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Tag: Hollywood

Film Reviews

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker & Cats

Tuesday, January 7th, 2020 Film Reviews,

In the last weeks of 2019 the big studios generously served up two Christmas turkeys. Judging by the reviews I wasn’t the only person yawning through Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, or wondering how Tom Hooper’s weirdly sexualised Cats ever secured a G rating. Both films are self-conscious ‘blockbusters’ intended to appeal to a […]

Film Reviews

Judy

Thursday, October 10th, 2019 Film Reviews,

If Joker has put Joaquin Phoenix firmly in line for an Oscar, Judy has done the same for Renée Zellweger. Like so many Hollywood bio pics the film charts the decline that inevitably follows fame and fortune. We focus on the tumultuous final year of Judy Garland’s life, although the story is punctuated by flashbacks […]

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

A Star is Born

Saturday, October 20th, 2018 Film Reviews,

One learns to mistrust the movie that is hyped to the skies – whether it be “critically acclaimed” or simply a “box office sensation”. The box office is the worst guide to quality because popular taste is fixated on superheroes, brain-dead action films, lame comedies and sentimental mush. As for the critics, they couldn’t stop […]

Film Reviews

Hail, Caesar!

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 Film Reviews,

“Comedy deserves to be taken seriously,” wrote Aldous Huxley, in 1924, before going on to denounce those “lesser exponents” of the genre who specialise in “triviality, ugliness and vulgarity.” Three years later The Jazz Singer ushered in a new era of ‘talkies’ that would change the way Hollywood made comedies, as slapstick and sight gags […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Marilyn at MAMA

Friday, February 19th, 2016 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

“Men grow cold as girls grow old, and we all lose our charms in the end…” sang Marilyn Monroe in Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend. Yet Marilyn would never lose her charms, cheating old age by dying at the age of 36, fixing her image forever as the glamorous blonde starlet we see in […]

Film Reviews

Trumbo

Thursday, February 18th, 2016 Film Reviews,

It doesn’t require a philosopher to point out discrepancies between the law and justice. This was born out last week – as Trumbo hit the cinemas – by the convulsions over the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia. By all accounts this is a game-breaker in the bitter conflict between Left and Right […]

Sydney Morning Herald Column

Hollywood Costume

Saturday, July 27th, 2013 Sydney Morning Herald Column,

In Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a turning point arrives through a change of costume. James Stewart, playing the damaged cop, Scottie, sees a girl who closely resembles the dead woman who haunts his thoughts. That woman, Madeleine, is on Scottie’s conscience and in his heart. In Judy, a shop girl from Kansas, he recognises Madeleine’s double […]

Film Reviews

Total Recall

Saturday, September 1st, 2012 Film Reviews, Other Writing,

Philip K. Dick’s brief science fiction story, We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (1965) has travelled a long way since it was adapted for Paul Verhoeven’s film, Total Recall in 1990. In Dick’s original version, Doug Quail visits a business called Rekall that promises to provide its clients with a false memory superior to […]

Film Reviews

The Bourne Legacy

Saturday, August 25th, 2012 Film Reviews, Other Writing,

One wonders what a cultural theorist such as Slavoj Zizek would make of the Bourne films? Beyond the lashings of action, suspense and skullduggery they are textbook lessons in the repressive power of the state, guaranteed to appeal to conspiracy theorists of both left and right persuasions. The world in which Jason Bourne, and new […]