Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /clientdata/zeus-dynamic-1/j/o/johnmcdonald.net.au/www/index.php:1) in /clientdata/zeus-dynamic-1/j/o/johnmcdonald.net.au/www/wp-config.php on line 53
Film Reviews | John McDonald

Film Reviews

<>10  20  30  

The Final Portrait

October 6, 2017

In Paris in 2006 I dined with James Lord in the restaurant of L’Hotel in rue des Beaux Arts. It’s the hotel in which Oscar Wilde had expired in an upstairs room, losing his final battle with the wallpaper. Many years after Wilde’s departure, Lord established himself in an exquisite apartment on the other side … More


Battle of the Sexes

September 30, 2017

It’s strange to watch Battle of the Sexes from an Australian perspective, remembering how we barracked for Margaret Court in her rivalry with America’s Billie Jean King. Forty years on, Margaret Court looks like the most dreadful sourpuss – an outspoken homophobe, and allegedly an apologist for Apartheid. Billie Jean King has taken a very … More


Mother!

September 21, 2017

For want of a better term one would have to call Darren Aronofsky’s bizarre, polarising Mother! a ‘horror movie’, but he has really invented a new kind of film that offers several strong lines of interpretation under the umbrella of a grandiose cosmic vision. Most horror flicks have a pretty basic structure: those who offend … More


Victoria and Abdul

September 15, 2017

One marvels at the undying appeal of Queen Victoria for latter-day filmmakers. Along with two features: John Madden’s Mrs. Brown (1997) and Jean-Marc Vallée’s The Young Victoria (2009), there are dozens of movies in which the Dear Old Queen makes an appearance. She’s usually portrayed as a stern but lovable grand dame who strikes an … More


The Dinner

September 8, 2017

After watching Steve Coogan send up his own dramatic aspirations in The Trip to Spain, it requires a conscious readjustment to accept the tortured, bipolar character we meet in The Dinner. To play history teacher, Paul Lohman, Coogan not only has to find an American accent, he has to exude bitterness and self-pity in every … More


Maudie

September 1, 2017

In every bio pic one can’t help wondering what the subjects of the film actually looked like. Unless it’s a movie about another movie star it’s unusual for the lead actors to closely resemble the people they’re playing. In the case of Maudie it seems that director, Aisling Walsh, was never interested in getting leads … More


The King’s Choice

August 25, 2017

Scandinavian history may not be a pressing concern for most Australians, but we can all recognise the importance of political courage – if only by its absence in Canberra. The King’s Choice deals with the dilemma that beset King Haakan VII of Norway when his country was invaded by the Germans in April 1940. Erik … More


Logan Lucky

August 18, 2017

Steven Soderbergh is one of Hollywood’s mavericks and one of its great professionals. A certain percentage of his films might be termed arthouse projects, while others embrace the mainstream, leaping from genre to genre with the enthusiasm of a life-long student of the cinema. It’s almost as if Soderbergh becomes wary of his own artistic … More


Atomic Blonde

August 9, 2017

For a snapshot of the way mainstream cinema has changed over the past 50 years try watching Guy Hamilton’s Funeral in Berlin (1966) before venturing into David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde. As a fan of those early Len Deighton espionage novels, I always thought Funeral in Berlin was a pretty shallow piece of work. The redeeming … More


The Trip to Spain

August 3, 2017

In 2010 Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon took us on a culinary tour around the Lake District, in 2014 they ate their way through Italy. Now, reunited with director, Michael Winterbottom, they’re off to Spain. Long may their travels continue. The premise, as ever, is for these two sometime friends to visit a series of … More


<>10  20  30