Category Archives: Movie Reviews

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

Beyond Hollywood…Tuning In To International Cinema

My Melbourne mate Matt has strong opinions. His hates are many, his loves few, and both are fierce and uncompromising. There is nothing much in between these extremes.

I’m quite similar, except there is plenty in between for me. Way too much. Mediocrity is the signature of this time. It gets me down and tones me down, and absorbs me into its amorphous enervating mass. I should fight harder. But I struggle for courage and am too easily seduced by comfort.

Matt reminds me of Gully Jimson, the anti-hero artist in Joyce Cary’s The Horse’s Mouth. Subversive by nature and stubbornly self-destructive, yet humorous in his angst. And highly principled. Always at war with “them” – the bastards who would neuter him if they could, who perpetuate a maddening status quo that is always, inevitably, a pinata for any artist worth their salt. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, elaboration is futile – you’ll never get it. Continue reading Beyond Hollywood…Tuning In To International Cinema