Macbeth

Review by © Jane Freebury The last time I saw Macbeth on screen it was set in the ganglands of Melbourne. Geoffrey Wright’s film was not the first to opt for a mobster interpretation either, but I think it misses the point that you don’t have to be a gangster to behave like one. The … Read more

The Gift

Review © Jane Freebury Gifts are not always welcome, nor freely given. The well known subtext to giving and receiving gets a thoroughly sinister workout in this accomplished first feature from Joel Edgerton, one of the many fine Australian actors on screen. There are interesting dimensions to Edgerton’s creativity. He has writing credits for local … Read more

Far from Men

Review © Jane Freebury Far from men but not entirely without company, a teacher lives and works alone at an isolated school. There are children, girls and boys of mixed ages, who happily attend his lessons, even though the content is set by distant colonial masters. In the Atlas Mountains of north Africa, a geography … Read more

Amy

REVIEW BY JANE FREEBURY Everyone knew what had happened to her, Amy Winehouse, but many of us may have forgotten how good she was when she started out. The gifted jazz stylist, Tony Bennett likened to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, but substance abuse and bulimia made her a media sensation for all the wrong … Read more

Wild Tales

Review © Jane Freebury Lions, cheetahs, wildebeest and birds-of-prey grace the opening credits of this giddily extravagant Argentinean anthology of tales of revenge. By film’s close, well may we wonder the lengths to which men and women could go to avenge injured pride, social injustice and corruption. If it’s true that animals can hold grudges … Read more

Spy

© Jane Freebury If you’ve got it, flaunt it. As CIA agent Susan Cooper, Melissa McCarthy does. Just last year we saw her in St Vincent as a struggling single mum living next door to lonely old codger Bill Murray. Any chance that they might get together was put paid by his relationship with a … Read more

Mad Max: Fury Road

Review © Jane Freebury Finding a space on screens crowded with cataclysm and ultra-violent action, in an industry that waits for no one, the new Mad Max has had a thing or two to deal with. Substituting Tom Hardy for its former star was also needed, as digital enhancement doesn’t work on reputations. For now … Read more

Clouds of Sils Maria

Review © Jane Freebury Fading stars facing tough new realities is a subject that has been worked to brilliant effect on screen. It received definitive, hysterical treatment in black-and-white in Sunset Boulevard and What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Ingmar Bergman also touched on the subject in his startling, minimalist masterpiece about a former actress, … Read more

Boychoir

Review by © Jane Freebury It’s just as well this 12-year-old is a fast learner. For a boy who could be headed for institutional care after his mother, a single mom, dies suddenly, he has to make some massive life changes in the first half hour of this film’s life. Stet (Garrett Wareing) is snatched … Read more

The Age of Adaline

Review by © Jane Freebury So, being tall, willowy and perfectly proportioned, with lustrous hair and perfect skin is not always the distinct advantage you might think it is. Not if you never age, anyway. It’s a shaky premise to build a movie on, but more preposterous ideas can sometimes work, so why not? Lovely … Read more

Leviathan

Review by © Jane Freebury It takes a brave and confident filmmaker to begin with so little information in frame. Leviathan begins with breathless long shot of a seaside village at dawn, a single boat speeding along the breakwater. In the midground a figure emerges from a house with lights on, but heads back in … Read more

Focus

Review by © Jane Freebury In this romantic crime caper, Margot Robbie and Will Smith are well cast as a glamorous pair of grifters, Jess and Nicky, who look like they really should be together. They look great together, two beautiful people in exotic locations like New Orleans and Buenos Aires who can work the … Read more

Fifty Shades of Grey

Review by © Jane Freebury So, after weeks of pre-release sales, it’s here at last, the film of the international best-selling novel translated into more than 50 languages. The story of a virginal undergrad who is introduced to the world of BDSM by her corporate high-flyer boyfriend, it has brought whips and handcuffs into the … Read more

Mortdecai

Review by © Jane Freebury An upper-class twit played by Johnny Depp? Why not. As Lord Mortdecai, mortgaged to the hilt to maintain his magnificent pile in the counties, he has handy expertise in the visual arts and can recognise a forgery when Russian hitmen, Syrian terrorists and English coppers can’t. So he agrees to … Read more

Wild

Review by © Jane Freebury Wild opens at the top of a rocky outcrop in stunning mountain wilderness. If the lone hiker who has earned herself the view is going to walk on, she’ll have to do something about the pain in her big toe. Out comes the nail but at the same time her … Read more

Unbroken

Review by © Jane Freebury One of the ironies of this WWII film whose director’s name precedes it, is that the young American airman at the centre of the things, was an athlete who aspired to take part in the Olympics that were to be held in Japan in 1940. He made it to Tokyo … Read more

Mr Turner

Review by Jane Freebury Of all the times in an artist’s life to choose from, director Mike Leigh has chosen to portray the great English landscape painter J.M.W. Turner after he turned 50. Albeit Turner was at the top of his game, but he had already made it, was an exalted artist, held an academic … Read more

Exodus: Gods and Kings

Review by Jane Freebury For the second time this year, a blockbuster about the miraculous deeds of a man ‘chosen by god’ has arrived on screen, courtesy of armies of CGI specialists. Darren Aronofsky brought us Russell Crowe in grizzled beard as Noah, the man who saved the world in a boat. Now Ridley Scott, … Read more

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Review by Jane Freebury The story of a teenage girl fighting to save the world as we no longer know it, instead of worrying which of the handsome guys hovering around her is ‘the one’, has emerged as another compelling 21st movie phenomenon. Move over Twilight, there’s nothing passive or vaguely insipid about this young … Read more