REVIEW – Final Portrait

Sometimes a film comes out that defies mainstream conventions so much that we describe them as “arthouse”. This term is given new meaning with Final Portrait – an arthouse film that focuses on the process of creating art, through the lens of Swiss surrealist Alberto Giacometti.

This is a film with many positives and things to recommend. But, as can often be the way with the arthouse, some useful conventions that may have been needed have been neglected, putting a dent in the end product.

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COMMENT: Harvey Weinstein, Ben Affleck and the culture of Hollywood

I’ve debated whether or not to write anything about this issue. After all, I’m not in Hollywood. I’m just another very small voice in a corner of the Internet, who happens to love film. I don’t often take things seriously on this page, merely using it as a bit of fun – and inviting anyone who wants to join me in that fun to come along for the ride.

But the longer this story, led by allegations of sexual assault, sexual harrassment and rape against Harvey Weinstein – the powerhouse Hollywood producer responsible for financing films such as Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, The King’s Speech and countless others –  runs, the more I feel I need to add my voice to this conversation, even if my contribution can only be support and a call for change, hopping onto my soapbox as it were. So that’s what I’m going to do.

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REVIEW – Blade Runner 2049

Author’s Note: As per usual with a big blockbuster film, every possible care has been taken to avoid unnecessary spoilers. However, people have a different tolerance for spoilers so if you are someone who wishes to avoid every tiny detail or are particularly sensitive to spoilers, this is your advance warning.

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35 years. That’s how long fans of the classic sci-fi noir Blade Runner have waited for a sequel. It’s also how long fans of the Richmond football club had been waiting to return to the AFL Grand Final, but we don’t talk about that. We talk Blade Runner here. Bloody Richmond. Where was I? Oh yes.

Blade Runner 2049 is a brilliant piece of science fiction, filled with gorgeous imagery, philosophical quandries and open-ended interpretations. But, and I feel silly having to say this since you’ve all had a very long time to work out what Blade Runner is, I should stress that this is not a sci-fi action adventure romp. This is quieter, more noirish and certainly not a bombastic blockbuster. Apparently some people in my theatre weren’t aware of this yet. So now you know.

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REVIEW – Battle of the Sexes

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Battle of the Sexes is, in many ways, a very timely release. As many groups publicly fight for equal rights and recognition in the modern world, Battle of the Sexes shows a famous battle for equal rights that took place on the tennis court in 1973 between woman’s champion Billie Jean King and showman, hustler and former men’s champion Bobby Riggs.

On the surface, Battle of the Sexes is a solid sports film with elements of comedy, but it also has some profound comparisons to the way the world works today, and is filled with meaningful moments and excellent characters.

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REVIEW – Kingsman: The Golden Circle

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In 2015, cinema-goers were treated to an absolute surprise when Kingsman: The Secret Service – a mostly unknown property that looked to be another run-of-the-mill spy parody – turned into one of the most profitable and popular films of the year, and one of my personal favourites. Featuring a lovingly crafted parody of the early Bond films, complete with over the top villains and gawky gadgets, Kingsman became a success on all cylinders.

Now, here’s the sequel and… it’s not actually the worst thing ever. But it certainly pales in comparison. If we were to compare this franchise to, say, the Bond films – if the first one was Goldfinger, then this one is probably a Live and Let Die. 

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REVIEW – Mother!

I generally attempt to avoid talking spoilers on this blog, as every audience member deserves to see the film spoiler-free. That said, this film is very hard to discuss at all without spoilers, so there is a (clearly labelled) spoiler section towards the end of this review. Take this as a warning.

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So. I saw Mother!, the latest film by the often surreal filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan). And this film, well…. it exists now, it’s out there. And we have to talk about it. But a word to the wise before we even begin – the marketing does not represent this movie at all. If you saw a trailer and thought “Hell yeah, I’d watch a Jennifer Lawrence horror/thriller”, this probably isn’t the movie for you. This is a bizarre drug trip of the sort that would disorientate even Keith Richards.

I’ve seen a lot of movies over the years, but this may well be the most surreal film I’ve seen – at least the most surreal English language film.

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REVIEW – It

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Stephen King is a name that stands tall as one of the greatest storytellers of the modern age. Whether he tells deeply human stories like The Green Mile or Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, or tackles apocalyptic scenarios such as The Stand or Dark Tower, there’s not a story on this Earth that you’d think King was incapable of telling. But, there’s a reason that Stephen King is best known and associated with the macabre and with horror. And that reason could be summed up with just one word – It.

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