Film Reviews

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The Insult

August 31, 2018

Mention the Middle East and most people think of the intractable conflict between the Israelis and their Arab neighbours, but the region is riddled with lingering enmities that never make international headlines. Beirut, once the most glamorous and cosmopolitan of cities, was the epicentre of a brutal civil war from 1975-1990 which began with battles … More


Crazy Rich Asians

August 23, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians arrives on a wave of hype that would put Hokusai to shame. We are told with great fanfare that it’s the first Hollywood film to feature an all-Asian cast since Wayne Wang’s The Joy Luck Club (1993). It’s seen more broadly as an antidote to Hollywood’s phobia about using Asian actors, which … More


BlacKKKlansman

August 17, 2018

“There are certain values we feel to be absolute,” wrote Aldous Huxley, in an essay of 1932. “Truth is one of them. We have an immediate conviction of its high, its supreme importance.” Not any more we don’t. Not in a world of alternative facts, in which inconvenient words and deeds are written off as … More


On Chesil Beach

August 10, 2018

Ian McEwan has complained about the difficulty of writing screenplays, and may have even sworn he’d never do it again. Nevertheless, here he is, adapting his own slender novel of 2007, On Chesil Beach. The book is not one of his best, being largely a sketch that revolves around a single, terrible night that changes … More


The Wife

August 2, 2018

What becomes of that comfortable old cliché: “Behind every great man there’s a great woman” in the #MeToo era? Surely it was always a euphemistic way of saying: “Behind every self-important male there’s a self-effacing female.” Nowadays to be politically correct we might have to say: “Behind every great LGBTQIA there’s a great LGBTQIA” – … More


Whitney

July 27, 2018

Whitney Houston’s story is horribly familiar – which doesn’t make it any less compelling. We’ve been to a very similar place with Amy (2015), Asif Kapadia’s documentary about doomed pop star, Amy Winehouse. We’ve been there with Whitney herself only last year, with Whitney: Can I Be Me, a documentary by Nick Broomfield and Rudi … More


The Breaker Upperers

July 21, 2018

The Breaker Upperers, which screened on opening night of this year’s Sydney Film Festival, got a riotous reception on an evening when everybody was in the mood for a party. Will it survive more sober assessments? It’s crude, vulgar and slapdash, so don’t go along expecting the Lubitsch touch. The film is a two-hander for … More


The Gospel According to André

July 13, 2018

Those who watched The September Issue – the 2009 documentary that sparked a wave of fashion movies, will remember André Leon Talley as a larger-than-life presence in Vogue magazine’s inner circle. Loud, camp and flamboyant, Talley is the big black guy who seems to hang around the office doing nothing in particular. If Vogue’s uptight … More


Mary Shelley

July 5, 2018

During her lifetime Mary Shelley (1797-1851) was considered a minor player in the colourful lives of the Romantic poets, but her literary legacy has overshadowed them all. For every contemporary reader who admires the poetry of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, or their friend, Lord Byron, there are millions who have thrilled to the story … More


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


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