Film Reviews

A Month of Sundays & Pawno

April 29, 2016
Anthony LaPaglia in 'A Month of Sundays' (2015)

‘Fun’ is not a term one associates with contemporary Australian cinema, which has mistaken humourlessness for high seriousness. I’m not pining for slapstick comedy, only for films that can hold an up-tempo mood for more than a minute at a time. The Dressmaker came close last year, while Last Cab to Darwin – a film … More


Eddie the Eagle

April 29, 2016
Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman in 'Eddie the Eagle' (2016)

Eddie the Eagle may be the year’s most shameless piece of feel-good filmmaking. Many viewers, myself included, usually feel pretty bad at the prospect of another feel-good film, but it would take a special kind of wowser to deny the entertainment value of this tale of glorious failure. What do I mean by a “feel-good” … More


Marguerite

April 21, 2016
Catherine Frot in 'Marguerite' (2015)

It’s a little surprising it has taken filmmakers so long to catch up with Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944), the New York socialite who aspired to be a great soprano but couldn’t hold a tune. The story has all the makings of a great tragicomedy, as a wealthy, kind-hearted woman is allowed to indulge her delusions … More


Midnight Special

April 21, 2016
Michael Shannon in 'Midnight Special' (2016)

Midnight Special begins in the middle, as if we had just loaded up episode two of a series. It’s late at night in a seedy motel room, and there is an item on the TV about the kidnapping of an eight-year-old boy named Alton Meyer. We swiftly realise that we are looking at the boy … More


Wide Open Sky

April 14, 2016
Wide Open Sky (2015)

It would be a shame not to mention a new Australian documentary released this week. Lisa Nicol’s Wide Open Sky, follows the indomitable Michelle Leonard, as she rounds up country children to take part in her annual choir project, the Moorambilla Voices. It’s a completely hands-on activity that sees Leonard not only conducting the choir, … More


Spanish Film Festival 2016

April 14, 2016
'Nothing in Return' (2015)

In the days of the infamous Motion Picture Production Code, which stretched from 1930 until the 1960s, Hollywood’s movie makers were constrained from producing any film that might lower the moral standards of its audience. This meant crime could never pay, while law-breakers always suffered for their sins. Innocence and goodness were invariably rewarded. For … More


Rams

April 8, 2016
Sigurdur Sigurjonsson in 'Rams' (2015)

At last, a movie for sheep fanciers everywhere! Rams is a small, deadpan story about two brothers who live next door to each in a remote part of Iceland, but haven’t exchanged a word in forty years. The only thing that gets people excited in this barren environment is sheep. The brothers, and their fellow … More


Where to Invade Next

April 7, 2016
Michael Moore in documentary 'Where to Invade Next' (2015)

Donald Trump says he will make America great again. Michael Moore has plenty of suggestions about where to start. In the fanciful opening to Where to Invade Next, it’s not Trump that asks Moore for advice, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are concerned that they’ve bungled every engagement since 1945. They need a … More


Sherpa

March 31, 2016
'Sherpa' (2015)

One wonders if our addiction to the ludicrous disaster fantasies of superhero films makes us more or less susceptible to real disaster stories? Jennifer Peedom’s documentary, Sherpa, was filmed one year before the earthquake that struck Nepal on 25 April 2015, but it shows a community that had already endured its share of trauma. Peedom … More


Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice

March 31, 2016
Henry Cavill in 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' (2016)

At the age of twelve I read Marvel comics with religious dedication. As a fan one made a clear choice between the Marvel universe and that of its great rival, DC comics. While DC may have had those two archetypal superheroes, Batman and Superman, Marvel had a whole raft of characters that seemed more imaginatively … More