Film Reviews


June 23, 2016
Günes Sensoy in 'Mustang' (2015)

Put five teenage sisters together in one household and it’s a recipe for chaos. Put them into a provincial household in Turkey and it’s a disaster waiting to happen. First-time director, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, has made a film that sums up the violent contradictions that face a young generation of Turks growing up in a … More

Miles Ahead

June 17, 2016
Don Cheadle in 'Miles Ahead' (2015)

In a week in which all the talk is about America’s bloody love affair with firearms, it’s remarkable to see three movies that show the devotion that Elvis, Hank Williams, and Miles Davis felt for their guns. The portrayal of Miles Davis brought to us by Don Cheadle, who both directs and stars, is on … More

Sydney Film Festival 2016

June 17, 2016
Pedro Almodóvar's 'Julieta' (2016)

This is the closing weekend of the Sydney Film Festival and I’ve managed to see 22 out of 254 films. A paltry score, but enough to get the general flavour of proceedings. Some of those films such as Goldstone, Everybody Wants Some!!, Demolition and The BFG will be released in the near future, so it … More

Sydney Film Festival 2016

June 10, 2016
The Childhood of a Leader (2015)

Whoever puts together the official program for the Sydney Film Festival should be given responsibility for the city’s urban redevelopment. The minds behind such a masterpiece of cross-referencing, indexing and organisation might have thought twice about the over-expansion of Green Square, the stealthy growth of Barangaroo, the tree massacre on Anzac Parade, and the ludicrous … More

Queen of the Desert

June 3, 2016
Nicole Kidman in 'Queen of the Desert' (2015)

Werner Herzog has made some great movies in the course of a career of more than 50 years, but Queen of the Desert isn’t one of them. In this biopic – a virtual masterpiece of miscasting – the “waif-like” Gertrude Bell is represented by the towering form of Our Nic; James Franco struggles with a … More

Money Monster

June 3, 2016
George Clooney in 'Money Monster' (2016)

At a Q & A last week, after the premiere of Money Monster, director, Jodie Foster spoke about her admiration for the films of Sidney Lumet. It was no revelation as her movie has resounding echoes of two Lumet classics – Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and Network (1976). There’s also a more-than-passing resemblance to Spike … More

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

May 26, 2016
Julian Dennison in 'Hunt for the Wilderpeople' (2016)

I’ve never wished I was a New Zealander except in the middle of one of Taika Waititi’s movies. There’s so much local colour, so many gags that only a Kiwi would understand, that I always feel I’m missing something. In What We Do in the Shadows it was funny to see the vampires strolling down … More

The Nice Guys

May 26, 2016
Ryan Gosling & Russell Crowe in 'The Nice Guys' (2016)

Take Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, a sassy blonde teenager, and a salacious story that revolves around the Los Angeles porn industry circa 1977, and you have The Nice Guys. It’s not so much a formula film as half a dozen formulas that director, Shane Black, has mixed together to create a surprisingly fizzy cocktail. … More

Highly Strung

May 19, 2016
Scott Hicks director of 'Highly Strung'.
Photograph: Adelaide Film Festival

In the rarefied world of classical music the blood-letting is not so obvious, but it can still get nasty, as shown by Scott Hicks’s documentary, Highly Strung. This film has at least four different narratives that don’t always interact smoothly. The first is a portrait of the Australian String Quartet, beginning in late 2013, when … More

X-Men Apocalypse

May 19, 2016
Tye Sheridan in 'X-Men: Apocalypse' (2016)

Not having bothered to watch the past seven – or is it eight? – X-Men films, I feel at a disadvantage when it comes to reviewing this latest installment in a long-running franchise. I didn’t avoid the previous films for any special reason, merely a lack of interest in the overblown superhero genre that has … More