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Universal Pictures Australia
18 April 2024

The game of tennis is simple: hit the ball over the net and make sure it lands between the straight white lines. It’s simpler than life, though tennis, like all other sports, is designed to act as its mirror – spectator sports are enticing because they lay bare the emotions that the complications of real life often obfuscate. Tennis is weaponised in this same way in Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers, a psychosexual sports drama that marries the mercuriality of love and lust with the capriciousness of a sport oft won by millimetres. ... (read more)

Evil Does Not Exist 

Hi Gloss Entertainment
15 April 2024
Something illusory lurks in the films of Ryûsuke Hamaguchi. Characters encounter each other under false and mistaken pretences; layers of performance mount and interact; memory intrudes and falters. In the Japanese director’s latest, an environmental fable that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2023 Venice Film Festival, the ecosystem of a small village is threatened by a Tokyo business’s plan to establish a ‘glamping’ site in the region. ... (read more)

Perfect Days 

Madman Entertainment
25 March 2024
German director Wim Wenders was seventy-seven when he made Perfect Days, with thirty-four feature films under his belt. Perhaps it takes a filmmaker with so much work and life experience to make something as gently meditative as his latest offering. ... (read more)

The Alliance Française French Film Festival, the world’s largest showcase of French cinema outside of France, returns in 2024 for its thirty-fifth edition, with its usual eclectic mix of films from arthouse to mainstream cinema. Francophiles and cinephiles alike can see films from a range of genres, including drama, romantic comedy, social comedy, thriller, and historical biopic – from renowned directors like Marcel Carné and Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, to newcomers like Marie Amachoukeli. This year’s festival features the usual big names in French cinema – Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Daniel Auteuil, Laure Calamy, and Mathieu Almaric – alongside some excellent début performances. Here are some of the highlights.

... (read more)

The Rooster 

Bonsai Films
20 February 2024
While it is set in the remote bushland of Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, The Rooster is hardly a quiet or peaceful film. The cacophonic soundtrack opens with a chorus of crickets accompanying the title credits and a haunting first image. We soon hear recurring, ironic snippets of Verdi, Bach, Vivaldi, and Puccini on a car radio, jazz interludes from Miles Davis and Pharaoh Sanders blasting from a secluded shack, and the cathartic yells of the film’s two principals as they crow cock-like into the tree-lined void. ... (read more)

Force of Nature: The Dry 2 

Roadshow Entertainment
08 February 2024
There is something amiss in Force of Nature: The Dry 2, the sequel to the 2020 mystery crime thriller The Dry – and it’s not just the title. The adaptation of British-Australian author Jane Harper’s follow-up novel replaces the drought-ridden outback with the tropical rainforests of the Victorian mountain regions – dripping ferns, fruit bats overhead, mud sticking to boots. But even a change of setting is not enough to turn it into a tale worth revisiting. ... (read more)

May December 

Transmission Films
29 January 2024
Public scandals are like modern-day myths that change shape and lose fidelity the more often they are repeated. They become copies of copies, grainier yet somehow grander, wholly untethered from their time and place of origin. They are also the lifeblood of much of our current entertainment landscape, in an age when lived experience counts as valuable IP, and the truth is merely content waiting to be packaged and sold. ... (read more)

Anatomy of a Fall 

Madman Entertainment
22 January 2024
Since her first feature, French writer-director Justine Triet has probed the fraught boundary between fact and fiction. Age of Panic (2013) melded documentary footage of France’s presidential 2012 election with a chaotic domestic drama about visitation rights. In In Bed with Victoria (2016) and Sibyl (2019), she featured various artistic types crafting stories about themselves and others in deceitful, self-destructive ways. ... (read more)


17 January 2024

Sofia Coppola’s films are suffused with the bittersweet inevitability of adolescence: a period of life that changes you irrevocably and comes with an in-built ending. Anyone who has studied History at high school knows the outcome of Marie Antoinette (2006). In The Virgin Suicides (1999), it’s right there in the title. This sense of languid doom has never been more apparent than in Coppola’s new biopic Priscilla (based on its subject’s own memoir, Elvis and Me (1985, with Sandra Harmon). We already know how this story ends – so the writer-director invites us to take the scenic route, emphasising texture and psychology over drama and causality.

... (read more)


07 December 2023

The holidays are fast approaching, which means it’s time for Hollywood A-listers to adopt thick accents (and don even thicker prosthetics) to re-enact the lives of historical celebrities in the pursuit of awards season glory. This year alone, we have had Oppenheimer and Napoleon and are staring down the barrel of Ferrari, Priscilla, Rustin, and Bob Marley: One Love, each promising to grapple with the challenge of effectively capturing an entire human life in the span of two multiplex-friendly hours (and in a manner sanctioned by their subjects’ estates and living relatives).

... (read more)