taking on the system. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A's. The guy who assembles the team has an epiphany: all of baseball's conventional wisdom is wrong. Forced to reinvent his team on a tight budget, Beane will have to outsmart the richer clubs. He teams with Ivy League grad Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) in an unlikely partnership, recruiting bargain players that the scouts call flawed, but all of whom have an ability to get on base, score runs and win games. It's more than baseball, it's a revolution - one that challenges old school traditions and puts Beane in the crosshairs of those who say he's tearing out the heart and soul of the game. I have heard nothing but great things about Moneyball, including from reviewers with little to no interest in baseball. Pitt is being declared an Oscar contender and it's hard to find a reason to skip an Aaron Sorkin screenplay. It's also has a 95% RT score.

The Debt - This espionage thriller begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Helen Mirren) and Stephan (Tom Wilkinson) about their former colleague David (Ciaran Hinds). All three have been venerated for decades by their country because of the mission that they undertook back in 1966, when the trio (portrayed, respectively, by Jessica Chastain, Martin Csokas and Sam Worthington) tracked down Nazi war criminal Vogel (Jesper Christensen) in East Berlin. At great risk, and at considerable personal cost, the team's mission was accomplished - or was it? Despite a great cast (including my personal Woman of the Year, Jessica Chastain), this dual time period suspense thriller has received mixed reviews. Helen Mirren seems to be in everything these days too, and nothing good for quite a while. However, it also stars Ciaran Hinds (Rome), so I'll give it a go.

Shark Night 3D - Wait, this is rated PG-13 (or M here in Australia)? Where's the fun in that. At just 85 minutes, directed by David R. Ellis (Snakes On a Plane) and in awful 3D, it seems like nothing more than a pointless exercise. Arriving by boat at her family's Louisiana lake island cabin, Sara (Sara Paxton) and her friends quickly strip down to their swimsuits for a weekend of fun in the sun. But when star football player Malik (Sinqua Walls) stumbles from the salt-water lake with his arm torn off, the party mood quickly evaporates. Assuming the injury was caused by a freak wake-boarding accident (of course), the group realises they have to get Malick to a hospital on the other side of the lake, and fast. But as they set out in a tiny speedboat, the college friends discover the lake has been stocked with hundreds of massive, flesh eating sharks...okay...I don't think so. Still, I bet it makes more money this weekend than the other two releases.

Weekly Recommendation: Check out Moneyball.


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