Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Releases (03/10/13)

New to cinemas this week, and it is a big one, are Gravity, Rush, The Act of Killing and Thanks for Sharing. 

Gravity - Directed by Oscar nominee Alfonso Cuaron this heart-pounding thriller pulls you into the infinite and unforgiving realm of deep space. Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney). But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone.

Rush - Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon) teams once again with writer Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon, The Queen) on Rush, a spectacular re-creation of the merciless and legendary 1970s Formula 1 rivalry between gifted English playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and his disciplined Austrian opponent, Niki Lauda (Daniel Brüh).

The Act of Killing - Anwar Congo and his friends have been dancing their way through musical numbers, twisting arms in film noir gangster scenes, and galloping across prairies as yodelling cowboys. Their foray into filmmaking is being celebrated in the media and debated on television, even though Anwar Congo and his friends are mass murderers. When the government of Indonesia was overthrown by the military in 1965, Anwar and his friends were promoted from small-time gangsters who sold movie theatre tickets on the black market to death squad leaders. They helped the army kill more than one million alleged communists, ethnic Chinese, and intellectuals in less than a year. As the executioner for the most notorious death squad in his city, Anwar himself killed hundreds of people with his own hands. Joshua Oppenheimer's confronting, terrifying film is an unmissable feat of documentary filmmaking. Linked review by Cam Williams at Graffiti With Punctuation.

Thanks for Sharing - On the surface Adam (Mark Ruffalo), an over-achieving environmental consultant, Mike (Tim Robbins), a long-married small-business owner, and Neil (Josh Gad), a wisecracking emergency-room doctor, have little in common. But all are in different stages of dealing with addiction. Confident and successful in his career, Adam is afraid to allow love back into his life, even if that means losing a chance to start over with smart, beautiful and accomplished Phoebe (Gwyneth Paltrow); Mike's efforts to control his wife, Katie (Joely Richardson), and son, Danny (Patrick Fugit), as tightly as he does his impulses are tearing the family apart; and Neil is still deeply in denial when befriended by Dede (Alecia Moore), who has just begun to take her own small steps back to health. As they navigate the rocky shores of recovery, Adam, Mike and Neil become a family that encourages, infuriates and applauds each other on the journey toward a new life.

Weekly Recommendation: I am watching Gravity tomorrow night and I am confident I am going to love it. Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) is one of my favourite directors. This is going to be awesome, and will need to be seen on the biggest screen possible. The Act of Killing is harrowing. One of the year's most original, powerful and important films. Rush is also worth a look for the sensory elements, the exciting race sequences and the impressive performances, but I was a little underwhelmed. I didn't much like Thanks for Sharing, a tonally imbalanced addiction drama that unfolds without many surprises, despite some tender, funny moments and a strong cast. Perhaps I was a little harsh after Sydney Film Festival, but reviews have been mixed in general so I'm not alone. 


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