There are a whopping seven new releases opening in Australian cinemas this week. If you can find a way through the crowds of teens trying to see the first sessions of Breaking Dawn: Part 1 you can also check out Colombiana, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Burning Man, The Tall Man, The Future and The First Grader.
Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 - I'll get the extremely annoying one out of the way first. Just think, there is going to be another one of these next year. I'm so thankful I no longer work at a cinema where these films are screened. It is hell. So, if anyone cares, in Part 1 Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child...which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner). Interestingly, this was downgraded from an MA rating to an M - meaning it will make even more of a killing. Keep clear of the Multiplexes this weekend.
Colombiana - Zoe Saldana plays Cataleya, a young woman who has grown up to be an assassin after witnessing the murder of her parents as a child. Wait. Really? Yawn. Turning herself into a professional killer and working for her uncle, she remains focused on her ultimate goal: to hunt down and get revenge on the mobster responsible for her parent's deaths. Zoe Saldana has plenty of talent and I'm sure she gives it her all, but come on - the story is far from original and this looks like a sloppy and unnecessary addition to the genre.
We Need to Talk About Kevin - An extraordinary film from acclaimed filmmaker, Lynne Ramsay (Ratcatcher), is an experience that benefits from knowing very little prior to viewing. Adapted from the acclaimed 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver, Kevin is densely plotted, powerful acted (especially from an Oscar worthy Tilda Swinton) and truly affecting. The film explores the fractious relationship between Eva Khatchadourian (Swinton) and her son Kevin (played by Ezra Miller as a teenager). Seamlessly blending together, in the form of a waking dream, chapters of Eva's life, we witness her contention with the increasing malevolence of her first-born son, much to the ignorance of her husband, Franklin (John C. Reilly). The result is a stunning act that shatters the lives of the family, and Eva's future psyche.
Burning Man - An English chef (Matthew Goode) with a chic restaurant on Bondi Beach is trying to put his life and his relationship with his son back on track while surrounded by women. The reviews coming in have been positive, mostly about the effectiveness of the film's emotional punch and the strength of Goode's performance. Written and directed by Jonathan Teplitzky (Gettin' Square), Burning Man also stars Bojana Novokovic and Rachel Griffiths.
The Tall Man - This is the story of Palm Island, the tropical paradise where one morning Cameron Doomadgee swore at a policeman and forty-five minutes later lay dead in a watch-house cell. This is also the story of the policeman, the tall enigmatic Christopher Hurley who chose to work in some of the toughest and wildest places in Australia, and the struggle to bring him to trial. The film has been describes as a "haunting moral puzzle that no viewer will forget."
The Future - When Sophie (Miranda July) and Jason (Hamish Linklater) decide to adopt a stray cat, their perspective on life changes radically, literally altering the course of time and space and testing their faith in each other and themselves. The Future played In Competition at the 2011 Sydney Film Festival, but received mixed reviews.
The First Grader - In a small, remote mountain top primary school in the Kenyan bush, hundreds of children are jostling for a chance to the free education newly promised by the Kenyan Government. One new applicant causes astonishment, Maruge, an old Mau Ma veteran in his eighties who is desperate to read at this late stage in his life. Moved by his passionate plea, head teacher Jane Obinchu (Naomie Harris) supports his struggle to gain admission and together they face fierce opposition from parents and officials who don't want to waste a precious school place on such an old man.
Weekly Recommendation: We Need to Talk About Kevin is an absolute must-see, while Burning Man and The Tall Man sounds like they are worth checking out.