dir James Vanderbilt; with Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford 15/US ****
Cate Blanchett's gives yet another storming performance in this smart, enlightening backstage drama about the 2004 scandal at CBS News, which ended the career of iconic newscaster Dan Rather. Like a populist blending of The Newsroom with Good Night and Good Luck, the film is talky and a bit too obvious in the points it makes, but it's also important... MORE >
dir Brendan Cowell; with Patrick Brammall, Alex Dimitriades 15/Aus ****
It seems obvious that an Australian filmmaker would make a movie about alcoholism into a blackly hilarious comedy. What's surprising here is that the serious undercurrents are just as pungent, and that the film never slips into the usual simplistic approach to the topic. As a result, it's both entertaining and thought provoking.
dir Sebastian Schipper; with Laia Costa, Frederick Lau 15/Ger ****.
German filmmaker Sebastian Schipper took a big risk shooting this epic romantic thriller in a single unbroken take, and the resulting film not only wows the audience with its technical audacity but also fully engages the emotions. This story of a young expat's two-hour odyssey is genuinely terrifying, darkly touching and thumping entertainment.
From A to B
dir Ali Mostafa; with Fadi Rifaai, Fahad Albutairi 14/UAE ****
This is a lively road movie with an unusually sharp script that combines character-based humour, introspective drama and a sharp sense of the political scene as three 25-year-olds drive from Abu Dhabi to Beirut, recreating a trip they were supposed to take five years earlier. It's also cleverly timely, connecting with political realities while keeping the audience laughing, then hitting us with an emotional whammy.