Thursday, September 16, 2010

In Cinemas This Week

Animal Kingdom - (Pick of the Week) Note-perfect Australian family crime-drama, about the coming of age of the youngest member of Melbourne's Cody family, notorious for their history of petty blue-collar crime. Insightful, well-realised characters and a tight, brilliant script keep this from steering off into familiar territory. Especially impressive is newcomer James Frenchville as the young Joshua and veteran Ben Mendlesohn (Idiot Box) in a spectacular virtuoso performance, as Andrew 'Pope' Cody, the most extreme low-life of the family. Also featuring Guy Pearce (The Hard Word) and directed by David Michod, this was one of the sleeper hits of this year's New Zealand International Film Festival.

Despicable Me - Criminal mastermind, Gru (Steve Carell - Date Night), has the world at his feet - he is launching his greatest plan to take all of the major landmarks and hold them to ransom. When he mistakenly kidnaps three little orphan girls, who just want a father, things start to go wrong and he forms an attachment to the children that threatens his plans for world domination. Featuring heaps of great voice talent: Russell Brand (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music), Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Kristen Wiig (Whip It). Looks like fun and something a little different from Dreamworks Animation. (Also in 3D)

Grown Ups - Is it just me or are plot-lines getting dumber and casting getting lazier in comedies these days? Adam Sandler, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, Kevin James, Maria Bello, Steve Buscemi, Rob Schneider and David Spade team up as 80s classmates (ugh) who are united by the death of their old college basketball coach. Lots of reminiscing and bad 80s fashion follow there after. Looks like a train-wreck waiting to happen.

I'm Still Here - Speaking of train-wrecks, this documentary slice-of-life looks to be one of the most unsettling, bizarre and down-right crazy of the year. Casey Affleck follows notorious on-again-off-again celebrity Jaquin Phoenix through his alleged retirement, into exploring a career as a rapper and over the brink of sanity. Apparently contains a lot of full frontal male nudity and a certain scene that is probably too gross to write here. Caused quite a buzz at its premiere at The Toronto Film Festival recently, where people were debating the legitimacy of the material. This looks so damn bizarre, I suspect its probably all true.

Mother & Child - A common thread of adoption weaves through the lives of three women in this intense looking drama from Roderigo Garcia (Six Feet Under). Featuring a pretty great ensemble cast: Annette Bening, Naomi Watts, Jimmy Smits an, surprisingly, Samuel L Jackson. Looks pretty heartbreaking and densely populated with interesting characters.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - "Balthazar Blake (Nicolas Cage) is a master sorcerer in modern-day Manhattan trying to defend the city from his arch-nemesis, Maxim Horvath (Alfred Molina). Balthazar can't do it alone, so he recruits Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a seemingly average guy who demonstrates hidden potential, as his reluctant protégé. The sorcerer gives his unwilling accomplice a crash course in the art and science of magic, and together, these unlikely partners work to stop the forces of darkness. It'll take all the courage Dave can muster to survive his training, save the city and get the girl as he becomes The Sorcerer's Apprentice." - from

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