Film Reviews

Lucy

August 16, 2014
lucy

“The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity,” reads the tag line for Luc Besson’s science fiction thriller, Lucy, “Today she will hit 100%.” It’s tempting to explore some variations on a theme: “The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity, but Luc Besson makes motion pictures using only a fraction of this … More


Palo Alto

August 16, 2014
Palo Alto

There never seems to be a week in Sydney without some sort of film festival. Although the French brand reigns supreme in terms of size and popularity, there are many well-regarded smaller events. For instance, KOFFIA – the 5th annual Korean Film Festival In Australia, has just opened, and will run until 21 August, before … More


A Most Wanted Man

August 9, 2014
A Most Wanted Man

Like many contemporary directors, Anton Corbijn made his reputation with rock video clips, but where filmmakers such as Michel Gondry have carried the gimmicky style of the video clip into their features, Corbijn has taken the opposite approach. His movies are lean and understated, distinguished by psychological tension rather than spectacle. There have been only … More


The Selfish Giant

August 9, 2014
The Selfish Giant

Clio Barnard’s The Selfish Giant borrows its title from a children’s tale by Oscar Wilde but sets the action in a working-class town in West Yorkshire. Wilde’s fable concerns a grumpy giant who prevents a group of children from playing in his garden and is punished with perpetual winter. The disjunction between story and film … More


Deliver Us From Evil

August 2, 2014
Eric Bana in Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Scott Derrickson, director of Deliver Us From Evil is obviously a film buff, as there is barely a scene in his hybrid horror/cop movie that won’t remind cinema-literate viewers of another scene in another film. The primary reference in this anthology of every fear and fancy that has taken up residence in the American psyche, … More


The Keeper of Lost Causes

August 2, 2014
Nikolaj Lie Kaas in The Keeper of Lost Causes (2013)

An art critic of my acquaintance once boasted he had never read a detective novel. This claim was intended to make him seem an intellectual, but it only showed the narrowness of his mind. When writers such as André Gide and Francois Mauriac wrote admiringly of the detective stories of Georges Simenon, we can see … More


Reaching for the Moon

July 26, 2014
Miranda Otto in 'Reaching for the Moon' (2014)

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master;” wrote Elizabeth Bishop, in One Art, the poem that gets most traction in Bruno Barreto’s bio pic, Reaching for the Moon. “so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” It’s an obvious choice for a feature poem, as … More


Once My Mother

July 26, 2014
Once My Mother (2014)

Sophia Turkiewicz’s Once My Mother is the story of great resilience in the face of overwhelming odds – and I’m only talking about securing funding. Having been knocked back twice by the ABC and twice by SBS, Turkiewicz and her experienced producers, Rod Freedman and Bob Connolly, began passing the hat around Polish community groups … More


Beatriz’s War

July 19, 2014
Irim Tolentino as Beatriz in 'A Guerra da Beatriz' (2013)

Having finally managed to see Beatriz’s War, I almost wish I hadn’t. This first-ever feature from Timor-Leste is a rite of passage; a catharsis for the wrongs endured during the Indonesian occupation. One suspects it will be a long time before the East Timorese are producing comedies and musicals. There’s too much pain and trauma … More


Charlie’s Country

July 19, 2014
Charlie (David Gulpilil) in a scene from Rolf de Heer's 'Charlie's Country' (2014)

In the international arena Charlie’s Country is enjoying success as an arthouse movie, but no film could be more brutally realistic in its depiction of contemporary Aboriginal life. Perhaps any story without car chases and explosions is now automatically consigned to the realm of art, but it’s obvious that Charlie’s Country could never be mistaken … More


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