Film Reviews

Magic in the Moonlight

August 30, 2014
Colin Firth in 'Magic in the Moonlight' (2014)

Either the films are getting better or I’m becoming one of those critics who find redeeming features in unlikely places. Most reviewers seem to lose it after about 300 superhero flicks, when they finally begin to believe that someone in coloured leotards may have a rich inner life. My particular Waterloo might be Woody Allen. … More


Locke

August 30, 2014
Tom Hardy in 'Locke' (2013)

If it were a musical composition, Locke might be described as a chamber piece. The action does not take place in a room, but in a car speeding down the expressway towards London in the middle of the night – with every impression being filtered through the character of the man behind the wheel, Ivan … More


The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

August 23, 2014
Robert Gustafsson in'The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared' (2013)

Forrest Gump never made it to Sweden, or else the Swedes loved the film so much they still haven’t gotten over it. Felix Herngren’s The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, takes elements familiar from Forrest Gump (1994), Zelig (1983), and Being There (1979), and adds an extra dose of … More


In Search of Chopin

August 23, 2014
Phil Grabsky’s 'In Search of Chopin' (2014)

One wonders how Frédéric Chopin (1810-49) would have fared in terms of compartmentalisation if Phil Grabsky had been able to sit him down on the psychoanalyst’s couch. Born and raised a Pole, Chopin found his fame in Paris. He fell in love with Polish girls, but the great romance of his life came with the … More


20,000 Days on Earth

August 23, 2014
Nick Cave in '20,000 Days on Earth' (2014)

Perhaps the strangest fact one discovers about rock star, Nick Cave, in the documentary, 20,000 Days on Earth, is that he spends most of his time doing a good impersonation of a middle class accountant. It never seemed likely when I stood in the audience of those Birthday Party gigs in Sydney, where Cave would … More


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


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