Film Reviews

Brooklyn

February 12, 2016
Saoirse Ronan in 'Brooklyn' (2015)

Brooklyn has arrived at the cinema at the same time as new a Nicholas Sparks romance, appropriately titled The Choice. Yes viewers, if you are partial to a bit of romantic drama there is a clear choice. On one hand the clichéd, cardboard-cutout world of The Choice, with characters that would have been rejected from … More


Steve Jobs

February 12, 2016
Michael Fassbender in 'Steve Jobs' (2015)

In his documentary of last year, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, Alex Gibney analysed the worldwide outpouring of grief that followed the death of the tech guru in 2011. It seemed remarkable that so many people were in tears for a man they’d never met. “I think we were weeping for the loss … More


Spotlight

February 4, 2016
Michael Keaton in 'Spotlight' (2015)

For a brief but terrible moment this week, I thought I might have to review Dirty Grandpa as my second film. I remember saying beforehand: “Don’t worry, it won’t be like Bad Grandpa, it’s got Robert De Niro.” That much was true: Dirty Grandpa made the Jackass team’s Bad Grandpa seem like an Ernst Lubitsch … More


Anomalisa

February 4, 2016
Charlie Kaufman's Stop Motion 'Anomalisa' (2015)

It gets progressively harder to argue with Ecclesiastes 1:9: “there is no new thing under the sun”, but Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson have shaken my faith, with Anomalisa. It is the story of a dour, middle-aged Englishman named Michael Stone who has lived in the United States for many years without losing his accent. … More


Looking for Grace

January 28, 2016
Odessa Young in 'Looking for Grace' (2015)

Looking for Grace is yet another Australian feature that makes a virtue out of vagueness. A small, quirky film, it unfolds like a detective story that never builds up dramatic momentum. The script is permeated with deadpan comedy that echoes the disjointed, inarticulate way so many Australians interact, but there are no great insights to … More


Room

January 28, 2016
Brie Larson in 'Room' (2015)

At the same time Room was being shown in preview there was a news story about a doctor in Sweden who kidnapped a woman and held her in a purpose-built bunker for a week. Her ordeal would have lasted longer if the kidnapper hadn’t lost his nerve and taken his victim to a police station … More


The Hateful Eight

January 22, 2016
Samuel L. Jackson in 'The Hateful Eight' (2015)

Each new film by Quentin Tarantino generates a storm of anticipation. We know what to expect, but initially The Hateful Eight took me by surprise. It is a long movie, divided into chapters, with an old-fashioned intermission. Instead of the usual gore fest the first half is all dialogue and scene-setting. If this appeals more … More


The Danish Girl

January 22, 2016
Eddie Redmayne in 'The Danish Girl' (2015)

When Gore Vidal’s novel, Myra Breckinridge, was made into a truly lamentable movie in 1970, transgender issues were hardly front page news. The idea that someone could feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body, or vice versa, was the stuff of ribald comedy. The wheel has turned so completely that transgenderism now occupies … More


Carol

January 14, 2016
Rooney Mara & Cate Blanchett in 'Carol' (2015)

It’s difficult to make a great movie from a great novel. Even the best directors struggle to capture the psychological nuances, the purposeful construction of personalities and subplots. An author can tell us much that a director can only suggest, unless he or she wants to make an unbearably wordy film. In Carol, Todd Haynes … More


The Big Short

January 14, 2016
Brad Pitt in 'The Big Short' (2015)

Don’t feel too bad if you fail to understand what a Collateral Debt Obligation (CDO) is, or how it works. Many thousands of investors who bought these packages in the lead-up to the American housing market crash of 2008, had no idea what they were buying. Not many of the Wall Street brokers who were … More