Directed by Julia Leigh
Rated MA 15+
There are shocks aplenty in this debut feature from Sydney novelist-turned-filmmaker Julia Leigh about a cash-strapped university student (Emily Browning) lured into a high-end Eyes Wide Shut-style prostitution ring.
But what really has angered critics is not the nudity and the perverse nature of the sexuality but Leigh’s chilly, distanced Michael Haneke-influenced approach which has made challenging, borderline absurd material even more difficult swallow.
KUNG FU PANDA
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Now that the roly-poly panda Po has succeeded in corralling his runaway girth and become the Dragon Warrior, some of the goofy charm of the first Kung Fu Panda movie has gone.
It has been replaced by a hardcore action aesthetic, with first-time director Jennifer Yuh Nelson conjuring some of the most beautifully realised thrills and spills ever in an animated feature.
Directed by Paul Feig
Move over, guys: the gross-out comedy has been hijacked by the funniest group of gals to hit the big screen in memory.
Bromance king Judd Apatow produces and his Freaks and Geeks partner Paul Feig directs. But the most valuable player here is Saturday Night Live’s Kristen Wiig.
Directed by Michael Henry
This WA-made revenge thriller starts well, with five 20-somethings invading the rural property of a man they blame for their friend’s suicide.
The camera moves as swiftly and silently as the balaclava-wearing hoods, who aim to kill the man (Damien De Montemas) and make his death look like suicide. But things go wrong when he fights back and true motives are slowly revealed.
Directed by J.J. Abrams
J.J. Abrams directs this entertaining trip back to a small US town in the 1970s, when a group of young children on summer holiday make a Super 8 zombie movie. Mid-scene, their camera captures a thrilling train crash and something escaping from one of the carriages.
ORANGES AND SUNSHINE
Directed by Jim Loach
Jim Loach, son of great British social realist Ken Loach, makes an impressive debut with this gratifyingly cool-headed but still moving true-life account of a British social worker’s battle to reunite English child migrants to Australia with their parents.
I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS
Directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra
Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor star as two jailbird lovers caught in a hedonistic cycle of larceny, luxury living and incarceration in this wacky concoction that’s based on the bizarre true story of a fatally romantic con man who’s serving a 144-year sentence in a Texas prison.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
Directed by Matthew Vaughn
While not quite first class, Matthew Vaughn’s prequel to Marvel Comics’ series about a warring breed of mutants and the two very different svengalis who guide their destinies has just the right mix of grooviness and gravitas to keep audiences hooked.
Directed by Sean McNamara
In 2003, promising 13-year-old surfer Bethany Hamilton lost an arm in a shark attack in Hawaii. She not only survived but — buoyed by a strong Christian faith — returned to triumph in her sport.
So it’s a shame TV director Sean McNamara and Baywatch writer Deborah Schwartz turn her inspiring true story into a wholesome Disney-style wipeout.
Directed by Aaron Schneider
If you‘re tired of all the sequels, re-boots and superhero movies invading our cinemas, you might enjoy one of the few films made for grown ups and based on an original script.
It’s inspired by a verified American legend from the 1930s, when a crusty old hermit came out of 40 years hiding to stage his own funeral party before he could ‘get low’.
THE HANGOVER PART II
Directed by Todd Phillips
When you’re on to a winner, stick with it. That seems to be the motto by which Todd Phillips (Old School, Road Trip) directs this quickie sequel to the surprise smash comedy that banked $444 million worldwide. Hey, why mess with success?
In sticking almost slavishly to that formula, all that has changed in The Hangover Part II is the setting (Thailand) and the II in the title (which doesn’t even bother with a subtitle). It’s lazy filmmaking. But it is very, very funny and very, very wrong.
Directed by Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzard
Part wildlife drama, part ode to our fragile planet, this visually stunning documentary from French directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzard (Winged Migration) will leave you wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the amazing wonders that lie beneath the surface of the world’s oceans.
OF GODS AND MEN
Directed by Xavier Beauvois
Inspired by the true story of a group of French Christian monks living in civil war torn Algeria in the 1990s who must decide whether or not to stay amid escalating Islamic fundamentalist violence, Xavier Beauvois’ film is a contemplative and deeply thought-provoking experience.
Directed by Justin Kurzel
Australia’s grand crime drama tradition continues with Justin Kurzel’s stunning, shocking debut feature about South Australia’s notorious “bodies in the barrels” murders marching if not surpassing classics such as Romper Stomper, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, The Boys, Chopper, Wolf Creek and Animal Kingdom.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES
Directed by Rob Marshall
After the interminable, overblown third instalment of the franchise improbably sparked by a theme park ride there were fears that uber-producer Jerry Bruckheimer would order up more of the same, just bigger, longer and in 3-D. But incoming director Rob Marshall (taking over from Gore Verbinski) has done something remarkable for hyperbolic modern Hollywood: reined things in, kept down the use of CGI and puts the actors front and centre.