Welcome to the Film Brief, your down-to-earth source for movie reviews, articles and pieces on cinema, politics, pop culture… basically whatever comes up.

14 02 2013

Zero Dark Thirty: Depiction as Endorsement (?), or: When Movies Get Partisan

By Jonathan Fisher in Rambling Rhetoric,Reviews

  Kathryn Bigelow has been widely criticised for the depiction of torture in her latest war film, Zero Dark Thirty — in interviews she has insisted that “depiction is not endorsement”, but many critics, if not audiences, aren’t so sure. Waleed Aly, a fine and intelligent journalist who until now I did not know had [...]

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31 01 2013

Bottom 5 of 2012

By Jonathan Fisher in Podcasts

  Tim Hoar and I sat down the other week and recorded two podcasts (first ones in three months!). The first was an outline of our least favourite movies of 2012, and the second was a discussion of our favourite movies of the last year. You can access the podcast on iTunes here. Or alternatively [...]

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17 01 2013

REVIEW — Les Misérables

By Jonathan Fisher in Reviews


The Verdict

2 out of 5 With all the subtlety of a hammer, Les Misérables does little to bring us into its world of post-revolutionary France. The songs are overly sombre and self-serious, the lyrics simplistic and often plain nonsensical, and the actors chosen, for the most part, cannot sing. At 140 minutes in length, Les Misérables is flabby and self-indulgent. Continue reading

07 01 2013

Say it… I dare you!!

By Jonathan Fisher in Rambling Rhetoric

In Django Unchained, ‘the n-word’ is used. A lot.

It’s remarkable what passes for journalism these days.

Last week, young journalist Jake Hamilton was interviewing Samuel L. Jackson at a press junket promoting the new Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained. He began to ask what I’m sure he thought was going to be a hard-hitting question by saying “There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding the usage of the n-word in this movie…”

Jackson cuts him off by feigning coyness (“No? Nobody? None?”), before lambasting him playfully for not being able to bring himself to say “the n-word”. The whole clip can be viewed here:



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06 01 2013

REVIEW — Into the Abyss

By Jonathan Fisher in Reviews

Guest review by Tim Hoar

The Verdict

4.5 out of 5:

Into the Abyss is an exceptionally good portrait of one crime, as well as the societal background to that crime and the broader concept of the death penalty as being something ‘good’. It is incredible that a documentary about the darkest corners of humanity, as well as the even darker lengths that are gone to to punish this, is such a beautiful film. Execution is murder. Continue reading

28 12 2012

REVIEW — The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

By Jonathan Fisher in Reviews

The Verdict 3 out of 5 – An Unexpected Journey is a bit of a nostalgic trip back to the time when The Lord of the Rings was cool. As a film on its own merits, it’s a partial success, with sections of inspired and inventive fantasy interrupted by overly long exposition that could easily [...]

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03 12 2012

REVIEW – The Chaser

By Jonathan Fisher in Reviews

Guest review by Tim Hoar, creator of Now Now, I’m Drinking a Beer and Watching a Movie.

The Verdict

4 out of 5 – An excellent, creepy and chilling serial killer flick that slowly evolves from thriller to detective story. Not for the faint of heart, The Chaser is extremely clever, managing to be both action packed and cerebral with two awesome performances taking you on the ride. A ride that ends in a conclusion that will absolutely shred your nerves. Continue reading

23 10 2012

Tuesday Trailer: IRON MAN 3

By Jonathan Fisher in Trailers

As if the insipid Iron Man 2, in addition to Tony Stark getting all the juicy lines in The Avengers weren’t enough, here comes Iron Man 3. The latest trailer is just a teaser that gives away little of the film’s plot, but it certainly hints at the movie’s feel — the star of this one looks [...]

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16 10 2012

Tuesday Trailer: CARRIE

By Jonathan Fisher in Trailers


Chloë Grace Moretz (KickAss, Hugo, Let Me In, Dark Shadows) stars in this adaptation of the Stephen King novel Carrie, which was also filmed in 1976 by Brian de Palma. The story is about a young girl with a telekinesis who unleashes her considerable powers on those around her after being bullied in high school. This new trailer is a tease, not offering much by way of suggestion of the movie’s tone, style, or treatment of the material. Being big King fans here at The Film Brief, we had to give this one a look this week.

This new version of Carrie is directed by Kimberley Peirce, the interesting director who made the Academy Award-winning Boys Don’t Cry (Best Actress, Hilary Swank) as well as the insightful Iraq war film Stop-Loss, which featured yet another fine performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.


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09 10 2012

Wednesday Movie Review — MARGIN CALL

By Jonathan Fisher in Reviews,Trailers

By Guest Contributor Tim Hoar

The Verdict

    out of     

The intelligent Margin Call belongs at the pointy end of 2012 releases. Despite the fact that this is barely more than a series of business meetings, the film is never anything less ultra engaging. This can be attributed to a wonderful script that carries the ebb and flow of these befuddling financial discussions really well. The performances from everyone are fine, especially from Zachary Quinto (and his eyebrows) and Simon Baker. This film is highly recommended to all, a wonderful examination of the disconnect of modern corporate finance, and its impact on the rest of us.  Continue reading

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