That Sugar Film (2014)

That Sugar Film manages to be both entertaining and educational; no easy task when you’re spending your runtime lecturing your audience on what they’re putting into their body. Director – and ‘subject’ – Damon Gameau (who I interviewed earlier this year) shifts from a wholesome no-sugar diet to forty teaspoons of the stuff a day,…

The Homesman (2014)

Cormac McCarthy had no hand in the production of The Homesman, but his shadow stretches long over Tommy Lee Jones’ neo-Western. The spare landscape, lensed with wintery clarity by Rodrigo Pietro, embodies the harsh tone of the author’s prose while also allowing for the glimpses of poetry that pervade his writing. The setting is, of…

Love & Mercy (2015)

Whether or not you’re familiar with the life story of Brian Wilson, Beach Boys leader and troubled genius, Love & Mercy’s story will be a familiar one. How that story is told distinguishes is what the film from a raft of interchangeable musician biopics. Its potentially conventional rise-fall structure is softened by splitting the narrative…

Far From the Madding Crowd (2015)

Bathsheba Everdene (Carey Mulligan) finds herself torn between three suitors in Thomas Vinterberg’s Far From the Madding Crowd. There’s the honest, earthy masculinity of Gabriel Oak (Matthias Schoenaerts), the restrained respectability of wealthy William Boldwood (Michael Sheen) and the hot-blooded lustfulness of Sergeant Francis Troy (Tom Sturridge). Vinterberg establishes Miss Everdene’s independence amidst gorgeous, pastoral…

Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out is the Platonic ideal of a Pixar movie. It begins with a simple idea, as though plucked from the brilliant creativity of an infant’s imagination – What do your toys do when you’re not around? What if the world was populated by cars? – or perhaps cribbed from a ’90s television producer –…

Sydney Film Festival: Tangerine (2015)

The main selling point of Sean Baker’s Tangerine, a day-in-the-life melodrama centring on a small Los Angeles neighbourhood in which a pair of trans sex workers hunt down a cheating boyfriend, is that it was entirely shot on iPhone. While it’s not the first feature to boast this claim – cursory Googling suggests that Uneasy…