Jul 032015


Fresh off Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson will write and possibly direct a live-action version of Pinocchio for Warner Brothers … wait, what?!?

Apparently, Anderson is a buddy with Robert Downey Jr. who is set to play Geppetto; so somebody is cashing in a favour.  Best explanation: Downey dropped out of Inherent Vice and was replaced by Joaquin Phoenix.  Worst explanation: one of them knows where the bodies are buried.  Maybe Anderson just wants to build his dream pool?  He deserves it.

While hardcore Anderson fans cry “sellout”, it’s quite common for known filmmakers to have a screenplay smudge on their resume, albeit, most of these credits are early in their careers, but a screenwriting credit and payday nonetheless.

While the final product may not represent the filmmaker’s work on the script, with subsequent rewrites and the work of un-credited script doctors, it wasn’t an experience humiliating enough for them to use a pseudonym.  Plus hindsight makes this exercise lot easier, so enjoy the seven filmmakers with dents in their resumes.

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Jul 032015


So, this month I predominantly watched films at the Sydney Film Festival. I am not going to rank them here as I normally would, because my thoughts on all but a couple can be found in my Diaries (1-3 / 4-5 / 6-8 / 9-12). My five favourite films that I saw during the crazy twelve days were Victoria, Corn Island, Welcome to Leith, Tehran Taxi and Cartel LandA couple of  controversial disappointments: Tangerine and Me & Earl & the Dying Girl. 

After Sydney Film Festival I had a bit of a hiatus and didn’t watch films or write much for a while. I took up gaming a lot more – first NBA 2K15, then Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt. The latter has certainly been a big time suck, but it is a fantastic game. We also did some other cultural things too – like see a stage show (Thomas Jordan’s solo act ‘Cleansed in Blood’ – if it comes to your city, I recommend it).

Coming up in July – consistent new release screenings (will try and have a review a week on the site) and the first instalment of the Director of the Month. Check out my thoughts on some June viewing below:

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Jul 022015

Amy Winehouse

In cinemas this week: Terminator Genisys, Amy and The Last Five Years. 

Terminator GenisysWhen John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance against Skynet, sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator assassin, an unexpected turn of events creates an altered timeline. Instead of a scared waitress, Sarah is a skilled fighter and has a Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger) by her side. Faced with unlikely allies and dangerous new enemies, Reese sets out on an unexpected new mission: reset the future. Has been mostly savaged and despised, but I rather enjoyed it. Review at the link.

Amy - Despite just two albums to her name Amy Winehouse is one of the biggest music icons in British history. With a voice oft described as a combination of Billy Holiday, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan, Amy Winehouse was a pop star with soul; a once in two generational musical talent whose appeal crossed cultural and demographic boundaries. But while her music made her a star, her chaotic personal life stole headlines. I have never been particularly interested in Amy Winehouse’s music, but her story is a tragic one. Director Asif Kapadia’s Senna was a phenomenal documentary and even non-F1 fans will tell you that. I have been expecting this to be equally transcendent. However, since the the bunch of extremely positive reviews at Cannes, there has been a lot of negative comments about the construction of this film.

The Last Five YearsIn this adaptation of the hit musical, The Last Five Years is a musical deconstruction of a love affair and a marriage taking place over a five year period. Jamie (Jordan), a young, talented up-and-coming Jewish novelist falls in love with Cathy (Kendrick), a Shiksa Goddess and struggling actress. Their story is told almost entirely through song. All of Cathy’s songs begin at the end of their marriage and move backwards in time to the beginning of their love affair, while Jamie’s songs start at the beginning of their affair and move forward to the end of their marriage. They meet in the center when Jamie proposes. Saw this at TIFF last year, and it was one of the worst experiences in a cinema of the entire year. Hated it!

Weekly Recommendation: I unashamedly enjoyed Terminator Genisys, so I am going to go against the grain and recommend it. I do think Amy will be worth the time, too. 

Jul 012015


As always, June was a big month. It’s Sydney Film Fest time and the peak my annual viewing. Apart from 3 films, every film watched in June was at the cinema. I saw 28 at the festival and a few more on general release. My one and only rewatch for June was the glorious documentary, Winnebago Man, a film I rate as one of the best documentaries of this century thus far. I also watched a fair amount of TV, including two and a half seasons of one particular TV show. My full round-up is after the jump.

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Jul 012015


The Terminator franchise is back with Genisys, its best instalment since 1991. Granted, this is not all that difficult considering the last two uninspired films, but the first instalment in the supposed new T-trilogy is worth the while for the sci-fi/action junkie. Read why after the jump:

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Jun 262015


The Queensland Film Festival (QFF) has announced its full inaugural programme. From July 24 to 26, the festival will bring twelve features and two shorts that demonstrate the depth and breadth of contemporary filmmaking. Three of the feature films and one of the short films will enjoy their Australian premieres.

The festival is bringing films to Brisbane that otherwise wouldn’t get a screening in the city. With its focus on films that would be otherwise unseen, it fills part of the hole left by the departure of BIFF 2 years ago. There is also a point of difference from the new Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival (BAPFF), which screens a region-focused selection of films, some of which get a cinema release.

“We are delighted to reveal the complete lineup for this year’s QFF,” said co-director Huw Walmsley-Evans. “Strong community support, particularly from Foxtel Movies, New Farm Cinemas and the Queensland University of Technology, as well as from the city’s dedicated and passionate cinephiles, has helped make this festival happen.”

As co-director John Edmond notes, “contemporary cinema is thriving around the globe, and Queensland wants to share in it.” He continues, “we’re simply grateful to be able to showcase some of the amazing films that, at the moment, would otherwise not be screened in Brisbane.”

Abderrahmane Sissako’s TIMBUKTU opens QFF, presenting a depiction of life under jihadist rule that speaks to our troubled times. TIMBUKTU provides a perfect example of the kind of work the festival aims to highlight; although it received an Academy Award nomination (Best Foreign Language Film) in 2015, and also cleaned up at France’s Cesar Awards.

Other highlights include:

THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY (Peter Strickland) – An absolute must-see on the big screen for its inventive sound design and luscious production design.
P’TIT QUINQUIN (Bruno Dumont) – An absurdest murder mystery that opens with the discovery of human body parts stuffed inside a cow
JAUJA (Lisandro Alonso) – a colonialist Argentinian western starring Viggo Mortenson. The played at Cannes in 2014 in the Un Certain Regard and was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize.

For more information, head over to the official festival website or follow the fest on Twitter

The full festival line-up is after the jump.

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Jun 252015


To help you with your selections, or possibly make it harder, we’ve listed our picks for your 10 trip pass. These are films we haven’t seen but would be seeing if we were lucky enough to be going. We’ll live vicariously through all of you I guess….*cries*. Seeing more than 10? We’ve also listed every film in the programme we have seen and can recommend. We’ve even linked to our reviews.

We’re going to assume that Opening Night is a given and take that straight out of your 10 pass. Direct from Cannes, THE LOBSTER is Greek New Wave director Yorgos Lanthimos’ English language début. Soak up the opening night buzz and be one of the first to see this film.

Our picks and recommendations for the rest of your fest are after the jump.

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Jun 232015


Back when I was blogging daily on The Film Emporium I learned a lot about some of the world’s greatest filmmakers through my ‘Director of the Month’ feature. Among them: Krzysztof Kieslowski, Andrei Tarkovsky, Henri-Georges Clouzot, Jean-Luc Godard, David Cronenberg, Robert Altman, Sam Peckinpah, Dario Argento and Hayao Miyazaki. A lot of work, but a lot of fun. I have missed the challenge and with the motivation to continue to expand my knowledge of world cinema I have decided to bring it to An Online Universe. 

Starting next month, and continuing at least through until the end of the year, I will focus on one director each month. I will watch 3-5 of their films (depending on accessibility, which is a big factor) and write…something. It might be a review of the individuals film. It might be an essay discussing several films linked by style or theme. Here are some of the directors/director pairings, and select films, I am going to be considering:

Todd Haynes – Safe, Velvet Goldmine, Far From Heaven, I’m Not There

Douglas Sirk – Imitation of Life, All That Heaven Allows, Magnificent Obsession, The Tarnished Angels, Written on the Wind

Louis Malle – Black Moon, My Dinner With Andre, Atlantic City, Au Revoir Les Enfants

Claire Denis – Chocolat, Beau Travail, Trouble Every Day, The Intruder, 35 Shots of Rum, White Material, Bastards

Rainer Werner Fassbinder – Fox & His Friends, Berlin Alexanderplatz, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, The Marriage of Maria Braun, Veronika Voss, Lola

Barry Levinson – Diner, The Natural, Rain Man, Wag the Dog

Jean-Luc and Pierre Dardenne – La Promesse, The Son, L’enfant, The Kid with a Bike

Edward Burns – The Brothers McMullen, She’s the One, Sidewalks of New York, Purple Violets, Newlyweds

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger – 49th Parallel, The Life & Death of Colonel Blimp, I Know Where I Am Going, A Matter of Life & Death

Yasujiro Ozu – Tokyo Story, Floating Weeds, Late Spring, Early Summer, I Was Born, But…

Please let me know if there are other films from these filmmakers that you love and suggest I see, or would love to learn more about. If I have left out a film, there is a chance I have seen it. I am also open to filmmaker suggestions. If there is a filmmaker you wish me to check out and dedicate a month to, drop me a comment.