documentary

I’m So Excited & Salinger

September 21, 2013
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It’s slightly disturbing to be sitting on a airplane writing about I’m So Excited, set almost entirely on an airplane. It could’ve been worse. There are real life docu-dramas such as United 93, where one spends the whole movie waiting for the plane to thump into a field in Pennsylvania. I’m So Excited is a … More


We Steal Secrets, A Gun in Each Hand, Pacific Rim

July 13, 2013
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If ever you had a sneaking feeling that Julian Assange was not the ultimate hero and martyr of our time, Alex Gibney’s We Steal Secrets will turn suspicion into certainty. The portrait of the WikiLeaks founder that emerges from this documentary reveals a man whose quest for truth has become an exercise in personal propaganda. … More


Hyde Park on Hudson & Silence in the House of God

March 30, 2013
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Hard on the heels of Lincoln comes another movie about a great American President. But if Steven Spielberg seemed to be sending a message to Barack Obama about being steadfast and determined, it’s hard to know what Richard Michell is telling us about Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson. Allowing for its Spielbergisms, … More


Amour & Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir

February 23, 2013
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As a Valentine’s Day promotion this year, Madman Entertainment put together a package of eight DVD releases intended to take the “guesswork” out of finding a gift for one’s nearest and dearest. The selection was decidedly off-beat, including A Declaration of War, about a couple whose child has cancer; A Royal Affair – an historical … More


Anna Karenina & West of Memphis

February 16, 2013
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William Faulkner, Nobel prize winning author and sometime Hollywood scriptwriter, was once asked to nominate the three greatest novels of all time. He replied: “Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina and Anna Karenina.” The problem with making a film adaptation of a literary masterpiece is that it is impossible to translate the complexity of the book into … More


Pitch Perfect & Love Story

December 8, 2012
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There’s nothing more gruesome in the cinema than films that are “just good fun”, and Pitch Perfect is a textbook example. Even as I write this I can imagine readers thinking I’m a terrible old curmudgeon for not responding positively to a movie that aims to be nothing more than light entertainment. “What could be … More


Skyfall & Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

November 24, 2012
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In his James Bond Dossier of 1965, Kingsley Amis wrote: “Not much mind is needed to notice that Bond’s adventures have been getting more fantastic all the time and some critics have actually done it.” After fifty years and some 23 features, it would be an understatement to say Bond’s cinematic adventures are getting more fantastic … More


Paul Kelly: Stories of Me

November 3, 2012
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Archie Roach reckons Paul Kelly is Australia’s “bard”. It’s what people used to say about Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson back in the days when poetry was a popular art. But for every man-in the-street who could recite parts of The Man from Snowy River in the 1890s, there must be thousands today who can … More


Searching for Sugar Man

October 6, 2012
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“Oh he was much bigger than the Rolling Stones,” says a South African record company executive. Bigger than Elvis, too. His debut album sold more than 500,000 copies while the republic was still grappling with Apartheid. It would be startling enough if we were talking about a white South African pop star, but the artist … More


Bernie

August 18, 2012
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It may be true that everyone has a breaking point and everyone has a dark side. These are possible lessons to take away from Bernie, a semi-documentary tragi-comedy, set in a small town in southern Texas. Then again, it may be that Bernie Tiede, the protagonist of this story, had spent so much of his … More