maggie’s plan goes down without a hitch

Greta Gerwig is a favourite of mine. Her most notable role in Noah Bambauch’s 2012 independent smash, Frances Ha, is unsurprisingly also a favourite of mine. Her energy is always captivating, and the characters she embodies have become so ingrained in my psyche after countless rewatchings that she has come to embody everything I love about contemporary cinema. Simple. Honest. Funny.

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now you see me so very disappointed

2016 has seen one critically mauled sequel after the next. Zoolander 2; The Huntsman: Winter’s War; The Divergent Series: Allegiant; Alice Through the Looking Glass; My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2; and of course, Batman V Superman. Now another film has presented itself for demolition. Now You See Me 2, directed by Jon M. Chu and written by Ed Solomon, reintroduces audiences to The Four Horsemen – magicians and thieves, who use their knack for illusions to steal from the rich and give to the everyman.

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10 cloverfield lane: a review

A movie like this practically markets itself. Put Cloverfield in the title and I’ll come running, kind of like the critters in the so-named 2008 monster movie. There’d probably be a little less gnashing of teeth but, you know, no promises. I caught that film during its big screen ascendancy, and let me tell you how much I enjoyed its shaky-cam, point and shoot revelry: a lot. 10 Cloverfield Lane, you say? From the same production company? Where do I sign? 

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catfish revisited

As part of the Australian International Documentary Conference that just took place in Melbourne, ACMI played host to a unique screening of the 2010 documentary, Catfish. The experience provided an illuminating look at a film that has grown from a “grassroots” level to become an MTV television series now in its fifth season, undeniably leaving a distinctive footprint on the 21st century cinematic, digital and socio-cultural landscapes.

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girls: more fascinating, funny, and focused (on themselves)

Girls is divisive, as is its creator. Combined with the increasing trend in predominantly digital cultures to identify cultural artefacts like Girls in either wholly positive or negative terms, Dunham and her show have become to most, either the most refreshing contemporary contribution to Quality Television in a long time, or representative of everything wrong with the generation that are now referred to risibly as the Millenials. 

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room and spotlight make me question everything

In the last fortnight I’ve watched two films that didn’t leave me feeling very good. This isn’t to say they weren’t good films. They were brilliant in fact. Two of the best I have seen in a long time. Both left me feeling incredibly emotional, vulnerable, anxious and upset. Anxious about the world we live in and upset that real people are experiencing the trauma, not just fictional characters on a big screen.

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2015's top 10 in film

2015 gave us some great indie productions that put faith in some powerful young actors, others put everything on display showing the darker aspects of our nature and our society, and the industry showed us the art of making blockbuster films. Read on to see the water cooler's top 10 films of the year.

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the sight & sound top 50 challenge: la jetée (1962)

This year I am attempting to see more films that I ever have in a year, and whilst I can easily increase the number of new releases I see by attending the cinema on a more regular basis I also want to expand upon the number of classics in my repertoire. With this goal in mind I am embarking on what I call ‘The Sight & Sound Top 50 Challenge’. This entails watching one film each week from the most recent Sight & Sound Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time poll, beginning with number 50 and working all the way to number 1. Let the challenge begin...

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the force awakens and gets the job done

J.J. Abrams has had a task that not many would envy. With Star Wars: The Force Awakens he has been asked to take control of a series that has not only been beloved by many, but one that has had a rocky last showing. Admittedly this may have provided him with a low bar to jump over. Some fans would have been happy with a merely adequate film as long as it was better than the prequels. Abrams has not only produced a Star Wars film that will appease the fans, he also has provided a new entry point to the series.

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phoenix fails to rise from the ashes

On much of its marketing Christian Petzold’s 2014 German film Phoenix is pitched as “a rich Hitchcockian tale” and “a postwar masterwork by way of Vertigo.” Entering the screening with this sonorous connection in mind (although rather than through the marketing, it was brought to my attention by Nick, who noticed the thematic similarity from the film's trailer), I set out to draw upon everything Hitchcock's 1958 film had taught me about mistaken identities, relationships, obsession, and longing and apply it to this post-WWII set drama. That was a task much easier said than done...

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