Film Reviews

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The Children Act

December 6, 2018

It’s a big year at the movies for Ian McEwan, a novelist who seems to enjoy pulling the carpet out from under his protagonists. In August we had On Chesil Beach, adapted by McEwan from his own novel of 2007. Now he has written a screenplay for The Children Act, published in 2014. McEwan is … More


Shoplifters

November 30, 2018

Everyone knows George Santayana’s famous line: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. This is axiomatic, most especially in an age when attention spans are shrinking to the size of a mobile phone screen. The philosopher’s second-most-popular quotation is rather more problematic. When Santayana wrote: “The family is one of nature’s … More


Widows

November 23, 2018

When Steve McQueen won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Picture for 12 Years a Slave, it was a testament to his choice of subject matter rather than his skills as a director. With a background in video art – a medium in which boring and pointless exercises often enjoy critical acclaim – McQueen has … More


The Old Man & the Gun

November 15, 2018

There was an old man with a gun Who spent his whole life on the run His favourite prank Was to hold up a bank He said it was his kind of fun If The Old Man & the Gun is the swansong of Robert Redford’s acting career he’s not going out with a bang … More


Suspiria

November 8, 2018

Most remakes leave one pondering the wisdom of Oscar Wilde’s line: “each man kills the thing he loves.” If a filmmaker feels so attached to a movie that he or she wants to make it again, surely that remake should be an insightful re-imagining of the original. I don’t need to stress how rarely this … More


Bohemian Rhapsody

November 2, 2018

When a film spends eight years in production, from first announcement to opening night, it doesn’t augur well, epecially if that same film changes directors when two-thirds complete. After such a painful birth perhaps we should be pleased Bohemian Rhapsody made it to the cinema at all. Dare we hope that it’s any good? Bryan … More


Fahrenheit 11/9

October 25, 2018

Godwin’s Law states that the longer an on-line discussion continues the more likely it is that someone will mention Hitler. In Fahrenheit 11/9 it takes Michael Moore an hour-and-a-half to invoke Der Führer, but when he does there’s no holding back. We get newsreel footage of Hitler addressing a rally, but the voiceover comes from … More


A Star is Born

October 20, 2018

One learns to mistrust the movie that is hyped to the skies – whether it be “critically acclaimed” or simply a “box office sensation”. The box office is the worst guide to quality because popular taste is fixated on superheroes, brain-dead action films, lame comedies and sentimental mush. As for the critics, they couldn’t stop … More


1%

October 12, 2018

On first impressions one wouldn’t imagine Matt Nable to be the literary type. Covered in tattoos, muscle-bound, mo-hawked, and prone to a bit of ultra-violence, Nable, who plays bikie leader, Knuck, in Stephen McCallum’s 1%, is also responsible for the screenplay. Although most of the dialogue is a stream of expletives, it’s more convincing than … More


The Seagull

October 4, 2018

Although Anton Chekhov’s plays were considered radically naturalistic when first performed, they feel like period pieces today. The saving grace is that the period to which they belong was one of the most fertile in world literature, with Chekhov’s brief span of 44 years intersecting with the lives of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Leskov and Bunin, … More


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