Mike Kennedy

Mike Kennedy

Pro

Tastes range across all genres. Not a hater - but people who chat, text, eat loudly during a film push me very close.

Favorite films

  • Wings of Desire
  • Talk to Her
  • Norte, the End of History
  • Down by Law

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  • Grass Labyrinth

    ★★★★

  • Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets

    ★★★★½

  • There Will Be Blood

    ★★★★★

  • Raw

    ★★★★

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  • Dracula

    Dracula

    ★★★★

    I was not all that impressed when this film was first released in Australia as it seemed out of whack with Francis Ford Coppola’s earlier filmography.  My film journal notes recorded that the characters seemed to sink under the weight of the storytelling and that Coppola’s decision to separate himself from earlier film versions left him stranded in a weird no man’s land - neither literary adaptation nor horror movie (not even psychological horror).

    Rewatching it all these years later,…

  • Stranded: The Saints and the Birth of Punk

    Stranded: The Saints and the Birth of Punk

    ★★★★★

    I need to declare up front that I find it impossible to maintain any kind of critical distance from this documentary, directed by Serge Ou (with a segment director credit for Andy Neil) for Wildbear Entertainment, the ABC and Film Queensland.  This is the footage and the soundtrack of my 20s and it was a joy to spend a little over an hour seeing dozens of people I knew well 40  to 50 years ago, bands that were part of…

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  • Grass Labyrinth

    Grass Labyrinth

    ★★★★

    Stylistically and visually, the second film in the JFF Terayama sidebar is very different from Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets (1971) but thematically there is considerable crossover.

    The linking plot thread this time is a quest by Akira (Hiroshi Mikami as a boy and Takeshi Wakamatsu as a young man) to track down the lyrics of a song that his mother (Keiko Niitaka) used to sing to him in his childhood.  There were times when this short film (40…

  • Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets

    Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets

    ★★★★½

    I was unaware of Japanese writer/director Shūji Terayama until the Japanese Film Festival with the support of The Japanese Foundation Film Library programmed five of his films as this year’s annual free retrospectives sidebar.  The festival program mentions him as a leading figure in Japanese experimental underground theatre in the ‘60s before turning his hand to experimental cinema and that background comes through clearly in his films in this season.

    I was not sure what to expect, given the summaries…

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  • It Must Be Heaven

    It Must Be Heaven

    ★★★★½

    There was a point about a third of the way through writer/director Elia Suleiman's absurdist comedy that I realised that hidden just under the surface of the very funny screenplay was a diamond-hard political edge.

    Suleiman, playing himself, opens his film in Palestine then travels to Paris and New York trying to get producers to put up the money for his latest film. He runs into Western stereotypes of what a Palestinian is and what a Palestinian film must be.…

  • The Trouble with Being Born

    The Trouble with Being Born

    ★★★★

    Thanks to a sensible approach by Australia’s Classification Board which rated the film R18+ (restricted to 18 and over), we are now able to see Sandra Wollner’s film which was pulled from the Melbourne International Film Festival virtual program after two forensic psychologists contacted by Karl Quinn, the film critic at The Age, condemned the film as “a source of arousal for men interested in child abuse material” in one case and constituting “child abuse material” in the other.  The…