Film Reviews

Wadjda

March 22, 2014
Waad Mohammed in 'Wadjda' (2012)

Every week another movie promises to take us on a fantastic journey to a mysterious land. In this respect, Wadjda is more successful than all the big budget 3D epics churned out by the Hollywood studios. The mysterious land is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the journey proceeds along that slippery path from childhood to adulthood, … More


Half of a Yellow Sun

March 22, 2014
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 'Half of a Yellow Sun' (2013)

Unlike Saudi Arabia, where there is virtually no film industry, Nigeria is second only to India as a cinematic powerhouse. ‘Nollywood’ routinely produces more than a thousand movies a year but I’ve never seen a single example at an Australian venue. This is one of the reasons why Half of a Yellow Sun, an Anglo-Nigerian … More


The Monuments Men

March 15, 2014
Matt Damon & George Clooney in 'The Monuments Men' (2014)

When you see German soldiers with flame throwers destroying works of art in one of the most striking scenes from The Monuments Men, remember that it never actually happened. The Raphael picture we see going up in flames is still listed as “missing” today, not officially torched. One might think the Nazis were bad enough … More


Hannah Arendt

March 15, 2014
Barbara Sukowa stars as the eponymous German writer and philosopher in 'Hannah Arendt'.

The jollities and distortions of The Monuments Men would not have impressed Hannah Arendt, the German-Jewish intellectual who wrote an impressively forensic account of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, whom some describe as the architect of the Final Solution. Neither would they go down well with Margarethe von Trotta, who has made a long line … More


Tracks

March 8, 2014
Mia Wasikowska in 'Tracks', 2013

In April 1977 the 26 year-old Robyn Davidson set out with a dog and four camels to walk 2,700 kilometres from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. Tracks, her memoir of the journey, was published in 1980 and became a world-wide best-seller. The film rights for the book were first sold in the early 1980s … More


Alliance Francaise French Film Festival

March 8, 2014
Juliette Binoche in 'Camille Claudel', 2013

Celebrating its 25th anniversaire, the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival returns this month to cinemas across the country. As the organisers continually remind us, this is now the biggest annual festival of French cinema outside of France. The appeal is pretty straightforward: ask most middle-class Australians for their favourite destination and France is always high … More


Le Weekend

March 1, 2014
Lindsay Duncan & Jim Broadbent in 'Le Weekend' 2013

To turn from Gloria to Le Weekend is to become conscious of the gulf that separates 58 from the mid-60s. Instead of the problems of being a single mature-age woman, we meet with the frustrations of a couple who have been yoked together for 30 years, to the point where they can hardly imagine themselves … More


Gloria

March 1, 2014
Paulina Garcia was awarded the Silver Bear for Best Actress at last year's Berlin International Film Festival for her role in 'Gloria' 2013

Over the past few years there has been an increasing volume of films about old people having sex – or thinking about having sex, or remembering what it was like to have sex. What began as an interesting sub-genre now resembles a movement. The trickle has become a torrent. One may only speculate on the … More


RoboCop

February 22, 2014
Joel Kinnaman in 'RoboCop' 2014

RoboCop redux generates seriously diminished expectations. How could one expect anything but a travesty of Paul Verhoeven’s original RoboCop of 1987? The big budget remake of Verhoeven’s Total Recall was possibly the most execrable Hollywood production of 2012, so one could only brace for the worst. It is with relief and surprise that I can … More


Dallas Buyers Club

February 22, 2014
Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof in 'Dallas Buyers Club' 2013

It was startling enough to see Christian Bale porking up to play a middle-aged conman in American Hustle, but this seems like a piece of cake – or perhaps lots of cake and donuts – alongside Matthew McConaughey’s drastic transformation for Dallas Buyers Club. Anyone can pile on the kilos but it takes extraordinary discipline … More