Director: Cate Shortland, Transmission Films, Rated MA, 104 mins

The extraordinary survival story of the eldest daughter of Nazi parents is the main theme of Aussie director Cate Shortland’s second movie following her initial success with Somersault released in 2004.
   With the German army retreating in the dying days of World War 2 which include her Nazi parents who are facing either death or detention, 15 year old Lore (played superbly by Saskia Rosendahl in her screen debut) who is fiercely anti-Semitic and loyal to the Fuehrer, is forced to fend for her younger siblings-sister Liesel (Nele Trebs), twin brothers Gunther (Andre Frid) and Jurgen (Miki Siedel), and baby brother Peter as they embark on a dangerous journey across a divided Germany to reach their grandmother’s house in Hamburg some 500kms away.   In traversing the inhospitable terrain, Lore also realises that they face hunger and exposure from the elements- even the possibility of capture by certain allied forces.
   To Lore’s surprise they are joined by Thomas (Kia-Peter Malina – The White Ribbon) a Jewish refugee who, having survived the Nazis’ concentration camp, provides protection and support to Lore and her siblings despite her despising his Jewish background.
   It is also a story showing a young girl’s loss of innocence set amidst the Nazis cruelty against the Jewish race.
   Shortland’s surreal movie, which is at times difficult to watch, is actually based on an episode in Rachel Seiffert’s bestselling novel The Dark Room that is made even more heart-rending and realistic by having the World War 2 drama made into a German-language production.
   In some respects there is some similarity to Wunderkinder, another German-language film featuring three gifted children (two of them Jewish) during the German occupation of the Ukraine, with both productions showing the horrors of war from a children’s perspective.   However in the case of Lore there is a great deal more cinematic beauty, realism and a riveting performance from lead actress Rosendahl who demonstrates a natural ability in dealing with the complex roles of adulthood, anxiety and motherhood.
   It is therefore not surprising that Lore has been nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2013 Academy Awards.

VIC'S VERDICT:         4 Rubber Stamps

Ruby Sparks

   Directors: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Rated M, 104 mins

Husband and wife directing duo of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris (whose previous academy winning movie was Little Miss Sunshine in 2006) have now made a delightful romantic fantasy that is filled with humour, emotion and drama, guaranteed to entertain all those who believe in dreams.
Ruby Sparks
   Dayton and Faris team up again with Little Miss Sunshine star Paul Dano as struggling novelist Calvin Weir-Fields who is convinced by his psychiatrist Dr Rosenthal (Elliott Gould - Oceans Trilogy) to write about the girl in his dreams only to find on the following morning that she has literally sprung to life from the pages written on his typewriter.
   Naming her Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan - It’s Complicated), Calvin is at first skeptical about Ruby being real but after his brother Harry (Chris Messina - Devil) attests to her existence, he goes out of his way to develop a loving relationship, even introducing her to his widowed mother Gertrude (Annette Bening - The Kids are Alright) and her new off-beat partner Mort (Antonio Banderas - Spy Kids franchise). But as Calvin finds out in due course love has its ups and downs especially in dealing with a dream girl like Ruby.
   Dayton and Faris have once again hit on a faultless formula with their romantic comedy being creative, funny and highly enjoyable.
   They have also assembled a great cast of actors and besides writing the script, the multi-talented Zoe Kazan (the granddaughter of legendary filmmaker Elia Kazan) delivers a sparkling performance ensuring that love conquers all in the end.
VIC'S VERDICT:         4 Rubber Stamps

DVD Review

Iron Sky

   Release Date October 2012
   Director: Timo Vuorensola, Sony Pictures, Rated M, 93 mins

This latest DVD is a funny, satirical and out of this world comedy from Danish
Iron Sky
director Timo Vuorensola about a bunch of Nazis involved with a secret space program who escape from the final days of the Second World War to the dark side of the moon where over a period of 70 years they have been constructing a gigantic space station with a massive armada of flying saucers awaiting the day for the Fourth Reich to rise up and return to Earth to conquer it again.
   After American astronaut James Washington (Christopher Kirby) lands his lunar ship close to the Nazi base, the Moon Fuhrer (Udo Kier) decides the time has come to attack Earth, sending two Nazi officers, the ruthless Klaus Adler (Gotz Otto) and the idealistic Renate Richter (Julia Dietze) to the planet to prepare for the invasion.
   Despite the outrageous storyline this fun filled film has plenty of action and stunning special effects that is sure to entertain everyone with a weird sense of humour.
VIC'S VERDICT:         3 Rubber Stamps

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