comedy

Ricki and the Flash

August 29, 2015
Meryl Streep in "Ricki and the Flash' (2015)

It often seems Woody Allen can’t make up his mind whether he wants to make a feel-good film or a feel-bad one. No such indecision characterises Jonathan Demme who, in Ricki and the Flash, has created a movie to make middle-aged audiences believe all hope is not yet lost. It is a film that owes … More


Dope

August 22, 2015
Shameik Moore in 'Dope' (2015)

Dope is the surprise of the year. One might be excused for expecting an updated blaxploitation film, a mawkish coming-of-age saga, or a typically vulgar, sentimental teen comedy. Instead, Rick Famuwiya has given us a movie that is fast and funny, with a clever plot and crisp dialogue. Why can’t Australian directors make films like … More


Last Cab to Darwin

August 8, 2015
Michael Caton in 'Last Cab to Darwin' (2015)

When every new Australian movie seems obsessed with death, one might see a story about euthanasia as a step in the right direction. At least it’s a humane death. One could even make a case for Jeremy Sims’s Last Cab to Darwin as a film that salvages a life-affirming message from tragedy. Michael Caton plays … More


Trainwreck

August 8, 2015
Amy Schumer in 'Trainwreck' (2015)

American comedy nowadays seems to consist largely of gross sexual scenarios and toilet humour. Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck is pretty gross, but if it rises above the competition it is almost entirely due to Amy Schumer, who wrote the screenplay with herself in the starring role. That character, also called Amy, closely mirrors many aspects of … More


Ruben Guthrie

July 18, 2015
Patrick Brammall in 'Ruben Guthrie (2015)

If you’ve ever harboured uncharitable thoughts about the guys who do the ‘creative’ stuff in advertising agencies, Ruben Guthrie will satisfy your prejudices. There’s not much chance of warming to any of the lead characters, especially the eponymous hero, possibly the least sympathetic protagonist in an Aussie flick since Mick Taylor started terrorising backpackers in Wolf Creek. Ruben, … More


The Mafia Kills Only in Summer

July 4, 2015
Pierfrancesco Diliberto (Pif) in 'The Mafia Kills Only in Summer' (2013)

To make a romantic comedy about the depredations of the Mafia in Sicily sounds like a recipe for cinematic oblivion. Could this be anything other than a grave error of taste and judgement? It might even prove dangerous if today’s crop of crime bosses took offence. Pierfrancesco Diliberto, better known as Pif, has attempted this … More


SFF & Aloha

June 6, 2015
Emma Stone in 'Aloha' (2015)

Preparing for the 62nd Sydney Film Festival, with its 12 days of screenings from morning till night, is a bit like training for a marathon. I’m prepared to watch four movies a day but many people think this is madness. Don’t they all run into each other, becoming an indistinguishable mess? I can only answer … More


Wild Tales

May 30, 2015
Érica Rivas in 'Wild Tales' (2014)

“What does cinema know, that we don’t?” That’s how this column started a fortnight ago, with a quotation from German director, Rüdiger Suchsland. The same line seems even more relevant in discussing Damían Szifrón’s Wild Tales, a portmanteau film featuring six short stories about ordinary people being driven to the brink by “inequality, injustice and … More


Gemma Bovery

May 30, 2015
Gemma Arterton in 'Gemma Bovery' (2014)

Emma Bovary is one of the most enduring characters in world literature, but many would argue no screen adaptation has ever captured the spirit of Flaubert’s masterpiece – even with directors as distinguished as Jean Renoir, Vincente Minnelli and Claude Chabrol. Within a few months there will be a new Madame Bovary, directed by Sophie … More


While We’re Young

April 18, 2015
Ben Stiller & Naomi Watts in 'While We're Young' (2014)

We all know the story of the fan that secretly hungers to supplant his or her idol. Look no further than All About Eve (1980), one of Hollywood’s finest moments. Noah Baumbach, the son of two film critics, can be relied upon to know all about this movie, and countless others. He also seems to … More


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