Celebrating its 64th year, The Sydney Film Festival launches on Wednesday 7th June and runs for twelve days up until, and including, Sunday 18th June. This year features four hundred sessions screened at selected cinemas in and around Sydney and 288 films shown in and out of competition as part of the programme. The Opening Night film is the world premier of Warwick Thornton's 'We Don't Need A Map' in which the film maker investigates our relationship with The Southern Cross as we journey through this five-star constellation's astronomical, colonial and Indigenous history to the present day. The Closing Night film is Korean Director Bong Joon-ho's 'Okja' starring Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Daniel Henshall and Steven Yuen about a young girl who fights to save her best friend of the past ten years - a giant animal named Okja - from an unscrupulous corporate business that have different plans. Seven recently added films to this years programme come straight from the recent Cannes Film Festival - including Palme d'Or winner 'The Square', and 'Im Not A Witch', 'Jupiters Moon', 'Good Time' and 'A Man of Integrity'. Of the twelve films in Official Competition, the winning feature film is presented with a AU$60K award in recognition of the most courageous, audacious and cutting-edge new cinema. These films include 'The Beguiled', 'Happy End', 'I Am Not Your Negro', 'On Body and Soul', 'Una' 'The Untamed', 'Wolf and Sheep', 'We Don't Need a Map' and 'Felicity'. For full details of the Festival Programme, go to www.sff.org.au
This week we have four new movies about to do the rounds, kicking off with a reboot of a successful ancient Egyptian action adventure franchise of the late '90's/early'00's, but which has its history in the movies going back more than eighty years, then a bio-pic of sorts that shows some poetic license over the real life events that unfolded before a significant turning point in WWII as the British Prime Minister at the time ponders over the go/no go implications of his decision. We then turn to a period piece based on a notable book of 1951 and its last big screen adaptation of 1952, of family intrigue, drama and emotion, before wrapping up with a CG animated action thriller based on a hugely popular shoot 'em up video game that has spawned this third animated feature plus a live action franchise too.
Whatever your taste in big screen film entertainment is this week - be it any of the four as Previewed below, or those as Reviewed and Previewed in previous Blog Posts here at Odeon Online, be reminded to share your movie going thoughts, opinions and observations by leaving your relevant, succinct and appropriate views in the Comments section below this or any other Post. We'd love to hear from you, and in the meantime, enjoy your cinema experience this week.
'CHURCHILL' (Rated M) - here Australian Writer and Director Jonathan Teplitzky, whose previous credits include 2013's 'The Railway Man' with Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, once again turns his hand to historical drama, based on a story written by British historian and author Alex von Tunzelmann. Set during the four days in the lead up to the Allied Invasion of the Normandy D-Day landings of June 6th 1944, here the film centres on Winston Churchill (Brian Cox) trying to reconcile the demons of the ill fated Gallipoli landings in 1915, before making any rash decisions to go head to head against the German forces on the beaches of northern France. Approaching 70 years of age, Churchill here wants his legacy to be that of a war hero, a great historical figure, the mastermind behind Britain's greatest wartime victory, rather than the man who orchestrated the mindless and needless slaughter of thousands of young men. With General Dwight Eisenhower (Tony Slattery) and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery (Julian Wadham) growing increasingly frustrated and impatient with Churchill's indecision to mount an attack or not, as the long pre-determined date approaches, it seems that only his wife Clementine (Miranda Richardson) has the presence of mind to steer Churchill to the best course of action and halt his physical and mental collapse after years of war mongering and political uncertainty. Also starring James Purefoy as King George VI.
'RESIDENT EVIL : VENDETTA' (Rated MA15+) - this Japanese 3D animated action-thriller film is part of the 'Resident Evil' franchise, and takes place in the same dimension (unlike the live action offerings starring Milla Jovovich) as the hugely popular and successful video games series. The film features the principle characters Chris Redfield (Kevin Dorman), Leon S. Kennedy (Matthew Mercer) and Rebecca Chambers (Erin Cahill) and is the third CG movie, after 2008's 'Resident Evil: Degeneration' and 2012's 'Resident Evil: Damnation' and was Written by Makoto Fukami and Directed by Takanori Tsujimoto. Set sometime between the events of 'Resident Evil 6' (the action adventure third person video game) and 'Resident Evil 7' (the survival horror first person video game) here Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance agent Chris Redfield enlists the support of American government agent Leon S. Kennedy and Professor Rebecca Chambers to halt Glenn Arias (Alexander Polinsky), a death merchant who is on a mission of vengeance, from spreading a new deadly zombie virus on New York City. The film was released in Japan at the end of May, and goes on release in selected Australian cinemas this week and likewise in the US as of 19th June.
Once again, there are four very different movie offerings released this coming week, three of which tender something historical - fantasy adventure, fictional drama and poetic license biographical, and the fourth, futuristic video game action thrills. Whatever your taste is over the following seven days, be sure to share your film going musings with your like minded cinephiles here at Odeon Online. Meanwhile, I'll see you sometime, somewhere in the week ahead at your local Odeon.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-