Author: Amanda Clarke

Review: The Other Half

It’s a familiar story. A down on his luck man meets a pretty young thing who is full of life and teaches him how to live again. You can be forgiven for rolling your eyes at yet another film that relies on the Manic-Pixie Dream Girl trope. Emily’s (Tatiana Maslany) introduction in The Other Half paints her as the textbook embodiment of the trope. She’s a quirky, free spirit. She pushes Nicky (Tom Cullen) to move past his anger and start to feel happy again. This sets Emily up nicely to be Nicky’s saviour and lift him to the Hollywood...

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Review: The Eagle Huntress

The key to a good documentary lies with the subject. Pick the right one, and half the job is done. With Aisholpan, director Otto Bell has hit the jackpot. She is an open and driven young woman, fueled by her genuine enthusiasm and love for the golden eagles. Despite her spectacular accomplishments at a very young age, Aisholpan keeps focused on her goal of becoming a full-fledged eagle huntress. Eagle hunting is a long-standing tradition among the Kazakh people, passed down through generations, usually from father to son. Thirteen-year-old Aisholpan’s father is an eagle hunter and she has always...

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Review: American Pastoral

There is something to be said for easing yourself into new things. This is advice that Ewan McGregor could have used before diving head first into his first directing project. There is a great deal of ambition behind his debut, American Pastoral. An adaptation of a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Phillip Roth, you can sense the complexity of ideas that made the source material such an acclaimed work. Unfortunately, the film only hints at the issues underlying the social and political upheaval in the 1960s. Told in a flashback, the film centres around Seymour “Swede” Levov (played by...

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ImagineNATIVE 2016 Review: Born to Dance

For Tu (Tia-Tahoroa Maipi), dance is his ticket away from a life in the army. When K-Crew, the country’s premier dance group, puts out an open call for new members, Tu jumps at the chance of stardom. If you’ve seen any contemporary dance film, you know exactly how Born to Dance is going to turn out. Director Tammy Davis has not set out to reinvent the wheel. Instead, he has focused on making an enjoyable, if predictable film. Davis has collected a group of young attractive actors who also have mad dance skills. Born to Dance brings a different flavour of hip hop...

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Planet in Focus 2016 Review: In Pursuit of Silence

In Pursuit of Silence explores the human relationship to noise and sound and examines the importance of silence. Taking John Cage’s 4’33” as it’s reference point, In Pursuit of Silence asks us to reexamine our acoustic surroundings. Like Cage has done with 4’33”, director Patrick Shen has created an intelligent work that raises important questions about how we perceive our everyday surroundings. Shen has created a complex web of connections, linking urbanization and the increase in mechanical noise directly to elevated stress and other health concerns. Shen is careful to consider all the aspects of silence. He talks with philosophers, musicians, health...

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Planet in Focus 2016 Review: Costa Da Morte

The coastline of Galicia, located in Northern Spain, is notorious for its dangerous waters. Nicknamed “coste de morte” or “coast of death”, it is a place of frequent shipwrecks. The film explores the power of the coastline and the stories of the inhabitants. For a film about shipwrecks, Costa da Morte spends very little time on them. Instead, director Lois Patiño presents his film almost entirely in extremely long shots of the endless ocean. The sounds of the crashing waves create the film’s soundtrack, mingling with the voiceovers of the island’s inhabitants as they tell their stories. Everything is dwarfed by the vastness of...

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Review: Unless

When contemplating the big picture, Unless is nothing special. It’s a simple story; that of a middle-class family thrown into chaos when their oldest daughter, Norah (Hannah Gross), shows up on the street outside of Honest Ed’s, mute and clutching a sign that reads “goodness”. A series of images of the family desperately trying to get her to come home, or at least speak to them, make up the bulk of the film. The cinematography is a bit spotty, never quite deciding if it’s going for a documentary handheld feel, or if it would like to capture a slightly more...

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