Back to Black: New Biopic only Bolsters the Amy Winehouse ‘trainwreck’ Narrative

When Amy Winehouse died at the age of 27 in 2011, many felt the world had been robbed of one its greatest stars who had barely shown us the extent of her talent. The new biopic Back to Black – directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and named after Winehouse’s seminal second album – attempts to make sense of her tumultuous life. By Nathalie Weidhase, University of Surrey.

Oppenheimer’s Triumph, A stunning First Nations performance, and Lots of Sparkles: Five Experts on the 2024 Oscars

Like most biopics, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer – which won seven awards, including the big one, Best Picture – seems kind of silly, an exercise in dress up. We watch “serious” actors like Robert Downey Jr. (who won Best Supporting Actor) and Cillian... By Ari Mattes, University of Notre Dame Australia; Alison Cole, University of Sydney; Bronwyn Carlson, Macquarie University; Harriette Richards, RMIT University, and Tom Clark, Victoria University.

Backstage with Timothée Chalamet in Los Angeles

As the curtain closed on the 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles, the spotlight remained on the effortlessly stylish Timothée Chalamet. While the accolade for Best Actor may have slipped through his fingers, the backstage glimpse into his pre-awards preparation reveals a star who shines just as bright offstage, writes Antonio Visconti.

The Boy and the Heron is an Autobiographical Reflection by Hayao Miyazaki

Much about Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film, The Boy and the Heron, remained a mystery until its premiere in Japanese theatres on July 14. By Tets Kimura, Flinders University.

Did Napoleon Really Fire at the Pyramids? A Historian Explains the Truth Behind the Legends of Ridley Scott’s Biopic

Directors of historical feature films face a difficult task. How can they make the characters familiar to an audience without reducing them to caricature? How can they make sure that knowledge of the outcome – battles won or lost, empires built then ruined – doesn’t make the story seem like it’s writing itself? By Joan Tumblety, University of Southampton.

Monolith Considers the Cultural and Social Implications of New technology

One of the socially redeeming features of mass media has always been its communal aspect, the fact people are drawn together into a shared experience based on network programming. By Ari Mattes, University of Notre Dame Australia.

In Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Land, the Matriarchy can be just as bad as the Patriarchy

At last – after the hype and advance mass-merchandising – the Barbie movie is here. Part spoof, part action fantasy, part Barbie doll virtual museum, it’s a full-blown product placement experience – but ironic as much as iconic. Spoiler alert: this review contains plot details of the film.
By Katie Pickles, University of Canterbury.

George Eliot’s Middlemarch: egoism, moral stupidity, and the complex web of life

Middlemarch (1872) is a slow read and a deeply immersive one. George Eliot – the pen name of Mary Ann Evans (1819-1880) – built rich and complex fictional worlds that she hoped would allow readers to be “better able to imagine and to feel the pains and joys of those who differ from themselves in everything but the broad fact of being struggling, erring human creatures”. Helen Groth, UNSW Sydney

Cannes Film Festival: Stars Gather for amfAR Gala at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cap d'Antibes, France

On a warm, summery evening high up in the hills above the French Riviera, the amfAR gala was getting underway at the historic Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc. Held on the last night of the Cannes Film Festival, stars of the screen, stage and runway, gathered for the event and succeeded in raising more than $17 million, writes Isabella Lancellotti. Photography by Elli Ioannou in France.

Winning Everything Everywhere all at Once: Five Experts on the Big Moments at the Oscars 2023

The Academy Awards in 2023 were a less scandalous affair than last year – although host Jimmy Kimmel never let us forget “the slap”, with so many jokes it was verging on a dead-horse-beating situation. By Ari Mattes, University of Notre Dame Australia; Deborah Fisher, University of the Sunshine Coast; Gregory Camp, University of Auckland; Jindan Ni, RMIT University, and Robert Boucaut, University of Adelaide.

New Exhibition: Behind-the-Scenes of Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Film at the Museum of Modern Art in New York
A fascinating new exhibition has opened at the Museum of Modern Art showcasing the work of celebrated film director Guillermo del Toro and his latest film Pinocchio. The show explores the world of stop-motion animation, including the team of craftspeople and artists behind the film, reports Antonio Visconti from New York.

Sandra Bullock's Arcadian Adobe Hacienda

American Oscar-winning actor Sandra Bullock's idyllic rambling estate in San Diego is surrounded by orchards of olive, avocado and citrus trees. At the heart of the rolling hills is a handsome adobe hacienda opening on to flower-filled gardens. Before the estate is sold, we take a look inside. Alessandro de la Valle reports.

Photo Essay: A Look Back Behind the Scenes at the Cannes Film Festival

Our special correspondent in France, Elli Ioannou looks back at the 74th Cannes Film Festival, the first after a hiatus last year, due to the pandemic. She captures life behind the scenes in the Côte d'Azur town, at the Art Nouveau Villa Aloha, the fashion show at Villa Forbes and the stars gathering at the 27th amfAR gala, including Sharon Stone, Regina King, Orlando Bloom and Spike Lee.

Fashion and Film: Clueless at 25 ~ Like, a Totally Important Teen Film
While many teen films fade away never to be heard of again, Clueless, a loose adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, has remained in the cultural consciousness since its 1995 release. Maybe it’s the catchy soundtrack, or familiar story about social comeuppance, or the endurance of the teen film as a genre. Most likely it’s a combination of many factors. By Phoebe Macrossan, Queensland University of Technology and Jessica Ford, University of Newcastle.

Cannes Film Festival: Hollywood Foreign Press Association Benefit
One of the highlights of the packed calendar at this year's Cannes Film Festival was the star studded benefit hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the International Rescue Committee. The throng of actors included Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, Emma Thompson and Lily Collins, Jeanne-Marie Cilento & Antonio Della Rovere report.

Letter From Los Angeles by Catherine Cyran
Screenwriter and film director Catherine Cyran reflects on quotidian life in LA after a tumultuous Trump presidential victory. Her own career trajectory is the epitome of the American Dream, from growing up in New York's Brooklyn (before its transformation into a wealthy hipster enclave), the daughter of a Polish dockworker, to classical violinist and Harvard University graduate to today's Hollywood writer and director. Photographs of Los Angeles by American director Norman Buckley.

David Adams: Interview with the Filmmaker & Photojournalist
Australian filmmaker and photojournalist David Adam’s exciting television series Alexander’s Lost World is being broadcast on networks around the world. Jeanne-Marie Cilento interviewed the inveterate traveller about his adventures at his beautiful mud-brick home overlooking the Bilgola Plateau in Sydney.

Photo Essay: They had Stars in their Eyes ~ 69th Cannes Film Festival
Artist and photographer Elli Ioannou captures the spontaneous joy and celebration at this year's Cannes Film Festival along with the more prosaic moments waiting behind the scenes.

Robert De Niro in Rome: Remembering His Father The Artist
Robert De Niro has produced a documentary about his artist father's life and work during the celebrated 1940s and 50s New York School. The American actor visited Rome for its European premiere and to talk about his relationship with Robert De Niro Senior and his oeuvre, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento. Additional reporting by Raphael West & Antonio Visconti.

Wes Anderson's New Short Film Premieres at Rome Film Festival
American director Wes Anderson's new short film Castello Cavalcanti starring Jason Schwartzman and produced by Roman Coppola opens at the Rome International Film Festival, Jeanne-Marie Cilento reports.

Designing 007: New Exhibition Opens at Melbourne Museum
James Bond’s design and style is exhibited at the spectacular show Designing 007 which first opened at London's Barbican and has now moved to the Melbourne Museum, writes Jeanne-Marie Cilento.

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