Jun 172014


Matthew Pejkovic (of Matt’s Movie Reviews) and I wrap up the 2014 Sydney Film Festival in this fun and concise chat. We discuss building a festival programme; highs and lows; the official competition; and the expansion of the festival into other corners of Sydney. Listen to the podcast here.

Jun 172014


By the time the curtain dropped on the 61st Sydney Film Festival I had viewed 38 titles from the more than 180 on offer. Epic queues for Events 4, evening subscribers who had made the State their home and the Dendy Opera Quays dash, the festival had them all. My brief round-up of the fest is after the jump.

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Jun 162014


Lurking in the shadows & hiding in plain sight, the vampires of Wellington are an incredibly charming and rather vicious breed. A documentary team are granted protection and are granted special access to the shared house of one such group of vampires. What We Do in the Shadows is the shocking account of what they discover.

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Jun 162014


Out of a selection of 12 films in Official Competition, the Sydney Film Prize was awarded to Two Days, One Night directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

Of the nine official competition films I saw, Boyhood was my favourite, however I was quite pleased that Two Days, One Night one the prize. It’s a terribly effecting and relevant film about the dire economic situation facing an increasing number of people, particularly in Europe. Marion Cotillard was incredibly good and the direction was extremely sharp. Bravo the Darenne brothers!

The inaugural Documentary Australia Foundation Award for Australian Documentary was awarded to the brave and confronting 35 Letters, directed and written by Janine Hosking. Special mention went to Tender directed by Lynette Wallworth.

The Dendy Awards for Australian Short Films were also announced, with the Dendy Live Action Short Award going to I Want to Dance Better at Parties, directed and written by Matthew Bate and Gideon Obarzanek. The Yoram Gross Animation Award went to Phantom Limb, directed, written and produced by Alex Grigg. The Rouben Mamoulian Award for Best Director was awarded to Eddy Bell for Grey Bull.

The Event Cinema Australian Short Screenplay Award, also new this year, was awarded to Welcome to Iron Knob directed and written by Dave Wade. Special mention also went to Matt Durrant for his short film Pocket Money.

A huge congratulations to Festival Director Nashen Moodley and the whole team at the Sydney Film Festival for another spectacular event. The quality of films screened was quite outstanding and the festival experience was elevated by the Festival Hub and other events linked to the festival. The volunteers also deserve a massive shout out – thanks guys and gals!

We plan to publish several more festival reviews, so be sure to visit An Online Universe regularly over the next couple of weeks.

Jun 152014


Dan Slevin and Kailey Carruthers are back with their new film podcast, Rancho Notorious. I really enjoyed listening to Dan and Kailey in their former home, so I’m so glad their campaign to fund a new podcast was successful.  I was so delighted when Dan asked me to be a guest on the pilot episode. We recorded this halfway through Sydney Film Festival so I must admit that I was extremely exhausted. Afterwards I realised I said “real” instead of “really”. How embarrassing. Don’t let that stop you listening though. The episode synopsis is below:

This week, Dan and Kailey are joined by TVNZ’s Darren Bevan to review Tom Cruise in Edge of TomorrowThe Fault in Our Stars (starring Shailene Woodley) and NZ indie Fantail are reviewed and Sam McCosh reports from Australia on the Sydney Film Festival.

Check the show at Funeral & Snakes and follow them on Twitter.

Jun 122014


Sydney Film Festival and Adelaide Film Festival will break with tradition and stream online the World Première Australian film Fell over the same weekend that it premières in Official Competition at the State Theatre in Sydney.

Fell will screen in high definition to any Internet-enabled device: Smart TV, digital TV, touchscreen tablet, PC, laptop, game console or smartphone. It will be available on streaming for 50 hours from 8pm Friday 13 June EST until 10pm Sunday 15 June AEST for $9.99. The film will be available to everyone in New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory South Australia and Northern Territory.

“The World Première of Fell via the Internet is a game-changer in a multi-screen world. It’s democratic, it’s inclusive and it’s about time,” said the film’s producer, John Maynard.

Visit the Sydney Film Festival website to stream Fell. The film will be available online for 3 days only.

Fell screens Friday June 13th (6pm) and Saturday June 14th (12pm) at the Sydney Film Festival.


View the trailer below.

Jun 092014


In what is possibly his best performance to date, Tom Hardy stars in Locke, an almost painfully intimate tale of a man having what is most likely the worst day of his life. But was this a hell of his own making, or is he merely a victim of his ironclad, yet idiosyncratic sense of duty? My review of Locke after the jump.

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