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Film Reviews | John McDonald

Film Reviews

1020<>40  50  

Predestination

September 6, 2014

If you haven’t seen enough of Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, he reappears – and disappears, and reappears – in Presdestination, the third feature by identical twins, Michael and Peter Spierig, who were born in Germany but raised in Brisbane. The film is based on Robert A. Heinlein’s All You Zombies (1959), a short story about … More


Magic in the Moonlight

August 30, 2014

Either the films are getting better or I’m becoming one of those critics who find redeeming features in unlikely places. Most reviewers seem to lose it after about 300 superhero flicks, when they finally begin to believe that someone in coloured leotards may have a rich inner life. My particular Waterloo might be Woody Allen. … More


Locke

August 30, 2014

If it were a musical composition, Locke might be described as a chamber piece. The action does not take place in a room, but in a car speeding down the expressway towards London in the middle of the night – with every impression being filtered through the character of the man behind the wheel, Ivan … More


The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

August 23, 2014

Forrest Gump never made it to Sweden, or else the Swedes loved the film so much they still haven’t gotten over it. Felix Herngren’s The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, takes elements familiar from Forrest Gump (1994), Zelig (1983), and Being There (1979), and adds an extra dose of … More


In Search of Chopin

August 23, 2014

One wonders how Frédéric Chopin (1810-49) would have fared in terms of compartmentalisation if Phil Grabsky had been able to sit him down on the psychoanalyst’s couch. Born and raised a Pole, Chopin found his fame in Paris. He fell in love with Polish girls, but the great romance of his life came with the … More


20,000 Days on Earth

August 23, 2014

Perhaps the strangest fact one discovers about rock star, Nick Cave, in the documentary, 20,000 Days on Earth, is that he spends most of his time doing a good impersonation of a middle class accountant. It never seemed likely when I stood in the audience of those Birthday Party gigs in Sydney, where Cave would … More


Lucy

August 16, 2014

“The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity,” reads the tag line for Luc Besson’s science fiction thriller, Lucy, “Today she will hit 100%.” It’s tempting to explore some variations on a theme: “The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity, but Luc Besson makes motion pictures using only a fraction of this … More


Palo Alto

August 16, 2014

There never seems to be a week in Sydney without some sort of film festival. Although the French brand reigns supreme in terms of size and popularity, there are many well-regarded smaller events. For instance, KOFFIA – the 5th annual Korean Film Festival In Australia, has just opened, and will run until 21 August, before … More


A Most Wanted Man

August 9, 2014

Like many contemporary directors, Anton Corbijn made his reputation with rock video clips, but where filmmakers such as Michel Gondry have carried the gimmicky style of the video clip into their features, Corbijn has taken the opposite approach. His movies are lean and understated, distinguished by psychological tension rather than spectacle. There have been only … More


The Selfish Giant

August 9, 2014

Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant borrows its title from a children’s tale by Oscar Wilde but sets the action in a working-class town in West Yorkshire. Wilde’s fable concerns a grumpy giant who prevents a group of children from playing in his garden and is punished with perpetual winter. The disjunction between story and film … More


1020<>40  50