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‘God Help the Girl’, ‘Frank’ bound for 2014 Sydney Film Festival

The first batch of features bound for the 2014 Sydney Film Festival have been unveiled. Lenny Abrahamson’s music comedy Frank, starring Michael Fassbender in a giant papier mâché head, will make its Australian debut at the festival, as will Belle & Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch’s directorial debut, God Help the Girl. David Gordon Green and Nicolas Cage’s collaboration, Joe, […]

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Only God Forgives wins top prize at Sydney Film Festival

Nicolas Winding Refn’s ultraviolent collaboration with Ryan Gosling, Only God Forgives, has taken the top prize at the 2013 Sydney Film Festival. Jury president Hugo Weaving announced the Official Competition winner on the closing night of the fest, declaring it “a visually mesmerizing and disturbing film which polarised our opinions.” Only God Forgives trumped 11 other movies for […]

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Sydney Film Festival – The Past review

By Simon Miraudo June 16, 2013 Iranian director Asghar Farhadi is taking his victory lap. He’s earned it. After winning the Best Foreign Language Feature Oscar for the universally-adored crossover hit A Separation, he’s wisely replicated the formula for his follow-up, The Past. It similarly deals with a divorce, also amongst hugely reasonable parties. There […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Only God Forgives review

By Simon Miraudo June 16, 2013 If a boy’s best friend truly is his mother, this guy is seriously screwed. In Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn’s laboriously paced follow-up to Drive, Ryan Gosling plays Julian, a drug-dealer based in Bangkok, seemingly hiding out from his American tiger mother Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas). When his brother Billy is brutally murdered, Crystal comes […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Stories We Tell review

By Simon Miraudo June 16, 2013 Stories We Tell is just about the loveliest portrait of a family I’ve seen. A documentary similar in structure to Capturing the Friedmans – but ultimately more joyful and less concerned with harrowing tales of paedophilic clowns – it explores the family history of Canadian director Sarah Polley through […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Upstream Color review

By Simon Miraudo June 16, 2013 Shane Carruth‘s Upstream Color might even be better than his previous effort, Primer. In the world of micro-budgeted science fiction flicks, that is akin to a miracle. The magic of Primer, however, is that it seems to improve on each subsequent viewing; its intricately engineered time-travel plot making more […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Frances Ha review

By Simon Miraudo June 15, 2013 I’ll enjoy Greta Gerwig in quite anything – even that Arthur remake – and I’m discovering that the same goes for Adam Driver, of Girls (and one particularly uncomfortable sex scene) fame. So, director Noah Baumbach wasn’t fighting an uphill battle with this particular viewer of Frances Ha. His previous efforts […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Borgman review

By Simon Miraudo June 15, 2013 How do you solve a problem like Borgman? A puzzle movie from the Netherlands with seemingly no key, it frustrates and intrigues in equal measure. Well, maybe not equal measure. Much more of the first thing. I left the cinema mostly feeling fooled, and it’s always nicer to think […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Prince Avalanche review

By Simon Miraudo June 14, 2013 What a lovely, lyrical wonder David Gordon Green‘s Prince Avalanche is. A remake of the Icelandic comedy Either Way, it transplants the tale of two poorly-paired road workers to East Texas, circa 1988, shortly after wildfires have ravaged the terrain. Their task is to paint those yellow lines on […]

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Sydney Film Festival – The Bling Ring review

By Simon Miraudo June 14, 2013 If it was Sofia Coppola‘s intention to portray Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Audrina Patridge as the unfortunate, sympathetic victims of teens run rampant in The Bling Ring, then, great work? Based on the real-life crime spree that saw Hollywood’s best – if not brightest – fall victim to […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Mood Indigo review

By Simon Miraudo June 13, 2013 Everything wilts, but not Michel Gondry‘s talents as an imaginative, inimitable, and incisive storyteller. With Mood Indigo, he tracks a relationship’s birth to its ultimate dissolution. Romain Duris stars as Colin, a wealthy Frenchman who spends every last cent on treatment for his ailing wife, Chloé (Audrey Tautou). Suffering […]

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Sydney Film Festival – For Those In Peril review

By Simon Miraudo June 13, 2013 Grief strikes in your gut, and then lingers for a lifetime. It can dull, or grow exponentially. There’s no way of knowing how you’ll handle it, until you’re in the midst of it. It’s kind of like love’s awful cousin. And like love, it’s a tough thing to evoke […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Behind the Candelabra review

By Simon Miraudo June 13, 2013 Crossing the Rubicon of wealth and fame must be a hell of a thing. Michael Jackson arguably lived the strangest life in human history. Tom Cruise enjoys the dual pleasure of being Hollywood’s most bankable star, and perhaps the one famous person everyone is really unsettled by. Kanye West’s […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Monsoon Shootout review

By Simon Miraudo June 12, 2013 Once, twice, three times a disappointment, Amit Kumar‘s Monsoon Shootout offers us three variations on the same cataclysmic event in the life of a rookie homicide detective. Officer Adi (Vijay Varma) corners Indian gangster Shiva (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) in a back-alley at the end of a foot-race through the rain, […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Lovelace review

By Simon Miraudo June 11, 2013 Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman are fine documentarians. They struggle, however, to breathe life into their narrative features. Howl, a portrait of Allen Ginsberg and the publishing of his incendiary book of poetry, was basically turned into a drab courtroom drama, and not even some animated illustrations of Ginsberg’s […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Monsters University review

By Simon Miraudo June 11, 2013 You can’t go home again, but you can go back to school, and that’s precisely what Pixar have done in Monsters University. They’ve taken characters we’ve long loved and plonked them in the middle of a raucous college comedy. The result is one of the funnier films the studio […]

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Sydney Film Festival – The Rocket review

By Simon Miraudo June 10, 2013 Crowd-pleasers come in many mysterious packages, and there might not be a bigger crowd-pleaser this year than The Rocket; a disarming fable about a makeshift family desperately seeking a place to live in a ravaged Laos. Australian writer-director Kim Mordaunt continues the work he started with 2007′s documentary Bomb […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Closed Curtain review

By Simon Miraudo June 10, 2013 We accuse directors who indulge in metatextual moviemaking of disappearing up their own rear ends. In the case of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, it’s a choice between there and prison. Panahi was put under house arrest by the Iranian government for producing, in their eyes, “propaganda against the Islamic […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Stoker review

By Simon Miraudo June 10, 2013 Stoker. Finally, a family name that can be worn as proudly as Bates, Lecter, Torrance, and Lohan. An odd bunch, they are. Even the non-murderers. Park Chan-wook‘s English-language debut introduces us to this curious clan, and hopefully it will, in turn, introduce the acclaimed Korean director to those who […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Before Midnight review

By Simon Miraudo June 9, 2013 Lightning just keeps on striking for Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke when it comes to their Before saga; so much so, I’m beginning to suspect them of performing shamanistic rituals in their backyard before embarking on each new instalment. They reunite for the third time in eighteen […]

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Sydney Film Festival – The Iceman review

By Simon Miraudo June 9, 2013 Michael Shannon stars as notorious hitman Richard Kuklinski in The Iceman, a decent yet hysterically directed thriller. No one can play a slowly unravelling creep quite like Shannon, except for perhaps Ray Liotta, so it’s handy that he’s in this thing too. Liotta appears as Roy DeMeo, underboss of […]

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Sydney Film Festival – Everyday review

By Simon Miraudo June 7, 2013 We talk about Steven Soderbergh being an outrageously prolific genre-hopper, but now that he’s supposedly retired, might we turn the conversation to Michael Winterbottom? It feels as if a new film of his is out every other week, be it a collaboration with his favourite star, Steve Coogan, or […]

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Sydney Film Festival – The Way, Way Back review

By Simon Miraudo June 7, 2013 Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, former Groundlings and recent Oscar winners for penning The Descendants, make their directorial debut with The Way, Way Back. A sunny, bittersweet tale marked with moments of goofy, cringe-inducing comedy and the occasional saccharine speech, it’s a clear relative of their last, Academy Award […]

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Sydney Film Festival – The Look of Love review

By Simon Miraudo June 7, 2013 Steve Coogan takes on the role of Steve Coog … er, I mean, Paul Raymond in The Look of Love, his fourth collaboration with director Michael Winterbottom. No one would accuse the distinctive British comedian of disappearing into his roles. Yet, just as Tony Wilson in 24 Hour Party […]

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Sydney Film Festival unveils first batch of films for 2013

The first batch of titles headed to the 2013 Sydney Film Festival have been unveiled on the SFF’s official website. A couple of the pictures were expected by arthouse aficionados to make the cut, including Park Chan-wook’s English-language debut Stoker (which was delayed from its original March release date to instead debut at the fest), and Noah Baumbach’s […]

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Look who’s laughing – The Comedy (Sydney Film Festival)

The Comedy – Starring Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, and James Murphy. Directed by Rick Alverson. By Richard Haridy. The Comedy played the Sydney Film Festival. It does not yet have an Australian release date. Rick Alverson‘s The Comedy is a caustic critique, not only of modern hipster culture, but also a wider generational inability to […]

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Alps wins top prize at Sydney Film Festival

The winner of the 59th Sydney Film Festival’s Official Competition was announced yesterday. Yorgos Lanthimos‘ Alps was named by the jury as the best of the fest, beating out heavy competition from Sundance hit Beasts of the Southern Wild and Cate Shortland‘s long-anticipated Lore. Lanthimos’ Alps is the Greek director’s follow-up to Oscar nominated Dogtooth, […]

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Tastes like chicken – Killer Joe review (Sydney Film Festival)

Killer Joe – Starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, and Juno Temple. Directed by William Friedkin. By Richard Haridy. Killer Joe played the Sydney Film Festival. It does not yet have an Australian release date. Killer Joe is a grubby blast of amoral fun featuring a revelatory turn by Matthew McConaughey as the titular Joe; a […]

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Interview: Miguel Gomes (Tabu)

Interview: Miguel Gomes (Tabu). By Simon Miraudo. “When you can be moved by things that are unbelievable, that’s when cinema starts to be really interesting for me.” Miguel Gomes‘ beguiling Tabu won the Alfred Bauer Prize for Artistic Innovation and the FIPRESCI Jury Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival this year, and is set […]

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Transformer – Holy Motors review (Sydney Film Festival)

Holy Motors – Starring Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, and Kylie Minogue. Directed by Leos Carax. By Richard Haridy. Holy Motors played the Sydney Film Festival. It arrives in Australian cinemas August 23, 2012. Holy Motors is a bewildering, indescribably wonderful film that reminded me why I fell in love with cinema. Leos Carax’s fifth feature […]

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