Dead Man (1995)

Like the paper flowers that William Blake (Johnny Depp) finds absent natural scent, Dead Man is built on self-conscious artificiality. Jim Jarmusch’s neo-Western is as influenced by woodcut animation or a matinee performance of a silent-movie serial; where Sergio Leone’s post-modern approach the Western exaggerated the cinematic tropes of the genre, Jarmusch filters those conventions…

Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Fassbender and Domnhall Gleeson in Frank (2014)

Frank (2014)

“Why can’t I be Frank?” That’s the question that comes to hang over milquetoast, mediocre keyboard player Jon (Domhnall Gleeson), just as the sullen mannequin-fucker Don (Scoot McNairy) predicted it would. The Frank in question is played by Michael Fassbender, though you’ll have to take my word for this, as he spends the majority of…

12 Years a Slave - Chiwetel Ejiofor picking cotton

On Festivals

Today heralded the end of a great Australian festival that has lasted over two decades. I’m not referring to the Big Day Out, whose cultural capital was irrevocably eroded by the influx of teenage, Australian-flag-wearing bogans a decade ago and has limped its way to extinction ever since. No, I’m talking about the Brisbane International…

Attack on Titan – Collection 1

If I’m being honest, I’m pretty well out of the loop when it comes to modern anime. The last time I was seriously invested in the medium was just over a decade ago, where my girlfriend at the time’s anime obsession incited me to explore a range of anime titles. Since then, I’ve mostly lost…

The Running Man (1987)

The Running Man (1987)

It goes without saying that The Running Man, the Schwarzenegger sci-fi action film adapted from not-Stephen-King’s novel, is a prescient piece of work, predicting both terrible reality television (here more violent and with more game show trappings) and The Hunger Games. Except generally prescience goes hand-in-hand with coherence, and there’s little of that on offer…

22 Jump Street (2014)

22 Jump Street (2014)

22 Jump Street is the kind of sequel you get from people who hate sequels. That’s not an entirely bad thing. This is the first sequel Hollywood wunderkinds Chris Lord and Phil Miller have helmed, though not the first they’ve inspired: they fobbed off Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 to Cody Cameron and…

Ashleigh Cummings as "Billie" in 'Galore'

Galore (2013)

Early in Galore, Billie (Ashleigh Cummings) intones in voiceover that her life on the outskirts of Canberra is soon to be devastated by a bushfire. It’s the kind of introduction that’s there to assure its audience that this all means something. A shame, because Galore is most meaningful when it’s simply existing. The first half…