Samson and Delilah - Movie Poster

Samson and Delilah

5.0 Wendy Slevison

Samson and Delilah's world is an isolated community in the Central Australian desert. When tragedy strikes, they turn their backs on home and embark on a journey of survival.

"Samson and Delilah" is an exquisite film which offers an uncompromising yet intimate perspective on the complex problems that face our Indigenous population. Beautifully shot, with almost no dialogue, and featuring 14-year-old untrained actors in the lead roles, this is a poignant, raw, and brutally honest portrait of a race of people we judge so harshly and/or choose to ignore. It should be compulsory viewing for all Australians.


A Prophet - Movie Poster

A Prophet

5.0 Anthony Macali

Set largely within prison walls, the film details the prison career of Malik, sentenced to six years and chosen by Cesar, a feared kingpin of the prisons reigning Corsican gang, to kill a prisoner.

"A Prophet" meticulously blends the worlds of prison and organised crime. An intriguing and unique makeup of many cultures are carefully observed through the eyes of our protagonist, and his story brokers a high level of tension and suspense, as he deals with dangerous people in dangerous places. We are transfixed by his brutal transformation, as he rises to power in an eternal state of illusion. A truly arresting experience, this distinguished crime classic is masterful.


Gravity - Movie Poster

Gravity

5.0 Stefan Bugryn

Two astronauts try to make it back to Earth after an accident leaves them stranded and adrift in space.

This is a triumph in film-making. It's a captivatingly visceral and immersive experience grounded by jaw dropping visual effects and sound design, complementing one of the most engaging stories of survival you will see. So much truth is given to every aspect of the journey, making it feel incredibly authentic and genuinely absorbing. "Gravity" is edge-of-your-seat drama and action that will remain with you long after the credits roll. A modern classic.


Broken Embraces - Movie Poster

Broken Embraces

5.0 Anne Murphy

Harry Caine, a blind writer, reaches this moment in time when he has to heal his wounds from 14 years back.

A film-maker has made a film where the central character is a film-maker; hence a movie is created within this movie. "Broken Embraces" is a multi-layered exploration of love, passion and deception. A tantalising production, stylish to the point of being stylised, this is truly sophisticated viewing. A elaborate timeline is used to deconstruct the typical sequence of events. Questioning where a tale begins or ends, the editor is empowered to determine the story. Embrace with enthusiasm.


Biutiful - Movie Poster

Biutiful

5.0 Anne Murphy

This is a story of a man in free fall, on the road to redemption, darkness lights his way.

An existence where life holds more in memory than it promises in the future is grim, and that's at the essence of "Biutiful". The visual texture of the production is extraordinary, as is the city background as a soundtrack... a gritty combination. The audience is privy to an unflinching view of life where the politics of exploitation and survival play at the edge of society. This film won't be for everybody, but the viewing, while harrowing and demanding, is compelling and ultimately rewarding.


Inception - Movie Poster

Inception

5.0 Anthony Macali

In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job till date.

Boldly ambitious on a universal scale, "Inception" is awe inspiring, bringing to life the imagination of the mind in amazing visual detail. Mastering the idea of dreams within dreams may take some time, but it's this kind of challenge, rarely seen in blockbusters, that keeps you absolutely enthralled. It shoots through its running time at a whole new level, immersing you in the sub-conscious of the characters on screen without any contraptions. Unmistakably mind-blowing.


The Help - Movie Poster

The Help

5.0 Anthony Macali

An aspiring author decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work.

"The Help" is a remarkable film that tells an important tale without being heavy-handed. It succeeds in reflecting the period effortlessly, but the true brilliance is in the story-telling. All the characters have an interesting experience to share, with a common agenda to highlight the glaringly obvious injustice of the time for both maids and women alike. While it's not without some humour, this movie is essentially heartbreaking and heart-warming stuff. No assistance required to watch this one.


Persepolis - Movie Poster

Persepolis

5.0 Anthony Macali

Poignant coming-of-age story of a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution.

It's surprising how touching this black and white animation is. With sharp contours and pale gradients, the film looks astounding, but also portrays a "dark" period of Marjane's life. Her narrative provides earnest accounts of Iran's history, family and moving out of home; growing into an acute perspective of life in these times of revolution. You leave the cinema in a wake of colours, realising the splendour of freedom.


Blue Valentine - Movie Poster

Blue Valentine

5.0 Anne Murphy

The film centres on a contemporary married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.

"Blue Valentine" is like stepping through a dream door into the spiral of a failing relationship between a husband and wife; you're drawn into the minutiae of love and frustration. The couple's interactions are intensely scrutinised, almost dissected by the camera, over a period stretching a little more than a day. The experience of watching is both compelling, and at the same time, a little like trying to breathe under water, such is its wrenching emotional grip. Valentines don't come any more blue.


Bright Star - Movie Poster

Bright Star

5.0 Wendy Slevison

Based on the romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne.

There are two 'bright stars' in this exquisite film - the leading lady, with her flawless performance, and the poetry, which will have viewers searching for their high school poetry books seeking to revisit the works of the romantic poets. This beautifully filmed glimpse into lives 190 years ago succeeds due to the stunningly simple way it tells its story of an intense and yet ultimately doomed love. Shakespearian in its tragedy, "Bright Star" is exceptional movie-making... a leading light not to be missed.


Before Midnight - Movie Poster

Before Midnight

5.0 Anne Murphy

We meet Jesse and Celine in Greece, almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on a train bound for Vienna.

The talkies were invented for the couple in this story. "Before Midnight" is a conversation first and foremost, and film is merely the medium it's recorded on. Relationships are complex and involve compromise. It's a pleasure to be privy to an intimate but seemingly everyday sort of dialogue about lives spent together and the future to come. All is achieved with a natural style and there is little feeling that what plays out is being acted out. Magical without pumpkins.


Apocalypto - Movie Poster

Apocalypto

5.0 Anthony Macali

A Mayan village is overrun by a vicious tribe, imprisoning the men and sentencing them to be sacrificed.

"Apocalypto" throws you deep into the jungle, welcoming the simple life of hunting to eat, tribal dances and procreation. The editing is fast, setup brilliant and characters superb. You will be gripped and curious and always anticipating the fate of our heroes.


Please Give - Movie Poster

Please Give

5.0 Anne Murphy

In New York City, a husband and wife butt heads with the granddaughters of the elderly woman who lives in apartment the couple owns.

Manhattan films about nothing should be a genre of their own. Equal parts smart drama-comedy and introspective reflection on the human condition, "Please Give" is grounded in the angst of reality and near perfect. This is a chick flick populated with grown-ups who are still growing up. The city dwellers dealing with the everyday while struggling with life's big issues like guilt and insecurity are imperfect as well as sharp and funny. Nothing to give just breathe it in.


The King's Speech - Movie Poster

The King's Speech

4.5 Anthony Macali

The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.

"The King's Speech" is a masterful example of the classic transformation film, as it follows the stammering son of King George V while he learns and grows to overcome his adversity. The period is beautifully shot and detailed, capturing the new wave of the wireless and the impending prospect of war, elevating the sense of pressure and suspense. To sympathise with a King, with his gilded and lavish lifestyle on show, is an impressive accomplishment. A speech worthy of attention.


Argo - Movie Poster

Argo

4.5 Anthony Macali

A dramatization of the 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.

"Argo" captures your attention from start to finish. If you're not familiar with the political context, don't stress, as the brilliant opening sequence will give you all the background you need. Once up to speed, you can fully appreciate the treacherous and volatile situation of the time, made even more unbelievable by its grounding in a true story. The ensemble cast is brilliant, doing their best to prolong the exciting suspense and tension throughout. The result is universally good. Ar, go watch it.