Two and a Half Stars

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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For Film’s Sake Festival Review: Dust Cloth (Turkey, 2016) is a subtle and well-intentioned character study

April 26, 2017

Dust Cloth (Toz Bezi) is the sort of film you’d get if you crossed Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise” with Radiohead’s “No Surprises.” It’s the subtle, everyday story that shows the poverty that two working class women in Istanbul endure. While it is a well-observed and well-intentioned tale, this is also a character study […]

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Film Review: Personal Shopper (USA, 2016) falls flat with its supernatural elements

April 9, 2017

Poor Maureen (Kristen Stewart). Her boss, Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten) is impossible, sending her all over Europe for clothes and shoes she is too rich and famous to buy for herself. On top of that, her twin brother died a few months ago, and he still hasn’t contacted her from the beyond, even though he […]

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SXSW Review: Madre (Chile, 2016) isn’t the thriller you expect

April 5, 2017

Set in Chile, Madre follows wife and mother Diana (Daniela Ramirez). Pregnant with her second child and caring for her disabled son, Martin (Matias Bassi), Diana struggles daily with running the household; her husband Tomas (Cristobal Tapia Montt) is often away on business in Asia. Just as we’re about to see how much more she can […]

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SXSW Film Review: Prevenge (UK, 2017) could be the only film of its kind this decade

April 3, 2017

In 1968 we received Rosemary’s Baby. It was the film that established Roman Polanski’s ability to bring madness onto screen and placed Mia Farrow as the paranoid mother, unknowingly carrying Satan’s spawn through nine months of fear and mental ruin. It was a landmark film, exploring the psyche and anxiety of an expecting mother. In […]

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Film Review: A Few Less Men (UK, 2017) is conventional comedy with its heart in the right place

March 9, 2017

Three British lads on holidays in Australia for a wedding face a dilemma that would put a damper on any getaway. One of the groomsmen has died (after a drunken romp through the Australian outback, it seems), and now the two remaining groomsmen and the groom, the dead bloke’s three best mates, make it their […]

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Film Review: Before I Fall (USA, 2017) fails to capture the depth of Lauren Oliver’s novel

March 2, 2017

Ry Russo-Young’s adaption of Lauren Oliver’s successful 2010 youth-adult novel Before I Fall tells the story of Samantha “Sammy” Kingston (Zoey Deutch), a young woman who has it all; the best group of friends, the perfect guy and what seems to be a very bright future. However, everything changes after the fateful night of February […]

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Film Review: Alone in Berlin (Germany/France/UK, 2016) celebrates silent protest in Nazi Germany

February 28, 2017

Obedience and groupthink were cogs of a never-ending machine which kept Nazism running in the sinister era of Hitler. Husbands would churn trough factory work in the name of their Fuhrer, housewives would do all they were allowed to in order to support the regime, and their sons would fight and coldly die, scared and […]

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Film Review: Fist Fight (USA, 2017) has solid storytelling, but otherwise falters

February 21, 2017

If there’s one thing everybody can say about this film, it is that the film is punchy. Studio comedies have been very underwhelming the past few years, especially from studios like Warner Brothers (the less said about Hot Pursuit, the better), regardless of the comedic talent involved. So when I heard about this film that […]

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Blu-Ray review: Morgan (MA15+) (USA, 2016) is well-intentioned, though not entirely successful

February 15, 2017

A well-intentioned, though not entirely successful debut venture from Luke Scott (son of Alien director Ridley Scott, for those of you playing along at home) Morgan is more a shallow version of Ex-Machina than the slick sci-fi character study it so clearly desires to be. The titular Morgan (Anya Taylor-Joy, maintaining her genre score-card with this, The […]

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Film Review: Gold (USA, 2017) roots for the underdog but takes itself too seriously

February 2, 2017

When you take an idea like the story of a dreamer, and mash it together with a cautionary tale about the wolves of Wall Street and big business. With your lead character as that grizzled underdog type, and have it all based loosely on a true story the result you get is Gold. Set in […]

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Film Review: Underworld: Blood Wars (MA15+, USA, 2016) misses its opportunity to reinvigorate the franchise

December 1, 2016

The Underworld franchise has had its fair share of ups and downs. The first film is considered a fantasy horror thriller vampire/werewolf classic. Heralded for its BAMF female protagonist and thought out vampire/werewolf mythology story, the films that followed in its wake had a lot to live up to. The second film Underworld: Evolution raised […]

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TV Review: The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 5 “Go Getters” sees a lack of any real tension

November 22, 2016

If last week’s “Service” showed me anything it was that the very excellent Jeffrey Dean Morgan is turning in an uncharacteristically dull performance as Negan. There’s something about having pretty much the same cadence for every single darkly jolly line that starts to get dull after awhile, so it was nice to leave him behind […]

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Film Review: Ben-Hur (M) (USA, 2016) wasted by an ending so dumb it Ben-Hurts

August 25, 2016

No one asked for the remake of arguably the biggest Hollywood epic of all time. And yet, for some obscure ($) reason, the universe decided the 1959 classic Ben-Hur must be done again. And this time, it has Morgan Freeman in dreadlocks. We all know the story. Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) is a wealthy Jewish […]

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Film Review: Lights Out (M15+) (USA, 2016)

July 23, 2016

Lights Out was, initially, an extremely well made and creepy short film. Created for the ‘Who’s There Film Challenge 2013’, it was directed by David Sandberg and starred Lotta Losten. Check out the original short: If you’re still breathing, you can then check out the film’s trailer here: When a mother, Sophie (Maria Bello), comes to […]

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Film Review: Me Before You (USA, 2016)

June 16, 2016

Even at just a surface level, Me Before You feels like a movie that’s just ticking boxes than it is engaging heartstrings. You’ve got three big franchise stars (from Game of Thrones, Doctor Who and The Hunger Games, respectively), a picturesque British backdrop and premise that all-but-guarantees a tragic end. However, it never really feels like the film is genuinely leveraging […]

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Sydney Film Festival Review: I Saw The Light (USA, 2015)

June 13, 2016

I Saw The Light is the new feature film from second time director Marc Abraham, focusing on the short life and influential career of iconic American musician Hank Williams. It’s not the first time Williams’ story has found its home on the big screen, but it’s the first major take since 1964’s Your Cheatin’ Heart, […]

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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 2 “We All Fall Down” (USA, 2016)

April 18, 2016

It’s hard to tell when Fear the Walking Dead will start living up to its potential. The tone is there, and the scenes with the infected are deliciously dark and effective, presenting with the kind of horror The Walking Dead took four years to perfect, but these are only small flickers in what is an […]

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TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead Season 2 Episode 1 “Monster” (USA, 2016)

April 11, 2016

We jump into Season 2 of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead with what looks like a short, confusing time jump. Christopher is still leaning over his mother’s corpse but it seems like the whole city has been fire-bombed, creating this smokey red tone to kickstart the premiere in a surprisingly exciting way. Sure, it feels […]

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TV Review: The X Files Season 10 Episode 6 “My Struggle II” (USA, 2016)

March 1, 2016

After 5 episodes of The X Files we have now reached the Season 10 mini-series finale, “My Struggle II”, the book end to the first episode in the series titled “My Struggle”. It has been a tumultuous ride but we have been treated to some brilliant, some good and some average episodes in this short […]

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DVD Review: Batman: Bad Blood (USA, 2016)

February 29, 2016

If there is one thing I have always been upfront about, it’s that despite Marvel’s undeniable domination at the box office with their live-action films, DC have always had the animation sector locked down. Since 2007, DC’s stable of ‘Animated Original Movies’ have retold timeless stories first seen in comics (Superman’s death in Doomsday; Batman’s origins […]

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TV Review: The X Files Season 10 Episode 5, “Babylon” (USA, 2016)

February 23, 2016

Never one to back away from an occasionally controversial story, this week’s episode of The X Files dabbles in politics, terrorism, communicating with the near-dead, neuroscience, mysticism, love VS hate and magic mushrooms. It’s quite a bit to pack into an episode, and creator, writer and director Chris Carter has a crack at it. It’s […]

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DVD Review: The Voices (USA, 2015)

December 7, 2015

Black comedy is a tricky thing to execute correctly, and sadly The Voices, despite an intriguing premise and a considerably talented ensemble, fails to balance its ingredients successfully.  It’s a bit too brutal to be truly funny yet similarly it’s a little too off-kilter to be deemed a straight-up horror film – but who’s to […]

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TV Review: The Walking Dead Season 6 Episode 5 “Now” (USA, 2015)

November 10, 2015

The last time we were in Alexandria was during The Wolves’ big invasion, leading to chopped up bodies, brutal action, and a whole lot of death. “Now” marks the first time we have properly caught up with Alexandria (Michonne stumbling into a broken down Alexandria, and Morgan entertaining his Wolf hostage with his backstory do […]

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Film Review: Burnt (USA, 2015)

October 22, 2015

If you’re the kind of person who loves, without a doubt, the idea of work-life balance, this is not the film for you. If you’re easily upset at the sight of workplace bullying, or stress caused by an unstable manager and a professional environment that breeds unhealthy well being choices, this is not the film […]

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