Reviews

Film Review: Richard Jewell is a mostly successful return to form for Eastwood as Hauser shines

February 13, 2020

There are few better ways of getting audiences into the cinema than to provide an underdog story. Even superhero films such as Avengers: Endgame (2019) are in their very nature an underdog story; triumphing over adversity and injustice. But the icing on the cake for such stories is that if the film is based on […]

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Film Review: Emma. is further proof that a fresh coat of paint can reinvigorate even the most familiar of structures

February 13, 2020

Similar to how Greta Gerwig‘s Little Women proved that we did indeed need another adaptation of Louisa May Alcott‘s classic novel, Autumn de Wilde‘s Emma. (yes the period in the title is deliberate) is further proof that a fresh coat of paint can reinvigorate even the most familiar of structures. Arriving some 25-years after both […]

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Film Review: A Guide to Second Date Sex proves that dating can be a joke

February 10, 2020

Often when dating and relationships are portrayed on screen they appear to be so perfect. But we all know that the reality of modern romance is quite different. A Guide to Second Date Sex is refreshing because it showcases human foibles and offers a more realistic and funny view of dating. This dramedy will appeal […]

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Film Review: Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) continues DC’s self-assured story telling temperament

February 6, 2020

Where does one start with Birds of Prey? With so much vibrancy packed into its 109 minute running time it’s probably best to follow the advice of the film’s queen bee, Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie), and start at the beginning. And though a product like Suicide Squad (2016) shouldn’t be considered the strongest launching pad […]

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Film Review: Midway crashes and burns as it can’t meet its ambitions halfway

February 1, 2020

Bombastic blockbuster filmmaker Roland Emmerich has been on a bit of a downward spiral lately. He started off quite well with projects from his home of West Germany; until he worked in America; making entertaining efforts like Universal Soldier and Stargate that succeeded well at the box office. But few had expected his next effort […]

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Terrence Malik

Film Review: A Hidden Life is Terrence Malick at his sublime best

January 29, 2020

Terrence Malick and his mystical signature can be off-putting to some; many, in fact. And that’s completely understandable. The auteur has long been considered a divisive director, but it’d be foolish to deny the unconventional and dreamlike wonder he brings to poignant stories both intimate and large in scale. Although, if you’re not already sold […]

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Seberg

Film Review: Kristen Stewart’s commanding performance overcomes Seberg‘s narrative flaws

January 29, 2020

Only one week after elevating the B-grade material of deep-sea thriller Underwater, Kristen Stewart further proves her innate ability of hoisting what little she has to work with on a script page to something of sublime quality in Seberg.  A biographical drama detailing a specific time period in the life of American actress Jean Seberg […]

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Film Review: Underwater is a sufficient but sometimes suffocating disaster film

January 23, 2020

January can be a bit of a dead zone for films, so it’s not a huge surprise that Underwater has ended up in this release period. A film that Disney, courtesy of its Fox acquisition, wound up with. It was completed back in 2017 and has been waiting for a better time to be released. […]

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Film Review: Bad Boys for Life makes an old franchise feel vital

January 16, 2020

Bold, brash, and – dare I say – breathtaking, Bad Boys for Life may go down as one of 2020’s biggest surprises. Being squashed into the oft ignored mid-Jan release cycle with reviews embargoed until the 11th hour is not a good sign for any film really, but the long-gestating third outing for 90’s born […]

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Film Review: Bombshell lacks the power of its namesake as it pulls its punches

January 16, 2020

Ever since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the world had drastically changed and stories of sexual violence have gone through the roof; exposing all the reprehensible actions that have been swept under the rug for decades in the entertainment industry. Since then, the boom has reached worldwide, exposing other horrific stories in the process. What is […]

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Film Review: Dolittle; at least it’s better than Cats!

January 16, 2020

After the colossal misfire that was Cats, audiences may not be ready for another round of CGI-rendered animals.  But, despite none of us really asking for it, Dolittle is here, and we can at least be thankful that it’s not the cinematic car-crash it very easily could have been – at least in comparison to […]

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Film Review: Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is a masterful adaptation with a spectacular cast

December 31, 2019

The amount of film adaptations of Little Women has been vast – the most recent one only came out in 2018 – but the reason this beloved source material is still relevant today is because of how timeless the story is. Despite the period setting, the story shines light on prescient and relevant themes such as […]

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Film Review: The Gentlemen is a film that should’ve minded its manners

December 31, 2019

British director Guy Ritchie has had an interesting career trajectory over the years. He started off with his calling card film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; a crime comedy that put him on the map thanks to his humour poking fun at geezery [sic] gangsters in Britain, the extreme political incorrectness and his energetic […]

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Film Review: The Truth is a star-studded family drama and a battle of wits

December 26, 2019

There are many ways to tell a story. We all have varying perspectives and world views. The Truth (La vérité) is a film that explores this notion in a smart and philosophical way. The result is a slow and gentle look at some complex human emotions. This film is written and directed by Hirokazu Koreeda […]

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Film Review: Jojo Rabbit plays Hitler for a fool

December 22, 2019

A tender coming-of-age story about a 10 year old boy learning to navigate a Nazi summer camp and fantasising about being best friends with a slapstick version of Adolf Hitler. How the hell did Taika Waititi pitch this, successfully? The Kiwi auteur seems to have made the most unlikely (and, to some, offensive) film he […]

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Film Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire burns with passion

December 22, 2019

French director Céline Sciamma is one of the best writer/directors in French Cinema working today. She specializes in coming-of-age dramas and this reviewer has been a fan of her work ever since he saw her film Tomboy. From fantastic directorial work like her directorial debut Water Lilies and her prior film Girlhood to stellar screenwriting […]

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Film Review: Sorry We Missed You is a grueling, heartbreaking yet compassionate drama from Ken Loach

December 21, 2019

Sorry We Missed You is the latest film from acclaimed British director Ken Loach. Loach has made many great films over the years that delved into social realism. Great works like I, Daniel Blake, It’s a Free World…, Vera Drake, The Wind That Shakes the Barley; all examined the gritty undertakings of the British environment […]

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Film Review: Nothing will prepare you for the experience that is Cats

December 20, 2019

Horror films have had a banner year in 2019. They crept under the audience’s skin, lingering in the mind long after the credits had stopped rolling. But none of them seemed as haunting as the first theatrical trailer for Tom Hooper‘s Cats. When the trailer was released, the public opinion was overwhelmingly negative. Many viewers were […]

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Film Review: Jumanji: The Next Level avoids serious franchise fatigue by adopting just enough freshness

December 19, 2019

The hybrid reboot/sequel that was 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a mammoth success that I suspect not even Sony was anticipating.  Sure, they threw considerable weight behind the project but in the wake of Star Wars: the Last Jedi‘s release, a near billion dollar haul worldwide was an unprecedented outcome, to say the […]

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Film Review: Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker is full of fan service but lacks wow factor

December 19, 2019

Who would have thought that the space opera that is Star Wars would span 42 years, multiple generations of fans and be the tentpole blockbuster series and franchise behemoth that it is today. It began with A New Hope in 1977 and the introduction of Luke Skywalker. It ends with The Rise of Skywalker in […]

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Chicago International Film Festival Review: Just Mercy finds justice on death row

December 16, 2019

A film like Just Mercy lays all cards on the table before it even starts. On the surface, it’s another entry in the long-line of righteous fury pointed at miscarried justice and a system unashamed by its own historical wrongdoings. And yes, that’s pretty much what it is, adapting the true story from a 2014 […]

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Chicago International Film Festival Review: The Painted Bird – brutal, cold, beautiful

December 16, 2019

Candide, or absolute nihilism? Eastern European cinema has always had a nail-biting bleakness about it, but The Painted Bird may have just upended all others. This is a brutal hellscape somehow stretched into an adventure epic; as hard to look away from, as it is to watch in the first place. There’s little wonder as […]

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Film Review: 6 Underground is what you get when Michael Bay ups his own Bayhem

December 14, 2019

When director Michael Bay gets handed $150 million from Netflix to make a movie you can be guaranteed that he’s going to make something pretty insane. Where in the past he has felt a little hamstrung by studio expectations or interference, his latest effort feels like a return to form. For Netflix, 6 Underground is […]

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Film Review: 2019’s Black Christmas attempts to be more than just your straight-forward slasher

December 11, 2019

Released in 1974 and oft considered the original slasher film, Bob Clark’s Black Christmas has rightfully earned cult status over the years after initially being passed over for that other genre staple, John Carpenter’s Halloween. Clark’s film is a unique take on the stalk-and-kill mentality that the slasher subsect is known for given that it […]

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Film Review: Suddenly A Tree – personal narratives run deep at Persian Film Festival

December 9, 2019

In its 8th year, the Persian Film Festival was officially opened by Festival Director Amin Palangi, who gave one of the most engaging and genuine opening night addresses I’ve ever heard. He touched on the current conflict in Iran and the very real impact it had on the festival, given all the films were physically […]

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Film Review: Freaks is one of the best genre surprises of the year

December 9, 2019

One of the pleasures of watching films is the feeling of surprise and enjoying the journey and not knowing where it will lead you. In other words, a little mystery goes a long way. In the case of Freaks by co-directors Adam B. Stein and Zach Lipovsky, it comes with an interesting premise that has […]

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Film Review: Mirren and McKellen keep The Good Liar afloat in spite of its plot failures

December 5, 2019

As legends of both the stage and screen, the idea of Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen combining their respective talents for a project is an enticing one, to say the least.  And whilst The Good Liar hands them roles that they each indulge in with an against-type glee, the film itself isn’t the first class […]

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Film Review: The Two Popes is a thought-provoking piece of work, featuring a great double act from Pryce and Hopkins

December 4, 2019

Brazillian director Fernando Meirelles has a very interesting body of work. With intense crime thriller City of God (which he co-directed with Katia Lund) as his calling card, Meirelles has always been a filmmaker that aimed for realism and verisimilitude (see: political thriller The Constant Gardener) even if the premise had veered more into a fantastical way […]

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Film Review: The Addams Family offers a delightful spooky alternative to, y’know, that Other Family Movie

December 3, 2019

It’s been thirteen years since Gomez and Morticia Addams (Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron) were run out of town on their wedding day. Settling in an abandoned asylum, they’ve lived a life mercifully free of torch wielding villagers, (un)happily raising their children, Wednesday (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard), in safety. Well, as safe […]

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Film Review: The Irishman is the type of masterful mobster film only Scorsese could pull together

November 29, 2019

After his recent comments on Marvel movies sent Film Twitter into a misguided and absurd frenzy, Martin Scorsese is back to grabbing headlines for all the right reasons. With a reported budget of $160 million, a production time of over two years, and a three-and-a-half-hour runtime, The Irishman is one of Scorsese’s (and Netflix’s) biggest gambles […]

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