Reviews

Sundance Film Festival Review: Mayday is a wonderfully unique, genre-shifting ode to female resilience

February 1, 2021

Do you know how it feels to describe a dream? A moment where you are not really sure what you just witnessed and yet you remember seeing certain things and oddly enough, you remember feeling everything about it? That is basically how it feels like watching Mayday, the feature-length directorial debut by writer/director Karen Cinorre. […]

Read More

Sundance Film Festival Review: Don’t ignore the Knocking! Go see it for the thrills and Cecilia Milocco’s performance!

February 1, 2021

Knocking follows the story of Molly (Cecilia Milocco), a woman who is returning to the outside world after being discharged from a psychiatric hospital after she was admitted due to her involvement in a past traumatic event. She moves into an apartment complex and is starting to experience things that she has not come into […]

Read More

Sundance Film Festival Review: Coming Home in the Dark is a menacing feature that doesn’t take full advantage of its eerie potential

January 31, 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 […]

Read More

Sundance Film Festival Review: Mass is powerful, unflinching storytelling that demands to be seen

January 31, 2021

An agonising drama if ever there was one, Mass details the type of conversation that instantly makes you feel sickeningly uncomfortable.  And then to watch it unfold in a suffocating location for 110 minutes is a test of endurance that audiences may be unprepared for. The tragedy at the centre of the conversation is one […]

Read More

Sundance Film Festival Review: How It Ends is a scrappy comedy that utilises its charm to overcome any shortcomings

January 31, 2021

In How It Ends, the joint-directorial effort from Daryl Wein (Lola Versus) and Zoe Lister-Jones (The Craft: Legacy), the question is proposed of what would you do if you knew the world was coming to an end?.  It’s a question that has familiarity to it, but Wein and Lister-Jones have the smarts and wit to […]

Read More

Sundance Film Festival Review: Censor is an enjoyably reverential and visually stimulating psychological horror experience

January 30, 2021

When a filmmaker decides to venture into the topic of filmmaking as a narrative, their efforts can be fascinating in terms of storytelling. When the horror film Censor had been announced as an entry for Midnight Madness at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, it was particularly intriguing for a few reasons. Firstly, the topic of […]

Read More

Sundance Film Festival Review: In the Same Breath is a sobering, harrowing account on the origins and cover-up of COVID-19

January 30, 2021

There really is no way for yours personally to say this in a pithy fashion so it is best to just say it straight. One of my most anticipated films this critic wanted to see was In the Same Breath by director Nanfu Wang, a talented documentary filmmaker whose work in indicting the government workings […]

Read More

Sundance Film Festival Review: John and the Hole is an ambiguous thriller that refuses to spoon-feed its audience

January 30, 2021

There’s a series of odd interludes dispersed throughout Pascual Sisto‘s unnerving thriller John and the Hole that suggest the story at hand has been passed down over time as something of a fable, one that impressionable young children may construe as a challenge on how they view their own relationship with their supposed elders.  It’s […]

Read More

Film Review: Malcolm & Marie succeeds entirely off the committed performances of John David Washington and Zendaya

January 28, 2021

Although Malcolm & Marie was one of the first films to be announced as a “made during COVID-19” production, it thankfully has nothing to do with the global catastrophe.  Instead, writer/director Sam Levinson (creator of HBO’s Euphoria) has opted for an in-house tragedy revolving around the titular couple (John David Washington‘s Malcolm and Zendaya‘s Marie) […]

Read More

Film Review: High Ground takes a deceptively simple story to heights of excellence

January 28, 2021

High Ground is the latest film from Stephen Maxwell Johnson, whom is best known for his 2001 acclaimed film Yolngu Boy; a powerful coming-of-age story about three Aboriginal men who strive to become great hunters as they deal with social, economic and especially filial factors in maturing from adolescence to adulthood. Since then, Johnson has […]

Read More

Film Review: Brothers By Blood is an all-too ordinary mob story that seems unfortunately content with coaxing by on familiarity

January 24, 2021

Despite a talented cast that consists of such reliable names as Matthias Schoenaerts, Joel Kinnaman, Ryan Phillippe, and Maika Monroe, Brothers By Blood (originally known as The Sounds of Philadelphia) is an all-too ordinary mob story that seems unfortunately content with coaxing by on familiarity. Masculinity, faith, loyalty, redemption, brotherhood, a criminal underworld…it’s stock standard […]

Read More

Film Review: Dave Franco’s The Rental is a gradually unnerving thriller that speaks to his skills as a storyteller

January 20, 2021

It goes without saying that within the realms of the horror film, setting plays a large factor.  From the Bates Motel – and, by extension, THAT shower – in Psycho to the murderous New York dwelling of The Amityville Horror, places of habitation are often their own character if utilised precisely enough.  In The Rental, […]

Read More

Film Review: One Night in Miami is a thematically powerful and emotionally riveting chamber piece

January 13, 2021

In America 1964, the audience is introduced with its four main players. Renowned boxer Cassius Clay (Eli Goree) had just defeated Sonny Liston to become heavyweight champion of the world; Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir) is still fighting for the cause for Black people; pop musician Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom […]

Read More

Film Review: Shadow in the Cloud in an off-kilter, bi-polar horror film that’s unlike anything you’ve seen before

January 12, 2021

As evident in fellow AU critic Harris Dang’s TIFF review of Shadow in the Cloud, this film’s connection to disgraced screenwriter Max Landis is understandably a hot-button subject.  Whilst I won’t go into the necessary detail, I’m certainly not making light of the allegations brought towards him, but given the fact that co-writer/director Roseanne Liang […]

Read More

Film Review: Promising Young Woman is a delicious indulgence that will make your stomach churn

January 5, 2021

With an often bright, candy coated aesthetic that masks a darker, more poisonous taste inside, Promising Young Woman, Emerald Fennell‘s bold debut, is the type of delicious indulgence that will ultimately make your stomach churn. Headlined by a career-best Carey Mulligan (her performance sure to be a consistent contender come award season), Promising Young Woman […]

Read More

Film Review: The Dry is a tension-laced thriller that stays true to its source material

December 28, 2020

Suitably gripping from the opening images of the bloody aftermath of a supposed murder-suicide – made all the more unsettling to the sounds of an infant crying – Robert Connolly‘s The Dry, an adaption of Jane Harper’s best-selling novel, is a tension-laced thriller that stays true to its source material. The murder-suicide that initially garners […]

Read More

Film Review: Let Me Take You Down proves that the public’s penchant for true crime has gone a step too far

December 27, 2020

Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney have often asked that we do not name John Lennon’s killer. They reasoned that we should not reward Mark David Chapman, nor grant him the fame and notoriety he sought from that heinous act. There have been many films and books about John Lennon’s murder over the years. The latest, […]

Read More

Film Review: The visually stunning Soul is life-affirming, full of joy and unafraid to address reality

December 21, 2020

A far more meaningful film now given the climate of the world at hand, Soul is a deeply-felt, oft-hilarious, more experimental effort from Pixar that serves as a lovely ode to both life and death.  Whilst it absolutely deserves the cinema treatment it’s unfortunately being denied – the film will stream from December 25th on […]

Read More

Film Review: Wonder Woman 1984 is fun blockbuster escapism but not as emotionally gripping

December 21, 2020

When 2017’s Wonder Woman directed by Patty Jenkins was released it was considered the lighter, more fun of the films in the DC Extended Cinematic Universe. It brought us this portrayal of a character that was full of optimism and hope. The latest release sees Jenkins return to direct the follow up, this time setting […]

Read More

Film Review: The Croods: A New Age is a cheerful slice of family entertainment

December 17, 2020

Given that it’s been 7 years since the first Croods movie was released, the original target audience are all likely scattered across primary and high school now.  But displaying the sense that it honestly doesn’t care about this statistic, The Croods: A New Age delights all the same, and very much presents itself as its […]

Read More

Film Review: Crock of Gold celebrates storytelling & the craic

December 16, 2020

Shane MacGowan is an artist specialising in Irish cream and the craic. The Pogues’ former front man is a brilliant raconteur, even if his body now seems rather battle-hardened. This documentary film is a detailed mosaic and in-depth look at this punk poet’s hedonistic life and his remarkable career. Documentarian, Julien Temple (The Great Rock […]

Read More

Film Review: I’m Your Woman is a slow burning thriller anchored by a phenomenal Rachel Brosnahan

December 10, 2020

You’d be forgiven for assuming I’m Your Woman is going to be a ferocious, revenge-driven thriller going off the simple, yet striking poster art that accompanies.  Rachel Brosnahan, decked in a long trench coat, a baby on one arm, clutching a gun with the opposing hand.  It’s a hell of an image – provocative, even […]

Read More

Film Review: The Stand In is a tonally confused comedy unsure what to do with Drew Barrymore’s wild energy

December 10, 2020

Biding her time between newly found talk-show host duties and headlining the Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet (a show gone too soon) has kept Drew Barrymore busy enough that it’s been 5 years since we saw her in a feature film.  And though The Stand In gives the delightful star plenty of meat to chew […]

Read More

Film Review: The Furnace manages to compel thanks to a dedication to its historical and religious roots

December 8, 2020

A unique focal point weaved into a standard narrative, Roderick MacKay‘s The Furnace manages to compel thanks to a dedication to its historical and religious roots.  Tracing steps of Australian history that have seldom been explored before, MacKay tracks a tumultuous period with a somewhat modern sensibility. Egyptian actor Ahmed Malek leads the film as […]

Read More
Koko-di Koko-da

Film Review: Koko-di Koko-da is a loopy descent into madness and grief

December 8, 2020

Koko-di Koko-da starts off in an oddly jovial fashion. We are taken into a forest and there is a small troupe of people – visually influenced by nursery rhymes – dancing in unison while singing merrily. Yet not all is as it seems; and it sets the tone for what is to come: an eerie […]

Read More

Film Review: Sound of Metal is an already astonishing film elevated by Riz Ahmed’s uninhibited performance

December 5, 2020

After his standout turn opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in 2014’s disturbing neo-noir thriller Nightcrawler, Riz Ahmed seemed destined for greatness on the big screen.  And thankfully, after years of slumming it in supporting roles in Hollywood blockbusters that have all wavered in their quality (Jason Bourne, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Venom), he’s finally been […]

Read More

Film Review: The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart is an emotional tribute to one of the music industry’s most celebrated acts

December 1, 2020

The musician documentary is one that can easily be an exhausting experience.  Any form of relative success and cultural impact often results in a film being made about whichever artist, and the ones worthy of the subject’s talent are few and far between.  This is what makes The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a […]

Read More

Film Review: The War with Grandpa is a battle with no winners

December 1, 2020

Originally scheduled for release in 2017 (what a simpler time that was), The War with Grandpa is finally seeing the light of day – in the middle of a global pandemic, no less.  Whether it be a case of Tenet-like confidence, knowing self-sabotage, or a strategic move to claim its monetary underperformance is solely on […]

Read More

Film Review: Oliver Sacks: His Own Life is a rather ordinary doco about an extraordinary man

November 27, 2020

Oliver Sacks was an incredible man. The neurologist, writer and naturalist forced us all to rethink our understanding of the brain with his absorbing medical case studies and books. He showed a real empathy towards his patients at a time when the establishment were sceptical about such treatment. Now he is the focus of Oliver […]

Read More

Film Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia is an authentic bridge towards human connection

November 26, 2020

David Byrne is no stranger to starring in concert films. In 1983, as frontman of Talking Heads, he appeared in the acclaimed Stop Making Sense. Now he stars in his very own: American Utopia, courtesy of director Spike Lee. The result is something that is stripped back yet ultimately brimming with authenticity. For American Utopia, […]

Read More