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No fairytale – The Selfish Giant review

By Simon Miraudo March 10, 2014 Clio Barnard’s variation on Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant transplants the pastoral fable to depressing, modern day Northern England. Short story scholars, however, shouldn’t look for specific comparisons between the two takes. They are few and far between. In Barnard’s telling, newcomer Conner Chapman plays Arbor, an unhinged kid […]

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Ring that Bell – In a World review

By Simon Miraudo March 4, 2014 Lake Bell, like Rashida Jones and Olivia Wilde before her, just up and made herself a star. The immensely talented comic actress hasn’t been given much to chew on of late, being alternately relegated to the role of quirky/sassy/supportive best friend or the icy, sexy, younger wife of someone’s […]

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Talk that talk – The Darkside review

By Simon Miraudo February 23, 2014 When media-watchers accuse the giant, globulous entity that is Australian Cinema of not making pictures the regular punter would be interested in seeing, I don’t think they’re citing films like The Darkside as an example of what they want more of. For 90 minutes, some fine actors sit down […]

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Curb your historicism – Oh Boy review

By Simon Miraudo February 17, 2014 A German hipster ambles from uncomfortable situation to uncomfortable situation in Jan Ole Gerster’s Oh Boy. Though the black-and-white feature has its fair share of jazzy stings on the soundtrack, what it really needs are the infamous horns from Curb Your Enthusiasm’s theme tune. But then Gerster would have […]

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Sing a sad song – The Broken Circle Breakdown review

By Simon Miraudo February 10, 2014 The Broken Circle Breakdown doesn’t jerk tears. It attempts to extract them by using enhanced interrogation techniques, as if inspired by George W. Bush himself (the former American president cameos frequently throughout the movie, on TV sets and the like). Utterly devoted to making you cry, it tells of […]

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That sinking feeling – All Is Lost review

By Simon Miraudo February 3, 2014 The most remarkable feat in J.C. Chandor’s stranded-in-the-sea survival story All Is Lost is star Robert Redford’s ability to shave on open water. Credited only as ‘Our Man,’ here is our first glimpse of how steely this guy’s resolve really is. Good thing, too. He’s going to need it. […]

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Chef aid – A Hijacking review

By Simon Miraudo January 20, 2014 Tobias Lindholm‘s Danish drama A Hijacking follows in the footsteps of Best Picture nominee Captain Phillips…. kinda. Well, not technically. Though it’s arriving on our shores in 2014, it was actually released in its native country back in 2012. Still, it’s novel to see the release of two movies […]

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Live with it – What Richard Did review

By Simon Miraudo December 10, 2013 Newcomer Jack Reynor gives a startling, star-making performance in the slow-burn Irish drama What Richard Did. It’s no surprise he’s since been snapped up for a big gig like Transformers 4 (though it does suggest Michael Bay has seen this little flick, and liked it, despite it not featuring […]

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La la land – Twenty Feet from Stardom review

By Simon Miraudo December 9, 2013 Twenty Feet from Stardom is the latest documentary to burrow into the deeper recesses of the music industry, with the intention of setting the record straight and giving unsung heroes their due. We’ve previously seen forgotten folkster Rodriguez, would-be metal-heroes Anvil, and proto-punks Death given their big-screen close up, […]

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Mild horse – Jappeloup review

By Simon Miraudo December 2, 2013 Not every athlete’s triumph needs its own cinematic adaptation. Not even the animal ones. A series of very ordinary events unfurl in Christian Duguay‘s Jappeloup, based on the true story of the horse of the same name, who was small or something. Despite his diminutive stature and a poor […]

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The wives of others – Much Ado About Nothing review

By Simon Miraudo November 25, 2013 What it must be like to live in Joss Whedon’s mind, his neurons and synapses constantly electrified into formulating spunky one-liners for his talented pals to zing one another with. To paraphrase William Shakespeare, “Uneasy lies the head that wears that Buffy-creating crown.” No wonder, then, that Whedon takes […]

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Holiday road – The Loneliest Planet review

By Simon Miraudo April 8, 2013 Gael Garcia Bernal and Hani Furstenberg are marvellous – and marvellously comfortable with one another – as Alex and Nica in Julia Loktev‘s dark travelogue, The Loneliest Planet. The first half of the feature sees their engaged couple wander, almost aimlessly, across Georgia (the one near Russia, and not […]

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Interview: Julia Loktev (The Loneliest Planet)

By Simon Miraudo April 8, 2013 Writer-director Julia Loktev warns that her film The Loneliest Planet is a “dangerous” date movie. In it, an engaged couple played by Hani Furstenberg and Gael Garcia Bernal roam Georgia’s picturesque Caucasus Mountains. Though madly in love one another, they are confronted with a life-threatening situation that completely changes […]

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Talking cure – The Patience Stone review

By Simon Miraudo March 25, 2013 Are the navel-gazing antics of HBO’s Girls less significant than the tortured trials undertaken by the unnamed Afghan woman in Atiq Rahimi‘s The Patience Stone? Well, yes, obviously. But do the gravity of those trials make the latter automatically a more worthwhile work? Not necessarily. Rahimi’s dramatically inert Patience […]

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Snow black and white – Blancanieves review

By Simon Miraudo March 18, 2013 Blancanieves is the third adaptation of the Snow White fable we’ve seen in just 12 months. Though it’s been a boon for the little people acting guilds, audiences are surely starting to tire of seeing the same story over and over again (one that’s been ingrained in them since […]

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The non-existent charm of the bourgeoisie – What’s in a Name review

By Simon Miraudo March 4, 2013 Guess who’s coming to dinner? No one you’d reasonably want to spend time with in real life! Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte‘s What’s in a Name is a murderously unfunny French farce that could have only had a happy ending if the central characters were poisoned to […]

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Interview: David Petrarca (Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, True Blood)

By Simon Miraudo February 21, 2013 “I look at the networks as dinosaurs standing in the tar pits; they’re just waiting to fall over.” So says David Petrarca, one of the television industry’s go-to directors. Over the past decade, he’s had a front-row seat to the medium’s extraordinary evolution. Having helmed episodes of hit HBO […]

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The medium is the message – No review

By Simon Miraudo February 18, 2013 It’s the rare movie that celebrates marketing minds. Even the heroes of TV’s Mad Men are presented as having questionable professional ethics, what with their uncanny ability to peddle cigarettes and their willingness to promote such blights on U.S. culture as Richard Nixon and jai alai. Pablo Larraín‘s No […]

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This prison of ours – Caesar Must Die review

By Simon Miraudo February 11, 2013 The continued relevance of William Shakespeare’s work more than 400 years after it was originally written is an impressive feat of prophetic penmanship, to say the least. Who, from this day and age, could possibly compare? I daresay E.L. James will unlikely set future generations alight with her BDSM […]

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Lived in bars – Smashed review

Smashed – Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, and Nick Offerman. Directed by James Ponsoldt. Rated MA. By Simon Miraudo. Mary Elizabeth Winstead‘s name wasn’t among the recent batch of Oscar nominees. Had it been, it would’ve signified the biggest “little movie that could” success of the season, and a late commendation for her criminally […]

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A new career in a new town – Barbara review

Barbara – Starring Nina Hoss, Ronald Zehrfeld, and Rainer Bock. Directed by Christian Petzold. Rated M. By Simon Miraudo. Those Germans are an austere bunch;  a stereotype that won’t be challenged by Christian Petzold‘s bluntly christened Barbara. Where it may wind up surprising audiences is in its warmth and humanity, that will perhaps only reveal […]

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Family ties – Sister review

Sister – Starring Léa Seydoux, Kacey Mottet Klein, and Gillian Anderson. Directed by Ursula Meier. Rated M. By Simon Miraudo. Ursula Meier‘s Sister commands your respect if not your attention. It tells of the complicated relationship between a 12-year-old thief, Simon (newcomer Kacey Mottet Klein), and his burnt out soeur, Louise (the entrancing Léa Seydoux). […]

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Blame game – The Hunt review

The Hunt – Starring Mads Mikkelsen and Annika Wedderkopp. Directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Rated MA. By Simon Miraudo. It seems questioning morality in the movies is the new ‘in’ thing. Lately I’ve been defending Django Unchained and Zero Dark Thirty in the wake of their individual controversies, and now comes Thomas Vinterberg‘s The Hunt, which […]

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When the heat gets hot – Safety Not Guaranteed review

Safety Not Guaranteed – Starring Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, and Jake Johnson. Directed by Colin Trevorrow. Rated M. By Simon Miraudo. If you like your science-fiction lo-fi, and your coming of age parables with a handy technological metaphor at their core, Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed is the movie you’ve been waiting for (or perhaps […]

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Interview: James Marsh (Shadow Dancer)

Interview: James Marsh (Shadow Dancer). By Simon Miraudo.  James Marsh won the Best Documentary Oscar in 2008 for his literally-buoyant Man on Wire, and followed it up with the doco Project Nim, a startling tale of animal cruelty towards an adorable chimp that may in fact justify any future Rise of the Planet of the […]

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Interview: Catriona McKenzie (Satellite Boy)

Interview: Catriona McKenzie (Satellite Boy). By Simon Miraudo. Catriona McKenzie says her feature debut Satellite Boy is a descendant of such Aussie classics as Storm Boy and Walkabout. A good thing then that she’s recruited the legendary David Gulpilil from those flicks to appear in her movie too. The picture stars newcomers Cameron Wallaby and […]

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Boy meets world – Satellite Boy review

Satellite Boy – Starring Cameron Wallaby, David Gulpilil, and Joseph Pedley. Directed by Catriona McKenzie. Rated PG. By Simon Miraudo. There is many a Spielbergian moment in Catriona McKenzie’s Satellite Boy, intentional or otherwise. Two kids ride carefree on bicycles. A young boy laments the distance between he and his estranged mother, bonding with his […]

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Brew ha ha – The Angels’ Share review

The Angels’ Share – Starring Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw, and Roger Allam. Directed by Ken Loach. Rated MA. By Simon Miraudo. The Angels’ Share is the charming story of four Scottish criminals who find redemption – if not exactly rehabilitation – through alcohol. It may not seem like the typical logline for a heart-warmer; it […]

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What a beauty – Miss Bala review

Miss Bala – Starring Stephanie Sigman, Lakshmi Picazo, and Juan Carlos Galvan. Directed by Gerardo Naranjo. Rated MA. By Richard Haridy. Gerardo Naranjo‘s riveting Mexican thriller Miss Bala is a tremendous cinematic achievement; both a stunning technical exercise in sustained tension and a rich allegory highlighting the hopeless scenario facing an entire society caught in […]

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Family feud – Elena review

Elena – Starring Nadezhda Markina, Andrei Smirnov, and Elena Lyadova. Directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev. Rated M. By Simon Miraudo. Elena plays the Perth International Arts Festival from April 9 to 15. Click here for more details. It arrives in Australian cinemas June 21, 2012. What better way to finish the Perth International Arts Festival film […]

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