In one of the first scenes of At Eternity’s Gate, a weary van Gogh (played by Willem Dafoe) arrives at the French town of Arles. His room, and the landscape surrounding it, has none of the vibrancy or vitality that we associate with his paintings. Instead, the town is established with a shot of a foggy field spotted with dying sunflowers.18 February 2019
At Eternity’s Gate is the latest film inspired by visionary post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. It is set in the turbulent last years of van Gogh’s life, as he grapples with mental illness, spirituality and an all-encompassing compulsion to paint the world as he sees it. Director Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) does his best to understand the man behind the icon; to strip away novelty and gaze at the star-crossed van Gogh operating on an alien frequency.12 February 2019
Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight follow-up is an immaculate, beautifully-wrought adaptation of the great James Baldwin’s novel, and a deeply sincere ode to love in all its forms.7 February 2019
The Front Runner – a new film from director Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air) – examines the increasingly fraught relationship between America’s politicians and its media, using the story of leading presidential candidate Gary Hart (Hugh Jackman) and the events that undid his campaign in 1988.
Natalie Portman stars in a fascinatingly original – though rather uneven – meditation on celebrity, trauma and the unexpected link between pop music and domestic terrorism.6 February 2019
On the Basis of Sex is a heartfelt tribute to the United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which captures the young woman as a struggling attorney and new mother, explaining how the first Jewish female Supreme Court Justice began her journey.31 January 2019
I didn’t go into Storm Boy with high expectations. While the film does harness the strength of its source material, it can’t hold to a candle to the original story. Colin Thiele’s 1963 book and Henri Safran’s 1976 film will always hold a revered place in the Australian cultural imagination. This new remake, helmed by experienced television director Shawn Seet (Underbelly, House Husbands, All Saints), makes some crucial changes to the classic story, and never quite does justice to the power of the original.14 January 2019
I am only new to Netflix, but the much-anticipated Netflix Original Dumplin’ has already made my subscription more than worth it. Based on the novel of the same name by Julie Murphy, the critically acclaimed film is set in small-town Texas, and is not only entertaining but important.19 December 2018
Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade operates as a sort of time capsule. It takes the cringeworthy, the devastating, and the dizzying and doesn’t polish them. It simply presents their uncomfortable, brutal, visceral essence. In doing so, it becomes an authentic illustration with a real, honest beating heart.