Culture May 14, 2022
Kogonada’s science fiction film After Yang is acutely intelligent but ends up infantilising its characters.
By this author
Culture May 14, 2022
Kogonada’s science fiction film After Yang is acutely intelligent but ends up infantilising its characters.
Culture January 29, 2022
Pedro Almodóvar’s melodrama Parallel Mothers features brilliant performances but is ultimately jejune.
Culture March 26, 2022
An elegy for the once-great Oscars
The Oscars are outdated and have lost their gloss – even today’s controversies are boring.
Culture January 08, 2022
The Matrix Resurrections
The fourth instalment in The Matrix franchise is a joyless, pompous, unimaginative exercise in greed.
Culture December 18, 2021
The sad age of home cinema
Through the second year of the pandemic, watching big films on the small screen became ever lonelier.
Culture November 20, 2021
The Power of the Dog
Flawed but utterly mesmerising, Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog demonstrates her mastery of filmmaking.
Culture October 09, 2021
Scrupulously avoiding exploitation, Justin Kurzel’s Nitram allows space for the aspects of violence that escape comprehension.
Culture September 25, 2021
The dangerous edge of Nicolas Cage’s screen performances finds a generous complexity in the otherwise indifferent film Pig.
Culture August 28, 2021
Despite a promising beginning, Leos Carax’s Annette becomes a jumble of styles that falls back on stale, melodramatic tropes.
Culture July 10, 2021
Shahram Mokri’s new film Careless Crime plays with surreal narratives and timeshifts to create a powerful meditation on Iranian history.
Culture June 19, 2021
Pietro Marcello’s intelligent film adaptation of Jack London’s classic novel Martin Eden investigates the impossible dilemmas faced by a working-class artist.
Culture April 10, 2021
Although Harry Macqueen’s Supernova is formally unadventurous, this film about a couple dealing with the onset of dementia features transcendent performances.
Culture March 06, 2021
Thomas Vinterberg’s remarkable new film Another Round harks back to his earlier work in Dogme 95.
Culture January 30, 2021
Promising Young Woman
Emerald Fennell’s film Promising Young Woman begins well, but is ultimately betrayed by a lack of courage.
Culture December 19, 2020
A year without cinema
In 2020 we mostly had to watch films at home, and the most exciting possibilities still emerged from independent cinema.
Culture December 05, 2020
The Trouble with Being Born
For all its controversial subject matter, Sandra Wollner’s film is a smart, ethical investigation that doesn’t deserve to be banned.
Culture September 19, 2020
A cynical nod to Agatha Christie’s locked-room mysteries, Régis Roinsard’s The Translators fails to recognise the complexities and canniness of that storytelling tradition.
Culture August 15, 2020
MIFF opening night film First Cow follows the austere and sophisticated path of director Kelly Reichardt’s previous works but is stymied by its small-screen showing and the underdeveloped ‘buddy’ relationship at its core.
Culture July 11, 2020
A tribute to a great composer
In a career that spanned more than six decades, Ennio Morricone scored hundreds of films, writing music that worked in concert with the directors’ vision.
Culture June 27, 2020
Elia Suleiman’s It Must Be Heaven
In his latest film, It Must Be Heaven, Elia Suleiman continues to explore the absurdity and tragedy of being Palestinian, and weaves in a moving contemplation of the ageing body.
Culture June 13, 2020
Missing that big-screen feeling
While welcoming the Covid-19 lockdown as a chance to catch up on some TV and film viewing, this reviewer found himself craving, with a few notable exceptions, the romance of the cinematic experience.
Culture May 09, 2020
Beastie Boys Story
Forgoing depth and complexity for cheap nostalgia, Beastie Boys Story has little of the vitality that characterised the band’s music.
Film March 07, 2020
Miranda Nation’s directorial debut, Undertow, begins with power, promise and tension, but it ends up drowning in its own contradictory styles.
Film February 08, 2020
A Hidden Life
Through the story of a farmer who refuses to swear allegiance to Hitler, Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life reckons with the horrors of the Nazi regime in a quiet, powerful way.
Culture December 21, 2019
Best films of 2019
Streaming services increased their domination of the film industry this year, but the big screen still holds a vital place in cinema.
Culture October 05, 2019
Joanna Hogg’s autobiographical fourth feature film, The Souvenir, explores the fallibility of memory and attraction, grounded by nuanced performances from Honor Swinton Byrne and Tom Burke.
Culture September 21, 2019
Sophie Hyde’s Animals
Despite some missed opportunities in its storytelling, Animals is sustained by riveting performances from its two leads, and by Sophie Hyde’s generosity as a director.
Film August 24, 2019
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quentin Tarantino’s childhood love of cinema again is at the fore in his nostalgic paean Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. But when will the writer-director invest his talents in something fresh and challenging?
Culture August 03, 2019
After his excellent documentaries Senna and Amy, Asif Kapadia has turned his attention to another modern icon, Diego Maradona. But this new film is inhibited by its narrow vision.
Film July 06, 2019
Bong Joon-ho’s impeccable technical skills are on show in Parasite, his Palme d’Or-winning comic thriller, but the film’s social commentary doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Film April 13, 2019
In Transit, Christian Petzold transposes a story of World War II refugees into a contemporary setting. By pulling off this feat, he confronts viewers with their complicity in the treatment of asylum seekers today.
Film March 30, 2019
Despite a valiant performance from Nicole Kidman in Destroyer, Karyn Kusama’s feminist take on film noir ultimately shies away from true darkness.
Culture March 09, 2019
After a shift in setting to Spain for Everybody Knows, Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi squanders a brilliantly tense kidnapping drama in an attempt to provide social commentary.
Film January 26, 2019
The unequal but loving relationships in Roma, Alfonso Cuarón’s film set amid the political turmoil of 1970s Mexico, deliver some of the most powerful scenes in recent cinema.
Film December 07, 2018
What starts as a dance film to rival Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz switches to giallo horror as the diverse cast of Gaspar Noé’s Climax descend into a lysergic hell.
Film November 03, 2018
While Rami Malek shines as Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, Bohemian Rhapsody plays it so safe and is so sexually sanitised it fails to truly rock us.
Film September 29, 2018
Ladies in Black
Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black is not just a homage to classical filmmaking and 1950s Sydney, it is also a window into the cultural richness brought by post-World War II refugees. If only it had pushed darker themes further.
Film August 18, 2018
Spike Lee’s ‘BlacKkKlansman’
Where Spike Lee’s films usually brim with passion and intellect, his portrayal of black activism and racism in BlacKkKlansman becomes more slapstick than sinister.
Film June 23, 2018
Through subtlety and its refusal to out a villain, Disobedience sees its three stars radiate passion and intensity – for their faith and each other – under the masterful direction of Sebastián Lelio.
Film April 28, 2018
In Loveless, the tale of a lost boy and a marriage in tatters, Andrey Zvyagintsev delivers a tragedy that is also a masterpiece and the best film of the past few years.
Film March 31, 2018
‘The Other Side of Hope’
Finnish director Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope revisits worthy themes close to the director’s heart, but lacks the daring to take his filmmaking to new heights.
Film February 17, 2018
‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’
As a fading diva in Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Annette Bening reminds the reviewer of why he fell in love with film in the first place.
Film January 27, 2018
Warwick Thornton’s ‘Sweet Country’
Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country joins the canon of Australian westerns probing violent colonialism and Indigenous dispossession.
Film December 23, 2017
‘Call Me By Your Name’
In Luca Guadagnino’s ‘Call Me By Your Name’, Timothée Chalamet provides an outstanding portrait of a swooning teen’s sexual awakening.
Film November 24, 2017
‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’
Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a dark parable about eye-for-an-eye justice. But at the heart of the film is the view that children are never innocent.
Film October 06, 2017
‘Blade Runner 2049’
Thirty-five years ago, Blade Runner was a thrilling and potent sci-fi offering. But while its sequel is just as visually inviting, the film’s storyline is more replicant than cutting edge.
Film September 02, 2017
‘God’s Own Country’
While Yorkshire-born director Francis Lee brings authenticity to the screen with his depiction of rural labours, he fails to find honesty in God’s Own Country’s idealised central relationship.
Film July 15, 2017
Sofia Coppola’s ‘The Beguiled’
In remaking The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola has captured some beautiful and atmospheric moments of the antebellum south. But, the film fails to confront the defining issues of the time.
Film June 24, 2017
‘A Quiet Passion’ and ‘Whitney: Can I Be Me’
A film about Emily Dickinson and a documentary on Whitney Houston may seem worlds apart but both address – with varied success – the notion of divine gifts.
Film May 13, 2017
Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’
Jordan Peele’s satirical horror Get Out fails to frighten by addressing America’s race politics on the surface rather than probing its subconscious fears.
Film April 15, 2017
Kristen Stewart and Olivier Assayas’s ‘Personal Shopper’
Although at times a slightly confused ghost story, Personal Shopper trades on the talent of Kristen Stewart and her connection with director Olivier Assayas.
Film March 11, 2017
Jeff Nichols’ ‘Loving’
Made with fidelity and care, ‘Loving’ re-creates history without lapsing into histrionics.
Film February 04, 2017
Martin Scorsese’s ‘Silence’
In his tale of Portuguese Jesuit priests travelling in Japan at a time when Christianity was outlawed, Martin Scorsese returns to the complexities of faith, and makes his best film in 20 years
Film December 24, 2016
Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’
Whiplash director Damien Chazelle has sought to deliver a classic Hollywood musical, but La La Land fails to spark.
Film November 05, 2016
Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Elle’
Isabelle Huppert’s masterful turn in Elle, Paul Verhoeven’s latest skewering of middle-class concerns, is let down by a psychosexual bent with no convincing basis.
Film October 08, 2016
Joe Cinque’s Consolation
In examining Australian society via a heinous true crime, Joe Cinque’s Consolation forces us to look at ourselves.
Film August 27, 2016
Ben Wheatley’s ‘High Rise’
Director Ben Wheatley is too faithful to J. G. Ballard’s simplistic prose in High-Rise, missing the opportunity to refine its class politics for the present day.
Film July 23, 2016
Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig Ghostbusters falls into same traps as original
The reboot of Ghostbusters stifles a group of fine comic actresses with an unadventurous script.
Film June 04, 2016
Werner Herzog’s ‘Queen of the Desert’
Queen of the Desert plays it safe and fails the story of Gertrude Bell, the pioneering woman who guided the British during the emergence of the modern Middle East.
Film May 14, 2016
Fear and compromise in ‘Bastille Day’
In trying to be everything to everyone, the emasculated thriller Bastille Day typifies the fearful filmmaking of our time.
Film April 09, 2016
Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’
As a maker of documentaries, Michael Moore has already formed an opinion, ruining any chance for insight.
Film March 05, 2016
Stephen Page’s ‘Spear’
Stephen Page’s feature film debut, Spear, presents an all-too-rare onscreen examination of Aboriginal masculinity.
Film January 23, 2016
Mother nature in ‘Carol’ and ‘Room’
After Carol’s tender yet suffocating tale of sexual repression, comes Lenny Abrahamson’s emotionally dishonest Room.
Film December 05, 2015
Joshua Oppenheimer’s ‘The Look of Silence’
A documentary examining Indonesia’s anti-communist purges in the mid-'60s highlights the repression of the nation’s history and its lasting effects.
Film October 24, 2015
Colin Farrell and Léa Seydoux in Yorgos Lanthimos’s ‘The Lobster’
Yorgos Lanthimos’s surrealist film The Lobster, punctures cherished myths about love and marriage in an absurdist alternative universe.
Film September 26, 2015
Michael Fassbender in Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth
Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth falls short in exploring the true depths of ‘black and deep desires’.
Film August 01, 2015
Nouveau western ‘Far From Men’ hits close to home
Viggo Mortensen crosses the desert mountains with an Arab prisoner in 'Far From Men', set during Algeria’s war of independence.
Film June 27, 2015
Vinterberg’s Far from the Madding Crowd misses mark
The splendid cast of Thomas Vinterberg’s adaptation Far from the Madding Crowd can’t make up for the director ironing out the nuance.
Film May 09, 2015
Binoche and Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria
Like Bergman and Antonioni, Olivier Assayas focuses on the experience of women, as in his latest, Clouds of Sils Maria.
Film March 28, 2015
Feeling the Pynchon in Anderson’s Inherent Vice
Paul Thomas Anderson’s efforts to stay true to the novel Inherent Vice leave this film noir floundering in the dark.
Film February 21, 2015
Citizenfour’s Edwardian drama
Laura Poitras’s Snowden film, Citizenfour, is a welcome return to documentary that doesn’t tell us what to think.
Film January 24, 2015
Foxcatcher’s charm wrestling
Foxcatcher’s fearless stars score all the points in a takedown of naked narcissism and searing sociopathy.
Film December 20, 2014
Timothy Spall a vivid J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh’s latest
Timothy Spall embodies Turner in a virtuosic performance of an artist in pursuit of the ethereal and elemental.
Film November 29, 2014
The depth of winter sleep
Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s meditative but tightly wound Winter Sleep.
Film November 01, 2014
Wanting more from Brad Pitt’s latest film, Fury
Fury wins the battle as a buddy film, but too many punches are pulled for it to win the war.
Film September 20, 2014
Faulty shades of Gray leaves The Immigrant lacking
The Immigrant joins a long line of films tracing new beginnings in a foreign land. Sadly, this one fails to truly arrive.
Film August 23, 2014
How Robin Williams became lost in Hollywood
Robin Williams was on our screens for more than 30 years, but his genius for creative mayhem was quashed in film.
Film July 19, 2014
"All This Mayhem" documents a long grind
Documentary about champion skateboarding brothers sidesteps some home truths.
Film June 14, 2014
Scarlett Johansson’s loving the alien in Under the Skin
With Kubrick and Cocteau in its DNA, Under the Skin stars Scarlett Johansson as the man-eater who fell to Earth.
Film May 10, 2014
Saved by Rogen’s joshing
If only Bad Neighbours were better, funnier, more inspired. At least the stars shine.
Film April 05, 2014
Charlotte Gainsbourg and Nymphomaniac remain faithful to the flesh
Compulsive and compelling, Lars von Trier’s latest is as much about the nature of sex as the nurture of its telling.