drama

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


10 Cloverfield Lane

March 17, 2016
Mary Elizabeth Winstead in '10 Cloverfield Lane' (2016)

Would you like to wake up and find yourself locked in a bunker with John Goodman? In 10 Cloverfield Lane this is exactly what happens to Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays Michelle, a young woman who leaves her fiancée and heads off on a road trip. After a car accident she regains consciousness chained to … More


Eye in the Sky

March 17, 2016
Aaron Paul in 'Eye in the Sky' (2015)

“Something inherent in the necessities of successful action,’ wrote Joseph Conrad in Nostromo,’ carried with it the moral degradation of the idea.” He could be describing the contemporary ‘war on terror’, in which the efficient use of drones makes a mockery of the idea of the nobility of armed conflict. There’s nothing romantic about sending … More


The Daughter

March 10, 2016
Odessa Young in 'The Daughter' (2015)

Being only an occasional theatre-goer, I’ve not been able to form an opinion on the productions of local Wunderkind, Simon Stone, who has made his reputation rewriting classic plays by figures such as Chekhov and Ibsen. The one play I did see – based very loosely on Gogol’s The Government Inspector – was a pretty … More