Jun 162016
 

markees

Winner of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Screenwriting Award, writer/director Chad Hartigan’s third feature film Morris From America is the tender coming-of-age story of a 13-year-old African-American teenager, Morris (Markees Christmas), who is trying to navigate puberty and acclimate to a strange new world, after being relocated to Heidelberg, Germany with his single father, Curtis (Craig Robinson, The Office and This is the End).

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Jun 162016
 

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In 1974, television news show host and journalist Christine Chubbuck committed suicide live on air. Suffering from severe depression, Christine was committed to continuing the network’s obsession with blood and guts TV with this pre-meditated act. Though believed to be the inspiration for Sidney Lumet’s 1976 film Network, where her character was substituted for a veteran male news anchorman set to be sent to pasture, she remains an unknown. The taped footage of the suicide is kept under lock and key, and inaccessible online, and the true reasoning behind what led to her suicide remains only speculation.

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Jun 162016
 

Chevalier

Athina Rachel Tshangari’s Chevalier is effectively a movie-length pissing contest, with a painfully accurate representation of the fragile egos of men. Six men on a fishing holiday aboard a luxurious yacht invent a game to pass the time. The game formalises what the men have been doing the entire trip, and likely their entire lives, which is competing with each other – seeking validation of their manhood.

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Jun 162016
 

The_Childhood_of_Leader_Still

I present to you the biggest surprise of the Sydney Film Festival so far. This is an incredible film, and an understandable winner of Best Debut Feature and Best Director awards at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. As an actor, the 28-year-old Brady Corbet has displayed a taste for working with master filmmakers like Michael Haneke, Olivier Assayas and Lars Von Trier, appearing in films such as Mysterious Skin, Funny Games, Force Majeure, Clouds of Sils Maria and Melancholia. He has also written and edited several feature films, so after a decade of what seems to be grooming from some of the world’s élite directors he has been given the opportunity to produce and direct one to rival them. The result is an extraordinary debut achievement – a stylish, ambitious, and audacious period piece which feels like a lost great work from Louis Malle or Stanley Kubrick – which also offers mesmerising, precisely composed visuals and an assaulting orchestral score that immediately demolishes any expectations you may have for the film. Having seen thousands of films it is always exciting when one takes you aback, and offers such a whirlwind of intellectual and sensory impact.

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Jun 152016
 

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Here are my thoughts on seven of the eight films I watched over the first weekend of the Sydney Film Festival, save for It’s Only the End of the World – reviewed in further detail hereRead on for thoughts on Official Competition entries Aquarius, Goldstone and Land of Mine as well as Weiner, Contemporary Color, Mahana and Wild. There is only one of these films I wasn’t impressed with, and so the high quality continues.

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Jun 152016
 

ItsOnlytheEndoftheWorld

Xavier Dolan, the 27-year old French-Canadian filmmaker with prodigious talent and a handful of brilliant films under his belt (including the 2014 Jury Prize winner, Mommy), returned to Cannes this year with the understandably anticipated It’s Only the End of the World. Despite being met with boos and largely negative reviews, it was surprisingly awarded the prestigious Grand Prix prize. While it is a flawed film, it certainly doesn’t deserve that vitriolic reception. There is still a lot to like about this emotionally intense – and often excruciatingly shrill – but stylistically restrained family drama, adapted by Dolan from an eponymous play by Jean-Luc Lagarce.

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Jun 142016
 

findingdory

Set 6 months after the events in 2003’s Finding Nemo, Finding Dory focuses on Dory’s quest to find her parents. For a very long time Dory had forgotten that she had lost her family, but now that she has remembered, she will stop at nothing to be reunited with them. Thankfully Dory has friends such as Nemo, Marlin, and Mr Ray to help her on the mission.

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Jun 142016
 

Weiner

In May of 2011 seven term Congressman Anthony Weiner sent a sexually explicit photo on Twitter to a woman he was following on the service. After dodging and denying, he finally admitted that he had sent the photo, and in mid-June 2011 he resigned from public office. This film should have documented his triumphant return to politics, but instead a completely different story was told.

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