Jun 212015


Here we are with another (probably my last) Sydney Film Festival critic and fan poll. I asked a number of friends, acquaintances, film critics and film buffs, to send me a list of every film they saw at this year’ Sydney Film Festival with a 1-5 star rating. I tallied up the results and have laid them out below. Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate.

In addition to what Sam, Shaun and I put together here on An Online Universe, there was a lot more fantastic coverage of this year’s festival. Here are some other sites to check out – 4:3 Film (Conor Bateman + many other contributors), Screen-Space (Simon Foster), The Cue Dot Confessions (Mike Scott), The Limerick Review (Lisa Malouf), Trespass Magazine (Alex Doneau), ccpopculture (Dave Crewe) and Graffiti With Punctuation (Blake Howard).

While there weren’t that many five star grades given this year (Tehran Taxi with 4 and Me & Earl & the Dying Girl with 3, topped that list), the quality of the festival is clear in that many films scored a 3.5+ average. In the table after the jump I have only included films with four or more grades, but first I have included a list of those with three or less (votes/ave).

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Jun 182015


As I reach the end of my 2015 Sydney Film Festival Diary I have been fighting off a lack of post-festival motivation to get this done. There are two films I watched over the last four days that I haven’t been able to review – Cemetery of Splendour and The Assassin. The former I enjoyed, but watched on the verge of slumber. It is a mesmerising film, suited for that sleepy atmosphere, but I have no idea how to describe the experience. The latter I appreciated on a visual level, but struggled to make sense of the story, which doesn’t clue in an audience with cultural or historical context. I am not sure what to say about either, and I feel like it is better to leave them alone. But, after the jump you can find my reviews of Phoenix, Tangerine, Arabian Nights: Volumes 1-3, Seymour: An Introduction and Me & Earl & the Dying Girl. 

And, you can find all of my personal awards, and final ranking of films here:

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Jun 162015


The 2015 Sydney Film Festival is all over and done with. I’ve spent most of the day catching up on sleep, and now here is the final installment of my diary as a daytime subscriber. I’ll review the final batch of subscriber films, and offer my thoughts on the festival overall.

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Jun 152015


The Sydney Film Festival is over for another year, and a big congratulations to Nashen Moodley and the SFF team for another cracking festival. I feel like this is the strongest one I have attended in my five years. There have only been a few disappointments along the way, but I am very much in the minority on them. The documentary program has been especially strong. As I saw more documentaries this year than ever before, it has been quite difficult to put together my annual SFF awards. As a result, I have added in a few more awards for documentary.

You can find all of my awards after the jump, along with my final film rankings:

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Jun 142015


There’s just one day to go now. Daytime subscribers saw three films today, and we’ll be seeing three more tomorrow. Today was a bit of a rollercoaster, with some small films really impressing me and some major films really letting me down. It’s pretty much all competition films from here until the end of the festival, but we had time for one last documentary this morning.

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Jun 132015


Exhaustion got the better of me again today, with the day’s second film suffering the most from my occasional nodding. Just two days to go, now. I have ten sessions left to attend, and I’ll be reviewing six of those here. (And three of those are the same movie. I’m still not sure how I’ll be handling ARABIAN NIGHTS here.) Daytime subscribers saw four more films today, including one competition entrant and one documentary.

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Jun 132015


Days 6 through 8 are where things get tough. Back to work, and squeezing in a double in the evening is sure to leave even an experienced festival-goer struggling. But, it was not to be. I have persevered through the toughest tests of stamina and have collated my immediate thoughts on seven more films. They are: Welcome to Leith, Cartel Land, Tehran Taxi, Dope, Black Souls, Our Little Sister and Victoria.
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Jun 122015


“We all have dark places” says journalist Michael Ware as he narrates Only the Dead, a film compiled of his footage from several years as a war correspondent in Iraq. In this documentary we are given an uncensored view of the horrors of war and the psychological impact it had on him. Only the Dead is reviewed after the jump.

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