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Review / ‘Woman in Gold’ (PG) ****

PUT simply, and having regard to the propensity of filmmakers to gild their current lilies, Simon Curtis’ film about the provenance, history and ownership of a spectacular painting is a lovely movie telling a powerful story. In pre-war Vienna the Bloch-Bauer family, wealthy, cultured, compassionate and Jewish, engaged Gustav Klimt to paint a formal portrait […]

Review / ‘Poltergeist’ (PG) * and a half

IN 1982, Steven Spielberg wrote and Tobe Hooper directed “Poltergeist”, about a family coping with the ghosts infesting their newly-bought house in suburban America. It spawned a short list of knock-offs and sequels. Now Sam Raimi, director of several scare movies and three Spiderman films, has joined Gil Kenan to rehash Spielberg’s parvum opus. In […]

Review / ‘A Royal Night Out’ (M) ** and a half

AT midnight GMT on May 8, 1945, peace in Europe was declared after almost six years of World War II. Julian Jarrold’s film purporting to portray that night’s events opened in Australia six days after the 70th anniversary of peace. The Brits were out on London’s streets with flag waving, dancing, immoderate drinking, men in […]

Review / ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ (MA) **

A RECENT article in “The Australian Review” summarised the three “Mad Max” films that 36 years ago propelled Australian filmmaker George Miller to fame as “a high-octane visceral ride into a dystopian future full of fast cars, violence and retribution”. Gee, I wish I’d written that. The article suggests that the bill for “Fury Road” […]

Review / ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ (MA) *** and a half

TWENTY years ago, Maria (Juliette Binoche) played Sigrid, the 18-year-old protagonist in Wilhelm Melchoir’s lesbian drama “Maloja Snake”. Now, following Melchior’s death, an impresario wants Maria to revive the play, playing Helene, seduced by Sigrid. The Maloja Snake is in fact a meteorological phenomenon involving the spectacular flow of cloud down a Swiss alpine valley […]

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

NELSON Greaves has concocted a screenplay for director Leo Gabriadze to deliver on a PC monitor.   A year ago Laura Barns, beleaguered by incessant abuse on social media, killed herself. Today, after watching the YouTube record of the suicide, Laura’s closest pal Blaire calls boyfriend Mitch on Skype to talk about Laura’s prognostication that […]

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

DIRECTOR Francois Girard’s films are mostly about his great passion – music. Not the jangly noise that so often assaults the ear claiming musical status simply because it’s made on musical instruments, but sounds that delight the senses and challenge the intellect with their emotional and artistic creativity and durability long after the creators of […]

Review / ‘Banksy Does New York’ (M) *** and half

THE cultural phenomenon known as Banksy never appears in either of the two documentaries made about him and his work. Chris Moukarbel’s documentary for Home Box Office uses mostly user-generated footage from the internet and TV to survey Banksy’s project involving inviting New Yorkers on every day of October, 2013, to find and observe the […]

Arts / Spanish in the reel world

FEELING Spanish comes easily to the Spanish Film Festival’s producer Genevieve Kelly. She’s an Aussie, but she has a Peruvian mum and a grandma who doesn’t speak English so, as she says: “Speaking Spanish is quite a natural thing”. That’s handy, because if there’s one thing Australia’s 18-year-old Spanish Film Festival treasures, it’s the Spanish […]

WWI film gets the nod in Goulburn

LAST YEAR we reported that Canberra’s Yowie Productions were set to release their short film “The White Feather” and now producer Marie Gheebrant-Anderson tells us, they’ve won first prize in the “Burn by Night” Film Festival at Goulburn. “The White Feather”, the winner by a large margin, is set in Bungendore, Sydney and Flanders and […]

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

IN his short (1942-1995) life, critically-acclaimed French crime novelist Jean-Patrick Manchette wrote what would become 25 films or TV series. “The Gunman”, the first filmed after his death, probably owes as much to Pierre Morel’s direction of Don MacPherson’s adaptation as to Manchette’s original plot. In 2006, mercenary Jim (Sean Penn, one of the film’s […]