Film Reviews

Black Mass

October 9, 2015
Johnny Depp in 'Black Mass' (2015)

How many dud movies does it take before one can be over an actor? With his roles in films such as Mortdecai (2015) and Tusk (2014), Johnny Depp has been sailing close to the wind. It’s been a long time since he has worked harder on a character than he does with Boston gangster, James … More

Learning to Drive

October 9, 2015
Ben Kingsley & Patricia Clarkson in 'Learning to Drive' (2014)

Learning to Drive is one of those films that spin an entire story around one simple metaphor. For a middle-aged woman, learning to drive is an act of self-determination, a way of taking control of one’s life. Having entered one’s fifties as a passenger there is a profound sense of affirmation in finally getting behind … More


October 2, 2015
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth' (2015)

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is one of the great political dramas. It demonstrates all of Machiavelli’s ideas about attaining and using power, but also explores the moral and psychological consequences of one man’s ruthless pursuit of the crown. Macbeth begins as a loyal retainer whose head is turned by the prophecies of three witches. Goaded on by … More

The Martian

October 2, 2015
Matt Damon in 'The Martian' (2015)

In 1964 Paramount released a movie called Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which may be viewed on YouTube. It tells the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars who must learn to survive in a hostile environment. Sound familiar? This is roughly the plot of Ridley Scott’s The Martian, based on a best-selling novel by science … More

The Diary of a Teenage Girl

September 25, 2015
Bel Powley in "The Diary of a Teenage Girl' (2015)

“I had sex today. Holy shit!” Welcome to The Diary of a Teenage Girl – a film that throws us into the deep end with its opening line. The place is San Francisco, the time 1976, and the narrator, 15-year-old Minnie Goetz – a precocious schoolgirl who confides everything to her tape recorder. Minnie recounts … More

Cut Snake

September 25, 2015
Sullivan Stapleton in 'Cut Snake' (2014)

It’s a chilling prospect but we seem to be in the midst of a seventies revival. A growing number of new films are either set in the seventies or draw upon the music of that era. The latest is Tony Ayres’s Cut Snake, which takes us on an anti-nostalgic journey through the Australian suburban sprawl, … More

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

September 19, 2015
Sundance Favorite 'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl'  featuring Thomas Mann & Olivia Cooke

Many viewers will be touched, charmed, moved and seduced by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. Hey, it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, so it must be doing something right. There is a lot to like about this film, but also a … More

How to Change the World

September 19, 2015
'How to Change the World' (2015). Courtesy of Sundance International Film Festival

There are some big egos and life-changing traumas on display in How to Change the World, a documentary about the early years of Greenpeace, which focuses on the group’s first leader, the late Robert Hunter. For the most part Jerry Rothwell’s film celebrates the idealism, and surprising successes, of a group of young people who … More


September 12, 2015
Dane DeHaan & Robert Pattinson in 'Life' (2015)

Cinematic highlight of the week was Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s The President, which opened the Persian International Film Festival in Sydney. Despite its grand title and the massive turn-out on opening night, the Festival only lasts for four days, which makes it impossible to review. This is partly because it is still early days for this event, … More

Force of Destiny

September 12, 2015
Shahana Goswami & David Wenham in 'Force of Destiny' (2015)

Paul Cox’s Force of Destiny is another film that straddles the twilight zone between life and art, but this is because the story is so closely based on the director’s own battles that it becomes an oblique autobiography. In 2009 Cox was diagnosed with liver cancer and given only a short time to live. Towards … More,, tramadol hcl 50 mg