Three and a Half Stars

Film Review: Creed II (USA, 2018) may not touch gloves with its predecessor, but it still packs a mighty punch

November 30, 2018

If there’s one franchise that I am utterly surprised that it is still ongoing at this point, it is the franchise of Rocky Balboa by Sylvester Stallone. Proving you can’t keep a fighter down (or you can’t stop beating a dead horse), writer/director Ryan Coogler came up with the idea to reinvigorate the franchise without […]

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Book Review: Philip Norman’s Slowhand celebrates Eric Clapton’s life as a bluesbreaker

November 28, 2018

To some people, Eric Clapton is god. But for author and journalist, Philip Norman, the Slowhand guitarist is unquestionably human. A talented star sure, but also a fallible guy. Slowhand: The Life & Music of Eric Clapton is a detailed biography covering Clapton’s extraordinary career. Clapton’s life has been chronicled before. The legendary artist has […]

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Book Review: Matt Noffs and Kieran Palmer’s Addicted? highlights how addiction affects every one of us

November 19, 2018

What springs to your mind when you hear someone has an addiction? Drugs, gambling, porn, coffee or even smart phones? Maybe none of those, some of those and maybe even all of those. It has got you thinking though hasn’t it? In Addicted?, authors Matt Noffs and Kieran Palmer examine the ways in which addiction […]

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Film Review: The Girl in the Spider’s Web (USA, 2018) lacks adherence but compensates with thrills, fun and a great performance by Claire Foy

November 8, 2018

Lisbeth Salander is back! In another reiteration! Over the years, we have had four films revolving around the characters created by acclaimed Swedish author Stieg Larsson, and each have been hits in their home territory, as well as receiving rave reviews from many critics. Many people have complimented the Scandinavian cinematic thriller tropes (i.e. winter settings, […]

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Live Review: Bootleg Rascal + The Moving Stills + Zac Slater – Howler, Melbourne (05.11.18)

November 8, 2018

Bootleg Rascal came out firing on Monday night at the Howler, showcasing their newest album Anònimo. Along for the ride were blossoming RnB artist Zac Slater and Alternative pop rock band, The Moving Stills. Beginning with some emotion and passion, Zac Slater opened the evening. The man and his guitar were impassioned and his short […]

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Book Review: David Cohen’s The Hunter and Other Stories of Men is an offbeat look into the minds of men

October 23, 2018

Brisbane author David Cohen has put together a much anticipated collection of short stories in the form of his new book The Hunter and Other Stories of Men. The collection contains eighteen stories, most around the ten page mark, whilst some of which were published in various publications between 2004 and 2017. With some of the stories […]

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Melbourne Fringe Review: Funerals with Phoebe proved the perfect ending to an incredible festival

October 2, 2018

Delightful, different and refreshing, real life funeral singer Phoebe Deklerk‘s show Funerals with Phoebe proved to be the perfect ending to my amazing month of Melbourne Fringe Festival shows. Have you ever wondered what songs you’d like to have at your funeral? Or noticed just how similar wedding and funeral songs can actually be? Would you consider […]

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Book Review: I’m With the Band is like going to bed with your favourite rock star

September 10, 2018

Did you know Pamela Des Barres inspired the Penny Lane character in Almost Famous? Rock’s original groupie, Des Barres released her first-kiss-and-tell memoir I’m With the Band back in 1987. Earlier this year the book was re-released with additional chapters, and a new introduction by music journalist Roisin O’Connor. The result is one warm and rollicking read, […]

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First Impressions: Jim Carrey shines in Kidding (USA, 2018), but the show hides in darkness

September 6, 2018

Showtime’s new comedy-drama Kidding sees Jim Carrey return to our screens in a show that makes it very clear that life isn’t all glitter and rainbows. Carrey is one of those actors whose presence alone can fill up the whole screen, either as the most energetic leading man (The Mask) or the average, everyday man […]

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MIFF Review: Mandy (USA, 2018) stars Nicolas Cage on a rage-filled revenge quest

August 20, 2018

Mandy is a crazy two-hour LSD trip led by a totally unhinged Nicolas Cage performance. The film follows Red (Cage) and Mandy (Andrea Riseborough) who live a peaceful life in the Pacific Northwest, that is until a religious cult barge in and rob Red of the love of his life, sending the man on a […]

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Film Review: The Spy Who Dumped Me (USA, 2018) is wholly committed to not taking itself too seriously

August 8, 2018

Whilst no one is going to go out of their way to suggest The Spy Who Dumped Me is here to reinvent the wheel in its chosen hybrid genres, Susanna Fogel’s kinetic spy caper does a bloody good job at delivering on its advertised packaging.  An action-comedy that proves both consistently amusing and alarmingly crazed […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Yellow Is Forbidden (China/NZ, 2017) is an intimate slice of fashion gold

June 18, 2018

Colours have different meanings. In Imperial China, yellow was reserved for the emperor. It was believed to be the centre of everything because it generated yin and yang. For fashion designer, Guo Pei it is a colour that has become a signature part of her colour palate. If you don’t believe us, you need look […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Colin Minihan overindulges in tension with What Keeps You Alive (Canada, 2018)

June 18, 2018

Not truly knowing your significant other post-marriage must be a terrifying thought, and it’s one that grounds Colin Minihan‘s What Keeps You Alive in a genuinely frightening premise. Lock that idea up and throw it into a cliche cabin-in-the-woods scenario and you have yourself a fun horror film that’s intriguing and entertaining, if not a […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Holiday (Denmark, 2018) is an shocking, brutal and unforgettable experience… if you can stomach it

June 17, 2018

Have you ever seen a film that was so unexpected in its brutality and its disturbing content that you found it unforgettable? Well, one such example screening as part of Sydney Film Festival is Isabella Eklof‘s Holiday. Judging from the poster, you would expect some sort of exploitative saga about a woman in trouble, but through […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Beirut (USA, 2018) is an absorbing thriller that doesn’t break convention

June 10, 2018

Aided by a sense of retro charm and bathed in a yellowy hue that appears to be the go-to filter for Hollywood’s take on anything Middle East, Brad Anderson‘s Beirut is an absorbing thriller that doesn’t break convention, but manages a certain robustness that keeps it sailing along with intrigue. Opening in 1972, the titular […]

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Film Review: Ocean’s 8 (USA, 2018) proves acceptable escapism that’ll steal your attention during its running time

June 7, 2018

Whilst it may not quite boast as impressive an ensemble as the original Ocean’s trilogy managed to concoct (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts to name a few), Ocean’s 8 still steers ahead on charm and glamour, proving that an octet of women can do anything just as capable as an eleven-strong […]

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Film Review: Super Troopers 2 (USA, 2018) is mostly an enjoyably goofy, charmingly raunchy affair

April 20, 2018

First and foremost it must be noted that Super Troopers 2 is indeed a film made for a particular audience. The original 2001 comedy came and went theatrically without much notice, but over the years it earned rightful cult status as its receptive audience came to appreciate its random, low brow humour. As successful as […]

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Film Review: Love, Simon (USA, 2018) is a sweet, likable and unassuming queer teenage rom-com

April 1, 2018

Dear Blue, Queer cinema has came through quite well back in 2017. We’ve had great examples like Call Me By Your Name, Battle of the Sexes and Moonlight; foreign entries like BPM (Beats Per Minute), Oscar-winning A Fantastic Woman and BAFTA-winning The Handmaiden and hidden indie gems like Princess Cyd, Beach Rats and God’s Own […]

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Perth Festival Film Review: Under The Tree (Iceland, 2017) is a masterclass in neighbourly mutually assured destruction

March 22, 2018

Neighbourly disputes are really not all that uncommon in the real world, but in Under the Tree, the third feature film from Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigur∂sson, a relatively minor disagreement between two suburban neighbouring families over a tree and the shadow it casts morphs into an ever escalating case of mutually assured destruction culminating […]

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SXSW Film Review: ¡Las Sandinistas! (USA/Nicaragua, 2018) restores some important women to Nicaragua’s history books

March 16, 2018

The original Sandinistas (AKA the Sandinista National Liberation Front) were a group with the odds stacked against them. By their own admission, they were a bunch of “Poorly armed kids.” But they successfully overthrew the Nicaraguan president in 1979. A large number of the Sandinistas were women. Society had expected these women would marry and […]

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Film Review: 12 Strong (USA, 2018) is as dynamic as it is earnest

March 7, 2018

Depending how you look at it, 12 Strong‘s insistence on bypassing the usual heavy-handed political messages and overt emotional punches that pertain to war genre films will either be a welcome or rejected additive.  It’s a film that’s pretty standard (at least in comparison to genre greats like Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down), […]

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Film Review: Finding Your Feet (UK, 2018) is a rom-com about swimming through life’s second act

February 22, 2018

If ever there was a film that did what it said on the tin then it is Finding Your Feet. This boomer rom-com and English dramedy is all about second chances and discovering your true self. The film is a pleasant and predictable one that should appeal to fans of Hampstead and The Best Exotic […]

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Film Review: Game Night (USA, 2018) is an unruly bout of fun

February 21, 2018

Whether it’s an old-fashioned detective story (Murder on the Orient Express), a children’s adventure (Young Sherlock Holmes), a romantic farce (Blind Detective) or a flat-out comedy (Clue), the murder mystery is the type of genre staple that can result in lots of fun, particularly if it involves audience participation. If 2018’s latest comedy Game Night can […]

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Film Review: Swinging Safari (Australia, 2018) is a gloriously playful film that finds the humour and horror of growing up in 1970’s Australia

January 16, 2018

Spin-the-vase, a late night taste of fondu, and a rotting beached whale make for just some of the intricate ingredients of Stephan Elliott‘s semi-autobiographical comedy Swinging Safari, a gloriously playful film that finds both the humour and the horror of growing up in Australia in the 1970’s. As kinetic a film it may be (I […]

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Film Review: The Post (USA, 2017) is a thrilling look at a significant point in history

January 9, 2018

These days the words, “The Post” are more likely to get you thinking about a blog then a newspaper. In fact, Steven Spielberg’s latest film, The Post is all about history and a bygone era in print journalism. It’s a historic thriller and bio-pic that looks at how The Washington Post handled the decision to […]

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Film Review: The Greatest Showman (USA, 2017) is cheery lunacy that revels in its attempt to call back on the positive musicals of the past

December 25, 2017

Going for broke and wearing its heart on its sleeve for all to appreciate, The Greatest Showman is a corny yet engaging musical that embraces its overt positivity with stride. An enthusiastically romanticised telling of how legendary American showman P.T. Barnum (portrayed by a wholly committed Hugh Jackman) worked his way from rags to riches […]

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Film Review: Alexander Payne thinks a bit too big with Downsizing (USA, 2017)

December 22, 2017

There is no escaping a society defined by over-consumption, over-population, excessive stress and glaring inequality as Alexander Payne delivers a big message with a small scale, working his surrealist charm and far-flung sense of adventure into Downsizing. The long-gestating project, directed by Payne and written with frequent collaborator Jim Taylor, is a grand, and at […]

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Film Review: Just To Be Sure (Ôtez-moi d’un doute) (France, 2017) is a fun & whimsical little farce

December 18, 2017

Just To Be Sure (Ôtez-moi d’un doute) is a French comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It deals with some important and weighty issues like: family, identity and roots but handles these in a quirky and funny way. What could have been a self-proclaimed neo-Greek tragedy actually turns out to be a fun and […]

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Film Review: In This Corner of the World (Japan, 2016) is thought-provoking anime for older audiences

December 12, 2017

Similar to the majority of other anime titles on offer, In This Corner of the World is suitably aimed at older audiences.  Whilst the animated medium usually suggests family-friendly viewing, Sunao Katabuchi‘s thematically heavy drama is more thought-provoking than visually reliant. Concerning itself predominantly with the bombing of Hiroshima towards the end of World War […]

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Film Review: Shot Caller (USA, 2017) is a powerful showcase for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

November 27, 2017

A performance removed from his knowing talents on Game of Thrones, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau‘s turn in Shot Caller is a strong, powerful showcase for the actor in a film worthy of seeking out during its limited season. When Ric Roman Waugh‘s film begins, Coster-Waldau’s character, Jacob Harlon, is referred to as “Money”, and his appearance checks […]

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