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No one gets you like family

24 September 2014 | Anthony Morris

Perhaps the trickiest relationship to show on-screen is the one between siblings, and it’s not just about finding actors who look alike. What The Skeleton Twins tries to tell audiences about damaged people is solid but uninspired: don’t deny your heart, you have to deal with your past rather than bury it… But it’s the chemistry between the two that makes this something special.

Navigating the maze of young adulthood

17 September 2014 | Anthony Morris

The Maze RunnerIn The Maze Runner, a group of teenage boys find themselves dumped in the middle of a giant maze. Lacking the freedom to do what they like, faced with rules and laws that seem arbitrary while struggling with deep changes on a physical level, teenagers’ personal problems have proven to be ripe material for dystopian novels and films. 

Disconnected landscapes

10 September 2014 | Anthony Morris

Jesse Eisenberg in Night MovesAs with her previous films, Kelly Reichardt is interested in people moving through and reacting to their landscape. In Night Moves, the drama comes from the way the characters' reaction to their environment cuts them off from the world around them. This refusal to connect turns toxic.

Timely liberation

03 September 2014 | Anthony Morris

Scene from Richard Linklater's film BoyhoodWhile not everything always turns out for the best in Boyhood, the stakes aren't high in any traditional sense. Instead, time gains power from its sheer passage on the screen. For Mason, the central character, it is a liberation. 

Bogan Jesus

28 August 2014 | Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk

The Songs of Jesse Adams coverCasting Christ as a bogan will rub theological feathers awry; a larger linguistic burden for many readers, however, is the unrelenting Strine and hoary cultural references. High art? No. Engaging? Highly. Jesse Adams is on about peace; an inclusive peace that includes social outcasts.

The shock of the news of Kennedy and Nixon

14 August 2014 | Brian Matthews

Nixon resignation speechLast week, when I heard a Margaret Throsby interview with Nixon's White House Counsel John Dean, I immediately remembered in startling detail where I was forty years ago. It was high summer, a beautiful warm day in Oxford. I was strolling along the banks of the Thames through a leafy camping ground; a voice, tragic yet culpable, retrieved from an unseen radio on 8 August 1974 in another country.

The beauty of hard-won hope

06 August 2014 | Megan Graham

Movie Begin Again publicity photo

Broken and bruised by their respective journeys, Gretta and Dan seize the chance for solidarity. For both, their sense of compassion and resilience allows them to navigate a cold and indifferent New York City that threatens to swallow them whole. They use the creation of music as a mirror to reflect back a version of themselves – and NYC – that they can love. 

Japanese pilgrim enters the void

31 July 2014 | Barry Gittins and Jen Vuk

Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by Haruki MurakamiIn his native Japan, the name Haruki Murakami has immense currency. In the first week of its release his latest novel Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage sold more than one million copies. Coming from a traditional culture where assimilation and social order has been a historical imperative, perhaps the book's themes go beyond the intimate to acknowledge the soul-eating, conformist nature of society.

How to trap a terrorist

30 July 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Rachel McAdamsThe German port city of Hamburg was the place where Mohammed Atta and his collaborators planned the September 11 attacks. A sense of hyper-vigilance stems from this fatal embarrassment and pervades the current events. Betrayal is weighed against betrayal, and ethics and morality are calculated using the sliding scale of a greater good that is dubbed, not without irony, as 'making the world a safer place'. But safer for whom?

Loner's gifts to the lonely dead

23 July 2014 | Tim Kroenert

Eddie Marsan lying on the grassSome years ago my then next-door neighbour attempted suicide. Had it not been for the fortuitous arrival of his teenage son, and the heroic actions of another neighbour, the incident would have had a tragic outcome. For an individual to die alone at home amid the crowd of suburbia is one of the sadder, and sadly common, scenarios of modern Western existence. Italian-born British filmmaker Pasolini explores this phenomenon in Still Life.

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