Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hit & Run ★ ★ ★ ½

Release Dates

Australia:  6th September, 2012; USA 22nd August, 2012; UK12th October 2012
Other Countries: Release Dates


          The actors were clearly having a good time. The audience was laughing around me and I had the occasional giggle, so if you are looking for a bit of light fun with attractive leads, you won’t be disappointed with “Hit and Run”.
The film is written, co-produced and co-directed by the lead, Dax Shepard.  He does a great job playing the laid-back Charlie Bronson, hiding away in witness protection living idyllically with his soul mate Annie (Kristen Bell).   These two have a real chemistry on screen and it is not surprising as they are a real life couple.
Shepherd appears to have a penchant for rounding up mates and making films and it was whilst doing press for ‘Brother’s Justice’ (a mockumentary film with many of this same cast) that the idea for ‘Hit and Run’ was launched. “We kept getting asked what we were going to do next, and we just started saying we were going to do a car chase movie,” Shepard recalls. “We had no script or premise – we just knew we loved car chase movies.  And because we had said it, we knew we would have to deliver.”
The film, in fact, had no casting director. “We didn’t cast any strangers,” Co-Director David Palmer explains. “They all got paid SAG scale for a low budget movie – because they all love Dax. There’s a friendship and trust and sweetness about him that just brings everybody together.” Notes Shepard, “This was pro ably the worst work environment that most of these actors have had in years.  It was chaotic, but everyone really had a good time.”
In ‘Hit and Run’, Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard), a get-away driver for a bank robber gang is in witness protection.  He places his life at risk when his girlfriend, Annie (Kristen Bell) is offered an interview for her dream job in LA.  He decides rather than losing her he will drive her to LA despite his case worker Marshall Randy Anderson (Tom Arnold) forbidding him to leave.  There is an ongoing joke involving Randy’s inability to control his gun and his car which works very well throughout the movie.  In fact, Tom Arnold’s Randy is a standout character.
Unfortunately, Gil (Michael Rosenbaum) the jealous ex-boyfriend alerts Charlie’s old gang leader, Alex Dmitri (Bradley Cooper) and the rest is a car pursuit that evokes shades of the classic 1977 Burt Reynolds ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ but in our current era’s ribald style humor. There are many well known actors in bit parts; Sean Hayes, Kristin Chenoweth, Beau Bridges, Jason Bateman to name a few.

Whilst ‘Hit and Run’, isn’t going to drive away with any awards, as my companion commented, "its good fun, good laughs and at the end you feel good."  And if I think back to my first viewing of ‘Smokey and the Bandit’, I think I felt much the same way.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Preview Film Roundup 19.8.2012


A busy few weeks in film releases with mini-reviews for your reading pleasure. How should you spend your precious dollars when visiting the cinema?  Read on...

The Campaign ½

Opened in Australia: 9th August 2012
Other Countries: Release Information


           It should be funny with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis but it just wasn’t —although the audience were laughing.  For the record, can I just state I don’t understand why American comedies now require gratuitous swearing and sex in every third scene.  Ever since the Financial Crisis the Hollywood filmmakers seem to have decided that the only thing that will cheer everyone up is swearing, sex and fart jokes.  A wasted opportunity here and if you do want to see a good comedy, see Bernie or Not Suitable for Children.  This one does not get my vote.



          When long-term congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell) commits a major public gaffe before an upcoming election, a pair of ultra-wealthy CEOs plot to put up a rival candidate and gain influence over their North Carolina district. Their man: naïve Marty Huggins (Zach Galifianakis), director of the local Tourism Center.
          At first, Marty appears to be the unlikeliest possible choice but, with the help of his new benefactors' support, a cutthroat campaign manager and his family's political connections, he soon becomes a contender who gives the charismatic Cam plenty to worry about. As Election Day closes in, the two are locked in a dead heat.

Bourne Legacy ( ★★)

Opens in Australia: 16th August 2012
Other Countries: Release Information


            The first thirty minutes of this is certainly no Bourne movie.  It’s slow and tedious and I defy anyone to understand what they are talking about. Eventually it swings into action and it turns out its pretty much the same as every other Bourne movie.  The chase scenes are exhilarating but cranky husband reminded me that we’ve seen it all before in recent Bond movies.  Renner is a dull Bourne.  However, despite a limp beginning and ending it was an okay thriller.  Don’t go looking for substance or anything nearly as good as the earlier versions and you will be happy.



          The narrative architect behind the Bourne film series, Tony Gilroy, takes the helm in the next chapter of the hugely popular espionage franchise that has earned almost $1 billion at the global box office: The Bourne Legacy. The writer/director expands the Bourne universe created by Robert Ludlum with an original story that introduces us to a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose life-or-death stakes have been triggered by the events of the first three films. For The Bourne Legacy, Renner joins fellow series newcomers Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Stacy Keach and Oscar Isaac, while franchise veterans Albert Finney, Joan Allen, David Strathairn and Scott Glenn reprise their roles. -- (C) Universal

Bully (★★★★)

Opens in Australia: 23rd August 2012
Other Countries: Release Information



            Prepare yourself to be very angry. As a parent I identified very strongly with the enormous pain endured by the families and the children involved in the bullying. It would be nice to think this is just an American problem. However, having had a child harassed at school all through Grade Three and having had pretty similar conversations with the authorities at the school who offered little help, I must say it is universal. We moved our child to another school this year because of the lacklustre attitude of the school.

           This movie should be seen by every parent and every child over the age of twelve. (I say twelve because there is swearing and the suicide concepts are heavy hitting.) It is confronting but it will open up a topic of conversation that needs discussion urgently. It enjoys five stars not for the quality of the filmmaking—it is flawed but still well made—but for the topic and the courage of those involved. Please see it.



           Directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, Bully is a beautifully cinematic, character-driven documentary. At its heart are those with huge stakes in this issue whose stories each represent a different facet of America's bullying crisis. Bully follows five kids and families over the course of a school year. Stories include two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother awaiting the fate of her 14-year-old daughter who has been incarcerated after bringing a gun on her school bus. With an intimate glimpse into homes, classrooms, cafeterias and principals' offices, the film offers insight into the often cruel world of the lives of bullied children.

Holy Motors (Rating: decide for yourself -but if you love film, see it.)

Opens in Australia: 23rd August 2012
Other Countries: Release Information



           The badges handed to us at the door of the preview said, ‘Art or Lunacy?’ So we knew going in we would be challenged.  I don’t really know how to rate this film as I’m not sure what I just saw.  Like many French films it’s whimsical and very, very different.  If you are curious, see it and go along with the whole thing, without looking for answers.  It is imagination run wild, and works and doesn’t work depending on whether you view it as a movie or a piece of moving patchwork art.  Film can and should be art and Holy Motors is an intriguing example.  Art or Lunacy?  I say, beautiful, crazy art.


From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man... He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part - but where are the cameras? Monsieur Oscar is alone, accompanied only by Céline, the slender blonde woman behind the wheel of the vast engine that transports him through and around Paris. He's like a conscientious assassin moving from hit to hit. In pursuit of the beautiful gesture, the mysterious driving force, the women and the ghosts of past lives. But where is his true home, his family, his rest?

Wunderkinder ( ★★½)

Opens in Australia: 23rd August 2012
Other Countries: Release Information


           Holocaust movies are not easy viewing. However, they are usually uplifting dramas telling stories of incredible human courage and endurance, alongside horrific cruelty. I see everyone that I can, not because I need to know any more about the holocaust but because I feel we need to bear witness to this tragedy in our history. There are still stories to be told and we should honour those stories by listening, reading and watching.  The children in this German language film are fabulous and the friend who attended the preview with me said that she had to keep repeating to herself that it wasn’t real, so she didn’t break down. It is also a fascinating story of friendship and courage.


           The story takes place in the Ukraine (Poltava) in 1941 before and during the German invasion. This story is about deep friendship between three musically talented children—two Jewish children, both virtuosic, and a talented German girl who share a love of music. Their friendship extends beyond the gaps of different religions and nationalities, The Nazis invasion to the Soviet Union destroyed their world and they and their families deal with death threats War brings with it.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Australia See Hotel Transylvania for Charity

See the fun new family movie

Hotel Transylvania

on Sunday September 16

and raise funds for

Sony Foundation Australia


Sony Pictures Releasing and Sony Foundation Australia have partnered to help raise much needed funds for young people struggling with issues such as homelessness, serious illness and disability. Special advance screenings of the new comedy Hotel Transylvania, with a voice cast including Selena Gomez, Adam Sandler, Cee-Lo Green and Andy Samberg, will be held at select cinemas nationally to raise funds for Sony Foundation.

The special screenings will take place on
Sunday September 16 from 10.00 am*
Event Cinemas, Greater Union, Birch Carroll & Coyle, Hoyts, Village, Reading, Wallis, Grand Cinemas and Ace Cinemas.

Ticket price is only $10.00

Purchase tickets online or at box office at participating cinemas.

 *check cinema directories for session details.
Proceeds raised from these screenings will go directly to Sony Foundation.

About the movie

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.

Hotel Transylvania a great new comedy for the entire family, will release in cinemas on September 20. Discover more about the movie:

About Sony Foundation

Sony Foundation is the charitable arm of the Sony Group of Companies in Australia.  The Foundation has raised in excess of $15 million in the last decade, to support young Australians facing homelessness, severe illness and disability. Their signature program, the Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camps, support young Australians with disabilities, their families and their carers. Sony Foundation is also working in collaboration with CanTeen through the ‘You Can’ campaign to establish youth cancer centres of excellence across Australia, and will continue to support Youth Off The Streets’ Anti-Drug and Alcohol Program.  To find out more visit:

For more information about Sony Foundation Australia, please contact:

Shelley Gardiner
Events Manager
Sony Foundation Australia
Phone: 02 9383 6231

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Facebook Fans Decide on Paranormal Activity 4 Screenings



Fans of "PARANORMAL ACTIVITY" are being empowered to bring the movie to their city first.  Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom, Inc., will debut the fourth instalment in the popular horror franchise exclusively in 25 cities around the world by encouraging fans to vote to see it first with a new “Want It” application on Facebook.

Facebook’s 955 million global fans can vote for an advance screening in their city by clicking on the “Want It” button on the film’s fan page at  

“Want It” is a dynamic application utilising Facebook’s open graph technology that gives fans the opportunity to vote to bring the franchise to their city and leverage their social networks to ensure they are one of the top 25 winning locations.  The application recognises a fan’s geo-location according to their Facebook profile and automatically registers a vote to bring the film to their city first.  Votes will be shared on a fan’s page and automatically posted to the Facebook newsfeed to rally their peers to bring the film to their city first too. 

The application feeds individual votes into a dynamic leader board that shows the ranking of every city in real time.  Audiences can track the top cities as well as the ranking of their own city as well as push out reminders encouraging friends to vote.  “Want It” brings an unprecedented level of interactivity for fans in determining screenings of the movie.   

“There’s a very special connection between ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY’ and Facebook,” said Matt Jacobson, head of market development at Facebook. “Four years after the initial success of the franchise and the establishment of a passionate fan community, we’re excited to see continued iteration on a franchise that was born on Facebook. Paramount is using both the Facebook platform and media to drive awareness of the film, three months out, and we will continue to drive awareness and intent at scale as we approach opening weekend in October.” 

“The success of ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY’ began with the fans who have championed the movie franchise from the very beginning through social media,” said Amy Powell, Executive Vice President of Interactive Marketing. “Now we're creating an even more dynamic experience among the film’s community of fans and for the first time, we're giving them an opportunity to go head-to-head on Facebook with fans around the world to determine the 25 cities who get to see ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4’ before it opens.”

Fans can also vote at the films website,

The 25 cities that receive the most votes will win a free screening of the eagerly awaited film before it hits theatres October 18, 2012.

“PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4” is directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman.

Like “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4” on Facebook at and follow on Twitter at TweetYourScream.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ted Makes Australian Box Office History

TED has passed The Hangover 2 to become the highest grossing MA rated film in Australian Box Office history at  $32,725,000 .

The previous Top 5 MA rated films at the Australian box office were:-
  1. The Hangover 2              $32,674,884
  2. Bridesmaids                    $27,147,018
  3. Sex and the City              $27,113,816
  4. Sex and the City 2          $23,528,482
  5. The Hangover                 $21,405,338 

Ted is now ranked as the 3rd highest grossing comedy of all time at the Australian Box Office:-

  1. Crocodile Dundee           $47,707,045
  2. Meet the Fockers            $34,975,476
  3. TED                                 $32,725,000
  4. The Hangover 2              $32,674,884
  5. My B.F. Greek Wedding $27,989,740

Currently ranked as Universal Pictures 3rd highest grossing film of all time in Australia, however during this coming week we will pass Jurassic Park for the No. 2 position.

  1. Babe: The Gallant Pig    $36,776,554
  2. Jurassic Park                  $33,002,776
  3. TED                                $32,725,000
  4. E.T.                                 $32,662,001
  5. Gladiator.                        $31,115,331

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Weekly Review Round Up: 4th August 2012


What should you spend your precious dollars on when visiting the cinema? What needs popcorn to enjoy?  And what needs waiting until DVD?

If you have seen any of these or want to see them and have a comment please feel free to share. We love hearing from our readers.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ★★★

Opens in Australia:  2nd August 2012
Other Countries:  Release Information

This historical mash-up did not enjoy great reviews.  So, we weren’t exactly frothing at the mouth to attend the preview.  However, we were surprised how much we enjoyed it. Think “Resident Evil” but with vampires instead of zombies. If you like slash ‘em up, wild-ride, popcorn films, this one will not disappoint.  The trailers don’t do it justice.  It’s a load more fun than they portray. 


He freed the slaves and led the Northern states through America’s Civil War.  His legacy as the greatest president of the United States endures to this day.  But Abraham Lincoln’s life as the world’s greatest hunter of the undead remained a secret—until now.  In a stunning, visceral and gere-bending 3D action adventure, Director Timur Bekmambetov (“Wanted”), producer Tim Burton,. and writer Seth Grahame-Smith reveal the incredible story of Lincoln’s lifelong war on vampires, and the role these creatures played in the untold history of the United States.

The Sapphires ★★

Opens in Australia: 9th August 2012
Other Countries: Release Information


How refreshing to see a movie starring aboriginal girls, who aren’t portrayed as drunken, drug taking hopeless cases.  I’m not denigrating those films—some are world-class—but its wonderful to skip out of a movie that shines with positivity telling a unique aboriginal story.  The four girls who play The Sapphires are real gems (excuse the pun).  Deborah Mailman as the tough-nosed big sister is a true talent and, of course, Jessica Mauboy fans will enjoy her fabulous voice and she can really act too.  All the minor actors are a treat.  Chris O’Dowd, most famous for his recent hit “Bridesmaids” has chemistry but he seems to portray the same character in every film.  Time for him to move on to a psychopath before he is typecast.  Please go see this and support quality Australian cinema.  This one is very deserved of your dollar.


The Sapphires is an inspirational tale set in the heady days of the late ‘60s about a quartet of young, talented singers from a remote Aboriginal mission, discovered and guided by a kind-hearted, soul-loving manager. Plucked from obscurity, the four spirited women with powerhouse voices – called The Sapphires – are given the opportunity to entertain American troops in Vietnam. Catapulted onto the world stage as Australia’s answer to the Supremes, their journey of discovery offers them not only the chance to show off their musical skills, but find love and togetherness, experience loss and grow as women.
Receving a ten minute standing ovation at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, The Sapphires is a crowd-pleasing combination of comedy, heart and romance and an unbeatable soul music soundtrack, set against the racial and social upheaval of the late 1960s. A jewel-bright charmer and an Australian classic, The Sapphires is not to be missed.

Bernie ½

Opens in Australia: 16th August 2012
Other Countries: Release Information


I love these mockumentary style films. This one is worth seeing to see Jack Black in the best performance he’s ever given.  Matthew McConaughey is having the time of his life and Shirley MacLaine is fabulous as the cantankerous Marjorie.  They missed a few opportunities to make it even funnier.  If you like this one try and catch on DVD “Tabloid”, which is even funnier.  Could anyone be so mean a whole town supports their murder?  Only in Texas, folks, is what I’m hoping.  Read our full review. “Did You Hear the One about the Aunt in a Freezer?”


In the tiny, rural town of Carthage, TX, assistant funeral director Bernie Tiede was one of the town's most beloved residents. He taught Sunday school, sang in the church choir and was always willing to lend a helping hand. Everyone loved and appreciated Bernie, so it came as no surprise when he befriended Marjorie Nugent, an affluent widow who was as well known for her sour attitude as her fortune. Bernie frequently traveled with Marjorie and even managed her banking affairs. Marjorie quickly became fully dependent on Bernie and his generosity and Bernie struggled to meet her increasing demands. Bernie continued to handle her affairs, and the townspeople went months without seeing Marjorie. The people of Carthage were shocked when it was reported that Marjorie Nugent had been dead for some time, and Bernie Tiede was being charged with the murder.

Storm Surfers 3D ★★

Opens in Australia: 16th August 2012
Other Countries: Release Information


I was a surfie chick for about six months at the age of seventeen, heading to Surfers Paradise Qld every weekend and reading all the magazines. Then I realised it was boring sitting watching surfers waiting to catch waves.

However, there is nothing boring about watching these two surfing legends Ross Clarke-Jones and Tom Carroll search for the un-surfed wave. The 3D is fabulous and the huge waves they surf mark quite remarkable achievements for two men in their middle to late forties. Despite the fact they were clearly having a ball chasing waves around Australia, I did wonder how their poor suffering wives felt about it. A solid documentary made with true Aussie larrikin passion. It made me proud to be an Aussie. See it even if you aren’t into surfing. It’s about following your dream and keeping the passion no matter your age. Thank you to Ace Cinemas Subiaco for the screening. 


STORM SURFERS 3D is an epic, character-driven adventure documentary following two best friends on their quest to hunt down and ride the biggest and most dangerous waves in Australia. Aussie tow-surfing legend Ross Clarke-Jones and two-time world champion Tom Carroll enlist the help of surf forecaster Ben Matson and together they track and chase giant storms across the Great Southern Ocean. Braving enormous waves, freezing conditions and near-death experiences, the film follows all of Ross, Tom and Ben's adventures over the 2011 winter big-wave season, all in stunning 3D. Along the way they join forces with big wave chargers Paul Morgan, Mark Mathews and Paul 'Antman' Paterson to conquer waves in Western Australia, on the east coast and in Tasmania, with a special appearance by the greatest surfer of all time, Kelly Slater. The holy grail for this team of big wave hunters is to discover and ride new waves that have never been surfed.

Step Up Revolution

Opens in Australia: 2nd August 2012
Other Countries: Release Information


I didn’t make it to this one.  However, my niece who is a big “Step Up” fan went. Her report was that it was better than two and three and she LOVED it.  My sister-in-law who took her agreed it was better than two and three but I don’t think she felt the love.  Send your teenagers and have a coffee whilst enjoying some quiet time.  Rotten Tomatoes Reviewers rated it 37% but the audience viewers gave it 77% and liked it.

Step Up Revolution is the next installment in the worldwide smash Step Up franchise, which sets the dancing against the vibrant backdrop of Miami. Emily (Kathryn McCormick) arrives in Miami with aspirations of becoming a professional dancer and soon falls in love with Sean (Ryan Guzman), a young man who leads a dance crew in elaborate, cutting-edge flash mobs, called "The Mob." When a wealthy business man threatens to develop The Mob's historic neighborhood and displace thousands of people, Emily must band together with Sean and The Mob to turn their performance art into protest art, and risk losing their dreams to fight for a greater cause.

What have you seen this week? Did you find our comments helpful or do you disagree? Share your thoughts with us.