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Tag: history

Film Reviews

Ida

Saturday, May 24th, 2014 Film Reviews,

Pawel Pawlikowski left Poland in 1971 at the age of 14, and settled with his family in England. In a peripatetic career as a filmmaker he completed a series of offbeat documentaries before making an acclaimed “quintessentially English” drama, My Summer of Love, in 2004. With Ida not only has he returned to his Polish […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Afghanistan

Saturday, April 26th, 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“After Akcha,” wrote Robert Byron, in his legendary travel book, The Road to Oxiana (1937) “the colour of the landscape changed from lead to aluminium, pallid and deathly, as if the sun had been sucking away at its gaiety for thousands and thousands of years; for this was now the plain of Balkh, and Balkh […]

Film Reviews

Dallas Buyers Club

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014 Film Reviews,

It was startling enough to see Christian Bale porking up to play a middle-aged conman in American Hustle, but this seems like a piece of cake – or perhaps lots of cake and donuts – alongside Matthew McConaughey’s drastic transformation for Dallas Buyers Club. Anyone can pile on the kilos but it takes extraordinary discipline […]

Film Reviews

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Saturday, February 8th, 2014 Film Reviews,

There is a special tone reserved for the bio-pic of some major historical figure. Such films tend to be stately, respectful, almost in awe of their subject. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is a textbook example of the genre. Despite the obligatory disclaimer that it will show us the hero as we have never seen […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Elvis at 21

Saturday, February 8th, 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In 1956 the United States had plenty to think about. World War II lingered in popular memory; the Cold War was in full swing; and in Montgomery Alabama, black citizens were boycotting the local buses in one of the first great campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. But the subject causing consternation in the mass […]

Film Reviews

12 Years a Slave

Saturday, February 1st, 2014 Film Reviews,

It used to be commonplace for directors to cut their teeth in the theatre before moving on to the cinema. In the future it seems likely there will be more directors who begin their careers at art school making videos and installations before progressing to full-length features. Steve McQueen is currently the most prominent example […]

Film Reviews

Twenty Feet from Stardom

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 Film Reviews,

One of the features of world cinema over the past decade has been the resurgence of the feature-length documentary. Two outstanding new examples are getting theatrical releases this week: 20 Feet From Stardom, which looks at the careers of some of the leading back-up singers in popular music; and Blackfish, which examines the lives of […]

Film Reviews

The Act of Killing & Rush

Saturday, October 5th, 2013 Film Reviews,

There are limits to a social conscience. When a film has attracted every possible superlative it takes on the status of a must-see event, but after about ten minutes you know The Act of Killing will be both sickening and unforgettable. As one deadpan horror follows another in an interminable procession, many viewers will decide […]

Film Reviews

Farewell My Queen & Fast and Furious 6

Saturday, June 8th, 2013 Film Reviews,

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 […]

Film Reviews

NO & The Company You Keep

Saturday, April 20th, 2013 Film Reviews,

In old episodes of Get Smart, it was not uncommon for Secret Agent 86 to wish that some villain had used his powers “for niceness instead of evil”. No is the movie that applies this wishful thought to the advertising industry. It is 1988, in Chile. The military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet has been […]