Tag: documentary

Film Reviews

Anna Karenina & West of Memphis

Saturday, February 16th, 2013 Film Reviews,

William Faulkner, Nobel prize winning author and sometime Hollywood scriptwriter, was once asked to nominate the three greatest novels of all time. He replied: “Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina and Anna Karenina.” The problem with making a film adaptation of a literary masterpiece is that it is impossible to translate the complexity of the book into […]

Film Reviews

Pitch Perfect & Love Story

Saturday, December 8th, 2012 Film Reviews,

There’s nothing more gruesome in the cinema than films that are “just good fun”, and Pitch Perfect is a textbook example. Even as I write this I can imagine readers thinking I’m a terrible old curmudgeon for not responding positively to a movie that aims to be nothing more than light entertainment. “What could be […]

Film Reviews

Skyfall & Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

Saturday, November 24th, 2012 Film Reviews,

In his James Bond Dossier of 1965, Kingsley Amis wrote: “Not much mind is needed to notice that Bond’s adventures have been getting more fantastic all the time and some critics have actually done it.” After fifty years and some 23 features, it would be an understatement to say Bond’s cinematic adventures are getting more fantastic […]

Film Reviews

Paul Kelly: Stories of Me

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 Film Reviews,

Archie Roach reckons Paul Kelly is Australia’s “bard”. It’s what people used to say about Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson back in the days when poetry was a popular art. But for every man-in the-street who could recite parts of The Man from Snowy River in the 1890s, there must be thousands today who can […]

Film Reviews

Searching for Sugar Man

Saturday, October 6th, 2012 Film Reviews, Other Writing,

“Oh he was much bigger than the Rolling Stones,” says a South African record company executive. Bigger than Elvis, too. His debut album sold more than 500,000 copies while the republic was still grappling with Apartheid. It would be startling enough if we were talking about a white South African pop star, but the artist […]

Film Reviews


Saturday, August 18th, 2012 Film Reviews,

It may be true that everyone has a breaking point and everyone has a dark side. These are possible lessons to take away from Bernie, a semi-documentary tragi-comedy, set in a small town in southern Texas. Then again, it may be that Bernie Tiede, the protagonist of this story, had spent so much of his […]

Art Essays

I Am Eleven, The Curse of the Gothic Symphony

Saturday, July 21st, 2012 Art Essays, Film Reviews, Other Writing,

Screening opportunities are limited for Australian filmmakers, let alone documentary makers who may only expect to recoup their costs through TV and DVD sales. Two new efforts, I Am Eleven and The Curse of the Gothic Symphony, are currently enjoying the novelty of limited releases in cinemas around Australia. I Am Eleven by rookie film-maker, […]

Film Reviews

In Search of Haydn

Saturday, March 24th, 2012 Film Reviews, Other Writing,

“Anybody can see just by looking at me that I’m a nice sort of fellow,” said Joseph Haydn. Indeed, one could tell simply from listening to the playful first bars of his Piano Sonata No. 56 in D major. Only a nice fellow could write that. The impression of niceness is reinforced by every talking […]

Film Reviews


Saturday, December 10th, 2011 Film Reviews, Other Writing,

‘Decadence’ is the kind of topic favoured by high school debating societies. Is western civilisation making progress towards a golden future, or are we in irreversible decline? It’s an issue that neatly divides us into optimists and pessimists. Pria Viswalingam may have debated this topic himself when he was a pupil at Aldenham, a British public […]

Film Reviews

Bill Cunningham New York

Saturday, November 12th, 2011 Film Reviews, Other Writing,

There are many occasions in this film when one begins to wonder: “Is Bill Cunningham actually, clinically, mad?” Never in the course of a human life-time has so much energy and enthusiasm been expended on a subject that many would regard as trivial, superficial or blatantly commercial – the fashion industry. After watching this documentary […]