Film & TV

Sketchbook Pictures

If you thought 2020 wasn’t scary enough, check out horror short Bill

July 9, 2020

Bill, recently released by Sketchbook Pictures‘ Dan Gitsham and Sophie Mair, might only clock in around the three minute mark, but it certainly makes an impact. Featuring Roxanna Vilk as a woman trying desperately to contact her dead husband, the horror short is eerie, suspenseful, and lingers long after the final scare. Inspired by the ghost […]

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Film Review: Waves is both a stirring and sobering experience

July 9, 2020

Despite this year’s Oscars honouring one of 2019’s more diverse offerings (Bong Joon-ho’s Korean black comedy/thriller Parasite), the whitewashing of the event was overwhelming.  In a cinematic year where actors of colour delivered universally-praised performances (see Lupita Nyong’o in Us, Awkwafina in The Farewell, and Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, for a start), it was disappointing that […]

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Film Review: Love Sarah delivers a charming but under-baked cinematic confection

July 2, 2020

When the eponymous Sarah unexpectedly passes away, her best friend and business partner Isabella (Shelley Conn) throws in the towel and backs out of their dream of running a bakery. But when Sarah’s daughter and estranged mother (Shannon Tarbet and Celia Imrie, respectively) re-enter her life, things are set right back in motion. With the […]

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Film Review: Dogs Don’t Wear Pants: In case Fifty Shades was too safe for you…

July 1, 2020

In case the filmic version of Fifty Shades of Grey was ultimately a little too safe in its actuality compared to the near-porn mentality of E.L. James’s novel, J-P Valkeapää‘s striking Dogs Don’t Wear Pants stands as something of a reparative.  And as much as the bold, dark comedy intends to shock its audience, this remains […]

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Is Netflix’s Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga worth watching?

June 28, 2020

Given the state of the world right now, a little comedy would be the perfect antidote to distract us.  And, on paper, a satire-cum-love-letter surrounding the Eurovision Song Contest starring Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams as a duo of Icelandic popstar-wannabes desperate to win said contest sounds like a potential winner. The reality, unfortunately, is […]

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Interview: Irish actor Michael Smiley on his macabre new role in Acorn TV’s Dead Still

June 24, 2020

After an enormously successful launch in the United States and Canada, Acorn TV has arrived in Australia and New Zealand.  A predominantly British-centric service that showcases the best drama the UK has to offer, one of the instantly accessible series on the “Netflix for Anglophiles” is Dead Still.  Set in 1880’s Ireland, the comedically macabre […]

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8 top films to watch for Sydney Film Festival’s Virtual Edition this week

June 16, 2020

You may be forgiven for not realising one of Sydney’s most beloved festivals is running right now. The 67th Sydney Film Festival has been condensed, tinkered with, and ported to the digital-only world to align with the ongoing global pandemic. And we’re in it’s second week right now, given the program of just 33 films […]

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Film Review: Darkness Falls is a hollow thriller that doesn’t rise above its B-grade sensibility

June 15, 2020

At just over 80 minutes, Darkness Falls (which is also known as Anderson Falls in other regions) understands the importance of not overstaying its welcome.  It’s a lean, tight running time for a serial killer thriller, one that opens with a particularly harsh sequence where the predators murder their prey by forcing them to digest […]

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Film Review: Da 5 Bloods is Spike Lee’s Vietnam War opus and one of his very best

June 15, 2020

Fresh off the acclaim of his last film Blackkklansman and the series reboot She’s Gotta Have It, writer/director Spike Lee is back with his most ambitious film yet; the 2020 wartime drama Da 5 Bloods. Taking his prescient, provocative style and conveying it on a larger scale, it looks to be an absolute winner. A […]

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Artemis Fowl

Is Disney Plus’ new kids film Artemis Fowl worth watching?

June 12, 2020

Based on the 2001 book series by author Eoin Colfer, Disney have finally released their latest adaptation onto their streaming service. The film was originally delayed from an August release last year to April 2020. Then the Covid-19 pandemic caused a closure of cinemas globally. Now, finally, the film finally receives a release on Disney Plus […]

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Win the 6th Season of Schitt’s Creek on DVD and enjoy the final 14 episodes

June 1, 2020

And so my dear Bébés, it’s time to say goodbye. After 6 seasons, 80 episodes, countless nonsensical European-inflected ramblings, and, surprisingly, only two “Ew, David”‘s, Schitts’s Creek has come to and end. In the series’ swan song, the Roses (co-creators Eugene Levy and Dan Levy, Catherine O’Hara, and Annie Murphy) are achieving success in their careers and […]

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Is Steve Carrell Netflix comedy series Space Force worth watching?

June 1, 2020

With the creative pedigree of both Steve Carrell and The Office’s Greg Daniels behind Netflix’s latest comedy series, and attach that to a send-up of the recently canonized Space Force, the newest military branch of the United States defence forces. The result is a series that doesn’t entirely misfire but also fails to reach the […]

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Film Review: End of Sentence transcends its predictabilities thanks to a little Irish charm

May 28, 2020

End of Sentence treads a familiar path.  And, initially, Elfar Adalstein‘s father-son-centric drama is a particularly downtrodden affair that audiences may not believe they’ll warm to.  The film’s lead characters don’t come off as the most inviting either – Logan Lerman‘s fresh-out-of-prison Sean and his doormat dad, Frank, played by John Hawkes – and their […]

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Skyline Drive In Blacktown reopens to the public from today

May 28, 2020

As one of NSW’s only remaining drive in cinemas, the vintage-minded Skyline Drive In Blacktown has officially reopened as of 28th May. With the ideal format for social distancing, it builds upon popularity of drive-in movies in the current pandemic, which has seen places like Vilnius in Lithuania turn its airport into a drive-in cinema […]

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Is Netflix’s The Lovebirds worth watching?

May 22, 2020

Not unlike fellow Netflix offering Murder Mystery, The Lovebirds adopts the tried and true premise of regular-folk-get-mixed-up-in-a-major-crime and hopes it has enough of a strong centre to overcome any unoriginality.  And whilst the screenplay from Aaron Abrams (a sometimes-actor whose credits include Resident Evil: Apocalypse and The Open House) and Brendan Gall (TV’s Blindspot) doesn’t […]

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First Impressions: Amazon Prime Video’s Little Fires Everywhere overcomes its melodramatic state thanks to nuanced performances from Witherspoon and Washington

May 22, 2020

Perhaps as it should, Little Fires Everywhere does indeed start with a fire.  “There are little fires everywhere”, a fire marshal relays to a distraught Reese Witherspoon and a concerned Joshua Jackson, as they stare at their sprawling suburban home engulfed in flames.  The marshal’s statement indicates this was intentionally lit, setting up an immediate […]

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Interview: Australian director Gregor Jordan on adapting Tim Winton’s Dirt Music and how the global pandemic is altering the industry

May 21, 2020

  The latest film from acclaimed Australian director Gregor Jordan (Two Hands, Ned Kelly), Dirt Music is a gritty, sexy drama with a haunting love story at its heart set against the powerful backdrop of Western Australia’s evocative landscape.  Based on the novel by Tim Winton, the cinematic adaptation will be coming to Australian cinemas […]

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Film Review: Hearts and Bones – Hugo Weaving shines in tender Australian drama

May 21, 2020

The dynamic relationship people share with personal trauma is examined in this emotionally complex and sensitively written debut feature by Australian filmmaker Ben Lawrence. Memories and the role they play in our lives sits at the core of Hearts and Bones, giving Lawrence and co-writer Beatrix Christian plenty of tough, poignant material to work with […]

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Film Review: The Assistant is uncomfortable but necessary viewing

May 19, 2020

Though disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein does not physically appear in The Assistant, nor does his likeness or even his name, this quietly disturbing drama from Australian filmmaker Kitty Green very much has him in mind. There’s a humiliation and systemic mentality that rings true throughout the film’s brisk 85 minute running time as it […]

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Is David Spade Netflix comedy The Wrong Missy worth watching?

May 18, 2020

The latest film to be trotted out onto Netflix’s new rotation is The Wrong Missy. Straight up, you should know that this project comes courtesy of Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions team, so that might immediately throw up some questionable flags to begin with. Bankrolled by the streaming giant, predominantly set in Hawaii (presumably as […]

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Caliphate Netflix

Is Netflix’s Caliphate worth watching?

May 18, 2020

Streaming on Netflix now, Caliphate is an eight-episode thriller shot between Sweden and Jordan, following a planned ISIS terror plot in Stockholm while at the same time examining the much deeper issue of radicalisation. With a long-running show like Homeland wrapping up (rather well, might I add) after eight seasons, it’s expected that some fans […]

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Joker, 1917, Ford v Ferrari and more digital downloads are $5 right now

May 15, 2020

If you don’t want to play the waiting game and count the days before the likes of Joker and 1917 hit streaming services than this week is going to be good to you. For the next few days, from now until Wednesday 20th May, a digital download frenzy called Mega Movie Week is on, slashing […]

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Review: HBO’s new film Bad Education is “the most Australian movie about Long Island ever made”

May 14, 2020

The newest feature film for us to enjoy from the company of our own homes during isolation is one that was never acquired for big screen distribution. Coming from HBO Films (following the largest acquisition deal of the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival), Bad Education is the dramatised telling of a true story of corruption […]

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MIFF introduce Digital Film Festival 68½

May 7, 2020

In the face of the global disruption to the entertainment market, the film industry is finding new and innovative ways to keep cinema enthusiasts connected, and today the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) announced MIFF 68½ – a reimagined celebration of film online. Following the festival’s cancellation, MIFF Artistic Director Al Cossar and his team […]

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First Impressions: Netflix’s second season of Dead To Me continues to complement its comedic personality with a wealth of emotion

May 7, 2020

*This review will contain spoilers pertaining to Dead To Me’s first season* It goes without saying that if you haven’t finished season one of Netflix’s deliciously comedic Dead To Me (or watched it all, shame on you if so), this second season is not for you to play catch up.  And after the unexpected note […]

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Film Review: Assume the position and get ready for a wild ride with Butt Boy

May 7, 2020

Don’t be put off by the title! Butt Boy tells the story of Chip Gutchel (Tyler Cornack, also performing double duty in the director’s chair), a bored IT engineer, who has a reawakening after a routine prostrate exam. Some harmless anal pleasure grows into a dangerous addiction, as he becomes responsible for a missing child. […]

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Is Alex Garland’s high concept sci-fi thriller Devs worth watching?

May 7, 2020

Devs is the sort of television mini-series that demands your full attention. This is for a couple of reasons. The first being that the subject matter of deterministic universes and philosophical questions of free will are topics that will leave you in deep thought long after the show ends. The second being that this show […]

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Film Review: 1983’s Ozploitation classic Hostage is little more than a Lifetime movie with sporadic moments of exploitation thrown in

May 5, 2020

Given the fact that Hostage has something of a reputation for being one of Australia’s biggest Ozploitation films, you’d be forgiven for assuming it would live up to its supposed status.  And whilst the opening credits suggest the film to come will be one heavy on uncomfortable violence – there are sudden, furious flashes of […]

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TV Review: Amazon Prime Video’s Upload is a thought-provoking comedy on the realities of the afterlife

May 1, 2020

As easy as it is to compare Upload to a program such as The Good Place – given that both series’ deal with the afterlife – Greg Daniels‘ romantic-comedy-cum-mystery is more a commentary on capitalism, a topic it tackles as successfully as it does ineffectually. Set in the not-too distant future (2033, to be exact), […]

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Film Review: The Flood overcomes its melodramatic narrative thanks to topical sensitivity

May 1, 2020

The opening scrawl of The Flood states that at least 18,000 people who have been displaced by persecution, conflict and violence in their own habitats around the world have died in the last 5 years alone in their bid to reach Europe.  It’s a shocking statistic regarding those trying to enter another country, but in […]

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