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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Out & About - David Strat­ton Stephen Romei DS

A Mon­ster Calls (PG) A Mon­ster Calls is based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Pa­trick Ness that drew on an orig­i­nal idea by Siob­han Dowd. Conor O’Mal­ley (Lewis MacDougall) lives in a small English vil­lage with his mother, Lizzie (Felic­ity Jones). Conor adores his mother and her ill­ness is deeply trou­bling for him. The stress he ex­pe­ri­ences finds its way into his dreams. He has re­cur­ring night­mares of an earth­quake that de­stroys the nearby church and grave­yard and he’s un­able to save his mother from fall­ing into the abyss. One night he ex­pe­ri­ences a dif­fer­ent kind of hor­ror: a gi­ant yew tree (voiced by Liam Nee­son) that he can see from his bed­room win­dow comes to life. Span­ish di­rec­tor JA Bay­ona uses spe­cial ef­fects with great skill, but A Mon­ster Calls is noth­ing like the ef­fects­driven movies that fill our cinema screens these days. It’s a small, al­most del­i­cate film that will richly re­ward those who con­nect with it.

Dunkirk (M) Christo­pher Nolan’s re­mark­able film Dunkirk is based on the World War II evac­u­a­tion of Dunkirk. As the Ger­mans blitzed Europe in the open­ing months of the war, about 400,000 sol­diers, most of them Bri­tish but in­clud­ing some French, Bel­gian and Cana­dian troops, were stranded there. There is lit­tle di­a­logue and no backstory for any of the char­ac­ters; not one, which is some­thing I don’t think I’ve seen in a war movie. Nolan did not want to make a sen­ti­men­tal movie or one de­fined by hero­ism. He didn’t want to make one about a vic­tory. This is about the sol­diers stranded on a beach and the civil­ians who helped res­cue them. Nolan tells the story from three per­spec­tives: land, sea and air. There is some rep­e­ti­tion and this, too, is quite de­lib­er­ate. It un­der­scores the end­less­ness of what the men are en­dur­ing, which could end in a sec­ond.

Paris Can Wait (PG) Anne Lock­wood (Diane Lane) is mar­ried to worka­holic Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer Michael (Alec Bald­win) who, when he isn’t do­ing deals on his mo­bile phone, is com­plain­ing about the prices. Michael is fly­ing to Bu­da­pest in his pri­vate jet but Anne makes a last-minute de­ci­sion to skip the Hungarian cap­i­tal and travel over­land to Paris, where they plan to meet in a cou­ple of days. Michael’s French busi­ness part­ner, Jac­ques Cle­ment (Ar­naud Viard), of­fers to drive her but they’ve hardly left Cannes be­fore Jac­ques is stop­ping for lunch at Le Moulin de Mou­g­ins and be­haves flir­ta­tiously to­wards her. Whether you en­joy this very at­trac­tive road movie will de­pend on whether you find him a creep and a cliche of a French roue or the dan­ger­ous charmer to whom Anne finds her­self re­spond­ing.

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