Category Archives: Movie Reviews

The Secret Life Of Bees – Movie Review

The reviews of The Secret Life Of Bees have been mixed, swinging between quiet acclaim and charges of sentimentality amidst much eye-rolling and honey-based punning. A whiff of American schmaltz and my custom is to affix peg to nose and walk on by at conspicuous pace; although I don’t have much faith in most critics, I would have been inclined to weight the saccharine accusations with more cred and steer clear of this one. Happily, I scored a free ticket to the Perth preview. Happily, because this bribe overrode my mush detector system and cleared a way through the cynicism – this is a little gem of a movie.

A couple of days after I attended the local premiere, those two old crocs of cinema critique, Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton, reviewed this movie on their ABC TV show At The Movies. More on their findings in a moment, but here we come to an aside. Continue reading The Secret Life Of Bees – Movie Review

Q: When Is A Dog Not A Dog? A: When It’s A Slumdog!

I meant to get this post up before the Academy Awards began. Thought they were tonight. The farce is currently underway, apparently. Just saw a report that Penelope Cruz won Best Supporting actress for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Not the worst decision they could have made.

Before any more results come through, I am compelled by an irresistible urge to express my incredulity that Slumdog Millionaire and the Best Picture award have ever been uttered in the same breath, let alone appear certain to be forever united in a gold-plated figurine called Oscar. Continue reading Q: When Is A Dog Not A Dog? A: When It’s A Slumdog!

The Russian Resurrection Film Festival – A Brief Overview

In my previous post, Beyond Hollywood -Tuning In To International Cinema, I referred to the contrast between the pacing of Hollywood-style movies (fast fast fast) and those of non-Anglo cultures (slow… s-l-o-w…… s–l–o–w………). As always in these sorts of comparison discussions, such observations are – at best – general. I think it is true, though, that only in non-Anglo cinema are filmmakers free to crawl along in first gear without changing up if they decide that is in their artistic interests. Which is when?

When the main game is not action, spectacle and entertaining the masses with a rattling narrative, but subtle exploration of character and/or culture – as was the case with most of the movies featured in the recent Russian Resurrection Film Festival.

I had the good fortune to win a Gold Pass from Cinema Paradiso, which granted my partner and I free entry to the entire festival. We determined to make the most of it, and saw 13 movies over 6 days. I’ve been to plenty of festival films over the years, but have never immersed myself like this. It was a unique experience, rewarding and illuminating. Continue reading The Russian Resurrection Film Festival – A Brief Overview