Film Screening 11th April, 2014

Poster for The Spectacular Now

The Spectacular Now 

7:30 PM, 11th April, 2014

  • M
  • 95 mins
  • 2013
  • James Ponsoldt
  • Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
  • Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Jason Leigh

Sutter (Teller) is the life-of-the-party guy. Beautiful girlfriend, confident charismatic attitude. But when an accident leaves him on the front lawn of the school’s ‘nice girl’ Amy (Woodley), he develops an interest in her that blossoms into something deeper.

Hopefully that introductory paragraph doesn’t send you away groaning and imagining another teen disposable movie like She’s All That (a movie with a similar plotline). Because this one is more in line with the quality of last year’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Yes, it’s about teenage affection, but in a real way that we can all relate to on some level. Miles Teller shows the promise he displayed in Rabbit Hole is being realised, Shailene Woodley is almost playing the polar opposite of her character in The Descendants and is therefore very impressive, Mary Elizabeth Winstead does more great work for this director*, and when Kyle Chandler (Coach from “Friday Night Lights”) shows up in the last third of the movie, he runs away with every scene he’s in.

Written by the guys behind (500) Days Of Summer, this is a heartfelt slice of life story, about dealing with the past, in the present, to shape the future. Don’t miss it.

(*If you love this movie, track down Smashed, the first film from this director, with an excellent central performance from Winstead.)

Travis Cragg

Poster for The Fifth Estate

The Fifth Estate 

9:15 PM, 11th April, 2014

  • M
  • 128 mins
  • 2013
  • Bill Condon
  • Josh Singer
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Laura Linney, David Thewlis

As one could probably expect from a biopic about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, this film generated controversy way ahead of its release, with Assange writing to Cumberbatch, deploring the film and urging him to rethink his involvement. Perhaps it is because biopics of this kind are not usually conceived when the subject is still confined to an embassy behind Harrods; or when the debate about his criminal charges is far from over; and perhaps when the protagonist, despite the diverse public opinions, is an extraordinary founder – that one can see the difficulty in making it a less ambivalent movie.

The film is directed by Bill Condon (Kinsey, Dreamgirls) and written by “The West Wing” writer Josh Singer. The story begins as Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes.

Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organisations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society, and what are the costs of exposing them?

Ingrid Zhang