Music

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A Star is Born

October 20, 2018

One learns to mistrust the movie that is hyped to the skies – whether it be “critically acclaimed” or simply a “box office sensation”. The box office is the worst guide to quality because popular taste is fixated on superheroes, brain-dead action films, lame comedies and sentimental mush. As for the critics, they couldn’t stop … More


Steirischer Herbst 2018

October 4, 2018

In the words of Thomas Bernhard, Austria’s greatest novelist of the late 20th century, the city of Graz was “a nest of Nazis”. In a speech of last year, Georg Friedrich Haas, Austria’s foremost living composer, reeled off a list of Nazis that had remained faithful to the Führer in post-war Graz, including his own … More


Anri Sala: The Last Resort

October 20, 2017

Historians can never agree about the so-called “Age of Enlightenment”. The narrow definition has it beginning with the death of Louis XIV in 1715 and ending with the French Revolution in 1789. The long version begins somewhere in the late 1600s and fizzles out in 1815 with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. As the dates are … More


The Beatles: Eight Days a Week

September 16, 2016

Apart from a one-off appearance on the rooftop of their London offices in 1969, the Beatles played their last gig at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, on 29 August 1966. It was a shambles, coming at the end of a tour that had destroyed the group’s appetite for live performance. They had become tired of the … More


David Brent: Life on the Road

August 25, 2016

Almost everyone who has worked in an office will have thought from time to time it would make a great comedy series. So when Ricky Gervais gave us The Office in 2001, I felt he must have had a spy at the National Gallery of Australia. The similarities between that institution and the fictional world … More


Miles Ahead

June 17, 2016

In a week in which all the talk is about America’s bloody love affair with firearms, it’s remarkable to see three movies that show the devotion that Elvis, Hank Williams, and Miles Davis felt for their guns. The portrayal of Miles Davis brought to us by Don Cheadle, who both directs and stars, is on … More


Marguerite

April 21, 2016

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


Wide Open Sky

April 14, 2016

It would be a shame not to mention a new Australian documentary released this week. Lisa Nicol’s Wide Open Sky, follows the indomitable Michelle Leonard, as she rounds up country children to take part in her annual choir project, the Moorambilla Voices. It’s a completely hands-on activity that sees Leonard not only conducting the choir, … More


The Bélier Family

January 6, 2016

For a people convinced of their intellectual superiority over the rest of the planet, the French have an incurable fondness for low-brow comedy and feel-good stories. Perhaps they’re just like us, after all. This year’s box office smash in France was La Famille Bélier, a comedy, like The Intouchables (2011) that finds humour and inspiration … More


David Bowie is

September 12, 2015

David Bowie is one of those rare artists who have helped define a decade. That decade was the 1970s – an era when world economies were sent into a spin by an oil crisis, and fashion went AWOL. Those were the years that saw the downfall of Richard Nixon, the rise of Margaret Thatcher, the … More


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