films

It's celebrity time again. The Golden Globes have been, and the Oscars are coming. This is a “vintage year” say Hollywood's hagiographers on cue. It isn't.

Most movies are made to a formula for the highest return, money-fuelled by marketing and something called celebrity. This is different from fame, which can come with talent. True celebrities are spared that burden.

Utopia
Directed by John Pilger
http://utopiajohnpilger.co.uk

The latest documentary by Emmy and BAFTA award winning film maker and journalist, John Pilger, contrasts two very different worlds: one of white aspiration on Sydney’s northern beaches, and the other the Aboriginal community in the ironically named town of Utopia, located in central Australia.

The town has been assessed as the most disadvantaged and poorest community in Australia. The distinction could not be more stark.

One of the most extraordinary films about Australia is soon to be screed across Australia. This is Utopia, an epic production by the Emmy and Bafta winning film-maker and journalist John Pilger.

Utopia is a vast region in northern Australia and home to the oldest human presence on earth. "This film is a journey into that secret country," says Pilger in Utopia. "It will describe not only the uniqueness of the first Australians, but their trail of tears and betrayal and resistance - from one utopia to another".

In the late 1960s, I was given an usual assignment by the London Daily Mirror's editor-in-chief, Hugh Cudlipp. I was to return to my homeland, Australia, and "discover what lies behind the sunny face".

The Mirror had been an indefatigable campaigner against apartheid in South Africa, where I had reported from behind the "sunny face". As an Australian, I had been welcomed into this bastion of white supremacy. "We admire you Aussies," people would say. "You know how to deal with your blacks."

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth & Donald Sutherland
Directed by Francis Lawrence
In cinemas now

The Hunger Games brings revolution to the big screen in an action-packed film adaption of author Suzanne Collins’ trilogy.

The second film, Catching Fire, takes off nicely where the first left off. It lifts the bar in every aspect, from the intensity of the storyline, to the performances and production quality.

As an inveterate film fan, I turn to the listings every week and try not to lose hope.

I search the guff that often passes for previews, and I queue for a ticket with that flicker of excitement reminiscent of matinees in art deco splendour. Once inside, lights down, beer in hand, hope recedes as the minutes pass. How many times have I done a runner?

There is a cinema I go to that refunds your money if you're out the door within 20 minutes of the opening titles. The people there have knowing looks. My personal best is less than five minutes of the awful Moulin Rouge.

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