Cut Snake

September 25, 2015
Sullivan Stapleton in 'Cut Snake' (2014)

It’s a chilling prospect but we seem to be in the midst of a seventies revival. A growing number of new films are either set in the seventies or draw upon the music of that era. The latest is Tony Ayres’s Cut Snake, which takes us on an anti-nostalgic journey through the Australian suburban sprawl, … More

The Gift

September 5, 2015
Jason Bateman in 'The Gift' (2015)

Most boys from the western suburbs of Sydney would be content with the life of a Hollywood actor, but Joel Edgerton has recently revealed an exceptional talent as a writer of screenplays. Now comes The Gift, his debut feature as a director, and it’s an impressive achievement. Not only has Edgerton written the script and … More


August 1, 2015
Ryan Reynolds in 'Self/less' (2015)

Tarsem Singh’s Self/less is another movie that strives for profundity but has no qualms about including the special effects, car chases and combat scenes discerning viewers seem to expect nowadays. Even allowing for these concessions to public taste the film has copped a hiding in the United States. It may have something to do with … More


June 6, 2015
Raul Arevalo in 'Marshland' (2014)

Anyone desperately seeking filmic distraction would be better advised to track down Alberto Rodríguez’s Marshland, a gripping mystery-thriller set in a desolate part of southern Spain at the end of the Franco era. The problem is that this movie will only score a limited release while Aloha screens in every multiplex. A pair of ill-matched … More


June 6, 2015
Vincent Cassel in 'Partisan' (2015)

With a brutal civil war, followed by three decades of dictatorial rule, there’s no denying Spain’s sufferings, but nowadays the Spaniards are making great movies. I wonder if Australian cinema, conversely, is showing the symptoms of decades of peace and prosperity. Compared to the wars and political upheavals that have beset other countries, Australia has … More

Wild Tales

May 30, 2015
Érica Rivas in 'Wild Tales' (2014)

“What does cinema know, that we don’t?” That’s how this column started a fortnight ago, with a quotation from German director, Rüdiger Suchsland. The same line seems even more relevant in discussing Damían Szifrón’s Wild Tales, a portmanteau film featuring six short stories about ordinary people being driven to the brink by “inequality, injustice and … 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


May 15, 2015
Shelley Hennig &  Moses Storm in 'Unfriended (2014)

Don’t answer text messages and emails from dead people. They’ll only force you to kill yourself, which is really tiresome. This is the important lesson to be learned from Unfriended, an ingenious new take on the teenage slasher film. It may be the cheapest movie you’ll see this year, clocking in at no more than … More

The One Eyed Girl

May 2, 2015
Tilda Cobham-Hervey in 'One Eyed Girl' (2014)

It’s becoming tautologous to say “a disappointing Australian film.” While I never expect a masterpiece, it would be nice to find a local movie that manages to cover more than a narrow slice of the emotional spectrum. The usual bill of fare ranges from angst to misery and back again. A disproportionate number of new … More


March 21, 2015
Jack O'Connell in ''71' (2014)

Yann Demange’s ’71, begins with two soldiers in boxing gloves beating each other to a pulp. This proves to be a relatively gentle opening for a relentless, heart-in-mouth thriller set in Belfast during the period euphemistically known as “The Troubles”. The movie follows a young British soldier, Gary Hook (Jack O’Connell), who finds himself trapped … More

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