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Jake Wilson

Jake Wilson is a freelance writer who lives in Melbourne and reviews films regularly for The Age. Formerly the Melbourne correspondent for Urban Cinefile and a co-editor of Senses of Cinema, he has contributed to a range of print and online publications, including Kill Your Darlings, RealTime, Bright Lights Film Journal, and Meanjin. Some of his film writings are archived on his personal website.

Jake Wilson reviews ‘Evil Genius’ by Catherine Jinks

April 2005, no. 270 01 April 2005
At the start, Catherine Jinks’s teen novel Evil Genius resembles a local edition of ‘cult’ blockbuster phenomena such as Harry Potter and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer – wish-fulfilment fantasies about misfits initiated into a hidden élite. On page one, we are introduced to Jinks’s protagonist, Cadel (Welsh for ‘battle’), a brilliant but barely socialised young boy obsessed with compute ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews ‘A Hand in the Bush’ by Jane Clifton, ‘Death By Water’ by Kerry Greenwood and ‘The Devil’s Companion’ by John Misto

September 2005, no. 274 01 September 2005
There is a trick to the trite title of Death by Water, the fifteenth volume in Kerry Greenwood’s series about the hedonistic 1920s private detective Phryne Fisher. Contrary to expectations, no murder occurs for more than two hundred pages. In the meantime, the nominal plot involves the hunt for a jewel thief aboard a cruise ship bound for New Zealand, but far more attention is devoted to meals, ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews ‘The Year’s Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy 2004, Volume One’ edited by Bill Congreve and Michelle Marquardt and ‘A Tour Guide in Utopia: Stories by Lucy Sussex’ by Lucy Sussex

December 2005–January 2006, no. 277 01 December 2005
The useful introduction to The Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy 2004 (the first volume in an intended new series) gives an idea of the less than adequate state of genre publishing in Australia. For the moment, it seems that science fiction (SF) authors in particular are mainly confined to semi-professional magazines and small presses, or are obliged to seek international markets for the ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'Lies I Told About A Girl' by Anson Cameron

June-July 2006, no. 282 01 June 2006
Anson Cameron’s Lies I Told about a Girl may not bend the public record enough to qualify as ‘alternate history’, but it does take off from an intriguing speculative premise. What if the young Prince of Wales, sent ‘down under’ for a term at an exclusive boarding school deep in Victorian logging country, had arrived in 1975, the year of the Dismissal? And what if the prince – known her ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'Australian Film: Cultures, identities, texts by Adi Wimmer

July–August 2008, no. 303 01 July 2008
It is no easy task for an outsider to anatomise a national cinema, and the Austrian academic Adi Wimmer suggests in this series of essays that Australian cinema has always been more national than most. In other words, our filmmakers have been unusually dedicated to the project of defining a collective identity through a set of instantly recognisable myths: the ultimate Australian film would be one ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'The World According to Y: Inside the New Adult Generation' by Rebecca Huntley

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
Those young people of today, with their iPods and mobile phones, their tight-knit friendship groups and brief romances, their social activism and distrust of big-P Politics, their yearning for independence and need to conform … what’s really going on in their minds? Not much that sets them apart from the rest of mainstream Australia, or so it appears from Rebecca Huntley’s The World Accordin ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'The Piano' by Gail Jones

September 2007, no. 294 18 November 2022
Early in Gail Jones’s novel Black Mirror (2002), an Australian artist dives into the Seine to retrieve a bundle that may contain a drowning baby. Before rising to the surface, she experiences a kind of epiphany in the face of possible death – ‘a willed dissolution, a corrupt fantasy of effacement’. Later she revisits the experience in dreams, swimming through a surrealist underworld of dis ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'Michael Winterbottom' by Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams

February 2010, no. 318 01 February 2010
I approached this readable and well-informed study expecting a middling book on a middling filmmaker. Michael Winterbottom is obviously a talented man by the standards of modern British commercial cinema, but I have always associated his work with a routine blend of fashionable technique and pious liberal sentiment. Nor did Brian McFarlane and Deane Williams raise my hopes with their introduction, ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'Jane Campion' by Kathleen McHugh

December 2007–January 2008, no. 297 01 December 2007
The third full-length English-language study of the films of Jane Campion is a book that will probably be of more interest to the dedicated student than to the general reader. The American scholar Kathleen McHugh is a stiff though clear and conscientious writer who takes care to make her research visible and to spell out any possibly unfamiliar ideas. She has the academic knack for seizing upon pa ... (read more)

Jake Wilson reviews 'In the Vernacular: A generation of Australian culture and controversy' by Stuart Cunningham

February 2009, no. 308 01 February 2009
‘I never thought Australia needed culture of any kind,’ drawls Barry Humphries in Not Quite Hollywood, Mark Hartley’s recent documentary on Australian ‘trash’ cinema of the 1970s and 1980s. Perverse aesthete that he is, Humphries cannot resist the idea that lack of refinement might be a sign of vitality: ‘Culture is yoghurt, isn’t it, or mould? It grows on decaying things.’ Unlike ... (read more)
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