Five Stars

Film Review: Beau is Afraid is the gallows humour comedy of the year

April 21, 2023

Beau is Afraid tells the story of Beau Wassermann (Joaquin Phoenix), a taciturn, socially-awkward middle-aged man who is the son of renowned and wealthy businesswoman Mona (Patti LuPone). He currently lives a broken existence, with a dilapidated apartment, constant therapy sessions (led by Stephen McKinley Henderson) and sleepless nights due to the barrage of sounds […]

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Second Opinion: Why John Wick – Chapter 4 is a five star slice of nirvana for fans of action cinema

March 24, 2023

Following on from Peter’s review earlier this week, our own Harris Dang tells us why the latest installment in the John Wick series is a five star slice of nirvana for fans of action cinema… John Wick – Chapter 4 continues the story of our titular anti-hero (Keanu Reeves), who is currently at his lowest […]

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Fair Play is an intense, gripping thriller from Chloe Domont: Sundance Film Festival Review

January 26, 2023

Fair Play tells the story of a recently engaged young couple Emily and Luke (Phoebe Dynevor and Alden Ehrenreich) who both work at a corporate hedge fund in secret. As they witness a fellow employee crash and burn and is let go of their job, a new spot for PM has opened up, leaving a […]

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Film Review: Alluring, funny and engaging crime mystery Decision to Leave shows director Park Chan-wook at his peak

October 23, 2022

Decision to Leave tells the story of Hae-jun (Park Hae-Il), a city-based, young insomniac small-town detective. He is stuck in an uneventful job where very little crime occurs. His marriage with his restrictive partner Jung-an (Lee Jung-hyun) is without fire and lacking in passion. His only ray of hope is being in charge of a […]

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Film Review: Project Wolf Hunting is cinematic nirvana for fans of action cinema and grindhouse splatter

October 11, 2022

Project Wolf Hunting tells the story about a police operation that is taking place after a disastrous prisoner transport over air travel ended disastrously due to an airport bombing. The alternate route of transportation is via freighter boat and the mission is simple – transport prisoners from the Philippines through the Pacific Ocean to South […]

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Film Review: Bodies Bodies Bodies proves to be as sharp as the murder weapon with its dark comedy and stellar filmmaking

September 15, 2022

Bodies Bodies Bodies tells the story of a group of exuberant 20-something youths who plan to party for the weekend in a remote mansion. Partygoers include Sophie (Amandla Stenberg), a rich kid who has a dark backstory involving drug use, her partner Bee (Maria Bakalova), a working-class reticent young woman, David (Pete Davidson), an unruly […]

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Film Review: The Quiet Girl is a low-key gem that proves the smallest gestures can warm the biggest hearts

September 9, 2022

Set in 1980’s Ireland, The Quiet Girl tells the story of Cait (Catherine Clinch), an emotionally and socially withdrawn child who lives with her destitute family in a rural village. The family is vast with many siblings and are struggling financially, leaving Cait feeling neglected and forgotten. When her mother becomes pregnant again, Cait’s parents […]

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Film Review: Prey is one of the best pure genre films of the year that does the Predator franchise proud

August 5, 2022

Set in the 16th century America, Prey tells the story of Naru (Amber Midthunder), a young warrior from the Comanche Nation who wants to prove her mettle in her tribe to become a hunter. She faces much discrimination from her tribe due to patriarchal norms and the like, while her brother Taabe (Dakota Beavers) is […]

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Film Review: A brilliant Jodie Comer indicts the legal system in NT Live’s triumphant Prima Facie

July 23, 2022

Trigger warning: Sexual assault Prima Facie tells the story of Tessa (Jodie Comer), a young, tenacious and determined barrister who is at the prime of her career. With a sharp mind and an ironclad belief in the word of the law, she has never lost a case. Even when working on cases that would trigger […]

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Film Review: The Innocents is a powerfully haunting piece of work that dives into the dark mindset of children

May 20, 2022

Set in present day Norway, The Innocents follows the story of Ida (Rakel Lenora Flottum), a young 9-year old girl who is angry with the state that she is in. Her family has moved into an apartment complex with new surroundings and she can no longer play with her older sister Anna (Alva Brunsmo Ramstad), […]

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Film Review: Flee is an ingenious piece of storytelling of survival and self-discovery that mixes animation and documentary brilliantly

February 17, 2022

Flee is the latest hybrid of both documentary and animation, giving it a similarity to the 2008 film Waltz with Bashir. They both involve storytelling of factual narratives through the medium of animation that stirs up the animation of audiences as the subjects recollect their experiences. In the case of Flee, the animation not only is […]

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The gloriously entertaining horror flick Hatching will provide you a nice egg in this trying time: Sundance Film Festival Review

January 28, 2022

Hatching tells the story of Tinja (Siiri Solalinna), a 12-year old rising star gymnast who lives in the supposed perfect existence of domesticated suburbia; led by her image-perfectionist mother (Sophia Heikkilä), who runs a popular blog about exactly that. Tinja’s family also consists of her taciturn father (Jani Volanen) and her spoiled, irritable younger brother […]

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Film Review: Belle is an absolute wonder from Mamoru Hosoda that has spectacular visuals enriched by a rich, full heart

January 21, 2022

Belle tells the story of Suzu, a jovial yet emotionally withdrawn high schooler who is distraught over the loss of her mother. She bears a seething hatred due to the lack of understanding as to why her mother performed such an act of self-sacrifice. Hating her position in her life, she retreats to a vast […]

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Film Review: Licorice Pizza is joyously subversive look on nostalgia; led by a star-making performance by Alana Haim

December 27, 2021

Set in 1973 San Fernando Valley, California. Licorice Pizza tells the story of Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman), a TV show actor and high schooler who is smitten with the school photographer/volunteer Alana Kane (Alana Haim). The two are aware of the elephant in the room in terms of them being together; being the vast 10-year […]

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Film Review: Zola is an exhilarating crime-comedy about the nature of exploitation; told with striking style and sharp humour

November 18, 2021

Zola tells the story of the burgeoning relationship and eventual disintegration between Aziah “Zola” King (Taylour Paige), a confident yet downtrodden waitress and part-time stripper and Stefani Jezowski (Riley Keough), an unreserved and blundering stripper. They serendipitously meet one another in the restaurant where Zola works and the two become fast friends through many shared […]

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The Power of the Dog marks a triumphant return to cinema for acclaimed filmmaker Jane Campion: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 12, 2021

“He’s just a man, Peter. Only another man.” – Rose (Kirsten Dunst) Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons star as Phil and George Burbank; brothers who work as reputable cattle ranchers. George is a simple, upstanding and honest man while Phil is boastful, malevolent and manly. While Phil is happy with their routine of continuing the […]

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Memoria is one of 2021’s best films thanks to its undeniably immersive nature that is cinematic morphine: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 11, 2021

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” – Anonymous According to writer/director Apitchatpong Weerasethakul’s latest film Memoria, the answer to the question above is a resounding yes. The acclaimed filmmaker is best known for works including Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His […]

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Film Review: Pig is one of the best films of 2021 thanks to its gripping emotional honesty and a fantastic Nicolas Cage

September 16, 2021

Pig tells the story of Rob (a wonderfully subtle Nicolas Cage), a former renowned chef turned truffle hunter who resides in a cabin deep in the forest who makes a living by hunting for truffles with the help of his valuable foraging pig. He sells the truffles to young supplier and friend Amir (a stellar […]

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The Rescue is an emotionally rousing & suspenseful documentary about the Tham Luang cave rescue: TIFF 2021 Review

September 16, 2021

“There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” This is a quote from the 1999 sci-fi hit The Matrix by the Wachowskis. Why is this being quoted, you ask? This quote was stuck in this critic’s mind as he was watching the latest project from documentary filmmakers by Jimmy Chin and […]

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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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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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