drama

The Man Who Knew Infinity

May 12, 2016
Dev Patel in 'The Man Who Knew Infinity' (2015)

There may be no Afghans in lead roles in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, but The Man Who Knew Infinity does manage to insert a few genuine Indians in key places. Who else but Dev Patel, known for his work in Slumdog Millionaire, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and Neill Blomkamp’s underrated Chappie. Patel has become the … More


Mia Madre

May 6, 2016
John Turturro in 'Mia Madre' (2015)

Mia Madre is an example of a favourite cinematic sub-genre: the film about a director making a film. Fellini’s 8½ is the grandfather of the lot, but every year there are new installments. This time it isn’t Fellini’s alter-ego wading through a surrealistic cavalcade of memories, or Wim Wenders’s bleak evocation of a stalled film … More


Florence Foster Jenkins

May 6, 2016
Meryl Streep in 'Florence Foster Jenkins' (2016)

Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944) entered my consciousness in the early 1990s when I first heard her rendition of the Queen of the Night aria from The Magic Flute. This shrieking, tuneless performance of one of the most challenging pieces in the soprano’s repertoire is the stuff of high comedy. In 2003 Naxos issued an album … More


A Month of Sundays & Pawno

April 29, 2016
Anthony LaPaglia in 'A Month of Sundays' (2015)

‘Fun’ is not a term one associates with contemporary Australian cinema, which has mistaken humourlessness for high seriousness. I’m not pining for slapstick comedy, only for films that can hold an up-tempo mood for more than a minute at a time. The Dressmaker came close last year, while Last Cab to Darwin – a film … More


Eddie the Eagle

April 29, 2016
Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman in 'Eddie the Eagle' (2016)

Eddie the Eagle may be the year’s most shameless piece of feel-good filmmaking. Many viewers, myself included, usually feel pretty bad at the prospect of another feel-good film, but it would take a special kind of wowser to deny the entertainment value of this tale of glorious failure. What do I mean by a “feel-good” … More


Marguerite

April 21, 2016
Catherine Frot in 'Marguerite' (2015)

It’s a little surprising it has taken filmmakers so long to catch up with Florence Foster Jenkins (1868-1944), the New York socialite who aspired to be a great soprano but couldn’t hold a tune. The story has all the makings of a great tragicomedy, as a wealthy, kind-hearted woman is allowed to indulge her delusions … More


Midnight Special

April 21, 2016
Michael Shannon in 'Midnight Special' (2016)

Midnight Special begins in the middle, as if we had just loaded up episode two of a series. It’s late at night in a seedy motel room, and there is an item on the TV about the kidnapping of an eight-year-old boy named Alton Meyer. We swiftly realise that we are looking at the boy … More


Spanish Film Festival 2016

April 14, 2016
'Nothing in Return' (2015)

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


Rams

April 8, 2016
Sigurdur Sigurjonsson in 'Rams' (2015)

At last, a movie for sheep fanciers everywhere! Rams is a small, deadpan story about two brothers who live next door to each in a remote part of Iceland, but haven’t exchanged a word in forty years. The only thing that gets people excited in this barren environment is sheep. The brothers, and their fellow … More


A Bigger Splash

March 23, 2016
Tilda Swinton in 'A Bigger Splash' (2015)

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