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Arts Reviews

Posted 23 Sep 2013 @ 10:40am

★★★

 

Lisa Skye’s Songs My Parents Taught Me warmly weaves reflections on her own transition to adulthood through the narrative of '70s couple Bunny and Mad Dog. It is a love story set in Melbourne’s inner north in a simpler time, when sex and music reigned and marijuana was ‘legal’. She combines the second hand anecdotes and reminiscences of her parents with her own experiences...

Posted 15 Aug 2013 @ 4:25pm

★★★

 

The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories, an anthology of short-stories written by Angela Carter and published in 1979, is regarded as a masterpiece of storytelling that captures the true violent and perverted nature of folk tales, which won Carter the Cheltenham Prize for Literature in 1979. Therefore, when playwright Van Badham (Octopus, Burnt Snow) decided to adapt the first...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:24am

★★★★

 

Although the very realistic setting and subject matter of The Rocket is unsettling, you still walk out of this with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Eccentric characters and situational humour shine through without deterring from the overall impact of the film.
 
Based in Laos, where children live and play in proximity of active landmines and dormant bombs, it’s a...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:21am

★★★★

 

The Moo Man is a documentary that follows the day-to-day life of struggling dairy farmer Steve Hook and his herd of cows. It may not sound like a film for the masses or that it could be enjoyed by anyone not in the agriculture business – but this film is an unassuming gem.
 
The documentary, which was shot over four years on the Hook family farm, quietly...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:16am

★★★★

 

Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer follows three members of the Russian feminist art collective Pussy Riot as they stand trial for “disrupting social order by an act of hooliganism”. Nadia, Masha and Katya were arrested in February 2012 after a balaclava clad performance of their ‘punk prayer’ on the alter of Moscow’s Christ The Saviour Cathedral...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:15am

★★★★

 

Antoine Bourges has made an admirable attempt to capture the pathos of the worst neighbourhood in all of Canada. East Hastings Street is Vancouver’s equivalent of the Tenderloin in San Francisco or Chicago’s south side – a great place to suck dick for crack, not so much for raising a middle class family or avoiding Hep C. Bourges explores this jaundiced and browbeaten...

Posted 13 Aug 2013 @ 11:14am

★★★★☆

 

Australia owes Haydn Keenan a debt of gratitude for six painstaking years of work in unearthing the intrigues of this country’s most secretive organisation. Since its birth in 1949, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has been used as a blunt instrument against political opponents, intimidated peaceful protestors and damaged the livelihoods of both its...

Posted 10 Aug 2013 @ 1:27pm

★★★★

 

Laurent Boileau and Jung Henin’s Approved for Adoption is an autobiographical tale based on Henin’s (referred to throughout simply as “Jung”) graphic novel and own experiences. It effectively weaves animation with documentary to reconstruct Jung’s journey from the streets of Seoul to adopted life in Belgium and back again.
 
Abandoned by is mother, five year...

Posted 8 Aug 2013 @ 5:04pm

★★★★

 

Fruitvale Station is based on the true story of 22-year-old Oscar Grant, a man fatally shot by police in the early hours of New Years Day 2009. Written and directed by Ryan Coogler, the film offers an engrossing cross-section of Grant in his final days before depicting his tragic death.
                     
In his finest performance to date, Michael B. Jordan...

Posted 8 Aug 2013 @ 3:31pm

★★

 

The Summit documents the riveting saga of the infamous mountaineering tragedy on K2 in 2008 with the deaths of 11 people in one expedition. It’s the single biggest disaster to occur in the region and to this day there are many unanswered questions surrounding the foggy events. 
 
K2, traversing the Himalayan border of Pakistan and China is a mountaineer’s...

Posted 8 Aug 2013 @ 3:29pm

★★★☆ 

 

Gore Vidal was an extremely clever, witty, insightful critic of American Imperialism and was never happier then when he was letting people know just how clever, witty and insightful he could be. Novelist turned screenwriter turned social critic turned celebrity intellectual, Vidal spent his life on the outside looking in and was never pleased with what he saw. 
...

Posted 7 Aug 2013 @ 9:27am

★★★★☆

 

From the investigative work of American journalist Jeremy Scahill comes Dirty Wars, a hard hitting documentary about the United States secretive war on terror. The film follows Scahill and his efforts in trying to undercover the true nature of the highly secretive US elite forces unit JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) and their operations in countering terrorism....

Posted 7 Aug 2013 @ 9:25am

★★★★

 

Stories We Tell is an unnervingly intimate insight into the secrets within a family. Film-maker Sarah Polley is concerned with the way in which we tell stories and how the truth can be unintentionally molded to suit our interpretation of an event. This is fascinating when Polley endeavours to capture the same story from every single member of her extended family.
 ...

Posted 7 Aug 2013 @ 9:23am

★★★☆

 

Tense and beautifully shot scenes oozing with political intrigue, exploitation, duty, and the dangers of adolescence combine to create Swedish director Mikael Marcimain's first feature film, Call Girl.  Aided by a killer tension-building soundtrack - a mix of '70s hits and well-designed synth - the film is an extremely engaging portrayal of a dark and contray time in...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 4:13pm

★★

 

This courtroom drama doesn’t do justice to one of the greatest black American public intellectuals of our era. Shola Lynch’s film could have been the story of an academic who helped bring the Frankfurt School’s revolutionary philosophy to the United States and who was hounded out of her teaching position for political reasons, a Communist Party member who allegedly applauded...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 2:55pm

★★★★

 

There is no such thing as a happy movie set in the north of England. The Selfish Giant, set in Bradford West Yorkshire, makes the most of the lighter aspects of a friendship battling against grim reality.
 
Arbor Fenton (Conner Chapman), is a kid with difficulties, on and off his attention medication, off when his strung out brother steals it, he has his mother...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 9:33am

★★★☆

 

If you’re feeling the utter drain of apocalypse fatigue – pop culture products about humanity saving itself on the eve of destruction – maybe suck it up one more time forThese Final Hours. First, this is the feature length debut of Australian writer/director Zak Hilditch, so the visual quality is stark and modest instead of your summer blockbuster buffet of CGI and lens...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 1:11am

★★★★

 

Winner of the 2013 Short Film Palme d'Or, Safe is a suspenseful 13-minute thriller set in the seedy underworld of illegal gambling houses.
 
When a student takes up a job as a money teller at an illegal gambling house, she knows it isn't entirely safe. She starts to feel comfortable in this environment, but sometimes the safest places can present the most...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 1:10am

★★★☆ 

 

With Ben Whishaw as a drawcard, Beat is a melancholic and amusing short about a man who dances to the beat of his own drum, literally.
 
Whishaw skilfully conveys the fragility and loneliness of the young man whose erratic dancing to music only he can hear is as threatening to himself as he appears to be to others. Documenting a day wandering the streets of...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 1:08am

★★★★

 

Playing out almost in real time, this 30-minute French domestic drama-turned-thriller proves the power of the short film as a narrative device.
 
A boy misses school to play under a bridge. Hearing a car arrive, he jumps into the backseat as the woman driving glances at him in the rearview mirror. A girl in tears at a bus stop kisses her boyfriend goodbye and...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 1:04am

★★

 

differently, Molussia is a collection of nine short chapters filmed on expired rolls of 16mm. These nine chapters are composed differently before each individual screening – creating 362,880 different arrangements.
 
The film weaves around excerpts from a novel written by Gunther Anders about an imagined totalitarian state known as Molussia. Short, anecdotal...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 1:02am

★★★☆

 

 Crowd-sourced, independent film, Though I Know the River Is Dry is a layered and moving short focussing on the complex issues Palestine has, and continues, to face.
 
Returning to Palestine, a man reflects on the complicated decision he made between his allegiance to his country and the chance to create a better life for his family in America. In doing so, the...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 1:00am

★★★

 

The premise of Fernando Camargo and Matheus Parizi's The Tuner is promising, but the film gains momentum too late in its 15-minute running time, giving the impression that it best fits as the first chapter in a longer feature. 
 
In the outer suburbs of São Paulo, Paulo follows his father from door-to-door unglamorously tuning pianos, a skill he taught himself...

Posted 6 Aug 2013 @ 12:59am

★★★★ 

 

Set on a remote farm in Iceland, Gudmundur-Amar Gudmindsson's Whale Valley is a dark, yet beautiful, portrayal of brotherly love. When seven-year-old Ivar discovers his older brother Amar attempting to hang himself, Amar makes him promise not to tell their parents. As the boys deal with their own emotional turmoil, their growing concern for each other's mental state leads...

Posted 5 Aug 2013 @ 9:56am

★★★

 

‘Mouse Music’ is anything that’s commonly commercially produced, forced or unnatural – as described by this film’s subject, producer Chris Strachwitz. This is not so much a documentary about music but one man’s passion for discovering music’s hidden talent and exposing it to the world. Strachwitz travelled to southern America as a teenager from Germany during the war and...

Posted 5 Aug 2013 @ 9:54am

★★★☆

 

Red wine is simply a backdrop for this interesting and tasteful documentary, which focuses on the rise and rise of China as an economic superpower in the world. What separates Red Obsession from your average episode of Four Corners, is the high production value, particularly noticeable with the impressive sweeping landscape shots across France and China.
 
Red...

Posted 2 Aug 2013 @ 4:25pm

★★★★☆

 

Kevin Pearce was young, handsome, kind and talented. He was a snowboarding champion and an obvious challenger for the 2010 Winter Olympics. That was until he stacked a practice cab double cork in Utah, landing face first into the ice, violently striking his head and left eye.
 
The Crash Reel follows Kevin’s incredible real life journey from the bright lights...

Posted 2 Aug 2013 @ 3:31pm

★★★★★

 

The Western Australian Kimberly coastline is home to a virtual freeway of dinosaur footprints. Amongst them lies unique evidence of the 10-metre long carnivorous theropod, the only example of its kind in the region and perhaps the country. Tens of thousands of years before paleontologists made this astounding discovery, local Aboriginal groups connected other dinosaur...

Posted 1 Aug 2013 @ 2:27pm

★★★★

 

In his 14th feature Joe Swanberg introduces us to Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde), two colleagues who sometimes work, but mainly just flirt, at a microbrewery. Although they’re both in existing relationships – Luke with Jill (Anna Kendrick) and Kate with Chris (Ron Livingstone), the tension between the two can’t be denied, and it’s here from which the story...

Posted 1 Aug 2013 @ 2:00pm

★★★☆

 

The first English language feature film from director Giuseppe Tornatore, best known for his marvellous homage to film with Cinema Paradisio, is a mix of drama, psychological suspense and romance.
 
The film tells the story of Virgil Oldham (Geoffrey Rush), an eccentric and unscrupulous art auctioneer who has a scam going with his long time partner in crime...

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