New movies this week

Hits & misses at inner west cinemas

Opening this week 13.04


François Ozon shot this reworking of an earlier fevered melodrama (Ernst Lubitsch’s Broken Lullaby) in black and white, with only a few brief scenes in colour. They’re the very rare moments when one of the characters might allow a glimmer of joy into their lives – for everyone here has been hit hard by the tragedy of WW1. We begin with a dour elderly German couple (Ernst Stotzner and Marie Gruber) still grieving for the son they lost in France. One day his finance Anna (Paula Beer) who lives with them, spots a French visitor (Pierre Niney) at the dead mans’ grave, himself a fragile veteran of that terrible conflict. Despite the anti-French hostility rife in the town, he’s welcomed into their home after claiming to have been a friend of the dead son in Paris before the war. But what was their real relationship? And why is he sticking around with Anna? The reveal – which actually comes just over half way in and then there’s lots more twists and deceptions to come – isn’t what we’ve been led to think. Easily, this is Ozon’s best work since Swimming Pool. PG from Apr 13. ★★★★


Personal Shopper

Apparently French auteur Oliver Assayas was so impressed with Kirsten Stewart’s work in Clouds of Sils Maria, he immediately wrote another film just for her. A lot of people were – she won a César Award (the French Oscar) for her role as a nerdish twitchy personal assistant. In Personal Shopper she’s still nervous, though for a more obvious reason. As well as being an assistant to a demanding celebrity, she’s also a medium to the spirit world, and is both haunted by and desperate to get in touch with her dead brother. She shares the medical condition that killed him, and that spooky concept plays out unnervingly after she starts getting text messages, which are either from him or a stalker. There are genuinely scary thriller elements here, but ultimately it’s a way more substantial multi-genre film about grief and loneliness in the digital age. Sils Maria fans will be just as rapt this time, but as in that unsettling film – there are no easy answers about its mysterious ending. MA15+ from Apr 13. ★★★★



In 1996, British holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall) sued Jewish-American writer Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) for libel, claiming she’d smeared his reputation as a historian. Wisely, Lipstadt hired a shrewd lawyer (coolly played by Andrew Scott) and a top silk (Tom Wilkinson), and their legal strategy and courtroom duelling with Irving, who represented himself, makes for an unexpectedly gripping and intoxicatingly exciting film. A very talky one for sure – David Hare wrote the script – so you do have to enjoy super smart verbal jousting and intelligent argument. Not everyone does – Denial is enjoying only modest box-office success overseas. Irving is reportedly “delighted” by that, but admits, “he hasn’t seen it.” Maybe that’s just as well, as Spall, deploying an impressive but hardly flattering range of sneers, snorts and pouts, portrays him as a vain egotist. By far the strongest segment is the brief visit to Auschwitz on a frigid day that, remarkably for Hollywood, Mick Jackson (The Bodyguard) stages without treating us to Arvo Part’s Symphony of Sorrowful Songs. But it’s there the full dramatic impact of all that talk is revealed. And it’s like a bucket of icy water being poured over our heads. M from Apr 13. ★★★★ 1/2



How did Nacho Vigalondo ever pitch such a concept? Even for a strange left-field indie, Colossal is decidedly well – weird. It’s a rom-com, sort of – a wryly hip coming of age dramady giving Anne Hathaway as Gloria her best role since Rachel Getting Married, but its sci-fi too, and oh yes, by the way, a Godzilla-like creature is destroying Seoul, and somehow that might be Gloria’s fault. She’s a partying, out of work blogger thrown out of her partner’s slick NY apartment and prone to drinking to catatonic levels every night, but can she change her ways and save the Korean capital from annihilation? Put aside any reservations and just go with this. Hathaway is brilliant, and the clever twisty script delivers a climax that is both grandly operatic and surprisingly cathartic. from Apr 13. ★★★★

Reviews: Russell Edwards