Two and a Half Stars

Film Review: Bombshell lacks the power of its namesake as it pulls its punches

January 16, 2020

Ever since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the world had drastically changed and stories of sexual violence have gone through the roof; exposing all the reprehensible actions that have been swept under the rug for decades in the entertainment industry. Since then, the boom has reached worldwide, exposing other horrific stories in the process. What is […]

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Film Review: The Gentlemen is a film that should’ve minded its manners

December 31, 2019

British director Guy Ritchie has had an interesting career trajectory over the years. He started off with his calling card film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; a crime comedy that put him on the map thanks to his humour poking fun at geezery [sic] gangsters in Britain, the extreme political incorrectness and his energetic […]

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Film Review: Ad Astra will prove to be one man’s wonder to another’s waste

September 19, 2019

The effects are seamless.  The acting is introspective.  The emotional undercurrent aims for supremacy. It’s an operatic space venture that defiantly refuses to adhere to cohesiveness on a narrative level.  And it’s because Ad Astra flirts with moments of greatness only to stubbornly stifle them that James Gray‘s ambitious drama will prove to be one […]

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Album Review: Devin Townsend’s Empath is an observation on the weight of genius

March 31, 2019

Devin Townsend is a mainstay in metal circles, with an almost three-decade long career spanning industrial, speed metal, rock, ambient and even novelty projects. Empath, his 25th album and the 13th under his own name, sees him solidify the presence he has built up in the progressive metal genre over his last few projects. Epic is often […]

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Film Review: Amma Asante’s passion project Where Hands Touch (UK, 2018) falls frustratingly short

March 29, 2019

The year is 1944. Leyna (Amandla Stenberg), the teenage daughter of a white German factory worker (Abbie Cornish) and a black Senegalese soldier, is dubbed a “Rhineland bastard” and flees for Berlin, hoping to find anonymity and safety in the larger city. But, after she is kicked out of school and is forced to falsify […]

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Book Review: Art dealer-cum-detective Alex Clayton returns in Katherine Kovacic’s Painting in the Shadows

March 5, 2019

Art dealer Alex Clayton is back, and conservator best friend John Porter and faithful hound Hogarth aren’t too far behind either. Invited to preview a new exhibition at the Melbourne International Museum of Art, they’re present to see museum staff unveil a supposedly cursed painting. But when one of the workers collapses and damages the […]

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Film Review: Mortal Engines (NZ/USA, 2018) suffers from an ensemble cast who fail to elevate the stereotypical material above expectation

December 6, 2018

As much as Peter Jackson‘s name is plastered all over this, Mortal Engines is in fact NOT a Jackson joint. Yes, the Lord of the Rings helmer is the most likely reason this film was greenlit (he serves as both co-producer and co-writer) but long-time Jackson collaborator Christian Rivers, who served predominantly as a visual […]

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Film Review: The Children Act (UK, 2017) is a middling drama enlivened by a powerhouse performance from Emma Thompson

November 22, 2018

This may be a bold statement to make but it must be said: every film out there would kill to have the presence of Emma Thompson. Whether it is for her acting capabilities like she can elevate even the most fluffiest of films like the rom-com Love Actually with her fantastic acting chops; or it […]

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Book Review: Rachel Cassidy’s Stalked shows some of the human costs associated with this heinous crime

November 20, 2018

Rachel Cassidy has inadvertently become an authority on stalking. The CEO of the Anti-bullying Council and charity worker was once stalked. So she decided to write a book to shine a light on these issues to ensure that victims might not feel alone. Cassidy thus proves that the victims of this crime are not always […]

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Film Review: Bohemian Rhapsody (USA, 2018) is as spirited as it is sterilized

November 1, 2018

Biopics are a dime-a-dozen these days. And when one considers the marketable possibilities about them, it’s not hard to see why there are so many of them. Particularly when the subject of the biopic revolves around the entertainment industry. In the case of the music industry, we have had so many biopics revolving around that […]

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Film Review: Ideal Home (USA, 2018) is an average comedy with some chuckles, thanks to the leads

June 26, 2018

Considering the political climate that were in, you figure a mainstream comedy like Ideal Home, a film about two gay fathers that borders on stereotypes would be a bad idea. At least, that’s what people have been saying out there, due to impressions from the trailers and the posters. But considering that this is a […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Seagull (USA, 2018) is a charming bore

June 9, 2018

Despite scene-swallowing work from Annette Bening (fabulous, as to be expected), the quiet mastery of Saoirse Ronan, and a brilliantly comical Elisabeth Moss, Michael Mayer‘s The Seagull (adapted from Anton Chekhov‘s classic play) fails to deliver them material worthy of their considerable talent. The story has all the right ingredients to be a farce of […]

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Film Review: A Wrinkle in Time (USA, 2018) aims valiantly for the stars, but falls flat on its face

March 28, 2018

Fantasy films aimed towards children can be a very tricky proposition. Usually, films of this type aim to entertain the entire family but for ones that specifically aim for children, how does one critique a film like this? Judge the film for what it is? Or judge the film through the eyes of a child? […]

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Film Review: Pacific Rim: Uprising (USA, 2018) is a glorified B-movie that’s entertaining in all its wild stupidity

March 22, 2018

Given his penchant for dark, more gothic views on material, Guillermo del Toro‘s foray into big budget filmmaking – 2013’s Pacific Rim – always seemed a little odd.  Capable of delivering so much more than what that film ultimately was able to, del Toro may have injected some of his usual fantastic-ness into proceedings, but […]

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Alliance Française French Film Festival Review: Rock’n Roll (France, 2017) is an uneven mockumentary dripping in silliness & excess

February 27, 2018

Rock’ n Roll is a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The same can also be said about the film’s star, writer and director, Guillaume Canet. The result is an uneven French comedy and a satire that examines the worst of Hollywood and show business ego, and while it deserves points for originality, the […]

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Film Review: Den of Thieves (USA, 2018) is a competent homage to Michael Mann’s epic heist saga Heat

February 2, 2018

Heist films are a dime-a-dozen these days. They’re the ones that fit the “put people on a mission” genre, starring a well known ensemble cast, who have been given an exciting plot where cast chemistry, filmmaking chops and fun storytelling mix together to make an entertaining night out for cinemagoers. If you think of the […]

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Film Review: Borg vs McEnroe (Sweden, 2017) is an uneven film that never feels complete

November 15, 2017

Borg vs McEnroe feels like a film more tailored for the streaming services market.  A minor feature that’s likely to only really be of interest to tennis fanatics, and even then they might prefer a more traditional documentary, Janus Metz Pedersen‘s drama never feels like a complete production, despite its substantial focus on Bjorn Borg […]

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Film Review: Jigsaw (USA, 2017) attempts to piece together the Saw franchise

November 2, 2017

Was rebooting the seven-film-deep Saw franchise seven years after the abysmal Saw 3D really necessary? No, not really. The gore-porn films have always been enormously successful despite a substantial drop in quality from the first two entries, so financially there’s little to lose, but the story of the “Jigsaw Killer” really has nothing left to […]

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Greek Film Festival Review: Mythopathy (Notias) (Greece, 2016) is a coming-of-age story that should appeal to Greek audiences

October 16, 2017

Mythopathy (Notias) is a film about a boy. Except he’s not just any old kid. This child is one that experiences heartbreak in a novel way. When it happens, he looks towards ancient Greek mythology and stories and he changes aspects of these to suit his own narrative. This coming-of-age story is emotional and imaginative […]

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Cunard British Film Festival Review: That Good Night (UK, 2017) is a dull adaption of a stage play that grapples with morality

October 16, 2017

That Good Night is a film that could be been called “The Last Night.” This is because it’s a drama about second chances and forgiveness. This handsome film is the last one that the late Sir John Hurt acted in and while it has some intriguing moments, it ultimately suffers from being a play that […]

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Film Review: Flatliners (USA, 2017) shows very little signs of life

October 1, 2017

When a film isn’t pre-screened for media or has its review embargo lifted on the same day of release, you know that the studio isn’t confident in the quality of their product. And this is what happened with the latest remake (although, in recent reports, it is claimed to be a sequel) of Flatliners. At […]

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Film Review: Small Town Killers (Denmark, 2017) never completely commits to its nasty premise

August 30, 2017

Like fellow Danish filmmakers Lars von Trier and Nicholas Winding Refn, Ole Bornedal made the leap from his homeland to Hollywood, though he opted for more an entertaining stance on his career as opposed to the heavy artistry his peers practiced; Bornedal was behind the rather unspectacular 2012 haunted house pic The Possession, whilst von […]

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Melbourne International Film Festival Review: Orlando (UK, 1992) is a meandering look at gender studies in history

August 14, 2017

Blur may have sung about “girls who are boys who like boys to be girls,” but it was writer, Virginia Woolf who got there first. Her short novel, Orlando is about a young, aristocratic man who wakes up one day and discovers he’s become a woman. It was a novel that was written by Woolf […]

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Film Review: Love At First Child (Ange et Gabrielle) (France, 2015) is a pleasantly throwaway rom-com

July 31, 2017

Love At First Child (Ange et Gabrielle) is a film where a baby brings a man and woman together. And we’re not talking about its parents. This film is a light, French rom-com that is a little like eating a sweet soufflé, it’s fluffy and nice at the time but utterly forgettable shortly afterwards. The […]

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Film Review: A Ghost Story (USA, 2017)

July 26, 2017

David Lowery is a filmmaker whose work I have enjoyed due to thenrestrained approach to his direction, his way of humanizing his characters and his sincere, honest approach to storytelling. Whether it be a small-scale story like Ain’t Them Bodies Saints or a commercial film like the recent Pete’s Dragon, his directorial and screenwriting touch is […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Final Portrait (UK/USA, 2017) can’t overcome its bland setting

June 19, 2017

Based on a memoir by American writer James Lord and adapted for the screen by actor Stanley Tucci, Final Portrait is a concise passion project with committed performances and evident production care that sadly doesn’t overcome its bland setting. Anchored by a wonderful turn from Geoffrey Rush as eccentric painter Giacometti, this dramedy of sorts […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Young Karl Marx (France, 2017) is a safe bio-pic about the famous philosopher & socialist

June 19, 2017

The Young Karl Marx (Le jeune Karl Marx) is a bio-pic that feels authentic because it captures the period well in a visual sense. But you also get the feeling that it is only telling a part of the story and not least because it is all about Karl Marx’s youth. This dramatic film is […]

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Film Review: The Mummy (USA, 2017) disappointingly squanders any promise it showcases

June 7, 2017

In 2014 it was believed that the Luke Evans-led Dracula Untold was going to launch Universal Studios’ proposed shared universe of classic movie monsters.  Dubbed Dark Universe, the ambitious project akin to the connected phases of Marvel and DC films ultimately let that idea fall to the wayside when the aforementioned feature was hardly the […]

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Film Review: Neruda (Chile, 2016) is a complex bio-pic that leaves you questioning what is truth and fantasy

May 21, 2017

Neruda is a film that truly embodies its subject matter. But this proves to be one double-edged sword because it is also to its betterment and detriment. This bio-pic about the eponymous, beloved Chilean poet uses the lyrical qualities the writer employed to bend the narrative in so many ways that the result is virtually […]

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Gold Coast Film Festival Review: Out Of The Shadows (Australia, 2017) makes promises it cannot fulfil

May 2, 2017

The opening moments of Out Of The Shadows are among its best. The first scene, a tracking shot through a murder scene with grievously damaged bodies, an upset detective and an unsettling atmosphere set by the colour grade and sound, promises a clever indie horror that for the most part, the film fails to deliver. […]

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