Reviews

Film Review: Babyteeth is a human drama that isn’t afraid to be messy, frustrating and darkly comedic

July 15, 2020

Whilst it’s easy to roll your eyes at the almost insultingly familiar narrative Babyteeth works with at its core – terminal ill teenager falls in love with the wrong guy – it somehow manages to avoid most of the genre cliches, thanks to a mindset that isn’t afraid to be messy, frustrating and, at times, […]

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Film Review: The King of Staten Island is a surprisingly grounded film that operates more as a showcase for Pete Davidson’s dramatic capabilities

July 14, 2020

So you should know going into The King of Staten Island that, yes, director Judd Apatow hasn’t changed his aesthetic in terms of narrative length or character ingredients.  A too-long comedic drama (emphasis on the drama here) focusing on a typical man-child who’s failed to launch himself, Staten Island hopes to be more endearing than […]

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Is Stan Original Relic worth watching?

July 13, 2020

Prior to watching Natalie Erika James’ Relic, I’d read constant comparisons to Hereditary and The Babadook. The former has too strong a grasp on literal malevolence to align in any way with James’ debut feature, but The Babadook certainly shares a great deal with this Australian-made indie-horror, given both are rooted in German expressionism and […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Is the new Netflix film Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth worth watching?

April 26, 2020

Extraction sees Aussie Chris Hemworth team up with writer Joe Russo (of the Russo Brothers) and debut director Sam Hargrave for a brutal and bloody action thriller for Netflix. This isn’t a unique story, it sees a teenage kid of a Mumbai drug lord get nabbed and held for ransom by an opposing drug lord. […]

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4K Ultra HD Review: 1917 is visually spectacular and undoubtedly a polished feat of filmmaking craft

April 22, 2020

Given 1917‘s rather simplistic plot – a pair of infantrymen having to cross the treacherous No Man’s Land in order to prevent a doomed attack during the height of World War 1 – it makes sense that director Sam Mendes (Skyfall) would opt for a more complex manner to detail the story.  Single camera shots […]

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Film Review: Come As You Are provides the jolt the road-trip-comedy model so desperately needs

April 13, 2020

Though the blueprint behind Come As You Are is quite insultingly familiar – three sexually-charged men on a road trip that’s as heavy on situational humour as it is on their own self-discovery – director Richard Wong proves that appearances are indeed deceiving. The core structures of the road-trip-comedy are in place, but Come As […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: A Better You is a charming, self-reflective look on the social-media age

April 8, 2020

*Due to the current global crisis the planned 2020 Tribeca Film Festival has been postponed. The AU Review has been in contact with the respective representatives for available films in order to give them the coverage they intended. A commentary on the so-called perfection of social media, Eamonn Murphy‘s quirky short A Better You is […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: Query addresses the social norms of sexuality in a disarmingly comfortable manner

April 5, 2020

*Due to the current global crisis the planned 2020 Tribeca Film Festival has been postponed. The AU Review has been in contact with the respective representatives for available films in order to give them the coverage they intended. Much like the recent slate of short films that were intended for this year’s SXSW Film Festival, […]

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Film Review: Almost Love (aka Sell By) overcomes genre unoriginality with a strong ensemble and an honest voice

April 3, 2020

Best not to be fooled by Almost Love‘s incredibly generic title (its alternative UK/international moniker Sell By isn’t much better either) as Mike Doyle‘s interconnected relationship drama plays stronger than it deserves to, thanks in large part to an ensemble cast that are allowed to play to and with their own respective strengths. Set in […]

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Come To Daddy

Film Review: Come To Daddy is a pitch black comedic thriller bathed in gory oddity

March 30, 2020

If we have learnt anything throughout cinema’s depictions of estranged families, it’s that the more alienated you are from one another, the more unpredictable your journey will be. This proves especially true in Come To Daddy, a pitch black comedic thriller that director Ant Timpson bathes in gory oddity. There’s an unease immediately present from […]

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Film Review: Swallow is a slow-burning thriller that transcends its potentially nauseating premise

March 22, 2020

On paper, the premise for Swallow sounds almost too-grotesque to be relayed without resorting to some type of gimmick.  In reality, Carlo Mirabella-Davis‘s slow-burning thriller transcends its potentially nauseating core to deliver a deep, at times dark tale that wholly understands and respects its unique subject matter. The film surrounds the delicate Hunter (Haley Bennett), […]

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SXSW Film Review: Make Up is a self-discovery tale dressed up like a psychological thriller

March 20, 2020

*The AU Review will continue with its planned SXSW 2020 coverage.  We have been in contact with the respective representatives for available films in order to give them the coverage they intended. Perhaps diving a little too heavily into the metaphorical stance on storytelling, Claire Oakley‘s Make Up is a self-discovery tale dressed up like […]

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Onward

Film Review: Onward can’t quite meet the dazzling pedigree of its Pixar contemporaries

March 20, 2020

By virtue of unfortunate comparison to Pixar’s impeccable back catalogue of masterpieces, every new film from the studio faces a dauntingly high bar to clear. Last year, Toy Story 4 somehow managed to defy all expectations and walk off with the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in the process. Sadly, Pixar’s first of two […]

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Film Review: The Current War lacks the true spark to create any real power

March 19, 2020

One of the biggest film casualties of the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal has been Alfonso Gomez-Rejon‘s The Current War; a lavish period biopic which was surely due to be Weinstein’s great big Oscar hope of the 2017 season. After premiering at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival to a tepid response, Gomez-Rejon was furiously […]

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SXSW Midnight Shorts: Five short films that make us want more

March 18, 2020

*The AU Review will continue with its planned SXSW 2020 coverage.  We have been in contact with the respective representatives for available films in order to give them the coverage they intended. The Midnight Shorts Competition has long been an audience favourite at SXSW.  A bite-sized marathon of twisted ideas that usually fuses gore, overt […]

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