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Italian Film Festival 2014 & Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

September 20, 2014
Eva Green in Sin City: A Dame to Kill for (2014)

Masterpieces are by definition rare, and from what I’ve seen so far, this year’s Lavazza Italian Film Festival has nothing to match Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, which launched last year’s festivities. Aside from that significant absence the mix of films is remarkably similar. Last year we saw Mr. Volare, a feel-good bio-pic of the … More


Night Moves

September 13, 2014
Jesse Eisenberg in 'Night Moves' (2013)

In title and style, Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves pays homage to director, Arthur Penn, whose 1975 film of the same name is now viewed as a minor classic. Penn’s movie was a late example of film noir, with the usual flawed characters, brittle relationships and dark motivations. Reichardt’s story revolves around a group of friends … More


Predestination

September 6, 2014
Sarah Snook in 'Predestination' (2014)

If you haven’t seen enough of Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, he reappears – and disappears, and reappears – in Presdestination, the third feature by identical twins, Michael and Peter Spierig, who were born in Germany but raised in Brisbane. The film is based on Robert A. Heinlein’s All You Zombies (1959), a short story about … More


Deliver Us From Evil

August 2, 2014
Eric Bana in Deliver Us From Evil (2014)

Scott Derrickson, director of Deliver Us From Evil is obviously a film buff, as there is barely a scene in his hybrid horror/cop movie that won’t remind cinema-literate viewers of another scene in another film. The primary reference in this anthology of every fear and fancy that has taken up residence in the American psyche, … More


The Keeper of Lost Causes

August 2, 2014
Nikolaj Lie Kaas in The Keeper of Lost Causes (2013)

An art critic of my acquaintance once boasted he had never read a detective novel. This claim was intended to make him seem an intellectual, but it only showed the narrowness of his mind. When writers such as André Gide and Francois Mauriac wrote admiringly of the detective stories of Georges Simenon, we can see … More


Two Faces of January

June 28, 2014
Viggo Mortensen in 'The Two Faces of January' (2014)

Some authors do not lend themselves to a cinematic adaptation, others write books that run through the reader’s mind like images on a screen. In the former category think of those tortuous psychologists of the Zeitgeist such as Proust, Mann and Musil. In the latter, close to the top of the list, stands Patricia Highsmith … More


Under the Skin

May 31, 2014
Scarlett Johansson in 'Under the Skin' (2013)

Michel Faber’s novel, Under the Skin (2000), was that rarest of beasts: a science fiction story with real literary merit. I say that as a reader who has dipped into science fiction for decades and identified only a handful of authors – notably Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem – that ever made me feel … More


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


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