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

BASED on Kyril Bonfiglioli’s novel “Don’t Point That Thing at Me”, “Mortdecai” is a romp of comedy, excitement, secret intelligence, beautiful women and caricature of the modern British class system. For Johanna (Gwyneth Paltrow) the “thing” is the new moustache grown by her art dealer husband Mortdecai (Johnny Depp, one of the film’s producers). For […]

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

SO what’s “Foxcatcher” about? Not yoicks, tally-ho, tantivy or any of the other traditions observed by the galloping unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible. Directed by Bennett Miller, written by Dan Futterman, “Foxcatcher” is a sombre account of three men chasing a dream, a real-life tragedy set among excessive wealth and heart-wrenching and irresolvable family […]

Review / ‘The Theory of Everything’ (M) *****

OF eight nominations for best film at this year’s Academy Awards seen in Canberra to date, one resonated more than any of the others with me. Director James March’s lovely, compassionate, credible biopic, written by Andrew McCartney with Jane Hawking’s participation confirming the screenplay’s veracity, is not the first narrative film about Stephen Hawking. In […]

Review / ‘Birdman’ (MA) **** and a half

AS I write, I hear the news that “Birdman” has garnered this year’s longest list of Oscar nominations. I’m not surprised. It’s a cracker of a film, packed with subtleties exploring, for example, the crassness of blockbuster movies, the fragility of celebrity, how wit differs from slapstick, indeed the whole wonderful range of the building […]

Review / ‘Paper Planes’ (G) ***

DIRECTOR Robert Connolly and novelist Steve Worland have created a sweet, structurally linear, dramatically simple film about youthful determination, great children’s cinema that grown-ups might perhaps consider too simplistic but heck, we were all kids once. Ed Oxenbould plays 12-year-old Dylan, living on a hardscrabble rural property with his dad Jack (Sam Worthington) effectively catatonic […]

Review / ‘Paddington’ (G) *** and a half

IN a Peruvian jungle, explorer Montgomery Clyde befriends an extraordinary bear species hitherto unknown to science. It can speak human-speak. Its preferred diet is marmalade sandwiches. Clyde assures Mr and Mrs Bear that their family will always find a welcome in London. The first live-action feature starring Michael Bond’s literary creation that has delighted children […]

Review / ‘Horrible Bosses 2′ (MA) No stars

AS Sean Anders’s sequel to Seth Gordon’s 2011 pungent dissection of business power plays progressed, I suppressed an urge to walk out. The moments of best merit in “HB2”, jointly directed by Anders and Gordon, involve cameos from Kevin Spacey, in jail where “HB1” left him, all venom and bile, and Jennifer Aniston as a […]

Review / ‘Folies Bergere’ (M) *** and a half

MARC Fitoussi’s agreeable film arrives here with a minor identity crisis. “La Ritournelle” in its native French, in the US it’s “Paris Follies”. None of the three is totally appropriate. On a Normandy farm, Brigitte (Isabelle Huppert) and Xavier (Jean-Pierre Darroussin), both in their 50s, are successful breeders of Charolais cattle, winning prizes with their […]

Review / ‘Particle Fever’ (M) *** and a half

YOU don’t need a degree with distinctions in physics to take satisfaction and benefit from Mark Levinson’s documentary shot inside and about the biggest machine yet made, the Large Hadron Collider or LHD. The scale and engineering of the LHD are visually breathtaking. The intellectual energy and complexity of the science is mind-boggling. The LHD’s […]

Review / ‘Love Is Now’ (M) *** and a half

DIRECTOR Jim Lounsbury’s screenplay for this romantic drama has an agreeable freshness speckled with moments that, by sometimes not adding up, add to its challenges. Mercurial free spirit Audrey (Claire van der Boom), scarcely acquainted with aspiring photographer Dean (Eamon Farren), responds to an instant fizz of attraction by suggesting that they get on their […]