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Arts / Festival asks difficult questions

WITH painful stories coming daily out of Gaza, approaching the eleventh 2014 Australia Israel Cultural Exchange Israeli Film Festival, raises a lot of questions – and most are being asked by the filmmakers themselves. The event, at Palace Electric Cinemas until August 31, includes different genres, ranging from short films and documentaries to full-length features. […]

Review / ‘The 100-Foot Journey’ (PG) *** and a half

TWO restaurants face each other on the outskirts of a French provincial town. Le Saule Pleureur (The Weeping Willow) has one star in “Guide Michelin” but Mme Mallory (Helen Mirren) is desperate for more. Ambition could not be made of sterner stuff. Or tighter discipline. Mme’s sous-chef in training Marguerite (Charlotte le Bon) is as […]

Review / ‘Begin Again’ (M) *** and a half

THE only expectation I had about Irish writer/director John Carney’s film was that I’d probably find the music not to my taste. And so it was. However, its music-making processes compensated. Gretta (Keira Knightley) enjoys writing songs that others will perform. Her musical collaborator and bed-mate Dave (Adam Levine) is about to stray. Her best-friend […]

Review / ‘Snowpiercer’ (M) *** and a half

FROM South Korean filmmaker Joon-ho Bong comes a futurist cinematic parable that refuses to compromise on its discomfiting bits (from the opening frame until about a minute before the final credits). In the 2030 decade, a botched attempt to halt global warming has led Planet Earth to freeze solid and dead. Around it, squillionaire Wilford […]

Review / ‘The Keeper of Lost Causes’ (MA) *** and a half

AUSTRALIAN audiences may not know Mikkel Norgaard, but his film about a cold case involving a woman mysteriously missing for five years certainly stands proudly among crime thrillers based on Scandinavian novels. Colleagues find detective inspector Carl (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) hard to get on with. After a stakeout goes bad, Carl gets transferred to Department […]

Review / ‘Lucy’ (MA) *** and a half

FRENCH writer/director Luc Besson’s latest release combines science fiction, a genre that seldom charms me, with ultra-violence, a genre that can deliver great satisfactions. You can process “Lucy” from either of those points of view. What most enhances it is a view of the universe that cocks a vigorous snoot at creationism and treats science […]

Review / ‘A Most Wanted Man’ (M) *** and a half

THE history of cinema may well look upon Dutch director Anton Corbijn’s filming of John le Carre’s novel as valedictory for Philip Seymour Hoffman playing German intelligence chief Bachmann whose underlying humanity in the conflict between the good guys (most of us) and terrorist bad guys (the rest of us) puts him offside with the […]

Files can’t wait: the future of the National Film and Sound Archive

By Barbara Alysen, University of Western Sydney It goes without saying these are difficult times for the country’s museums and archives. In recent months, the National Library, War Memorial, Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, and others, have all flagged belt-tightening and cutbacks to services or staff. But the response to cuts at the nation’s leading repository […]

Review / ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie’ (M) 1/2 a star

THE opening credits began with Universal’s logo, never a comfortable start for any aspiring film. Then up popped the logo of the BBC, which has made scads of good movies. Could that presage a mote of salvation, I wondered, for the quality of a film that, from pre-release publicity, promised little? There wasn’t. It wasn’t […]

Review / ‘Words and Pictures’ (M) *** and a half

BRAVO, Fred Schepisi, for turning Gerald de Pego’s insightful screenplay into a film deserving better praise than other media have given it. “Words and Pictures” is more than merely a college rom-com. Emotional discomfort driven by divorce and alcohol, coupled with intellectual hubris, constrain the life-satisfactions of English teacher Jack (Clive Owen). Intense pain caused […]

Review / ‘Reaching for the Moon’ (M) *** and a half

ELIZABETH Bishop (a cracking portrayal by Miranda Otto) had been Poet Laureate of the US when in 1951 aged about 40 she arrived in Rio de Janeiro for a short vacation with her Vassar friend Mary Morse (Tracy Middendorf). Brazilian filmmaker Bruno Barretto’s film tells the story of the relationship between Elizabeth, Mary and wealthy […]