Review: Finding Ophelia

How often do we sacrifice too much of ourselves in chasing a dream? An ideal form or figure, a person or concept. And how much is too much to give in pursuit of this? And what could be worse than losing your grasp of reality chasing figures, than realising that this manifestation of perfection may be genuine – if nightmarish. William Edgar forges a path like one many of us will recognise, chasing down an obsession, a woman, at the cost of the reality and loved ones surrounding him. Continue reading Review: Finding Ophelia

Review: Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey

An eclectic mix of techniques and inspirations, ‘Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey’ bloats itself despite having the necessary components for a superb film of its own volition. Sander’s script is more concerned with emulating a neo-Romeo & Juliet than forging a path for these characters under their autonomy, resulting in an engaging film which stumbles along the path where it should be gliding. Continue reading Review: Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey

Pride Month, Retrospective Review: Pain & Glory (Dolor y gloria)

There’s growth all around “Pain & Glory” (2019), personal, universal, and out with the film itself, and while there is an overarching narrative, Pedro Almodóvar’s film is as equally about his self journey as it is Salvador Mallo’s back and forth throughout life. A story of pleasure, it is Almodóvar after all, this film accounts for the lost opportunities, the rekindled friendships and plunges back into life, rebutting the dark stupors of depression, isolation and a rejection of the self – all in favour to produce a methodical, grim film which seeks as much enjoyment it can from the struggles of life. Continue reading Pride Month, Retrospective Review: Pain & Glory (Dolor y gloria)

Mental Health Awarenss Month, Retrospective Review: Mary and Max

A two-fold coming-of-age narrative ‘Mary and Max’ (2009) charters the progression of Mary’s, a young, ‘chubby’ and socially anxious Australian into a woman, friendship with Max, a middle-aged Atheistic Jew in America. Pen pals, a support system, their friendship grows as Mary seeks an escape from her abusive, sherry-soaked mother Vera, all marvellous narrated by Australian treasure Barry Humphries. At random, fascinated by the states, Mary picks an address from a U.S phonebook and hopes to receive a reply to her letter. Gradually, as life moves on the pair grow distant, and after taking a degree in psychology, Mary uses her experiences with Max, who suffers from anxiety and lives in isolation due to his Asperger’s syndrome, as a case study for a book. Continue reading Mental Health Awarenss Month, Retrospective Review: Mary and Max

Review: The Boy Who Sold the World

It doesn’t matter what idea you come up with, just so long as you can sell it. The thirsty fangs of capitalism seek to draw talent from any source, but if you want to plant your feet in its home territory, then America is the place to be. Ben Pasternak, “The Boy Who Sold The World” (2020), an undeniable person of brilliance, with a knack for technology, digital applications, but at the heart of it – marketing, seeks the opportunity of a lifetime. Moving to the states, with investors & financiers snapping at his heels for a chance to support him can Pasternak follow in the footsteps of high-school dropouts, who rise the ladder quickly, or are the stresses of money, success and being away from home too heavy a burden? Oh, did we mention he was fifteen during this?   Continue reading Review: The Boy Who Sold the World

Review: The Shed

When a vampire hides out in the shed, your premise teeters on the brink of ludicrous rather than serious. Frank Sabatella’s “The Shed” (2019) though has serious chomps to take out of the social paradigm of bullying, abuse, and snap judgements, it’s just a shame this all gets wrapped up in the wrong delivery. Stan is a young man (though seven years too old for a high-schooler) who grows up under the vigilant ‘boomer’ antics of his Grandfather, a crotchety, one-note character who seems determined to berate Stan despite the traumatic deaths of his parents. Continue reading Review: The Shed

Sinister Stepmothers and Ex-Wives – Why can’t Disney give them surrogate mothers a break?

Had enough of princesses? Us too. Thing is, for just shy of a century Western animation has been littered with naïve views on female protagonists, in no small part down to the Walt Disney Company. While their heroines are far from the two-dimensional stereotypes many preach, there is one collective which dive deeper into culture, our psyche, and on occasion, history. These are of course the Disney villains.

A dynamic which stretches across the fifty-eight animated library more often than other narratives is of the wicked stepmothers or different forms of antagonistic surrogate parent. These are the films where the protagonist’s primary caregiver or secondary characters are also villains. Whether the archetypical Lady Tremaine from ’Cinderella’ (1950) or the ex-wife Ursula from ‘The Little Mermaid’ (1989) or redemptive Dr Robert Callaghan ‘Big Hero 6’ (2014). Continue reading Sinister Stepmothers and Ex-Wives – Why can’t Disney give them surrogate mothers a break?

Review: Stray Dolls

One little crime, that’s all it takes. Someone may commit this out of greed or coercion, perhaps you just want to experience that thrill, or maybe you do it to survive in a cruel, unbalanced society. Sonejuhi Sinha’s directorial feature debut, ‘Stray Dolls’ (2019) cautions that one small deed can excessively spiral with disastrous, life-altering consequences.
Upon arriving in America, Riz finds herself in what she perceives as temporary accommodation with a live-in job at a motel run by Una, played by Cynthia Nixon. The motel dishevelled and visibly no five-star establishment houses a variety of secrets, seedy characters and allegories of the shattered perceptions many have with the States. Upon destroying her passport, Una at first establishes herself as an antagonist but has little part to play until the climax of the film. Tidying rooms, Riz is forced to share with a volatile, disenchanted young woman named Dallas, who coerces Riz into enacting one small theft in exchange for returning a stolen photograph.
Continue reading Review: Stray Dolls

Review: Mickey and the Bear

The prospect of forging one’s path at the cost of leaving others behind is certainly far from an original narrative for the coming-of-age drama. For first-time writer & director Annabelle Attanasio however, what she achieves with ‘Mickey & The Bear’ is a heart-wrenching, visceral piece on the pursuit of personal gratification, while attempting to balance perceived family obligation, as fiercely headstrong Michaela (Mickey) is the sole provider and carer for her addict, veteran father Hank.

A gifted young woman, Mickey is wholly a likeable, well-rounded character, without stripping an ounce of her humanity. She has flaws, she has emotions and her limits. Almost as if this coming-of-age narrative was written by a woman, for a woman. Camila Morrone’s method of characterisation is subdued, though sharing her on-screen father’s temper on occasion. Continue reading Review: Mickey and the Bear