Tag Archives: simon miraudo

Devil may care – Deliver Us From Evil review

By Simon Miraudo July 21, 2014 Deliver Us From Evil is this year’s exorcism movie. (Hollywood is considerate in few ways, but at least it knows to spread these things out every twelve months.) To spare us from boredom, writer-director Scott Derrickson adds the crinkle of it also being a police-on-the-beat movie, with Eric Bana […]

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Ape expectations – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes review

By Simon Miraudo July 9, 2014 If we should take anything away from the terse title characters of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, it’s the power of brevity. So, here’s my review: Apes together strong. Sequel merely solid. (The rest is for the human readers, sticklers for protraction.) This laboriously-titled follow up to […]

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Public frenemies – Lawrence and Holloman review

By Simon Miraudo July 9, 2014 More anti-human than Antichrist, Matthew Kowalchuck‘s beyond-black comedy Lawrence & Holloman asks us to revel in the largely-unsuccessful emotional torture of a jerk by a sociopath. And they said cinema had run out of heroes. Based on the stage play by Canadian Morris Panych – a fan of Neil […]

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Girl, incubated – Wetlands review

By Simon Miraudo July 7, 2014 Wetlands takes a gross thing, teenagerdom, and makes it grosser, which is like setting out to make an especially revolting movie about your last bout of conjunctivitis: any memory of the experience is probably potent enough. Still, credit to director David Wnendt, adapting Charlotte Roche’s controversial, conservative-enraging novel, for […]

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Say yes to the undressed – Under the Skin review

By Simon Miraudo July 4, 2014 Sensory experiences such as Under the Skin defy mere words, which is going to make enthusiastically recommending it a tricky task indeed. The picture stars Scarlett Johansson as an extra-terrestrial who seduces Glaswegian men as a means of harvesting their organic material, for some alien mission we’re never made […]

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Photo sensitivity – Finding Vivian Maier review

By Simon Miraudo July 4, 2014 Separating the art from the artist – or the sandwich art from the sandwich artist – is sticky stuff. Maybe impossible. Inappropriate, even. But what if the art has separated itself from the artist; is lost and only found after the artist has abandoned their creative pursuits, and appreciated […]

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That thing they did – Jersey Boys review

By Simon Miraudo July 1, 2014 Here’s what’s interesting about Jersey Boys (and pay attention now because little else is): the Broadway sensation and now Clint Eastwood movie, based upon the career of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is the rare music biopic to have zero interest in the quest for artistic perfection. It […]

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The Best Films of 2014 (So Far)

By Simon Miraudo June 25, 2014 The inexorable march of time continues ever forward, a crushing reminder our too brief, finite existence. Or, to be less of a ‘von Trier’ about it: Can you believe it’s almost July? The first six months of 2014 are behind us, and what do we have to show for […]

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50 first deaths – Edge of Tomorrow review

By Simon Miraudo June 24, 2014 Edge of Tomorrow is an ingenious action-comedy about how frequently movie heroes would actually die if they attempted that much crazy s***, and no movie hero is more notorious for doing crazy s*** than Tom Cruise. Though Cruise long ago lost his reputation as a reliable truth teller – […]

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Spring fakers – 22 Jump Street review

By Simon Miraudo June 18, 2014 I’d like to report a murder. The buddy-cop comedy is dead, drowned in a sea of d*** jokes by directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Hey, at least it died doing what it loved. In 22 Jump Street, Lord and Miller, along with screenwriters/accomplices Michael Bacall, Oren Uziel and […]

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No country for big feet – Willow Creek review

By Simon Miraudo June 13, 2014 Notorious comic Bobcat Goldthwait, once the bane of any ear-haver’s existence, has been steadily building a solid career for himself as a director, but whodathunk a mostly terrifying mockumentary would wind up bettering his black comedies? His 2009 cult favourite World’s Greatest Dad boasted an incredible first act, only […]

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One shot – Fish and Cat review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 13, 2014 The first name that came to mind during Fish & Cat, a two-hour and fourteen-minute Iranian film shot in just a single take, was Samuel Beckett. The next was Shane Carruth. That was not a jump I was expecting to take. Promoted as a “slasher flick,” Fish & Cat […]

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Heartbreak kid – Mommy review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 13, 2014 Xavier Dolan‘s Mommy has one of the year’s best movie moments. Two even. Maybe three. Look… it’s all great. Those who’ve seen one of the sickeningly-talented 25-year-old filmmaker’s previous works could have predicted that. His camera moves so fluidly, as if in a dream, and here, contained within an […]

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Teenage dream – Palo Alto review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 12, 2014 Much wailing and gnashing of teeth awaits any film adaptation of a beloved novel, but what welcomes the cinematic retelling of a despised one? James Franco’s unintentionally-LOL-worthy collection of short stories, Palo Alto, has been condensed, refined, and infinitely bettered by writer-director Gia Coppola, who, as you can imagine […]

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Body movin’ – The Two Faces of January review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 12, 2014 The Two Faces of January, based on Patricia Highsmith’s 1964 novel and set in 1962, comes from an era in which espionage thrillers needed only an enigmatic man in a linen suit to arouse suspicion. That might still be a recipe for dramatic tension in 2014. Just not this […]

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Persistence is futile – Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 11, 2014 David Zellner‘s Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter is a real find; a curio about a collector and obsessive made for collectors and obsessives. It begins with the camera trained on a scratchy VHS tape of Fargo, and the remainder of the movie lives up to the promise of it being […]

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The road worrier – The Rover review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 10, 2014 The Rover is a hugely stressful tone poem in which on-screen characters are constantly being shot and killed by off-screen characters. That precise trick made for a startling capper to David Michôd‘s breakout hit Animal Kingdom, and he trots it out again several times in his theatrical follow-up. It’s […]

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Drag race – How to Train Your Dragon 2 review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 10, 2014 Dragons don’t kill people. Bad people with dragons kill people. So goes the lesson of How to Train Your Dragon 2, the sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s only great movie. Kids can do with that metaphor what they will, except, hopefully, apply it to drugs or guns. Written and directed […]

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Compassion play – Two Days, One Night review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 10, 2014 Two Days, One Night is paced like a joke, but it plays like a prayer. Writer-directors the Dardenne brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc, spend the movie repeating the setup over and over again. Marion Cotillard‘s Sandra, recovering from a nervous breakdown, has a single weekend to convince each of her […]

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Losing it at the movies – Life Itself review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 9, 2014 Roger Ebert, lover of women, alcohol, cinema, and life itself, is seen at the conclusion of Steve James‘ new documentary making peace with his impending death, calling it a satisfying conclusion to his narrative. He would have hated being robbed a “third act” through sudden death. That’s remarkable chutzpah […]

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You get what you give – Begin Again review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 9, 2014 It’s called Begin Again, but why, when once was probably enough? Keira Knightley stars as heartbroken English singer-songwriter Greta, still reeling from a break-up with a newly-minted rock star (Adam Levine) whose increasing douchebaggery can be measured by the growth of his beard and widening of his shirts’ v-necks. […]

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Gone in 85 minutes – Locke review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 8, 2014 Steven Knight‘s Locke makes us ride ‘shotgun’ with Tom Hardy for 85 minutes and doesn’t let us out until the final credits roll. There are worse people to be stuck in traffic with. Carrot Top. Piers Morgan. Literally any Jenner. The makers of 1996 flop Carpool tested the limits of […]

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Bless this mess – Love is Strange review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 7, 2014 Love is Strange but the housing situation in New York is stranger. “Like something out of Kafka” is how Alfred Molina‘s character, George, describes it. Suddenly made homeless, music teacher George and his partner of 39 years, painter Ben (John Lithgow), have the unenviable task of begging their extended […]

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The young and the rest of us – Boyhood review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 7, 2014 Richard Linklater spent 12 years making the bittersweet Boyhood, shooting it piecemeal with actors Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, as well as newcomers Ellar Coltrane and Linklater’s real-life daughter Lorelei. The elders play the divorced parents, and the youngers their children, lugged around Texas as their mother seeks new […]

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Sister Kristen – The Skeleton Twins review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 7, 2014 Everyone’s doing it. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort have done it. Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are about to do it. Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader have just finished it. Call it Hollywood’s hottest and grossest new fad: incesting. It’s that thing where actors play both siblings and lovers […]

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Twee at last – God Help the Girl review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 6, 2014 Finally, an answer to the question of what it would look like if a Belle & Sebastian album cover came to life, and under which reasonable circumstances a girl might bathe with a toy tiger, rest her head on a stack of books, or chill coquettishly on a Scottish […]

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Unknowing me, unknowing you – The Unknown Known review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 6, 2014 Not even Errol Morris‘ infamous Interrotron – a camera-rig that gazes right into the subject’s freaking soul – can pierce an unyielding Donald Rumsfeld in The Unknown Known. Morris’ latest documentary isolates the former U.S. Secretary of Defence and sees him grilled on topics ranging from the World Trade […]

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Piety party – Calvary review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 5, 2014 Those devilish McDonagh boys, always zigging when you think they’ll zag. John Michael McDonagh - brother of Oscar-winning In Bruges director Martin - follows up his dirt-black buddy comedy The Guard with despairing anti-hymn Calvary. It plays out like a parable, or, maybe, some half-remembered joke, with Brendan Gleeson‘s generous Father James learning of a mysterious parishioner’s desire to murder him; […]

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Lose your head – Frank review (Sydney Film Festival)

By Simon Miraudo June 5, 2014 Michael Fassbender covers up in Frank, though you could say that of any film he’s done in the years since Shame. The pants stay on, and now, a papier-mâché head has been added to the mix, obscuring the Irish actor’s handsome visage for the majority of the movie. Though […]

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A festivus for the rest of us: Sydney Film Festival 2014 begins!

The Sydney Film Festival is once again upon us, and 2014’s slate is as tantalising as any that has come before. This, of course, means our editorial team will be occupied skittering from darkened cinema to darkened cinema, up all night scribbling reviews, and frantically posting them each morning for the pleasure of those unable […]

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