Reviews

Film Review: 12 Mighty Orphans is a feel-good affair that balances its earnestness and predictability in equal measure

August 3, 2021

A film that perhaps tries a little too hard to embellish the emotionally manipulative story its true-to-life basis can conjure on its own accord, 12 Mighty Orphans’ “classic underdog” mentality is both a help and a hindrance to its overall delivery. Set during the Great Depression, Ty Roberts’ syrupy drama lays focus on the saintly […]

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Film Review: The Suicide Squad is violent, unprincipled, and very, very fun!

July 29, 2021

Arguably one of the best marketing campaigns ever afforded for a blockbuster title, 2016’s Suicide Squad was ultimately a victim of its own hype.  After the DC brand suffered disappointment with the reaction to Batman v Superman, David Ayer’s impressively stacked line-up of second-tier characters and their super villainous mentalities seemed poised to right the […]

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Film Review: Jungle Cruise is charming, old-fashioned fun bolstered by the chemistry of Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt

July 28, 2021

As much as Jungle Cruise owes its filmic inception to the success of fellow Disney-theme-park-attraction-turned-blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean, this light-hearted, gloriously old-fashioned adventure is just as much in debt to such titles as The Mummy and The African Queen. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with honouring the spirit of those films in such a […]

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Film Review: Kandisha is an enjoyable horror effort featuring a supernatural female force that kills men gruesomely

July 27, 2021

Kandisha tells the story of three young teenage women Amelie, Bintou and Morjana (Mathilde Lamusse, Suzy Bemba and Samarcande Saadi); three childhood friends who are enjoying their summer break in the dilapidated streets of Paris. Chilling out with their peers, branding walls with splatterings [sic] of graffiti; it is all about living in the moment […]

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Film Review: Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins embraces an absurd action narrative with a grounded mentality

July 23, 2021

Given that Snake Eyes is releasing with the subtitle G.I. Joe Origins, it would appear that Paramount have faith that the G.I. Joe brand could possibly be retooled after the 2009 and 2013 efforts (The Rise of Cobra and Retaliation, respectively) failed to truly ignite as intended. It’s a bold strategy, especially as Robert Schwentke‘s […]

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Film Review: Old is an embarrassing retreat in quality for M. Night Shyamalan

July 22, 2021

There’s really no other way to say it – M. Night Shyamalan‘s Old is bad.  It’s very bad.  In fact, in some instances it’s downright awful!  Mirroring the same career slump he experienced after the 1-3 punch of The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000) and Signs (2002) with such misfires as The Lady in the Water […]

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Film Review: The Resort is a small-scale horror film that’s surprisingly gory

July 20, 2021

There’s nothing particularly original about The Resort.  In some manner hoping to be a type of The Shining-in-Hawaii set-up, Taylor Chien‘s supernatural scarer at least doesn’t tread on the expected genre trope of the found footage angle – something that this type of narrative could easily have adopted. A film that unfortunately lets itself down […]

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Film Review: The Sparks Brothers is one of the greatest musical documentaries you’ll ever see

July 15, 2021

There’s often a sense of nostalgia, awe, love, respect and intrigue that goes into watching a music documentary.  It’s learning about an artist we idolise, how they affected us upon that first listen, and a further understanding of their music.  When it comes to The Sparks Brothers, those are indeed all sentiments adhered to, but, […]

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Film Review: Gunpowder Milkshake overcomes genre familiarity with a sense of violent humour

July 14, 2021

Given how well she’s utilised her heart and her humour when leaning into the action heroine outfit – see the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jumanji franchises for reference – it makes sense that both additives be applied to Karen Gillan‘s latest genre effort, the delightfully named Gunpowder Milkshake. Initially she’s a little too cold-hearted […]

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Film Review: Nine Days is storytelling in its purest form

July 14, 2021

With an incredibly vague premise that could read as pretentiously high-concept, Nine Days is the type of life-altering experience that, as cliched as it is to state, needs to be seen to be believed. A powerful piece of storytelling that announces writer/director Edson Oda as a major talent to keep tabs on, Nine Days centres […]

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Film Review: Space Jam: A New Legacy makes a few neat shots in its attempt to continually slam dunk

July 9, 2021

Whilst subtitling the film “A New Legacy” seems a bit too confident for the team behind this Space Jam sequel, it’s arguably not straying too far from the truth in relation to its selected talent.  Whilst the original film received a mixed reception upon its release in 1996, it made considerable bank and has, in […]

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Film Review: Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra is a fierce look at the dance company’s rich and complex history

July 7, 2021

If you want an example of the transportive power of dance then you need to look no further than Firestarter: The Story of Bangarra. This documentary packs a lot into its slender 96-minute run time, by tracing the origins of this First Nations dance troupe. This film draws together many facets and stories including the […]

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Film Review: Black Widow proves that a female voice is a tone that suits the Marvel canon

July 6, 2021

Eagerly awaited, though perhaps a few years too late, Marvel’s latest excursion of the bombastic kind – Black Widow – isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing though as Cate Shortland‘s venture adopts a more grounded mentality (at least for the most part), playing as a type-of Bourne Identity actioner that […]

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Film Review: Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is a fans-only sequel that indulges in its elaborate production value

July 1, 2021

Taking an activity that’s (arguably) something of a fad and morphing it for a theatrical narrative was a risk that evidently paid off for director Adam Robitel and screenwriters Bragi Schut and Maria Melnik with 2019’s Escape Room.  A psychological horror film that aimed for suspense over gore, its $150 million worldwide haul practically guaranteed […]

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Film Review: In The Heights is a feel-good reminder of the joy of the big screen musical

June 23, 2021

Any film that has an air of positivity about it can all too easily be framed as “the movie we need right now” coming off the global lockdown stage of the pandemic.  Sure, a film that makes you laugh, smile, or cry (in the good way) is going to be enough of an escape after […]

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Film Review: Love Spreads is a contained drama uplifted by winning performances

June 19, 2021

As most musicians can attest, the hopeful critical and commercial success of your debut album ultimately means very little if your sophomore record under-delivers.  Such is the dilemma for Glass Heart, the fictional girl group at the centre of Jamie Adams‘ familiar-feeling Love Spreads. Seeming personal vendettas, the strain of writer’s block, and the clashing […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Shorts Review: Enjoy is a delicate look at depression in men

June 18, 2021

A sensitive subject that manages to transcend its 18 minute containment, Saul Abraham‘s Enjoy is a delicate look at depression, specifically in men, and how difficult it is to remove your own psyche from spiralling downwards. 1 in 8 men in Australia experience some form of depression or anxiety, 3 times more common than it […]

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Film Review: Luca is a love story at its core that celebrates individuality

June 17, 2021

On the surface Luca appears to be one of the more slight Pixar entrants.  A studio that is known for its near-perfect track record, there’s a certain narrative around the brand that seems to paint any of their films that doesn’t quite reach the emotional highs of an Up or an Inside Out as a second-tier […]

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Film Review: Fast & Furious 9 knows that too much is never enough

June 17, 2021

As melodramatic and as nonsensical as one would expect from a series that defies the laws of physics as freely as it does whilst waxing lyrical on the importance of family, Fast & Furious 9 (or F9 as it’s being marketed) is the type of ludicrous, high-octane fluff designed for the biggest of screens. Another […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: Ultrasound is a deliberately off-kilter horror/sci-fi hybrid

June 16, 2021

To claim nothing is as it seems in Rob Schroder‘s Ultrasound would be a vast understatement.  Requiring significant patience and understanding of its components, this horror/science-fiction hybrid begins on one disturbing note before unravelling into something far more psychologically mysterious. It all opens rather straightforward, however off-kilter, with Glen (Vincent Kartheiser) driving home one night […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: No Future‘s simplistic script is overcome thanks to committed, nuanced performances

June 15, 2021

With a title like No Future and a narrative detailing the recovery of addicts and the potential grief and fear of relapsing that comes with that territory, Andrew Irvine and Mark Smoot‘s drama isn’t exactly reaching for subtlety. It’s a simplistic script that takes few risks in straying from the expected, but superb, committed performances […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: Catch The Fair One is a vigilante tale of stark realism

June 15, 2021

Invoking notes of revenge thrillers like Death Wish and Taken, but adhering to a female edge that lends the film a more calculating temperament, Catch The Fair One is a gritty thriller that survives more on its emotional mindset rather than gratuitous violence. Headlined and anchored by real-life boxer Kali Reis (who also serves as […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: God’s Waiting Room is alluring as it is ugly

June 15, 2021

There’s some magnetic performances and a dirty immersion to God’s Waiting Room that, at times, are strong enough for the film to overcome its narrative cliches and ultimate contrivance that put much of its good work at risk. As easy as it is to roll your eyes at the outline of the film being that […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: Agnes is far too uneven to earn complete forgiveness

June 14, 2021

Starting on a blackly comic note and ending on a vastly different one of dramatic grit, Mickey Reece‘s Agnes is a truly confounding piece.  Inserting a narrative and tonal shift half-way through its proceedings, Reece has created a unique film without question, but it’s one that is likely to irk viewers who could respond so […]

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Tribeca Now Showcase Review: If I’m Alive Next Week… is a humorous (and short) snapshot into the lives of a perfectly dysfunctional family

June 14, 2021

The foul-mouthed, no-nonsense senior citizen can easily give itself way to presenting a caricature more than a character of organic standing.  Thankfully, in If I’m Alive Next Week… screenwriting duo Jennifer Morris and Robbie Sublett (who also serve as the series’ directors and creators) manage to create an 80-something who tells like it is without […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: Shapeless‘ important message is undone by its minimalistic approach

June 13, 2021

Given that Shapeless is an incredibly personal film to lead actress and writer Kelly Murtagh, detailing a disorder that cripples many, it’s a somewhat painful experience to be framing a review in a negative light. There’s a dark, unforgiving movie in here somewhere, one that expresses no fear in manifesting her struggle with bulimia in […]

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Film Review: Rogue Hostage is a joyless and predictable thriller

June 12, 2021

Despite actors amassing considerable acclaim over their careers with carefully calculated role choices, sometimes they just have to take a pay cheque because the work is there and the money is good.  Such is the case with John Malkovich and his latest effort, Rogue Hostage. The two-time Academy Award nominated actor has sporadically offset his […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: See For Me treads familiar ground with a welcome creativity

June 11, 2021

The elevator pitch narrative of “blind subject is targeted by home invaders” is one that’s been explored before in the cinematic realm.  The 2016 double offering of Don’t Breathe and Netflix’s Hush both utilised this logline to impressive effect, and though See For Me is treading familiar ground, it too is at least doing so […]

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Film Review: Spirit Untamed rides with a harmlessness that’s sweet and safe

June 10, 2021

Despite one of the more impressive voice casts assembled in recent years – Julianne Moore, Jake Gyllenhaal, Walton Goggins, and Isabela Merced, to name a few – Spirit Untamed is suitably middle-of-the-road fare.  It’s sweet and harmless, but it’s aimed so specifically at the young female demographic that its universal appeal feels ultimately limited. Playing […]

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Film Review: Dream Horse is exactly the type of syrupy underdog story you expect it to be

June 4, 2021

Exactly the type of film you expect it to be from its title, Dream Horse is a syrupy, stereotypically inspiring drama that embraces the underdog narrative – or should that be under-horse? – and runs (gallops) with it to no end. Set in the mid-2000’s in a sleepy Welsh country town, Dream Horse places its […]

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