australian cinema

Interview: Jordon Prince-Wright on his Australian WWI drama Before Dawn; “I knew I needed to tell this story.”

Based on real life war diaries, Before Dawn is an epic retelling of one of Australia’s biggest victories during WWI. Jim Collins, a young man from the outback, leaves his family-run sheep station to join the ANZAC and fight on the western front with hopes of making a difference. Soon, the realities of the muddy, ruthless,…

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Interview: Arj Barker and director Scott Corfield on their new Australian comedy The Nut Farm; “We wanted that heart and the environmental message to drive it home.”

The new Australian comedy The Nut Job details A failed US crypto trader who inherits a macadamia nut farm in Australia that’s under threat from some evil New Zealand frackers…so, you know, your average, relatable, Aussie battler story.  Right? Believe it or not, amongst the heightened comedy of the script, there’s a semi-autobiographical narrative in…

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Film Review: The Rooster navigates its meditation on masculinity with dark humour and uncomfortable fragility

The opening imagery of Mark Leonard Winter‘s The Rooster is a nightmarish depiction of a body swinging in the wind.  It suggests a darker film than what transpires over the following 101 minutes, even though Winter’s script does indeed indulge in devastating themes. At the centre of The Rooster is Dan (Phoenix Raei, leaving no…

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Interview: The Rooster director Mark Leonard Winter on the undertaking for his feature debut; “It’s every phase of sheer terror!”

When the body of his oldest friend is found buried in a shallow grave, Dan, a small-town cop, seeks answers from a volatile Hermit who may have been the last person to see his friend alive. Such is the plotline for Mark Leonard Winter‘s intimate, psychological drama The Rooster, which is arriving in Australian theatres…

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Interview: The Rooster producer Geraldine Hakewill on navigating micro budgets, fragile masculinity and working with her husband

When the body of his oldest friend is found buried in a shallow grave, Dan, a small-town cop, seeks answers from a volatile Hermit who may have been the last person to see his friend alive. Such is the plotline for Mark Leonard Winter’s intimate, psychological drama The Rooster, which is arriving in Australian theatres…

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Interview: Nathan Phillips on the guerilla-style filmmaking of new Australian crime thriller Kane and the joys of playing a sociopath

Benny works for old school crime boss Abe, Abe has multiple personalities and is in a gang war with the notorious Frankie. Kane is the deadliest of Abe”s personalities, the next 24 hours will be a killer. Today is a good day to die. Such is the logline for Blair Moore’s ambitious debut feature Kane,…

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Interview: Sisi Stringer on Force of Nature: The Dry 2; “I think it’s better than the first one, and not just because I’m in it.”

“I was ready!” Actress Sisi Stringer knew what she was getting herself into when taking on Force of Nature: The Dry 2.  So much so that she became an unofficial expert on filming in the harsh realty of the Australian rainforest. Whether or not that advice was taken on by her co-stars is another story…

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Film Review: Christmess, for better or worse, won’t be your festive “feel good” flick this year

Whilst films set around Christmas more often than not romanticise the holiday, there are still the occasional offerings that bathe in a downtrodden light that, for many, hits a far more realistic note.  In the case of Christmess, writer/director Heath Davis perhaps leans a little too heavily into the downward spiral of his main character,…

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Film Review: The Big Dog is a black dramedy that delights in the misery of its assembled company

As far as savvy sex-working women go, the character driving the bulk of The Big Dog‘s emotional and psychological torture isn’t the most traditional.  Pretty Woman this isn’t, with the financial dominatrix side of sexual services being explored here (Findom, for those in the know) in Dane McCusker‘s intriguing black dramedy that delights in the…

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Sonos is a promising short that delights in its horror flourishes: Brisbane International Film Festival Review

Whenever a horror film does well at the box office, the internet as a collective (or, more specifically, Twitter, sorry, X) likes to announce that “horror is back!”  But the truth is, it never really went anywhere.  Sure, like most genres it has its ups and downs in terms of general interest and monetary returns,…

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Birdeater is a visceral experience that leans into the brutality of emotional abuse: Brisbane International Film Festival Review

Given that Jim Weir and Jack Clark‘s frighteningly uncomfortable Birdeater is an Australian chiller set in the outback (at least for the majority of its running time), audiences are justified in thinking it could fall in line with other brutality-in-the-bush titles like Picnic at Hanging Rock or even Wolf Creek.  The more accurate comparison though…

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Interview: Scarygirl‘s Remy Hii on his love of animation and finding the right voice for his unique character

From the glamour of Crazy Rich Asians to the Christmas cheer of The Princess Switch 3, by way of being Tom Holland’s romantic rival in Spider-Man: Far From Home, Malaysian-Australian actor Remy Hii certainly forged a formidable path in his career thus far. But I don’t think any of that prepared him for the “Giant,…

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Interview: Jillian Nguyen on voicing Scarygirl; “It felt very sacred.”

In another case of someone making the most of their lockdown potential during COVID, Australian actress Jillian Nguyen auditioned for a voice role as she was confined to hotel quarantine.  That role ended up being for the lead in a bold, ambitious new locally made animated feature – Scarygirl. As the family film continues to…

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Film Review: Scarygirl invites its viewers to embrace the power of positivity in even the darkest of days

Watching Scarygirl it becomes even more increasingly annoying that Australian cinema hasn’t embraced animation as thoroughly as we should.  Sure, we have the likes of Blinky Bill and Ferngully to claim as our own (and, yes, I’m aware of Happy Feet, but it feels like an entity separate from the more independently funded productions), but,…

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Film Review: Monolith is an intimate, isolated chiller that delights in its own ambiguity

As we have been told across filmic media for years, “The truth is out there”, and referencing the tagline for The X-Files feels more than appropriate when discussing Matt Vesely‘s science-fiction leaning chiller Monolith, an intimate, isolated feature that flirts with the notion of an alien invasion without complete penetration. Such a tease. An incredibly…

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The Royal Hotel is a slow-burn thriller ripe with human horror: SXSW Sydney Screen Festival Review

Inspired by Hotel Coolgardie, Pete Gleeson’s shock 2016 documentary about two female Finnish backpackers and their work experience at a predominantly male-frequented pub, The Royal Hotel similarly shines a light on the the disturbing, toxic nature that can spawn from a small, isolated town that exploits Australia’s “drinking culture” mentality. An ironic title that will…

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Interview: Suka director Heidi Lee Douglas on what inspired her action-romance hybrid debut feature

The story of two generations of warring families in Sydney’s West, Suka is a violent love story…with a twist.  Brought together by fate, but pulled apart by family, this genre-bending romantic action film marks the feature debut of Australian filmmaker Heidi Lee Douglas. Ahead of the film’s release this week on DVD and Digital, Peter…

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Film Review: Talk To Me announces Australian directing duo Danny & Michael Philippou in a bold, gory fashion

Whilst it’s fair to be tired of the “elevated horror” tag that so many genre pieces aim for nowadays, and the attachment of the-little-studio-that-could A24 only fans the fire, one needn’t worry with Talk To Me, an Australian-made horror effort that was acquired by the aforementioned studio for US distribution following wild reactions out of…

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Win a double in-season pass to Rolf de Heer’s The Survival of Kindness

Thanks to Umbrella Entertainment we have 5 double in-season passes (Admit 2) to The Survival of Kindness, the latest feature from one of Australia’s leading filmmakers – Rolf de Heer. Written, directed and produced by award-winning auteur filmmaker Rolf de Heer (Dingo, Bad Boy Bubby, The Tracker), The Survival of Kindness uses allegory to analyse…

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Film Review: Blueback is beautifully captured and charmingly peaceful

Given just how successful his last film The Dry was, it’s understandable for their to be a certain expectation and closely examined look at what director Robert Connolly has on his table for his immediate follow-up.  Not that you should expect a crime thriller 2.0 given he’s adapting Tim Winton‘s family-friendly short Blueback, but don’t…

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Interview: Director Sean Lahiff on new environmental horror film Carnifex; “I wanted to create a myth around these tree hollows and create a dread for the forest.”

As the Australian survivalist thriller Carnifex continues to terrify audiences across the country (you can read our review here), director Sean Lahiff is already hard at work in the editing room of another feature. Taking some time out with our Peter Gray to talk all things Carnifex – an original new environmental horror/thriller set deep…

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Film Review: Carnifex is a serviceable man vs. beast outing that embraces tension over gore

You’d think people would learn by now that no good comes from hoping to find a new species.  Or, in the case of the trio at the centre of Australian creature feature Carnifex, an endangered species they’re hoping may still be alive in the aftermath of a bushfire-ravaged Australian forest. There’s been some controversy surrounding…

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Film Review: Seriously Red is an easy crowd-pleaser that gets by on its inspirational-quote mentality

Though Seriously Red is a film that has its heart in the right place and explores the rather fascinating world of celebrity impersonators and, by extension, what that does to one’s own identity, Gracie Otto‘s musically-inclined comedy never quite digs deep enough regarding its thematics. Otto’s film centres itself around Raylene “Red” Delaney (Krew Boylan,…

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Film Review: Sissy is campy and gory without undermining its dangerous thematics

Whether we like them (or follow them) or not, influencers – sorry, “content creators” – are a cultural mainstay in our society that often extends beyond the environment of social media.  In Australian horror effort Sissy, co-writers/directors Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes seem all too aware of the faux importance influencers place upon themselves, a…

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Interview: Australian director Samuel Gay on his decade-long passion project A Guide to Dating at the End of the World

Brisbane, 3.15am, Sunday March 28th, 2010; A single woman survives the apocalypse only to be reacquainted with her blind date from hell.   Based on true events. Kind of. A Guide To Dating At The End Of The World tells the story of a single woman who survives the apocalypse only to be reacquainted with her…

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Film Review: Bosch & Rockit is a spirited and emotional film that succeeds off its own scrappiness

A meditative presence, a sometimes-actor, and now writer/director, Tyler Atkins seems to revel in the difficulty of categorisation.  And it’s that loose scrappiness that shapes his feature-length debut, Bosch & Rockit, a spirited and emotional film that’s equally as uneasy to singularly designate. Based on Atkins’ own childhood, the film flirts with multiple genre temperaments…

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Film Review: How to Please a Woman aims for surprising realness over obvious raunch

Though its title may suggest it’s a comedy of somewhat raunchy proportions, Renée Webster‘s assured debut feature film How to Please a Woman is a far more accessible, rather delightful dramedy that furthers the female view in a male-dominated industry. Filmed in Western Australia (and looking particularly stunning in the process), Webster’s film centres around…

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Interview: Director Renée Webster on How to Please a Woman and finding the comedy in truth and pain

Having played to sold out festival sessions across Australia, the female-focused dramedy How to Please a Woman is looking to continue its crowd-pleasing success when it opens nationally in Australian cinemas on May 19th. Ahead of its release, Peter Gray spoke with the film’s writer and director, Renée Webster, about its rapturous reception so far,…

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Film Review: Leah Purcell’s commanding performance steadies the uneven tone of The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson

Lending an air of femininity to the western genre – one so often entangled with a masculine temperament – without compromising its rooted personality, Leah Purcell‘s The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson is the cinematic incarnation of her penned 2016 stage play and 2019 novel, all inspired by Henry Lawson‘s short story, “The…

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Sydney Film Festival announce opening night feature film

The 69th Sydney Film Festival has announced it’s opening night film, presenting the world premiere of We Are Still Here as its Gala event at the State Theatre on the 8th of June. The film, which will be followed by a post-screening celebration in the Sydney Town Hall, is a multi-genre First Nations collaboration that…

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