Reviews

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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Film Review: Knives Out is the best whodunnit in years

November 28, 2019

Oh to imagine how much fun this all-star cast must have had during the making of Knives Out, the off-the-wall whodunit homage from director Rian Johnson. Although its ultimate revelation isn’t quite as electrifying as watching the entire thing unfold, the snapping wit that drives this film is impossible to resist. And – surprise – […]

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Film Review: Frozen 2 is a strong sequel that affirms family bonds with the courage of venturing into the unknown

November 26, 2019

It’s a tough ask for a sequel to be as good, or better than its predecessor. Obviously Disney is resting high hopes on Frozen 2 to be as big as the original 2013 film, and box office numbers so far are already looking promising with $127 million in the US and a worldwide launch of […]

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Film Review: Aussie coming-of-age flick Bilched hits all the right notes

November 22, 2019

Hal Thomas is finishing school and he’s ready for a monster night out with his friends. Sure, he’s been uninvited from the party, the girl he likes just wants to be mates, and he’s got a massive NADA audition coming up, but that’s not about to stop him. Turn up the Dune Rats, roll another […]

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Film Review: Judy & Punch is a nasty, inconsistent tale aided by two strong central performances

November 20, 2019

A peculiar film aided by two strong central performances but a distinct nastiness that keeps it from maintaining consistency, Judy & Punch is a brave debut feature from Australian actress-filmmaker Mirrah Foulkes.  Unsure if it wants to be a dark comedy or something more horrific – it sadly lacks orderly humour or thrills to be […]

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Chicago Film Festival Review: Jojo Rabbit plays it safe for a Nazi comedy

November 17, 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: Charlie’s Angels offers just enough to prove its necessity in a year of pointless revivals

November 16, 2019

Ready to feel old? The big-screen adaptation of Charlie’s Angels was released almost 20 years ago. Yes, it’s been nearly two decades since Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu lit up the screen with McG’s (remember him?) glitzy relaunch that was all sorts of campy fun. Alright, it wasn’t exactly a masterful film. And it certainly […]

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Film Review: The Report is a gripping procedural, boasting a fantastic performance from Adam Driver

November 14, 2019

Some of the cinema history’s most acclaimed films have revolved around stories of journalistic, procedural or investigative narratives. And with most of the selected group based on true stories, it begs the question: how can you make a gripping film where you already know the outcome of the story? Case in point: writer/director Scott Z. […]

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Film Review: Ford v Ferrari is a fantastic tribute to the Hollywood sports genre

November 13, 2019

The 1960s set Ford v Ferrari might not sound appealing to anyone with limited knowledge of or interest in the world of motor racing. But, in the world of cinema, any story can work, regardless of its premise, thanks to the themes it examines. In the case of director James Mangold‘s latest, these universal themes cover […]

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Chicago International Film Festival Review: Knives Out is a show-stopper

November 12, 2019

Oh to imagine how much fun this all-star cast must have had during the making of Knives Out, the off-the-wall whodunit homage from director Rian Johnson. Although its ultimate revelation isn’t quite as electrifying as watching the entire thing unfold, the snapping wit that drives this film is impossible to resist. And – surprise – […]

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Film Review: Odessa (Russia, 2019) – Amazing cinema at the Russian Resurrection Film Festival Launch

November 11, 2019

The Russian Resurrection Film Festival is considered one of the largest and most well respected film festivals outside of Russia. Travelling to Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra, the festival offers an insight into Russian culture through some of the most imaginative and creative cinema you’ll see. After some welcome speeches, including the Russian […]

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Supanova Adelaide 2019 Round Up: John Travolta, Deborah Ann Woll, Jason Isaacs and more brought the star power

November 6, 2019

Every year, in November, the Adelaide Showground springs to life with colourful characters when the Supanova Comic Con & Gaming Expo rolls in and offers a chance for Adelaide’s creative community to come together, show their art or cosplay and meet some of the biggest Film & TV stars out there. Sunday morning began with Julie Benz of Buffy the Vampire […]

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Film Review: Last Christmas wears its tinsel-laced heart on its sleeve with an unashamed abandon

November 6, 2019

As much as Last Christmas is selling itself on the notion that it’s “inspired” by the musical catalogue of the late, great George Michael – or more specifically the Wham! festive classic that this film’s title has lifted as its own – it’s ultimately not as formidable as it wishes to be. That’s certainly not […]

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Film Review: Follow a group of women determined to change the face of sailing, in outstanding doco Maiden

November 5, 2019

In the late 1980s, a young ship’s cook named Tracey Edwards had had enough. Sick of sailing’s impenetrable boys club, where women were barely tolerated on board – let alone in control on deck – she made an extraordinary decision. Edwards bought a boat, put together a team, and announced that she would be heading […]

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