RBG is a documentary film directed and produced by Betsy West and Julie Cohenwhich recently premiered at the Sundance film Festival . RBG is Ruth Bader Ginsburg ( nee Ruth Joan Bader). She is a member of the US Supreme Court. At times almost painfully shy and reserved she is 83 years of age she has become an icon to liberal America and its youth.
How did this come about?
The film explores her path from a working class family in Broklyn to Supreme Court Justice. But it is more than that for her journey parrallels the the enormous social and legal victories women were able to achieve from the 1970s.  Central to that change was RBG. Six times she appeared before the Supreme Court to argue for womens rights..the right to equal pay, the right to own their bodies, for equality before the law. And five times she won. She was not only an advocate for women.
In Weinberger v Wiesenfeld she was for Weinberger, a male home maker denied his deceased wife’s social security pension on the basis that it was only awarded to mothers.
The film is an insight into this almost ancient frail woman of great intelectual strength and discipline who even now attends the gym regularly to spend an hour with her personal trainer, at the end of which she professes “…Im ready for another hour”. A wonderful wordsmith she once criticised the majority decision of her judicial bretheren saying it was “the equivalent of throwing away an umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
Also chronicled is the story of her marriage to Martin D Ginsburg another lawyer without whose wise and unwavering support she would never have achieved  High Office.
Today she is in great demand as a speaker. Books have been written about her “…Notorious R B G:The Life and Times Of Ruth Bader Ginsburg” .
After she graduated equal first in class from Columbia University Law School there was not a law firm in New York who would hire her. What she did with her life thereafter is a compelling story , insightfully told by the filmmakers with charm wit and insight.
See it.
RBG will open in cinemas on Thursday 26th July 2018.


Behind any great man, there’s always a greater woman.  Joan Castleman (Glenn Close) has spent forty years  sacrificing her own talent, dreams and ambitions to support her charismatic, philandering husband Joe (Jonathan Pryce) and his brilliant literary career. Their faithful pact reaches breaking point on the eve of Joe’s being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Wife is an emotional journey of self-discovery and liberation.

Breathtakingly engrossing THE WIFE releases in Australia on August 2, 2018 through Icon Film Distribution.  You can see a video trailer here and read The Guide’s review here. Continue reading THE WIFE: WE HAVE A DVD PACK TO GIVE AWAY

au revoir la haut: see you up there

The superb saga AU REVOIR LA HAUT (See You Up There) is a cinematic triumph, a little bit Beauty and the Beast, a little bit Paths of Glory, a little bit Phantom of the Opera, and a whole lot of satisfying storytelling and spectacle.

Sublime cinematography, deliciously detailed design, pitch perfect performances conspire to make AU REVOIR LA HAUT one of the great cinema going experiences of the year.

Beginning with an awesome aerial shot tracking a French army Alsatian dog across the battlefield and into the trenches on the eve of the First World War Armistice, AU REVOIR LA HAUT presents its credentials as a grand scale epic from the first frame.

The hubris and horrors of war, the slaughter and the sacrifice and the contrasting forging of friendship amongst the carnage, are startlingly depicted in a first act that sets up a story that ripples into peacetime and the civilian life of two comrades at arms.

Albert is rescued from entombment from the battlefield by Edouard who in turn is saved by Albert after an explosion knocks him off his feet and his jaw from his face. Both are witnesses to a war crime committed by their commanding officer, Pradelle.

More pressing than than bringing the offensive officer to justice is disguising the disfigured Edouard and getting him back home for the prosthetics surgery he needs. Edouard is emphatic he wants to be officially known as killed in action so that he does not have to face his father or sister and their plot to switch identities with a soldier fatally felled on the field makes them artificially complicit with Pradelle.

Settling into civilian life, Edouard, a talented artist, turns out biting and blistering pamphlets on war profiteering and the appalling lack of caring repatriation for the returned servicemen, especially those maimed physically and psychologically. He also does a nice turn in mask making, concealing his disfigurement in a dazzling array of masks, fancy facades and faux visages that give the film a surreal feel, a fairy tale quality that suffuses the narrative with absurd comedy amid the solemn and serious aspects of the story.

Cinematography by Vincent Matthias is sweeping, sumptuous and just plain swell, a wide screen execution that has no superior so far this year.

The score, by Christophe Julien, is similarly stupendous, music that evokes, stokes and supports the various strands of this monumental movie.

Costumes by Mimi Lempicka are stunning and gorgeous, augmenting character and the exquisite Production Design by Pierre Queffelean.

Directed by Albert Dupontel who also co wrote the screenplay with the author of the book on which the film is based upon, Pierre Lamaitre, AU REVOIR LA HAUT boasts an impressive cast, led by Dupontel himself as Albert, as expressive in eyes as in anything that rolls off his tongue. Indeed, there is something of the silent screen in the technique employed, redolent of the era it is set, an inspired choice that enhances the characterisation.

Edouard’s devastating and disfiguring injury reduces him to grunts and groans, so the actor Nahuel Perez Biscayart plays him accordingly with expressive eye and body language.

As the villain of the piece, and of the peace, Pradelle, Laurent Lafitte is the embodiment of the big screen baddie, a cad and bounder, a bag of effluent attaining affluence, a nasty bit of goods of which there is not a skerrick of good.

The incomparable Niels Arestrup plays Edouard’s estranged industrialist dad with gravitas and a great gulf of grief submerged, affectingly and effectively emerging in the film’s denouement.

Newcomer and certified scene stealer Heloise Balster makes an impressive debut as Louise, a little girl who befriends Albert and Edouard and literally becomes Edouard’s mouth piece.

AU REVOIR LA HAUT casts a spell of magical moviemaking and achieves a rare stature of screen entertainment. See you up there.


The latest offering as part of the NT Live screenings is Shakespeare’s MACBETH .

This production as directed by Rufus Norris and starring Rory Kinnear and Anne- Marie Duff is bloody , violent bleak and set in a ‘timeless’ post-civil war /futuristic world .

Kinnear and Duff are excellent and give strong performances , leading the talented ensemble (most of whom double/triple roles ) in their uneasy nightmarish universe.

The evening begins and ends cyclically with a gruesome simulated decapitation.

The set design by Rae Smith has a black backdrop and a large sloping shifting ramp.  It also includes concrete bunker like designs , shredded bin liners, trees that look like giant mops, well worn weather beaten clothes and lots of garbage bags – creating an atmosphere of jagged uneasiness and  contemporary decay (Dunsinane is perhaps a partly destroyed housing estate) blended with Gothicky eeriness Continue reading N T LIVE: MACBETH- DARK, BLEAK AND DESOLATE


Army trucks and monsters made an appearance near The Spot at Randwick. No cause for alarm as they were all part of  publicity for the world premiere screening of the new Australian film .OCCUPATION at the Randwick Ritz cinema on the 10th July, 2018.

To demonstrate their commitment to the film, nearly the whole cast walked the Red Carpet to support Luke Sparke, the director, writer and producer of the film.

With a budget of $6 million and no Commonwealth or State funding it is high stakes game as to whether he can make a desired for sequel.

Harking back to sci fi adventures of the 1980s like Independence Day, and with a talented multicultural cast it is hoped that it will have broad general appeal, when yet again aliens attack and earthlinks fight back.

Shot on the Gold Coast and Murwillumbah, northern New South Wales, with a distinctive Australian flavour, the producers and director hope for an international release.


All pics by Ben Apfelbaum.


I’ve got no choice. I can’t do what everybody else does, I can’t be a civilian, I’ve no backbone. I got a funnybone instead.”

FUNNY COW charts the rise to stardom of a female comedienne through the 1970’s and 1980’s. It is set against the backdrop of working men’s clubs and the stand-up comedy circuit in the North of England. From her troubled childhood to her turbulent adult
relationships, the FUNNY COW uses the raw material of her life experiences to bring her unique style of comedy to the stage. A stand-up comedienne in an all-male world, FUNNY COW delivers tragedy and comedy in equal measure. Continue reading MAXINE PEAKE IN ‘FUNNY COW’: IN-SEASON PASSES GIVE-AWAY


The pre-credit intro begins in traditional style, “Ladies and gentlemen, a big hand for …..” and we see a woman, middle aged, spangled red dress, on a stage, captured from behind in a smoky spot. A comedian it appears but when we come close-up, her personal stream-of-consciousness, Lenny Bruce-ish shtick is as sad and lost as her lowered gaze and twinkleless eyes .  So begins a very unconventional film.  Gently tossing back and forward, FUNNY COW will give some insights into this woman’s life and leave other events unspoken.  Ignored or explored, her loves and conflicts and stand-up career will swirl around several superbly realised evocations of period to showcase a gutzy misfit who has no choice but to succeed.

FUNNY COW began in a conversation between actor Maxine Peake and writer Tony Pitts when they were both working on the TV series RED RIDING 1980.  They found they shared an interest in the Working Men’s Clubs of northern England and the comedy circuit around them.  As created by Pitts, the eponymous Funny Cow will find a place here with a foul mouth and a working class sensibility, racism, homophobia and all.  But that is just part of the story. Continue reading FUNNY COW: A REBELLIOUS SPIRIT IN AN UNCONVENTIONALLY TOLD FILM


RGB:  A look at the life and work of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

At the age of 84, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has developed a breathtaking legal legacy while becoming an unexpected pop culture icon. But without a definitive Ginsburg biography, the unique personal journey of this diminutive, quiet warrior's rise to the nation's highest court has been largely unknown, even to some of her biggest fans - until now.

RBG is a revelatory documentary, exploring Ginsburg’s exceptional life and career, from Betsy West and Julie Cohen.  Marking her 25th year on the U.S. Supreme Court, RBG is a multidimensional portrait of the Justice through intimate interviews with family, friends, colleagues, and critics, along with vérité scenes and archival news footage documenting her career, family photographs, and exclusive home movies. Continue reading WE HAVE GIVEAWAYS TO ‘RBG’: A LIFE OF LEGAL LEGACY

back to burgundy: ce qui nous lie

Back to Burgundy from Australia, BACK TO BURGUNDY is a tale of terroir, tradition and tippling.

Jean (Pio Marmaï) left his family and his birthplace of Burgundy ten years ago to tour the world, finally settling in Australia, beginning a business and starting a family.

Learning of his father’s imminent death, he returns to his childhood home where he reunites with his sister Juliette (Ana Girardot), and his brother Jérémie (François Civil).

It’s a happy reunion but tinged with rapprochement as the prodigal feels the pinpricks of his decade of incommunicado and the fact that he missed his mother’s funeral. Continue reading back to burgundy: ce qui nous lie


THE WIFE is an intimate story shot with intimacy in every frame.  Beginning with a closely observed, character-setting sexual encounter, the film tells its story on the faces of its cast. Originally written in the first person by Meg Wolitzer, the novel was described by the New York Times as “near heartbreaking document of feminist realpolitik”.  This film, written by Jane Anderson and directed by Björn Runge doesn’t use a voice over or any narrative from its eponymous character, the commentary is in the faces.

Joan (Glenn Close) is the wife of the title.  Even as a younger woman played by Annie Starke she was shy to put herself and her own writing in front of intimidating English lecturer Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce, younger version played by Harry Lloyd).  It is now a lifetime later and she and Joe are a long time married couple.   Continue reading THE WIFE – GLENN CLOSE AND JONATHAN PRYCE IN INTIMATE MODE


A Trump regime trumpeter for putting up the wall to keep Mexican drug cartels from sending drugs, people and jihadis, SICARIO DAY OF THE SOLDADO is a clarion call for with so much macho swagger, and one of the year’s major disappointments.

Admirers of the original Sicario film will find little of interest in this squalid sequel.

Whereas the original film had an urgent narrative, SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO seems somehow stationary, stuck in traffic, like the frustratingly slow lanes at the Mexican US border.

The jagged line of the US. and Mexican border is now awash in some of the most pressing questions of our times – drugs, terror, illegal immigration, corruption and an escalating swath of dark crime that has left people on both sides frightened and vigilant. Continue reading SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO