Reviews

SXSW Film Review: The Surrogate is a realistic drama unafraid to be uncomfortable

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. Detailing a tragic situation with a sobering, uncomfortable realism that has the potential to test even the most patient of viewers, The Surrogate […]

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SXSW Short Film Review: Single is a biting commentary on living with a physical disability

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. Proof that more than enough can be conveyed in a fraction of the time of a standard feature, Ashley Eakins‘ short-feature Single is […]

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SXSW Film Review: Shooting Heroin is a noble idea marred by melodramatics

March 17, 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. A noble idea marred by melodramatics that often take away the importance of the film’s message, Shooting Heroin can’t help but feel like […]

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SXSW Film Review: Audiences with a penchant for the abstract are likely to enjoy The Carnivores

March 15, 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. You can love your dog, and then you can love your dog.  And whilst Caleb Michael Johnson‘s bizarre effort The Carnivores wouldn’t be […]

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The Way Back

Film Review: The Way Back is a great showcase for Ben Affleck

March 5, 2020

The sports drama formula in cinema has been the most overused and non-innovative formula in cinema lately. Ever since the early 2000s, Walt Disney Pictures have made a long string of films with a fixed formula: inspirational movies about triumphing over adversity that are mostly based on true stories. Despite the critical reception of the […]

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Film Review: The lavish costuming of Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears can’t compensate for its distinct lack of energy

February 27, 2020

Having never read any of Kerry Greenwood‘s historical Miss Fisher mystery novels, nor seen the television program that was birthed from them, I can only judge Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears as someone entering blindly.  And whilst I’m unfamiliar with the show, I’m aware of its structure, and I would assume that a […]

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Film Review: The Invisible Man is a slick, psychological thriller that demands to be seen

February 26, 2020

Had the Tom Cruise-led revamp of The Mummy not crashed and burned at the box office upon its release in 2017 then we’d be seeing, or more correctly not seeing, a very different Invisible Man.  In an optimistic strategy from Universal Pictures – in their bid to compete with fellow juggernauts Marvel and DC – […]

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Film Review: The Call of the Wild is a call not worth answering

February 20, 2020

The 1903 book The Call of the Wild is considered classic literature for young children. So much so, that it has been adapted on-screen multiple times as a silent film, an anime film and through multiple attempts in Hollywood; including a 1996 version starring Rutger Hauer that is considered by some to be the most […]

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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: 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: 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 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: 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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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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