No Country for Old Men - Movie Poster

No Country for Old Men

4.5 Anthony Macali

Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon some dead bodies, a stash of heroin and more than $2 million in cash near the Rio Grande.

Watch this to experience the psychotic Anton Chigurh, whose very presence on screen is terrifying, as he pursues the naive Llwelyn Moss. The chase is brutal and intense, with their confrontations providing breathtaking suspense. The film also serves as an analysis of the human condition, questioning the value of money and the principles we follow in life. "No Country For Old Men" is a mesmerising thriller that all should visit.


Beautiful Kate - Movie Poster

Beautiful Kate

4.5 Wendy Slevison

A writer is asked to return to the family home, to say goodbye to his father who is dying.

There is so much in this stunning film that is beautiful. The performances from the male leads are superb, and it's the direction and script, from a first-time feature director, that make it possible. The cinematography perfectly captures the beauty and isolation of the homestead where the story takes place; and the music score does what the best do - enhance, while not overtaking. "Beautiful Kate" is a memorable and significant contribution to Australian film-making and viewing.


12 Years a Slave - Movie Poster

12 Years a Slave

4.5 Anthony Macali

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

"12 Years a Slave" is more than just a black man sharing his first-hand account... it's a raw and visceral experience. This narrative isn't afraid to hide the senseless violence and bigotry of the time, revealing a truly horrifying portrait of humanity. It's a stark contrast to the beautiful visuals of the film, which also serve to scar in our memory with some of the more striking scenes. A story of equal intrigue and importance. Many years an injustice.


End of Watch - Movie Poster

End of Watch

4.5 Anne Murphy

Two young officers are marked for death after confiscating a small cache of money and firearms from the members of a notorious cartel, during a routine traffic stop.

If you hear that "End of Watch" is a cop-buddy movie don't be misled; this riveting and intense drama is much more than that. It's a film that is so good it transcends the simple genre classification, so edgy that it redefines police-buddy movies. Although the pace is fast space is made for a rarely witnessed humanness in uniform, with a friendship that goes beyond mere allegiance. Keep watching.


Welcome - Movie Poster

Welcome

4.5 Anne Murphy

Bilal, a 17 year old Kurdish boy from Iraq sets off to England to see his love who lives there.

"Welcome" is an authentic exploration of a divisive social issue of our time. The device of narrowing the focus from exiles and asylum seekers to one man allows sensitivity to infiltrate the story, and attitudes of caring emerge from unlikely sources. The movie is grounded with a heartbreaking love story at the core. Strong performances hold the production together, keeping it from showing undue concern in a bleeding heart fashion. Always welcome are extraordinary, powerfully emotional, and well directed films about unwelcome immigrants.


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Movie Poster

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

4.5 Anthony Macali

The true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby who suffers a stroke and has to live with an almost totally paralyzed body; only his left eye isn't paralyzed.

"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" is both a beautifully inspiring and tragic story. With clever use of the medium, the director throws us into the perspective of our unfortunate patient. Elle's cynical outlook provides more laughs than sympathy, as he serves his imprisonment and takes the opportunity to seek closure and follow his dreams - such a task our able-bodied selves often find too difficult. A wonderful film, and a celebration of life.


The Wrestler - Movie Poster

The Wrestler

4.5 Anthony Macali

A drama centered on retired professional wrestler Randy "The Ram" Robinson as he makes his way through the independent circuit.

In a movie about wrestling, it's only fitting that the acting in this film is superb. "The Wrestler" explores what a human being is capable of, and then what they do. It's this no holds barred honesty that makes this film spectacular. As the camera follows Randy "The Ram" onto the stage of his life, he bears all to his fans, and the audience, in a wonderfully poignant performance. If wrestling is all about acting, then this film is the teaching manual.


The First Beautiful Thing - Movie Poster

The First Beautiful Thing

4.5 Anne Murphy

A misanthropic professor returns to his hometown to assist his dying mother.

A mother's life is recounted through the memories of her son, and the present viewed through his eyes. "The First Beautiful Thing" is about the everyday frustrations of family, the people closest to us who we never quite forgive for being themselves. The acting is engaging, warm, and vulnerable, as characters are authentically portrayed in this humorous and at times very moving story. The film moves seamlessly between past and the present, the scenes coloured with familial warmth. A truly beautiful thing.


Surveillance - Movie Poster

Surveillance

4.0 Anthony Macali

An FBI agent tracks a serial killer with the help of three of his would-be victims - all of whom have wildly different stories to tell.

It's always captivating when information is revealed the way this film does. Three victims are interviewed by the cops; three different perspectives are intertwined; and then the audience is left to put the pieces together. The performances are strong across the board, all accessories to driving the speeding tension. A riveting story, twisted narrative and sadistic characters make "Surveillance" an engrossing thriller.


What Maisie Knew - Movie Poster

What Maisie Knew

4.0 Anne Murphy

In New York City, a young girl is caught in the middle of her parents' bitter custody battle.

The protagonist is a six year old and we see only what she witnesses and we hear only what she does. Both her resilience and her fragility are apparent. "What Masie knew" is loaded with emotion and doesn't sink into sentimentality; the tone is delightfully precocious in this uncommonly well-crafted movie. The narcissism of some of the adults comes off as brat-like, their poor behaviours glaringly transparent in contrast to the more opaque and thoughtful attitude of the child. Wise Masie.


Atonement - Movie Poster

Atonement

4.0 Anthony Macali

Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a 13-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.

"Atonement" is a love story torn by unfortunate circumstance. Briony's interpretation of events are marred by jealously, and cleverly presented in a style that shows the points of view of all involved. These key events play alongside a beautiful score, complete with resounding keys of a type-writer that haunts throughout. This film is a timeless period piece and an admiral adaptation that shows the power of the written-word.


Looking for Eric - Movie Poster

Looking for Eric

4.0 Anne Murphy

Eric, a postman whose life is descending in to crisis, receives some life coaching from Eric Cantona.

For the most part, the tone of "Looking for Eric" has a steady down beat of realism as individuals within a loosely connected family tackle emotional issues including loss and depression. The cast extends beyond family to encompass important relationships with friends, heroes, and deadbeats. The plot is refreshingly unpredictable with a triumphant, if somewhat incongruent, conclusion tacked on. All is forgiven as the credits roll... the audience feels good and Eric may have found what he was looking for.


The Way - Movie Poster

The Way

4.0 Anne Murphy

A father heads overseas to recover the body of his estranged son who died while traveling the "El Camino de Santiago," and decides to take the pilgrimage himself.

'El Camino de Santiago', or 'The Way of St James', has been a Christian pilgrimage for a thousand years and this movie shows why the walk is more travelled now than ever before. The story may be fiction, but the trail itself, the magnificent scenery, and the diverse experiences of pilgrims are real. Not everyone's path, but those who do watch will experience a melancholic and moving film. This way for a life affirming journey.


Chinese Take-Away - Movie Poster

Chinese Take-Away

4.0 Anne Murphy

In Buenos Aires, the bitter and methodic Roberto is a lonely man and the owner of a hardware store.

Don’t be misled by the title, "Chinese Take-Away" is original cinema fare. The characters are human to a fault, simple and uncomplicated. They stumble through day-to-day trying to get through some extraordinary and unexpected circumstances. That is the charm of this movie, perfectly balancing between the everyday-ordinary and the synchronistic and inexplicable. The result is quirky and beguiling, and it's simply delightful to watch the story unfold without being able to predict the direction or outcome. Recommend you eat in.


Performance - Movie Poster

Performance

4.0 Anne Murphy

Members of a world-renowned string quartet struggle to stay together in the face of death, competing egos and insuppressible lust.

When you find yourself weeping in a cinema, why is it that you cry? Is it for the life loves and losses of fictional characters or for your own fragile mortality? Something extraordinary is orchestrated when a writer and director conspire to bring a finely tuned production to the screen. Credit must also go to the talented actors who perform together seamlessly as a quartet. "Performance" is played like a concerto. Bravo!