News, Site news  Comments Off on Holidays…
Aug 312014


It’s holiday time! When most people go on holiday they go and sit on a beach or do other such relaxing things. Well, I watch movies. Some people might think it’s crazy flying across the world just to sit in the cinema, but if you’re a regular reader of this site, I doubt you’re one of them.

While I’m away at TIFF I won’t be reviewing films. This is a bucket list holiday for me and I want to soak every minute of it up. I’ll take some notes and hopefully write some things when I’m home, but for now my intention is to take it easy.

Thankfully I have a bunch of amazing and talented friends and writing colleagues who have agreed to fill An Online Universe with interesting writing while I’m away. There’s some reviews from an upcoming festival, posts about great films that have been forgotten and lists of the best films set in various places.

I’d like to thank every one in advance for their fantastic contributions! Over the next three weeks there will be posts going up frequently between 11am-Midday (Sydney time), so be sure to come back and read the excellent pieces.

Follow me on my holiday adventures via Twitter @sakura_59 and keep up with my thoughts on the films via Letterboxd

 Posted by at 07:30

The Tale of Studio Ghibli Showcase: Celebrating the Genius of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata

 News  Comments Off on The Tale of Studio Ghibli Showcase: Celebrating the Genius of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata
Aug 302014


Oh my, Madman Films are bringing something truly great to select Australian cinemas later this year. Celebrating iconic Studio Ghibli Founders Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, Madman will present four feature films by these legendary directors, along with two documentaries about their work. The Tale of Studio Ghibli showcase will screen for a 2 week season beginning October 9th.

Co-founders of renowned Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyzakai and Isao Takahata are two of the most celebrated filmmakers of all time. As creators of some of the most beloved and award-winning animated features the world has known, their legacy is one of unrivaled imagination and unsurpassed excellence.

THE TALE OF STUDIO GHIBLI SHOWCASE features not only their 2013 masterpieces in Takahata’s THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA and Miyazaki’s THE WIND RISES, but also the two films they each made 25 years earlier which cemented their reputations and made the name Studio Ghibli synonymous with quality – Miyazaki’s MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (my favourite animated film of all time!!) and Takahata’s GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES. Complementing these feature films in THE TALE OF STUDIO GHIBLI SHOWCASE are two revealing documentaries, THE KINGDOM OF DREAMS AND MADNESS (which I gave 5 stars to at the recent Sydney Film Festival) and ISAO TAKAHATA AND HIS TALE OF THE PRINCESS KAGUYA, each providing unrivalled access to the inner workings of Studio Ghibli and the painstaking creative process behind the creators’ most recent films.


October 9-22
Sydney – Dendy Newtown
Melbourne – Cinema Nova
Canberra – Dendy Canberra
Brisbane – Dendy Portside

November 6-19
Perth – Luna Leederville

November 27 – December 10
Adelaide – Palace Nova East End

For more information, visit: &

Monthly Round-up: August 2014

 Features, Monthly Round-up  Comments Off on Monthly Round-up: August 2014
Aug 302014


I don’t think I’ve ever seen so few films at the cinema in one month before. This month I went to the cinema twice, and one of those times was to rewatch Guardians of the Galaxy, which was still great the 2nd time around but I felt the length in a few spots. The other film was Lucy which I did not like. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I much preferred Transcendence and believe it explored the similar themes more effectively. My round-up for August is after the jump.

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O Canada

 Festivals  Comments Off on O Canada
Aug 292014


So this is the time of the year that I usually get insanely jealous of my North American friends. Telluride, TIFF and NYFF are generally packed with amazing films. Many of these films could take months and months to reach Australia, that’s if they get here at all. This year is different, because this year I will be at TIFF. This is bucket list stuff for me and despite my hideous fear of flying, I am ridiculously excited to go.

I won’t be reviewing at TIFF but I hope to write a diary of sorts or write-up some good notes so that I can smash out some reviews when I get home. After the jump check out my schedule. I’m pretty happy with it, although by the time my ticket window had come around 4 films (St Vincent, While We’re Young, Elephant Song, Welcome to Me) on my list were sold out at the times I could see them. I also didn’t pick some films due to upcoming release dates in Australia (such as Whiplash which I’m very keen to see).

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Night Moves

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Aug 262014

Night Moves

Opening in a remote Oregon national park, we meet Josh (Jesse Eisenberger) and Dena (Dakota Fanning) as they are walking around a damn. We soon discover the reason for their visit is recon for an upcoming act of crime which they intend to commit in the name of the environment, a big F U to big business. Along with Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard), the pair intend to stuff a motorboat (named ‘Night Moves’) full of a homemade fertilizer explosive and blow up the damn.

Very much a film of two halves, pre-crime and post-crime, we see the planning of the explosion and then how the threesome deals with the consequences of their action, which are far more serious than they could have envisioned. What Night Moves does so well, is let the character’s actions speak for themselves. There’s very little exposition here, with writer Jonathan Raymond and writer-director Kelly Reichardt trusting their audience enough to fill in the gaps. Truth be told we don’t need to know more, the real story is in how they exist after the events, not what drove them to it.

Jesse Eisenberg is quietly intense as Josh, his controlled performance serving to emphasise his characters few outbursts. Dakota Fanning is emotive but understated as Dena, and it is through her that the moral conundrum of their actions play out. What is the difference between eco-terrorism and eco-activism? Do the ends justify the means? Reichardt lets the audience decide this for themselves, although events in the final scenes (which may be too hard for many to buy) may be interpreted as a shove in a particular direction.


By Sam McCosh

The Facts

Director: Kelly Reichardt
Writer(s): Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning, Peter Sarsgaard
Runtime: 112 minutes
Release date(s): Australia & New Zealand: September 11 2014

Film Link Goodness: August 2014 Edition

 Features, Film Links  Comments Off on Film Link Goodness: August 2014 Edition
Aug 242014


August already…where did the time go? I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but there hasn’t been much to see at the cinema here. I’ve been watching a lot of TV and reading pieces about all the good things the rest of you have seen. After the jump a bit from MIFF, a bit of pre-TIFF and some really interesting writing.

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 Posted by at 23:09

16 Films To See This Spring

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Aug 202014

this is where I leave you

I don’t want to say the ‘O’ word so early in the year, so I’m not going to. But the ‘O’ word is definitely in play as the spring releases start pouring in. There’s a mix of big hitters, O hopefuls and indie titles (that are coming from the festival circuit) coming to our cinemas in spring. After the jump I’ve listed 16 films to seriously consider seeing this spring* – check them out. (*subject to the ever-changing Australian cinema release schedule)

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 Posted by at 21:44

The Inbetweeners 2

 Reviews  Comments Off on The Inbetweeners 2
Aug 182014

The Inbetweeners 2

The raunchy teenage/young adult male sex comedy is one of those ubiquitous sub-genres that won’t be going away anytime soon. From Animal House to American Pie, these movies are usually good for a chuckle or two so long as the laughs are good-natured, the leads are loveable and the female characters aren’t too appallingly written. But does The Inbetweeners 2 pass this litmus test? My review after the jump.

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