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Cinema ian 11/1/2014

Most people going to see the movie John Wick at Cronulla Cinemas will know what to expect. Violence in spades and Keanu Reeves dealing it up a treat. Having said that, if naïve moviegoers plan to share their popcorn with the sequel to Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit, they may be pleasantly seduced by this beautifully crafted, hi-action, frenzied and bloody genre. It is somewhat predictable, but we feel comfortable in the manipulation. Keanu takes us on a ride that we want to go on with him, especially because of the circumstances that drive him to take the ride…

No spoiler alert because the plot isn’t the driving force, it is simply the reason for the force. In a nutshell, John Wick was once a notorious hitman. He ‘retired’ for a quiet life with the love of his life… who, sadly, dies. She knows the depth of John’s love and arranges for a puppy to be delivered after her death to help with his grief, which indeed it does. The only other ‘love’ in his life is his 1969 Ford Mustang. So when the nasty buggers take the only two good things that remain in his life, it is time for revenge. In spades.

There’s a lovely rhythm to the movie – the violence is strong but delightfully choreographed and there’s some charming black humour to give the film some light, shade and depth. One reviewer said that Reeves was a 21st century Errol Flynn and that’s pretty accurate – it is a modern swashbuckler with the buckles swashed in blood. While Reeves steals the movie, the casting is excellent. A quick mention to one of the minor characters, the Russian, Victor. He is played by Aussie actor Toby Leonard Moore who learnt (fluent) Russian for the role! Expect to see a lot more of him.

John Wick is now showing at Cronulla Cinemas. It is rated MA15+ and runs for a well-paced 96 minutes. Rydges Cronulla is right next door for a pre or post-flick drink or meal and, indeed, all your accommodation needs.

Here is the official trailer for John Wick.

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Cinema ian 8/19/2014

We highly recommend The 100 Foot Journey at Cronulla Cinemas. The movie is an absolute joy. It’s about food and it could be called a cinematic version of comfort food. You don’t have to analyse or think too hard, just take an enjoyable journey. To continue the analogy, it is more like well-cooked lamb shanks with mashed potato than a Heston Blumenthal seaweed and sand concoction. It is a somewhat predictable story but that is part of the joy, watching it unfold and enjoying the nuances.

The Hundred Foot JourneyIn a nutshell, Papa Kadam (Om Puri) decides that the family should leave India for other pastures – England looks a little cold so they choose to move to a delightful village in the south of France, buy a derelict building and turn it into an Indian restaurant. His son, Hassan (Manish Dayal), is a fabulous chef. Across the road, one would guess at about 100 feet away, is a celebrated Michelin-starred French restaurant, owned by the icy Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). She wants this unwanted irritation shut down – cultures and personalities clash – and without spoiling it, Hassan also has a passion and a talent for French cuisine… you have probably guessed the rest of the director’s recipe anyway…

The movie has a lovely script by Steven Knight, based on Richard C. Morais’ novel… it is directed by Lasse Hallstrom (My Life as a Dog, Chocolat)… produced by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and Juliet Blake… and the cast is perfect. Not sure who ‘owns’ the movie – both Helen Mirren and Om Puri have great screen charisma but Manish Dayal is a charming scene stealer, as is his love interest, Marguerite, played by Charlotte Le Bon (you might have also guessed that she works in the French restaurant)…

The word of mouth must be travelling nicely because it is rare that a nice little movie like this thumps a blockbuster like The Expendables 3 at the box office as it did last weekend. The rating is PG and it is 122 minutes in duration. If you are in the mood for a couple of hours’ enjoyable diversion and entertainment, you won’t be disappointed.

And for a pre-movie or post-movie drink, snack or meal or all your accommodation needs, Rydges Cronulla is only a 100 foot journey from Cronulla cinemas.

Here is the official trailer.

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Cinema ian 6/26/2014

There is a smorgasbord of holiday movies at Cronulla Cinemas for families and teens, sci-fi action fans, and comedy or drama lovers.

Tinker Bell: The Pirate Fairy (G)

The title and the rating pretty much says it all – it’s a cinema outing for families with littlies who just need an entertaining animated diversion. Naturally it is from Disney and it runs 78 minutes.

Maleficent (M)

Also from Disney, this one is a tad darker in themes and is a great Mum and teen daughter flick. Apparently it is Angelina Jolie’s biggest box office success to date and could be one that sees her winding up her acting career as she moves to the other side of the script and camera, writing and directing. It runs 97 minutes

Holiday MoviesHow to Train Your Dragon 2 (PG)

This one gets its PG rating because of mild fantasy themes and violence… a nice animated adventure for the family. It runs 102 minutes.

Blended (PG)

This one’s PG is for sexual references and crude humour. Nice to see the chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler. After a bad blind date the man and woman find themselves stuck together at a family resort and the relationship grows. Running time 117 minutes.

The Fault in Our Stars (M)

This one is sad/uplifting and a real tear jerker. Your blogger’s teenage daughter saw it and was still reaching for the tissues a couple of hours after. For many it will be the most memorable movie of the year. 126 minutes.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (M)

Probably not big on the ‘memorable’ movie scale for plot and character development BUT big budget action for 165 minutes on the ‘rollercoaster’. Fans know what to expect and they get it in spades

Holiday MoviesEdge of Tomorrow (M)

This one is a real sci-fi ‘action’ blockbuster with Tom Cruise driving the plot – a soldier in a war against aliens find himself in a time loop of the last day in the battle – but when he returns each day, he has more skills. M for science fiction violence and infrequent coarse language and runs 133 minutes.

The Trip to Italy (M)

This one is an Italian road-trip – part documentary and part comedy that relies on the charisma and chemistry of the two leads, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, 103 minutes.

22 Jump Street (MA)

This is the surprise package for mine – a sequel that beats the original and nothing gets in the way of milking a joke. Great work from the lead duo Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum – it deserves the MA+ for the frequent strong coarse language and sexual references and if you like this genre, you’ll have a nice cinematic romp for 112 minutes.

Grace of Monaco (PG)

Not wonderful reviews and it certainly nowhere as bad a movie as some have made out – it’s a chic-biopic that has a couple of fine performances, one of them being Nicole Kidman staring as Princess Grace of Monaco - and as the Sydney Morning Herald said, it’s a Disney princess flick for grown-ups. 103 minutes.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (M)

Any movie that has Hugh Jackman with a fist full of steel can’t go wrong for fans of sci-fi action. Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Jennifer Lawrence round out an excellent cast. 131 minutes.

Rydges Cronulla is next door to Cronulla Cinemas for a pre-movie drink, meal or an overnight stay.

Here's the 22 Jump Street trailer (also rated MA+):

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Cinema ian 6/11/2014

There’s certainly something for everyone with the movies at Cronulla Cinemas this weekend.

There’s Disney’s Maleficent – it might be a bit dark for some littlies but it’s a nice Mum and daughter movie that features Angelina Jolie’s giving a strong performance, supported by her impossibly wonderful cheekbones.

And I will give another plug for The Grand Budapest Hotel because it is still fresh in my mind several weeks after seeing it.

There’s also the guaranteed heart-string-pulling-tear-jerker The Fault in Our Stars.

We have Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman doing battle under the same roof again – Tom in the mega-million dollar blockbuster, Edge of Tomorrow and Our Nic as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco. Nicole hasn’t fared well with the critics but fans should enjoy it. Looks like Tom will come out best because according to Rotten Tomatoes it looks like Tom is driving a winner and Nicole is driving badly down a winding road. The ‘Tomatometer’ (critics) give Tom’s flick 95% and Grace of Monaco just 4%.

Also showing – the action movies X-Men: Days of Future Past and Godzilla, the pleasant comedy The Trip to Italy and the gross but funny Bad Neighbours. And speaking of gross/funny...

One I haven’t but is almost tempting me is Seth McFarlane’s raunchfest, A Million Ways to Die in the West. Blood, guts, bodily fluids, foul language and bad taste have a place in movies and I am curious to see whether it is rewarding or revolting. The trailer below pretty much sums it up I guess, but I’m wondering if it is a teaser or the deliverer of best bits. A wee warning, the language in the trailer may render it not fit for work or with the kiddies in the room.

With the days getting shorter and colder a bit of cinematic escapism a great way to spend a couple of hours and Cronulla Cinemas is next door to Rydges Cronulla for a pre or post-movie drink, snack or meal.

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Cinema ian 1/16/2014

Next door to Rydges Cronulla there is currently a cinematic smorgasbord at Cronulla Cinemas with movies for all ages and tastes.

…One for the kiddies, rated G is FreeBirds – with the tagline ‘The Greatest Turkey Movie of All Time’, two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks put aside their differences to team up to travel back in time and change the course of history… and rated PG there’s the Golden Globe winning Frozen, the super realistic Walking with Dinosaurs and Saving Mr Banks­. This one is arguably the pick of the family movies - Tom Hanks is excellent as  Walt Disney, negotiating the movie rights to Mary Poppins with Australian author P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson.

Also rated PG but much, much darker is The Book Thief, featuring another great performance from Geoffrey Rush. The story focuses on a young girl, Liesel, who finds solace in WWII Germany by stealing books and sharing them with others, including a Jewish refugee who is being sheltered under the stairs by her adoptive parents (trailer below).  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is also rated PG but both will go over the heads of some children.

Philomena is one of those gems that only the Brits can make a movie and it is brilliant – humour abounds in a rather dark plot as we follow the journey of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) to search for the child she was forced to give up for adoption some fifty years before. Gripping, moving and memorable - rated M.

The other movies rated M include Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Anchorman2. These are sequels so fans will know what to expect and will be rewarded as they are all good.

Three other movies that pack a punch, albeit in different ways, are the very moving Railway Man (M), the very funny American Hustle (MA) and the very tight family comedy/drama with Merryl Streep and Julia Roberts, August: Osage County.

If you would like to combine your movie entertainment with a night at Rydges including breakfast, check out this package.

Here is the official trailer for The Book Thief:

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Cinema ian 9/25/2013

One Direction is in Australia and tens of thousands of screaming, crying teenage girls are beside themselves – which makes the din twice as loud. Makes one wonder if they would even notice if the boys hit any bad notes.

If you haven’t got tickets to the live Sydney shows at Allphones, second prize will have to be the movie, One Direction: This Is Us. The documentary is now playing at Cronulla Cinemas. In a nutshell – it is slick, fun and rewarding for the fans. The lads have heaps of energy, enthusiasm, charm, warmth and, dare I say, talent. Non-fans will stay away in their droves and there won’t be any Oscars up for grabs but the loyal fan base alone will ensure a commercial success.

The band has certainly headed in only one direction since winning X-Factor in the UK – up – but, as they say, what goes up, must come down. I’m not being pessimistic for the boys, just realistic methinks – but you can’t knock them - they really are at the top of their game at present.

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Cinema ian 1/23/2013

Django Unchained, now showing at Cronulla Cinemas (right next door to Rydges!)

The 'D' is silent. Payback won't be.

I guess some people have to be a Quentin Tarantino fan to enjoy his work. Your humble blogger became one during Pulp Fiction and cemented that 'fanship' with Kill Bill.

Too much violence? Maybe.

Over the top? Absolutely.

Brilliant? You bet.

To me Tarantino looks on filmmaking as art as well as craft. When you see a good Spielberg movie you nod and acknowledge his amazing film craft. It’s not ‘art’. Tarantino could sign his movies bottom right corner and whack them in a frame. Except that he’d probably sign it top left corner just to be different. Here are reviews of Django Unchained from some of the top print critics in the United States…

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Like "Inglourious Basterds," Django Unchained is crazily entertaining, brazenly irresponsible and also ethically serious in a way that is entirely consistent with its playfulness. (A.O. Scott, New York Times)

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In "Django," Tarantino is a man unchained, creating his most articulate, intriguing, provoking, appalling, hilarious, exhilarating, scathing and downright entertaining film yet. (Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times)

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The most consistently entertaining movie of 2012. It's 165 minutes long and shouldn't be a minute shorter, a film of surprises, both in story and in casting, and of moments of agonizing, teased-out tension. The dialogue is dazzling. (Mick Lasalle, San Francisco Chronicle)

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The film doesn't play it safe, so neither will I. Instead, I'll say that it finds Mr. Tarantino perched improbably but securely on the top of a production that's wildly extravagant, ferociously violent, ludicrously lurid and outrageously entertaining, yet also, remarkably, very much about the pernicious lunacy of racism and, yes, slavery's singular horrors. (Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal)

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The movie Quentin Tarantino has written and directed is corkscrewed, inside-out, upside-down, simultaneously clear-eyed and completely out of its mind. (Wesley Morris, Boston Globe)

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Cinema Accessibility Features:

  • Wheelchair access to all areas and cinemas
  • Disabled toilet available
  • Wheelchair bays in all cinemas
  • Hearing Loops in all cinemas

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