Movies & TV
Movies and TV
Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2012 documentary, The Act Of Killing, had a profound impact on modern Indonesia. By having perpetrators re-enact their killings, the film shed light on the national perception of the 1965-66 communist genocide, in which nearly one million innocent Indonesians were brutally murdered. The film revealed a modern climate that celebrated these killers, who have faced no retribution whatsoever. The Look Of Silence is Oppenheimer’s companion piece to The Act Of Killing, the other side of the coin. It’s a devastating look at the continued suppression of the victims’ families and a country unwilling to take ownership for their past atrocities.
It’s not often that a supernatural horror movie leaves the “based on true events” claim for the end credits, but this is exactly the kind of no-frills, no-gimmicks approach that elevates The Witch to a place amongst the genre’s finest. First-time director Robert Eggers’s stripped back approach actually echoes the precision of The Shining, proving that the most effective horrors get under your skin by leaving the more grisly details to your imagination.
There is so much to gawk at in Godzilla, both in what you see onscreen and how it’s being displayed. Director Gareth Edwards hasn’t taken just a single leaf out of Steven Spielberg’s handbook, but the structure, tone and idiosyncratic touches of his entire blockbuster catalogue. For those who were weaned onto big-budget cinema with Jurassic Park or Jaws, Godzilla boasts all the essential touchstones. Walking a fine line between foreshadowing and straight-up tease, Edwards drip feeds the audience spectacle, doling out snippets of his gloriously rendered beasts like a disgruntled prison lunch lady.
Passing on any overwrought attempts at drama, Danish director Tobias Lindholm instead relies on superb technicality and his watertight script for the high seas and high stakes thriller, A Hijacking. Detailing the turbulent negotiations between Somali pirates and the CEO of the titular hijacked vessel, the film carefully avoids any semblance of a dramatic approach to the subject material. A Hijacking is the perfect embodiment of 'show don't tell' storytelling.
Like the Banksy-themed Exit Through The Gift Shop, Mistaken for Strangers puts an affable layabout behind a camera and has him film a notable proponent of pop culture. In this case, the proponent, Tom Berninger, just happens to be the layabout's older brother, lead singer of The National, Matt Berninger. Tom doesn't class himself in the same creative league as his brother - his only endeavours being a couple of homemade horror films - and their dynamic proves a refreshingly fun focal point for a music documentary.
Wholly biased and visually drab, what Blackfish lacks in technical appeal, it makes up for in tenacity. The film is, in more than one way, akin to a piece on A Current Affair - complete with amateurish animated interjections and a selection of interviewees with as biased a viewpoint as could be found. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite lays out the life story of 5,400 kilogram orca, Tilikum, whose continued captivity has cost 3 people their lives, including star SeaWorld trainer, Dawn Brancheau.
More a parody than the barebones horror its trailer suggests, You're Next has been marketed pretty poorly. The trailer was heavy on seriousness - lumping together extreme slow motion with menacing animal masks - and would have you believe that the movie would be a no-nonsense home invasion thriller. In a sense, You're Next is the complete opposite of that - it's all about the nonsense, bearing more than a slight resemblance to the original Scream.
Ain't Them Bodies Saints is a class act - a romanticised tale of love and loyalty that grounds itself in its fair share of gritty realism - but any discussion would be remiss without mentioning its distinct lack of emotional resonance.
Following a military coup in 1965, the Sumatran government undertook a horrific communist purge, slaughtering scores of men, women and children. The government utilised gangsters, constantly referred to as ‘free men’, to carry out the killings in whichever way they saw fit.
As fanboys/girls around the world have experienced repeatedly since 1983, a loving relationship with George Lucas is a heartbreaking experience. The Star Wars magnate had instigated, in spite of his most loyal fans, a tumultuous and violent affair with money and, like a beautiful lover with self-esteem issues, alienated those genuinely interested in him.
With characteristic naivety, Ansari’s character delves into the previously overlooked lives of his immigrant parents, his friends’ grandparents, his female friends and other Indian actors. As a result, each episode feels like a short film that tries to answer the question, “What’s up with that?” And, by removing himself from Master Of None’s spotlight, Ansari proves he’s a comedy writer to contend with the best of them.
We’re all familiar with the riotous, irreverent and often disturbing antics of the Cartoon Network’s weird cousin, Adult Swim. It’s the station responsible for the likes of The Venture Bros., Harvey Birdman, Children’s Hospital, Robot Chicken and those terrifying infomercials — you know, immature, dark and bizarre; those kinds of shows.
But one of those shows, while it is all of those things, layers on a moral and structural complexity you only really see on the prestige cable networks, while using itself as a platform for discussion about the place science has in contemporary society.
Before getting stuck into the finale of Go Back To Where You Came From’s third season, we all have to make a concession: this is reality television. Everything is bitchy exchanges, super dramatic musical cues, and emotions. So many emotions. It even encourages you to have fun in trying to figure out if Kim is simply ignorant or completely sociopathic.
The last thing you’d expect the new comedy series from Tina Fey to be is incisive, but that’s just what Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt seems to be. While 30 Rock tackled its fair share of contemporary issues, it did so somewhat half-heartedly. Head writer Liz Lemon’s journey through prejudice in the world of show business came with a sugar coated gleam, a discussion capped by the impermanence of the sitcom plot and a savvy smirk from Alec Baldwin. To its credit, that unwillingness to get bogged down in discussion at the cost of a gag is what made the show such an endearingly simple pleasure.