history

Queen of the Desert

June 3, 2016
Nicole Kidman in 'Queen of the Desert' (2015)

Werner Herzog has made some great movies in the course of a career of more than 50 years, but Queen of the Desert isn’t one of them. In this biopic – a virtual masterpiece of miscasting – the “waif-like” Gertrude Bell is represented by the towering form of Our Nic; James Franco struggles with a … More


Kim McKay

March 11, 2016
The former entry reimagined, now hosting the Wild Planet exhibition. Photo Stuart Humphreys

Nobody seems to have told Kim McKay that the casting for the new Wonder Woman movie is over. In less than two years at the helm of the Australian Museum she has built a new entrance for $4 million, completely rehung the galleries devoted to natural history and indigenous Australia, dropped entrance charges for children, … More


Spotlight

February 4, 2016
Michael Keaton in 'Spotlight' (2015)

For a brief but terrible moment this week, I thought I might have to review Dirty Grandpa as my second film. I remember saying beforehand: “Don’t worry, it won’t be like Bad Grandpa, it’s got Robert De Niro.” That much was true: Dirty Grandpa made the Jackass team’s Bad Grandpa seem like an Ernst Lubitsch … More


Suffragette

January 6, 2016
Carey Mulligan in 'Suffragette' (2015)

It’s a common tactic when making a film about an historical moment to focus on a single participant. Make that character fictional and you have more room to move, being able to channel all the important points into an Everyman – or Everywoman. In Suffragette, Carey Mulligan plays that role. She is Maude Watts, an … More


Bridge of Spies

October 23, 2015
Tom Hanks in 'Bridge of Spies' (2015)

Steven Spielberg has spoken out against Hollywood’s over-reliance on superhero flicks, when there are so many other ways to make a popular movie. It’s what he’s been doing since Jaws (1975), the film that put him on the map. Today the name ‘Spielberg’ is synonymous with a certain style of Hollywood entertainment – lavish, detail-perfect … More


Fabergé – A Life of its Own

August 22, 2015
The Caucasus Egg, Fabergé, 1893. The pearl, diamond and red enamel egg.

And now, a word from our sponsor. That could be the opening line of Fabergé: A Life of its Own, an overview of a fascinating subject that manages to sound like an extended advertisement for the brand. The film is credited to no fewer than seven countries – the home nations of leading Fabergé collectors. … More


Iris

August 15, 2015
Iris Apfel in 'Iris' (2015). PHOTOGRAPH BY KARSTEN MORAN/THE NEW YORK TIMES/REDUX

Iris Apfel is one human being who doesn’t want to be like everybody else. At the age of 93 she is the most stylish woman in New York. Yet it is an idea of style that has nothing to do with understated elegance, or even beauty, but is more like a full-blown assault on the … More


13 Minutes

July 25, 2015
Christian Friedel in '13 Minutes' (2015)

For a long time the Germans preferred not to dwell on the nasty facts of the Second World War, but nowadays they are emptying every skeleton out of the closet. In Berlin one may visit a museum called the Topography of Terror on the site of the old S.S. headquarters, while in Nuremberg there is … More


Testament of Youth

April 25, 2015
Alicia Vikander in 'Testament of Youth' (2014)

Lest we forget it’s Anzac Day here’s another movie about the First World War, albeit far from the shores of Gallipoli. Testament of Youth is based on the war-time memoirs of Vera Brittain (1893-1970), first published in 1933, 15 years after the end of hostilities. Having begun the project as a novel Brittain struggled with … More


Selma

February 14, 2015
David Oyelowo in 'Selma' (2014)

Selma would be a powerful film even without the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri. Arriving hard on the heels of that incident, this story of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement takes on a relevance that no member of the audience can ignore. It seems that the racialist attitudes that divided the United … More