Passengers (2016)

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Passengers is a neat example of how female characters are stereotyped in Hollywood films. With only four named characters of substance, it’s not surprisingly that only one is female, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence). Her role is to meet the romantic and sexual needs of the hero, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), and to provide a framework for the essential goodness and heroism of his masculinity by personifying the worst of archetypal femininity. If you plan on seeing this film, and I wouldn’t rush out to do so, perhaps read no further. I won’t give away any plot points that aren’t obvious from the outset but I will probably say enough about the characters that you have a pretty good idea of the entire film. So, spoilers. Continue reading

Ballerina (2016)

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Image via teaser-trailer.com

You know how there are some great animated movies that are a joy to watch for kids and adults alike? Ballerina is not one of them. I was dragged to see it by my 10-year-old daughter as it looked like it was, at least, a story about a plucky girl with self-determination. When we emerged two hours later, my daughter declared, “There was just so much wrong with it!” Continue reading

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

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How is it that you can have a film that centres around a woman and fill it brimful with a story about men? There’s something about this film that makes me deeply uneasy. It begins with audacious slow-motion imagery of naked, gyrating, overweight women over the opening credits and I was hoping that there would be a point to it. If there was one, other than to build a case for the shallowness of Susan (Amy Adams) right from the start, it was lost on me. Continue reading

The Impossible (2012)

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Image via athenacinema.com

This is the film about the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, centred around a couple in Thailand, played by Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, and their three sons. It starts off well, with a dramatic and effective recreation of the tsunami that puts you right in the centre of the action; feeling what it might be like to struggle for survival and what choices you would make about saving others. From there it descends into a mawkish melodrama that is heavy on violins and implausible dramatic twists. Continue reading

The Light Between Oceans (2016)

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Or how to take a good Australian book and turn it into a mediocre film. Ingredient #1: Squash all the major plot points into 2 hours. It might be a bit rushed but the scenery will be really great so no one will mind. Ingredient #2: Employ some famous US and European actors to play Australians and, just in case no one realises its provenance, get Bryan Brown, Jack Thompson and Garry MacDonald to play small parts and get the leads to dance to Waltzing Matilda. Continue reading

Virtual Reality: VR Noir A Day Before the Night

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VR-NOIR-A-DAY-BEFORE-THE-NIGHT-1Okay, maybe not all VR is brilliant. This overly complicated and clunky 20-minute ‘pilot episode’ of a private eye noir-esque story left me unsatisfied. Our group was worded up beforehand that there would be clues to observe, a puzzle to solve and moments where we must make a choice between two elements of the story. I was a bit worried that I would miss things and maybe I did because it didn’t really make much sense to me. Continue reading