Category Archives: Film Reviews & Quotes

8 Films to Unleash the Wanderer in You

Life has been a little stationary of late (read into that as you will). In between my bouts of itchy feet and jealous rage at everyone else’s happy snaps, I recharge my restless soul by pursuing my other (slightly more sedentary) passion: lapping up more of those happy snaps on the big screen.

For those of you that favour a lounge couch to the straightjacket-like devices otherwise known as an aircraft seat, being a vicarious vagabond is probably not half bad. That is, as long as you know what to watch and whom to follow. I have dug deep into recent memory to bring you my Top 8 travel flicks, especially curated to unleash the wanderer in you.

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Top 5 Picks for French Drama

I like my films subtitled; just as I prefer my literature foreign.

As a film fanatic (and a contrarian at that), it wasn’t long before the formulaic Hollywood trifecta of violence, drugs and sex drove me to the brink of distraction. (“What’s wrong with that?” I hear you say. Nothing! Well, nothing at all if that’s your cup of tea…) As for me, I could never quite comprehend how comic-book heroes have come to dominate the big screens, or how a bland enactment of popular erotica have come to define box office success.

Enter: French drama. Its characters breathed life into the mindlessness. Its quirkiness a timely reminder that Cinema and Emotion can once again rendezvous hand-in-hand in the dark. Its unconventional wisdom perhaps stemming from the knowledge that the French, above all else, are the uncontested masters of Romance…

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The Light Between Oceans (2016)

“A husband who loses his wife is known as a widower, but there is no word to describe a parent who loses a child”. It is a brave task for one to explore the trappings of parental love. It is a braver task still to interpret a bestselling page-turner on the trappings of parental love and refrain from falling prey to the wasted labours of an underwhelming screen adaptation. The challenge is embraced by Derek Cianfrance whom, tellingly, appears drawn to explorations of darkness and pain (Blue Valentine; The Place Beyond the Pines). In The Light Between Oceans, Cianfrance’s dramatisation of Australian author M. L. Stedman’s first novel, the interplay of darkness and light gives a humbling lesson in lachrymosity, as even the stoics amongst us may end up needing to reach for the hidden hanky.

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Me Before You (2016)

Long before its theatrical release in Australia, I have waited with bated breath for a film adaptation of one of the most popular modern romances – Jojo Moyes’ bestseller fiction Me Before You. Needless to say, the subsequent release of a tastefully edited trailer was enough to whet my appetite for a night of The Intouchables / The Fault in Our Stars meet Bridget Jones Diary. With a tear-jerking premise, a bestselling source novel and a pair of actors on a steady trajectory to veritable screen magnets, hopes were riding high on Thea Sharrock’s adaptation of Me Before You. Continue reading Me Before You (2016)

Brooklyn (2015)

By now it should come as no surprise to you that I like simple stories told well. John Crowley’s adaptation of Colm Toibin’s 2009 novel Brooklyn is one of those stories. Crafted with exquisite, understated finesse, Brooklyn serves as a poignant reminder of just how powerful relatively unadorned cinematography can truly be. The film chronicles the life decisions of Eilis Lacey (pronounced Ai-lish), a young woman in the 1950s seeking to establish a meaningful life for herself beyond the insularity of the small Irish town in which she was born and bred. Continue reading Brooklyn (2015)

The Before Trilogy – Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004) & Before Midnight (2013)

The Art of Conversing & the Articulation of Love

I have always held a special fascination with the simple things in life; the confluence of unspoken companionship and quotidian quibbles which so often come to define personal relationships. In filmmaking, nowhere has it been manifested so starkly than in Richard Linklater’s Before Trilogy. Whilst Linklater’s latest triumph – Boyhood – has generated widespread acclaim by adopting the same experimental technique of shooting a film over an extended period of time, its genesis lies in his quintessential love epic, the Before Trilogy (the first of which was released in 1995). Continue reading The Before Trilogy – Before Sunrise (1995), Before Sunset (2004) & Before Midnight (2013)

Everest (2015) – A Vicarious Cinematic Thriller

“It hurts. It’s dangerous. It costs a small fortune and ruins relationships…[then] why?” As a vicarious thrill seeker, the “why” of adventure tourism (euphemism for death-defying stunts) has seldom bothered me. I am much intrigued by the “what” and the “how”. Until now. The conquest of Mt Everest, as portrayed by Baltasar Kormakur’s Everest, is rightfully “another beast altogether” and has left me spellbound in what can only be described as a thrilling cinematic stupor. With a poignant immediacy that takes one’s breath away, the film is both an enthralling and chilling depiction of the unrivalled grandeur (and ferocity) of Nature, and mankind’s existential urge to set forth and conquer. Continue reading Everest (2015) – A Vicarious Cinematic Thriller