romance

Last Cab to Darwin

August 8, 2015
Michael Caton in 'Last Cab to Darwin' (2015)

When every new Australian movie seems obsessed with death, one might see a story about euthanasia as a step in the right direction. At least it’s a humane death. One could even make a case for Jeremy Sims’s Last Cab to Darwin as a film that salvages a life-affirming message from tragedy. Michael Caton plays … More


Trainwreck

August 8, 2015
Amy Schumer in 'Trainwreck' (2015)

American comedy nowadays seems to consist largely of gross sexual scenarios and toilet humour. Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck is pretty gross, but if it rises above the competition it is almost entirely due to Amy Schumer, who wrote the screenplay with herself in the starring role. That character, also called Amy, closely mirrors many aspects of … More


Ruben Guthrie

July 18, 2015
Patrick Brammall in 'Ruben Guthrie (2015)

If you’ve ever harboured uncharitable thoughts about the guys who do the ‘creative’ stuff in advertising agencies, Ruben Guthrie will satisfy your prejudices. There’s not much chance of warming to any of the lead characters, especially the eponymous hero, possibly the least sympathetic protagonist in an Aussie flick since Mick Taylor started terrorising backpackers in Wolf Creek. Ruben, … More


Madame Bovary

July 11, 2015
Mia Wasikowska in 'Madame Bovary' (2014)

Madame Bovary is the book that changed the novel forever. Before Gustave Flaubert published his masterpiece in 1857, readers had become accustomed to characters that were either good or bad, with well-defined roles in a story. But unless you’re Tony Abbott, life is not like that. “No monsters, and no heroes!” Flaubert proclaimed in a … More


SFF & Aloha

June 6, 2015
Emma Stone in 'Aloha' (2015)

Preparing for the 62nd Sydney Film Festival, with its 12 days of screenings from morning till night, is a bit like training for a marathon. I’m prepared to watch four movies a day but many people think this is madness. Don’t they all run into each other, becoming an indistinguishable mess? I can only answer … More


Gemma Bovery

May 30, 2015
Gemma Arterton in 'Gemma Bovery' (2014)

Emma Bovary is one of the most enduring characters in world literature, but many would argue no screen adaptation has ever captured the spirit of Flaubert’s masterpiece – even with directors as distinguished as Jean Renoir, Vincente Minnelli and Claude Chabrol. Within a few months there will be a new Madame Bovary, directed by Sophie … More


A Royal Night Out

May 23, 2015
Bel Powley in 'A Royal Night Out' (2015)

“God save the Queen. She ain’t no human bean!” sang Johnny Rotten in the Jubilee year of 1977. “Oh yes she is,” say the makers of A Royal Night Out – a movie designed to convince us the British Royal Family are not only human but adorable. For director, Julian Jarrold, this film is even … More


The Age of Adaline

April 25, 2015
Blake Lively in 'Age of Adaline' (2015)

Anyone who is still meditating on the fragility of life after watching Testament of Youth, may not be in the most receptive mood for The Age of Adaline. The story concerns a woman named Adaline Bowman (Blake Lively) who is permanently fixed at the age of 29 due to a freak – and utterly unconvincing … More


A Little Chaos

March 28, 2015
Kate Winslet in 'A Little Chaos' (2014)

After watching Leviathan, a present-day tale with overtones of the Old Testament, it is almost a light relief to turn to A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman’s period drama of the Ancient Regime. Set in the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, it is the story of a fictional landscape gardener, Sabine De Barra, and … More


French Film Festival 2015

March 7, 2015
Gemma Arterton in 'Gemma Bovery' (2014)

Three years ago the ever-popular Alliance Francaise French Film Festival opened with Valérie Donzelli’s A Declaration of War. The film had been a hit in France but it provoked a good deal of muttering and eyebrow-raising among the first-night crowd at the Palace Verona who didn’t know what to make of a movie about a … More