Film Reviews

Looking for Grace

January 28, 2016
Odessa Young in 'Looking for Grace' (2015)

Looking for Grace is yet another Australian feature that makes a virtue out of vagueness. A small, quirky film, it unfolds like a detective story that never builds up dramatic momentum. The script is permeated with deadpan comedy that echoes the disjointed, inarticulate way so many Australians interact, but there are no great insights to … More


Room

January 28, 2016
Brie Larson in 'Room' (2015)

At the same time Room was being shown in preview there was a news story about a doctor in Sweden who kidnapped a woman and held her in a purpose-built bunker for a week. Her ordeal would have lasted longer if the kidnapper hadn’t lost his nerve and taken his victim to a police station … More


The Hateful Eight

January 22, 2016
Samuel L. Jackson in 'The Hateful Eight' (2015)

Each new film by Quentin Tarantino generates a storm of anticipation. We know what to expect, but initially The Hateful Eight took me by surprise. It is a long movie, divided into chapters, with an old-fashioned intermission. Instead of the usual gore fest the first half is all dialogue and scene-setting. If this appeals more … More


The Danish Girl

January 22, 2016
Eddie Redmayne in 'The Danish Girl' (2015)

When Gore Vidal’s novel, Myra Breckinridge, was made into a truly lamentable movie in 1970, transgender issues were hardly front page news. The idea that someone could feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body, or vice versa, was the stuff of ribald comedy. The wheel has turned so completely that transgenderism now occupies … More


Carol

January 14, 2016
Rooney Mara & Cate Blanchett in 'Carol' (2015)

It’s difficult to make a great movie from a great novel. Even the best directors struggle to capture the psychological nuances, the purposeful construction of personalities and subplots. An author can tell us much that a director can only suggest, unless he or she wants to make an unbearably wordy film. In Carol, Todd Haynes … More


The Big Short

January 14, 2016
Brad Pitt in 'The Big Short' (2015)

Don’t feel too bad if you fail to understand what a Collateral Debt Obligation (CDO) is, or how it works. Many thousands of investors who bought these packages in the lead-up to the American housing market crash of 2008, had no idea what they were buying. Not many of the Wall Street brokers who were … More


Point Break

January 7, 2016
Edgar Ramirez & Luke Bracey in 'Point Break' (2015)

There is no shortage of extraordinary nature cinematography in Point Break, but after watching The Revenant, it felt as artificial as a cartoon. The heavy imprint of CGI is all over this film, which is barely more than two hours of eye candy arranged over the flimsiest of plots. Before seeing this movie I would … More


The Revenant

January 7, 2016
Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant' (2015)

When he was receiving the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director at last year’s Academy Awards, Alejandro González Iñárritu, was already preoccupied with his next feature. He had begun planning The Revenant as early as 2011 but put it on hold when lead actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, was required for The Wolf of Wall Street. … More


The Bélier Family

January 6, 2016
Louane Emera in 'The Bélier Family' (2015)

For a people convinced of their intellectual superiority over the rest of the planet, the French have an incurable fondness for low-brow comedy and feel-good stories. Perhaps they’re just like us, after all. This year’s box office smash in France was La Famille Bélier, a comedy, like The Intouchables (2011) that finds humour and inspiration … More


Suffragette

January 6, 2016
Carey Mulligan in 'Suffragette' (2015)

It’s a common tactic when making a film about an historical moment to focus on a single participant. Make that character fictional and you have more room to move, being able to channel all the important points into an Everyman – or Everywoman. In Suffragette, Carey Mulligan plays that role. She is Maude Watts, an … More