drama

Film Review: Babyteeth is a human drama that isn’t afraid to be messy, frustrating and darkly comedic

July 15, 2020

Whilst it’s easy to roll your eyes at the almost insultingly familiar narrative Babyteeth works with at its core – terminal ill teenager falls in love with the wrong guy – it somehow manages to avoid most of the genre cliches, thanks to a mindset that isn’t afraid to be messy, frustrating and, at times, […]

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Film Review: The King of Staten Island is a surprisingly grounded film that operates more as a showcase for Pete Davidson’s dramatic capabilities

July 14, 2020

So you should know going into The King of Staten Island that, yes, director Judd Apatow hasn’t changed his aesthetic in terms of narrative length or character ingredients.  A too-long comedic drama (emphasis on the drama here) focusing on a typical man-child who’s failed to launch himself, Staten Island hopes to be more endearing than […]

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Film Review: Waves is both a stirring and sobering experience

July 9, 2020

Despite this year’s Oscars honouring one of 2019’s more diverse offerings (Bong Joon-ho’s Korean black comedy/thriller Parasite), the whitewashing of the event was overwhelming.  In a cinematic year where actors of colour delivered universally-praised performances (see Lupita Nyong’o in Us, Awkwafina in The Farewell, and Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, for a start), it was disappointing that […]

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Film Review: End of Sentence transcends its predictabilities thanks to a little Irish charm

May 28, 2020

End of Sentence treads a familiar path.  And, initially, Elfar Adalstein‘s father-son-centric drama is a particularly downtrodden affair that audiences may not believe they’ll warm to.  The film’s lead characters don’t come off as the most inviting either – Logan Lerman‘s fresh-out-of-prison Sean and his doormat dad, Frank, played by John Hawkes – and their […]

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First Impressions: Amazon Prime Video’s Little Fires Everywhere overcomes its melodramatic state thanks to nuanced performances from Witherspoon and Washington

May 22, 2020

Perhaps as it should, Little Fires Everywhere does indeed start with a fire.  “There are little fires everywhere”, a fire marshal relays to a distraught Reese Witherspoon and a concerned Joshua Jackson, as they stare at their sprawling suburban home engulfed in flames.  The marshal’s statement indicates this was intentionally lit, setting up an immediate […]

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Film Review: 1983’s Ozploitation classic Hostage is little more than a Lifetime movie with sporadic moments of exploitation thrown in

May 5, 2020

Given the fact that Hostage has something of a reputation for being one of Australia’s biggest Ozploitation films, you’d be forgiven for assuming it would live up to its supposed status.  And whilst the opening credits suggest the film to come will be one heavy on uncomfortable violence – there are sudden, furious flashes of […]

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Film Review: The Flood overcomes its melodramatic narrative thanks to topical sensitivity

May 1, 2020

The opening scrawl of The Flood states that at least 18,000 people who have been displaced by persecution, conflict and violence in their own habitats around the world have died in the last 5 years alone in their bid to reach Europe.  It’s a shocking statistic regarding those trying to enter another country, but in […]

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Film Review: Come As You Are provides the jolt the road-trip-comedy model so desperately needs

April 13, 2020

Though the blueprint behind Come As You Are is quite insultingly familiar – three sexually-charged men on a road trip that’s as heavy on situational humour as it is on their own self-discovery – director Richard Wong proves that appearances are indeed deceiving. The core structures of the road-trip-comedy are in place, but Come As […]

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Film Review: Swallow is a slow-burning thriller that transcends its potentially nauseating premise

March 22, 2020

On paper, the premise for Swallow sounds almost too-grotesque to be relayed without resorting to some type of gimmick.  In reality, Carlo Mirabella-Davis‘s slow-burning thriller transcends its potentially nauseating core to deliver a deep, at times dark tale that wholly understands and respects its unique subject matter. The film surrounds the delicate Hunter (Haley Bennett), […]

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SXSW Film Review: Make Up is a self-discovery tale dressed up like a psychological thriller

March 20, 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. Perhaps diving a little too heavily into the metaphorical stance on storytelling, Claire Oakley‘s Make Up is a self-discovery tale dressed up like […]

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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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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: Promised is an unpolished dramedy that’s all about love

October 25, 2019

Australian cinema has already seen Ali and Muriel getting married (to other people) but Promised takes a different approach. This dramedy, set in the 1970’s, is a look at an arranged marriage, starring a pair of Italo-Australians. The results are an imperfect story that brims with real heart. It’s obvious that this independent film was […]

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Film Review: Sometimes Always Never (UK, 2018) is a quiet story that often feels like a scrabble in the dark

March 10, 2019

Sometimes Always Never proves its only words. This UK dramedy is about a father and son’s complex relationship. It has an English sensibility and a profound love for the Scrabble board game. The result is a quirky and whimsical character study that feels like it pans out in real-time. This film at first was a […]

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Film Review: Damien Chazelle has crafted something truly impeccable with First Man (USA, 2018)

October 8, 2018

It seems almost baffling that Neil Armstrong’s account of being the first man on the moon hasn’t been told prior to Damien Chazelle‘s First Man.  Clearly an intimidating figure but still reserved, sensitive and aloof enough to not be placed upon a pedestal as some flawless being, Chazelle’s film seeks to uncover the more human […]

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Film Review: I Am Paul Walker (USA, 2018) seeks to highlight the kind-natured generosity of a man who was more than his career

September 18, 2018

It goes without saying that Paul Walker was blessed with the type of face destined to be in front of the camera.  And as much as this dedicated documentary, I Am Paul Walker, celebrates his Californian-blessed aesthetics, it seeks more so to highlight that behind the tanned skin, sun-kissed blonde curls and baby blue eyes […]

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Film Review: The Miseducation of Cameron Post (USA/UK, 2018) survives on its own calmness

September 5, 2018

Although The Miseducation of Cameron Post‘s 1993 setting may have people believe that the gay conversion camps at the film’s centre are a thing of the past, and therefore easy to mock as a symbol of how backwards society’s thoughts on therapy was, this treatment is still sadly legal in a large number of American […]

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First Impressions: Netflix’s Godless (USA, 2017) stands out with female gunslingers shining in a man’s world

November 24, 2017

Netflix always has a new television series lined up for our binge needs and Netflix’s Original Western Drama Godless will entice Western fans and newcomers alike. Godless’ first episode is a slow burn with a lot to digest but it successfully sets up its dusty Western world, hooking you in with mysterious characters. The premiere […]

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Film Review: God’s Own Country (UK, 2017) is a moody and haunting emotional journey

August 30, 2017

As easy as it is to liken God’s Own Country to the similarly themed Brokeback Mountain, doing so is only ultimately stripping Francis Lee‘s film of its own identity.  A moody and haunting emotional journey for its protagonists, God’s Own Country is a slow burning, though rewarding drama propelled by a duo of strong performances […]

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Film Review: Red Dog: True Blue (PG) (Australia, 2016) hardly proves a necessary excursion

December 29, 2016

Just as emotionally manipulative as the 2011 original Red Dog but less successful in its execution, Red Dog: True Blue looks to merely survive on a superficial level as the “aww shucks” cuteness of the titular canine appears to be the sole reasoning behind this sequel/prequel hybrid coming to fruition. The stunning harsh red dirt […]

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Film Review: Netflix’s Obama biopic Barry (MA15+) (USA, 2016) is at once thoughtful, intelligent and entertaining

December 19, 2016

The kind of film that benefits from its titular character being portrayed as less of an impression and more as a fully realised character, Barry is at once thoughtful, intelligent and particularly entertaining. Though he is introduced to us as Barry, we’re all aware of the Barack Obama he ultimately will become (so to speak), […]

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Film Review: Little Men (PG) (USA, 2016) survives on the natural performances of its cast

December 8, 2016

Similar to how director Ira Sachs‘ previous effort Love Is Strange commented on the increasing rate of renting in New York City, Little Men showcases how a simple financial squabble can become someone’s undoing. A relationship-based drama that survives mainly on the simplistic but natural performances of its cast, Little Men focuses on young Jake […]

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Film Review: The Founder (M15+) (USA, 2016) is an intriguing drama benefitting from Michael Keaton’s performance

November 24, 2016

Likely to come as a surprise to many that The Founder is less a success story regarding the origins of McDonalds, but more a tale on greed and the value of real estate, John Lee Hancock‘s engaging drama benefits from its stellar central performance from Michael Keaton, continuing the run he so assuredly began with […]

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Film Review: Drama (Australia, 2016) offers a hopeful alternative to the usual coming-of-age story

November 18, 2016

Some people claim they don’t look for drama, that drama looks for them. In Anna’s case, drama’s reared its ugly head in her life in the form a breakup with older man John. She seeks solace and support in her best friend Jean, who lives across the English channel in Paris. Jean welcomes his London-based […]

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The drama of growing up: We meet Dominique Mathisen, producer of the Australian feature Drama

November 12, 2016

In an ever-changing entertainment landscape, Aussie sisters and co-producers Sophie and Dominique Mathisen have taken production and distribution of their Australian feature film, Drama, into their own hands. Creation of this indie film was possible through a crowdfunding campaign, and they are releasing through a film biz model known as “day and date”, whereby content […]

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Season 4 of ABC TV’s Rake enters production

October 2, 2015

Fans of Rake would be happy to know that ABC’s crime drama is back in production for their 4th season. Co-creator and producer Richard Roxburgh will be reprising his award-winning role as  Cleaver Greene, the self-destructive, rouge Sydney barrister with questionable morals. Joining show regulars John Waters and Rachael Blake for then ew season will be acclaimed British actress Miriam […]

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