We Are the Best!

September 20, 2014
Sofia Sabel, Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin and Liv LeMoyne in We Are the Best! (2013)

It’s quite an adjustment to leave Frank Miller’s Sin City and arrive in Sweden, where three 13 year-old girls are trying to start a punk rock band. The only point of comparison is that Lukas Moodyson’s We Are the Best!, was based on a comic book produced by his wife, Coco. Moodyson is known for … More

Night Moves

September 13, 2014
Jesse Eisenberg in 'Night Moves' (2013)

In title and style, Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves pays homage to director, Arthur Penn, whose 1975 film of the same name is now viewed as a minor classic. Penn’s movie was a late example of film noir, with the usual flawed characters, brittle relationships and dark motivations. Reichardt’s story revolves around a group of friends … More

The Giver

September 13, 2014
Brenton Thwaites in 'The Giver' (2014)

Lois Lowry’s The Giver has sold more than 10 million copies, but until the film version arrived many of us will have been completely ignorant of the book and its author. This is because Lowry is an exponent of ‘young adult’ fiction – a genre that can only remain a mystery to people like me, … More


September 6, 2014
Ellar Coltrane in 'Boyhood' (2014)

Richard Linklater was originally known for making films that took place in a single day. This was the case with his first Indie hit, Slacker (1991), and the cult success, Dazed and Confused (1993). The idea is crucial to his popular romantic trilogy – Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight – which charts three days … More


August 30, 2014
Tom Hardy in 'Locke' (2013)

If it were a musical composition, Locke might be described as a chamber piece. The action does not take place in a room, but in a car speeding down the expressway towards London in the middle of the night – with every impression being filtered through the character of the man behind the wheel, Ivan … More

20,000 Days on Earth

August 23, 2014
Nick Cave in '20,000 Days on Earth' (2014)

Perhaps the strangest fact one discovers about rock star, Nick Cave, in the documentary, 20,000 Days on Earth, is that he spends most of his time doing a good impersonation of a middle class accountant. It never seemed likely when I stood in the audience of those Birthday Party gigs in Sydney, where Cave would … More

Palo Alto

August 16, 2014
Palo Alto

There never seems to be a week in Sydney without some sort of film festival. Although the French brand reigns supreme in terms of size and popularity, there are many well-regarded smaller events. For instance, KOFFIA – the 5th annual Korean Film Festival In Australia, has just opened, and will run until 21 August, before … More

Reaching for the Moon

July 26, 2014
Miranda Otto in 'Reaching for the Moon' (2014)

“The art of losing isn’t hard to master;” wrote Elizabeth Bishop, in One Art, the poem that gets most traction in Bruno Barreto’s bio pic, Reaching for the Moon. “so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.” It’s an obvious choice for a feature poem, as … More

Beatriz’s War

July 19, 2014
Irim Tolentino as Beatriz in 'A Guerra da Beatriz' (2013)

Having finally managed to see Beatriz’s War, I almost wish I hadn’t. This first-ever feature from Timor-Leste is a rite of passage; a catharsis for the wrongs endured during the Indonesian occupation. One suspects it will be a long time before the East Timorese are producing comedies and musicals. There’s too much pain and trauma … More

Charlie’s Country

July 19, 2014
Charlie (David Gulpilil) in a scene from Rolf de Heer's 'Charlie's Country' (2014)

In the international arena Charlie’s Country is enjoying success as an arthouse movie, but no film could be more brutally realistic in its depiction of contemporary Aboriginal life. Perhaps any story without car chases and explosions is now automatically consigned to the realm of art, but it’s obvious that Charlie’s Country could never be mistaken … More

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