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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 […]

Review / ‘Venus in Fur’ (MA) ****

IN Roman Polanski’s hands, David Ives’s Broadway play of the same name, based on Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novel about the giving and receiving of pain as a sexual stimulus, is remarkably effective cinema. People expecting an erotic buzz from it are backing a loser. Sacher-Masoch was concerned to bring masochism into the light and […]

Review / ‘The Lunchbox’ (PG) *** and a half

HURRAH! Indian writer/director Ritesh Batra’s debut feature is about real people, with not a frame showing big mobs of girls and boys wearing bright-coloured costumes that come teasingly close to baring the good body bits as they perform vigorous, noisy song and dance numbers with scant connection to the plot. The story unfolds among Mumbai’s […]


Review / Belle and Sebastian (PG)  *** and a half

THE origin of this charming film was a 1965 French TV series about a boy, a Pyrenean mountain dog and the people of a remote village high in the French Alps near the Swiss border, elements which now get affectionate treatment from writer/director Nicholas Vanier whose filmography includes documentaries about cold-climate wildlife. The men of […]

Review / ‘Jersey Boys’ (M)  *** and a half

THE reported cost for producer/director Clint Eastwood to convert the Broadway musical telling the story of the ‘50s-’60s pop quartet The Four Seasons into a 134-minute film, was $US40 million. By and large it’s money well spent, much of it on affectionate and generally accurate reconstruction of period and place. Say what you may about […]

Review / ‘The Last Impresario’ (M) *** and a half

FILMMAKER Gracie Otto’s father Barry and sister Miranda rank high among the aristocrats of Australian acting. Following a different path, Gracie has made a film featuring actors and their work environments. It runs for 83 minutes which is, to my mind, not long enough to pay its material adequate attention. You might call it information […]

Review / ‘Eyjafjallajökull’ (M) no stars

BEFORE writing and directing “Eyjafjallajökull” (retitled “The Volcano” for Anglophone release), French filmmaker Alexandre Coffre had made two short films and one feature. He’s now working on “Father Christmas” for 2015 release. I’m feeling more cautious than optimistic. Watching “Eyjafjallajökull” to the bitter end, with both principal characters being marched away in handcuffs, spouse and […]

Review / ‘Yves Saint Laurent’ (M) *** and a half

THIS bio-pic traces the progress of a middle-class 18-year-old who became design chief in the Christian Dior salon and went on to create his own label. Without doubt, YSL (Pierre Niney) was a winner, initially in the game called couture, providing wealthy women with beautiful clothes they wouldn’t get in any shop and later in […]