biography

In the Heart of the Sea

December 4, 2015
Chris Hemsworth in 'In the Heart of the Sea' (2015)

Ron Howard is the kind of old-fashioned director Hollywood loves. He is happy to work with trash such as The Da Vinci Code (2006), but able to rise to the occasion when given a more challenging assignment such as Apollo 13 (1995) or Frost/Nixon (2008). The skill is to make the trash seem a little … More


The Program

November 26, 2015
Ben Foster in 'The Program' (2015)

It’s strange that with so many excellent documentaries being made today, filmmakers still believe that every true story needs to be turned into fiction. This was the case with features such as The Walk and Freeheld, which reworked the subjects of acclaimed documentaries. Now Stephen Frears, who really should know better, has entered the fray … More


Freeheld

November 5, 2015
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in 'Freeheld' (2015). Photograph: Lionsgate

Some actors always get to play the romantic lead, the vamp or the action hero, Julianne Moore should be careful she doesn’t get stuck with another terminal illness. Having gradually succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease in Still Alice, she now gets the chance to experience Stage 4 lung cancer in Freeheld. Unfortunately she’s really excellent in … More


Bridge of Spies

October 23, 2015
Tom Hanks in 'Bridge of Spies' (2015)

Steven Spielberg has spoken out against Hollywood’s over-reliance on superhero flicks, when there are so many other ways to make a popular movie. It’s what he’s been doing since Jaws (1975), the film that put him on the map. Today the name ‘Spielberg’ is synonymous with a certain style of Hollywood entertainment – lavish, detail-perfect … More


Legend

October 16, 2015
Tom Hardy in 'Legend' (2015)

Ronnie and Reggie Kray will forever be linked with the Monty Python sketch about the Piranha Brothers, Doug and Dinsdale. As you may recall, Dinsdale – “a cruel man, but fair” – liked to nail the occasional head to the floor, while Doug’s preferred weapon was sarcasm. There are plenty of moments in Legend, Brian … More


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


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


Life

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


Iris

August 15, 2015
Iris Apfel in 'Iris' (2015). PHOTOGRAPH BY KARSTEN MORAN/THE NEW YORK TIMES/REDUX

Iris Apfel is one human being who doesn’t want to be like everybody else. At the age of 93 she is the most stylish woman in New York. Yet it is an idea of style that has nothing to do with understated elegance, or even beauty, but is more like a full-blown assault on the … More


13 Minutes

July 25, 2015
Christian Friedel in '13 Minutes' (2015)

For a long time the Germans preferred not to dwell on the nasty facts of the Second World War, but nowadays they are emptying every skeleton out of the closet. In Berlin one may visit a museum called the Topography of Terror on the site of the old S.S. headquarters, while in Nuremberg there is … More