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Mary Shelley

July 5, 2018

During her lifetime Mary Shelley (1797-1851) was considered a minor player in the colourful lives of the Romantic poets, but her literary legacy has overshadowed them all. For every contemporary reader who admires the poetry of her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, or their friend, Lord Byron, there are millions who have thrilled to the story … More


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


Tully

May 11, 2018

Last time you saw Charlize Theron she was probably looking glamorous in tights and leather. Now, less than a year after her stunning, if slightly ridiculous, appearance as a secret agent in Atomic Blonde, she’s back! As a frumpy, depressed suburban mum. Theron has added 22 kilos in one of those body transformations that have … More


Breath

May 4, 2018

With literature everybody has their blind spots. Tim Winton is one of mine. For decades I’ve listened to apparently rational people raving about his books but whenever I’ve dipped into a novel I’ve found it so banal, so relentlessly uninteresting, that I dipped right back out again. It reads like literature for underachievers, for those … More


Loveless

April 26, 2018

“Do you think the world is about to end?” one of the characters in Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless asks a workmate. “Definitely!” comes the reply. It’s as close as this ruthless portrait of contemporary Russian life gets to comedy. Zvyagintsev’s enemies accuse him of taking a “negative” view of Russia, but what are the positives? Thirty … More


The Other Side of Hope & Paul: Apostle of Christ

April 6, 2018

In pre-Enlightenment days ‘history’ was a mass of tall stories, myths and rumours. Authors were happy to recount tales of miracles and supernatural events, readers were happy to believe them. In the mid-1800s it was still scandalous when writers such as David Strauss and Ernst Renan began to challenge the historical basis of the Bible, … More


Mary Magdalene

March 23, 2018

Of all the figures in the New Testament, Mary Magdalene has been the most misunderstood. This is partly because early commentators found it hard to distinguish between Mary of Magdala, Mary of Bethany, and the ‘sinful’ woman in the Gospel of St. Luke, who anoints Jesus’s feet in Simon’s house and dries them with her … More


A Fantastic Woman

March 2, 2018

Imagine being born on the wrong side of the gender divide, living as a woman in a man’s body or vice versa. We’ve come to view so-called ‘identity politics’ as social theatre but for every transgendered person who strikes a militant pose there must be hundreds who simply crave normality. Marina, the protagonist in Sebastián … More


Alliance Française French Film Festival 2018

February 23, 2018

Every year at the opening of the Alliance Française French Film Festival we gasp with excitement at the news that this is the biggest festival of French films in the world, outside of France. Unless we think of Cannes as a “French Film Festival” this probably means it’s the biggest in the world. Australia’s love … More


Lady Bird

February 16, 2018

It’s long been apparent that Woody Allen’s best films are those in which he doesn’t make an appearance. One day we may be applying the same standard to Greta Gerwig. Her ‘goofy girl’ routine still had its charm in Frances Ha (2012) but by the time of Mistress America, only three years later, it was … More


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