Film Reviews

Divergent

April 12, 2014
Shailene Woodley in 'Divergent' (2014)

After spending a couple of hours at The Grand Budapest Hotel any other movie might seem humdrum. Neil Burger’s Divergent has the bigger problem of standing directly in the shadow of The Hunger Games, already an established franchise in the lucrative Young Adult market. I’m beginning to feel I’ve been wasting my life writing film … More


The Grand Budapest Hotel

April 12, 2014
Ralph Fiennes in 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' (2014)

Walking into a preview of The Grand Budapest Hotel, a colleague wondered aloud if this was the film in which Wes Anderson would overcome his penchant for symmetry. In fact, The Grand Budapest Hotel must be the most maddeningly symmetrical movie ever produced! Frames are composed with a neatness and correctness that feels obsessive-compulsive. The … More


Noah

April 5, 2014
Russell Crowe in 'Noah' (2014)

In Chapter 6 of Genesis, God gives Noah very specific instructions about how to build an ark. It clocks in at a length of 300 cubits, a breadth of 50 cubits, and a height of 30 cubits. 300 cubits is roughly 138 metres in today’s measurements. By comparison the Titanic measured 269 metres from end … More


Romeo and Juliet

April 5, 2014
Douglas Booth in 'Romeo and Juliet' (2013)

When an actor’s star is rising there is no point in pausing to ask whether they are actually right for a role. Douglas Booth may have been a bit too pretty and soft to play Noah’s son, Shem, but one could say the same about his portrayal of Romeo in Carlo Carlei’s new version of … More


German Film Festival

March 29, 2014
Lisa Tomaschewsky in 'Girl with Nine Wigs' 2013

No sooner have the French withdrawn their film festival for another year than their old rivals, the Germans, occupy the cinemas. The Audi Festival of German Films has just begun and will continue for the next fortnight. The press release boasts more than 50 features, shorts and documentaries “as tasty as Schnitzel, satisfying as Sauerbraten … More


Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II

March 29, 2014
Charlotte Gainsbourg in 'Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II' (2013)

At a running time of four hours, Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac Volumes I & II, is one of the longest films to get a theatrical release in Australia this year. Is it one film or two? Perhaps there are actually three. The director’s cut which premiered in Berlin totals five and half hours, although only … More


Wadjda

March 22, 2014
Waad Mohammed in 'Wadjda' (2012)

Every week another movie promises to take us on a fantastic journey to a mysterious land. In this respect, Wadjda is more successful than all the big budget 3D epics churned out by the Hollywood studios. The mysterious land is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the journey proceeds along that slippery path from childhood to adulthood, … More


Half of a Yellow Sun

March 22, 2014
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 'Half of a Yellow Sun' (2013)

Unlike Saudi Arabia, where there is virtually no film industry, Nigeria is second only to India as a cinematic powerhouse. ‘Nollywood’ routinely produces more than a thousand movies a year but I’ve never seen a single example at an Australian venue. This is one of the reasons why Half of a Yellow Sun, an Anglo-Nigerian … More


The Monuments Men

March 15, 2014
Matt Damon & George Clooney in 'The Monuments Men' (2014)

When you see German soldiers with flame throwers destroying works of art in one of the most striking scenes from The Monuments Men, remember that it never actually happened. The Raphael picture we see going up in flames is still listed as “missing” today, not officially torched. One might think the Nazis were bad enough … More


Hannah Arendt

March 15, 2014
Barbara Sukowa stars as the eponymous German writer and philosopher in 'Hannah Arendt'.

The jollities and distortions of The Monuments Men would not have impressed Hannah Arendt, the German-Jewish intellectual who wrote an impressively forensic account of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, whom some describe as the architect of the Final Solution. Neither would they go down well with Margarethe von Trotta, who has made a long line … More