(MA15+) This is one of the funniest American comedies I’ve seen in a while. James Franco is backed by a zinging support cast including Bryan Cranston, Megan Mullaly and Zoey Deutch, and a director, John Hamburg, who knows good jokes are hard work. He’s best known as co-writer of the Ben Stiller supermodel satire Zoolander and the Stiller-Robert De Niro family farce Meet the Parents. One of the great advantages of Why Him? is that it’s an old-fashioned comedy. Its premise is one that’s been around forever: girl meets boy, parents of girl don’t like boy. Romeo and Juliet, Stanley Kramer’s Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and indeed Meet the Parents popped into my head as I watched. Rosalie Blum (M) The first feature from French writer-director Julien Rappeneau is based on a graphic novel and set in a small town where lonely Vincent (Kyan Khojandi) becomes mysteriously obsessed with dowdy middle-aged shopkeeper Rosalie Blum (Noemie Lvovsky) and starts to stalk her. Why he does this is withheld until the film’s final scene, but it’s an intriguing premise, especially when Rosalie’s niece, the delightfully daffy Aude (Alice Asaaz), enters the picture along with her loopy girlfriends and eccentric roommate. The result is a thoroughly engaging entertainment.
Red Dog: True Blue (PG) This film is a purebred descendant of its smash hit 2011 predecessor: an engaging family film that keeps a tight leash on over-sentimentality and the cinematic desire to turn animals into people. This new film is a prequel, made by the same director, Kriv Stenders, and screenwriter, Daniel Taplitz. Set in the pre-digital 1960s, it’s in part a reminder of an older version of Australia. In a nice touch there’s an early, more contemporary scene in which office worker Michael Carter (British actor Jason Isaacs) takes his two sons to see a film. This takes us into the film proper. It’s 1969 and Michael, now 13-year-old Mick, is sent to his grandfather’s cattle station in the Pilbara when his father dies.
Szun Waves There’s nothing quite like Szun Waves, a three-piece ensemble spread between London and Sydney (pictured). Entirely improvised, drawing on loops and sequences and meditative spontaneity, the music falls somewhere between the ambient atmospherics of ECM recordings and the best of contemporary electronics, though their sound is entirely their own. The result is difficult to categorise, but that’s a sign of real musical innovation here. The trio is made up of Laurence Pike (the Sydney-based drummer from PVT), saxophonist Jack Wyllie and producer Luke Abbott. The trio is appearing at the Sydney Festival following a wellreceived performance recently at the Barbican in London, and on the back of its mesmerising first album, At Sacred Walls. St Stephen’s Uniting Church, 197 Macquarie Street, Sydney. January 13, 7pm.Tickets: $40. Bookings: 1300 856 876 or online. The Beatles: All You Need is Love The concert event All You Need is Love is from the producers of The White Album Concert, Beatles Back2Back, Let It Be and most recently Rubber Soul/ Revolver. Thirty songs by the Beatles are performed live by vocalists Jack Jones, Ciaran Gribbin, Rai Thistlethwayte and Jackson Thomas, who are joined by the Strawberry Fields Rock Orchestra. Iconic songs including Yesterday, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Yellow Submarine and Something are among those that get an airing. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. Opens tomorrow, 8pm. Tickets: $89-$169. Bookings: (02) 9250 7777 or online. Until Tuesday. really know exactly what time it is,” he says. “This, for me, is a good thing.” Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks, Sydney. Fri-Wed, 10am-5pm; Thurs, 10am-9pm. Admission: $12-$22. Inquiries: (02) 9245 2400. Until March.