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: Judy & Punch is a nasty, inconsistent tale aided by two strong central performances

November 20, 2019

A peculiar film aided by two strong central performances but a distinct nastiness that keeps it from maintaining consistency, Judy & Punch is a brave debut feature from Australian actress-filmmaker Mirrah Foulkes.  Unsure if it wants to be a dark comedy or something more horrific – it sadly lacks orderly humour or thrills to be […]

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Interview: Last Christmas director Paul Feig on creating his new festive classic and why he champions female-driven stories

November 7, 2019

As Last Christmas merrily makes its way to cinemas (read our review here), the film’s director, Paul Feig, brought his own cheer to Australia as he enthusiastically discussed making a new (hopeful) seasonal classic. The AU Review’s Peter Gray sat down with the filmmaker to learn about how Emma Thompson’s George Michael-inspired script came to […]

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Film Review: Last Christmas wears its tinsel-laced heart on its sleeve with an unashamed abandon

November 6, 2019

As much as Last Christmas is selling itself on the notion that it’s “inspired” by the musical catalogue of the late, great George Michael – or more specifically the Wham! festive classic that this film’s title has lifted as its own – it’s ultimately not as formidable as it wishes to be. That’s certainly not […]

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Film Review: Terminator: Dark Fate is enjoyable surface-level fodder that’s unable to bring anything new to the genre table

October 30, 2019

The release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day in 1991 was proof that the oft-expected “inferior sequel” is a projection able to be shattered. It surely helped that that film was helmed by the original director, James Cameron, and in bringing the visionary filmmaker back on board for this fifth sequel, there’s somewhat of an expectation […]

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Film Review: Strange But True is an ambitious neo-noir thriller

October 16, 2019

When Rowan Athale‘s ambitious neo-noir thriller Strange But True opens on the sight of a panicked Nick Robinson running from an unseen threat – with a broken leg, of all things – there’s an immediate sense of intrigue that settles in. Just what he is running from is gradually revealed when the film takes us […]

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Film Review: Judy is as heartbreaking as it is joyous

October 11, 2019

There’s at least one Oscar-grab movie released every year designed with the intent on pushing its lead performer to the front of the nominee queue.  Judy appears to be that movie for 2019.  And that’s certainly not a criticism against the film as it’s a fine biopic in its own right, but Renee Zellweger‘s dedicated […]

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Paul Feig is coming to Australia to promote his George Michael inspired feature Last Christmas

October 10, 2019

Christmas comes early this year as director Paul Feig has been announced to tour Australia to unveil his new romantic comedy, Last Christmas. Universal Pictures announced today that the director will visit Sydney and Melbourne between November 4th and 6th, 2019 for a series of press opportunities. Feig is a writer, producer and director whose […]

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Renee Zellweger to visit Australia for Judy in October

September 25, 2019

Shout hallelujah c’mon get happy because Renee Zellweger is coming to Australia! Universal Pictures has announced that the Academy Award winning actress will visit Melbourne and Sydney this October to celebrate the highly anticipated release of Judy, the Judy Garland biopic from Rupert Goold. Zellweger’s portrayal of the legendary star has been widely predicted by […]

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Film Review: The Dead Don’t Die is disappointingly void of humour and scares

September 24, 2019

Whilst I’m sure the plethora of talent on hand here had an absolute ball making The Dead Don’t Die, Jim Jarmusch‘s deadpan (emphasis on the dead) zombie comedy fails to translate that suggested fun to its audience. Set in the fictional mid-American town of Centreville – the epitome of smalltown USA where there isn’t much […]

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Fantastic Fest Review: Koko-di Koko-da should satisfy enthusiasts of surreal horror films

September 24, 2019

What a strange little arthouse horror flick Koko-di Koko-da is.  What starts out as a relatively straight-forward tale of a once-happy family trying to maintain a sense of worth before breaking down entirely, quickly descends into an experiment of madness, one that is often repetitive and unlikeable but no less inherently fascinating. The aforementioned once-happy […]

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Film Review: Ad Astra will prove to be one man’s wonder to another’s waste

September 19, 2019

The effects are seamless.  The acting is introspective.  The emotional undercurrent aims for supremacy. It’s an operatic space venture that defiantly refuses to adhere to cohesiveness on a narrative level.  And it’s because Ad Astra flirts with moments of greatness only to stubbornly stifle them that James Gray‘s ambitious drama will prove to be one […]

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Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon to deliver keynote and everything you need to know about the first SXSW 2020 announcements

September 12, 2019

Former Sonic Youth bassist-singer Kim Gordon, pop musician-producer-songwriter Benny Blanco, and actor-comedian Cheech Marin have been announced, among others, in an initial line-up regarding keynote and featured speakers for the 34th annual South By Southwest Conference and Festival (March 13-22 2020). “We’re kicking off the 2020 season with a captivating group of speakers. From Keynotes […]

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First Impressions: Netflix’s Unbelievable is a consistently engaging drama that stays true to the sensitivity of the case at its core

September 10, 2019

Despite prominent billing, Toni Collette and Merritt Wever are both absent for the first hour-long episode of Unbelievable, Netflix’s latest limited series that centres itself around a serial rapist and the duo of hardened detectives that investigate.  Instead, Kaitlyn Dever, as arguably the series’ most sympathetic character, earns our attention as Marie, a troubled teen […]

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Film Review: Tabernacle 101 is a frustrating experience that never feels remotely organic

September 4, 2019

Watching a film like Tabernacle 101 is a frustrating experience.  On the one hand, the Australian-made, low (and I mean low) budget sci-fi piece deserves some admiration for the mere fact that it has managed to snare itself a US theatrical release, however limited it may be (it played the first week in September in […]

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Film Review: Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw crackles with energy

July 31, 2019

It’s hard to believe that a franchise that started out as little more than a soft remake of Point Break, pinning Vin Diesel and his disposable crew against low-rent law enforcement with the street racing scene as its background, has transformed itself into a billion dollar commodity where secret agents take on international terrorists.  And […]

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Film Review: Toy Story 4 tailors its heart and humour to audiences across the board

June 19, 2019

If you’ve asked yourself why Disney and Pixar bothered making Toy Story 4, you are not alone. With 2010’s Toy Story 3 serving as the perfect ending to the series, this fourth go-around felt more like a cash-grab than an organic continuation, and though the series as a whole has been that rare breed of […]

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Film Review: Red Joan sadly fails to ignite its potential

June 5, 2019

For a movie based on a true story about an elderly British woman revealed to be a long-term spy for the Russians, one headlined by the ever-reliable Judi Dench, Red Joan sadly fails to ignite its potential. Based on a novel inspired by Melita Norwood (dubbed “The Granny Spy”), who was both a British civil […]

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Film Review: The Aftermath (UK/USA/Germany, 2019) accepts its predictable nature and performs more than adequately

April 11, 2019

One only needs to look at the poster art for James Kent‘s postwar-set romance The Aftermath to gage the triangle of transgression that will unfold over the course of the film’s 108 minute running time.  In fact, the surface level of the Joe Shrapnel/Anna Waterhouse-penned script practically begs you to accept the predictable turn of events, […]

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Film Review: Terry Gilliam’s passion project The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (UK/France/Spain, 2018) is surprisingly void of any heart

April 10, 2019

“And now…after 25 years in the making…and unmaking” So says the wry on-screen text preceding Terry Gilliam‘s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, a near-three decade trek for the eccentric filmmaker whose hope of bringing his off-kilter adventure-comedy to fruition has languished in development hell since its beginnings in 1989. Once intended to be a […]

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SXSW Film Review: Well Groomed (USA, 2019) is well intentioned, oddly emotionally investing, and full of heart

March 10, 2019

As new dog grooming business owner (and one of Well Groomed‘s fascinating human subjects) Nicole Beckman states during her introduction that competitive dog grooming was always something she thought as being “just silly” before entering the competitive stakes herself, her initial thoughts are likely to be mirrored by many unversed in the ways of competitive […]

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Alliance Française French Film Festival Review: The Sisters Brothers (USA/France, 2018) is at once frustrating and fascinating

March 2, 2019

With a title like The Sisters Brothers, one would be forgiven for assuming that Jacques Audiard‘s off-centred western would be something of a comedy.  Whilst there’s moments of black humour peppered throughout Audiard’s English-language debut – which makes its inclusion in this year’s Alliance Francaise French Film Festival all the more curious – this is […]

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Film Review: Happy Death Day 2U (USA, 2019) is just as much of a surprise as the delightfully twisted original

February 13, 2019

Just as much of a surprise as the delightfully twisted original – 2017’s Happy Death Day – Happy Death Day 2U is revelatory not because it improves on its predecessor’s horror temperament, but because it completely bypasses the slasher genre trope and cements itself firmly within the grounds of science-fiction. Given how much fun writer and director […]

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Album of the Week: Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next (2019 LP)

February 12, 2019

Man, can a lot change in six months! When readying the release of last August’s Sweetener, Ariana Grande was arguably at what many would consider her peak.  The album was bathed in the then-glow of her whirlwind romance with SNL comedian Pete Davidson (he even got a song named after him), with the now-Grammy Award […]

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Film Review: The Mule (USA, 2018) is a middle-ground effort from Clint Eastwood

January 22, 2019

Given that this is Clint Eastwood‘s first starring role in six years (his last being 2012’s under-the-radar sports drama The Trouble With the Curve), one would be forgiven for expecting something far more grand and notable than what is ultimately on offer; its push into prime Oscar season releases not helping matters either. Whilst this […]

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Blu-Ray Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado (USA, 2018) succeeds as both a sequel and a stand-alone narrative

December 30, 2018

Denis Villeneuve shone a light on issues that now seem more rife than ever in 2015’s hard-hitter Sicario. For its follow-up, sub-headed Day of the Soldado, the concerns at hand are more unnerving than before, and whilst the argument of whether or not the original film needed a sequel is still a valid talking point, […]

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Interview: Jason Momoa on the 5 year journey to Aquaman and loving his own movie

December 26, 2018

As Aquaman swims his way into cinemas today (read our review here), the King of Atlantis himself, Jason Momoa, has been travelling across the globe in the film’s lead-up to promote the latest offering from the DC roster. Returning to Queensland’s sunny Gold Coast, where the film was mostly shot, Momoa chatted with The AU […]

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Film Review: Aquaman (USA, 2018) proves utterly unapologetic in its decision to play everything as riotous

December 20, 2018

After what has felt to be an endless journey for Jason Momoa‘s portrayal of the King of Atlantis to grace the screens, Aquaman finally arrives in the hopes of both serving the character justice and steering the DC ship back on course after the underwhelming Justice League. Traditionally a blonde-haired/blue-eyed creation that was often the […]

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Film Review: Mortal Engines (NZ/USA, 2018) suffers from an ensemble cast who fail to elevate the stereotypical material above expectation

December 6, 2018

As much as Peter Jackson‘s name is plastered all over this, Mortal Engines is in fact NOT a Jackson joint. Yes, the Lord of the Rings helmer is the most likely reason this film was greenlit (he serves as both co-producer and co-writer) but long-time Jackson collaborator Christian Rivers, who served predominantly as a visual […]

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Film Review: The School (Australia, 2018) goes for broke in its bid to provide escapism within the Australian horror landscape

December 6, 2018

It’s rather unfortunate that Australian cinema really doesn’t have the greatest reputation. It’s not that we aren’t capable of delivering quality homegrown productions, it’s just that we so seldom do, so when something like The School comes along, you can’t help but feel both a sense of disappointment and expectation. To be fair to writer/director […]

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Film Review: Anna and the Apocalypse (UK, 2017) is funny, romantic, appropriately gory and deliriously catchy

November 29, 2018

When you think of zombie comedies, it’s difficult to look beyond the witty brilliance that is Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead (2004).  Whilst we’ve had our share of interesting takes on the walking dead in the years since, the arrival of Anna and the Apocalypse stands as the choreographed high-kick the genre needed.  Not […]

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