film

film March 16, 2019

The high life of Claire Denis

While Claire Denis seeks to avoid metaphor in her films, the French director’s sci-fi prison drama High Life, starring Juliette Binoche and Robert Pattinson, can’t help but raise big questions about the universe, the nature of time and even the meaning of life. “Everything in screenwriting is painful and yet it’s great. It’s great because the pain is the price you have to pay to be allowed to dream things, to make them real.”

film March 9, 2019

Everybody Knows

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

Roma

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.

theatre March 9, 2019

Ellen Burstyn variations

Ellen Burstyn, in Melbourne to star onstage in 33 Variations, has a film career spanning six decades and including such cinematic touchstones as The Exorcist and The Last Picture Show. She talks tabout Beethoven, spirituality and recruiting Scorsese to direct her in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. “I asked that he be the director. He had already made Mean Streets, but it hadn’t been released and he was deeply grateful that I wanted him. This doesn’t mean that I gave him his start. And there was no stopping him, anyway – he would have got there in any case. But, you know, there was never any sense with Marty of working with a monster, with a master in the nasty sense. He’s marvellous, he’s an original. He’s smart and fiery and rough and excitable and alive.”

film December 7, 2018

Climax

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 December 1, 2018

I Used To Be Normal

Tracking four boy-band-obsessed young women over several years, a new Australian documentary, I Used To Be Normal, turns the spotlight off the stars and onto the fangirls in an effective and sensitive paean to blind infatuation.

film November 17, 2018

Boy Erased

Joel Edgerton’s Boy Erased may lack depth in its examination of LGBTQIA torment, but its handling of family dynamics and the performances of Luke Hedges and Nicole Kidman are cause for redemption.

film November 3, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

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.

television October 27, 2018

‘Triple threat’ Maya Rudolph

Known for her masterful Saturday Night Live impersonations and starring role in the comedy hit film Bridesmaids, Maya Rudolph is now tackling the subject of married mundanity in the new series Forever. But while her own life is far from dull, her priorities for work and family remain very simple. “For me, when I became a mum, I changed, and my needs changed. I didn’t want to be away from my kids … If something I’m loathing is taking me away from my kids, then I shouldn’t be there.”

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 September 22, 2018

‘Dark Tourist’ documentary-maker David Farrier

Where once he was Tickled, New Zealand documentary-maker David Farrier has most recently devoted himself to visiting ghoulish sites of so-called ‘dark tourism’. Here, he talks about murky ethics, Kiwi sensibilities and the pressure to react the ‘right’ way. “There’s one point where I’ve got a gun to my head and I laugh, because I’m sort of nervous. “Some people will say to me that it was really inappropriate to laugh at that point … [But] that’s what happened. It’s uncomfortable laughter. We wanted to leave all that in.”