ABR Arts Film

Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood 

Patrick Boyle
Thursday, 15 August 2019

Quentin Tarantino is one of the most innovative living auteurs in English-speaking cinema. The films that made him – Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds, and Kill Bill: Volume. 1 and 2 – are triumphs of hyper-stylised violence. Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood, Tarantino’s ninth film, though, is an outlier ...

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Palm Beach 

Jake Wilson
Thursday, 08 August 2019

Curiously, there are now two feature films titled Palm Beach, both named for the same upmarket suburb in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. The first, made in 1979 by the late avant-gardist Albie Thoms, is a ragged detective story improvised from an outline conceived by its ensemble cast. The new Palm Beachis a much more conventionally polished ...

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Late Night ★★★★

Richard Leathem
Monday, 05 August 2019

There’s an element of metafiction about Late Night that makes the main character, Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson), much more sympathetic than she ought to be. In an early scene, the successful late-night television chat show host states that she’s not part of the mainstream. She doesn’t watch superhero movies and she isn’t on Twitter or ...

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Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan ★★☆

Andrew Nette
Friday, 02 August 2019

Australia has not made many war films, let alone films about the conflict in Vietnam. Not counting The Sapphires (2012), the story of the all-female Aboriginal band of the same name, which includes the women touring Vietnam to entertain American troops, our cinematic output about this war is precisely two films ...

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Who You Think I Am ★★★★

Felicity Chaplin
Monday, 29 July 2019

Best described as a psychological thriller in the spirit of Vertigo by Alfred Hitchcock, Who You Think I Am (Celle que vous croyez) by French director Safy Nebbou (Dumas, The Forests of Siberia) is a film about the lie at the heart of every truth, about how we deceive in order to gain love ...

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Rocketman ★★

Patrick Boyle
Tuesday, 28 May 2019

With the release of Rocketman, Dexter Fletcher’s free-wheeling, surrealist musical saluting Sir Elton Hercules John, it’s clear the rock-and-roll biopic Hollywood’s new idée fixe. The film follows the release of Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), the award-winning celebration of Freddie Mercury ...

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Little Woods ★★★

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 13 May 2019

‘I’m starting to see why Canada is so appealing,’ says Deb (Lily James) to her older sister Ollie (Tessa Thompson) as the two of them sit on the kitchen floor of their mother’s house trying to figure out their lives. Their mother has died after an unspecified, difficult illness; Ollie was her live-in carer and still sleeps on the sofa, out of habit and grief ...

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All Is True ★★1/2

Johanna Leggatt
Monday, 06 May 2019

There is a scene in Kenneth Branagh’s British film, All is True, where the earl of Southampton (Ian McKellen) tells William Shakespeare (Branagh) that The Bard has lived ‘a small life’. As the Southampton points out snidely, there have been no scandals in Shakespeare’s backstory, no drunken gallivanting on ...

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1985 ★★★★

Stuart Richards
Wednesday, 24 April 2019

At the 2019 Melbourne Queer Film Festival, a friend and I were discussing the work of the Texan-based, Malaysian-born filmmaker Yen Tan. Having just seen his latest film, 1985, I was struck by the subtle power of the film. Aesthetically, it might have been made in 1985. As with all his films, there is a non-sensationalist sadness that gradually builds ...

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Burning ★★★★★

Richard Leathem
Friday, 12 April 2019

Japanese author Haruki Murakami may be one of the most revered authors alive, but his work is seldom adapted for the screen, erhaps because the internalised nature of his narratives doesn’t leap out as being easily translated to film. Until now, only Norwegian Wood (2010), an atypical Murakami novel, has seen wide exposure ...

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