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The Big Release
What’s the story? In the words of the Orange advert that has played before every film at your local multiplex for the past forever, Rio is the story of “a beautiful Macaw on a personal journey of self discovery… promised a story of triumph. This was my chance at a nomination. To show the world! (pause) They’ve turned me Orange haven’t they.” Yes, yes they have! HAHAHAHAHAHA!
Cast: Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland), Anne Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs, The Devil Wears Prada). Director: Carlos Saldanha (Ice Age, Ice Age 2)
Plus points: Expanding on the success of the Ice Age films, Blue Sky Studios (20th Century Fox’s Animation Wing) is now a major player in the pixel game. The inclusion of two Oscar nominated actors doesn’t hinder its potential quality either.
Let downs: In the words of every single film writer discussing animation since Toy Story, “It ain’t Pixar”. If that Orange advert hasn’t already made you want to take a shotgun to anything blue and flighty you’re a stronger human being than us.
Verdict: While a film featuring Anne Hathaway where you can’t actually see Anne Hathaway seems incredibly unfair, if you’ve got little ones to entertain this Easter you could do a lot worse than Rio. For starters it doesn’t feature a bunny, voiced by Russell Brand, pooping jelly beans.
What’s the story? Upon moving into college digs things start well enough for Sarah. She gets a friendly roommate, interest from a ‘hottie’ on campus and a lovely cat. When the first of these suddenly shows signs of insanity the latter two had best watch out. Poor kitty.
Cast: Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl, Country Strong) Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights, (500) Days Of Summer). Director: Christian E. Christiansen (Life Hits, Zoomers)
Plus points: Very few even for fans of genre pictures. You could argue an entire generation probably hasn’t seen Single White Female but that didn’t particularly need rectifying. Another plus point is, since Edward Woodward shuffled off this mortal coil, director Christian E. Christiansen now has the best name in Movieland.
Let downs: TV actors making the jump to big screen stardom often have to hurdle this type of dreaded schlock-fest first, but neither actress really convinces that they belong on the silver screen.
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Verdict: Pants. And boring pants at that. The kind of pants that Rob Gordon was referring to in High Fidelity; “cotton ones, that have been washed a thousand times”.
Tomorrow, When The War Began
What’s the story? Enjoying a barbie and a brewskie on a beach, or rather roasting marshmallows on a fire, Aussie teenagers quickly find their stereotypical fun interrupted when an unknown army attacks.
Cast: Caitlin Stasey (Neighbours), Rachel Hurd-Wood (Solomon Kane, Peter Pan). Director: Stuart Beattie (writer on Australia, Collateral).
Plus points: Action packed and fast-paced. The plot may be ‘Red Dawn Under’ but the Sheilas and Bruces manage to stay away from too much flag-waving patriotism.
Let downs: Where the action soars, the dialogue falters. And while Neighbours alumni Caitlin Stasey (Rachel Kinski) does well enough with lines like “It’s time to go to war”, Karl Kennedy isn’t in it. Which is a shame. He could have sang the invaders into submission.
Verdict: With a budget at the best part of $20,000,000 the film was a big gamble for the Australian Film Industry. With a sequel already in development and fans of the original books seemingly pleased, it looks like the punt paid off.
What’s the story? Documentary following the Danish members of the ‘Armadillo’ military base as they fight against the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan.
Cast: Team 7 of the International Security Assistance Force. Director: Janus Metz Pedersen.
Plus points: It would be hard to describe it as ‘nice to see’ a film about Afghanistan that stays away from the UK and US involvement, but the fact we’re following Danes not Brits certainly is a novel factor and a trump card of the film.
Let downs: If you thought Submarine was hard to find, try tracking down Armadillo in your local multiplex.
Verdict: In a fairly poor week, due in large part to the Easter holidays and this being April – the poorest month of the movie year, Armadillo is the pick of the releases. If you can find it.
The Best Film Still Showing
Duncan Jones’ follow up to Moon contains some of its predecessors philosophical reflections on what it means to be human but mixes it with a fun, witty Hitchcockian thriller that gives great roles to its leads Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan. Well worth a repeated viewing if none of the films above grab your attention.