Film Reviews

Film Reviews


Thursday, October 3rd, 2019 Film Reviews,

Long before it was released Todd Phillips’s Joker was shaping as the most controversial film this year in the United States. The big sticking point is the portrayal of the famous super villain as a sad, mentally-disturbed loser driven to breaking point by a series of unhappy breaks that would have shredded Job’s fortitude. Arthur […]

Film Reviews

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Thursday, September 26th, 2019 Film Reviews,

Guillermo del Toro may not have planted his considerable bulk in the director’s chair for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but his fingerprints are everywhere. The film is a collection of classic horror scenarios with an undercurrent of social history. It’s scary but not-too-scary, a few gruesome moments but no buckets of gore. […]

Film Reviews

Ad Astra

Thursday, September 19th, 2019 Film Reviews,

In James Gray’s movies characters seem to act as if they were in a novel, indulging in an inordinate amount of self-reflection. It may, therefore, have been inevitable that the director would eventually set a film in space where there is no limit to introspective opportunities. Ad Astra (Latin for “to the stars”) introduces us to […]

Film Reviews

Downton Abbey (the movie)

Thursday, September 12th, 2019 Film Reviews,

While the world had a collective orgasm over the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018, Julian Fellowes would have been enjoying his own private celebration. After six highly successful seasons of the TV series, Downton Abbey, Fellowes could see the Royal nuptials creating a highly receptive environment for his next […]

Film Reviews

The Kitchen

Thursday, September 5th, 2019 Film Reviews,

2019 may go down as the year in which female directors gained a lasting foothold in the movie business. Counting this week, four of the past eight films reviewed in this column have been made by women. I can’t recall anything like this ratio in previous years, where one in ten is a more likely […]

Film Reviews


Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 Film Reviews,

Mention Italy and most of us think of Rome, Florence or Venice – cities rich in antiquities, overrun by tourists. Villaggio Coppola, near Castel Volturno – the setting of Matteo Garrone’s Dogman – is not that sort of place. A failed resort town north of Naples, it has become a desolate camp for African refugees and […]

Film Reviews

The Nightingale

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 Film Reviews,

Jennifer Kent’s The Nightingale won the Special Jury Prize at this year’s Venice Film Festival, but made headlines because an enraged Italian film critic shouted abuse from the audience. This is not the only place the film has proved controversial, with viewers walking out of screenings at the Sydney Film Festival, complaining about “gratuitous violence”. The […]

Film Reviews

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Friday, August 16th, 2019 Film Reviews,

Quentin Tarantino is the flawed genius of contemporary cinema. As a director he has such an assured touch that almost three hours of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood slip by in no time at all. The flaw lies in his love of extreme violence that leaves a nasty taste, no matter how much we […]

Film Reviews

Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan

Friday, August 9th, 2019 Film Reviews,

A film script is one area where the old adage about “too many cooks” almost always rings true. Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan, has employed no fewer than five writers, but the dialogue and characterisation never seem to have gotten beyond a first draft. This would be fatal if the film set out […]

Film Reviews


Saturday, August 3rd, 2019 Film Reviews,

“Young adult” is one of those phrases that hints at a broad range of cinematic sins, but there’s no reason why a movie ostensibly targeted at teenagers should be inferior in terms of plot or conception to films made for a general audience. Alas, the very thought of a demographic seems to clap creative handcuffs […]