BY STEVEN ARMOUR
An explosive, distinctive sort of gangster piece, Animal Kingdom depicts the malevolent underworld of drugs and crime in Melbourne. When oddly despondent Joshua’s mum dies of an overdose he is taken in by his seemingly sweet grandmother (an Oscar nominated Jacki Weaver) and the rest of his estranged, but welcoming family (including a terrifyingly brooding Ben Mendelsohn). However after advice from a good-natured police officer (Guy Pearce), who is genuinely concerned for the boy, Joshua soon comes to realise just how unwholesome his family really are, and just how far they are willing to go to protect themselves. Fans of the genre should consider this haunting, grubby crime drama unmissable.
For those who have been in love – only for it all to fall apart – Blue Valentine is guaranteed to stir up those old conflicting emotions. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star as a couple of down-and-outers, dissatisfied with their current lives, until they meet one another and feel that all too rare spark. The film is certainly not a conventional, romanticised tale of love and happiness, but instead offers up something much more confrontational and piercing in its authenticity. Gosling and Williams make for a compelling pair, with electric chemistry that devastates us, as well as brings a smile to our faces.
Convinced that her husband (Liam Neeson) is indulging himself in extramarital dalliances, Dr. Catherine Stewart (