Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas) brings us a tense psychological thriller, set in the 1940s and based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Detective Teddy Daniels who is investigating a several disappearances at a mental asylum on the titular island. There seems to be a conspiracy amongst the staff which leads the investigators in circles. They start to doubt the clues presented to them and even their own memory, family and sanity. The snappy, mysterious and beautifully moody trailer has been doing the rounds for quite a while and reports from early screenings have been full of praise. This is Scorsese's first full narrative feature since The Departed, so I am ever hopeful it delivers on the promise of its trailer and excellent novel.

Max Manus - World War II epic about Norwegian war hero, Max Manus (Aksel Hennie), who helped disseminate much Nazi Propaganda of the time and turn the tide of the war by forming the Rognes Organization. The war becomes ever more brutal and many of Manus' friends die in the struggle, and he starts to blame himself for being the one who survives. He soon realises that everybody is a victim of the meaninglessness of war. Apparently this is quite a spirited period piece and offers quite a message of hope, despite the bleak subject.

Balibo - Another true story, this time about the 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor from the point-of-view of five Australian based journalists (one of them is actually a kiwi). They are lured to the country with the promise of some great news footage and to investigate the disappearance of several missing men. A conspiracy is uncovered and as they slowly peel away the layers of truth the invasion grows in strength and an unlikely friendship grows between one of the journalists and the man who would soon become the President of East Timor.

Bright Star - New film from our very own Jane Campion. This is a 19th Century drama based on the affair between the great romantic poet John Keats (Ben Wishaw) and Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish), before his untimely death at a young age. Has been wowing film festival audiences all over the world, has been nominated for an Oscar (Best Achievement in Costume Design) and has already started winning various other awards for sound and costume. Looks like a sumptuous period romance for a Sunday afternoon's viewing.

Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (3D Double Feature) - Both of the original Pixar movies realised in digital 3D! What could be more awesome? Not much, really. I saw this a few weeks ago with a packed house of kids, hopped up on sugar and food-colouring and it sure was a fun ride. There's even games during the intermission between movies! The remastered image and 3D effects give the films a whole new lease of life, so even if you're a seasoned fan of the franchise (or even a bored parent looking for a way to entertain the kids) you'll still find something fun here. Its only playing for a limited season, in the lead-up to the release of Toy Story 3, so see it while you can (in selected digital cinemas).

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