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Arts Reviews

Posted 1 Aug 2013 @ 12:56pm

★★

 

The End of Time, as listed on the MIFF website, is accompanied by an image of a particle detector from CERN’s multi-billion dollar Large Hadron Collider. The description of the film suggests the film would be an exposition on “the nature of time”. I requested tickets on the basis that this would be a fascinating scientific documentary on the Large Hadron Collider and what it...

Posted 1 Aug 2013 @ 12:53pm

★★☆ 

 

Vic + Flo is a very studied and calculated film making meets naturalist and still performance creating a cold and distant experience. 
 
Time takes it’s time to pass in the backwoods of Quebec and so does the story.  61-year-old Vic (Pierrette Robitaille) appears at catatonic uncle’s shack in the woods and takes up residence. After a time her much younger...

Posted 1 Aug 2013 @ 9:45am

★ ★ ★ ★

 

The life-long love story of Noriko and Ushio Shinohara, Japanese artists and long-term residents of New York City is going to give you back your faith in marriage. Despite her husband’s alcoholism, single-minded and sometimes self-absorbed creative ambition and poor table manners, Noriko overflows with an unequivocal commitment to the love of her life.
 
The...

Posted 1 Aug 2013 @ 9:27am

★★

 

Bob Byington’s quirky, offbeat indie Somebody Up There Likes Me is the tale of Max Youngman (Keith Poulson) who, unlike the rest of us, doesn’t seem to age, and alongside his best mate Sal (Nick Offerman), experience the highs and lows associated with life, love and loss.
 
With Max and Sal as well as Max’s wife Lyla (Jess Weixler), Byington has created some...

Posted 31 Jul 2013 @ 9:19am

★★★

 

Michael H. Profession: Director, provides a window into Austrian director Michael Haneke’s motivation and working methodology as an artist. Director Yves Montmayeur’s interviews with Haneke, and testimonials from several key actors, cut with “making-of” footage from the last 20 years, allow for a portrait that is multi-faceted and insightful, holding a mirror to Haneke, and...

Posted 31 Jul 2013 @ 9:16am

★★★★

 

Nothing beats a rock'n'roll film - from A Hard Day’s Night to Wayne’s World, films about the music that has shaped us can’t help but get the heart rate up and the sweat pumping. Good Vibrations’ plot is by-the-numbers, but the location itself sets up a rich proposition, where buying records meant...

Posted 30 Jul 2013 @ 3:39pm


In the follow-up to Littlerock, director Mike Ott shows the Spike Jonze road from music videos to indie films is fraught with self-indulgent danger. Reprising his role from Ott’s last feature, small town 20-something Cory stops huffing nitrous bulbs for long enough to begin the quest to find the man who may or may not be his father. Joining him are his overbearing brother Jeff,...

Posted 30 Jul 2013 @ 2:28pm

★★★★☆

 

Director Inigo Westmeier’s documentary Dragon Girls follows the lives of three pupils at the Shaolin Tagu Kung Fu school located next to the famous Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan province. As the country's largest martial arts school with 35,000 pupils, this vast, bleak, industrial aged institution is centred on one thing and one thing only – at this school it is eat,...

Posted 30 Jul 2013 @ 2:27pm

★★★

Capturing the aftermath of the disastrous 2010 earthquake which ripped through the small nation of Haiti, Fatal Assistance documents the massive recovery effort led by a number of international aid agencies. The film charts a period of two years from when the earthquake first struck to the efforts of the international community to try and rebuild the already struggling nation.

...
Posted 30 Jul 2013 @ 11:14am

★★★☆

 

It Felt Like Love, the debut effort from director Eliza Hittman, is the story of Lila, a lonely 14-year-old living in Brooklyn.  Through her debut Hittman wanted to represent "the lonely moments, the surges of false confidence, and small humiliating details that are often buried in our memories," her lead, first-timer Gina Piersanti, delivers on all counts as Lila. ...

Posted 30 Jul 2013 @ 11:13am

★★★★

 

Chris Marker fans will be satisfied with this thoughtful film essay, which depicts the 'first peaceful Spring' in Paris since the close of the Second World War and ensuing war in Algeria.  Shot simultaneously with the filming of the legendary La Jetée, this prize-winning film has only recently been restored by Marker's cinematographer and co-director Pierre Lhomme....

Posted 30 Jul 2013 @ 11:11am

★★

 

There is a category of documentary that boils down to this: People that care too much about odd things. Usually a topic you aware of but never looked into. Presented in an affectionate and lightly mocking way, these documentaries seek to enlighten the viewer as to the reason why each of these people are so passionate about their chosen subject. Lunarcy! seeks to do this with...

Posted 30 Jul 2013 @ 11:09am

★★★★

 

Even in a world of hyper-connected, always-on communication, everyone does not see every detail of a tense situation. Sure, the NSA might be watching America’s every movement, monitoring every tiny communication, but the majority of us rarely ever see more than parts of the whole. Hollywood blockbusters are compelled to explain every small detail to an audience, but...

Posted 24 Jul 2013 @ 5:15pm

The Public Studio’s interrogatory installation This is Beautiful is an ambitious and sometimes absorbing performance piece that asks its audience (literally) ‘what is beauty?’

 

Pier Carthew, Jing-Xuan Chan, Terry Yeboah are the three actors who inhabit the theatre space. They start the performance covered and seated, gradually revealing themselves, along with their insecurities...

Posted 24 Jul 2013 @ 5:04pm

Tex Perkins, Johnny Cash and the Athenaeum Theatre. Surely it’s a recipe for success, right?

 

Perkins is currently touring his hit show The Man In Black across Australia for the third time. It’s no wonder he can draw the crowds. Tex is dark, brooding, sexy and funny. Put a cowboy hat on the man and most women would collapse. With his slick hair and deep rumbling southern...

Posted 10 Jul 2013 @ 1:47pm

With a title that sounds too much like a sex position, Pacific Rim is wrong on more than one level: its casting. A note to Hollywood: we have actors in Australia, just like the tall, built, blonde American jocks you cast to play Australians, only our Australians actually have Australian accents. The American and the Briton you cast in Pacific Rim are about as Australian as a warm beer.

...
Posted 9 Jul 2013 @ 1:24pm

The words ‘tribute show,’ less oft sums the mode of artful imagery exhibited by Stewart D’Arrietta in My Leonard Cohen then it does big scale, big hair Bjorn again style cabaret- which is a shame. 

 

Leonard Cohen is a poets poet, a musicians musician and a ladies' man. His voice low and sultry fills your room through the speakers with a smoky veil of romance and lust. There are...

Posted 28 Jun 2013 @ 10:42am

The Melbourne Theatre Company's latest production, The Crucible, is absolutely stunning.

 

The first thing you notice is the stark and powerful set, which grows ever-more ominous and suffocating throughout the long but thoroughly engaging production.  The use of music and ambient sound is sparse and perfectly timed, creeping up on you while you are engrossed with the happenings...

Posted 27 Jun 2013 @ 1:30pm

Much like the success of this review will rely on one thing, the success of King Kong relied on one thing. If he’s truly massive and intimidating, the audience will leave awe-inspired and the play will be considered spectacular. If we see Kong and don’t feel it in the knackers, well then…meh. Our familiarity with the story makes it difficult to feel sympathy for the characters. The musical...

Posted 27 Jun 2013 @ 9:39am

It’s the perfect Aussie-style love story: Bogan Barbie meets Sporty Ken. It’s all ‘happily ever after’ until the text messages start rolling in, after which Ken upgrades to a British B-grade celebrity more famous for wearing safety pins than she is for actually achieving anything. Such is the gist of Shane Warne: The Musical, and to be honest, it’s much kinder than it is cruel. It could really...

Posted 27 Jun 2013 @ 9:37am

Now in its 35th year, Circus Oz has again hoisted the big top at Birrarung Marr in celebration of another year of circus antics. Cranked Up is a revamped version of the 2012 From the Ground Up, displaying some re-worked acts alongside new material.

 

Whether they’re juggling plungers, doing dodgy magic or piling seven people onto one bicycle, Cranked Up is full of energy and at...

Posted 20 Jun 2013 @ 11:51am

Lara Foot’s Solomon and Marion is a story of healing and redemption found in an unlikely bond between two people still reeling years after a tragic act of violence.

 

Marion is a woman, living alone in post-Apartheid South Africa, distraught and disconnected after the murder of her son. She is independent and hardened, with little to live for but a penchant for Marlboro Reds....

Posted 13 Jun 2013 @ 2:26pm

There really are few words to describe how truly confronting Palace of the End is. A three-piece monologue written by Canadian playwright Judith Thompson, the play depicts the suffering of three unrelated individuals affected by the Iraq war.

 

The first piece, My Pyramids, was an excruciating story that focused on the character of Lynndie England, a US solider at the centre of...

Posted 6 Jun 2013 @ 1:14pm

Jessi Lewis’ Shattered is an ambitious work which confronts its audience with an act of terrorism that hits close to home. 9 months in the making, it is the 13th solo show from the young Lewis and was produced in collaboration with Ben Eltham, Tony Founder and Yvonne Virsik.

 

With the audience positioned as though confined to a commercial aircraft, the play is set in the...

Posted 28 May 2013 @ 12:44pm

The Death of Peter Pan was written in 1988 and first produced by Fly-On-The-Wall theatre the subsequent year. While it stretches across a 1920s era Eton, Paris and Oxford, its tale of unaccepted passions and profound love maintains a timeless quality.

 

Michael Llewelyn Davies (Kieran McShane) is the play’s almost painfully naive protagonist. Davies is the favourite adopted son...

Posted 27 May 2013 @ 12:01pm

The Death of Peter Pan was written in 1988 and first produced by Fly-On-The-Wall theatre the subsequent year. While it stretches across a 1920s era Eton, Paris and Oxford, its tale of unaccepted passions and profound love maintains a timeless quality.

 

Michael Llewelyn Davies (Kieran McShane) is the play’s almost painfully naive protagonist. Davies is the favourite adopted son...

Posted 24 May 2013 @ 12:27pm

Red Bennies is in many ways the perfect venue for a show like Nude.  The speakeasy vibe, the small central stage, and the multiple bars all contribute to form a great setting for cabaret and burlesque.  Oh, and the half-naked dancers in cages didn't hurt either.

 

I had little idea what to expect of Nude.  I knew what the creators were trying to do - create some discussion around...

Posted 24 May 2013 @ 12:23pm

One Man, Two Guvnors is, quite simply, a brilliant show.  While it may not quite have something for everyone (the deceased come to mind), director Nicholas Hytner's production comes bloody close.  The cast are supremely talented, the production values are excellent, the script is tight, oh...and there's an awesome skiffle band.

 

There's nothing not to like about One Man, Two...

Posted 16 May 2013 @ 10:36am

Nilaja Sun’s No Child has returned and provides a heartfelt and hilarious insight into America’s troubled public education system. Written and performed solely by Sun, it is a play about a group of students putting on a play, about a group of convicts, putting on a play.

 

While a slightly challenging premise to get your head around, Sun’s intricate performance seems effortless....

Posted 15 May 2013 @ 9:57am

Bangarra's latest production, Blak, is an electrifying 75 minutes of live dance theatre. The three part piece paints a picture of the journey to manhood, the many challenges of Aboriginal womanhood, and the celebration of the legacy of elders.

 

Blak is a visually striking show. The stage of the Arts Centre's Playhouse is dark, forbidding, punctuated with stark lighting, sand,...

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