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The Interview

February 20, 2015

I’d never felt much sympathy for the despotic regime in Pyongyang – until I saw The Interview. We know the late Kim Jong-il was a movie buff who went so far as to kidnap South Korean director, Shin Sang-ok and his actress wife, Choi Eun-hee, to help improve the quality of his propaganda films. One … More


American Sniper

January 24, 2015

Clint Eastwood’s gung-ho endorsement of Mitt Romney in the last Presidential election campaign left no-one in any doubt about his politics. Eastwood, now in his 84th year, is a believer in old-fashioned American values. He also seems to believe that Americans should be prepared to fight to death to preserve their basic liberties, whether it … More


Birdman

January 17, 2015

Mexican director, Alejandro González Iñárritu, has a reputation for dark and difficult films but Birdman is a philosophical black comedy that holds us from first to last. It’s a story about the theatre that examines the changing nature of fame, the difficulty of human relationships, the splendours and miseries of the actor’s life. It’s also … More


Exodus: Gods and Kings

December 20, 2014

Exodus: Gods and Kings was always going to be a spectacle on a grand scale but the challenge for director, Ridley Scott, was how to deal with the larger-than-life characters of Moses, the Pharaoh Ramses, and err.. God. He has made some bold choices, not the least being the casting of 11-year-old Isaac Andrews as … More


The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

November 8, 2014

Jean-Pierre Jeunet belongs to the other extreme of Francophone cinema to the Dardennes. His films are modern fairy tales with characters that are impossibly charming or grotesque. One of his favourite actors, Dominique Pinon, who has a small role in The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, manages to be both charming and grotesque. Jeunet’s films … More


Predestination

September 6, 2014

If you haven’t seen enough of Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, he reappears – and disappears, and reappears – in Presdestination, the third feature by identical twins, Michael and Peter Spierig, who were born in Germany but raised in Brisbane. The film is based on Robert A. Heinlein’s All You Zombies (1959), a short story about … More


Lucy

August 16, 2014

“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


Godzilla

May 24, 2014

When Godzilla rose out of the ocean in 1954 and proceeded to trash Tokyo, no-one could have foreseen that he would still be wreaking havoc 60 years later. The durability of the “king of the monsters” owes something to the personality he developed in the 1960s, and something to his connections with nuclear energy, which … More


The Amazing Spider-Man 2

April 26, 2014

To go from the cultish Only Lovers Left Alive to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, is to leave the would-be sublime for the out-and-out ridiculous. The latest blockbuster is always referred to as “eagerly-awaited”, but at last week’s preview, audiences had to wait more than an hour and a half because of problems with a digital … More


Divergent

April 12, 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