Film Reviews

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The Innocents & Things to Come

April 29, 2017

There’s no category in contemporary cinema more demeaning than the ‘chick flick’. It suggests a sloppy romance of the Barbara Cartland variety, or a superficial, feel-good movie with a ‘girl power’ theme. Either way the term eliminates one half of the human race as a willing audience, and patronises the other. This week two very … More


Berlin Syndrome

April 21, 2017

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

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

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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


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