The Girl on the Train (2016)

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The book or the film, the film or the book? Like fellow literary bestseller and psychological thriller Gone Girl, I had read the book before seeing this US film adaptation of Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train. Although the book is always better, when it’s a story that relies heavily on mystery and suspense, knowing the ending significantly affects enjoyment of the film. The subsequent lack of curiosity about what is going to happen also leaves too much time to notice differences. Continue reading

From Nowhere (2016)

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I knew nothing about this film when I bought a ticket. Screening as part of the American Essentials Film Festival, it suited my schedule and its story about undocumented teens at a US high school trying to make a future sounded interesting. What completely surprised me was to find out, during the closing credits, that it was directed by Matthew Newton. Yes, that Matthew Newton. He’s not my favourite person but he did a remarkably good job at showing the vulnerabilities of people whose human rights are threatened. Continue reading

Alien: Covenant (2017)

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Oh Ridley. You forgot what made Alien so great. It wasn’t the iconic HR Giger design, it wasn’t the special effects or complicated world-building narrative. It was two things – character and suspense. We got to know Ripley and Lambert and Kane and Ash. We cared what happened to them. We held onto our seats and sheltered behind cushions as Ripley navigated her way through the Nostromo, we cheered when she and Jonesy made their final report. Continue reading

I Am Heath Ledger (2017)

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Image via tribecafilm.com

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This inoffensive hagiography of Australian actor Heath Ledger gathers handfuls of his family and friends to tell us what a good bloke he was. Combined with home movie footage shot by Heath, who obsessively documented his life, we build a picture of a talented young man with a generous heart and an unchecked manic energy that more or less guaranteed he would burn brightly but not for long. He died at age 28 of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.  Continue reading