Four Stars

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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Book Review: Debra Adelaide’s The Innocent Reader is a book lover’s delight

December 4, 2019

In her new collection of essays, through the lens of reflecting on her reading and writing, Debra Adelaide reveals much of her own story. An avid reader from a young age, Adelaide recounts her early encounters with Tolkien at the local library, laments her own inability to reduce the number of books in her home (no matter […]

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Film Review: The Report is a gripping procedural, boasting a fantastic performance from Adam Driver

November 14, 2019

Some of the cinema history’s most acclaimed films have revolved around stories of journalistic, procedural or investigative narratives. And with most of the selected group based on true stories, it begs the question: how can you make a gripping film where you already know the outcome of the story? Case in point: writer/director Scott Z. […]

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Film Review: Ford v Ferrari is a fantastic tribute to the Hollywood sports genre

November 13, 2019

The 1960s set Ford v Ferrari might not sound appealing to anyone with limited knowledge of or interest in the world of motor racing. But, in the world of cinema, any story can work, regardless of its premise, thanks to the themes it examines. In the case of director James Mangold‘s latest, these universal themes cover […]

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Film Review: Ready or Not is gleefully sadistic fun, with a great performance from Samara Weaving

October 24, 2019

Horror comedies are a sub-genre that are hard to pull off successfully. One has to steer tonal shifts smoothly and juggle both laughs and scares with skill and balance; all whilst not overwhelming or underwhelming on either front. Successful horror comedies include Sam Raimi‘s horror entries — The Evil Dead Trilogy and Drag Me To […]

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Film Review: How to be Mark Ronson introduces us to the man behind the music

October 20, 2019

“Uptown Funk”, “Shallow”, “Valerie”, “Joanne,” “Late Night Feelings,” and the list goes on. Producer, songwriter, musician and singer, Mark Ronson has contributed to some of the biggest songs and records of modern times. In How to be Mark Ronson, fans are given a taste of the man behind the music and learn that this subject […]

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Book Review: Griffith Review 64: The New Distruptors is a sweeping look at new technology

October 16, 2019

The Griffith Review is known for its rich collections of thought-provoking writing and picture stories. The 64th edition, The New Disruptors is no exception. It is a deep dive into the world of technological change, from the recesses of the dark web through to those new opportunities for change. This instalment is edited by Ashley […]

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Film Review: Downton Abbey is a touch of class

September 11, 2019

Downton Abbey was a television show filled with glamour, wealth and manners. For six seasons, viewers were treated to a bird’s eye view of the community connected to that famous British estate. While the film adaptation could have become just an extended episode of the series, this film instead manages to hold its own as […]

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Book Review: Dysfunction is rife in Ruby Porter’s engrossing debut Attraction

August 26, 2019

The unnamed narrator in Ruby Porter‘s Michael Gifkins Prize winning debut novel Attraction can’t seem to get her mind to focus. She and her girlfriend, Ilana, and her best friend, Ashi, are on a road trip to the narrator’s family beach house in New Zealand’s North Island. The trip is one of escape for our protagonist, but […]

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Book Review: Whitney Scharer explores a real life romance in The Age of Light

August 9, 2019

The year is 1926, and American model Lee Miller has arrived in Paris. Leaving behind a successful career at Vogue, she’s ready to take her place behind the camera, rather than in front of it. After convincing surrealist Man Ray to take her on as his assistant, she begins her education, but soon finds herself […]

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Book Review: Tony Birch’s The White Girl pushes beyond the limits of love in one family’s experience of the Protection Act

July 28, 2019

The town that makes up the main setting of Tony Birch’s new novel The White Girl is a fictional one, but it could have been anywhere in Australia. The novel tells the story of Odette Brown, an Indigenous woman who was raised on the mission in Deane separated from her family, and in particular her father. She lives on […]

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Book Review: Bindy Pritchard’s Fabulous Lives offers a series of rich vignettes from a motley crew of characters

July 22, 2019

A suburban family finds a prehistoric egg. A lonely woman aids a fallen angel. An American woman plots to take the Parisian honey industry by storm. These are just a few of the moments captured in Bindy Pritchard‘s stunning short story collection Fabulous Lives. Curious, yet always relatable, Pritchard’s vignettes are filled with the sort of […]

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Book Review: Inspector Gereon Rath returns in Volker Kutscher’s The Silent Death

July 8, 2019

The year is 1930. With talkies on the rise, the age of silent cinema is coming to a close, and it seems there’s someone on the Berlin streets who’s not quite ready to let it go. Cinema starlets are showing up dead at an alarming rate and, as if Inspector Gereon Rath doesn’t already have […]

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Book Review: #MeToo: Stories from the Australian Movement is a strong anthology from a diverse choir of voices

June 25, 2019

In October 2017 when the hashtag #MeToo went viral, a lot of the popularity was chalked up to some rich, white celebrities speaking out. What these media reports failed to acknowledge however was that the movement’s true founder was Tarana Burke. This new anthology, #MeToo: Stories from the Australian Movement, is broadens #MeToo’s scope, whilst […]

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Book Review: Amanda O’Callaghan’s This Taste for Silence marks the arrival of a quietly macabre talent

June 23, 2019

The body count is high in Amanda O’Callaghan’s debut short story collection, This Taste for Silence. From the very first story, death, murder and unexplained disappearances emerge as a dominant theme in this collection which has been described by Ryan O’Neill as ‘utterly haunting.’ Brisbane-based author O’Callaghan is an internationally acclaimed writer of short (and very […]

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Film Review: Happy as Lazzaro (Italy, 2018) is magical realism par excellence

June 11, 2019

Over the recent years, it has come to my attention that some of the most problematic films that have attained a lot of critical derision have come from films that explore the trope of magical realism. Recent efforts such as Collateral Beauty, Life Itself and The Book of Henry have tried to be life-affirming by […]

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Book Review: No stone has been left unturned in Elizabeth Kuiper’s Little Stones

June 11, 2019

Little Stones might be the debut novel from Australian writer Elizabeth Kuiper, but it won’t be her last. The novel, of which an early version was long listed for the Richell Prize, published in Award Winning Australian Writing and received the Express Media Prize for the best work of fiction, marks the arrival of a new voice in Australian writing. One […]

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Live Review: Rudimental + Sneaky Sound System – Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne (10.06.19)

June 11, 2019

UK outfit Rudimental closed out the rescheduled Australian leg of their massive “Toast To Our Differences” world tour in style at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on Sunday night, helping to elevate their fantastic album Toast To Our Differences to even greater heights. Joining the band to bask in the musically driven madness of the Melbourne crowd, […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Third Wife (Vietnam, 2018) is an entrancing, haunting and sensual experience

June 10, 2019

It feels absolutely wonderful to see a Vietnamese film in this year’s Sydney Film Festival. Of course, there have been many Vietnamese film in film festivals before but, with a stronger focus on genre-centric cinema over the recent year, it feels invigorating for a Vietnamese critic such as myself. This year, we have Ash Mayfair‘s […]

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Live Review: Seth Sentry + Birdz + Odd Sox – Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne (08.06.19)

June 10, 2019

If you had never been to a Seth Sentry show, you would probably be unprepared for the shenanigans, or at the very least you’d know his personality was inclined towards them through his music. Seth has been away from the touring circuit for awhile but, alongside the release of his recent single “Wrong One” seemingly […]

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Album Review: Emotions flow freely as Meg Mac gives us all a little bit of Hope

June 7, 2019

Hope can be a genuinely hard thing to find these days, but can often be found in the places we don’t think to look. Meg Mac’s new album offers us a quiet moment of hopeful reflection, and also brings with it a gentle reminder of her vocal and lyrical talent. Recently coming off the end of […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Amazing Johnathan Documentary is like a film directed by Puff the Magic Dragon

June 7, 2019

Most documentaries are good at providing observations about a subject. They are often unobtrusive and just like a fly-on-the-wall. But what do you do when you’ve chosen to chronicle an individual who is an illusionist and expert prankster by day? TV director, Ben Berman grapples with this as well as the notion of the truth […]

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Album Review: Polish Club – Iguana (2019 LP)

June 6, 2019

Here’s a fun fact: despite the commonly held belief that they can do it whenever they please, Iguana’s can only change colour when placed under stress or basking in the sun. Now that I’ve dazzled you with my Year Seven standard understanding of the animal kingdom, you must know that just like Iguana’s, Polish Club […]

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Film Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters pays loving tribute to its forebears, with monster battles and throwbacks galore

June 3, 2019

It’s finally here! The Godzilla franchise continues with Godzilla: King of the Monsters! Previous director Gareth Edwards has been replaced by Michael Dougherty, best known for his horror efforts like the Halloween anthology film Trick ‘R Treat and the Christmas movie Krampus. With an all-star cast of acclaimed thespians, rising talents and franchise returnees and free reign […]

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