Film Reviews

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The Diary of a Teenage Girl

September 25, 2015

“I had sex today. Holy shit!” Welcome to The Diary of a Teenage Girl – a film that throws us into the deep end with its opening line. The place is San Francisco, the time 1976, and the narrator, 15-year-old Minnie Goetz – a precocious schoolgirl who confides everything to her tape recorder. Minnie recounts … More


Cut Snake

September 25, 2015

It’s a chilling prospect but we seem to be in the midst of a seventies revival. A growing number of new films are either set in the seventies or draw upon the music of that era. The latest is Tony Ayres’s Cut Snake, which takes us on an anti-nostalgic journey through the Australian suburban sprawl, … More


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

September 19, 2015

Many viewers will be touched, charmed, moved and seduced by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Hey, it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, so it must be doing something right. There is a lot to like about this film, but also a … More


How to Change the World

September 19, 2015

There are some big egos and life-changing traumas on display in How to Change the World, a documentary about the early years of Greenpeace, which focuses on the group’s first leader, the late Robert Hunter. For the most part Jerry Rothwell’s film celebrates the idealism, and surprising successes, of a group of young people who … More


Life

September 12, 2015

Cinematic highlight of the week was Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s The President, which opened the Persian International Film Festival in Sydney. Despite its grand title and the massive turn-out on opening night, the Festival only lasts for four days, which makes it impossible to review. This is partly because it is still early days for this event, … More


Force of Destiny

September 12, 2015

Paul Cox’s Force of Destiny is another film that straddles the twilight zone between life and art, but this is because the story is so closely based on the director’s own battles that it becomes an oblique autobiography. In 2009 Cox was diagnosed with liver cancer and given only a short time to live. Towards … More


A Walk in the Woods

September 5, 2015

If they made a movie of your life, which actor should play you? In this old game it’s almost obligatory to say: “Brad Pitt” while friends offer less flattering suggestions. Not so long ago a chap might have suggested: “Robert Redford”, and received an equally derisive response. Travel writer, Bill Bryson, is in the flattering … More


The Gift

September 5, 2015

Most boys from the western suburbs of Sydney would be content with the life of a Hollywood actor, but Joel Edgerton has recently revealed an exceptional talent as a writer of screenplays. Now comes The Gift, his debut feature as a director, and it’s an impressive achievement. Not only has Edgerton written the script and … More


Irrational Man

August 29, 2015

“Our time, said Max Scheler, is the first in which man has become thoroughly and completely problematic to himself.” The line comes from William Barrett’s Irrational Man (1958), a book often credited with introducing Existentialist philosophy to an American audience. I have a well-thumbed paperback, and so does Woody Allen – one imagines. In Allen’s … More


Ricki and the Flash

August 29, 2015

It often seems Woody Allen can’t make up his mind whether he wants to make a feel-good film or a feel-bad one. No such indecision characterises Jonathan Demme who, in Ricki and the Flash, has created a movie to make middle-aged audiences believe all hope is not yet lost. It is a film that owes … More


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