It Boy (featured image)

It Boy (2013)

Romantic comedies aren’t known for their unconventionality. There’s the meet-cute, the (often ridiculously contrived) premise to get the two leads together, the last act reveal, the grand romantic gesture. It Boy is no different in this regard; David Moreau’s rom-com ticking all the boxes. Its two-pronged premise – that late-thirties magazine editor Alice Lantis is…

How to Train Your Dragon 2

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

The first How to Train Your Dragon was a special kind of miracle. A simple tale of a father and his son, of a boy and his dragon, it soared beyond its modest ambitions. HTTYD succeeded thanks to gorgeously composed and edited animation and a spectacular Oscar-nominated score, yes, but mostly because of the simplicity…

Happy Christmas (2014)

Sydney Film Festival: Happy Christmas (2014)

Improvisational comedy is fast becoming the norm. Whether it’s This is the End, Bad Neighbours or Anchorman 2, the construction is the same: narrative skeleton to keep the audience interested interspersed with some carefully-honed gags and a lot of loose improvisation, edited into something tighter. I’m not complaining, mind; I love the shooting-shit-with-your-mates vibe of…

World on War: A Man Escaped (1956)

The Essential‘s The World on War is a monthly feature where “we travel around the globe and investigate how armed conflict influences a country’s popular culture and its representation of war in film.” My contribution to this feature was an analysis of Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped as an embodiment of the fear and faith…

Sydney Film Festival: Love is Strange (2014)

Love is Strange resembles a gay version of Tokyo Story filtered through Woody Allen’s wry, New Yorker worldview except, unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as great as that sounds. After thirty nine years together, George (Alfred Molina) and Ben (John Lithgow) take the opportunity to legally recognise their relationship in matrimony. Legal acceptance doesn’t necessarily translate…

Blue Ruin (2013)

Blue Ruin (2013)

Blue Ruin feels like a feature-length version of the suspenseful, often silent showdowns found within understated thrillers. I’m thinking Coen Bros specifically – the climax of Blood Simple, or the hotel showdown between Chirgurh and Moss in No Country for Old Men. Executed right, these scenes practically define the cliché “on the edge of one’s…

Sydney Film Festival: Boyhood (2014)

When I was growing up, I used to imagine that I was the star in my own movie. That my adventures on the playground or walks home from school were shadowed by an unseen camera crew, recording my every experience for an enraptured audience. While the idea was ridiculous in its egotism – who would…

clipping - CLPPNG

clipping. – CLPPNG

CLPPNG is a dark, often difficult record. It’s despair; it’s disgust; it’s the acrid sting of bile in the back of your throat. It wields its malignant soundscape — a swirl of hard-edged textures, a maelstrom of noise — not as an outcry of aggression (though there is anger here), but as a manifesto of…

Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in Joe (2013)

Sydney Film Festival: Joe (2013)

Joe begins with violence; a man strikes his son, and shortly afterwards is beaten himself by unseen assailants. Violence begetting violence in a world defined by masculinity. Joe tells us of the struggle to be a man for fifteen year-old Gary (Tye Sheridan) and Joe (Nicolas Cage) alike, the latter taking a shine to the…

Drive (2011)

My Favourite Soundtrack: Drive

I’ve recently begun contributing to The Essential, a great new Australia film/music site. My first contribution was found in the middle of a Writer’s Roundtable asking the question “What is your favourite score/soundtrack and why?” The whole article is definitely recommended, with my colleagues producing some great responses, but my answer is included below: I…