Film Reviews

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Storm Boy

January 18, 2019

Colin Thiele’s Storm Boy is a slender novel that has plucked Australian heartstrings ever since it was released in 1964. The first screen adaptation came along in 1976, and has proven to be no less enduring than the book. Directed by Henri Safran, who made only a handful of feature films but numerous TV programs, … More


Oz Box Office 2018

January 11, 2019

Faced with a choice of kids’ films and superhero flicks this week I thought I’d venture a few reflections on the Australian box office results of last year, and what the 2019 Golden Globe Awards tells us about the forthcoming Oscars. This is also a story about the declining fortunes of film criticism, for never … More


The Favourite

January 4, 2019

Queen Anne furniture is distinguished by its lightness and elegance – one might even say ‘timeless elegance’, as it looks as fresh today as it did at the dawn of the 18th century. Queen Anne, who ruled from 1702-1714, was no match for the chairs and cabinets that bear her name. Obese, gouty, wracked by … More


Cold War

December 28, 2018

In Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) Alain Resnais set Marguerite Duras the task of writing a love story that would not seem insignificant alongside the brute fact of the atomic bomb. In Cold War, Pawel Pawlikowski gives us a love story that traverses the oppressive political landscape of the years following World War Two, when capitalism … More


Vice

December 20, 2018

Dick Cheney will forever be known as the man who put the “vice” into “Vice President”. While the Trump administration continues to sink into a legal quagmire we can look back at Cheney and marvel at how he ever got away with it. His continuing prosperity, indeed his very existence, suggests that his contract with … More


Colette

December 14, 2018

“When one can enter the enchanted kingdom of reading,” said Colette, “why write?” Many writers have expressed a profound distaste for their profession, but Colette (1873-1954) was one of the most natural talents ever to pick up a pen. Although she felt writing to be a dreadful chore she produced a constant stream of novels, … More


The Children Act

December 6, 2018

It’s a big year at the movies for Ian McEwan, a novelist who seems to enjoy pulling the carpet out from under his protagonists. In August we had On Chesil Beach, adapted by McEwan from his own novel of 2007. Now he has written a screenplay for The Children Act, published in 2014. McEwan is … More


Shoplifters

November 30, 2018

Everyone knows George Santayana’s famous line: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. This is axiomatic, most especially in an age when attention spans are shrinking to the size of a mobile phone screen. The philosopher’s second-most-popular quotation is rather more problematic. When Santayana wrote: “The family is one of nature’s … More


Widows

November 23, 2018

When Steve McQueen won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Picture for 12 Years a Slave, it was a testament to his choice of subject matter rather than his skills as a director. With a background in video art – a medium in which boring and pointless exercises often enjoy critical acclaim – McQueen has … More


The Old Man & the Gun

November 15, 2018

There was an old man with a gun Who spent his whole life on the run His favourite prank Was to hold up a bank He said it was his kind of fun If The Old Man & the Gun is the swansong of Robert Redford’s acting career he’s not going out with a bang … More


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