Film Reviews

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado

June 29, 2018

If this were one of those reviews that run in a box at the side of the page it would read: “A relentlessly brutal and stupid film that does no-one any favours.” The chief difference between this sequel and the original Sicario of 2015, comes down to two significant absences. Canadian Director, Denis Villeneuve, has … More


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

June 22, 2018

Spanish director, J.A.Bayona has made a horror film about a creepy old house (The Orphanage), a full-on disaster flick (The Impossible), and a monster movie (A Monster Calls). These must have seemed like excellent credentials to a Hollywood studio looking for someone to helm the fifth installment in their ever-popular dinosaur franchise. If only Bayona … More


[CENSORED]

June 15, 2018

One of the most intriguing entries in this year’s Sydney Film Festival was a documentary called [CENSORED]. It consists of 63 minutes of footage stitched together from bits cut out of films by the Australian censorship office from 1958 to 1971. Director, Sari Braithwaite, rummaged through almost 2,000 clips preserved and digitised at the National … More


Ocean’s 8

June 8, 2018

Everyone loves a good heist flick. At a running time of twelve minutes the very first Hollywood blockbuster was Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery of 1903. In the 21st century the genre received a boost from Steven Soderbergh’s 2002 remake of the Rat Pack film, Ocean’s 11 (1960). Sequels were to follow in … More


Sydney Film Festival 2018: Fashion Documentaries

May 31, 2018

This year the Sydney Film Festival turns 65 but has no thoughts of retirement. On the contrary, with more than 250 films being screened over a mere 12 days, the SFF is operating at the peak of its powers. Arriving at a time of year when good new releases are scarce it offers something for … More


Solo: A Star Wars Story

May 25, 2018

If you’ve ever wondered what Han Solo did before the first Star Wars film, Solo: A Star Wars Story provides all the details. It seems he spent a lot of time flying spaceships and shooting at amazingly incompetent enemies with ray guns. Wow! That was a surprise. One never expects a Star Wars movie to … More


German Film Festival 2018

May 18, 2018

There have been occasions when the German Film Festival has chosen to kick off with an echte deutsche Komödie. This allowed many iterations of that lazy gag about German comedy being a contradiction in terms. This year the Germans have returned to more familiar territory: earnest dramas, with perhaps a touch of Olympian irony. This … More


Tully

May 11, 2018

Last time you saw Charlize Theron she was probably looking glamorous in tights and leather. Now, less than a year after her stunning, if slightly ridiculous, appearance as a secret agent in Atomic Blonde, she’s back! As a frumpy, depressed suburban mum. Theron has added 22 kilos in one of those body transformations that have … More


Breath

May 4, 2018

With literature everybody has their blind spots. Tim Winton is one of mine. For decades I’ve listened to apparently rational people raving about his books but whenever I’ve dipped into a novel I’ve found it so banal, so relentlessly uninteresting, that I dipped right back out again. It reads like literature for underachievers, for those … More


Loveless

April 26, 2018

“Do you think the world is about to end?” one of the characters in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless asks a workmate. “Definitely!” comes the reply. It’s as close as this ruthless portrait of contemporary Russian life gets to comedy. Zvyagintsev’s enemies accuse him of taking a “negative” view of Russia, but what are the positives? Thirty … More


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