Top 20 Films of 2014

The Top 20 Films of 2014

Here are the top 20 films from 2014! I’ve decided to stick to films that received an Australian theatrical or home entertainment release in the 2014 calendar year or films that screened at an Australian festival but haven’t yet been picked up for 2015 release. This means that 2015 films that I have seen (like,…

Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman in Autumn Sonata (1978)

Autumn Sonata (1978)

Ingmar Bergman’s Oscar-winning Autumn Sonata succeeds on two fronts. At first, it operates as a chamber drama two-hander, with a mother (Ingrid Bergman) and daughter (Liv Ullmann) cracking open deep emotional faultlines and unearthing toxic secrets. The subject matter – neglectful parent, unwanted abortions – is familiar but vital, thanks in large part to the…

Miranda Otto in Reaching for the Moon (2013)

Reaching for the Moon (2013)

A couple weeks ago, The Daily Beast asked the question Why Can’t Movies Capture Genius?, looking at the recent cluster of British biopics Mr Turner, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything and considering how difficult it is to convey genius without being burdened by overblown exposition. The chief success of Reaching for the…

Ryan Corr and Russell Crowe in The Water Diviner

The Water Diviner (2014)

The Queensland premiere of The Water Diviner was introduced not by director and star Russell Crowe – Brisbane is no Sydney, after all – but by Des Power, an Order of Australia member peripherally tied to proceedings via his role as creative director of the Gallipoli Chamber Orchestra. In sombre tones, he told the audience…

Chris Pine in Into the Woods (2014)

Into the Woods (2014)

Musicals and I have never really been on the same wavelength. As a child I can vividly recall watching Disney classics like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and sinking in my seat when the inevitable musical numbers began. That antipathy remains, decades later. The first film I was assigned to review…

Ghost in the Shell Arise - Part 1

Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Part 1

Ghost in the Shell: Arise is a perfectly good anime series. Its four hour-long episodes – the first two having just been released on Australian Blu-Ray – navigate labyrinthine cyberpunk narratives layered with themes of identity and our perceptions of reality. This philosophical density is leavened by the show’s kinetic, deftly-directed action sequences and sharp…