comedy

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


X + Y

April 11, 2015
Asa Butterfield in 'X + Y' (2014)

You’ve probably seen him in Hugo (2011), Martin Scorsese’s sole foray into the ‘young adult’ genre. Asa Butterfield is now 17, and much taller, although this doesn’t mean he has escaped the frail and sensitive roles. In Morgan Matthews’s X + Y, Butterfield plays the second disturbed child to be seen at the movies this … More


Samba

April 4, 2015
Omar Sy in 'Samba' (2014)

Four years ago, French filmmakers, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano had such a huge hit with The Intouchables, it left one wondering what they could possibly do for an encore. The answer is Samba, another humanistic comedy-drama starring Omar Sy, the giant-sized wheelchair-pusher from the previous movie. The paradigm may be slightly different but the … More


A Little Chaos

March 28, 2015
Kate Winslet in 'A Little Chaos' (2014)

After watching Leviathan, a present-day tale with overtones of the Old Testament, it is almost a light relief to turn to A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman’s period drama of the Ancient Regime. Set in the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, it is the story of a fictional landscape gardener, Sabine De Barra, and … More


Inherent Vice

March 14, 2015
Joaquin Phoenix in 'Inherent Vice' (2014)

Anyone who complains that the plot of Inherent Vice is confusing has obviously never read a novel by Thomas Pynchon. Confusion, or rather paranoia, is the standard condition of most of Pynchon’s characters, and perhaps readers, – which may explain why Paul Thomas Anderson’s film is the first attempt to bring this elusive author’s work … More


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