Our monthly snapshot of upcoming movies at the cinema.
SBS Film

4 Nov 2013 - 11:50 AM  UPDATED 22 Jul 2014 - 11:01 AM

Out November 7

Backyard Ashes

(Australia, documentary)
Director: Mark Grentell
Starring: Andrew S. Gilbert, Felix Williamson, Rebecca Massey
What's it about?
Debut director Mark Grentell spins the Australian tradition of making your backyard a cricket battlefield into an indie comedy starring Andrew S. Gilbert and Felix Williamson. The pair play duelling neighbours and captain their collective sides in the hope of winning the ashes of… an incinerated cat.

The Counsellor

(USA/UK, drama, thriller)
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz
What's it about?
No Country for Old Men author Cormac McCarthy makes his screenwriting debut with The Counsellor for veteran director Ridley Scott (Prometheus). In the crime thriller, Michael Fassbender stars as a lawyer that gets in too deep with a violent, haircut-challenged drug kingpin played by Javier Bardem.

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Fruitvale Station
(USA, drama)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer
What's it about
Young actor on the rise Michael B. Jordan, from TV's The Wire and Friday Night Lights, stars in the retelling of a tragic true story set during New Year's Eve on 2008. First-time filmmaker Ryan Coogler picked up two major prizes from Sundance earlier in the year, and another one later in Cannes.

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Mr. Pip
(Papua New Guinea/Australia/New Zealand, drama)
Director: Andrew Adamson
Starring: Hugh Laurie, Eka Darville, Florence Korokoro
What's it about?
Hugh Laurie (House)becomes a teacher in Papua New Guinea for the director of Shrek and The Chronicles of Narnia. As the only white person living on the island of Bougainville, Laurie's Mr. Watts helps to inspire a young girl by reading aloud Charles Dickens' Great Expectations during class.


Out November 14

Ain't Them Bodies Saints
(USA, drama, romance)
Director: David Lowery
Starring: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster
What's it about?
David Lowery's indie throwback to the '70s crime cinema of Robert Altman (Thieves Like Us) and Terrence Malick (Badlands) has Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara as lovers separated by the law. After being sent to prison for a failed robbery, Affleck's Bob does all he can to escape and return to the arms of Mara's Ruth.

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Enough Said
(USA, comedy)
Director: Nicole Holofcener
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener
What's it about?
The second last film of the late James Gandolfini, aka Tony Soprano, Enough Said tracks the awkward beginnings of a relationship between two divorcees. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, Veep) plays Eva, who discovers her new beau (Gandolfini) is actually the ex-husband of her masseuse (Catherine Keener).

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Read interview with actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus and director Nicole Holofcener

The Fifth Estate
(USA/Belgium, drama, thriller)
Director: Bill Condon
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Carice van Houten
What's it about?
Whistleblowing website Wikileaks is given the big screen treatment by Bill Condon (Kinsey). Benedict Cumberbatch is founder Julian Assange and Daniel Brühl his right-hand man, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and together they successfully take on corruption worldwide, only for debatable ethics to divide the two.

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Out November 21

20 Feet from Stardom
(USA, documentary)
Director: Morgan Neville
Starring: Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Sting
What's it about?
Musicians Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen and others celebrate the background singers behind some of pop music's most famous songs. Documentarian Morgan Neville shines a light on those often heard but rarely identified contributors to music history, like legends Darlene Love and Merry Clayton.

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(Australia/France, drama)
Director: Anne Fontaine
Starring: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel
What's it about?
Two friends taste the forbidden fruit that is each other's sons, in the adaptation of Doris Lessing's The Grandmothers. Naomi Watts and Robin Wright are the aforementioned mothers, with Xavier Samuel (Bait) and James Frenchville (Animal Kingdom) the objects of their illicit affections.

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After May

(France, drama)
Director: Olivier Assayas
Starring: Clément Métayer, André Marcon, Lola Créton
What's it about?
A French high school student and wannabe artist (Clément Metayer) comes of age politically against the backdrop of the Paris riots of 1968. Based partially on the experiences of director Olivier Assayas (Carlos), After May won two major awards at the 2012 Venice Film International Festival.

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Read interview with director Olivier Assayas


(USA, documentary)
Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Starring: Tilikum, Dave Duffus, Samantha Berg
What's it about?
Blackfish examines the effects of keeping killer whales in captivity, specifically 'Tilikum', a bull orca responsible for the deaths of three trainers. The documentary's US premiere on CNN kicked off a firestorm between SeaWorld and the public, with Pixar going so far as to rewrite the ending to the upcoming Finding Dory.

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(Denmark/Norway/UK, documentary)
Director: Jon S. Baird
Starring: James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell
What's it about?
The fourth adaptation of a Irvine Welsh book, Filth concerns a rather racist Scottish cop and bi-polar sufferer played by James McAvoy (the young Charles Xavier from the X-Men movies). Along the way, he fights colleagues, crims and his own drug addiction to get the promotion he believes he deserves.

Hunting Elephants
(Israel/USA, comedy, drama)
Director: Reshef Levi
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Sasson Gabai, Yaël Abecassis
What's it about?
Actor and star of the hit Israeli TV show The Arbitrator, Moshe Ivgy, makes his directorial debut with Hunting Elephants, a heist drama based around a 12-year-old boy. After he's left destitute following the death of his father, the boy enlists a trio of old timers to help rob a local bank so he can save his family home.

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Tasting Menu (now screening December 5)
(Spain, comedy)
Director: Roger Gual
Starring: Fionnula Flanagan, Stephen Rea, Claudia Bassols
What's it about?
Would you keep your booking at a famous, about-to-close restaurant if it was with your now ex-partner? That's the question at the centre of Tasting Menu, a film about a former couple who thought ahead enough to secure their table, but not each another's hearts.

Out November 28


(UK/USA, comedy, romance)
Director: Jerusha Hess
Starring: Keri Russell, JJ Feild, Jennifer Coolidge
What's it about?
Napoleon Dynamite co-writer Jerusha Hess steps behind the camera for a romantic comedy about a single woman (Keri Russell) obsessed with Jane Austen's dreamboat creation, Mr. Darcy. Her fantasies become real when she heads to a resort that caters to all things Pride and Prejudice.

(US, horror)
Director: Kimberly Peirce
Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde
What's it about?
Brian De Palma's seminal adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel gets a second treatment, courtesy of Boys Don't Cry director Kimberly Peirce. Chloë Grace Moretz stars as the shy, troubled title character with telekinetic powers, with the great Julianne Moore playing her overbearing, control freak mother.


The Darkside
(Australia, documentary)
Director: Warwick Thornton
Starring: Deborah Mailman, Sacha Horler, Aaron Pederson
What's it about?
Samson and Delilah director Warwick Thornton retells real-life ghost stories from an Indigenous perspective with the help of several Australian actors, including Deborah Mailman and Aaron Pederson. Part drama, part documentary, the film looks at the Aboriginal lore of existing between two worlds at once.

Fill the Void
(Israel, drama)
Director: Rama Burshtein
Starring: Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg
What's it about?
Set within the ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community of Tel Aviv, Israel, Fill the Void tracks the plight of a devout young woman that's pressured into marrying her late sister's husband. The film was very successful at home and on the festival circuit in 2012, winning two major prizes in Venice.

How I Live Now

(UK, drama, thriller)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, George MacKay
What's it about?
Successful documentary and feature film director Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September, Last King of Scotland) adapts the popular young adult novel by Meg Rosoff about an English girl (Saoirse Ronan) who finds love in the countryside just as World War III breaks out.

Magic Magic
(Chlle/USA, thriller)
Director: Sebastián Silva
Starring: Juno Temple, Michael Cera, Emily Browning
What's it about?
Juno Temple (Killer Joe) takes the lead alongside Arrested Development's Michael Cera and Australia's Emily Browning (Sleeping Beauty) in the story of a Chilean holiday gone wrong. Writer/director Sebastián Silva (The Maid) twists and turns the mental state of Temple's Alicia throughout the trip, pushing her to breaking point.

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On My Way
(France, drama)
Director: Emmanuelle Bercot
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Nemo Schiffman, Gérard Garouste
What's it about?
French actress and filmmaker Emmanuelle Bercot (Backstage) scored a coup by landing the legendary Catherine Deneuve for her latest. In On My Way, the Belle de jour beauty is Bettie, a fed up restaurateur that hits the road to see her grandson, leaving behind her old life and unfaithful lover in the dust.


White Lies
(New Zealand, drama)
Director: Dana Rotberg
Starring: Whirimako Black, Rachel House, Antonia Prebble
What's it about?
The second major adaptation of a story by author Maori Witi Ihimaera after Whale Rider, White Lies is an account of a Tuhoe medicine woman (Whirimako Black) and her risky decision to come to the aid a wealthy white woman. The first film from Mexican director and Sundance award-winner Dana Rotberg since 2001.