Review

Moneyboys is a respectful depiction of homosexuality in mainland China: Taiwan Film Festival in Australia Review

September 17, 2021

Films dealing with queer thematics are few and far between in mainland China.  Due to the government’s strict regime on censorship, stories detailing the LGBTQ communities are a rarity, which is why a feature like Moneyboys is all the more curious.  Though set in China, it was filmed in the neighbouring Taiwan, co-financed with European […]

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Film Review: Disclosure is a tense and all-too-raw drama that delights in its ambiguity

September 16, 2021

Opening with particularly confronting sexual imagery – something that appears unwarranted for gratuity sake before its bookend re-appearance – Disclosure is an unbearably tense and all-too raw drama that leans into the notion that adults can still very much act like children when provoked. And provoked the quartet at the centre of Michael Bentham‘s film […]

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Film Review: Die In A Gunfight is tragically dead on arrival

September 16, 2021

Just because a story has been done before, doesn’t mean it can’t be told in a manner that offers something new.  In the case of Die In A Gunfight, a supposedly romantic thriller influenced by Shakespeare’s classic tale Romeo & Juliet, its intent on bringing flare to proceedings is so chaotic and desperate that it […]

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Encounter is an intentionally ambiguous sci-fi drama that furthers Riz Ahmed’s star quality: TIFF 2021 Review

September 14, 2021

There’s a consistent thrill to Encounter, Michael Pearce‘s ambitious science fiction-leaning effort that delights in its ambiguous nature.  At least, for the most part.  Seen through the eyes of an unreliable narrator (an as expected stellar Riz Ahmed), Pearce’s film is better when it’s holding on to its secrets.  There’s something deeper and darker at […]

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The Starling squanders any of its emotional potential with lazy manipulation: TIFF 2021 Review

September 14, 2021

There’s a hopeful message about tackling grief in a healthy manner and how there’s the possibility of light at the end of darkness present in the core of The Starling.  With so many promising ingredients too, Theodore Melfi‘s feel-good dramedy is likely to lure audiences in with a false sense of security, promising potential but […]

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The Guilty is an intense showcase for the ever commanding Jake Gyllenhaal: TIFF 2021 Review

September 13, 2021

The 2018 Danish thriller The Guilty was riveting, ruthless material.  This American remake, coming courtesy of director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer), is much of the same, which means those who have seen the original will find the plotting all too familiar, yet those uninitiated are likely to be wholly swept up in its […]

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All My Puny Sorrows tackles its raw subject matter with a heightened honesty: TIFF 2021 Review

September 13, 2021

There’s a quirky, indie comedy vibe that initially laces the opening minutes of All My Puny Sorrows that deceptively suggests what will take place over the coming 103 minutes will be an airier approach to incredibly sensitive material.  Character names are unusual – to say the least – and the dialogue is heightened, presented in […]

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Film Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is an extravagant tale strengthened by the star-making turn from Simu Liu

September 2, 2021

Familiar with a little father-son friction thanks to his role on TV’s Kim’s Convenience, Simu Liu experiences similar, though considerably higher emotional stakes, but no less dramatic, as the titular warrior-to-be Shang-Chi in Marvel’s latest extravagant offering, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.  There’s the typical end-of-the-world dilemma to contend with, but Destin […]

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Film Review: Don’t Breathe 2 is morally foul and unapologetic in its B-grade gratification

August 27, 2021

To say there was a certain amount of resistance when it came to the notion of Don’t Breathe 2 would be something of an understatement.  The idea that the original film’s villain – Stephen Lang‘s Norman, aka “The Blind Man”, who emerged from Fede Alvarez‘s tense 2016 thriller Don’t Breathe as a vile shut-in with […]

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Film Review: Candyman is an intelligent horror film that’s as politically charged as it is unnerving

August 26, 2021

When it comes to cinematic boogeymen, the creation of Candyman is undoubtedly a frontrunner.  Since first becoming the stuff of unnerving urban legend in Bernard Rose’s 1992 classic Candyman, the character itself has remained a figure of terror and now, just shy of three decades later, has been summoned once more for a new generation […]

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Film Review: Reminiscence showcases the bold and original creativity of filmmaker Lisa Joy

August 19, 2021

Adopting a futuristic setting and applying a noir mentality to its narrative, Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy shows bold, original footing in her debut as a feature filmmaker.  She may not always stick the landing, but it’s hard to deny her talent and evident vision with Reminiscence, a mystery thriller at its base that incorporates romance […]

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Film Review: The Night House is a thought-provoking horror film exploring the thematics of grief

August 18, 2021

The idea of marrying grief and the horror genre together isn’t exactly a bold, new concept, but thanks to a thought-provoking script (courtesy of Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski), deceptively inventive set design, and a wholly committed central turn from Rebecca Hall, The Night House explores a tested theme in a fresh manner. Hall stars […]

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Film Review: Come Play is an effective scarer for those seeking easy thrills

August 18, 2021

One of the few horror efforts from 2020 that dared an American theatrical release last year – only one minor delay period and no being sold to a streaming service – Come Play, though perhaps stuck with the stigma of being a “direct to digital release” here in Australia, is a worthy scarer that utilises […]

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Film Review: The Ice Road is a by-the-numbers actioner buoyed by a surprising emotional current

August 12, 2021

Seemingly defined at this point in his career by the grizzly, no-nonsense avenger-types he encapsulates – first realised in the 2008 actioner Taken – The Ice Road eases up on Liam Neeson‘s menacing persona and gives his somewhat-everyman a blue collar temperament. He’s still out there risking his life, mind you, but it’s comparatively slightly […]

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Fantasia Film Festival Review: Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It fuses slapstick comedy and irreverent bloodshed

August 6, 2021

A group of men looking to escape their everyday lives, a couple of inept gangsters, and a one-eyed killer who thirsts for his kills cross paths in Ernar Nurgaliev‘s wild horror comedy Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It. Slapstick comedy and irreverent bloodshed work hand-in-hand throughout the film’s crisp 85 minute running time, centring initially on […]

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Melbourne International Film Festival Review: Coming Home in the Dark creates a horrific situation out of the simplest ingredients

August 6, 2021

It doesn’t take much for director James Ashcroft to create the most horrific of situations from the simplest of ingredients laid bare in the early stages of the eerie Coming Home in the Dark.  A loving family, an idyllic New Zealand locale, and a duo of passing strangers provide all that is needed for Ashcroft’s […]

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TV Review: Amazon Prime Video’s Making The Cut Season 2 is an agreeable show for fashion-thinking audiences

July 17, 2021

Earning a more fruitful reaction and reputation over the similarly themed Netflix offering Next In Fashion (which only lasted one season), Amazon’s Making The Cut  took the winning Project Runway duo of Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn and altered their mentor mentality to look for a fashion brand rather than just a designer. There’s no […]

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Film Review: The Sparks Brothers is one of the greatest musical documentaries you’ll ever see

July 15, 2021

There’s often a sense of nostalgia, awe, love, respect and intrigue that goes into watching a music documentary.  It’s learning about an artist we idolise, how they affected us upon that first listen, and a further understanding of their music.  When it comes to The Sparks Brothers, those are indeed all sentiments adhered to, but, […]

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Film Review: Nine Days is storytelling in its purest form

July 14, 2021

With an incredibly vague premise that could read as pretentiously high-concept, Nine Days is the type of life-altering experience that, as cliched as it is to state, needs to be seen to be believed. A powerful piece of storytelling that announces writer/director Edson Oda as a major talent to keep tabs on, Nine Days centres […]

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Film Review: Space Jam: A New Legacy makes a few neat shots in its attempt to continually slam dunk

July 9, 2021

Whilst subtitling the film “A New Legacy” seems a bit too confident for the team behind this Space Jam sequel, it’s arguably not straying too far from the truth in relation to its selected talent.  Whilst the original film received a mixed reception upon its release in 1996, it made considerable bank and has, in […]

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Film Review: Escape Room: Tournament of Champions is a fans-only sequel that indulges in its elaborate production value

July 1, 2021

Taking an activity that’s (arguably) something of a fad and morphing it for a theatrical narrative was a risk that evidently paid off for director Adam Robitel and screenwriters Bragi Schut and Maria Melnik with 2019’s Escape Room.  A psychological horror film that aimed for suspense over gore, its $150 million worldwide haul practically guaranteed […]

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First Impressions: Kevin Can F**k Himself is one of the season’s most original offerings

June 20, 2021

When Kevin Can F**k Himself begins you’d be forgiven for worrying that Annie Murphy, so great as the vapid Alexis Rose in Schitt’s Creek, has drastically reduced herself to playing the stereotypical put-upon wife in the all-too familiar sitcom set-up of schlubby husband acts like a man-child and gets away with it because he’s endearing, […]

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Film Review: Love Spreads is a contained drama uplifted by winning performances

June 19, 2021

As most musicians can attest, the hopeful critical and commercial success of your debut album ultimately means very little if your sophomore record under-delivers.  Such is the dilemma for Glass Heart, the fictional girl group at the centre of Jamie Adams‘ familiar-feeling Love Spreads. Seeming personal vendettas, the strain of writer’s block, and the clashing […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: Ultrasound is a deliberately off-kilter horror/sci-fi hybrid

June 16, 2021

To claim nothing is as it seems in Rob Schroder‘s Ultrasound would be a vast understatement.  Requiring significant patience and understanding of its components, this horror/science-fiction hybrid begins on one disturbing note before unravelling into something far more psychologically mysterious. It all opens rather straightforward, however off-kilter, with Glen (Vincent Kartheiser) driving home one night […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: Agnes is far too uneven to earn complete forgiveness

June 14, 2021

Starting on a blackly comic note and ending on a vastly different one of dramatic grit, Mickey Reece‘s Agnes is a truly confounding piece.  Inserting a narrative and tonal shift half-way through its proceedings, Reece has created a unique film without question, but it’s one that is likely to irk viewers who could respond so […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: See For Me treads familiar ground with a welcome creativity

June 11, 2021

The elevator pitch narrative of “blind subject is targeted by home invaders” is one that’s been explored before in the cinematic realm.  The 2016 double offering of Don’t Breathe and Netflix’s Hush both utilised this logline to impressive effect, and though See For Me is treading familiar ground, it too is at least doing so […]

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German Film Festival Review: The Audition presents a wavering narrative grounded by revelatory performances

May 25, 2021

If there’s one thing that’s concrete in the rather contradictory personality of The Audition‘s focal character – Nina Hoss‘s Anna – it’s that music is her only unwavering interest. Scenes of her championing a young musical student – a mentality that soon graduates to near chastising – showcase her evident passion for the art of […]

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Returnal Review: Live, Die, Repeat.

May 10, 2021

Returnal is, in many ways, the crowning achievement of Housemarque’s journey as a developer. With recent entries standing out as shining examples, from the likes of Matterfall to Nex Machina, and the impeccable Resogun, it’s incredibly satisfying to see a challenging reflex-based rogue-like experience get the royal treatment. Fast-paced action meets a rogue-like structure in […]

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Film Review: Land is a handsomely tailored and suitably hopeful tale of survival

April 27, 2021

With Nomadland having just earned Academy Award accolades as the Best Picture of 2020, a film like Land being released is curious timing.  It’ll inevitably be compared to Chloe Zhao’s inward masterpiece and, in its own way, it’s something of a more digestible, audience friendly take on the narrative of finding yourself in the wilderness. The […]

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Film Review: Voyagers sacrifices its macabre energy for a melodramatic personality

April 8, 2021

Marketed as “Lord of the Flies in space”, Voyagers – whilst occasionally leaning in to that description – is a confused genre effort that feels like a more reflective, psychological film has been edited down to a tween crowd who may appreciate its melodramatic personality. Written and directed by Neil Burger, his first original script […]

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