All is Lost (M)
A masterful exercise in pure cinema in which Robert Redford, as a lone sailor adrift in the vast ocean, is the sole protagonist. Visually and aurally, this is an amazing achievement. The 77-year-old actor’s iconic presence is powerfully used by director JC Chandor. David Stratton
Robyn Davidson’s 1977 trek across the central Australian desert — a 2700km journey lasting nine months with four camels and a pet dog for company — should have made for a compelling film, with Mia Wasikowska in the central role. But the result is surprisingly flat, due in part to an awkward screenplay that tells us little about Davidson’s background or motivation. Evan Williams
Vampire Academy (M)
The first book in Richelle Mead’s hugely popular series about a school for vampires comes to the screen without much distinction. The narrative is a muddle and the teen talk, puerile. Newcomers Zoey Deutch and Lucy Fry do their best with some pretty intractable material, but the fans will doubtless be lining up. DS
The Wind Rises (PG)
The latest (and probably the last) film from Hayao Miyazaki, Japan’s legendary master of animation, this delightful fantasy is at once a fairytale about a young boy’s dreams and an account of the rise of Japanese militarism in the 20th century. The story is revealed through the eyes of Jiro Horikashi, who grew up to design the Zero fighter, Japan’s deadliest weapon in World War II. A sombre story, infused with a strange passion and tenderness, and never less than visually enchanting. EW
Far-fetched but enjoyable, this thriller set aboard a passenger plane on a six-hour transatlantic flight delivers the goods despite its increasing number of implausibilities. Liam Neeson plays a US federal air marshal, travelling armed and incognito, faced with an extortionist who threatens to murder a passenger or crew member every 20 minutes unless they are paid millions of dollars. The claustrophobic atmosphere is well conveyed in Jaume ColletSerra’s efficient but over-thetop, direction. DS
This subtle and unpretentious film is the story of a 58-year-old divorcee (Paulina Garcia) who challenges the perils of loneliness and old age by seeking a new start in life, ideally with another long-term partner. Touching, funny and uplifting. EW production lacks weight and deep resonance. The immense, soul-tearing themes of reconciliation, unswerving commitment to the truth, unalloyed goodness and the power of forgiveness in the face of appalling wrong are diluted. Bell gives us the story of a boy who wants his mummy and daddy to love each other and to be together. It doesn’t seem the best use of The Winter’s Tale. Presented by Bell Shakespeare.
Deborah Jones Sydney Opera House. Tonight, 2pm and 7.30pm. Tickets: $35$79. Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or online. Duration: 3hr, including 20min interval. Until March 29.
Once in Royal David’s City
Michael Gow’s new play is about how we are to understand things. We have our instinctive emotions, and over the top of those we have layered — as his play layers —