Five Stars

Lapsis

Film Review: Lapsis is an engagingly topical, darkly funny and breathlessly creative piece of sci-fi cinema

June 3, 2021

Lapsis tells the story of Ray Tincelli (Dean Imperial), a lowly baggage handler in Queens who is down on his luck financially; struggling to support himself and his ailing brother Jamie (Babe Howard), who is suffering from a strange fatiguing illness called omnia, which is connected to the death of his mother who died from […]

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Film Review: Ema is an alluring, invigorating and breathtakingly hallucinogenic drama from Pablo Larrain

May 13, 2021

Ema tells the story of the titular lead (Mariana Di Girolamo), a young insatiable dancer who is on a quest to bring her family back together. She is currently estranged from her husband Gaston (a brilliant Gael Garcia Bernal), the director of the dance company she performs. The couple had encountered problems with their marriage […]

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First Cow

Film Review: First Cow is a beautiful, contemplative and poignant tale set in the 1820’s

April 29, 2021

Set in 1820’s Northwest, First Cow tells the story of two travellers. The first being Otis “Cookie” Figowitz (John Magaro), a taciturn chef who is travelling with a group of fur trappers. The second being King-Lu (Orion Lee), a Chinese immigrant on the run for killing a Russian man. The two eventually become friends over […]

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Where the Line Breaks

Book Review: Where the Line Breaks is a thoughtful analysis of the ANZAC legend and those who create it

April 23, 2021

Shortlisted for the inaugural Fogarty Literary Award, Where the Line Breaks, the debut novel by West Australian writer Michael Burrows is stylistically a little out of the ordinary for Fremantle Press. For a start, a large part of the story is told in the form of a fictional PhD thesis. Writing the thesis is Matthew Denton, a “starry-eyed […]

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The Final Revival of Opal & Nev

Book Review: Dawnie Walton’s debut The Final Revival of Opal & Nev is headliner material

April 22, 2021

Since the release of Daisy Jones and the Six back in 2019, narratives about fictional bands, singers and songwriters have undergone something of a renaissance. Dawnie Walton’s debut The Final Revival of Opal & Nev builds on the oral history format of Daisy Jones, and takes the next step. Walton succeeds in telling a story […]

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Brother Sister Mother Explorer

Book Review: Jamie Figueroa captivates with debut novel Brother, Sister, Mother, Explorer

March 17, 2021

In the tiny tourist town of Ciudad de Tres Hermanas, brother and sister Rafa and Rufina are slowly unravelling in the aftermath of their mother’s death. But, although Rosalinda has passed away, she is yet to pass on, making her presence known by banging pots and pans and kicking the walls. Rufina sees and hears […]

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The Lamplighters

Book Review: A real world disappearance and fictional secrets combine in Emma Stonex’s The Lamplighters

March 11, 2021

Cornwall, December 1972. Three lighthouse keepers vanish from a remote offshore lighthouse. The entrance door is locked from the inside. The clocks have stopped. And, the Principal Keeper’s weather log describes a mighty storm that never happened. This is the set-up for Emma Stonex’s The Lamplighters. The Lamplighters is inspired by real events, despite its […]

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Film Review: French Exit is quirky, controlled chaos primarily designed as a showcase for the glorious Michelle Pfeiffer

March 10, 2021

Towards the beginning of French Exit, Azazel Jacobs‘s at once tragic and surreal comedy, Michelle Pfeiffer‘s initially icy New York socialite Frances Price seemingly mocks the romantic uncertainty of her adult son, Malcolm (Lucas Hedges).  “Menstruating?”, she asks when he refuses to divulge any type of answer to his sullenness, confirming screenwriter Patrick deWitt‘s penchant […]

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Minari

Film Review: Minari is a beautiful family drama that is wholesome, relaxing and heartwarming

February 18, 2021

Minari tells the story of the Yi family, a Korean-American family that has moved from the city in California to a plot of land in rural Arkansas. The patriarch Jacob (Steven Yeun) is optimistic for the move and plans to grow fresh Korean produce and sell them to needy vendors in Dallas, Texas. His wife […]

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Film Review: In Search of Darkness II provides another bountiful smorgasbord for 1980’s horror fans

February 16, 2021

Two years after the first instalment, the search for darkness continues! Director David A. Weiner is back with another entry in examining horror films in the 1980’s with In Search of Darkness Part II. The first film, while very well-received (especially from yours truly), did receive some reserved criticism. One example is the lack of […]

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Sundance Review: We’re All Going to the World’s Fair is an outstanding directorial debut from Schoenbrun

February 11, 2021

Set in present day America, the film follows the story of Casey, a lonely teenager who participates in an online game known as the World’s Fair Challenge; a game that promises to be the scariest game in existence. After starting the game, Casey records videos of herself and posts them online in order to document […]

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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. […]

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Skyglow

Book Review: Lose yourself in Leslie Thiele’s short story collection Skyglow

January 21, 2021

A woman adjusts to her new urban landscape. A slaughterman comes to terms with the death of his wife. A rodeo ringer blows into town, wreaking havoc. These are just a handful of the eclectic characters, locations, and stories that come gloriously together in Leslie Thiele‘s recent collection Skyglow. Bouncing from the past to the […]

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Ball Park Music

Album of the Week: Ball Park Music are back and bloody glorious on their new self titled LP (2020 LP)

October 22, 2020

There’s a strange level of satisfaction reviewing a new album for such a universally loved band like Ball Park Music. It’s like listening to the news that your best friends are getting married, that you’re going to become a parent for the first time or that the coronavirus has been eradicated. It’s pure, unadulterated excitement, […]

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TIFF Review: The magnificently mesmerizing Wolfwalkers will have audiences howling with joy

September 18, 2020

Whenever one thinks of animation studios, the main ones one would think of would be either Disney and Pixar from the West and Studio Ghibli overseas. Then on the lesser known side, there would be studios like Laika and Aardman studios. But there is one that is even more obscure and that is called the […]

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TIFF Review: Shiva Baby is one of the funniest films of 2020

September 15, 2020

Rachel Sennott stars as Danielle, a young bisexual Jewish woman, traipsing through life going through a phase of self-defeat as she essentially performs sex work for money; all under the guise of sexual empowerment excused by her gender studies degree. The mindset of Danielle is set up in a succinctly and hilariously tired fashion as she has sex with her […]

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The Mother Fault

Book Review: Kate Mildenhall’s The Mother Fault is deservedly one of this year’s most hyped Australian novels

September 10, 2020

In an indeterminate future Australia where everything is run by The Department, Mim’s husband, Ben, goes missing. Unable to track him using the technology that all citizens are fitted with, members of The Department begin asking questions. They claim to be concerned for his welfare, but they take Mim’s passport and those of her two […]

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The Spill

Book Review: Imbi Neeme’s The Spill explores the ins and outs of family ties

August 27, 2020

Imbi Neeme‘s debut novel The Spill was released in June, in the midst of a pandemic. Rather than despairing at the changed world of publishing that her first novel was born into, Neeme embraced the challenges and opportunities that this brought. She has since launched a campaign to support those Victorian Writers who, like herself, were […]

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The Vanishing Half

Book Review: Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half is every bit as good as promised

July 9, 2020

The release of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half early last month was met with great excitement, with the book quickly becoming a bestseller. Bennett’s sophomore novel is the story of the Vignes twins, Stella and Desiree, who grow up in an American town called Mallard during the 1960s. There are two things to know about Mallard […]

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Conjure Women

Book Review: Afia Atakora delivers a cautionary tale about the narratives of history in Conjure Women

June 11, 2020

Set in the years immediately preceding and immediately after the American Civil War, Afia Atakora‘s debut novel Conjure Women is an exploration of both what it meant to be a woman and what it meant to be a slave in the Antebellum South. Conjure Women is the story of Rue, a ‘conjure woman’ in a small community made up […]

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Momentum True Wireless 2

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 Review: The best wireless earbuds yet?

May 25, 2020

There are now some fantastic choices if you’re in the market for a pair of truly wireless earbuds. Apple has the Airpods Pro, Sony have their excellent WF-1000xm3 (review here), Bang & Olufsen is still having fun putting out new colourways of the E8 (review here), and there are some promising pieces coming from Bose […]

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The Rich Man's House

Book Review: Man and nature collide in Andrew McGahan’s final work, The Rich Man’s House

May 12, 2020

South of Tasmania sits The Wheel. It is the largest mountain in the world, almost triple the height of Everest. Accompanied by a small island, complete with its own formidable peak, The Wheel has been conquered by only one man – American billionaire climber Walter Richman. It’s been more than fifty years since Richman stood […]

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Fauna

Book Review: Donna Mazza makes a spectacular return with Fauna

May 1, 2020

It’s been thirteen years since WA writer, Donna Mazza, won the prestigious City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford award for her novel, The Albanian. But her second book, Fauna, out earlier this year through Allen and Unwin was certainly worth the wait. Set in 2037, in an Australia which shows only subtle differences from our own, […]

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Euphoria Kids

Book Review: Alison Evans’ YA fantasy Euphoria Kids is a stunning contemporary fairytale

February 3, 2020

Iris, Babs, and the boy without a name. One from the earth, one made of fire, and one who isn’t quite sure what he’s made of just yet. For this trio, navigating school and family life should have been enough. But there’s trouble brewing. Iris, who counts the faeries and dryads amongst their friends, is […]

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Akin

Book Review: Emma Donoghue’s Akin is a historical story told from the present day

January 28, 2020

Akin is Emma Donoghue’s tenth novel for adults, but only her second set in the modern day. Known by most readers for her 2010 novel, Room, Donoghue has published countless novels which examine little known pockets of history, such as 2014’s Frog Music and 2016’s The Wonder. At first glance, Akin is something entirely different to Donoghue’s back catalogue, including […]

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Book Review: Helen Garner’s Yellow Notebook is an exhilarating look inside the writer’s mind

December 23, 2019

Helen Garner is a Virginia Woolf fan. This is especially apparent in her latest release, Yellow Notebook: Diaries Volume 1 1978-1987. Woolf once said, “Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind receives a myriad impressions – trivial, fantastic, evanescent, or engraved with a sharpness of steel.” This quote amply […]

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Book Review: Emily Paull makes an assured and emotive debut with short story collection Well-Behaved Women

November 28, 2019

An expert free-diver disappears while training with her son. An unlikely Blanche DuBois makes her theatrical debut. A group of teens head to a music festival. And two young women run away together. These are just some of the tales that make up Well-Behaved Women, the debut short story collection from Perth writer Emily Paull. […]

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Book Review: Meg Mundell’s The Trespassers shows a dystopian future with links to Australia’s past and present

November 4, 2019

You might be forgiven for thinking that there are echoes of the past in Meg Mundell’s newest novel, The Trespassers, as a boatload of British folk board a boat bound for Australia to escape overcrowing, unemployment and disease at home. Instead, it’s the not-too-distant future. Among the passengers are our three protagonists: Cleary, nine years old and […]

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Live Review: The Teskey Brothers + Harmony Byrne – Metro Theatre, Sydney (03.11.19)

November 4, 2019

There’s a strange level of community in country and blues music. It’s not the genre of music I’d listen to the most. But, every time I head along to a gig by a band playing this type of music, I’m bound to walk away after ninety minutes with a big dumb smile on my face […]

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MIFF Review: Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a brimming, hot-blooded and passionate romance at its best

August 5, 2019

French director CĂ©line 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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