A Night Of Horror Preview: Found

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$8,000. That’s what this near masterpiece of horror was made for. It’s chilling and disturbing and has nightmare images that will attach to your brain whether you’d want them to or not (and you don’t). But what makes it different and especially intriguing is that, at its pitch black heart, Found is a superior character study.

The situation is established quickly and seen through fifth-grader Marty’s eyes. He makes a gruesome discovery in his older brother’s bedroom, soon understanding that his only sibling Steve is a serial killer. Part of what makes this so good is that it’s via Marty that we see what’s happening – how he responds to new information and the changing landscape around him. This is a strong character, a bullied boy who has certain fortitude. Marty’s easy to feel and care for as Found slowly uncovers what’s behind the façade of his ‘normal’ family. 

Based on the novel by Todd Rigney, director/co-writer and editor Scott Schirmer has made something that sits in the left field of the horror genre. This is a thoughtful film, building the sense of dread to disturbing levels. As Marty, newcomer Gavin Brown is flawless, while screen brother Ethan Philbeck is increasingly frightening as the soft-featured psycho-killer Steve. 

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Fantastic Planet Preview: All Superheroes Must Die

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Imagine pitching this to a big brand Hollywood studio: A superhero movie based on characters the public has never heard of, with no fancy effects, no tongue-in-cheek humour. No camp. An American superhero movie that takes itself deadly seriously – and one where its superhuman stars are, effectively, without any powers.

It’s not until later that you wonder how the filmmakers managed getting away with a true-to-the-genre superhero movie that is, well, just some guys and a girl running around in costumes. But that’s its brilliance. Made on the flimsiest of shoestrings, All Superheroes Must Die owes more to film noir than Spider-Man in style, and its substance is based on strong characterisations and an unfolding of the story behind the heroes and their inter-relationships.

The film hooks you early – forcing you to wonder about these four characters that have just been awoken, without their powers, not knowing how long they’ve been unconsciousness.

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A Night Of Horror Preview: Mon Ami

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Underneath every indie horror/comedy is an unspoken desire to become a cult sensation. But too often, movies in this sub-genre are only enjoyable to a point – the jokes and the scares run out of steam, and instead of becoming cult smashes, the films see out their days as DVD bargain bin fillers. It takes a particular talent to make horror/comedy that really works. That isn’t disposable.  That makes you scared, makes you laugh, and actually sustains your interest. Which makes Canada’s Mon Ami such a find. It starts funny and gets funnier as the dumb and dumber kidnappers brilliantly, thoroughly and utterly hilariously screw up their plan. 

Hardware store employees Teddy (Mike Kovac, Yesterday) and Cal (Scott Wallis, Prom Night) are best buddies, but with their taste for listening to classical music while smoking pipes, they’re of a different breed from the usual, predictable dudes. The duo’s friendship was somewhat fractured when Teddy tied the knot with Liz (Teagan Vincze), but they’re set for quality buddy time together when they kidnap Crystal (Chelsey Reist) – their boss’s daughter and colleague at the store. They’re pissed off employees after ransom and revenge, but they’re nice dudes and don’t really intend to hurt Crystal. But – of course – things do not go as designed…

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Adelaide Fringe Festival: At The Movies

FilmInk\'s Roger Smith witnessed some of his favourite flicks as he\'s never seen them before...

The op\"burl.jpg\"ening night of the Adelaide Fringe is hot and packed, and nowhere is hotter or more packed than the season’s first performance of At The Movies. But Margaret and David won’t be making an appearance this evening, instead the sweaty crowd are stuffed into the backroom of the Soul Box Café on Hindley Street eagerly awaiting Miss Luna Eclipse and Miss Sapphire Snow to take to the stage for a Burlesque take on some of your favourite movies. In dazzling red sequined gowns with thigh high splits all the way up to there, Luna and Sapphire sashay their way through “Two Little Girls From Little Rock” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, with all the winks and wiggles in all the right places that would make Marilyn and Jane proud.

With temperatures rising in the packed house after the first number, comperes Rohan Watts and Lady Cara Louise finally address the white elephant that’s been in our midst since we walked in the door, yes, Burlesque. You know the movie with Christina Aguilera and Cher? Didn’t see it? Don’t worry, no one did. So long story short, (yes I’ve actually seen it), it’s about a burlesque club in LA that only features about three minutes of actual burlesque in the whole movie. So condensing all the best bits and wrapping them up in strings of pearls and ostrich feather fans, Sapphire shakes and shimmies the way Christina could only hope.

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Disappearing Act

Jeanne Moreau\'s talent and versatility is obvious in ACMI\'s new season Focus on the French screen siren, according to Andrew Moraitis.

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A childish gambler who utilises her looks to scam money from strangers, a beleaguered wife unsure of her marriage to a cheating writer, a kindly chambermaid who would risk her life to achieve justice, a sociopathic manipulator willing to destroy others’ happiness for her own vindictiveness, an increasingly depressed heroine that falls in love with one man but marries his best friend: in their physical and psychological challenges, these roles demand an extraordinary degree of range and skill. In retrospect, it’s astonishing to realise that one actor could have convincingly portrayed all these roles in a relatively short amount of time. Yet Jeanne Moreau, working with directors as distinctive as Roger Vadim, Luis Buñuel and François Truffaut, managed to bring versatility, focus and magnetism to these roles, cementing her deserved reputation as one of the finest French actresses of the 20th Century with her vivid and imaginative performances in these roles.

Other performers can credibly transform themselves (with the help of make-up, costume design or even prosthetics) into a range of disparate characters with physical skill, but cannot divorce themselves from their mannerisms, eventually succumbing to repetition in acting choices as a result of their lack of emotional range or sensitive acting technique. Moreau, however, disappears less with physical apparatus than with an extreme level of focus and precision in her acting choices. Probably best known for her enigmatic and alluring performance in the iconic New Wave film Jules et Jim, she disappears into the respective psychologies of her characters, hinting at tensions simmering beneath a poised surface. It’s thrilling to see someone in such command of her craft … and the films aren’t bad, either.

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Retribution Revisited

FilmInk snatched time with the director and stars of \'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters\' at the film\'s Sydney premiere.

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 Sydneysiders came out in droves to see the stars at the Australian premiere for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, a radical revisiting of the classic fairytale. Fitting with the macabre theme of the film, the red carpet was actually white with blood splattered stains. FilmInk waited our turn to speak to the director and stars beside a temporary stick forest, while a snow machine blasted us with fake flakes.


Gemma Arterton

How did you get in and out of those remarkable costumes?
With a lot of help [laughing]! It took a while to get into them, it was a good thirty minutes every morning to get it all on and they were pretty tight, those pants. Some days they were tighter than other days especially after a weekend!

How did you cope with the stunts?
One of the best things was getting down and dirty, covered in mud.

The Disappearance of Alice Creed and Tamara Drewe really showed your dramatic ability and poise. Do you prefer those kinds of roles?
Yes, I do lots of theatre as well so that\'s where I think my creativity is set free. You have a bit more flexibility on smaller dramatic roles, and aren’t under such big pressure like the blockbusters. This is my year of independent filmmaking, I have four smaller movies coming out.

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The Story of Film: An Odyssey

FilmInk\'s intern Stephanie Todd, a 15 year old high schooler, put this item together around the first disc of the groundbreaking documentary, The Story of Film: An Odyssey.

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Smashing the movie myths and going back to basics with documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey

Yet another tedious documentary which recounts the driest parts in the history of film, you might be thinking. There will definitely be some very long and nostalgic narration praising the ingenuity of the old, boring filmmakers, reminiscing about how ‘different it was back then’. You’ll be happy to know, this cinematic voyage does not embark in such a fashion.

I was very surprised when first our narrator, with his strong Irish accent, remarks that film is not about the box office or the media or the promotion. Or that Casablanca is not a classic! Now that was a shock for me!

In fact, it is refreshingly different to hear a film expert not mindlessly praise some dusty old tape and call it genius just because it is a classic. Indeed, Mark Cousins, director and narrator of this piece, specifically calls Japanese cinema full of real classics, and says romances like Casablanca move too fast to be a true classic.

Finally! A breath of fresh air! A new opinion! Don’t get me wrong, I love Casablanca, I just want to hear something new, fresh and different. For this is not so much a look at film; it is an introduction into WHY some films are as highly praised as they are. And can I just say that this is a topic which most definitely needs to be addressed. As a budding film critic, I often struggle to understand what my elders see in some films. I mean, I didn’t see what made ­E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial as iconic as it is! I was personally quite bored by it, and thought it dragged on. But anyway, leaving my personal vendettas aside, The Story of Film: An Odyssey is interesting in the way that it takes us back to basics, and tells us what we’re missing when we’re unexplainably bored while watching some old film.

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Hooper Overreaches With Bloated Les Mis

Tom Hooper\'s Les Miserables is technically ambitious, often moving, but slightly disappointing, according to Filmink\'s Andrew Moraitis.

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Like Richard Attenborough, Tom Hooper has followed Oscar success with a screen musical. Given the consistently high fail rate – both critically and commercially – of the genre, you must credit The King\'s Speech director for his ambition, especially when considering Les Misérables is also an epic: a brown-toned and bloated melodrama that’s not only an adaptation of a Tony-winning musical (by Alain Boublil, Claude- Michel Schönberg and Herbert Kretzmer), but also based on one of the finest novels of all time (by Victor Hugo). Hooper’s film doesn’t match the lofty expectations of such prestige; rather, his film is chiefly distinguished by Anne Hathaway’s poignant and raw performance as the tragic Fantine. She’s the engine of this film – emotionally – and interest levels drop when she departs.  

Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean, an imprisoned peasant in 19th Century France. After he is released and treated with compassion by a bishop (an excellent Colm Wilkinson), Valjean resolves to better himself, eventually becoming mayor of his adopted town, Montreuil-sur-Mer. Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe), however, becomes suspicious of the local hero, and resolves to bring Prisoner 24601 to justice. Entrusted with the daughter of the prostitute Fantine (Hathaway), Valjean attempts to protect Cosette (Isabelle Allen as a child, Amanda Seyfried as a teenager) from the dangers of the outside world, which is complicated by Cosette’s affection for Marius (Eddie Redmayne), a student protestor. (Sweeney Todd’s Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen also feature as the treacherous Thénardiers, Cosette’s abusive ‘caregivers’).      

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High Style

Shane A. Bassett braved the rain and wind to steal a few minutes with Daniel Craig and co. on the red carpet at Sydney\'s swish premiere of \'Skyfall\', which rolled out at the State Theatre.

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I was early, so early in fact that I stood in my position at the Australian premiere of Skyfall whilst a man was giving the red carpet a once-over with an industrial vacuum cleaner.

It was raining and policemen stood at the ready along the busy city street. Then it came, a loud roar from the masses that were gathered from across the road behind a carefully constructed barrier. A black hire car had stopped and out stepped Daniel Craig, looking ever so much like his 007 alias. He was accompanied by two beautiful Bond girls and newcomers to the franchise, Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris.

Daniel was effervescent talking to journalists and every now and then, literally stopped traffic as minders took him across the street to sign autographs for screaming fans. And we stole a couple of minutes of his time, as well as the two girls who are every inch Bond’s equal.  

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Greek Film Festival: Tungsten

This sliceof Greek social realism may be grim, but it\'s also superbly made.

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In amongst the stereotypes of a bad soccer team, a worse economy and a tendency to cook lamb for vegetarians, the Grecian penchant for visceral cinema has largely been forgotten. One film that encapsulates this rawness is Tungsten, a cathartic, non-chronological story from writer-director-producer Giorgos Georgopoulos.

The film leads us through a day in the life of several hard-luck battlers, trying not to succeed, but merely make it through the day without failing. A middle-age transit officer (Vangelis Mourikis) asks his brother to help him out of debt in order keep his family together. Two young hoodlums (Omiros Poulakis and Promitheas Aliferopoulos) walk the streets aimlessly, scrounging for money, drugs and any stimulation at all, while a crabby middle manager (Tasos Nousias) tries in vain to balance his dead-end job and faltering abusive relationship.

The stories of this sorry but sympathetic bunch often intersect in amusing and unforeseen fashion, giving Tungsten a layered touch that seems to imply the commonality of each person\'s struggle, despite coming from different backgrounds and heading in different directions.

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