Reviews

Film Review: One Night in Miami is a thematically powerful and emotionally riveting chamber piece

January 13, 2021

In America 1964, the audience is introduced with its four main players. Renowned boxer Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) had just defeated Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion of the world; Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) is still fighting for the cause for Black people; pop musician Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom […]

Read More

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

January 12, 2021

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 […]

Read More

Film Review: Promising Young Woman is a delicious indulgence that will make your stomach churn

January 5, 2021

With an often bright, candy coated aesthetic that masks a darker, more poisonous taste inside, Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell‘s bold debut, is the type of delicious indulgence that will ultimately make your stomach churn. Headlined by a career-best Carey Mulligan (her performance sure to be a consistent contender come award season), Promising Young Woman […]

Read More

Film Review: The Dry is a tension-laced thriller that stays true to its source material

December 28, 2020

Suitably gripping from the opening images of the bloody aftermath of a supposed murder-suicide – made all the more unsettling to the sounds of an infant crying – Robert Connolly‘s The Dry, an adaption of Jane Harper’s best-selling novel, is a tension-laced thriller that stays true to its source material. The murder-suicide that initially garners […]

Read More

Film Review: Let Me Take You Down proves that the public’s penchant for true crime has gone a step too far

December 27, 2020

Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney have often asked that we do not name John Lennon’s killer. They reasoned that we should not reward Mark David Chapman, nor grant him the fame and notoriety he sought from that heinous act. There have been many films and books about John Lennon’s murder over the years. The latest, […]

Read More

Film Review: Nomadland is an emotionally-charged masterpiece

December 23, 2020

The opening of Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland opens with a sobering statistic.  In Nevada, a small town – Empire – has essentially become a ghost town due to the local Gypsum plant closing down amid the recession.  The Empire residents, most of whom lived in company-owned homes, had to vacate in masses, deactivating the town’s zip […]

Read More

Film Review: The visually stunning Soul is life-affirming, full of joy and unafraid to address reality

December 21, 2020

A far more meaningful film now given the climate of the world at hand, Soul is a deeply-felt, oft-hilarious, more experimental effort from Pixar that serves as a lovely ode to both life and death.  Whilst it absolutely deserves the cinema treatment it’s unfortunately being denied – the film will stream from December 25th on […]

Read More

Film Review: Wonder Woman 1984 is fun blockbuster escapism but not as emotionally gripping

December 21, 2020

When 2017’s Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins was released it was considered the lighter, more fun of the films in the DC Extended Cinematic Universe. It brought us this portrayal of a character that was full of optimism and hope. The latest release sees Jenkins return to direct the follow up, this time setting […]

Read More

Film Review: The Croods: A New Age is a cheerful slice of family entertainment

December 17, 2020

Given that it’s been 7 years since the first Croods movie was released, the original target audience are all likely scattered across primary and high school now.  But displaying the sense that it honestly doesn’t care about this statistic, The Croods: A New Age delights all the same, and very much presents itself as its […]

Read More

Film Review: Crock of Gold celebrates storytelling & the craic

December 16, 2020

Shane MacGowan is an artist specialising in Irish cream and the craic. The Pogues’ former front man is a brilliant raconteur, even if his body now seems rather battle-hardened. This documentary film is a detailed mosaic and in-depth look at this punk poet’s hedonistic life and his remarkable career. Documentarian, Julien Temple (The Great Rock […]

Read More

Film Review: I’m Your Woman is a slow burning thriller anchored by a phenomenal Rachel Brosnahan

December 10, 2020

You’d be forgiven for assuming I’m Your Woman is going to be a ferocious, revenge-driven thriller going off the simple, yet striking poster art that accompanies.  Rachel Brosnahan, decked in a long trench coat, a baby on one arm, clutching a gun with the opposing hand.  It’s a hell of an image – provocative, even […]

Read More

Film Review: The Stand In is a tonally confused comedy unsure what to do with Drew Barrymore’s wild energy

December 10, 2020

Biding her time between newly found talk-show host duties and headlining the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet (a show gone too soon) has kept Drew Barrymore busy enough that it’s been 5 years since we saw her in a feature film.  And though The Stand In gives the delightful star plenty of meat to chew […]

Read More

Film Review: The Furnace manages to compel thanks to a dedication to its historical and religious roots

December 8, 2020

A unique focal point weaved into a standard narrative, Roderick MacKay‘s The Furnace manages to compel thanks to a dedication to its historical and religious roots.  Tracing steps of Australian history that have seldom been explored before, MacKay tracks a tumultuous period with a somewhat modern sensibility. Egyptian actor Ahmed Malek leads the film as […]

Read More
Koko-di Koko-da

Film Review: Koko-di Koko-da is a loopy descent into madness and grief

December 8, 2020

Koko-di Koko-da starts off in an oddly jovial fashion. We are taken into a forest and there is a small troupe of people – visually influenced by nursery rhymes – dancing in unison while singing merrily. Yet not all is as it seems; and it sets the tone for what is to come: an eerie […]

Read More

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

December 5, 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 […]

Read More

Film Review: The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart is an emotional tribute to one of the music industry’s most celebrated acts

December 1, 2020

The musician documentary is one that can easily be an exhausting experience.  Any form of relative success and cultural impact often results in a film being made about whichever artist, and the ones worthy of the subject’s talent are few and far between.  This is what makes The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a […]

Read More

Film Review: The War with Grandpa is a battle with no winners

December 1, 2020

Originally scheduled for release in 2017 (what a simpler time that was), The War with Grandpa is finally seeing the light of day – in the middle of a global pandemic, no less.  Whether it be a case of Tenet-like confidence, knowing self-sabotage, or a strategic move to claim its monetary underperformance is solely on […]

Read More

Film Review: Oliver Sacks: His Own Life is a rather ordinary doco about an extraordinary man

November 27, 2020

Oliver Sacks was an incredible man. The neurologist, writer and naturalist forced us all to rethink our understanding of the brain with his absorbing medical case studies and books. He showed a real empathy towards his patients at a time when the establishment were sceptical about such treatment. Now he is the focus of Oliver […]

Read More

Film Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia is an authentic bridge towards human connection

November 26, 2020

David Byrne is no stranger to starring in concert films. In 1983, as frontman of Talking Heads, he appeared in the acclaimed Stop Making Sense. Now he stars in his very own: American Utopia, courtesy of director Spike Lee. The result is something that is stripped back yet ultimately brimming with authenticity. For American Utopia, […]

Read More

Film Review: Let Him Go is a western-slanted revenge thriller that’s an odd mixture of subdued quietness and unnerving thrills

November 25, 2020

Despite Kevin Costner and Diane Lane perfecting the kindly rural American in Man of Steel, in no way should they be confused with the kindly rural Americans they embody in Let Him Go.  Superman’s parents they are not in Thomas Bezucha‘s slow-burn thriller, a 1960’s set, western-slanted revenge piece that takes a little longer than […]

Read More

Film Review: All My Life has enough appeal and charm to offset its overtly sugary packaging

November 20, 2020

Likely to appeal to the Nicholas Sparks crowd, All My Life is a particularly sweet (almost too much so for its own good) true story-inspired tearjerker that, in many ways, gets away with being so cookie cutter because – as we are informed in the opening monologue – we only remember the most beautiful and tragic […]

Read More
Nicolas Cage

Film Review: Jiu Jitsu is much like Nicolas Cage; scrappy, eager-to-please and a lot of fun

November 20, 2020

Jiu Jitsu stars Alain Moussi as Jake Barnes, an amnesiac military man who is on the run from an unseen force that is attacking him. Sustaining a severe head injury in the process, he is taken in and nursed back to health by the military. He is interrogated severely by Myra (Marie Avgeropoulos); who believes […]

Read More

Film Review: Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is a genuine crowd-pleaser of a LGBTIQ rom-com

November 19, 2020

Sophie Hawkshaw stars as Ellie, a high school student captain who has a healthy relationship with her overprotective mother Erica (Marta Dusseldorp) and feels content with her existence via her good grades and her source of inspiration through her subject for her assignment Faith Underwood (a cameo by Chiara Gizzi). The main thrust of the […]

Read More

Film Review: Freaky is a crowd-pleasing horror/comedy that’s deeper and funnier than it has any right to be

November 12, 2020

Coming off of such aggressive roles in features as Dragged Across Concrete and Brawl In Cell Block 99, the thought of Vince Vaughn flailing his arms and strutting with the poise of a flustered teenage girl is one that’s all the more appealing when you view it in its actuality.  And it’s the hulking 6’5 […]

Read More

Film Review: Justin Krook’s Machine gives us a taste of life with A.I.

November 4, 2020

It won’t happen overnight; but, it will happen. That’s certainly the message we should take away from the documentary, Machine. The film is a fascinating dive into the technological revolution that our world will experience, in time, as artificial intelligence (AI) augments all aspects of our lives. The film comes to us from the creators […]

Read More

Film Review: The Father is as breathtaking as it is devastating

November 4, 2020

When an esteemed actor’s five-decade-long career includes one Academy Award from five nominations, three BAFTA Awards from eight nominations, and two Emmys from five nominations, you hardly expect to see them deliver their finest performance in the twilight of their career. But Anthony Hopkins‘ astonishing performance in The Father may just be the greatest he’s […]

Read More

Film Review: The Craft: Legacy respects its source material whilst placing its own individual stamp on the familiar narrative

October 29, 2020

Written and directed by an openly gay man and fronted by a quartet of women – one of whom a woman of colour – 1996’s supernatural teen horror film The Craft was, in retrospect, ahead of its time.  2 years before witchcraft would become weekly viewing on the television series Charmed, and over a decade […]

Read More

Film Review: Rams will appear to the older crowds who appreciate undemanding, inoffensive cinema

October 28, 2020

Despite being a reimagined take on the 2015 Icelandic drama of the same name, Rams feels distinctly Australian.  The brotherly rivalry between its lead characters – symbolised by their opposing sheep flocks – offset by the wonderfully captured Western Australian backdrop gives Jeremy Sims‘ occasionally amusing drama a homegrown identity, despite the fact that it’s […]

Read More

Film Review: Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity sees two souls journeying far away from Kansas

October 22, 2020

Steve Ewert and Dick Russell certainly had good reason to say, “We’re not in Kansas anymore!” In 1971 the photographer and writer went on a gruelling 4300km hitchhiking trip through the Sahara Desert. The result was like On the Road meets Wild. The documentary, Hitchhiking to the Edge of Sanity looks back at the pair’s […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More