Film Reviews

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


Personal Shopper

April 14, 2017
Kristen Stewart frocks up in Personal Shopper

Watching a film by Olivier Assayas is like spying on strangers from around a corner. The camera lurks in the shadows. It sneaks along behind characters and captures them from unusual angles. This is unsettling enough, but in Personal Shopper Assayas has created an entirely new genre: the fashionista-ghost story-cyberstalker-crime drama, achieved with an insouciance … More


Frantz

April 8, 2017
Pierre Niney and Paula Beer in 'Frantz' (2016)

Towns don’t get much more German than Quedlinburg. Nestled in the heart of Saxony it has about 20,000 inhabitants, but calls itself “the first capital of Germany” because King Heinrich was crowned there in 919 CE. Throughout the years of division its medieval buildings were preserved intact by the poverty of the East. Quedlinburg is … More


A Man Called Ove

March 31, 2017
Rolf Lassgård in 'A Man Called Ove' (2015)

“You don’t need to put Christmas into everything,” complains Ove, whose life story has become a surprising worldwide hit. A Man Called Ove is unashamedly sentimental but this doesn’t seem to be a problem for most cinema-goers. Earlier this year, Ove earned Sweden an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Being part of … More


A Cure for Wellness

March 29, 2017
Dane DeHaan in A Cure of Wellness (2016)

For the first hour of Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness, one feels dazzled by the stylishness of a New Age horror flick in which the world of high finance seems scarier than anything a mad doctor could dream up. But as this over-long story puffs its way to the finish line one pictures Verbinksi … More


The Salesman

March 17, 2017
Taraneh Alidoosti in The Salesman (2016)

It seemed inevitable that Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman would win this year’s Oscar for best Foreign Language Film. When the Iranian director cancelled his trip to America in response to Donald Trump’s travel ban he touched the fickle hearts of Hollywood’s finest, with his physical absence proving more eloquent than any acceptance speech. The irony, … More


French Film Festival 2017

March 10, 2017
Soko in The Dancer (2016)

Whatever inventions Australians may boast about (Vegemite?), it’s best to keep quiet in Paris, because the French invented the cinema. Every year, in antipodean acknowledgement of this feat, Australians turn out in vast numbers for the Alliance Française French Film Festival. The organisers never tire of telling us that it is the biggest French film … More


Miss Sloane

March 3, 2017
Jessica Chastain in Miss Sloane (2016)

Last year there were more than 11,000 registered lobbyists in the Washington DC. US$11 billion was spent on this makeshift industry, with some large firms retaining more than a hundred operatives. This well-supplied army is engaged in a continuous assault on a mere 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators. That’s roughly … More


Hidden Figures

February 24, 2017
Janelle Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures is yet another movie “based on a true story” that exercises Hollywood’s time-hallowed right to improve on the truth. The time-line for the events portrayed has been subject to a cut & paste job, while real-life characters have been given a makeover – or in the case of Kevin Costner’s Al Harrison, stitched … More


Silence

February 17, 2017
Andrew Garfield in Silence (2016)

Religion is a dangerous subject for any filmmaker, but for Martin Scorsese it’s an obsession. Silence is his third religious movie after The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and Kundun (1997), but almost all of Scorsese’s films have been religious at heart. One has only to count the number of crucifixion scenes. Like so many … More