Film Reviews

My Cousin Rachel

June 14, 2017
Young Philip Ashley explores the grassy paddocks of Cornwall with his cousin Rachel

Daphne Du Maurier (1907-89) is one of those writers destined to be forever suspended between literature and pulp fiction. Her work has echoes of the great Victorian novelists but also a tinge of Gothic horror. She may not have beeen deep but she knew how to tell a fabulous, gloomy story. It’s the pulp aspect … More

The Mummy & Wonder Woman

June 6, 2017
Gal Gadot, real-life Amazon

Wonder Woman and The Mummy will almost certainly be the highest grossing films in Australia this winter, although I hope I’m wrong. Both are big-budget studio concoctions with everything we have come to expect from this kind of movie. The Mummy arrived with one of my pet hates – the red carpet preview. I don’t … More

Sydney Film Festival 2017: A Preview

June 1, 2017
Sydney Film Festival 2017: cinema planet

As the arrival of winter drives people indoors the organisers of the Sydney Film Festival will be hoping they seek out the warm embrace of the State Theatre or another venue, from the Dendy Newtown to the Hayden Orpheum in Cremorne. Is there any better way of spending a fortnight than sitting in a darkened … More


May 25, 2017
Pablo Neruda, a poet unafraid of eye liner

Poetry has become a sadly rarefied activity. In the not-so-distant past many people could recite favourite poems at will. Figures such as Byron and Shelley were the pop stars of their age, and continued to exert an influence long after their deaths. In the late 19th century, when Tom Roberts or Charles Conder went out … More

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


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
AAA Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 9.31.01 pm

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