Film Reviews

Truth

December 10, 2015
Cate Blanchett in 'Truth' (2015)

For those of us who haven’t grown up watching Dan Rather anchoring the CBS News, his portrayal in Truth is a little hard to swallow. Played by Robert Redford as a secular saint, Rather comes across a beacon of moral purity in the midst of a media swamp. Not only is he the ‘grand old … More


Phoenix

December 4, 2015
Nina Hoss in 'Phoenix' (2014)

While Ron Howard gives us adventure on the high seas, Christian Petzold takes us to a seedy, broken-down Germany in the wake of the Second World War. Phoenix is an advance on Petzold’s previous feature, Barbara (2012), which was set in East Germany during the 1980s. Both movies share the same female and male leads, … More


In the Heart of the Sea

December 4, 2015
Chris Hemsworth in 'In the Heart of the Sea' (2015)

Ron Howard is the kind of old-fashioned director Hollywood loves. He is happy to work with trash such as The Da Vinci Code (2006), but able to rise to the occasion when given a more challenging assignment such as Apollo 13 (1995) or Frost/Nixon (2008). The skill is to make the trash seem a little … More


The Program

November 26, 2015
Ben Foster in 'The Program' (2015)

It’s strange that with so many excellent documentaries being made today, filmmakers still believe that every true story needs to be turned into fiction. This was the case with features such as The Walk and Freeheld, which reworked the subjects of acclaimed documentaries. Now Stephen Frears, who really should know better, has entered the fray … More


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

November 26, 2015
Jennifer Lawrence in 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2' (2015)

After four gruelling installments the lucrative Hunger Games franchise has finally ground to a halt. Just as The Hobbit had to be extruded into a trilogy, with the entire third part based on only a few pages of the actual book, so too has Suzanne Collins’s young adult series been stretched beyond the point of … More


The Crow’s Egg

November 19, 2015
Ramesh and J.Vignesh in 'The Crow's Egg' (2014)

Every so often one sees a small, irresistible film that puts the blockbusters to shame. Such is The Crow’s Egg, a low-budget feature about two young brothers who live in the slums of Chennai. It’s a story of crushing poverty that is never allowed to become grim or depressing. This is a first feature by … More


99 Homes

November 19, 2015
Michael Shannon in '99 Homes' (2014)

It must be a relief for Andrew Garfield to appear in a movie without the Spider Man outfit. In Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes even those fabled Spidey powers would be of no use against the unstoppable force of the Global Financial Crisis. In opposition to the black-and-white moral universe of the super hero film, in … More


Now Add Honey

November 12, 2015
Robbie Magasiva (Sebastian) and writer Robyn Butler (Caroline) in 'Now Add Honey' (2015)

It’s been a slow week for new releases, and for one reason or another I haven’t been able to catch He Named Me Malala, the only serious candidate as a second review. The other movie released this week, Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, is being shown at such a small number of cinemas that Roadshow … More


Spectre

November 12, 2015
Daniel Craig in 'Spectre' (2015)

Each new James Bond movie arrives like a cinematic tsunami. You know it’s coming, and that it’s completely unstoppable. If all the critics in the world decided that Spectre was rubbish it would make very little impression on the box office. A Bond film, regardless of its merits and demerits, is a ‘Must See’. I … More


Man Up

November 6, 2015
Simon Pegg & Lake Bell in 'Man Up' (2015)

Ben Palmer is another director who has spent much of his career in television, but Man Up has more verve than most romantic comedies. There are moments when this movie becomes genuinely funny and anarchic, but the claims of the genre keep reasserting themselves, allowing the return of the godawful sentimentality that makes such films … More