Film Reviews

Alien Covenant

May 19, 2017
Katherine Waterston meets the Alien

Damien Hirst must feel pissed off that the release of Alien Covenant occurred after he’d already completed his massive Venice Biennale exhibition, Treasures From the Wreck of the Unbelievable. Amid bronze and marble effigies of every conceivable mythological creature, every pop culture icon from Mickey Mouse to Yo-Landi of Die Antwoord, the only character missing … More


Whiteley

May 13, 2017
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It’s a happy fluke that the release of James Bogle’s documentary on Brett Whiteley coincides with an exhibition by Vincent Van Gogh at the National Gallery of Victoria. Of the many artists Whiteley idolised and copied, Van Gogh was his all-time favourite. They were on first-name terms, with Whiteley always referring to his hero as … More


Rules Don’t Apply

May 5, 2017
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Does anybody remember Howard Hughes? Rules Don’t Apply, Warren Beatty’s fictionalised portrait of the eccentric billionaire, was reputedly decades in gestation. In the meantime we’ve had The Aviator, Martin Scorsese’s bio pic of Hughes’s early life, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, winning five. Thirteen years … More


The Innocents & Things to Come

April 29, 2017
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There’s no category in contemporary cinema more demeaning than the ‘chick flick’. It suggests a sloppy romance of the Barbara Cartland variety, or a superficial, feel-good movie with a ‘girl power’ theme. Either way the term eliminates one half of the human race as a willing audience, and patronises the other. This week two very … More


Berlin Syndrome

April 21, 2017
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Cate Shortland’s Berlin Syndrome is a movie that vindicates the paranoid wisdom of one’s parents. “Don’t talk to strangers,” they tell us, conjuring up suspicions that the man at the bustop is probably an axe murderer. But if the humble suburbs are crawling with psychos the dangers of a foreign country are almost inconceivable. Better … More


Personal Shopper

April 14, 2017
Kristen Stewart frocks up in Personal Shopper

Watching a film by Olivier Assayas is like spying on strangers from around a corner. The camera lurks in the shadows. It sneaks along behind characters and captures them from unusual angles. This is unsettling enough, but in Personal Shopper Assayas has created an entirely new genre: the fashionista-ghost story-cyberstalker-crime drama, achieved with an insouciance … More


Frantz

April 8, 2017
Pierre Niney and Paula Beer in 'Frantz' (2016)

Towns don’t get much more German than Quedlinburg. Nestled in the heart of Saxony it has about 20,000 inhabitants, but calls itself “the first capital of Germany” because King Heinrich was crowned there in 919 CE. Throughout the years of division its medieval buildings were preserved intact by the poverty of the East. Quedlinburg is … More


A Man Called Ove

March 31, 2017
Rolf Lassgård in 'A Man Called Ove' (2015)

“You don’t need to put Christmas into everything,” complains Ove, whose life story has become a surprising worldwide hit. A Man Called Ove is unashamedly sentimental but this doesn’t seem to be a problem for most cinema-goers. Earlier this year, Ove earned Sweden an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Being part of … More


A Cure for Wellness

March 29, 2017
Dane DeHaan in A Cure of Wellness (2016)

For the first hour of Gore Verbinski’s A Cure for Wellness, one feels dazzled by the stylishness of a New Age horror flick in which the world of high finance seems scarier than anything a mad doctor could dream up. But as this over-long story puffs its way to the finish line one pictures Verbinksi … More


The Salesman

March 17, 2017
Taraneh Alidoosti in The Salesman (2016)

It seemed inevitable that Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman would win this year’s Oscar for best Foreign Language Film. When the Iranian director cancelled his trip to America in response to Donald Trump’s travel ban he touched the fickle hearts of Hollywood’s finest, with his physical absence proving more eloquent than any acceptance speech. The irony, … More