Film Reviews

Una

June 22, 2017
Una and Ray: who'll blink first?

Few subjects today inspire such blind outrage as child sexual abuse. It seems that all communities require one exemplary outlet for pent-up anger and hatred. Or is it a human need to feel morally superior to someone, anyone? Our liberal attitudes have ruled out the racial and sexual prejudices of our forebears, but one would … More


My Cousin Rachel

June 14, 2017
Young Philip Ashley explores the grassy paddocks of Cornwall with his cousin Rachel

Daphne Du Maurier (1907-89) is one of those writers destined to be forever suspended between literature and pulp fiction. Her work has echoes of the great Victorian novelists but also a tinge of Gothic horror. She may not have beeen deep but she knew how to tell a fabulous, gloomy story. It’s the pulp aspect … More


The Mummy & Wonder Woman

June 6, 2017
Gal Gadot, real-life Amazon

Wonder Woman and The Mummy will almost certainly be the highest grossing films in Australia this winter, although I hope I’m wrong. Both are big-budget studio concoctions with everything we have come to expect from this kind of movie. The Mummy arrived with one of my pet hates – the red carpet preview. I don’t … More


Sydney Film Festival 2017: A Preview

June 1, 2017
Sydney Film Festival 2017: cinema planet

As the arrival of winter drives people indoors the organisers of the Sydney Film Festival will be hoping they seek out the warm embrace of the State Theatre or another venue, from the Dendy Newtown to the Hayden Orpheum in Cremorne. Is there any better way of spending a fortnight than sitting in a darkened … More


Neruda

May 25, 2017
Pablo Neruda, a poet unafraid of eye liner

Poetry has become a sadly rarefied activity. In the not-so-distant past many people could recite favourite poems at will. Figures such as Byron and Shelley were the pop stars of their age, and continued to exert an influence long after their deaths. In the late 19th century, when Tom Roberts or Charles Conder went out … More


Alien Covenant

May 19, 2017
Katherine Waterston meets the Alien

Damien Hirst must feel pissed off that the release of Alien Covenant occurred after he’d already completed his massive Venice Biennale exhibition, Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable. Amid bronze and marble effigies of every conceivable mythological creature, every pop culture icon from Mickey Mouse to Yo-Landi of Die Antwoord, the only character missing … More


Whiteley

May 13, 2017
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It’s a happy fluke that the release of James Bogle’s documentary on Brett Whiteley coincides with an exhibition by Vincent Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Victoria. Of the many artists Whiteley idolised and copied, Van Gogh was his all-time favourite. They were on first-name terms, with Whiteley always referring to his hero as … More


Rules Don’t Apply

May 5, 2017
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Does anybody remember Howard Hughes? Rules Don’t Apply, Warren Beatty’s fictionalised portrait of the eccentric billionaire, was reputedly decades in gestation. In the meantime we’ve had The Aviator, Martin Scorsese’s bio pic of Hughes’s early life, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning five. Thirteen years … More


The Innocents & Things to Come

April 29, 2017
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There’s no category in contemporary cinema more demeaning than the ‘chick flick’. It suggests a sloppy romance of the Barbara Cartland variety, or a superficial, feel-good movie with a ‘girl power’ theme. Either way the term eliminates one half of the human race as a willing audience, and patronises the other. This week two very … More


Berlin Syndrome

April 21, 2017
AAA Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 9.31.01 pm

Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome is a movie that vindicates the paranoid wisdom of one’s parents. “Don’t talk to strangers,” they tell us, conjuring up suspicions that the man at the bustop is probably an axe murderer. But if the humble suburbs are crawling with psychos the dangers of a foreign country are almost inconceivable. Better … More