The Sunday Age

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
4/5 John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection (2018) Craig Mathieson The only tennis documentary to set Sonic Youth's cyberpunk ode The Sprawl to a technique montage, Julien Faraut's wonderfully original film mixes film theory, cryptic analysis, and multiple break(ing) points to form a coolly intoxicating examination. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2019
3.5/5 Arctic (2018) Craig Mathieson In an immersive environment, Mikkelsen's performance begins with his body's actions but obtains a reverence through his gaze - he shows us what it's like to look out and see nothing but your own oblivion. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2019
3.5/5 Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle (2017) Craig Mathieson Predicated on a rhythm built up over decades, mother and son are filmed debating how the film should be made, and as more family members arrive screwball chaos takes hold. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2019
4/5 Un beau soleil intérieur (2017) Craig Mathieson The filmmaker and her character are equally untethered, enquiring women, not so much concerned with securing a definitive answer as engaging with the possibilities raised by their searches. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2019
4/5 Minding the Gap (2018) Craig Mathieson As tender as it is demanding, this Sundance Film Festival winner is a striking portrait of American lives and fractured masculinity. EDIT
Posted Feb 10, 2019
4.5/5 First Reformed (2017) Craig Mathieson So many of Paul Schrader's screenplays are debates about belief, but never have they been as starkly free of extraneous concerns as this unexpected late career masterpiece is. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2018
3.5/5 Ahlat Agaci (2018) Craig Mathieson The Turkish auteur's new work is expansive in length, but in this instance it also has the spark of (contrarian) youth and a prickly sense of humour. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2018
3.5/5 Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (2017) Craig Mathieson There may not be enough conventional reference to the subject's life - marriages, children, and career - but that's because the film is unafraid to suggest that Sakamoto's music is his life. EDIT
Posted Dec 23, 2018
3.5/5 Kusama: Infinity (2018) Craig Mathieson Heather Lenz's documentary, which runs through the subject's eventful life at a chronological clip, is respectful of Kusama, never imposing too closely on what was a difficult dedication to her obsessive artistic practice. EDIT
Posted Dec 18, 2018
3.5/5 Studio 54: The Documentary (2018) Craig Mathieson The rise was meteoric, and the fall painful, with Schrager, who would go on to master the boutique hotel, discussing for the first time the mix of youthful ambition and greed that started to suggest a Martin Scorsese movie. EDIT
Posted Dec 10, 2018
2.5/5 A Cool Fish (2018) Craig Mathieson A mix of parallel missteps offset by hard but unassuming social commentary that slowly comes to the fore even as the improbable storylines are tied together. EDIT
Posted Dec 8, 2018
3/5 Puzzle (2018) Craig Mathieson It's a showcase for Macdonald, and 22 years on from Trainspotting the Scottish actress displays a mixture of soulful struggle and defiant will to change. EDIT
Posted Dec 8, 2018
3.5/5 Sorry to Bother You (2018) Craig Mathieson The awkwardness in Riley's filmmaking suits the mood, but while there are brilliantly sharp moments - particularly Cassius' improvised rap to wealthy partygoers - there are misses too. The narrow tone also leaves a hint of inertia, despite the broadsides. EDIT
Posted Nov 26, 2018
3.5/5 Bastardy (2008) Craig Mathieson Turns the city's landscape and cultural memory upside down as it tracks the life of the Indigenous stage and screen actor Jack Charles (The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith), who was also gay, a cat burglar, and a long-term heroin addict. EDIT
Posted Nov 26, 2018
3/5 You Might Be the Killer (2018) Craig Mathieson A blood-soaked American recreation of a summer camp slaughter - first to arrive adult counsellors only - that hits all the genre's marks even as it drily sends up the masked killer, his archetypal victims, and harried target. EDIT
Posted Nov 26, 2018
4/5 Strange Colours (1970) Craig Mathieson From the quietly exhilarating first cut - the pristine night sky above to an otherworldly mechanical excavation below ground - Strange Colours reveals a natural filmmaker who brings her own vision to the Australian landscape. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2018
3.5/5 Cam (2018) Craig Mathieson As a metaphor it's disquieting, but the telling - with its Cronenberg-like screens, nightmarish brightness, and probing cinematography - makes it throb with uneasy energy. EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2018
4.5/5 Manbiki kazoku (2018) Craig Mathieson Observed with tender, telling detail, their lives spill out of the overcrowded home in much the same way that a need for caring and connection spills out from their hearts. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2018
4/5 Chappaquiddick (2017) Craig Mathieson Events are economically detailed, and the hypocrisy is revealed through not just the lowest of deeds, but the failure to hit heights so nobly articulated. EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2018
3/5 Sly (2018) Craig Mathieson "A candidate so able brings oil to your table," is one of his slogans, and there's a recurring line of cynical insiders who imagine they can control the self-important populist. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2018
3.5/5 Love, Gilda (2018) Craig Mathieson The film's success is to contain a multitude of facets that informed her personal life while capturing her genius as a public performer. EDIT
Posted Oct 21, 2018
4/5 Donbass (2018) Craig Mathieson Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa couches his bleak humour in documentary-like settings to create an environment that is unsettling and increasingly warped by its own logic. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2018
3.5/5 The Cleaners (2018) Craig Mathieson Filmmakers Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck reveal a hidden view of the withering, worrying power of behemoth social media platforms with this documentary about the online clean-up crews who endlessly decide between deleting or ignoring disputed content. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2018
4/5 Wajib (2017) Craig Mathieson Grounded in locations that speak to the broader realities and personal differences in philosophy, the film has wry warmth and unexpected differences. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2018
3/5 () Craig Mathieson The film disputes the punishment, not Sukamaran's guilt, capturing the disconnection between the banal preparations for the killing of the 34-year-old and his final acts of creativity. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2018
4/5 A Prayer Before Dawn (2017) Craig Mathieson Part Rocky, part Midnight Express, and part Beau Travail, this adaptation of Billy Moore's best-selling memoir about his three years in some of Thailand's most infamous jails is a harshly immersive experience EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2018
3.5/5 What Walaa Wants (2018) Craig Mathieson Canadian filmmaker Christy Garland charts Walaa's growth over six years, capturing domestic spaces and the lives they nourish that is contrasted with the parade ground displays and eventual field training. This is about more than a career choice. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2018
4.5/5 Selma (2014) Craig Mathieson DuVernay, with just her third feature film, knows how to marshal the moments that will become history, making her own iconic images. EDIT
Posted Oct 4, 2018
3/5 Loro (2018) Craig Mathieson A journey through the late political years and amoral orbit surrounding mogul turned controversial Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, the film delves once more into hermetic worlds where the only disruption is deadpan absurdism EDIT
Posted Sep 27, 2018
3/5 Mandy (2018) Craig Mathieson A slow-motion celebration of maximal filmmaking; design and performance amped up and slowed down - like doom metal music - so that you luxuriate in the aesthetic and endure the portentous dialogue. EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2018
3.5/5 Ghosthunter (2018) Craig Mathieson A quest for knowledge becomes one of atonement, as the narrative folds in childhood friends and police enquiries that slowly pierce a time King has "walled off". EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2018
4/5 Time Trial (2017) Craig Mathieson Pretsell reveals the daily peloton as a complex, bobbing organism complete with workplace chit-chat and the constant oversight of employers, and his film immerses you in Millar's environment and mindset. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2018
3.5/5 Ice Mother (2017) Craig Mathieson The true respect Slama pays to his greying protagonists is to consider them fully-formed characters. EDIT
Posted Sep 14, 2018
3.5/5 Hearts Beat Loud (2018) Craig Mathieson The filmmaking is as warm as the beats Sam programs, but for all the comforts in the storytelling, as well as new relationships for Frank and Sam, the movie reveals creativity as a way of saying goodbye. EDIT
Posted Sep 7, 2018
4/5 Three Identical Strangers (2018) Craig Mathieson Footage that was at first celebratory is seen again as a form of reckoning, and the moment where the narrative breaks the frame of individual interviews for a reunion is heart-rending. EDIT
Posted Sep 7, 2018
3.5/5 Microhabitat (So-gong-nyeo) (2017) Craig Mathieson It's not a film about the defiance of a free spirit, rather the accommodations of an outsider who genuinely cares about others but not the society that has remade them. EDIT
Posted Sep 7, 2018
3.5/5 Keep the Change (2017) Craig Mathieson The film has a genuine openness, but it never limits the pair's interaction - in their own way they must negotiate everything from David's biased parents to sharing a sex life. EDIT
Posted Sep 7, 2018
3/5 The Spy Gone North (2018) Craig Mathieson There is a digital Pyongyang and a deeply uncomfortable meeting with then Supreme Leader Kim Jong-il, but what endures is the ludicrously fine line of survival. EDIT
Posted Sep 7, 2018
4/5 Leave No Trace (2018) Craig Mathieson As a coming of age tale it is sparse, bittersweet and desperately powerful - change is pulling these two interwoven lives apart, made explicit by Granik's empathy and unerring eye. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2018
3/5 The Last Suit (2017) Craig Mathieson The film is laden with emotion, but comes by most of it naturally through the clash of circumstances and the knowledge of what a life can contain. EDIT
Posted Aug 21, 2018
4/5 Columbus (2017) Craig Mathieson The depth of field in the compositions suggests the emotional reaches of these becalmed lives, but the film never imposes the pair's back and forth on your attention, instead letting it unfold with an equanimity that is tidal in its rise and fall. EDIT
Posted Jul 27, 2018
3/5 Lost Gully Road (2018) Craig Mathieson A slow burn Australian horror film that exposes the danger lurking inside the idea of a supposedly safe domestic space. EDIT
Posted Jul 27, 2018
4/5 Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat (2017) Craig Mathieson Driver never uses interview footage, relying on the testimony of those present while capturing the club culture and underground galleries that were his home. It's a valuable insider's view: steeped in history, but shorn of nostalgia. EDIT
Posted Jul 14, 2018
2/5 Best F(r)iends (2017) Craig Mathieson Los Angles lore is referenced but never pursued, and director Justin MacGregor leans into the piecemeal ludicrousness with stylised sequences that embrace self-deprecating mockery. EDIT
Posted Jul 14, 2018
3.5/5 Filmworker (2017) Craig Mathieson The demands from Kubrick were "Kafkaesque" recalls Vitali's son, Max, but technically rough as it is, Zierra's film not only captures his subject's calling to serve, it illuminates Kubrick as well. EDIT
Posted Jul 1, 2018
3.5/5 Bedoone Tarikh, Bedoone Emza (2017) Craig Mathieson In a landscape often coldly desaturated by the camera, the plot is secondary to the gripping performances. The scene where an angry, grieving Moosa goes to a factory to confront someone he blames is a scarifying tour-de-force. EDIT
Posted Jun 29, 2018
3.5/5 Primaire (2016) Craig Mathieson A timely reminder of how a child's education is crucially connected to their teacher, this French drama turns a primary school classroom into a kinetic learning space where the one adult nurtures, encourages and above all believes EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2018
3/5 Believer (2018) Craig Mathieson These gangsters prove, almost without fail, to be homicidal monsters, and director Lee Hae-young (The Silenced) is as likely to celebrate their excess as he is to frame it as a failing. EDIT
Posted Jun 19, 2018
3/5 Food Fighter (2018) Craig Mathieson Dan Goldberg's film is tied to Kahn's cheerfully indomitable personality - it has her engaging spark and dedication. But at points it gets so swept up in Kahn's mission, that it doesn't fully examine its subject. EDIT
Posted Jun 15, 2018
3/5 Lost in Paris (2016) Craig Mathieson You can pick out the influences, but the set pieces are so charming, particularly a scene where a rogue bass throb hiccups through a restaurant and gets the stars both dancing together and falling in love, that you'll willingly submit. EDIT
Posted Jun 15, 2018