As film critics go, Geoffrey O’Brien is a lover, not a fighter: unconcerned with starting quarrels or settling scores, he simply aims to share his pleasure in what he has seen. Perhaps his remarkably good temper stems from the fact that he is not a full-time critic, but an example of that nearly extinct species, the all-round man of letters. He is editor-in- ... More
Nevil Shute’s apocalyptic 1957 novel On The Beach and Stanley Kramer’s 1959 movie adaptation hold a continued fascination, particularly for Melburnians – even if we have grown weary of the famous quip, attributed to Ava Gardner, about the city being the ideal place to film the end of the world. Largely setting aside such parochial concerns, Lawren ... More
Anthology films are expected to be uneven; in a way, the unevenness is the point. With no less than eighteen directors on board, this adaptation of Tim Winton’s short story collection The Turning (2004) resembles an epic round of the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse, in which players separately draw parts of a human figure on a sheet of paper which is ... More
In many ways, Steven Soderbergh could be described as an exemplary postmodern film-maker: smart, prolific, and pragmatic, at ease with Hollywood blockbusters and low-budget experimen More
If you share my view that Andy Warhol (1928–87) ranks among the most important film-makers who ever lived, ‘Our Kind of Movie’ will be your kind of book. A sophisticated yet direct writer with firsthand knowledge of the 1960s queer underground, art critic Douglas Crimp is equipped to do justice to Warhol’s manifold gifts: the perverse wit, the ceasele ... More
Can a work of art be a classic without being ‘great’ – or even, by some standards, particularly good? Jane Mills has no doubt about the canonical position of Jedda (Charles Chauvel, 1955) in Australian cinema, yet admits that her own response falls short of love. This ambivalence stems not only from Jedda’s technical flaws, but also from its me ... More
‘There is such and such a relationship between a man and a woman. They are living in such and such a place. And here come the intruders.’ So Roman Polanski, interviewed in 1969, described the conception of Cul de Sac (1966), his favourite among his films.
The description could equally apply to the modest but typically excellent Carnage, ... More
One morning in 2004, an Aboriginal man named Cameron Doomadgee was arrested for swearing at a police officer; forty-five minutes later he lay dead on the floor of his cell. Something had gone badly wrong, though the white senior sergeant on duty, the towering Chris Hurley, denied he was in any way at fault.
What happened before and after is told in Chloe Hoo ... More
It takes fifteen minutes of screen time before Karen (Shai Pittman), the young Aboriginal heroine of Beck Cole’s Here I Am, finds a room of her own. Before this, we have seen her riding away from prison in a taxi, blissfully feeling the wind on her face; walking through dark Adelaide streets, clutching a box of treasured possessions; and prostituting hers ... More