ABR Arts Film

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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Us ★★★★

Barnaby Smith
Thursday, 28 March 2019

Popular culture is still resonating with the impact of Jordan Peele’s 2017 film Get Out, one of the most extraordinary and confident directorial débuts of recent times. Get Out cut a swath through complacency and assumptions regarding race relations. The idea of wealthy, ageing white people transplanting their brains into the bodies of young black men to ...

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Stan & Ollie ★★★

Richard Leathem
Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Comedy is a fickle business and a biopic on almost any successful comic act would surely include a section on the inevitable falling out of favour with public tastes. Laurel & Hardy were no exception, and Stan & Ollie, a BBC Films co-production, ostensibly focuses on the latter part of the duo’s career, when the film roles had dried up and a theatre tour of ...

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At Eternity's Gate ★★★★

Jack Callil
Monday, 11 February 2019

A man sits on a chair in a field, hands clasped together. He runs into the open grass before collapsing onto the ground. Grasping a handful of earth, he holds it high above his head and lets it fall over his face. He sits up, draws a palm across his mouth, and looks at the sunset. He grins ...

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If Beale Street Could Talk ★★★★

Patricia Maunder
Friday, 08 February 2019

There is an inordinate weight of expectation on Barry Jenkins’s third feature, If Beale Street Could Talk. His previous film, Moonlight, won three Oscars in 2017, including Best Picture (after La La Land’s mistaken-award chaos), and was nominated in five other categories. Furthermore, this is the first English-language film ...

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On the Basis of Sex ★★★

Patricia Maunder
Monday, 04 February 2019

Recent years have highlighted the politicisation of appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States, and how consequential these judgeships can be. Following the death in 2016 of arch-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, Barack Obama, in his final months as US president, nominated moderate Merrick Garland ...

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Green Book ★★★

Barnaby Smith
Monday, 21 January 2019

To browse through an edition of The Negro Motorist Green Book in 2019 (as can be done through digital library archives) is a disquieting experience. These books, written by Victor Hugo Green in 1936 and published for thirty years, offered advice to African Americans travelling in the segregated American South ...

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Loro ★★½

Anwen Crawford
Friday, 11 January 2019

Though it begins with an elaborate disclaimer regarding its status as a work of fiction, Paolo Sorrentino’s Loro (aka Them) is manifestly a portrait of Silvio Berlusconi, former prime minister of Italy, media tycoon, populist, authoritarian, and playboy. Befitting its subject, the film is showy and often crude ...

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Cold War ★★★★1/2

Des Cowley
Thursday, 20 December 2018
Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War picked up a slew of prizes at the recent European Film Awards, and is already being talked about as a major contender for this year’s Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, a prize he won with his previous film, Ida (2015) ... ... (read more)
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