Three and a Half Stars

Koko-di Koko-da

Film Review: Koko-di Koko-da is a loopy descent into madness and grief

December 8, 2020

Koko-di Koko-da starts off in an oddly jovial fashion. We are taken into a forest and there is a small troupe of people – visually influenced by nursery rhymes – dancing in unison while singing merrily. Yet not all is as it seems; and it sets the tone for what is to come: an eerie […]

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Nicolas Cage

Film Review: Jiu Jitsu is much like Nicolas Cage; scrappy, eager-to-please and a lot of fun

November 20, 2020

Jiu Jitsu stars Alain Moussi as Jake Barnes, an amnesiac military man who is on the run from an unseen force that is attacking him. Sustaining a severe head injury in the process, he is taken in and nursed back to health by the military. He is interrogated severely by Myra (Marie Avgeropoulos); who believes […]

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Film Review: Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt) is a genuine crowd-pleaser of a LGBTIQ rom-com

November 19, 2020

Sophie Hawkshaw stars as Ellie, a high school student captain who has a healthy relationship with her overprotective mother Erica (Marta Dusseldorp) and feels content with her existence via her good grades and her source of inspiration through her subject for her assignment Faith Underwood (a cameo by Chiara Gizzi). The main thrust of the […]

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Film Review: The Broken Hearts Gallery is a predictable yet winning rom-com with a star performance from Geraldine Viswanathan

October 9, 2020

Romantic comedies are a bit of a conundrum in terms of execution. In comparison to other genres (and oddly enough, the action genre), it has gone through the most criticism. While people can get into the fantasy of said genre, others criticize the genre for its lack of realism and plausibility. Case in point, The […]

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TIFF Review: Director Francois Ozon returns to his roots with Summer of 85

September 24, 2020

Queer cinema has come through quite well over these past few years. We have had great examples like Call Me By Your Name, Love, Simon and Moonlight; foreign entries like BPM (Beats Per Minute), the Oscar-winning A Fantastic Woman and BAFTA-winning The Handmaiden and hidden indie gems like Princess Cyd, Beach Rats and God’s Own Country. All of these films have had critical acclaim and they […]

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TIFF Review: Those who are adventurous horror seekers would do quite well with Violation

September 21, 2020

Trigger warning: Sexual abuse One of the reasons why cinema is so well received is that it can figuratively transport you into another world. In addition to that, it can be a way of wish fulfilment. Who wouldn’t want to be a kick-ass hero? Who would not want to be in a fairy tale romance? […]

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In The Time of Foxes

Book Review: Take a trip around the world in Jo Lennan’s In the Time of Foxes

September 3, 2020

A film director in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; an escapee from a cult in Japan; a Sydney cafe-owner rekindling an old flame; an English tutor who gets too close to an oligarch; a journalist on Mars, face-to-face with his fate. These are just some of the characters and situations which readers will […]

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Riven

Book Review: Return to Bronwyn Eley’s stunning fantasy world with Riven

August 6, 2020

With Lord Rennard dead, Kaylan is on the run. Bound to a powerful Relic she has little control over, she’s headed for Stynos, the one place she might find an ally, and someone who can help her manage this dark and dangerous power. But with Edriast guards on her tail, restless rebels watching from the […]

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Album of the Week: The Beths take the plunge on Jump Rope Gazers (2020 LP)

July 9, 2020

  When The Beths released their debut album Future Me Hates Me in 2018, I thought they were one of the more refreshing and interesting bands of the past couple years. With harmonies aplenty, soaring guitars and ever-so-wordy and clever lyrics, the New Zealand four piece were seemingly bound to become everyone’s second favourite band […]

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The Way Back

Film Review: The Way Back is a great showcase for Ben Affleck

March 5, 2020

The sports drama formula in cinema has been the most overused and non-innovative formula in cinema lately. Ever since the early 2000s, Walt Disney Pictures have made a long string of films with a fixed formula: inspirational movies about triumphing over adversity that are mostly based on true stories. Despite the critical reception of the […]

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Altered Carbon

Netflix Review: How does Altered Carbon Season 2 compare to the first?

March 4, 2020

Back in February 2018 Netflix launched the streaming series adaptation of Richard K Morgan’s novel of the same name, Altered Carbon. We called it a nuanced and detailed Blade Runner for the small screen. The series sees humanity’s evolution into a digitised age, where memories and human consciousness can be backed up onto a digital […]

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Film Review: Richard Jewell is a mostly successful return to form for Eastwood as Hauser shines

February 13, 2020

There are few better ways of getting audiences into the cinema than to provide an underdog story. Even superhero films such as Avengers: Endgame (2019) are in their very nature an underdog story; triumphing over adversity and injustice. But the icing on the cake for such stories is that if the film is based on […]

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Turn Left At Venus

Book Review: Explore the secret life of an author in Inez Baranay’s Turn Left At Venus

January 30, 2020

Ada is dying. Watched over by her new nurse, Jay, Ada is preparing for the end. Ada has lived all over the world. Sydney, Bali, San Francisco. And the Old World she doesn’t remember, save for the boat journey as a child when she first met Leyla. But, Jay has no interest in Leyla, because […]

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Sydney Festival Live Review: Poof! Secrets of a Magician proves James Galea is a card boasting humour that is far from sleight

January 23, 2020

Magic is so often about secrets, smoke and mirrors, but James Galea also adds a dash of silliness to the mix. The hip youngster projects a cool and calm exterior that is so charming. He also has an irreverent sense of humour; his tongue is placed firmly in cheek. In Poof! Secrets of a Magician […]

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Fujifilm X-A7 Camera Review: The Best Value Entry Level Mirrorless

January 19, 2020

Fujifilm’s X-A7 may be intended as a step up from smartphones for new photography enthusiasts, but it goes so far beyond just being a phone alternative. With a fully articulating large screen, lightweight body, mic input and face and eye detection autofocus, it’s a strong contender for an affordable and effective content creator’s or vlogger’s […]

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Book Review: Amanda Niehaus’ The Breeding Season is an impressive debut about sex, death and darkness

January 3, 2020

It is not often that we see science threaded into popular fiction plots. Even less common is to have this domain accompanied with an exploration of art. But that’s what we find in Dr. Amanda Niehaus’ debut novel, The Breeding Season, and it’s like a breath of fresh air. Niehaus is a scientist by trade. She leans […]

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Book Review: Kathy O’Shaughnessy’s new work a novel approach to a biography of George Eliot

December 17, 2019

Kathy O’Shaughnessy‘s In Love with George Eliot is subtitled ‘A Novel’. Thank goodness for that, because if not, booksellers and librarians probably would not know where to shelve it. While readable and intensely interesting, the book reads more like a bibliomemoir, more akin to previous George Eliot studies like The Road to Middlemarch and last year’s […]

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Book Review: Mary Costello’s The River Capture is an ambitious ode to James Joyce

December 15, 2019

Mary Costello’s first novel, Academy Street, was shortlisted for a number of awards, and won the Irish Book of the Year Award in 2014. It also shares a lot thematically with her latest work. However, in her second novel, The River Capture, Costello has used a very different narrative style, and although providing some real […]

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Film Review: The Two Popes is a thought-provoking piece of work, featuring a great double act from Pryce and Hopkins

December 4, 2019

Brazillian director Fernando Meirelles has a very interesting body of work. With intense crime thriller City of God (which he co-directed with Katia Lund) as his calling card, Meirelles has always been a filmmaker that aimed for realism and verisimilitude (see: political thriller The Constant Gardener) even if the premise had veered more into a fantastical way […]

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Book Review: Mother of Pearl shows there are many sides to the surrogacy debate

November 17, 2019

Angela Savage may be best known for her Jayne Keeney PI novels, or for her role as the Director of Writer’s Victoria, but in Mother of Pearl, she’s serving something different. Celebrating Savage’s love of Thai culture and customs, Mother of Pearl is a sensitive exploration of the issue of overseas surrogacy, told from multiple points of view, […]

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Book Review: Brush up on your art history with Ruby Boukabou’s The Art Lover’s Guide to Paris

November 5, 2019

Recognised as one of the great art capitals of the world, Paris can be a little daunting for the casual art lover. The Louvre will likely be at the top of any visitor’s list, but once you’re done being captivated by the Mona Lisa’s elusive smile, where on earth do you head next? Do you […]

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Festival Review: Land of Plenty – Shepparton Showgrounds, VIC (02.11.19)

November 5, 2019

For a first time festival, Land Of Plenty, held in Shepparton, managed to get a lot of things right. Hopefully setting it off on a bright path for future years. The festival, which for its debut brought along a stellar line-up of local Australian artist, managed to keep the focus firmly on Shepparton’s local scene, […]

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Film Review: Promised is an unpolished dramedy that’s all about love

October 25, 2019

Australian cinema has already seen Ali and Muriel getting married (to other people) but Promised takes a different approach. This dramedy, set in the 1970’s, is a look at an arranged marriage, starring a pair of Italo-Australians. The results are an imperfect story that brims with real heart. It’s obvious that this independent film was […]

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Book Review: Bronwyn Eley launches an exciting new YA fantasy with Relic

September 5, 2019

Everyone in Edriast knows the role of Shadow is a death sentence. Tasked with serving the local lord, Rennard, Shadows spend their days in dangerously close proximity to one of five Relics, a powerful object worn by the reigning lord. The longer they spend around it, the weaker they become, until, one day, it takes […]

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Book Review: Albert Woodfox’s Solitary is a searing indictment on “justice”

August 31, 2019

Twenty-three hours a day. Forty-three years. Three men. A six-by-nine foot cell. These are the all important numbers that form the basis of Albert Woodfox‘s memoir Solitary, which covers one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in U.S. history. This story is one that will enrage you so much you’ll want to throw the book at those […]

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Book Review: Take a trip through the history of cinema with Dominic Smith’s The Electric Hotel

July 23, 2019

Pioneering French filmmaker Claude Ballard has lived at the Hotel Knickerbocker for almost half a century. It’s a quiet existence, by Hollywood hotel standards at least, and Claude fills his days taking photographs and keeping an eye on the hotel’s more vulnerable residents. But when an enthusiastic young film student arrives, keen to discover the […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Leftover Women is an eye-opening look at love & marriage

June 13, 2019

Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. But what do you do if you’re a single woman who is over a certain age living in China? The documentary, Leftover Women, is an illuminating look at three individuals who grapple with various stigmas and expectations, in a society where women are encouraged to […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: A Dog Called Money sees the worlds of music and video collide

June 5, 2019

Inspiration can strike at any time. But if you’re an artist like PJ Harvey you may choose to go in search of this illusiveness. A Dog Called Money is a music documentary that depicts the process that spawned the album, The Hope 6 Demolition Project. The result is a beautifully-shot film that can be uneven […]

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Album Review: Psychedelic Porn Crumpets take you on a trip with And Now For The Whatchamacallit

May 31, 2019

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets (PPC) walk a delicate line between some of the magnates of their genre, eliciting the Australian sounds of Tame Impala and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, while creating an unshakable reverence to early psychedelic king, Jimi Hendrix. And Now For The Whatchamacallit is a further exploration of this while allowing PPC […]

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Book Review: Paul Dolan’s Happy Ever After proves we don’t have to be princes & princesses to experience bliss

May 20, 2019

I’ll have what she’s having. Or will I? When it comes to “Happy Ever After” many of us believe we all want the same things. But Paul Dolan’s latest book, Happy Ever After, challenges us to think otherwise. He does this with some myth-busting and some clear-eyed, intellectual arguments. Paul Dolan, as Professor of Behavioural Science […]

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