Film review

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The Lemmings cast. Left to right: Garry Goodrow, Peter Elbling, Chevy Chase, Chris Guest, John Belushi, Mary-Jennifer Mitchell, Alice Peyton. © National Lampoon

Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon – review

Most of us are familiar with the National Lampoon films of the 70s and 80s. But this documentary offers insight into the magazine of the same name and the questionable dynamics of modern satire.
Red Army tells the story of the Russian hockey dynasty of the 1980s and early 1990s, focusing on the story of defenseman Slava Fetisov (pictured top right). Variety

Red Army portrayal of Soviet hockey misses mark

Gabe Polsky’s documentary Red Army opens with the film’s main subject – former NHL and Soviet hockey great Viacheslav (Slava) Fetisov – giving the finger to Polsky while checking his phone. At the film’s…
Still Alice is a window into the lives of the millions of people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Icon Film

Still Alice: a rare look at how dementia steals memories from millions

For many of us, memories are our most precious possessions; they makes us the people we are. Consider how you would feel then if your memories were stripped from you, as they are from people diagnosed…
In The Gambler, Mark Wahlberg portrays Jim Bennet, a bored literature professor whose gambling debts spiral out of control. POPSUGAR

In The Gambler, an anti-hero story is retold

“Life is a losing proposition,” explains Mark Wahlberg’s literature professor/compulsive gambler Jim Bennett. “You might as well get it over with.” Intent on doing just that, Bennett runs up massive debts…
He remains unbroken. Universal Pictures

Unbroken tries but fails to reassure during difficult times

Recently, Angelina Jolie announced her retirement from the acting profession so that she could take up writing and directing full time. Which is an error, if her latest directing endeavour Unbroken is…
Black holes aren’t black. Warner Bros.

Interstellar gives a spectacular view of hard science

Note: this article has spoilers. In Interstellar’s near-ish future, our climate has failed catastrophically, crops die in vast blights and America is a barely-habitable dustbowl. Little education beyond…
In Interstellar, Matthew McConaughey plays the protagonist, Cooper, who wears many hats: everyman farmer, laconic space hero, grieving father. Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Interstellar: Nolan’s flawed masterpiece

At about the midway point of Interstellar, a spacecraft descends into the atmosphere of a pristine white planet. Gliding downwards, the tip of the craft brushes against a cloud, and the cloud shatters…

Belaboring the Big Black Brute

It was a matinee screening in a small town in Massachusetts. I’d stayed for the credits, feeling an odd need to confirm that I’d heard Dido on the soundtrack. Only one other person had been in the cinema…
Blues singer Marlene Cummins is the subject of Rachel Perkins' latest film, Black Panther Woman. MIFF

A blues song to break the silence: Black Panther Woman at MIFF

I sing this song. I sing it for my sisters. For I feel the backbone of our struggle in this country, Trying to keep it together. Koori Woman – Marlene Cummins Rachel Perkins’ latest documentary, Black…
Jodorowsky saw Dune as a chance to bring 1970s avant-garde ideas to mainstream audiences. MIFF

Jodorowsky’s Dune: an acid trip without the acid at MIFF 2014

One of the big attractions at the Melbourne International Film Festival this year is Frank Pavich’s documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013). The film retells the story of cult Chilean director Alejandro Jodorowsky’s…
By telling the stories of Boni, Titi and Ho, Jalanan brings to the screen the hardships and precarious lives of marginalised people in one of the most economically promising Asian countries. Courtesy of Jalanan Movie Team

Jalanan: Busking and dreaming in the city

Daniel Ziv’s documentary feature Jalanan (Streetside), currently screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival, is a film that seeks to move its audience. Documentaries sometimes invite viewers…
Australian poet and dramatist Christopher Barnett is the subject of These Heathen Dreams, a documentary screening at MIFF. MIFF

These Heathen Dreams: rage and tenderness at MIFF 2014

I met the Australian poet Christopher Barnett in Nantes in 2009. He strode the narrow streets in his long leather coat, occasionally crossing the road in front of cars, staring drivers down. When I asked…
New Indian documentary cinema: Children of the Pyre. MIFF

Death begets life in Rajesh Jala’s Children of the Pyre

Rajesh Jala’s Children of the Pyre (2008) is one of seven documentary features in the India in Flux: Living Resistance strand at the 2014 Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). The film is a finely…
A still from Pablo Mazzolo’s Photooxidation, one of the films on the Experimental Shorts program at MIFF. MIFF

Seeing sounds, hearing images: Experimental Shorts at MIFF 2014

The nine films that comprise the Melbourne International Film Festival’s Experimental Shorts program confront viewers with questions about image, form and genre. The Experimental Shorts program is an annual…
Marion Cotillard stars in Two Days, One Night, currently screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival. MIFF

Two Days, One Night: working hard for the Dardennes brothers

Audiences familiar with Belgian directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardennes won’t need any recommendation to see their latest film, Two Days, One Night, which is on the program of the Melbourne International…
Rinko Kikuchi stars in Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, currently screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival. MIFF

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter enchants at MIFF 2014

For the most part we live in disenchanted times: everyday life and the political landscape seem increasingly dried of their magical possibilities. Instead they are filled with dross and drone, the relentless…

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