Film Reviews

Mr. Holmes

July 25, 2015
Ian McKellen in 'Mr. Holmes' (2015)

One of the most enduring characters in popular literature, Sherlock Holmes has been played by several generations of actors. Basil Rathbone (1892-1976) remains the archetypal Holmes, setting a lean and angular standard perpetuated by most of his successors. Robert Downey Jr. is the exception, although his two Holmes movies could never be expected to please … More


13 Minutes

July 25, 2015
Christian Friedel in '13 Minutes' (2015)

For a long time the Germans preferred not to dwell on the nasty facts of the Second World War, but nowadays they are emptying every skeleton out of the closet. In Berlin one may visit a museum called the Topography of Terror on the site of the old S.S. headquarters, while in Nuremberg there is … More


Ruben Guthrie

July 18, 2015
Patrick Brammall in 'Ruben Guthrie (2015)

If you’ve ever harboured uncharitable thoughts about the guys who do the ‘creative’ stuff in advertising agencies, Ruben Guthrie will satisfy your prejudices. There’s not much chance of warming to any of the lead characters, especially the eponymous hero, possibly the least sympathetic protagonist in an Aussie flick since Mick Taylor started terrorising backpackers in Wolf Creek. Ruben, … More


Women He’s Undressed

July 18, 2015
Orry-Kelly played by Darren Gilshenan with cocktail party guests in 'Women He's Undressed' (2015)

Orry-Kelly, the subject of Gillian Armstrong’s documentary, Women He’s Undressed, is one of Australia’s unsung culture heroes. From 1932 to 1963 he designed the costumes for hundreds of Hollywood films, winning three Academy Awards. His credits include classics such as 42nd St. (1933), Jezebel (1938), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942), and Oklahoma! (1955). Born … More


Terminator Genisys

July 11, 2015
Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Terminator Genisys' (2015)

If Sophie Barthes expects viewers to be already familiar with the story of Madame Bovary, the producers of Terminator Genisys seem to expect audiences to be intimately acquainted with every aspect of a franchise that began as far back as 1984. I’m reliably informed this new film skips the third and fourth sequels, and relates … More


Madame Bovary

July 11, 2015
Mia Wasikowska in 'Madame Bovary' (2014)

Madame Bovary is the book that changed the novel forever. Before Gustave Flaubert published his masterpiece in 1857, readers had become accustomed to characters that were either good or bad, with well-defined roles in a story. But unless you’re Tony Abbott, life is not like that. “No monsters, and no heroes!” Flaubert proclaimed in a … More


Amy

July 4, 2015
Amy Winehouse in 'Amy' (2015)

There is a terrible sense of inevitability about Amy. We know where the story is going before it gets started but this doesn’t lessen the morbid fascination of Amy Winehouse’s descent into the abyss. Watching Asif Kapadia’s documentary is like watching a boxing match where the TKO should have been applied at round six or … More


The Mafia Kills Only in Summer

July 4, 2015
Pierfrancesco Diliberto (Pif) in 'The Mafia Kills Only in Summer' (2013)

To make a romantic comedy about the depredations of the Mafia in Sicily sounds like a recipe for cinematic oblivion. Could this be anything other than a grave error of taste and judgement? It might even prove dangerous if today’s crop of crime bosses took offence. Pierfrancesco Diliberto, better known as Pif, has attempted this … More


Jurassic World

June 27, 2015
Chris Pratt in 'Jurassic World' (2015)

Far From the Madding Crowd may have induced feelings of melancholy, but I felt grief stricken upon reading that Jurassic World had broken all box office records in its first weekend. The revenue is now over a billion dollars, and rising, which speaks volumes about the state of popular cinema. Just because Jurassic World is … More


Far From the Madding Crowd

June 27, 2015
Carey Mulligan in 'Far From the Madding Crowd' (2015)

Screen adaptations of great novels are like retrospectives of great artists. They come around every generation, recalibrated to suit the expectations of a younger audience. As one of the definitions of a classic is that it seems relevant to each successive generation, problems arise when directors (or curators) force an ‘innovative’ new reading onto the … More


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