Reviews

Film Review: Ema is an alluring, invigorating and breathtakingly hallucinogenic drama from Pablo Larrain

May 13, 2021

Ema tells the story of the titular lead (Mariana Di Girolamo), a young insatiable dancer who is on a quest to bring her family back together. She is currently estranged from her husband Gaston (a brilliant Gael Garcia Bernal), the director of the dance company she performs. The couple had encountered problems with their marriage […]

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Film Review: Spiral: From the Book of Saw is politically minded and incredibly grisly

May 13, 2021

Defying the critical odds in 2004 and spanning an unlikely 8-film-strong series in the process, the original Saw became much more of a phenomenon than expected, and, arguably, than originally intended. ¬†Often synonymous with the horror sub-genre of “torture porn”, James Wan‘s grimy, low budget affair delighted in its gory aesthetics, but tried its best […]

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Film Review: Those Who Wish Me Dead is an efficient actioner that modifies the western genre

May 13, 2021

Adhering to a similar action efficiency of his penned Sicario, though not quite as emotionally rousing as his own Wind River or near-note perfect Hell Or High Water, Taylor Sheridan‘s Those Who Wish Me Dead is nonetheless a strong continuation of his brand of modifying the western genre. Adopting an environmental temperament and leaning into […]

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Film Review: Fatale is an entertainingly frivolous throwback to the cinematic thrillers of the 1990’s

May 10, 2021

Fatale tells the story of Derrick Tyler (Michael Ealy), an eager sports agent who seemingly has the perfect life. A rising business, his loving wife Tracie (Damaris Lewis), immense wealth; it sounds like the perfect success story. However, underneath the fa√ßade lies a crumbling marriage on the rocks. Through the behest of his friend Rafe […]

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Film Review: June Again is an emotionally devastating dramedy anchored by Noni Hazlehurst

May 5, 2021

Despite a rather sunny marketing campaign – the poster alone evokes feelings of joy – June Again is a far more emotionally devastating feature than audiences may be expecting. ¬†That’s certainly not a criticism on behalf of JJ Winlove‘s feature film debut, more a light warning to audiences who may not be prepared for its […]

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Film Review: Cliff Walkers is a stylish and visually exciting cinematic chase from acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou

May 3, 2021

Set in Northern China in 1931, Cliff Walkers follows the story of four Soviet-trained Chinese agents who are tasked to find an informer who has escaped from a location that was occupied by the Japanese, who used it for nefarious purposes like torture. Their mission is to evade capture and make it to Harbin so […]

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Film Review: The Resort is an unoriginal horror offering saved by its gory finale

May 1, 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: Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is only as watchable as it is thanks to Michael B. Jordan

April 30, 2021

“Action-capable hero seeks revenge following the murder of his wife” is one generic genre outline that many an action film has adhered to. ¬†And whilst Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse (as it’s being touted) is a film stocked with considerable talent who all deserve better than such a configuration afforded, their combined efforts can’t exactly lift […]

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Film Review: Wrath of Man works primarily as a driving seat feature for Jason Statham

April 29, 2021

After making a name for himself in the late 90’s/early 2000’s with his distinct brand of British gangster villainy, writer/director Guy Ritchie seemed to trade in authenticity for capital. ¬†The success of such studio projects as Sherlock Holmes and Aladdin seemed to gradually distance Ritchie from his more unkempt beginnings, before 2019’s The Gentlemen seemingly […]

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First Cow

Film Review: First Cow is a beautiful, contemplative and poignant tale set in the 1820’s

April 29, 2021

Set in 1820‚Äôs Northwest, First Cow tells the story of two travellers. The first being Otis ‚ÄúCookie‚ÄĚ Figowitz (John Magaro), a taciturn chef who is travelling with a group of fur trappers. The second being King-Lu (Orion Lee), a Chinese immigrant on the run for killing a Russian man. The two eventually become friends over […]

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Film Review: YouthMin: A Mockumentary is satirical without ever being savage

April 28, 2021

Satirical without ever being savage, YouthMin adopts a cringeworthy mockumentary style of approach to its narrative, bringing to mind the same uncomfortable comedy that made The Office such fascinating viewing. Whilst its thematics of being primarily raised in the protestant church and the subsequent camps that came with such faith is more likely to resonate […]

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Film Review: Twist is a missed opportunity that wastes its impressive cast in the process

April 28, 2021

The teen-centric, modernised adaptation of classic literature is a road travelled before throughout cinema. ¬†Jane Austen’s¬†Emma was revamped for the Valley girl-focused Clueless;¬†Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew was the basis for Heath Ledger’s taming of Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You, and, however surprising it may be, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark […]

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Film Review: The Oak Room is an intimate yet unsettling thriller

April 27, 2021

As much as The Oak Room‘s narrative basis of “A man walks into a bar…” sounds like a gag set up, Cody Calahan‘s slow burning thriller is anything but a humorous punchline. The man walking into said bar is Steve (RJ Mitte), a prodigal son of a small Canadian town who, as we learn through […]

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Film Review: Land is a handsomely tailored and suitably hopeful tale of survival

April 27, 2021

With Nomadland¬†having just earned Academy Award accolades as the Best Picture of 2020, a film like Land being released is curious timing. ¬†It’ll inevitably be compared to Chloe Zhao’s inward masterpiece and, in its own way, it’s something of a more digestible, audience friendly take on the narrative of finding yourself in the wilderness. The […]

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Film Review: Every Breath You Take delights in its trashy 1990’s thriller mentality

April 22, 2021

The spirit of the 1990’s thriller is alive and well within Every Breath You Take. ¬†The upper-middle class family having their perfectly manicured lives upended by the arrival of a mysterious figure – this one British and in the form of the disarmingly handsome Sam Claflin – is a road travelled many times before; hell, […]

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Film Review: Sister (China, 2021) is an emotionally stirring & thought-provoking drama

April 22, 2021

Sister tells the story of An Ran (Zhang Zifeng), a nurse who is on a strong career path to become a doctor and move out her home and go to Beijing as a full-time student. She is estranged from her family due to the ongoing fact that her parents always preferred a son over her. […]

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Film Review: Mortal Kombat sets a precedent for what is possible within the genre of the video game adaptation

April 21, 2021

The road from video game to cinema screen has often been an arduous trek – to say the least. ¬†Often made with the best of intentions, but seldom able to satisfy the expansive fanbase, video game adaptations are usually starting at a disadvantage. Sure, there’s a certain campy pleasure to watching Jean Claude Van Damme […]

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Film Review: The United States vs. Billie Holiday succeeds off Andra Day’s transformative central performance

April 16, 2021

The best performances within the biopic genre are those that aren’t just simply imitations or impressions of the subject at hand, but an honest appraisal of the person, one where the performer vanishes on screen. And so often with such grand performances, it can lead to the rest of the film surrounding them to feel […]

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Film Review: Voyagers sacrifices its macabre energy for a melodramatic personality

April 8, 2021

Marketed as “Lord of the Flies in space”, Voyagers – whilst occasionally leaning in to that description – is a confused genre effort that feels like a more reflective, psychological film has been edited down to a tween crowd who may appreciate its melodramatic personality. Written and directed by Neil Burger, his first original script […]

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Film Review: Ascendant harnesses its strength through its ability to surprise with both its story and psychology

April 8, 2021

Ascendant is one of those films that’s equally as difficult to write about it as it is deceptively simple. ¬†A film that banks entirely on the fact that it unravels and reveals its narrative in an unexpected manner, Antaine Furlong‘s ambitious sci-fi-leaning action/thriller is a testament to the first time Australian filmmaker’s bold vision and […]

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Film Review: Hunter Hunter is an emotionally rousing and gut-wrenching horror experience

April 6, 2021

It goes without saying that the ending of a film is as crucial to its success as any other major component. ¬†And in horror films especially, the satisfaction element of its climax is one the genre often lives or dies by. ¬†Hunter Hunter, from writer/director Shawn Linden, is such a film that almost relies entirely […]

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Film Review: Blithe Spirit is one visitor you’ll be summoning the Gods to return to its resting space

April 3, 2021

So much of Blithe Spirit‘s ingredients point to signs of a tasty meal, and yet one can’t help but feel entirely ready to return this flavourless chaff to the kitchen within minutes of its arrival. Adapted from Noel Coward‘s 1941 play and boasting the appealing quartet of Dan Stevens, Leslie Mann, Isla Fisher and Judi […]

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Film Review: The Courier is an emotionally fraught thriller balancing its emotional and educational mentality

April 3, 2021

British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) doesn’t have the most suave persona. ¬†And it’s because of this very reason that MI5 and the CIA have collaborated in their bid to maximise the potential of an insider during the time of America and Russian intensifying their nuclear arms race. “You drink too much and you‚Äôre not […]

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Film Review: The Father is a staggeringly authentic portrayal of the heartbreaking journey through dementia

April 1, 2021

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 […]

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Film Review: Tom & Jerry is a kitty litter-filled excuse of a film that dishonours the cartoon’s legacy

March 31, 2021

Given the fact that Tom & Jerry screenwriter Kevin Costello has a duo of self-aware, critically acclaimed projects to his name – the dramedy Brigsby Bear and Jean Claude Van Damme’s underrated television series Jean Claude Van Johnson – one might think he’d be able to create something innovative off the basis of 7-minute cartoon […]

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Film Review: Godzilla vs. Kong is a titan match not worth the spectator fee

March 25, 2021

You would think by now that the proprietors of the particular cinematic universe that encompasses films surrounding a giant ape and a radioactive lizard would gather that we really don’t care about the human characters involved. ¬†Sure, it’s great for there to be suitably formed players, and in the case of these films they’re often […]

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Film Review: Peter Rabbit 2 should delight its target audience

March 25, 2021

One of the first 2020 titles to delay its release substantially from its original bowing date (in this case, March 2020) due to the Coronavirus, Peter Rabbit 2 has finally hopped to a release window that makes sense. ¬†In a country where cinemas have been open and thriving (and how!) for the better part of […]

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Film Review: Nobody is aware of how smart it needs to be in order to sell its action-driven lunacy

March 24, 2021

A film like Nobody is inevitably going to be likened to similarly-themed actioners such as John Wick and Taken. ¬†And that’s not a bad thing, given how well-liked those films are (or, in the context of Taken, at least the first one), with the middle-aged-man-defending-what’s-rightfully-his narrative proving an easy sell. ¬†Nobody is perhaps the easiest […]

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Film Review: The Mauritanian is a factual-based thriller grounded by Tahar Rahim’s central performance

March 23, 2021

As much as The Mauritanian can boast Jodie Foster (in her Golden Globe-winning role), Benedict Cumberbatch and Shailene Woodley as its headliners, it’s the central performance from the lesser-known Tahar Rahim that ultimately impresses and grounds the film around him. A factual-based dramatic thriller detailing some of the supposed inner workings of the 9/11 terrorism […]

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Film Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a vast improvement in every conceivable way

March 19, 2021

Let’s be honest; the 2017 version of Justice League was one of the biggest cinematic disappointments of the last decade. What should have been the glorious peak of the DC Extended Universe was ultimately a sloppy, disjointed mess that was the inevitable result of switching directors at the eleventh hour. After the tragic death of […]

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