Spiders and Doppelgängers – The Secrets of ENEMY Explained

Denis Villeneuve’s enigmatic film Enemy had a quiet release here so I’m probably a bit late to the party. Although it wasn’t widely seen, I’m sure those that have seen it have had a pretty strong reaction to it. In the following piece I will put forward my take on just what it all means. So, heavy spoilers to follow. As in, this will make no sense if you haven’t seen Enemy. Why haven’t you seen Enemy? Go see Enemy. As for the rest of you, let’s see if we can decipher some chaos.

Enemy introduces us to Jake Gyllenhaal’s Adam, a professor who lives alone in his apartment which is occasionally frequented by his girlfriend, Mary. He catches sight of an actor in a film who looks exactly like him. Eventually we meet the actor, Anthony (also Gyllenhaal), who shares an apartment with his pregnant wife, Helen. The film puts forward a reality where Adam and Anthony wrestle with the fact they are identical in every way which creates great tension between them. Continue reading →

We Are The Best!

Looking through Lukas Moodysson’s filmography, I realise that almost accidentally I’ve seen nearly all of his films. His early ones were most likely watched late night on SBS when I was no doubt intrigued by the coveted ‘s’ and ‘n’ in the TV guide, promising me scintillating European sex and nudity. What I got instead, with films like Show Me Love and Together, was an introduction to world cinema with humanist stories about people that I could recognise in my own life.

After a slew of bleaker films in recent years, Moodysson is revisiting the warmth of those earlier efforts. What he has created with We Are The Best is a deeply personal project, this time adapting his wife (Coco Moodysson)’s autobiographical graphic novel about growing up in early 80’s Stockholm and starting a punk band with some friends, a few years after Punk has been declared dead. Keeping the comic’s period setting is key as it infuses the film with a sense of authenticity that the best coming of age dramas contain. Although calling this film a ‘coming of age drama’ perhaps does it a mild disservice as it manages to avoid many pitfalls of the genre and ends up being more of a study of a friendship. Not to mention that it can be funnier than most modern comedies. Continue reading →

Housebound (MIFF 2014)

Gerard Johnstone’s debut feature kicks off with an intriguingly original premise. After a botched robbery, Kylie Bucknell is sentenced to house arrest (complete with electronic ankle bracelet) with her ill-equipped Mother as warden. It’s a haunted house tale wherein the protagonist cannot legally leave.

It’s clear from the opening scene that this is not going to be a gritty, serious horror flick. The suburban comedy is so deft in fact, that it actually renders the scares a bit toothless at times. But despite the tonal balancing act at play, Housebound remains consistently funny, with the horror tropes adding shades to the unusual setting. Continue reading →

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films (MIFF 2014)

Mark Hartley’s unofficial trilogy capper to his genre-films documentary series is a worthy successor to his name-making debut: Not Quite Hollywood (2008).

Electric Boogaloo follows the fortunes of two Israeli cousins, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, as they come to Hollywood to (as they put it) ‘make American movies’. Developing the floundering Cannon Films, they enjoyed success in the 1980’s pumping a steady stream of B-pictures into the market before imploding in the early 90’s. Continue reading →

Turkey Shoot (MIFF 2014)

At a key point in this new remake of 1982’s Turkey Shoot, our stalwart hero asserts that he’s not going to kill the villain, as ‘It’s not about revenge anymore.’ Intrigued, his blonde companion asks: ‘Then what is it about?’
His earnest reply?
‘I don’t know’.

It’s moments like this that make it almost comforting to know that the characters are even less sure of tone and motivation than the audience is. For Turkey Shoot tries to be many things: an exploitation film, a cutting satire of reality TV and an achingly serious action film. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really achieve any of these. Perhaps trying to pin down just one style would have been a good start. Continue reading →

Why Days Of Future Past Invalidates Every X-Men Movie


Time travel movies aren’t easy to get right. Be too fastidious with the science and you risk alienating your audience, ignore too many of your own rules and you risk distracting them from the plot and characters.  Most continuity issues within Days of Future Past itself come from it being a prequel, not a time travel film. In fact, the film actually handles its time travel elements better than most, it just makes casualties out of the earlier films in the process.

So somehow preventing Trask’s death and having mutants save the President (from a scarier mutant) means that the dark future inhabited by genocidal Sentinels never happens. One of the worst narrative travesties occurs when the Sentinels are introduced. In 1973. Which would mean they would have been hunting and killing mutants, growing more and more advanced with every upgrade ever since 1973. All the way up to the dark future time period. 50 years of mutant slaying. Odd that no-one mentioned them in X-Men 1-3 or the Wolverine movies. I guess they weren’t very good at their jobs until recently. Continue reading →

My Break-Up Letter To Quickflix

Dear Quickflix,

It’s over.

We had a good run, I’ll never forget the good times. Remember when we started? 3 Blu-rays out at a time – it was bliss. Your return disc turnover was a day, two at the most. I sung your praises, told everyone about your impressive library and no late fees. The honeymoon period lasted for months and I was content. Joyous, really.

There was a time when I’d suggest a movie for you to add to the collection and you’d oblige. Then one day, I guess I just stopped being important to you. Every suggestion I made you ignored. Then you started to remove titles from my queue. Sure, you assured me they were just going to my ‘reserved’ queue, but I knew they weren’t coming back. Guess I should be grateful you cared enough to lie. Continue reading →

No Need For Any Speed

It is far too early to be wondering what the worst film of the year will be. With eight more months to go the playing field should be wide open. Last year, however, we only reached the first week of February before we were presented with what seemed like a no-brainer (in every sense of the term) in Movie 43. Little did we know that just six weeks later, A Good Day To Die Hard would come along and prove Movie 43 to be nothing more than an odd, albeit vulgar, footnote on most filmgoers end-of-year lists. This year, if a film comes along in the next six weeks, hell, the next six months, that manages to be any worse than video-game-to-big-screen monster Need For Speed, I might not only lose the will to watch movies, I might just lose the will to live. Continue reading →