(M) This film, directed by Edward Zwick, comes four years after Jack Reacher. It’s based on the 18th novel in the popular series by American author Lee Child. Overall this is a slick actionadventure that has relevant reverberations from the American involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq, and touches on the complex nature of the war on terror.
Keeping Up with the Joneses (M) A feeble comedy in which an ordinary suburban couple (Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher) suspect their glamorous new neighbours (Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot) of being spies. There are the usual explosions, car chases and shootouts, but the promising concept goes nowhere very interesting, although Hamm impresses as the charming mystery man.
Boys in the Trees (M) This is an intriguing partfantasy, part-thriller coming-ofage drama written and directed by Nicholas Verso, in his feature film debut. It’s set in 1997, on Halloween, and the Australian location is not obvious. The main characters are lateteenagers, in this case ones on the cusp of leaving school. There are surreal moments and experiences that may or may not have something to do with Halloween: memories of children who died, the appearance of a ghostlike man, a haunting tunnel, a strange party at a house. The ending is shocking and superb.
Elle (MA15+) Dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s first feature in 10 years is the French entry in this year’s foreign film Oscar race, and deservedly so. It’s a superb portrait of a middle-aged woman, brilliantly played by Isabelle Huppert, who, in the shattering opening sequence, is raped in her own home by a masked man. It’s not a conventional revenge thriller, though, but a dark and sometimes grimly amusing film about tangled relationships, rivalries, agendas. Think Hitchcock meets Luis Bunuel.
Sydney Opera House — The Opera (The Eighth Wonder) Director David Freeman and his production team have used the forecourt of the Opera House to stage an opera about the creation of the iconic Australian landmark. The use of the building as the backdrop is surreal as well as awe-inspiring. Much of the hype about this production focuses on the fact it is a “silent opera”, heard through headphones. Sound