Four Stars

France is an amusingly quixotic journey from Bruno Dumont, led by a stellar Lea Seydoux: TIFF 2021 Review

October 3, 2021

France is the latest film from filmmaker enfant terrible Bruno Dumont; whose filmography is, for the lack of a better term, peculiar. His body of work shifts into many forms of storytelling in ways that they can never be encapsulated in restricted genre terms. From films exploring the idiosyncrasies of life with his debut film […]

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Mad Women's Ball

The Mad Women’s Ball is a satisfying hybrid tale of psychological drama and friendship: TIFF 2021

September 22, 2021

Set in 19th century France, The Mad Women’s Ball follows Eugenie (Lou de Laage), a young, wealthy lady of the manor who feels institutionalized within family and gender expectations. Her father expects her to be married off to a husband while she wants to travel, go on adventures and learn new things like her brother […]

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You are not my mother

You Are Not My Mother is an extremely effective horror flick that blends filial drama and powerful frights: TIFF 2021 Review

September 22, 2021

You Are Not My Mother tells the story of Char (Hazel Doupe), a struggling teenager who is living a self-sheltered life, drifting through school with good grades despite the bullies, all while having to take care of her mother Angela (Carolyn Bracken) and grandmother (Ingrid Craige). Her relationship with her mother is distant, after a […]

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Saloum blends action, comedy, horror and drama into a satisfying thrill-ride: TIFF 2021 Review

September 16, 2021

Saloum tells the story of three mercenaries Chaka (Yann Gael), Rafa (Roger Sallah) and Minuit (Mentor Ba) who are tasked to extract a Mexican drug dealer Felix (Renaud Farah) and his cargo of gold and drugs away from the chaos of the government overthrow of Guinea-Bissau and transfer to Dakar, Senegal. But when their means […]

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Zalava is an engaging mix of genre thrills, social commentary and potent drama: TIFF 2021 Review

September 16, 2021

Set in 1978, the film tells the story of a mountain village of Zalava in Kurdistan that is supposedly plagued by an ancient curse. The villagers are so drawn into the story of the curse that they have been driven into the ways that veer into levels of superstition, involving the use of metals as […]

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Jacob's Wife

Film Review: Jakob’s Wife is a fun splatter horror comedy about a disintegrating marriage that could use some vamping up

August 19, 2021

Jakob’s Wife tells the story of small-town couple Jakob and Anne Fedder (horror veterans Larry Fessenden and Barbara Crampton); a local minister and his dutiful wife who have been married close to 30 years. Anne feels that after all the tasks of being a housewife – including the cleaning, cooking, gardening, housekeeping and more cleaning […]

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The French Gift

Book Review: The strength of female friendship is celebrated in Kirsty Manning’s The French Gift

May 5, 2021

Kirsty Manning‘s historical fiction always features two things: an intriguing mystery in the past that must be uncovered by characters in the present day, and sumptuous descriptions of food and drink. Her latest novel, The French Gift is no exception. And no wonder, as Kirsty Manning is the co-owner of the Bellota Wine Bar and the […]

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Just Like You

Book Review: Nick Hornby’s Just Like You is a smart, quaint and funny love story

May 4, 2021

The tagline for Nick Hornby’s ninth novel should be “Love happens you least expect it.” On, Just Like You he’s fashioned together an interracial and intergenerational romance between two unlikely individuals. The result is a very sweet and realistic book that could offer a breezy form of escapism for readers during the world’s continued Covid madness. Hornby […]

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Book Review: Past, present, and Australiana come under the microscope in Evelyn Araluen’s Dropbear

March 9, 2021

Poetry and prose, critique and compassion all come together in Dropbear, the debut collection from award-winning writer, poet and editor Evelyn Araluen. It’s a remarkable collection; smart, thoughtful and articulate. To put it frankly, it comes as a surprise that this is Araluen’s debut book. Dropbear explores the imagery and mythology surrounding popular ideas of […]

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Raya and the Last Dragon

Film Review: Raya and the Last Dragon is visually rapturous and fun, marking a minor step in representation

March 4, 2021

Raya and the Last Dragon is set in a fantasy world called Kumandra; which was once inhabited by both humans and dragons in a harmonious existence. But, that peace comes under imminent danger when malevolent monsters known as the Druun make their presence known. To stave off the threat and save humanity, the dragons perform […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: The Pink Cloud is more than just an eerie prophecy of the world today

February 5, 2021

One of the things that is very reflective about film is how cinematic storytelling can reflect the current condition of the world today. But it is that very same quality that can make the storytelling of said film feel dated. The main reason would be due to the time spent on development in getting the […]

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Book Review: Randa Jarrar is provocative and unabashed in her memoir Love Is An Ex-Country

February 4, 2021

Love Is An Ex-Country is the compelling new memoir from Arab American writer and academic Randa Jarrar. The book (much like its author) is provocative, powerful and utterly unabashed. Presented as a travel memoir, Love is an Ex-Country begins with Jarrar heading on a cross-country road trip, emulating a similar trip taken by celebrated Egyptian […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Passing is a fantastic directorial debut from Rebecca Hall

February 3, 2021

Passing is the feature-length directorial debut from acclaimed actress Rebecca Hall. She is best known for her astounding performances in Vicky Christina Barcelona, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and Christine; as well as her appearances in blockbusters like The Prestige and Iron Man 3. Her interest in adapting the source material of the same […]

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Born Into This

Book Review: Adam Thompson’s Born Into This spotlights Tasmania and its people

February 2, 2021

The Tasmanian landscape and a whole host of engaging, charming and well drawn characters populate the stories that make up Born Into This, the debut short story collection from Adam Thompson; an emerging Aboriginal (pakana) author from Tasmania.  The collection comprises sixteen stories, often brief, but always impactful. In spite of this brevity, Thompson is […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Censor is an enjoyably reverential and visually stimulating psychological horror experience

January 30, 2021

When a filmmaker decides to venture into the topic of filmmaking as a narrative, their efforts can be fascinating in terms of storytelling. When the horror film Censor had been announced as an entry for Midnight Madness at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, it was particularly intriguing for a few reasons. Firstly, the topic of […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: In the Same Breath is a sobering, harrowing account on the origins and cover-up of COVID-19

January 30, 2021

There really is no way for yours personally to say this in a pithy fashion so it is best to just say it straight. One of my most anticipated films this critic wanted to see was In the Same Breath by director Nanfu Wang, a talented documentary filmmaker whose work in indicting the government workings […]

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Film Review: High Ground takes a deceptively simple story to heights of excellence

January 28, 2021

High Ground is the latest film from Stephen Maxwell Johnson, whom is best known for his 2001 acclaimed film Yolngu Boy; a powerful coming-of-age story about three Aboriginal men who strive to become great hunters as they deal with social, economic and especially filial factors in maturing from adolescence to adulthood. Since then, Johnson has […]

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The Forest of Moon and Sword

Book Review: Join Art on the quest to save her mother in Amy Raphael’s middle grade folk tale The Forest of Moon and Sword

January 19, 2021

In the dead of night, the Witchfinder General’s men came to Kelso and snatched away Art’s mother. Narrowly avoiding being taken herself, Art was left with nothing but a sword, her mother’s trusty book of remedies and salves, and her faithful horse Lady. It’s not much, but with the forest to guide her, she sets […]

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Book Review: Andrew Pippos toasts community and family in his debut Lucky’s

December 10, 2020

Debut author Andrew Pippos has used his own family history as a leaping off point for his first novel Lucky’s.  The multi-generational family saga details the rise and fall (and rise again?) of Lucky, a second-generation American-born Greek entrepreneur, restauranteur and erstwhile family man. Having found himself stationed in wartime Australia, impersonating clarinetist Benny Goodman […]

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Album of the Week: YUNGBLUD – weird! (2020 LP)

December 3, 2020

YUNGBLUD has been pretty busy since realising his debut album in 2018. With a slew of features and collaborations in the two years since, he’s been pushing the limits on what sound he’s creating and who, as a result, may want to listen to his music. Following a tender single with Halsey in 2019, he’s […]

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TIFF Review: Shadow in the Cloud is an exhilaratingly silly yet undeniably entertaining genre mashup from writer/director Roseanne Liang

September 21, 2020

Trigger warning: Sexual abuse and some coarse language Before we start off this review, let’s point out the elephant in the room. The film was co-written by Max Landis, who is now known for the various accusations of emotional and sexual abuse from eight separate women. Since then, lead actress Chloe Grace Moretz has said […]

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TIFF Review: Pieces of a Woman is a moving drama and stellar acting showcase for Vanessa Kirby and Ellen Burstyn

September 18, 2020

The filmography of playwright/director Kornel Mundruczo is quite interesting from a first glimpse. The standout feature is the fact that his works are usually political parables disguised as genre fare. His last two films White God and Jupiter’s Moon delved into the horror/sci-fi genre but were more about the examination of the inner workings of […]

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Caitlin Moran

Book Review: Caitlin Moran offers up another witty and wise memoir with More Than A Woman

September 15, 2020

Caitlin Moran is back with new memoir (and a new silver streak). Opening with modern day Moran travelling back in time to visit her thirty something self, who is fresh off saving the final draft of 2011’s How To Be A Woman. But the Moran of More Than A Woman has distressing news for her […]

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TIFF Review: A Good Man is an empathetic and understanding look into the life of a trans man wanting to have a child

September 13, 2020

When news of the latest project by writer/director Marie-Castille Mention-Scharr was announced, this reviewer was intrigued yet quite trepidacious [sic]. The premise of the story itself is inspiring but the casting of the titular role can be seen as quite problematic. The major reason for being is because of the lack of proper representation for […]

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TIFF Review: Holler is a remarkable coming-of-age drama and directorial debut from Nicole Riegel

September 11, 2020

Jessica Barden stars as Ruth Avery, a high school student who lives in Jackson, Ohio with her older brother Blaze (Gus Halper). She is intelligent and resilient but due to her living conditions, she is looked down upon by people at school to the point that she has to resort to stealing books (i.e. Madame […]

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Album of the Week: Lime Cordiale teach us a thing or two on 14 Steps to a Better You (2020 LP)

July 16, 2020

I have a vivid memory of a friend messaging me one day asking if I knew who Lime Cordiale were. This was in about 2014 when we were both getting into using Twitter. I was using it on the back of a Uni assignment, and he was using it to follow the NBA. Anyway, my […]

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The Safe Place

Book Review: With The Safe Place Anna Downes delivers a tense and compelling debut

July 2, 2020

The Safe Place, the debut novel from actor and author Anna Downes, takes lead protagonist Emily Proudman on a thrilling ride. She loses her apartment, her agent and her job; all in the space of one day. Before she has time to take it all in, her successful and handsome former boss comes to the […]

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Borderlands: Legendary Collection Review: A Worthy Return to Pandora

June 11, 2020

Borderlands remains one of the most important staples in recent gaming memory, as the granddaddy of looter shooters. Sure, many have learned, but none have quite mastered this unique blend of first-person gunplay, humour and exploration in the same way that Borderlands does. By now, most of us scavenged the land of Pandora, in search […]

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Deep Down Happy

Album of the Week: Sports Team deliver on the hype on their debut Deep Down Happy (2020 LP)

June 11, 2020

There’s an immediate punch to Sports Team‘s sound that intrigues you from their opening notes. A certain level of brashness, and a fast-and-loose approach to their debut album Deep Down Happy that sets you in step to instantly love the release. The English six-piece have built a loyal and passionate following on UK shores. That has allowed them […]

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All Time Low

Album Review: All Time Low return with the cathartic Wake Up, Sunshine

April 3, 2020

After tugging our emotions by re-recording their nostalgic Still Nothing Personal: A Ten Year Tribute, acclaimed pop-punk band All Time Low are back with their latest album: Wake Up, Sunshine. The Baltimore band were formed in 2003, and have had eight successful studio albums and counting. For this new album, lead vocalist Alex Gaskarth describes their […]

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