Brian McFarlane

Peterloo ★★★★

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 20 November 2018

What I’ve come to expect of a new Mike Leigh film is, above all, the unexpected. His first feature, Bleak Moments (1971), of which there were quite a few in that contemporary study of urban, lower-middle class life, made him a potent force in British film. Think of Naked (1993) and Secrets & Lies (1996) ...

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We invited some writers, film critics, and film professionals to nominate their favourite film – not The Greatest Film Ever Sold, but one that matters to them personally.

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One of my favourite podcasts at the moment is called The Rewatchables. It deconstructs movies (mainly from the 1990s and 2000s) and offers an enjoyable mix of amusement, nostalgia, and insight. It also speaks to the desire, particularly strong in the internet age, to hear what other people think about content already ...

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Darkest Hour ★★★★

Brian McFarlane
Monday, 08 January 2018

Who knows why, but there have been at least three films in recent months focusing on the Dunkirk evacuation: Lone Scherfig’s Their Finest, Christopher Nolan’s magisterial Dunkirk. and now Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour. Unsurprisingly in view of this, we have also seen a lot of Winston Churchill on our screens ...

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Readers of this review are warned that they are in the presence of an addict. Having read Anthony Powell’s monumental twelve-volume Dance to the Music of Time three times, I had been trying not to succumb to a fourth. Then along comes Hilary Spurling’s brilliant biography and will power has suffered total defeat ...

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One of the most appropriate titles since Pride and Prejudice, Balancing Acts adroitly captures the drama and appeal of Nicholas Hytner’s account of his twelve years as director of London’s National Theatre. There have been several different takes on this often-controversial site of some of the world’s most riveting theatrical fare ...

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2016 Arts Highlights of the Year

John Allison et al.
Wednesday, 26 October 2016

To highlight Australian Book Review’s arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year’s memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and art exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate some favourites.

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Brian McFarlane reviews 'Mad Dog Morgan' by Jake Wilson

Brian McFarlane
Monday, 21 December 2015

The evocative Prologue to this book has a poetic precision that bodes well for its treatment of this too-long neglected film, and what follows more than answers such expectations.

Jake Wilson's analysis (resuscitation might be a better word) of the 1976 Australian bushranging adventure,

Arts Highlights of the Year

Robyn Archer et al.
Monday, 26 October 2015

To highlight Australian Book Review's arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year's memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate their favourites – and to nominate one production they are looking forward to in 2016. (We indicate which works were reviewed in Arts Up ...

Desley Deacon reviews 'Double-Act' by Brian McFarlane

Desley Deacon
Thursday, 28 May 2015

Although many attempt it, writing the biography of an actor of a previous era is fraught. They consist mainly of lists of movies or plays long forgotten. The reception of their art is recorded by critics, once all-powerful, but now unknown. Their personal life and personality are hidden behind a screen of studio publicity. Writing the lives and careers of two stars ...

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