September 3rd, 2014

Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

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★★☆ While its contrasting colour motifs and unsettling visuals are beautifully shot and emotionally evocative, behind the facade We Need to Talk About Kevin is as emotionally bereft and oppressively miserable as its titular character.

Review: Burning Man

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★★★★ The first half-hour of Jonathan Teplitzky’s Burning Man is a frenetic series of excerpts from the life of Bondi chef, negligent father and all-round terrible human being Tom Kinnear (Matthew Goode), the jigsaw almost impossible to fit together because pieces jump forward and back through time and what little dialogue exists is naturalistic rather than expository.

Review: Moneyball

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★★★☆ Adapting a book written by a finance journalist about sports statistics sounds like no easy task, but it’s made considerably easier when nestled amongst the DIPS, LIPS and PECOTAs of the book’s statistical analyses sits a classic Hollywood Bad News Bears rags-to-riches sporting tale.

Review: Drive

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★★★★★ A nameless, taciturn auto mechanic with a shadowy past and superhuman driving ability makes his money running getaway cars for robberies.

Review: Take Shelter

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★★★★ Curtis LaForche (Michael Shannon) is content, at least outwardly. His relationship with his family – wife Samantha (Jessica Chastain) and daughter Hannah (Tova Stewart) – is full of happiness, his job in construction pays well and gives him access to a great health insurance plan, and he works alongside his best mate using huge machinery to drill holes into the Earth. His daughter is deaf but they’re working on learning sign language and, thanks to his health insurance, she’s getting a bionic implant soon. There’s little more a man could ask for in financially and socially depressed America.

Review: Red State

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★★★☆ It’s been a persistent criticism – or, at least, observation – of Kevin Smith that he isn’t a particularly visual director, and indeed the man himself has admitted in the past that he self-identifies as a writer first, and sees filmmaking as merely one mechanism by which he can get his stories told.

Review: The Cup

The Cup

★ Before reading this review, please take a few minutes to watch this clip from YouTube: Now, feel free to send me a letter of thanks because I have just saved you from spending 106 minutes and upwards of $15 on one of the worst Australian dramas you’re ever likely to see.

Review: Project Nim

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★★★☆ From Academy Award winner James Marsh (Man on Wire) comes Project Nim, the sympathetic account of a chimp called Nim Chimpsky, taken from his mother at two weeks old and placed into the care of Professor Herbert S. Terrace of Columbia University, an expert in the field of primate cognition, in 1973.

Review: The Whistleblower

The Whistleblower

★★ With the U.S. – and, by extension, Australia – currently contracting private firms for all manner of logistical services in two ugly foreign wars, the timing of The Whistleblower’s release could barely have been more appropriate.

Review: Face to Face

Face to Face (Michael Rymer, 2011)

★★★★☆ It’s easy to describe in a sentence the plot of Michael Rymer’s new film Face to Face. What’s not quite so easy is to adequately explain how such a simple set-up makes for the best Australian film of 2011, but it’s all in the execution.