Four Stars

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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Lucky's

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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YUNGBLUD

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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Ben Folds

Live Review: Ben Folds brings his catalogue to life with help from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

March 9, 2020

Touring in a country you’ve had a unique connection to will always be different to other shows and tours. Coming back to the country you lived in and married into, will always give you reason to perform at a level that goes beyond what could be expected from a touring act. For Ben Folds, playing […]

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Wild Fearless Chests

Book Review: Mandy Beaumont’s Wild Fearless Chests is a visceral tour de force

March 1, 2020

The line between short stories and poetry is thin in Mandy Beaumont’s debut collection, Wild Fearless Chests, which was published earlier in the year by Hachette, off the back of a shortlisting in both the Richell Prize and the Dorothy Hewett Award run by UWA Publishing. The collection readers were promised was a catalogue of […]

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Bonnie Wynne

Book Review: Dive into a new YA fantasy with Bonnie Wynne’s The Ninth Sorceress

February 6, 2020

Gwyn is in a bad way. Imprisoned in the dungeons of the Clockwork City, visits from interrogators and torturers are becoming routine. But, then a wizard walks in with something she’d thought long lost. A memento from a life left behind. And suddenly the words start coming. Ascepis and his caravan. Lucian, the shapeshifter. Her […]

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Sex Education

Netflix’s Sex Education Season 2 matures but remains wildly fun and refreshingly honest

January 20, 2020

Sex Education was a sleeper hit for Netflix in 2019. The show starring Asa Butterfield, Ncuti Gatwa, Emma Mackey and Gillian Anderson and a whole bunch more, finally brought some real world teenage angst about relationships to the small screen. Otis (Butterfield) whose mother Jean (Anderson) is a sex therapist, decides to team up with […]

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Film Review: Bad Boys for Life makes an old franchise feel vital

January 16, 2020

Bold, brash, and – dare I say – breathtaking, Bad Boys for Life may go down as one of 2020’s biggest surprises. Being squashed into the oft ignored mid-Jan release cycle with reviews embargoed until the 11th hour is not a good sign for any film really, but the long-gestating third outing for 90’s born […]

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Book Review: Gary Janetti’s Do You Mind If I Cancel? will make starry-eyed dreamers laugh like it’s 1989

January 1, 2020

The latest book from Gary Janetti, Do You Mind If I Cancel? might be a small one, but it contains some big laughs. This collection of essays recalls Janetti’s time as a twenty-something year old living in New York City. It is a book that will appeal to fans of David Sedaris and his colourful and […]

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Book Review: Lynne Truss’ The Man That Got Away is a quirky comedy starring some bumbling Bobbies

December 29, 2019

Lynne Truss is an author with many feathers to her (detective’s) cap. She is the renowned grammarian who wrote Eats, Shoots & Leaves as well as a journalist by trade. Her latest release is The Man That Got Away, her second crime novel. It’s another offbeat book starring some bumbling Bobbies, Brighton Belles and British bandits. […]

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Film Review: Sorry We Missed You is a grueling, heartbreaking yet compassionate drama from Ken Loach

December 21, 2019

Sorry We Missed You is the latest film from acclaimed British director Ken Loach. Loach has made many great films over the years that delved into social realism. Great works like I, Daniel Blake, It’s a Free World…, Vera Drake, The Wind That Shakes the Barley; all examined the gritty undertakings of the British environment […]

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Film Review: Freaks is one of the best genre surprises of the year

December 9, 2019

One of the pleasures of watching films is the feeling of surprise and enjoying the journey and not knowing where it will lead you. In other words, a little mystery goes a long way. In the case of Freaks by co-directors Adam B. Stein and Zach Lipovsky, it comes with an interesting premise that has […]

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