The Winter Holidays Mall Report – June 2015

IMG_20150630_152406With almost weekly posts in Sydneywide blogs and print media on all the latest Cronulla food eateries opening and established businesses getting their well-earned mentions, Cronulla is now a 4 season, busy beachside hub. Combined with school holiday activities such as Cronulla on Ice, winter in Cronulla has been particularly hectic this week and businesses are enjoying the crowds.

IMAG4696_1Starting from the South, Gelatissimo will open for business in September and its location will make Cronulla the last Sydney beachside suburb for the popular gelato chain.

The Best Little Bookshop In Town has well and truly settled into their new location, great to see the former Australand Greenhills Beach shop front finally filled up!


IMG_20150630_153503After months of uncertainty, the iconic, heritage listed Commonwealth Bank has been sold to local developers…

Heading east opposite South Cronulla Beach, the highly talked about Eat Burger Cronulla (opened by locals of Mims Espresso and Eatery in Burraneer) is starting to take shape and is set to open in mid July where the Balkan Restaurant once sat.

IMAG4699_1_1Continuing north, Earth Angels have moved and we are patiently waiting for new organic store Naked Foods to open for business next to Cold Rock Ice Creamery.

At the top end of the Mall, popular clothing store Flirty is now Loft 18 and below Cronulla Cinemas, the shop fronts of McDonalds and Firstech Computers still sit empty, waiting to see who will move in…

2015-06-30_15.28.58A new temporary addition to the Mall for the winter school holidays is the popular Cronulla CBD’s ‘Cronulla on Ice’, don’t forget to book!

Do you know of any other changes happening in the Mall or around Cronulla? Let the team at Beach & Bay Realty know!

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Cronulla Mall Report: Back to beach weather!

IMG_20141031_124437What a day! October has almost ended and it feels like Summer already!

Firstly, if any one is looking for last minute Halloween costumes and accessories pop into Dollar King in the Mall, it has it all!

Fingers crossed the weather stays this wonderful for the weekend, especially with the Beachfest on at Dunningham Park, Peryman Square and the Plaza. Retro cars will be on display for judging and awards with live bands and solo performers over the two days.

Starting from the south, half of Eclectic Home & Garden sits empty waiting for a new shop owner.

IMAG1024We finally have a new tenant in the former Chocpad shop – Leah’s Wax Works has moved in! Further down the mall Classic Nails Beauty and Waxing has also moved into the former Body Pro Supplements store.

Unfortunately we’re still eagerly waiting to see who will eventually move into the old Australand Greenhills Beach office.

IMAG1029_1Forever Fashion are closing down with 50% of storewide. I wonder what new store will appear here?!

The optometrists near Code Orange are surrounded by builders and scaffolding, a new store layout perhaps?

Where la luna was on top end of mallNutrition station is opening soon where La Luna was and the local computer store next door to McDonalds and the Cronulla Cinemas entrance has also closed.

Closer to the beach new coffee shop Bianchini’s is doing a roaring trade, looks like a popular spot!

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Cronulla Mall Report: Welcome to 2014!

photo 2 (3)As expected, Cronulla is at its peak – kids are out and about, the beaches are packed and parking is scarce… Welcome to Summer!

Starting from the soBeach Shack closing downuthern end of the Mall, the bright pink, vibrant Yogurberry has opened where Stevie & Me once was.

Chocpad is still vacant and For Lease, any ideas what will move in here?

Sadly there will soon be another vacant store… Beach Shack is closing down. Their last day of trading will be Wednesday 22nd January.

The Commonwealth Bank sits quietly in the Mall with a DA for a mix of residential and commercial shops…. Watch this space!

20140111_092103Walking through the Mall there are still plenty of post-Christmas sales to take advantage of!

If you’re looking for breakfast you’ll have to get in early, the cafe’s are filled by 9am!

20140111_094800At the end of the Mall on the Kingsway underneath Cronulla Cinemas, Soho Coffee is set to move in shortly.

And that concludes the first Mall Report of 2014! No doubt we’ll see some more changes in the Mall over the year, stay tuned!

From all of us at Beach & Bay, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas & New Year, now it’s time to get back into it!

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Movie Review: Brave, now showing at Cronulla Cinemas

Brave is the new fantasy adventure from Pixar Animation Studios and it features the studio’s first female protagonist. Though the Hayao Miyazaki influence is apparent – Miyazaki’s heroines are complex and wonderfully written characters, usually taking a coming-of-age journey through a fantasy realm – Merida (voiced by Kelly McDonald) is an excellent female character to centre this entertaining tale around. Written by Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell and Irene Mecchi, and directed by Andrews and Chapman, Brave is set in the 10th Century Scottish highlands.

The story follows Merida, a skilled archer with a keen sense of adventure and little interest in learning the ways of the court of her father, King Fergus (Billy Connolly) and mother, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson). She defies an age-old tradition and the wishes of her mother, which places both her family and the kingdom in danger, and it is up to her to find the courage to re-write her fate.

There are two strong-willed female characters, with the mother-daughter relationship well realised and providing the backbone for the film. What is surprising is that Merida’s journey is not so much a physical one, but a personal journey about self-acceptance and learning how to better communicate. Merida’s respect for her mother, and her mother for her, increases as Merida realises her mother has her best interests at heart and her mother accepts her daughter’s destiny for a different path. By rejecting her mother’s guidance, and facing the repercussions of her decision with the bravery she displays, she becomes a more capable Queen than she ever would have otherwise.

Brave is beautifully animated, with great pleasure to be found in the details. The make-up of the world is breathtaking; the wonders of the forest, the creature animation (and it continues to amaze me how personified Pixar animators can make animals) and the details that have gone into every set – the witch’s woodwork cottage for example – is extraordinary.

Merida, voiced to perfection by Kelly McDonald and with her kind blue eyes and giant red locks, is unforgettable. She is fiercely independent and though she loves her mother, grows frustrated knowing she has no desire to be the woman envisioned by her. But she is also a typical girl and teenager. She is facing a crossroads and doesn’t feel ready to make the decision that would secure the path of the rest of her life.

When her family and the kingdom are endangered because of her ill-fated decision, it is up to Merida to find the courage to redeem herself and save her mother from a horrific fate. There are some important lessons here; the power of independence and following your dreams, and the importance if communication between a mother and daughter. Merida also proves that our destiny is not written for us, we have the power to write our own and secure our own fate. Valuable lessons for a young audience.

Brave is a delightful return to form for the Pixar team after a disappointing and unneeded return to the world of Cars. Telling a simple but pleasant story, which is enchanting with its blend of reality and fantasy and thrilling with its handsome visuals and grand score, Brave offers up consistent amusement – in particular through Merida’s identical triplet brothers- and is sure to engage audiences of all ages. Having said that, this is probably the most child-centric Pixar film in some time, which is not a bad thing at all.

Pixar aren’t necessarily returning to their best, but Brave is not trying to match the awe-inspiring visuals of Wall-E or the narrative complexity of Ratatouille, but it admirably succeeds in what it is trying to do. With outstanding animation, which is to be expected these days, an excellent voice cast, and the perfect blend of comedy and drama, it is well worth seeing. It also has several scenes capable of bringing a viewer to tears, which further secures my recommendation.

I rate the film 4 Stars. Brave is now showing at Cronulla Cinemas.

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Movie Review: The Avengers, now showing at Cronulla Cinemas

The Avengers, the superhero film to end all superhero films, produced by Marvel Studios, and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures, hits Australian cinemas on April 25. Written and Directed by Joss Whedon (Buffy, Serenity), and featuring a stellar creative team, The Avengers is the sixth installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The stories of the eponymous superheroes in Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America have all led toward their involvement in Nick Fury’s Avengers Initiative and The Avengers. Hyped as one of the biggest movie events of 2012, I am very pleased to say that it is one of the best blockbusters – in terms of story, character, visual spectacle and entertainment value – to grace our screens in some time.

In the opening sequence of The Avengers, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), having been banished from Asgard at the conclusion of Thor, makes a deal with an alien race of warriors beset on ruling Earth. Via a constructed portal, he steals the heavily guarded Tesseract, a Cosmic Cube capable of supplying its owner with unlimited power, from American Peacekeeping unit, S.H.I.E.L.D. Transforming Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgard, reprising his role from Thor), chief Tesseract researcher, and one of S.H.I.E.L.D’s operatives, Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) into his minions, Loki attempts to harness the power of the cube to open a portal between worlds, allowing his army to enter.

Recognising the threat of the Tesseract in the hands of Loki, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), director of S.H.I.E.L.D, with the help of Agent Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) recruits Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) from around the globe, to come together in a united fight against their powerful new foe.

Where The Avengers surprised me was the way that these rich characters, which have all been introduced and developed in their own films, are taken even further here. They are all given interesting arcs and individual time to shine. They are all flawed in their own way, as both humans and superheroes, and assuming they will all be able to work together is a big risk, taken by both Nick Fury within the film, and on a cinematic level by Marvel Studios and Joss Whedon. The film, full of epic action and visual spectacle, actually feels character-driven. Loki’s motivations are made clear, while the Avengers are all forced to overcome personal conflicts and their own limitations – none more so than Banner, who at one point presents more of a threat to the safety of the team than Loki himself. A lot of the film’s tension actually comes from within the team.

The performances are all better than they needed to be too. We know that Downey Jr., Evans and Hemsworth were all perfectly cast in their roles and gave great performances in their individual films, but they continue that strong work here. Downey Jr. is wonderfully over the top, while Hemsworth’s delivery is even more comic. Ruffalo, who keeps Banner’s social awkwardness consistent throughout the film, is always solid, but the one I was most impressed by was Scarlett Johansson. This is one of her best performances. The excellent Tom Hiddleston is also the right blend of clever, smarmy and merciless – a genuinely fearsome and unpredictable villain.

The scale of the film is enormous, and this is something that Joss Whedon has proven in the past with his fantastic television show, Firefly. After an exciting opening car chase sequence, and a scene of destruction that has to be seen to believe, there is a huge action set piece aboard a flying vessel. The film climaxes in a tremendous struggle staged beneath Stark Tower in downtown Manhattan. I didn’t think it could get any better. These set pieces are truly spectacular and display impressive use of the very-entitled mammoth budget. There isn’t a cent wasted here, and this is a testament to the studio.

Seamus McCarvey (Atonement) is the cinematographer, so not only are the action sequences well staged, but expertly captured. The visual effects (from a team made up of Oscar winners, some of whom worked on the two Iron Man films) are awe-inspiring and outdo almost everything that has preceded it.

While a couple of early sequences don’t quite hit the mark – purely because they are exposition and set up for those unfamiliar with the Marvel Cinematic Universe – I found there to be nothing to criticize about The Avengers. The blend of jaw-dropping action and visual effects, a compelling story, an excellent villain and richly layered, likeable characters makes The Avengers, unexpectedly, not just high quality popcorn entertainment, but extraordinarily satisfying cinema.

The Avengers balances genuine tension and stakes, with a cartoonish atmosphere and clever and funny self-aware humour. In short: The Avengers is a geek fest sure to please die-hard fans, but it transcends the genre and is sure to be enjoyed by just about anybody. It is the finest superhero film I have seen to date (sorry Dark Knight fans), and once it hits cinemas, I will be eager to check it out again.

The Avengers is now showing at Cronulla Cinemas. I rate the film 4 ½ Stars.
You can read more of Andrew’s reviews at his weekly updated blog: Andy Buckle’s Film Emporium



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Movie Review: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a delightfully charming British comedy/drama directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love), written by Ol Parker and starring a stellar cast of British veteran actors, including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson and Maggie Smith. The film’s central plot follows the life of a group of British retirees staying in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a hotel/retirement home with character situated in India.

This group of British retirees, for various reasons, have experienced health, financial and existential difficulties following their retirement, and seeking a new lease on life are attracted by the enticing advertisements of the newly restored Marigold Hotel and the inexpensive and exotic locale of India. When they arrive at Sonny’s (Dev Patel) hotel, they find it a shadow of its former self. But as they begin to accept Sonny’s honest ambitions to transform the place into the hotel his father once ran, and as they continue to bond with one another, come to terms with the culture of India, face their pasts, make the most of their presents, and consider their futures, they are ultimately all transformed in their own way from the experiences.

What was impressive about Marigold was how well balanced the comedy and the drama was, and how effectively rounded the character arcs were. Each character has their own individual story, but they also begin to share stories – Evelyn and Douglas accompany Graham to meet his childhood friend for what could be the last time, while Madge helps Norman to meet a woman who catches his eye. The slightly over-long running time can be forgiven for the attempts to tell so many individual tales in relative depth. It is quite cleverly written, actually, and always retains a viewer’s invested interest.

Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson are excellent, as is Penelope Wilton as Nighy’s scared and miserable wife. Dev Patel evokes sympathy as Sonny, striving to live up to the expectations bestowed upon him and fighting for the woman he loves, but finding unflinching disapproval from his mother. Also, the way everything is resolved can be guessed a fair way out. Just as Sonny says: “Everything will be all right in the end, and if it not alright, it is not yet the end.” Everything does work out in the end, and though it is predictable, thankfully there are a few surprises along the way.

While many of the jokes didn’t work for me (most of Maggie Smith’s racist comments brought uproarious laughter from the significantly older audience, but missed the mark personally), it was still amusing, and it took me by surprise how genuinely sweet the film was, and how organic the relationships between the group materialized. This is a film made for audiences who have spent their lives watching these fine actors at work – and who are approaching or in a similar stage of retirement. It might infuse those viewers with a shot of life; to prove that even in one’s twilight years they can still live life to the fullest. Having said that, younger audiences will also find it entertaining and everyone will be blown away by the colour and life of India as it is presented in this film. But watching these veterans share the screen together is a treat, and this is the film’s primary charm, making for easy and pleasant viewing.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is now showing at Cronulla Cinemas. I rate the film 3 ½ Stars.

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Cronulla Cinemas Movie Review: The Grey

The Grey is an American survival thriller directed by Joe Carnahan. It is based on a short story called “Ghost Walker”, which is co-adapted by writer Ian MacKenzie Jeffers and Carnahan himself. While the film promised, at least, the possibility of Liam Neeson battling a wolf, it actually offered up so much more. It is a film will raises a lot of different emotions from audience members – tension and fear, sympathy and sadness – and is the first truly memorable 2012 release to hit cinemas.

The central character in The Grey is Ottway (Liam Neeson), a world-weary Irishman who works in Alaska, protecting a team of oil drillers from the wolves that live in the region. Following the completion of their current job, Ottway and his colourful band of ragtag cohorts are on their way back home for a break when their plane is caught in a blizzard, and being unable to withstand the conditions, crashes into the Alaskan wilderness. There are only a few survivors – and Ottway counts seven – when Lewenden (James Badge Dale), mortally injured from the crash, devastatingly succumbs to his injuries. These men include Flannery (Joe Anderson), Talget (Dermot Mulroney), Diaz (Frank Grillo, outstanding) and Hendrick (Dallas Roberts). They soon discover, amidst the wreckage and the strewn bodies, that they have landed in the territory of a pack of bloodthirsty wolves. Lacking supplies or weapons, they try to make their way to a tree line in the hopes that they will situate themselves outside of their hunting area and be better protected. It is not to be, and it becomes a desperate race to find contact, while coping with the harsh elements, their unrelenting predators, and even their own minds.

While The Grey is effective as a survival film and as a creature horror, it is also profoundly moving. It could have easily fallen into the trap of being too centered on the wolves, and become an implausible action film, but their location is as much of a threat to their survival, and it is the dual influence of these elements that makes The Grey so impressive. It is the unnatural aggression of their pursuers and the hopelessness of their situation that plays on their psyches. Many of them reflect on their families and share memories and stories with each other. They debate whether God actually exists, with some questioning whether he will make himself known in their desperate time of need. For Hendrick, he seems to believe that paying respects to the deceased, and collecting their wallets for their loved ones, will ease their conscience and aid their journey. This is commendable thinking, considering the situation. But it is the volatile Diaz, unexpectedly, who has the strongest character arc, making the most profound realization of all.

If there was a weakness, it is the development of some of the characters. We learn a little bit about them – but Ottway and Diaz are the only two who are really memorable. Still, there isn’t a lot to criticize here. This is cleverly executed survival film and one that works effectively as a horror film and as a psychological drama. Check it out.

The Grey is currently playing at Cronulla Cinemas. I rate the film 4 Stars. Check out my website for more reviews!


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Movie Review: The Artist at Cronulla Cinemas

The Artist, the red-hot Oscar favourite and the unexpected hit at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, has not received glowing acclaim purely because it is unique and different (it is a black-and-white silent film); but because it is a delightful, beautifully crafted and performed feel-good tale of the intertwining fates of two individuals during the silent to talkie transition at the end of the 1920’s.

The Artist opens in the year 1927, with the charming, talented and exceptionally popular silent film star, George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) attending the premiere of his latest film, A Russian Affiair. Incredibly proud of being a silent actor and of his achievements, Valentin, with his faithful canine in tow, entertains the crowd following the film, but it is outside the theatre, as Valentin is posing for photographs, that his life is changed forever. He is bumped into by one of his many admirers, a young aspiring actress named Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo).

Michel Hazanavicius is clearly a filmmaker with great respect and admiration for silent films and bygone eras, but it was not his intention to replicate the look of films from this pre-sound era. Having his actors use exaggerated theatrical gestures, incorporating some of those old transition techniques, and sparsely using the close-up would not have been a commercially accessible option. Yes, Hazanavicius has made a black-and-white silent film, even utilizing the old 4:3 square ratio, but with polished contemporary photography and editing techniques. Judged on a pure enjoyment level, The Artist is a miraculous achievement. There will be many people who will quickly disregard the film as a gimmick, or be too lazy to give a film that relies on inter-titles a go. The Artist’s plot is easily comprehensible, only uses inter-titles sparingly and is visual cinema (relaying both story and theme solely through its visuals) at its best. This is a film brimming with charm, wit, grace, humour, nostalgia, tragedy and romance. Is it flawless? No. I felt like the film’s melodramatic scenes in the middle are stretched out a bit too far, but I guarantee viewers will be won over by the phenomenal ending, which will fill one with joy.

As expected for a silent film, the accompanying score is essential to its success, and Ludovic Bource has composed an excellent one, taking us through the 100-minute duration with stellar variation of composition. There is also some really clever use of sound (huh?) – you’ll know when you see it – and many allusions to the film’s ‘silence’. Hazanavicius’ direction is impeccable – working with his cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman to calibrate the lighting to convincingly capture the black-and-white look of films from the era (more evident in Valentin’s films than The Artist overall). But, the film’s magic rests with the actors, and thankfully, Schiffman’s use of the close-up ensures they have every opportunity to shine.

The Artist is essential viewing. For many people, it will be the first silent film they have seen in a cinema. It succeeds in evoking nostalgia and bringing a big smile to your face. For such a well-crafted crowd-pleaser such as this, what more do you need? A cute dog, perhaps? Oh right, there is one of them as well.

The Artist is currently playing at Cronulla Cinemas. I rate the film 4 ½ Stars.

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Movie Review: The Muppets at Cronulla Cinemas

Fozzie Bear exasperatedly asks during one of the funniest moments in The Muppets, “What’s more illegal, Kermit: kidnapping Jack Black, or destroying the Muppet name for good?” A horrified Kermit replies: “Kidnapping Jack Black, Fozzie!” I’m so glad that the team behind this wonderful film, including screenwriting duo Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller, producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman and director James Bobin thought differently, resurrecting Jim Henson’s once-beloved but now culturally-extinct Muppets characters for another adventure. In the first Disney-produced Muppets film since 1996’s Muppet Treasure Island, the gang is brought back together when the Muppet name is threatened and they are pitted against a ruthless oil tycoon.

The Muppets is a film about two brothers who grew up watching The Muppet Show in their youth. Now as adults, Gary (Jason Segel) and Walter (Peter Linz) continue to live together as Muppet fans in Smalltown, USA. Gary plans a vacation to Los Angeles with his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to celebrate their tenth anniversary, inviting Walter along so he can see the Muppet Theatre. Walter, made of felt like his idol Kermit the Frog, is ecstatic, however Mary is not – concerned that her future husband hasn’t grown out of his own “Muppet-hood”.

Throughout The Muppets I had a big grin permanently etched across my face. It’s a lot of fun. Full of insanely catchy song and dance numbers with great lyrics and amusing choreography, this zany modern tale remains grounded in the roots of the beloved television show, and has many self-aware winks to generic clichés. There are some great cameos; Jack Black, Animal’s anger-management sponsor, is kidnapped to appear on the show as a guest, while Chris Cooper has a blast instructing his associates to laugh ‘maniacally’ and even raps on one occasion.

Though flawed in it’s narrative and a little too cheeky with its nudges to capitalism and 21st Century culture, you would have to be pretty hard to please to not find some level of enjoyment here. What makes this experience even stronger is the Pixar short, titled Small Fry, which precedes the film. It features some of the cast of the Toy Story films. Don’t be late.

The Muppets is currently in cinemas, having opened on January 12. I rate the film 4 Stars.

Tue 17th Jan: 9:30am, 12pm, 2:30pm, 7:15pm
Wed 18th Jan: 9:25am, 12pm, 2:30pm, 7:15pm
Thu 19th Jan & onwards: 9:50am, 12:10pm, 4:30pm

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Movie Review: Midnight in Paris, now showing at Cronulla Cinemas

Midnight in Paris is a delight. Woody Allen has built a film that is near impossible not to become immersed in and be enthralled by, even if your knowledge of literature, film and art history and the wonderful characters that define past eras of artistic creation is not up to speed. Woody Allen has infused his highly intellectual screenplay (which is his most wildly imaginative in some time) with plenty of wit, has channeled the neurotic qualities of his persona through Owen Wilson, who delivers a stellar performance, and has created a real treat, and one of the most recommendable film experiences of the year. Midnight in Paris is a declaration of love for Paris, the romance it generates, both between humans and within the Arts, and as a source of inspiration and enlightenment.

Gil Pender (Owen Wilson) is a talented and successful but humble Hollywood screenwriter whose career hasn’t reached the imaginative heights he always hoped it would. He has become distracted by the idea of writing a great novel, something of intellectual substance. He is struggling to finish his first one about a man who works in a ‘nostalgia store’ and wants to absorb the romanticism of Paris for inspiration. He, and his fiancé Inez (Rachel McAdams), are vacationing there with Inez’s wealthy parents (Mimi Kennedy and Kurt Fuller), who are critical of Gil’s desire to abandon his lucrative Hollywood career. Inez doesn’t share Gil’s whimsical qualities and romantic view of Paris, nor his passion for art, and becomes a tad obsessed with an old friend, Paul (Michael Sheen), who they meet by chance in a restaurant.

Paul is a pseudo-intellectual, a pompous, pedantic and arrogant man who speaks with great authority and passion about a variety of topics (“He’s an expert on French wine”) but is often shallow and inaccurate with his insight. Gil finds Paul insufferable and decides to walk back to the hotel through the streets of Paris alone. Having become lost, both psychologically (Gil realises his ideals aren’t suited to the present era) and geographically, he sits down on a set of stairs. Following the nearby chime of a bell, indicating midnight, an antique car of champagne-drinking partygoers stops and invites him to join them. As soon as he enters the car, Gil’s life will never be the same again. He meets an eclectic mix of vibrant, colourful company and partakes in lavish parties, dancing and all assortments of eye-opening wonder – and an all-star cast, including Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Tom Hiddleston and Adrien Brody (in one of the best cameo performances, ever) pop up to join in the festivities.

Owen Wilson is sensational. His performances in the films of Wes Anderson were always great but he imbues Gil with a likeable personality and expertly captures Woody Allen’s rambling awkwardness. Though, the evidence that Allen has used his central character as a surrogate is far less evident here. The ensemble cast, across the board, is excellent, and all seem to be having a magnificent time. Marion Cotillard is one of the most luminous beauties in the world – and even Gil exclaims that her character Adriana has “one of the best faces ever”.

The luscious cinematography from Johanne Debas and Darius Khondji is gorgeous, beautifully capturing the streets of Paris by night. Through expert interior lighting, detailed production design, beautiful period costumes, and a lively soundtrack, the past is recreated not to be accurate, but to replicate exactly how Gil imagined it would have been.

You don’t need to have read a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald or Ernest Hemmingway, seen a film by Luis Bunuel or be familiar with the work of Pablo Picasso to thoroughly enjoy this film – the fact that you have heard of these artists and recognise their cultural significance, is enough to warrant their involvement in this film to work. I had such a great time. A smile was stretched permanently across my face. I was giddy with excitement from the very beginning and I fell in love with the extremely alluring Frenchwoman, Marion Cotillard, all over again.

Midnight in Paris is an absolute delight; a deft blend of amusing ridicule against the pedantic, arrogant variety, a critique of criticism, a whimsical romanticism of the artist and intellectual and a charming, emotionally resonating tale about individualism, and the desire to wholeheartedly fulfill one’s desires and beautiful fantasies.

Midnight in Paris is out this week at Cronulla Cinemas. I rate the film 4 ½ Stars.

You can read more of Andrew’s reviews at his weekly updated blog: Andy Buckle’s Film Emporium

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