Category: Film review

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Maggie’s Plan: screwball comedy meets witty academic satire

First published by The Conversation, 5 July 2016 In Maggie’s Plan (2015), Rebecca Miller’s (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee (2009)) new film, Ethan Hawke plays John, an adjunct teacher at a New York college and “the bad boy of fictocriticism”. For my money, he’s the middle-aged version of Troy, the philosophising musician Hawke played in Reality Bites (1994). He’s still a man-boy, but the angry … Read More Maggie’s Plan: screwball comedy meets witty academic satire

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Suffragette: review

First published by Daily Review, 11 December 2015 Social movement movies — films about pivotal moments in the race, class, gender and sexuality wars — all have a tricky problem to overcome. They need to create a central, believable character the audience can invest in, without over egging the character’s place in a story that is always a collective one. Suffragette (notice the singular) does a half successful … Read More Suffragette: review

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Ricki and The Flash covers a mother of a problem

First published by Women’s Agenda and Daily Review, 27 August 2015 Our belief in the mother-child bond is so elemental, so taken-for-granted, it’s hard to imagine a more monstrous female figure, culturally speaking, than the mother who walks away from her children. So how does Hollywood make a film about a mother who has not only abandoned her brood, but is a woman well into … Read More Ricki and The Flash covers a mother of a problem

Is Cinderella a good role model for your daughter? Probably not. Are you?

First published by Women’s Agenda, 10 April 2015 Is Cinderella like a harmless dose of royalty – a mix of completely politically incorrect, a little bit charming, but also utterly bonkers? Should feminist mothers keep their daughters away these school holidays? Kath Kenny took her daughter, Miss almost-5, and her daughter’s friend, Master 6, and reported back. Early on in Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella our heroine is … Read More Is Cinderella a good role model for your daughter? Probably not. Are you?

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In praise of the divergents of the world

Science fiction movies are fascinating for what they say about the present, as much as for what they say about the future, and the just-released Insurgent, the second movie adaptation of Veronica Roth’s young adult trilogy, is no different. It’s an intriguing dramatisation of our modern world, where the school exams we take as late teenagers threaten to determine our future forever, and where we … Read More In praise of the divergents of the world

The Breakfast Club Turns 30

First published by The Hoopla, 16 February 2015 The classic brat pack movie The Breakfast Club is now officially middle aged: on February 15 it turned 30. Does it stand the test of time? Does Judd Nelson? A brain. An athlete. A basketcase. A princess. A criminal. It’s Saturday at Chicago’s Shermer High School, and director John Hughes has summoned all the cliches to weekend detention. … Read More The Breakfast Club Turns 30

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When reality bites

A confession. Lately I’ve been listening to Stay (I missed you), Lisa Loeb’s three perfectly formed minutes of indie pop from the soundtrack to the 1994 film Reality Bites (opening lines: “You say I only hear what I want to/You say I talk so all the time). The song’s video famously featured a one-take shot of Loeb pacing around an empty New York City apartment, … Read More When reality bites

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