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Review / ‘Seventh Son’ (M) ***

SERGEI Bodrov’s filming of a novel by Joseph Delaney offers spectacular visual imagery, both natural (mainly in Canada) and computer-generated, a vigorous plot, exciting action, a cast unfazed by the fantasy environment and some unsupported presumptions in the delivery of its drama. The number seven has mystical and religious associations. The seventh son must come […]

Review / ‘Unfinished Business’ (M) **

CONSIDER the variety of positions that humans adopt while copulating – missionary sometimes varied as prone à tergo or side-by-side, cowgirl, doggy, knee-trembler and wheelbarrow. Not that many, really. Wheelbarrow requires the most strength and agility. What’s all that got to do with a film about three American businessmen, desperate to shake hands on a […]

Review / ‘Focus’ (MA) *** and a half

CONFIDENCE tricksters are fertile themes for filmmakers, whether comedy (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) or intense drama (“The Wolf of Wall Street”). “Focus” doesn’t exactly match either of those categories, but combines elements of both in a package of excitement, passion, romance, success and occasional failure, violence, excitement, tension, conflict and surprises. All of which in their […]

billy zane

Zane to star in Canberra

IT’S official. Hollywood star  Billy Zane, known for his starring roles in ‘The Phantom’, ‘Titanic’, ‘Zoolander’, and ‘Back to the Future’ will be here this month to star in the sci-fi action feature, ‘Blue World Order’. Directed by Canberra locals Ché Baker and Dallas Bland, the film is a rollicking adventure story with nods to the […]

Dim the lights! Finalists in film competition announced

“AFTER a few sleepless nights and hours of scrutiny”, as they say in showbiz, the judges of the annual Lights! Canberra! Action! short film competition have narrowed down the  30 entries down to 12 finalists.   Canberra filmmakers were given 10 days to produce a seven-minute film that included 10 themed items related to the  theme, […]

Arts / A festival feast of French films

“TEAM France” is the way French Christophe Lecourtier likes to view the collaboration between the French State, industries and the Alliances Françaises across Australia as the 26th French Film Festival swings into action. This is his first such festival, and director Lecourtier applauds the inclusion of a full 49 movies this year, especially highlighting films […]

Review / ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ (PG) ***

THREE years after delighting audiences with observations of a group of ageing Brit expats whose lives have followed varying paths, writer Ol Parker and director John Madden revisit them still living in the Indian hotel owned by Sunny (Dev Patel) whose business skills don’t match his ambition. This time he’s in California seeking financing to […]

Review / ‘Project Almanac’ (M) **

IN this debut feature by director Dean Israelite and writer Andrew Deutschman, five Georgia high-school kids led by David (Jonny Weston) playing around with stuff like mobile phones, camcorders, rechargeable batteries and various chemicals, crack the technical problems that hitherto have confounded hopeful time travellers. That’s a fair-enough premise for a lightweight movie about an […]

Short film festival lights up

CANBERRA filmmakers have  just 10 days to produce a seven-minute film for the popular “Lights! Canberra! Action!” short film festival. Spokeswoman for the event, Dianne Ireland,  tonight  announced this year’s “special items”. “Entrants are required to produce a Canberra-centric short film along the theme of Swings and Roundabouts,” she said. As  an additional challenge for […]

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

AMERICAN TV talk-show anchorman and comedian Jon Stewart has gone upscale to write and direct a challenging feature film based on real events. The smell of rosewater combined with human sweat pervades Iranian mosques. Most of the film unfolds in Evin prison where Javadi (Kim Bodnia) interrogated Iranian/Canadian TV journalist Maziar Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal) […]


The 'mommy porn' myth: who are the Fifty Shades of Grey fans?

By Hannah McCann, Australian National University WITH the release of Fifty Shades of Grey in cinemas this week, serious questions have been raised about whether the film depicts abuse – including on The Conversation. Some feminist groups have staged protests at screenings and a campaign has been launched to encourage donations to domestic violence shelters […]


Review / ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (MA) * and a half

DRIVING this film is volume one in E L James’s best-selling fictional trilogy peeking behind the curtains of BDSM, a sexual behaviour that few but its practitioners would really understand. Some might call it a perversion. A more libertarian view is that how consenting (and therefore presumably informed) adults get their erotic kicks is nobody […]


Review / ‘The Interview’ (MA) ** and a half

THIS Hollywood comedy caused a minor brouhaha when North Korea accused the Berlin Film Festival of instigating terrorism by screening it. Others including Barack Obama saw the accusation an attack on freedom of speech. Having seen it, I wonder why the Festival selected a mainstream Hollywood comedy short on redeeming features, silly rather than stupid […]


Review / ‘What We Did on Our Holiday’ (PG) *** and a half

FROM from co-writers and directors Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin (who also did TV’s “Drop The Dead Donkey”) comes this most agreeable, credible, sweet, intelligent family comedy. Abi (Rosamund Pike) and Doug (David Tennant) have both been playing away. Until the divorce is heard, they’re keeping up appearances of solidarity, telling their children Lottie (Amelia […]

Review / ‘Selma’ (M)  **** and a half

NEGOTIATION. Demonstration. Resistance. The three tactical pillars of the 1965 campaign led by Martin Luther King Jun. that pressured Lyndon Baines Johnson into driving the Voting Rights Act through the US Congress. Paul Kelly’s screenplay for Ava DuVernay’s film tells that story with passion and deep commitment to verity. If you want to know the […]