Lore - The long-awaited follow-up to her exquisite Somersault, Australian director Cate Shortland's adaptation of the novel The Dark Room by Rachel Seiffert is a sensual and complex story that explores the tribulations faced by the young in the aftermath of World War II. When their Nazi SS parents are taken into Allied custody, five siblings are left to fend for themselves. Teenaged Lore, the oldest, takes charge, and the children set out to join their grandmother in Hamburg, some 900 km away. Along the arduous journey, the children encounter a populace suffering from postwar denial and deprivation, and for the first time are exposed to the reality and consequences of their parents' actions. With food hard to come by, and the journey becoming ever more dangerous, the children meet Thomas, a young Jewish survivor who helps them negotiate their way through tricky situations. Lore is both repulsed by and attracted to Thomas. All that she has been taught leads her to believe that he is the enemy, but his industriousness, generosity and physicality prove alluring. A coming-of-age tale set against the backdrop of a changing world, Lore shows new life emerging out of darkness with great intelligence and subtlety. Outstanding war drama, beautifully photographed and featuring mature performances from the young cast.
Ruby Sparks - Calvin (Dano) is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career but is now struggling with his writing - as well as his romantic life. Finally, he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby (Kazan), in the flesh, sitting on his couch about a week later, he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living, breathing person. Smart, poignant and very funny, if let down by a flabby middle and a disappointing ending, Ruby Sparks is entertaining. Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan (writer) are in form.
Diary of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days - During his summer vacation, "Wimpy Kid" Greg Heffley, the hero of the phenomenally successful book series, hatches a plan to pretend he has a job at a ritzy country club - which fails to keep him away from the season's dog days, including embarrassing mishaps at a public pool and a camping trip that goes horribly wrong.
Hotel Transylvania - Welcome to the Hotel Transylvania, Dracula's (Adam Sandler) lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of the world's most famous monsters--Frankenstein and his bride, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and more--to celebrate his daughter Mavis's 118th birthday. For Drac, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem--but his world could come crashing down when one ordinary guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.
Bait 3D - When a monstrous freak tsunami hits a sleepy beach community, a group of survivors from different walks of life find themselves trapped inside a submerged grocery store. As they try to escape to safety, they soon discover that there is a predator among them more deadly than the threat of drowning-vicious great white sharks lurking in the water, starved hungry for fresh meat. As the bloodthirsty sharks begin to pick the survivors off one by one, the group realizes that they must work together to find a way out without being eaten alive. It 'looks' awful, but it could actually be quite fun.
Last Will - An affluent woman is framed for the murder of her husband and faces a mountain of evidence stacked against her. Undeterred, she begins to put the pieces of the true story together. Has a tiny release - GU Manuka, Collaroy and Cinema Paris only.
Also: Reel Anime Film Festival is currently screening at Dendy Newtown. For information on the films - From Up on Poppy Hill (new Studio Ghibli, recommended), Wolf Children, Berserk: The Egg of the King and Children Who Chase Lost Voices check out reelanime.com
Weekly Recommendation: Lore and Ruby Sparks are my picks this week. Lore, though it is set in Germany and it is entirely German-spoken, is an Australian funded production and likely to be the finest Australian-produced film this year. It has been selected to represent Australia for consideration for Best Foreign Language Feature at the 2013 Academy Awards, and has a real shot at being nominated, too. Here's the trailer below.