Author: Peter Gray

Film critic with a penchant for Dwayne Johnson, Jason Momoa, Michelle Pfeiffer and horror movies, harbouring the desire to be a face of entertainment news.

Film Review: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm thrives more as a real-world commentary than it does as a crude comedy

October 22, 2020

Whilst the novelty of the original Borat film has indeed worn off, this surprise sequel showcases creator Sacha Baron Cohen‘s twisted mindframe still has a place in an America, a country that sadly has only deteriorated since he last held up his own dirty mirror to their mentality. A few weeks ago none of us […]

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Interview: Kajillionaire writer/director Miranda July on creating such a distinctive film and how her cast imprinted on the material

October 22, 2020

As her critically acclaimed film Kajillionaire arrives in Australian theatres (read our review here), writer/director Miranda July spoke to our own Peter Gray about what drew her to create such a distinctive film, how star Evan Rachel Wood imprinted on the material, and the irony of releasing such a thematically anxious film in 2020. Kajillionaire […]

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Film Review: Honest Thief fails to make even the most generic genre tropes engaging

October 22, 2020

Given how many lightweight actioners Liam Neeson has aligned himself with in the last decade or so, you’d be forgiven for not being able to differentiate them from one another given how they have all basically bled into each other.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with this late-in-the-game career change for the gruff Irish actor – […]

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Win a double pass to see Rams in Australian cinemas

October 21, 2020

We have ten double passes to give away to the upcoming release of the Australian comedy Rams, starring Sam Neill, Michael Caton, and Miranda Richardson. In remote Western Australia, two estranged brothers, Colin (Sam Neill) and Les (Michael Caton), are at war. Raising separate flocks of sheep descended from their family’s prized bloodline, the two […]

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Film Review: Kajillionaire is an emotional coming of age story masked underneath an exaggerated comedic premise

October 21, 2020

When you realise that ageing grifters Robert and Teresa Dyne (Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger) named their daughter Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) after a lottery-winning homeless man, you immediately learn everything you need to know about the swindling couple.  They thought the name would secure them inheritance of some sort, but instead they live […]

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AFI Fest Review: Sound of Metal is an already astonishing film elevated by Riz Ahmed’s uninhibited performance

October 20, 2020

After his standout turn opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in 2014’s disturbing neo-noir thriller Nightcrawler, Riz Ahmed seemed destined for greatness on the big screen.  And thankfully, after years of slumming it in supporting roles in Hollywood blockbusters that have all wavered in their quality (Jason Bourne, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Venom), he’s finally been […]

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AFI Fest Review: Shadow in the Cloud in an off-kilter, bi-polar horror film that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before

October 19, 2020

As evident in fellow AU critic Harris Dang’s TIFF review of Shadow in the Cloud, this film’s connection to disgraced screenwriter Max Landis is understandably a hot-button subject.  Whilst I won’t go into the necessary detail, I’m certainly not making light of the allegations brought towards him, but given the fact that co-writer/director Roseanne Liang […]

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AFI Fest Review: The Boy Behind the Door is a ruthless, taut thriller that benefits from its uncomplicated narrative and daringness to place children at its centre

October 18, 2020

Without so much as letting us settle into our seats, The Boy Behind the Door announces itself as a relentless piece of cinema within seconds of its starting time.  This is harrowing, unbearably suspenseful storytelling, with first time directors David Charbonier and Justin Powell plunging headfirst into thrilling territory, seemingly unafraid to tackle upsetting material […]

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Film Review: Irresistible is a witty political comedy for equal opportunists

October 14, 2020

If there’s anyone who would be secure enough to make a film based around politics, Jon Stewart would arguably be one of the most well suited.  Whilst not quite as politically savvy as one might expect, given his penchant for satire, Irresistible is nonetheless a sly, consistently witty affair that wisely doesn’t exactly choose a […]

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Film Review: Miss Juneteenth‘s familiar narrative is overcome by Nicole Behari’s stunning central performance

October 7, 2020

A portmanteau of June and nineteenth, Juneteenth is an American-specific holiday predominantly observed by African Americans celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States.  The importance of this day serves as the backbone for Channing Godfrey Peoples‘ Miss Juneteenth, though it never hits as hard as one might expect, offering […]

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Film Review: Invasion Planet Earth is bizarrely entertaining for all the wrong reasons

October 5, 2020

There’s a certain unique devotion that the sci-fi genre attracts that sets it apart from other thematic classifications within the realms of cinema.  And given just how much effort Invasion Planet Earth managed in order to be finished and released – 20 years of production, seven crowdfunding campaigns, and hours of pro-bono work from filmmaker […]

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Film Review: The surface-level attractiveness of Dirt Music is unable to distract from its lack of narrative depth

October 2, 2020

With so much talent involved it’s a real shame that Dirt Music is unable to chart above underwhelming mediocrity, framing its narrative around a far more interesting back-story that is only sporadically hinted at. Based on the best-selling novel by Australian scribe Tim Winton, and adapted for the screen by Jack Thorne (Enola Holmes, TV’s […]

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Interview: The Croods: A New Age director Joel Crawford on finally getting a sequel off the ground and the coup of the original cast returning

September 22, 2020

To coincide with the global trailer launch of the hotly anticipated sequel The Croods: A New Age, our own Peter Gray caught up with the film’s director, Joel Crawford, to discuss the coup of reuniting the original cast and furthering the emotional aspect of the original story. It must be nice to talk about a […]

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Queer Screen Film Fest Review: Cicada is a beautiful and tragic film that wisely doesn’t preach to its audience

September 19, 2020

Given how authentic this “based on real events” tale proves to be, it’s safe to assume that writer/director/actor Matthew Fifer is baring a healthy portion of his soul and experiences in Cicada.  Likely to ring true with queer audiences – especially gay men – the film tackles uncomfortable subjects and presents promiscuous sex in an […]

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Queer Screen Film Fest Review: Stage Mother is an entertaining yet forgettable affair

September 18, 2020

In 2020, a movie detailing the drag scene and the straight Texan mother who comes to embrace it following the death of her queer son should be something worth remembering.  Even more so when said mother is portrayed by a seasoned performer like Jacki Weaver.  Sadly, as well-intentioned as Stage Mother is, it’s a forgettable […]

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Film Review: The Secrets We Keep is a thought-provoking examination on the aftermath of violence

September 16, 2020

Whilst Yuval Adler‘s The Secrets We Keep has quite a nasty temperament, it’s a testament to his and Ryan Covington‘s script that it never overindulges in its wince-worthy material. Set in a post-WWII America where the horrors of Nazi camps and prisoner brutality are a distant though still painful memory, Maja (Noomi Rapace), a Romani […]

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Film Review: Trolls World Tour‘s sunny disposition is just what families need during these uncertain times

September 14, 2020

Prior to COVID-19 taking a hold of the industry in a capacity the world was unprepared for, Trolls World Tour was primed for a first quarter release – hell, Sydney was even planning a premiere with director Walt Dohrn and star Anna Kendrick in attendance – ready to capitalise on the somewhat-unexpected success of the […]

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Interview: Director Christopher Landon on his Freaky new film, the Happy Death Day franchise, and injecting humanity into the horror genre

September 11, 2020

  As the trailer for Christopher Landon‘s body-swap horror-comedy Freaky premieres across the globe, The AU Review’s Peter Gray was fortunate enough to chat with the director, touching on the casting of Vince Vaughn and Kathryn Newton, his love of the horror genre, and if we can expect a third Happy Death Day. After seeing […]

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Film production set to ramp up in Australia as Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis gets underway in Queensland

September 10, 2020

“We’re back to, as Elvis liked to say, ‘taking care of business’”. And with that statement, Oscar-nominated director Baz Luhrmann once again controls the reins of Elvis, a musical drama detailing the life and music of the iconic Elvis Presley. After an unexpected delay in filming due to the unprecedented world events, cameras will roll […]

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Film Review: Bill & Ted Face the Music is a genuinely joyous slice of nostalgia that proves worth the wait for long-standing fans

September 8, 2020

As someone who was a kid when the first two Bill & Ted films were released (Excellent Adventure in 1989, Bogus Journey in 1991), and watched them on a regular basis throughout my childhood, I’m very much in the target demographic for the unexpected sequel that is Bill & Ted Face the Music.  As 1980’s-leaning […]

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Film Review: Buffaloed is a vehicle for Zoey Deutch’s star quality and infectious enthusiasm

September 7, 2020

Zoey Deutch is a star, and as her infectious enthusiasm and penchant for live-wire-fuelled comedy proves in Buffaloed, the world is simply waiting to catch up to her.  In the same manner as someone like Anna Kendrick, Deutch does so much with so little, going-for-broke with a fearlessness that often elevates both the material she’s […]

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The mission that changes everything begins in latest No Time To Die trailer

September 4, 2020

There’s been a bit of radio silence on the 007 front ever since No Time To Die was one of the first major studio releases to react to the coronavirus pandemic and shifted its original April release to November 2020.  Now that the film’s local November 12th date seems locked and loaded, the promotional trail […]

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Film Review: Mulan opts to be more than just a carbon copy of its animated counterpart

September 4, 2020

Given that the character of Hua Mulan has long been one depicted in poetry, novels, and film for almost as long as she has been a Chinese folklore figure, it’s wiser to view Mulan as another variation of her story, rather than a direct remake of Disney’s 1998 animated favourite. Whereas recent Disney live-action overhauls […]

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TV Review: Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys Season 2 is just as foul and bombastic as its predecessor

September 2, 2020

For the majority of the first episode of this second season helping of The Boys, Karl Urban‘s mouthy, unpredictable Billy Butcher is largely absent.  And it’s with his absence from the titular crew – which also consists of Jack Quaid‘s Hughie, Laz Alonso‘s Mother’s Milk, Tomer Kapon‘s Frenchie, and Karen Fukuhara‘s Kimiko – that the […]

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Film Review: The Eight Hundred is at once a distinctive yet conventional entrant in the war film genre

August 31, 2020

We’re twenty minutes into Hu Guan‘s epic The Eight Hundred before the credits cease on screen.  Then the film informs us that we are on Day 1 of what is to be a four-day siege – not to mention a further 2 hours in its running time. The titular Eight Hundred refers to the 400 […]

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Film Review: Tenet is an ambitious, visually stunning, inherently interesting, mind-numbingly confusing tale

August 22, 2020

There’s a scene relatively early in Christopher Nolan‘s ambitious time-bending actioner Tenet where Clemence Poesey is explaining to John David Washington‘s confused character – known only as The Protagonist – about the supposed science behind his forthcoming operation; “Don’t try to understand it” she assuredly states. And it’s that advice that audiences best take when […]

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Film Review: Sequin in a Blue Room is a risqué but nonetheless important teen-aimed drama

August 19, 2020

A cautionary tale about the thrills and perils of recreational sex in the digital dating world, Sequin in a Blue Room is a risqué but nonetheless important teen-aimed drama that offers something of a safe space for queer or questioning audiences regarding the nature of their sexual selves. An erotic film without being overtly explicit […]

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TV Review: Amazon Prime Video’s World’s Toughest Race: Eco-Challenge Fiji takes a more grounded, inspiring approach to the reality TV format

August 14, 2020

“671 kilometers of jungles, rivers, ocean, and swamp.  And it is…brutal” So says World’s Toughest Race host (and producer) Bear Grylls to an accumulative 66 teams as they gather patiently to learn just what they’re in for over the course of the next 11 days.  And if there’s anyone who knows the extremities of the […]

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Melbourne International Film Festival Review: Black Bear is a chaotic, relentless experience grounded by a mesmerising Aubrey Plaza

August 12, 2020

There are some films you just can’t quite pick. As much as Lawrence Michael Levine‘s Black Bear stays relatively true to its basic plot logline – “A filmmaker at a creative impasse seeks solace from her tumultuous past at a rural retreat, only to find that the woods summon her inner demons in intense and […]

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Mobile-first entertainment platform QUIBI launches in Australia

August 11, 2020

Quick bites.  Big stories. Designed specifically to engage the masses in the smallest of time frames, Quibi produces fresh, original content in bite-sized portions so you’re entertained at any given second. After successfully launching across the US, where their short-form, mobile-specific content proved a viable alternative to the predominant lounge-room streaming of Netflix and Amazon Prime […]

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