Film Reviews

>10  20  30  

Ladies in Black

September 20, 2018

“Rarely, rarely, comest thou, Spirit of Delight!” lamented Shelley. He wasn’t referring to the Australian film industry but his words could hardly be more apposite. The number of local films I’ve watched in recent years that inspired even the faintest twinge of delight might be counted on the fingers of one hand. Finally, the drought … More


Lavazza Italian Film Festival 2018

September 14, 2018

In 2014 Paolo Sorrentino won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for The Great Beauty, a movie that updated Fellini’s La Dolce Vita for the age of Silvio Berlusconi. The headliner at this year’s Lavazza Italian Film Festival is Sorrentino’s Loro, a bio pic of the former Italian Prime Minister, that paints a … More


You Were Never Really Here

September 7, 2018

Last time we saw Joaquin Phoenix he was playing Jesus Christ in Garth Davis’s lacklustre Mary Magdalene. In Woody Allen’s Irrational Man of 2015, he was a verbose professor of philosophy that Emma Stone found unaccountably attractive. Finally, Phoenix has been given his ideal role – as Joe, a hired killer, in Lynne Ramsay’s You … More


The Insult

August 31, 2018

Mention the Middle East and most people think of the intractable conflict between the Israelis and their Arab neighbours, but the region is riddled with lingering enmities that never make international headlines. Beirut, once the most glamorous and cosmopolitan of cities, was the epicentre of a brutal civil war from 1975-1990 which began with battles … More


Crazy Rich Asians

August 23, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians arrives on a wave of hype that would put Hokusai to shame. We are told with great fanfare that it’s the first Hollywood film to feature an all-Asian cast since Wayne Wang’s The Joy Luck Club (1993). It’s seen more broadly as an antidote to Hollywood’s phobia about using Asian actors, which … More


BlacKKKlansman

August 17, 2018

“There are certain values we feel to be absolute,” wrote Aldous Huxley, in an essay of 1932. “Truth is one of them. We have an immediate conviction of its high, its supreme importance.” Not any more we don’t. Not in a world of alternative facts, in which inconvenient words and deeds are written off as … More


On Chesil Beach

August 10, 2018

Ian McEwan has complained about the difficulty of writing screenplays, and may have even sworn he’d never do it again. Nevertheless, here he is, adapting his own slender novel of 2007, On Chesil Beach. The book is not one of his best, being largely a sketch that revolves around a single, terrible night that changes … More


The Wife

August 2, 2018

What becomes of that comfortable old cliché: “Behind every great man there’s a great woman” in the #MeToo era? Surely it was always a euphemistic way of saying: “Behind every self-important male there’s a self-effacing female.” Nowadays to be politically correct we might have to say: “Behind every great LGBTQIA there’s a great LGBTQIA” – … More


Whitney

July 27, 2018

Whitney Houston’s story is horribly familiar – which doesn’t make it any less compelling. We’ve been to a very similar place with Amy (2015), Asif Kapadia’s documentary about doomed pop star, Amy Winehouse. We’ve been there with Whitney herself only last year, with Whitney: Can I Be Me, a documentary by Nick Broomfield and Rudi … More


The Breaker Upperers

July 21, 2018

The Breaker Upperers, which screened on opening night of this year’s Sydney Film Festival, got a riotous reception on an evening when everybody was in the mood for a party. Will it survive more sober assessments? It’s crude, vulgar and slapdash, so don’t go along expecting the Lubitsch touch. The film is a two-hander for … More


>10  20  30  
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