Reviews

Jacob's Wife

Film Review: Jakob’s Wife is a fun splatter horror comedy about a disintegrating marriage that could use some vamping up

August 19, 2021

Jakob’s Wife tells the story of small-town couple Jakob and Anne Fedder (horror veterans Larry Fessenden and Barbara Crampton); a local minister and his dutiful wife who have been married close to 30 years. Anne feels that after all the tasks of being a housewife – including the cleaning, cooking, gardening, housekeeping and more cleaning […]

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Film Review: The Night House is a thought-provoking horror film exploring the thematics of grief

August 18, 2021

The idea of marrying grief and the horror genre together isn’t exactly a bold, new concept, but thanks to a thought-provoking script (courtesy of Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski), deceptively inventive set design, and a wholly committed central turn from Rebecca Hall, The Night House explores a tested theme in a fresh manner. Hall stars […]

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Film Review: Come Play is an effective scarer for those seeking easy thrills

August 18, 2021

One of the few horror efforts from 2020 that dared an American theatrical release last year – only one minor delay period and no being sold to a streaming service – Come Play, though perhaps stuck with the stigma of being a “direct to digital release” here in Australia, is a worthy scarer that utilises […]

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Fantasia Film Festival Review: The Last Thing Mary Saw takes pride in the subtle and suggestive nature of religious horror

August 17, 2021

Religious principles and the notion of intolerance run thematically rampant in The Last Thing Mary Saw, a horror-leaning drama film that announces first time filmmaker Edoardo Vitaletti as an intriguing mind to keep our radar on. Opting for tension and unease rather than overt gore, Mary… is an 1843 set period chiller that opens on […]

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Film Review: Respect feels like a greatest hits package rather than an album of cohesive work

August 17, 2021

A capable cast, led by a worthy Jennifer Hudson, and a plethora of recognisable hit records may be enough to satisfy a surface level bassline when it comes to the story of soul legend Aretha Franklin, but Respect, for all its good intentions, doesn’t quite feel like the story such an icon deserves. At around […]

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Film Review: The Ice Road is a by-the-numbers actioner buoyed by a surprising emotional current

August 12, 2021

Seemingly defined at this point in his career by the grizzly, no-nonsense avenger-types he encapsulates – first realised in the 2008 actioner Taken – The Ice Road eases up on Liam Neeson‘s menacing persona and gives his somewhat-everyman a blue collar temperament. He’s still out there risking his life, mind you, but it’s comparatively slightly […]

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Fantasia Film Festival Review: Baby Money sits comfortably within the subgenre of the “home invasion” thriller

August 11, 2021

A simple thriller that adheres to the mindset that not all genre efforts have to hone complicated narratives, Baby Money adjusts the home invasion subgenre enough for its familiarities to not feel habitual. The “baby money” of the title is the currency Minny (Danay Garcia) and her boyfriend, Gil (Michael Drayer), are in need of […]

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Film Review: Free Guy creates a genuine comedic actioner out of its modern gaming cliches

August 10, 2021

Whilst movies based on video games continue to mostly earn a reaction that’s far less enthused than their source material, the video game inspired flick is another story entirely.  Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, the latest Jumanji films (Welcome to the Jungle and The Next Level), the vast amount of time-loop movies, Sucker Punch (y’all know […]

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Melbourne International Film Festival Review: Freshman Year is a sweet and more emotional college comedy

August 6, 2021

With a title like Freshman Year, known originally as Shithouse, you’d be forgiven for thinking Cooper Raiff‘s debut is more akin with the juvenile comedies so many cinematic colleges have been the setting for.  Nothing could be further from the reality though, with Raiff injecting a sweetness and raw emotion into his script as it […]

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Film Review: Infinitum: Subject Unknown is a little film with big ideas

August 6, 2021

The tried and tested time loop narrative gets another incarnation of sorts in Matthew Butler-Hart‘s impressively made Infinitum: Subject Unknown.  Filmed during the UK’s first lockdown entirely on an iPhone, the evident budget issues that may cause ire from some eyes are all the more forgiven when looking at its scope as a whole. The […]

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Fantasia Film Festival Review: Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It fuses slapstick comedy and irreverent bloodshed

August 6, 2021

A group of men looking to escape their everyday lives, a couple of inept gangsters, and a one-eyed killer who thirsts for his kills cross paths in Ernar Nurgaliev‘s wild horror comedy Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It. Slapstick comedy and irreverent bloodshed work hand-in-hand throughout the film’s crisp 85 minute running time, centring initially on […]

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Melbourne International Film Festival Review: Coming Home in the Dark creates a horrific situation out of the simplest ingredients

August 6, 2021

It doesn’t take much for director James Ashcroft to create the most horrific of situations from the simplest of ingredients laid bare in the early stages of the eerie Coming Home in the Dark.  A loving family, an idyllic New Zealand locale, and a duo of passing strangers provide all that is needed for Ashcroft’s […]

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Fantasia Film Festival Review: Beyond The Infinite Two Minutes revels in the possibilities of creativity

August 5, 2021

Whenever an evidently low-budgeted project gets itself off the ground and revels in the possibilities of creativity, rather than monetary reliance, whatever the result it’s difficult to not be somehow impressed. Such is the case with Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, a high-concept time-loop effort filmed on iPhones and born from an acting workshop.  It […]

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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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