thriller

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

February 1, 2014
Andrew Jacobs in 'Paranormal Activity: The Markes Ones', 2014

Paranormal Activity has become one of those franchises that seems destined to drag on forever, with each new installment introducing a few small innovations to keep the fans interested. The original Paranormal Activity of 2007 was a low budget sensation. Reputedly made at a cost of US$15,000, it has grossed more than US$100 million since … More


Night Train to Lisbon

December 7, 2013
Jeremy Irons in 'Night Train To Lisbon'.

In Jack Cardiff’s Girl on a Motorcycle (1968), which marries pretension and sexploitation in a way that only the 1960s could conceive, Marianne Faithfull abandons her boring schoolteacher husband and roars off to Switzerland on a big Harley-Davidson for a romantic assignation with Alain Delon. Most girls might think this sounds like a perfectly logical … More


Carrie

November 30, 2013
Chloë Grace Moretz in Carrie, 2013

Is there any difference between a ‘reboot’ and a ‘remake’? At some point during the last few years, the word ‘reboot’ quietly migrated from the land of computer jargon and became movie jargon. In purely semantic terms the idea of remaking a movie seems more ambitious than rebooting one. We reboot a computer by turning … More


The Counselor

November 9, 2013
cameron_diaz_counselor

In a hotel room in El Paso, two anonymous bodies are entwined beneath the sheets. We listen to their conversation for minutes before we lay eyes on Michael Fassbender and Penélope Cruz, playing the Counselor and his girlfriend, Laura. Having just seen a big René Magritte exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, … More


Mystery Road & Exposed

October 19, 2013
Mystery-Road-39

Before Mel Gibson got a real American accent, the film Mad Max (1979) was dubbed to make it acceptable to a United States audience. Is that Australian twang still a barrier to international success? Ivan Sen’s Mystery Road should answer this question. The accents could hardly be more Australian but the film is pitched firmly … More


Stoker & The Best Offer

August 31, 2013
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There was a moment in the 1980s when Australian directors such as Bruce Beresford, Peter Weir and Gillian Armstrong heard the siren call of Hollywood and went to make films in the United States. It seems this alluring melody is now drifting towards South Korea, with directors such as Park Chan-wook (Oldboy), Bong Joon-ho (The … More


What Maisie Knew & Elysium (+ film festivals)

August 24, 2013
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When Henry James published What Maisie Knew in 1897, the straight-laced mores of the Victorian era were already beginning to unravel. The Edwardian period would be more permissive, more prepared to confront social and sexual issues that had previously been taboo. James had a talent for describing scenes of great moral complexity without condoning deviations … More


Man of Steel & Everybody Has a Plan

July 6, 2013
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When comic book heroes are turned into sensitive brooding souls, there is something twisted in our culture. We’ve seen a tortured Batman and now an angst-ridden Superman filled with anxiety about his true identity and how people might react to his superpowers. To complete the psychological profile the new Superman has a difficult childhood. He … More


The Look of Love & In the House

June 29, 2013
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“I started out with a mind-reading act,” says Paul Raymond, ‘the King of Soho’. “I soon realised that people liked to look at attractive girls, and they liked it even more if the girls had no clothes on. So in that sense, and in that sense alone, I could read people’s minds.”The producers of The … More


Farewell My Queen & Fast and Furious 6

June 8, 2013
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Everyone knows the story of doomed, frivolous Marie Antoinette whose life of pampered luxury was ended by the guillotine. The Queen’s personality was established in filmmakers’ minds by Stefan Zweig’s best-selling biography of 1932, subtitled The Portrait of an Average Woman, and she has never been allowed to deviate too far from that model. Among … More