On Quickflix I have written film reviews, festival reports, and an ongoing “New York Stories” column that highlighted films that will be coming to Australian cinemas, festivals, and home entertainment in the future from my base in New York City. Titles or Date link to full reviews.
Aroud the World in 80 Days – “It is by far too long and has lost a significant amount of its wonder, but spending a rainy Sunday afternoon with Verne’s adventure seeking story is a surprisingly easy, diverting experience.”
Ben-Hur – “At 212 minutes it is far too long, and large swathes of the action appear redundant or unnecessary.”
The Great Beauty – “The title is about as spot on as you can get and this is ultimately a film that raises the search for beauty in this world to a stylish art.”
The Wind Rises – “…while the subject is admittedly darker, the whimsically drawn animation is a typically beautiful delight full of swirling rhapsodies of colour and eye-popping action sequences.”
2013 San Francisco International Film Festival
Special report from the San Francisco International Film Festival where I was a FIPRESCI juror. My fellow jurors and I awarded Sebastien Betbeder’s Nights with Theodore.
2013 Tribeca Film Festival
Some Velvet Morning is “unreviewable”.
Tricked is “brisk and entertaining ,with a wonderfully sly sense of humour”.
Michael H. – Profession: Director is “certainly not a movie to watch if you’re not well-versed in [Michael Haneke’s] career”.
New York Stories:
05/12/2013 – Philomena and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Philomena “has an undeniable ability to wring tears out of an audience.”
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is “distils the legend’s life down to a haphazardly assembled collection of impotent slogans and speeches”.
20/11/2013 – How I Love Now | Charlie Countryman
How I Live Now has a “refreshingly stripped back aesthetic, committed performances from its young cast, and a screenplay that doesn’t sugar-coat its horrors or the way teenagers interact.”
Charlie Countryman is “the ugly step-child of In Bruges with none of the class or wit”.
06/11/2013 – Blue is the Warmest Colour | 12 Years a Slave
Blue is the Warmest Colour is “gifted with two actors who dig deep”.
12 Years a Slave is “a deeply rewarding and artistically uncompromised film.”
23/10/2013 – Romeo and Juliet | CBGB | All is Lost
Romeo and Juliet “doesn’t make for truly exciting cinema.”
CBGB is “an anarchic mess of trite visuals, misbegotten toilet humour, and a nonsensical lack of logic.”
All is Lost is “thrilling and emotionally investing”.
08/10/2013 – Don Jon | Parkland | We Are What We Are
Don Jon is a “raunchy anthropological twist on the genre is an admirable success.”
Parkland is ” too broad and under-written to do justice to the people and the story.”
We Are What We Are is a “low-key independent cannibal drama that proves yet again not all remakes are cash-hungry duds.”
25/09/2013 – Enough Said | The Wind Rises | After Tiller
Enough Said “feels like a regression for Holofcener.”
The Wind Rises is “a fine and thematically relevant picture [for Miyazaki] to bow out on.”
After Tiller is “will likely ignite discussion and fiery opinions like few other documentaries this year.
11/09/2013 – Adore | The Lifeguard | Touchy Feely
Adore is “all rather preposterous, and yet not preposterous enough.”
The Lifeguard “looks a bit like a sitcom and features stock characters like the gay best friend and somewhat wacky parents.”
Touchy Feely is “contrived and overly affected by fits of whimsy”.
28/08/13 – The Grandmaster | Ain’t Them Bodies Saints | Short Term 12
The Grandmaster is “a disappointing effort from the Hong Kong legend”.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is “an unofficial sequel to Terrence Malick’s Badlands.”
Short Term 12 is “one of the year’s most charming, tender, and honest efforts.”
14/08/13 – The Canyons | The To Do List | In a World…
The Canyons is a “limp noir that’s only fleetingly as stylish as it thinks”.
The To Do List is “a frivolous comedy with a bit more bite.”
In a World… is an “irreverent, niche comedy, familial drama, and rom-com”.
31/07/13 – Girl Most Likely | Blackfish | Blue Jasmine
Girl Most Likely is “memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.”
Blackfish is “traditionally assembled, but the topic … makes for a potent and powerful indictment.”
Blue Jasmine is “[Woody Allen’s] strongest work since Match Point.”
17/07/13 – Fruitvale Station | Crystal Fairy
Fruitvale Station is “complicit in denying Oscar’s life greater meaning beyond being senselessly murdered. It makes for an affecting and well-acted film, but one that doesn’t go far enough”
Crystal Fairy is ” a curiosity, and I admired it for being a wholly unique entity.
03/07/13 – I’m So Excited | Byzantium | 20 Feet to Stardom
I’m So Excited is “a flat, extremely unfunny take on the wacky sex comedies of the ‘70s and ‘80s…”
Byzantium is ” a rather bloodless affair … that is nonetheless a handsomely crafted piece of filmmaking.”
20 Feet to Stardom is “a beacon of admiration for these incredible performers.”
19/06/13 – The Purge | Maniac | Black Rock
The Purge is “It’s a smarter film than it ought to be; it’s just not as smart as it thinks it is…”
Maniac is a “production that is poorly conceived.”
Black Rock “strips the genre to the bare essentials…”
06/06/13 – The East | V/H/S/2 | The Kings of Summer
The East is “a prickly character study wrapped up in the disguise of an eco-political thriller.”
V/H/S/2 is “better than the original”, but “shouldn’t be mistaken for good.”
The Kings of Summer is “too heavily reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom and other cherry-picked titles (like Stand by Me)”.
21/05/13 – Greetings from Tim Buckley | Lords of Salem | What Maisie Knew
Greetings from Tim Buckley is “entirely oblivious to its strengths”.
Lords of Salem is “a lame-brained attempt at updating witch mythos that starts with potential, but eventually goes in circles”
What Maisie Knew fails to “recapture the complex magic behind The Deep End in 2001.”
23/04/13 – To the Wonder | Evil Dead | Mud
To the Wonder is a “hymn to a dying prairie [that] requires patience”.
Evil Dead is a “tired adherence to ancient horror clichés of race, gender, and intelligence (basically: don’t be a smart, black woman!).”
Mud is “gloriously shot in 35mm and bathed in rich golden hues.”
09/04/13 – Stoker | Upstream Color | Stories We Tell
Stoker is “an undeniable winner in many ways and yet never soars.”
Upstream Color is “hypnotically beautiful, if self-consciously so.”
Stories We Tell is “superbly handled, and Polley shows she’s continuing to mature as a filmmaker”.