Eurgh. That is my overwhelming reaction to Lisa Dunham’s Tiny Furniture, a directorial debut that I can acknowledge does a lot of things right, but I still found absolutely unbearable to watch. A story about a directionless college graduate who moves back in with her mother and sister, it’s a tale based, one suspects, on Dunham own life experience, even to the point that she casts herself and her family [...]

By on August 31, 2011

Winner of the Best Dramatic Direction award at this years’ Sundance Film Festival, Martha Marcy May Marlene heralds the arrival of two very impressive talents on the independent cinema scene. First, director Sean Durkin, who in his first feature film demonstrates an incredible assuredness and mesmerizing control of his camera, intermingling through astounding editing two timeless with ethereal subtlety and consummate skill. Secondly is young actress Elizabeth Olsen, who shatters [...]

By on August 23, 2011

Compiled from thousands of hours of video footage submitted by amateurs from all around the globe, the Ridley Scott produced, Kevin Macdonald directed Life in a Day is a stunning tableau of all the struggles, tragedies and triumphs that occur in the span of a single ordinary day – July 24th, 2010. Neither narrative nor documentary, the film, simultaneously beautiful and ugly, funny and heartbreaking, epic and intimate, simple and [...]

By on August 16, 2011

In both its nihilistic themes and art-house attributes that border on the satirical, Lars von Trier’s Melancholia serves as a very clear successor to his controversial previous effort, 2009’s Antichrist. Both films begin with a shamelessly pretentious but inescapably beautiful opening prologue that drips with mesmerising slow-motion photography and heart-rending classical overtures. From there, however, von Trier leads us down a very long and arduous path of cheerless monotony, one [...]

By on August 14, 2011

If there is one film this year that I have no real right to complain about being let-down by, then Jesse Eisener’s throw-back to exploitation cinema Hobo With A Shotgun must surely be it. Evolved from the fake trailers that won a competition to play in front of the Robert Rodriguez/Quentin Tarantino 2007 film Grindhouse, it is a move that — in the simplest sense of the phrase — delivers [...]

By on August 10, 2011

Furry red monsters.  Super-powered Zebra-men. The apocalypse.

No, I haven’t been driven mad by lack of sleep. These are all things that made appearances in the films I’ve been watching over the last four days, along with a butt-naked warlord, a disgraced New York politician and about half the population of Earth. And although the days have begun to blur together as the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) rapidly approaches its [...]

By on August 8, 2011

A gentle film about a gentle man, Our Idiot Brother is a warm and very funny comedy from director Jesse Peretz about family, honesty and sublime stupidity. Headline by the always endearing Paul Rudd, the film is packed with a pitch-perfect cast of under-rated actors and actresses all working from a clever, laid back script written — rather fittingly — by Peretz, his sister and her husband. The result is [...]

By on August 8, 2011

Joshua Milton Blahyi a.k.a General Butt Naked: one of the most ruthless, sadistic warlords of the Liberian Civil War. His humourous moniker does little to offset the severity of his crimes – which included murder, torture and the recruitment of child soldiers – and neither does the documentary film that chronicles his return to Liberia as an evangelical Christian preacher trying to make amends. Exploitative and preachy, The Redemption of [...]

By on August 5, 2011
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