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crime | John McDonald

crime

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

June 29, 2018

If this were one of those reviews that run in a box at the side of the page it would read: “A relentlessly brutal and stupid film that does no-one any favours.” The chief difference between this sequel and the original Sicario of 2015, comes down to two significant absences. Canadian Director, Denis Villeneuve, has … More


Thor: Ragnarok & The Snowman

October 20, 2017

At the beginning of this week I was looking forward to The Snowman, based on a gripping crime novel by Norway’s Jo Nesbø. I had fewer expectations for another Scandinavian saga – Thor:Ragnarok, the third installment of the popular Marvel superhero franchise. By the end of the week my expectations had been trashed so effectively … More


Joe Cinque’s Consolation

October 14, 2016

Notably absent from Sotiris Dounoukos’s film, Joe Cinque’s Consolation, is the voice of Helen Garner. In the best-selling book about the death of 26-year-old Joe Cinque and the murder trial that followed, we see everything through Garner’s eyes. She makes us party to her own fears and recriminations; her battles to be fair to Joe’s … More


Goldstone

July 8, 2016

In Goldstone, Indigenous director, Ivan Sen, explores a new cinematic sub-genre. Let’s call it Outback Noir. Instead of darkened rooms and night clubs, the action takes place in the blazing Australian desert. Sen’s characters don’t sit at a bar with shadows from a Venetian blind falling over their faces, they squint in the glare of … More


Money Monster

June 3, 2016

At a Q & A last week, after the premiere of Money Monster, director, Jodie Foster spoke about her admiration for the films of Sidney Lumet. It was no revelation as her movie has resounding echoes of two Lumet classics – Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and Network (1976). There’s also a more-than-passing resemblance to Spike … More


The Nice Guys

May 26, 2016

Take Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, a sassy blonde teenager, and a salacious story that revolves around the Los Angeles porn industry circa 1977, and you have The Nice Guys. It’s not so much a formula film as half a dozen formulas that director, Shane Black, has mixed together to create a surprisingly fizzy cocktail. … More


Spanish Film Festival 2016

April 14, 2016

In the days of the infamous Motion Picture Production Code, which stretched from 1930 until the 1960s, Hollywood’s movie makers were constrained from producing any film that might lower the moral standards of its audience. This meant crime could never pay, while law-breakers always suffered for their sins. Innocence and goodness were invariably rewarded. For … More


A Bigger Splash

March 23, 2016

Ten years ago Ralph Fiennes was the model of a stiff-upper-lip character actor, the epitome of English reserve. There was, however, another persona biding its time until it could be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world. This Fiennes has given us a brutal warrior in Coriolanus, a sparkling portrait of Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman, … More


The Hateful Eight

January 22, 2016

Each new film by Quentin Tarantino generates a storm of anticipation. We know what to expect, but initially The Hateful Eight took me by surprise. It is a long movie, divided into chapters, with an old-fashioned intermission. Instead of the usual gore fest the first half is all dialogue and scene-setting. If this appeals more … More


Point Break

January 7, 2016

There is no shortage of extraordinary nature cinematography in Point Break, but after watching The Revenant, it felt as artificial as a cartoon. The heavy imprint of CGI is all over this film, which is barely more than two hours of eye candy arranged over the flimsiest of plots. Before seeing this movie I would … More