REVIEWS


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Puppets' portrait of privilege and pathos

10 February 2016 | Tim Kroenert

As screenwriter for comic such oddities as Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, Kaufman delineated a particular type of over-educated, middle-class, white male character. His protagonists are artists whose alienation and self-loathing is at odds with their social privilege, and whose creative drive entails a winnowing for authenticity or immortality that leads them inexorably down the rabbit hole of their own navels: the search for meaning as the ultimate act of self-absorption.


The problem of privilege in transgender stories

11 Comments
03 February 2016 | Tim Kroenert

As a white, middle-class, straight, cisgendered man, I am conscious of the extent to which the chips of social privilege have been stacked in my favour. As such there are some public conversations that I am patently unqualified to enter. One of these is the sometimes fierce debate that exists between some feminists and some members or supporters of the transgender community. One of the pitfalls of telling a story about marginalisation from a perspective of privilege is that you can overlook ethical nuances.


Kidnapped woman's post-traumatic love

31 January 2016 | Tim Kroenert

For seven years, Joy has been held prisoner in the garden shed of a suburban maniac. During this time she has raised a son, Jack, who is now five, employing elaborate and imaginative methods to nurture and educate him, while protecting him from the reality of their existence. Room is remarkable for its capacity to transmit the bleakness of Joy's situation via the wonder-full gaze of Jack, for whom this makeshift prison is the entire world, bursting with possibilities for recreation, rest and learning.


Quietly uncovering a Church scandal

4 Comments
27 January 2016 | Jim McDermott

Not long ago a priest visiting from abroad told me that the story of Spotlight doesn't really apply to his country. 'We don't have that problem here.' It's a comment you get somewhat regularly from some parts of the world. Would that it could only be true. Without a much greater willingness on the part of the institutional Church to let itself be broken and changed by what we have learned since January of 2002, it's more likely a sign of disasters still to come.


The time to look away from abuse crisis has gone

18 Comments
27 January 2016 | Richard Leonard

Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo in SpotlightThis is one of the angriest films you will ever see. In the Bible we hear about righteous anger, where God or humanity realises something is so wrong and sinful that 'holy anger' is the first and right response. At its best in the scriptures this anger leads to justice, making things right. Spotlight is an occasion for holy, righteous anger and every adult Catholic should see it.


Racist Oscars need to lift their game

2 Comments
20 January 2016 | Tim Kroenert

It's less than a year since we lamented the lack of non-white faces among 2015's Oscar nominees. This year the situation is even grimmer, with not one non-white face among 20 nominees for acting awards, despite a raft of clear contenders. It is ironic, because at first glance, concepts of empowerment and inclusion seem to have been at the forefront of Academy members' minds. The theme of bringing marginalised or oppressed groups into the centre, or of restoring power and dignity to vulnerable individuals from whom it has been stripped, run through many of this year's nominated films.


2015 in review: Burning Scientology

13 January 2016 | Tim Kroenert

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of BeliefIf you're going to apply a blowtorch to an institution as wealthy and litigious as the Church of Scientology, you might best be advised to first apply a magnifying glass. Alex Gibney details the dark side of the movement: its dubious tax-exempt status; allegations of psychological and physical abuse of current members and harassment of former members. But he is equally interested in unpacking the nature of belief in Scientology: what draws people to it, and also what drives them away.


Ten films that got us thinking in 2015

2 Comments
16 December 2015 | Tim Kroenert

From the drama-filled mind of a pre-teen girl to the homes of former Indonesian death-squad members; from a day in the life of a transgender sex-worker to a grim and sublime new rendition of one of Shakespeare's most famous plays; from one actor's immense ego to another's fading relevance to an allegedly doomed writer's captivating self-effacement, Eureka Street's resident film buff Tim Kroenert revisits the characters and themes of some of the best and most conversation-worthy films of 2015.


Partial portrait of a doomed artist as a young man

09 December 2015 | Tim Kroenert

The End of the Tour is most compelling as a consideration of the relationship between journalist and subject, which is a strange kind of beast, glorified in the sprawling feature profiles of Rolling Stone and its ilk. At its best the relationship is marked by intimacy generated through dialogue, but at its worst or it is mutually exploitative. Scenes from this year's Amy Schumer press junket revealed how bad things can go when an interviewer thinks they are going to befriend their celebrity interviewee.


Human faces from Indonesia's killing fields

2 Comments
02 December 2015 | Tim Kroenert

Adi was born after the 1965 atrocities, but his older brother Ramli was killed during them. He watches filmed interviews in which the perpetrators laughingly detail Ramli's murder, before going to confront and question them. These encounters are emblematic of a new generation of Indonesian seeking enlightenment from a former generation who find it less painful, or simply more beneficial, to forget. But Adi doesn't seek to humiliate or denigrate. He seeks the seeds of reconciliation in shared humanity.


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