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Arts Reviews

Posted 24 Oct 2016 @ 6:23pm

★★★☆

 

Elle is a whodunnit in which the main character doesn’t particularly care who done it.

 

The film opens with a horrific act of sexual violence, played for dark laughs and committed against video game developer and icy matriarch Michele (Isabelle Huppert in a typically brilliant turn). Rather than tell her dopey son or the police about the incident, she...

Posted 19 Oct 2016 @ 1:56pm

★★★

 

Hacksaw Ridge tells the very true story of a man who simultaneously acted as a conscientious objector and a genuine war hero, and therein lies its inherent contradiction: as a film, it both glorifies and condemns, pushing forward for the genre while remaining entrenched in its more unpalatable conventions.

 

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) is the son of a Great...

Posted 18 Oct 2016 @ 2:38pm

★☆

 

Ever felt like you’re watching great artists totally phone it in for the sake of cashing a cheque?

 

The director of Apollo 13 and Frost/Nixon takes on the world’s most profoundly inventive vision of hell and somehow manages to make the hunt to stop a plague feel like two hours in purgatory.

 

Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) wakes up in hospital,...

Posted 18 Oct 2016 @ 2:19pm

★★★★

 

Danish provocateur Nicolas Winding Refn is a brand of his own now – complete with logo splashed liberally across the credits – and his latest neo-horror objet d’art, The Neon Demon, is that brand’s clearest expression. Pulsing with repressed animosity and insatiable hunger, it is a superficial but viscerally satisfying nightmare ride into the world of modeling.

 ...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 1:05pm

★★★☆

 

Australian filmmakers rarely want to be seen as such – they dream of being taken seriously by the ‘real’ cinema industry of America, and it robs them of a cultural identity. Despite this statelessness, and despite outward pretension, Boys In The Trees delivers a gut-punch emotional narrative with plenty of style.

 

Corey (Toby Wallace) is on the cusp of...

Posted 12 Oct 2016 @ 12:35pm

★★☆

 

Gillian Flynn’s adaptation of her own bestselling novel Gone Girl sent shockwaves through the industry on its release in 2014, and while The Girl On The Train is no carbon copy in either its narrative focus or characters, it can’t help but suffer from the inevitable comparison.

 

Rachel (Emily Blunt) is in free fall – divorced and living vicariously through a...

Posted 6 Oct 2016 @ 12:54pm

★★★★☆

 

Cinematic cruelty is an understated currency these days. After all, Hitchcock founded his career on a distinct form of stylised meanness, and everyone from Brian De Palma to French auteur Claire Denis has injected their films with a squirmy kind of sadism.

 

Indeed, it is the shadow of Denis that falls most obviously across Trash Fire, the new film from...

Posted 29 Sep 2016 @ 1:28pm

★★★

 

Some things are perplexing from the get go: take Trump’s rise to power, daylight savings, algebra and the animated film Storks as just a few examples. Indeed, with its eclectic mix of avian creatures, a pack of supremely collaborative wolves, a pink-haired baby, a red-haired teen and a massive trip down anti-establishment road, Storks sure is one wild...

Posted 29 Sep 2016 @ 12:33pm

★★☆

 

It’s got the cast. It’s got the setting. It’s got an Oscar-winning actor/director team and a story that has captured generations of audiences time and time again. So why is it that this remake of a remake lacks the titular magnificence?

 

In the Wild West frontier of America, mining magnate Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) takes what he pleases. When he...

Posted 23 Sep 2016 @ 10:36am

 

All good horror films thrive on the tension between the known and the unknown. The power of found footage flicks is about accentuating that divide: about taking a reasonable, overtly ‘filmed’ approach to something utterly unreasonable, applying logic to forces that actively refuse it.

 

In that way the original The Blair Witch Project is an exercise in how the...

Posted 21 Sep 2016 @ 4:55pm

New Releases

 

If you thought September was busy, your pile of shame is going to grow a whole lot bigger in October. 3DS fans are first up, with the release of Sonic Boom: Fire And Ice on Saturday October 1. The blue hedgehog hasn’t had a lot of luck lately, so hopefully this can finally steer the ship back on course.

 

Jump ahead to Friday October 7 and things get...

Posted 18 Sep 2016 @ 3:02pm

★★★★☆

 

Watching is creating. To bear witness to an event is to be an essential part of it, and there is nothing passive about being a spectator. If there’s any one American filmmaker who fully understands this, it’s Brian De Palma, the carnage-driven auteur behind Carrie and Scarface, and a man whose life and work is profiled in exhaustive, near-obsessive detail in De Palma....

Posted 16 Sep 2016 @ 11:33am

★★★★

 

There’s nothing quite so humbling as seeing Earth, the vessel that casually sustains all of life, reduced to a mesmerising mish mash of blue and green. In collaboration with NASA, IMAX have produced the documentary A Beautiful Planet, a breathtaking exploration of our collective home that zooms right out on Earth, turning our planet into a speck rather than a sphere.

...
Posted 14 Sep 2016 @ 2:18pm

★★★☆

 

If you’ve ever been on a plane and things have begun shaking too bloody much, then this film is most definitely for you. Sully is an hour and thirty six minutes of visceral aviation pangs starring the one and only Tom Hanks.

 

Sully tells the ‘untold’ true story of Flight 1549 from LaGuardia Airport, a plane that ended up in the Hudson river with every single...

Posted 12 Sep 2016 @ 9:25am

Running now till Sunday November 6

 

It’s hard to know what primordial compulsion first seeded the love of Big Tops in our collective consciousness, but the moment you spy those garish turrets and whorls of hypnotic colour rising from the Entertainment Quarter, your heart starts to speed. There's something so immersive and otherwordly about the circus – even before you step...

Posted 3 Sep 2016 @ 5:17pm

Today I saw Andrew Bolt at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. 

 

He said a lot of things that I found repulsive. He argued that formal events shouldn’t begin with an acknowledgement of country; that the science on climate change wasn’t settled; and that people shouldn’t be defamed for denying the Holocaust unless they could proved to be ‘wrong’....

Posted 29 Aug 2016 @ 12:00am

 

The standard method for bringing foreign language directors into the Hollywood fold is to offer them billboard actors and simplistic, cookie cutter scripts. Welcome to the suck, Jean-François Richet, a man whose name should henceforth be synonymous with this practice.

 

The life of ex-convict and recovering alcoholic John Link (Mel Gibson) is shattered when his...

Posted 23 Aug 2016 @ 6:15pm

★★★☆

 

We all know a David Brent. The original Brent (played toe-curlingly well by Ricky Gervais) was the major reason for The Office’s success, and though it’s been over 13 years since the program’s Christmas special aired and tied up all those loose ends, Brent the “entertainer” has resurfaced. The world might have changed, but Brent hasn’t.

 

Life On The Road...

Posted 23 Aug 2016 @ 6:09pm

★★★☆

 

George W. Bush and his gaffes have given us a lot to work with. War Dogs dives balls deep into the American invasion of Iraq, popping off shots against its satirical targets left and right as it goes. 

 

The film charts the steep ascension of two weed-appreciating American males, Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) and David Packouz (Miles Teller), through the mid...

Posted 16 Aug 2016 @ 3:09pm

★★★

 

As a summer blockbuster to sit back and switch off to, The Shallows delivers, featuring enough chills to convince the audience to overlook how snarkily well the content reflects the title. 

 

Nancy (Blake Lively) has been searching for a secret beach in Mexico, one her mother visited decades ago, and she’s finally found it. But as the sun sets over paradise,...

Posted 16 Aug 2016 @ 2:45pm

★★★★☆

 

Truth’s sharp sting elevates a story from simple traditional structure to profound catharsis in this, likely the last thing you would expect from a family film about a young boy who folds paper using magic.

 

Our titular origamist Kubo (Art Parkinson) embarks on a journey to retrieve a fabled suit of armour, with a monkey charm brought to life (Charlize...

Posted 16 Aug 2016 @ 1:44pm

★★★★☆

 

Take the red pill, stay in Wonderland, and see just how deep the rabbit hole goes in this year’s answer to Catfish – a journey that starts off seemingly innocent but rapidly dives into surprising and disturbing new realms.

 

David Farrier’s job is documenting pop culture and strange behavior, and when he stumbles upon a YouTube video about competitive...

Posted 16 Aug 2016 @ 1:25pm

★★★☆

 

Disney’s latest Broadway adaptation has made it to the Capitol Theatre, this production proving just as much of a spectacle as the original.

 

This version comes replete with astounding stagecraft and a couple of its precursor’s brightest American stars, and though many of its new additions are competent rather than instantly classic, it’s a visual...

Posted 16 Aug 2016 @ 12:54pm

★★★☆

 

“What the flying fuck?” is how any review of Sausage Party should begin. After all, that’s the general sentiment that flies around your head as the movie gets real deep inside ya.

 

The movie, the brain child-gremlin of Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill and Evan Goldberg, is being heralded as an animation film for adults. Jam-packed with cameos from almost every...

Posted 10 Aug 2016 @ 12:00am

★★★★

 

J.G. Ballard’s brutishly prescient novel High-Rise may have been penned in 1975, but this slick and glistening update shows that the author’s dissections of a society in decay are as frighteningly relevant now as they were when the book first hit the shelves.

 

Dr. Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) moves into a stylish new luxury apartment block, and all is well...

Posted 9 Aug 2016 @ 1:07pm

★★

 

Interested in seeing some dick jokes masquerading as progressive mainstream cinema that celebrates women? Go see Bad Moms.

 

In the latest offering from The Hangover writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, Mila Kunis plays a mother who decides to take some time for herself after she catches her slacker husband cheating online. She meets some fellow moms (Kristen...

Posted 9 Aug 2016 @ 12:54pm

Reviewed at The Studio, Sydney Opera House on Tuesday August 2 (photo by Prudence Upton)

 

It was encouraging to see so many people who care enough about the arts to get soaked in Sydney’s horrid weather on the way to Culture Club’s State Of The Arts talk at the Opera House. Clearly, there’s a desire to come together and find solutions for the issues facing the future of the arts...

Posted 9 Aug 2016 @ 12:40pm

★★★

 

It is, naturally, a dark and stormy night. Arriving at a theatre rain-bleary with clothes in dramatic disarray isn't what one would ordinarily hope for when mingling with the industry's most glamorous, but tonight it seems rather apt. After all, The Hanging is a production with both feet firmly secured in Australian Gothic; all we needed was a well-timed lightning strike or...

Posted 5 Aug 2016 @ 12:00am

★★★★

 

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hitchcock/Truffaut, the book that became known as ‘the Bible of Cinema’, director Kent Jones has brought together a high-powered group of famous filmmakers to fanboy obsessively about the book’s impact on their careers and the meticulous genius of Hitchcock.

 

In the early ’60s, nouvelle vague star François Truffaut wrote...

Posted 3 Aug 2016 @ 2:36pm

★★

 

DC Comics’ film department may as well bear Ozymandias’ great epitaph (“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”), for in the space of a year, it has torn down and sullied every monolith in its catalogue. Sadly, for those expecting DC’s answer to Deadpool, Suicide Squad is the last nail in the coffin, mired as it is in traditionalist muck.

 

Rogue government...

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