true story

Film Review: Nitram is a chilling, infuriating, yet respectful drama detailing one of Australia’s most horrific events

September 29, 2021

The Port Arthur Massacre of 1996 was horrific.  Perpetrated by a violently disturbed young man who shot and killed 35 people at a Tasmanian tourist site, with a legally purchased semi-automatic rifle, it, to this day, remains Australia’s worst massacre committed by a single person in the country’s history, as well as serving as the […]

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Film Review: 12 Mighty Orphans is a feel-good affair that balances its earnestness and predictability in equal measure

August 3, 2021

A film that perhaps tries a little too hard to embellish the emotionally manipulative story its true-to-life basis can conjure on its own accord, 12 Mighty Orphans’ “classic underdog” mentality is both a help and a hindrance to its overall delivery. Set during the Great Depression, Ty Roberts’ syrupy drama lays focus on the saintly […]

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Film Review: Dream Horse is exactly the type of syrupy underdog story you expect it to be

June 4, 2021

Exactly the type of film you expect it to be from its title, Dream Horse is a syrupy, stereotypically inspiring drama that embraces the underdog narrative – or should that be under-horse? – and runs (gallops) with it to no end. Set in the mid-2000’s in a sleepy Welsh country town, Dream Horse places its […]

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Film Review: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It relies on cheap scares instead of shadowy suspense

June 2, 2021

Having essentially built itself around the “based on a true story” hook, the Conjuring universe of films have been served well by a selling point that’s either something you buy into or simply accept as neat marketing. Whilst there’s no denying that Ed and Lorraine Warren did exist and built a name for themselves as […]

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Film Review: The United States vs. Billie Holiday succeeds off Andra Day’s transformative central performance

April 16, 2021

The best performances within the biopic genre are those that aren’t just simply imitations or impressions of the subject at hand, but an honest appraisal of the person, one where the performer vanishes on screen. And so often with such grand performances, it can lead to the rest of the film surrounding them to feel […]

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Film Review: The Courier is an emotionally fraught thriller balancing its emotional and educational mentality

April 3, 2021

British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) doesn’t have the most suave persona.  And it’s because of this very reason that MI5 and the CIA have collaborated in their bid to maximise the potential of an insider during the time of America and Russian intensifying their nuclear arms race. “You drink too much and you’re not […]

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Film Review: The Mauritanian is a factual-based thriller grounded by Tahar Rahim’s central performance

March 23, 2021

As much as The Mauritanian can boast Jodie Foster (in her Golden Globe-winning role), Benedict Cumberbatch and Shailene Woodley as its headliners, it’s the central performance from the lesser-known Tahar Rahim that ultimately impresses and grounds the film around him. A factual-based dramatic thriller detailing some of the supposed inner workings of the 9/11 terrorism […]

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Film Review: Judas and the Black Messiah delivers with heart and valorous conviction

March 10, 2021

After proving a formidable plot point in last year’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 – however secondary it may have been – the killing of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton in 1969, at the age of only 21 years, is given the right, timely treatment in Shaka King‘s equally impactful (perhaps even more so) […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Judas and the Black Messiah is an impactful drama that’s all too aware of its topical relevance

February 2, 2021

After proving a formidable plot point in last year’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 – however secondary it may have been – the killing of Black Panther chairman Fred Hampton in 1969, at the age of only 21 years, is given the right, timely treatment in Shaka King‘s equally impactful (perhaps even more so) […]

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Film Review: All My Life has enough appeal and charm to offset its overtly sugary packaging

November 20, 2020

Likely to appeal to the Nicholas Sparks crowd, All My Life is a particularly sweet (almost too much so for its own good) true story-inspired tearjerker that, in many ways, gets away with being so cookie cutter because – as we are informed in the opening monologue – we only remember the most beautiful and tragic […]

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Film Review: 1983’s Ozploitation classic Hostage is little more than a Lifetime movie with sporadic moments of exploitation thrown in

May 5, 2020

Given the fact that Hostage has something of a reputation for being one of Australia’s biggest Ozploitation films, you’d be forgiven for assuming it would live up to its supposed status.  And whilst the opening credits suggest the film to come will be one heavy on uncomfortable violence – there are sudden, furious flashes of […]

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Film Review: The Flood overcomes its melodramatic narrative thanks to topical sensitivity

May 1, 2020

The opening scrawl of The Flood states that at least 18,000 people who have been displaced by persecution, conflict and violence in their own habitats around the world have died in the last 5 years alone in their bid to reach Europe.  It’s a shocking statistic regarding those trying to enter another country, but in […]

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SXSW Film Review: Shooting Heroin is a noble idea marred by melodramatics

March 17, 2020

*The AU Review will continue with its planned SXSW 2020 coverage.  We have been in contact with the respective representatives for available films in order to give them the coverage they intended. A noble idea marred by melodramatics that often take away the importance of the film’s message, Shooting Heroin can’t help but feel like […]

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Film Review: Kristen Stewart’s commanding performance overcomes Seberg‘s narrative flaws

January 29, 2020

Only one week after elevating the B-grade material of deep-sea thriller Underwater, Kristen Stewart further proves her innate ability of hoisting what little she has to work with on a script page to something of sublime quality in Seberg.  A biographical drama detailing a specific time period in the life of American actress Jean Seberg […]

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Film Review: Judy is as heartbreaking as it is joyous

October 11, 2019

There’s at least one Oscar-grab movie released every year designed with the intent on pushing its lead performer to the front of the nominee queue.  Judy appears to be that movie for 2019.  And that’s certainly not a criticism against the film as it’s a fine biopic in its own right, but Renee Zellweger‘s dedicated […]

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Film Review: Red Joan sadly fails to ignite its potential

June 5, 2019

For a movie based on a true story about an elderly British woman revealed to be a long-term spy for the Russians, one headlined by the ever-reliable Judi Dench, Red Joan sadly fails to ignite its potential. Based on a novel inspired by Melita Norwood (dubbed “The Granny Spy”), who was both a British civil […]

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Film Review: The Mule (USA, 2018) is a middle-ground effort from Clint Eastwood

January 22, 2019

Given that this is Clint Eastwood‘s first starring role in six years (his last being 2012’s under-the-radar sports drama The Trouble With the Curve), one would be forgiven for expecting something far more grand and notable than what is ultimately on offer; its push into prime Oscar season releases not helping matters either. Whilst this […]

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Film Review: In Like Flynn (Australia, 2018) is predominantly fizzy and shamelessly cheesy

October 10, 2018

Director Russell Mulcahy, the Melbourne filmmaker whose career has seen him graduate from Elton John music videos to varied levels of cinematic quality (the 1984 wild boar in the outback horror flick Razorback, the ill-advised Kim Basinger vehicle The Real McCoy, and the Geoffrey Rush drama Swimming Upstream just a few of his efforts) is […]

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Film Review: Damien Chazelle has crafted something truly impeccable with First Man (USA, 2018)

October 8, 2018

It seems almost baffling that Neil Armstrong’s account of being the first man on the moon hasn’t been told prior to Damien Chazelle‘s First Man.  Clearly an intimidating figure but still reserved, sensitive and aloof enough to not be placed upon a pedestal as some flawless being, Chazelle’s film seeks to uncover the more human […]

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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: American Made (USA, 2017) is a sharply paced outing that proves a welcome return to form for Tom Cruise

August 17, 2017

Simultaneously stepping away from the action brands they’re both primarily recognised for, there’s a sense of material re-engagement for director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow) and star Tom Cruise with American Made.  Telling a story that’s less reliant on aesthetic spectacle and star power, Gary Spinelli’s account of […]

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Film Review: The Founder (M15+) (USA, 2016) is an intriguing drama benefitting from Michael Keaton’s performance

November 24, 2016

Likely to come as a surprise to many that The Founder is less a success story regarding the origins of McDonalds, but more a tale on greed and the value of real estate, John Lee Hancock‘s engaging drama benefits from its stellar central performance from Michael Keaton, continuing the run he so assuredly began with […]

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