August 21

Hampstead (2017)

a lukewarm uneven British rom-com

August 17

Wind River (2017)

a vengeance thriller with solid storytelling, exciting visuals, and well-crafted acting

August 14

Atomic Blonde (2017)

more heroine-inflicted casualties per minute than some war movies

August 11

The Circle (2017)

a techno-dystopian warning about digital dependence

August 08

A Monster Calls (2016)

a gut-wrenching tale about death and grieving

August 04

The Big Sick (2017)

a clever rom-com that laughs where few dare to tread

July 31

A Ghost Story (2017)

a haunting reflection on grief and what lies beyond the last heartbeat

July 28

The Man (2017)

a tense Nordic essay on ageing, art, and father-son rivalry

July 25

Paris Can Wait (2016)

a delicious film title promising much but delivering little

July 21

Dunkirk (2017)

a combat spectacular loosely based on Dunkirk history

July 17

The Beguiled (2017)

a beguiling exercise in form over substance

July 13

Maudie (2016)

a gentle portrait of a gentle artist

July 10

It Comes at Night (2017)

a chilling dystopian tale about inner demons

July 06

Lady Macbeth (2016)

a shallow Gothic tale with Shakespearean pretensions

July 03

Chocolat (2016)

the funny-sad story of France’s first black circus entertainer

June 29

A Quiet Passion (2016)

a finely crafted portrait of the revered American poet Emily Dickinson

June 26

Una (2016)

a tense essay on moral boundaries in a child sexual abuse case

June 22

Churchill (2017)

an unsubtle but beautifully produced character study of Winston Churchill

June 19

The Death & Life of Otto Bloom (2016)

a clever mockumentary about the concept of time

June 14

My Cousin Rachel (2017)

superbly produced Gothic romantic thriller

June 12

Get Me Roger Stone (2017)

chilling case study of the Darth Vader of American politics

June 09

Wilson (2017)

pointless film about an obnoxious self-obsessed nobody

June 05

Norman (2017)

whimsical character study of a lonely Jewish fixer

May 31

Don’t Tell (2017)

landmark battle between a brave abuse victim and a heartless church school

May 28

The Sense of an Ending (2017)

slow introspective study of how we make sense of our lives

May 25

Viceroy’s House (2017)

superbly produced epic about the last Raj.

May 21

Snatched (2017)

mother-daughter road trip film that is a waste of comedic talent

May 19

The Birth of a Nation (2016)

a story of how religion and sexual abuse inspired a slave rebellion.

May 15

Table 19 (2017)

unexpectedly entertaining wedding sit-com.

May 11

The Zookeeper’s Wife (2016)

beautifully filmed story of heroism under the Nazi occupation of Poland.

May 08

The Red Pill (2016)

propaganda documentary for Men’s Rights Activists (MRA)

May 05

Frantz (2016)

An exquisitely filmed essay on guilt, lies and loss in the between-wars era

May 01

Berlin Syndrome (2017)

taut psycho-sexual thriller about captivity and madness

April 27

Get Out (2017)

entertaining but predictable horror spoof mixed with clever racial satire.

April 25

Their Finest (2016)

nostalgic period drama about movie-making and romance during the London Blitz.

April 19

Personal Shopper (2016)

A well-acted but unoriginal iPhone-driven ghost story

April 17

Bitter Harvest (2017)

An important episode in history overshadowed by a mediocre love story.

April 13

The Country Doctor (2016)

A warm-hearted romantic drama set in a beautiful French village

April 10

Big Eyes (2014)

The story of domestic violence behind one of the biggest art frauds in history.

April 05

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)

A dystopian masterpiece where alternative facts and fake news are weapons to crush truth

April 02

Miss Sloane (2016)

A gripping thriller of Stiletto power, political corruption, and stopping the gun lobby.

March 30

What is Film Criticism? (Essay)

An essay on the origin, purpose, problems, and future of film criticism.

March 29

Land of Mine (2016)

A brilliantly filmed pulse-racing war story that needs to be told.

March 26

Embers (2015)

An original story about a dystopian world without memory

March 22

A Cure for Wellness (2016)

A new take on the Gothic sanatorium horror where wellness is not what you think.

March 20

A Street Cat Named Bob (2016)

A gritty tale of drug recovery with a ginger moggie called Bob.

March 16

Christine (2016)

A sad portrait of depression that led to a real on-air suicide.

March 13

Collateral Beauty (2016)

A complex lyrical essay on grief psychosis

March 09

Alone in Berlin (2016)

A story of how heroic postcards became small grains of sand in the Nazi war-machine

March 06

Jasper Jones (2017)

A coming-of-age, thriller and rom-com mashup that looks at dysfunctional lives in an Aussie country town.

March 02

20th Century Women (2016)

A warm funny coming-of-age story that asks “do you need a man to raise a man?”

February 26

Silence (2016)

A monumental story of persecuted faith and colonial conflict.

February 24

A Man Called Ove (2016)

A darkly funny portrait of love and grief in a cranky old man.

February 22

Toni Erdmann (2016)

A quirky story about a father-daughter bond that is unorthodox and endearing.

February 19

The Lobster (2015)

An absurdist black comedy about society’s obsession with mating.

February 15

Patriots Day (2016)

A well-made action-packed real life disaster story overlaid with a weak ‘human interest’ melodrama.

February 12

The Innocents (2016)

A soulful essay about atrocities committed against nuns during war.

February 09

Fences (2016)

An intimate and densely lyrical insight into the African-American experience.

February 05

Perfect Strangers (2016)

An entertaining and voyeuristic peek into the black-box of secrets: the iPhone.

February 02

Hidden Figures (2016)

A feel-good bio-pic about a remarkable episode in history.

January 30

Denial (2016)

An historical essay warning that manipulators of truth will always be among us.

January 26

Loving (2016)

a powerful story of an ordinary couple who changed history

January 22

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Painful battles with inner demons made bearable by outstanding performances

January 19

Moonlight (2016)

A tapestry of lyrical moments and finely wrought detail in a journey for self-identity

January 17

Jackie (2016)

Natalie Portman gives a memorable performance of an unforgettable event.

January 14

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

One big quirky, intelligent, funny coming-of-age cliche.

January 11

Why Him? (2016)

Could have been the comedy of the year but blows itself apart with F-bombs and worse.

January 08

Passengers (2016)

What could have been a great sci-fi ends up a rom-com space opera mashup.

January 05

Southside with You (2016)

A warm, intelligent, well ­told story about two people who became a global power-couple in celebrity politics

January 01

Things to Come (2016)

Post-divorce trauma has great cinematic potential but it goes nowhere in this story.

December 29

Paterson (2016)

A whimsical essay into the ordinariness of human existence

December 28

Rosalie Blum (2016)

A jigsaw puzzle of quirky characters connected by chance whose lives become entwined.

December 23

Lion (2016)

An immensely satisfying cinematic experience: visually stunning, narratively powerful, and an emotional whirlwind.

December 21

Allied (2016)

Action-packed espionage with an ordinary script and unconvincing performances

December 18

A United Kingdom (2016)

This finely crafted portrait of love between a black king and a white woman is the outstanding bio-pic of the year.

December 15

Queen of Katwe (2016)

Beautifully filmed, original and inspiring tale of triumph over adversity.

December 13

Up For Love (2016)

A delightful French farce that is funny and sad and loaded with charm.

December 11

La La Land (2016)

A beautifully filmed dazzling retro musical about young dreams.

December 06

The Family Fang (2016)

A twisted tale of parental abuse under the guise of art

December 04

The Fencer (2016)

A well-crafted and touching tale about heroism without glory under Stalinist rule

November 30

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016)

An original and painfully satirical study of post-traumatic stress dis-order

November 27

The Founder (2016)

A tale of treachery, greed and a code of ethics toxic enough to spoil a Big Mac.

November 23

I, Daniel Blake (2016)

A confronting portrait of an ordinary man struggling for his dignity in an Orwellian world.

November 20

Arrival (2016)

A thought-provoking story with mediocre digital effects and lots of American propaganda

November 17

The Neon Demon (2016)

A story of hyper-vanity, deadly jealousy and a smattering of bright red cannibalism

November 13

Elle (2016)

A look into a woman’s parallel universe as perpetrator and victim of sexual violence

November 10

The Light Between Oceans (2016)

An epically beautiful melodrama about morality and love

November 09

The Accountant (2016)

A mish-mash of confused storylines, random killings, and high level maths.

November 06

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

While some wrongs are beyond the law they are never beyond primal vengeance.

November 03

Hell or High Water (2016)

A visually engaging modern western with a post-GFC message.

October 30

Julieta (2016)

A darkly sensitive essay about the universal emotion of maternal guilt

October 27

Inferno (2016)

A sumptiously filmed thriller that turns into a corny parody

October 25

I Am Not A Serial Killer (2016)

A twisted horror that pits sociopathic teenager against a senile paranormal serial killer

October 23

The Girl on the Train (2016)

A female-driven pyschological thriller with a spectacular finale of feminine vengeance

October 19

Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Story of a humble hero in one of the most violent sensory assaults you can experience in a cinema

October 17

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

A digital effects spectacular of an oil-rig explosion tacked onto a modest melodrama back-story

October 13

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)

A magical world of fantasy beneath which lies true history of human atrocity

October 10

Elvis & Nixon (2016)

A humorous historical account of an unlikely encounter between soul-mates from different worlds

October 06

Café Society (2016)

A visually sumptuous Woody Allen comedy of melancholy and lost opportunity

October 03

The Confirmation (2016)

A young boy learns more about human values in a weekend than many learn in a lifetime

September 29

The Queen of Ireland (2015)

A nation’s rite of passage that celebrates diversity and the power of words

September 26

Snowden (2016)

A bio-pic thriller about a principled romantic and modest hero

September 23

Nerve (2016)

A satire thriller about the herd mentality that drives social media

September 21

Spin Out (2016)

Roaring dust-storms of utes and non-stop drinking in a confusion of juvenile slapstick sketches

September 19

Birdman (2014)

A stunningly successful black comedy played in emotional quicksand.

September 16

My Scientology Movie (2016)

Engaging, interesting and funny, but audiences will see right through the artifice of its constructions

September 15

Bridget Jones’ Baby (2016)

Still fighting her demons with intelligent hilarity and tugs on our heart-strings

September 12

Sully (2016)

Masterful storytelling within a thoroughly riveting film

September 08

Don’t Breathe (2016)

It has all been done before but this one nails it for steadily escalating tension and sustained terror

September 05

Captain Fantastic (2016)

A thoroughly engaging offbeat fable about conformity and difference

September 01

Free State of Jones (2016)

A film that aspires to epic-grade cinema but settles for adventure entertainment

August 29

Tickled (2016)

Dogged investigative journalism stumbles from the innocuously weird to the bizarrely dangerous.

August 24

Truman (2015)

An unusually intense multi-layered story about grief told with great warmth and honesty

August 22

High Rise (2015)

A bleakly dark dystopian tale with a heavy handed political message

August 17

Bad Moms (2016)

Slapstick comedy on the shaming of stressed-out moms

August 14

Down Under (2016)

A comically lame quagmire of vilification and gratuitous violence.

August 11

99 Homes (2015)

A brutally realistic tale of GFC-greed versus moral redemption

August 08

Embrace (2016)

An outstanding documentary with potential to change attitudes towards the perception of women’s bodies

August 04

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)

Do not expect subtlety as the jokes are blatantly bawdy and beautifully bitchy.

August 01

Weiner (2016)

A compelling documentary of a psychological train-wreck in slow motion

July 28

The Shallows (2016)

A thin plotline and modest digital effects tell the story of an attractive woman in a bikini swimming for her life

July 25

Heaven on Earth (2016)

The first film left audiences wanting more, the sequel is a case of ‘no more please’.

July 21

Love & Friendship (2016)

A very funny tale of a conniving femme fatale who exploits her charm and beauty to outsmart every male she encounters

July 18

Swiss Army Man (2016)

An absurdist film about a surreal journey with multiple endings that defies interpretation

July 14

Maggie’s Plan (2016)

A richly satirical, funny and entertaining post-feminist comedy about sex and marriage

July 11

Sing Street (2016)

A joyful upbeat film that expresses youth’s unshakeable belief in the power of music

July 07

The Measure of a Man (2016)

A grindingly slow and excruciatingly realistic story that compels us to witness the indignity and ordinariness of life for those who struggle through harsh economic times

July 04

Force Majeure (2014)

It explores the gap between who we really are and the roles we have learnt to play…

June 30

Mustang (2015)

Both a profoundly political statement and a poetically beautiful story about femininity and feminism

June 27

The Wait (L’attesa) (2016)

The minimalist dialogue and slow pace creates an open space into which is hung a finely wrought portrait of parental grief

June 23

Everybody Wants Some (2016)

A tale of boys with puerile genital fixations and girls reduced to primal flesh who exist only to yield to or thwart the male sex drive.

June 20

The Music of Strangers (2015)

A truly great documentary of inspirational musical bravado, authenticity and humanity

June 16

Me Before You (2016)

A beautifully sugar-coated but tragic story with a deep message that increasingly demands a societal response

June 13

Goldstone (2016)

A brilliantly photographed and entertaining crime thriller that foregrounds the spectacular Australian outback and pays respect to its ancestral heritage.

June 09

A Perfect Day (2015)

An original addition to black comedy war dramas

June 08

Lilith’s Awakening (2016)

A visually stunning work…full of haunting imagery and ambivalent possibilities

June 06

Queen of the Desert (2015)

Despite its visual delights, the film feels strangely disengaged from the legend of its own Queen.

June 02

Money Monster (2016)

A tautly directed hostage thriller with an outstanding cast

June 01

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Great family fun if you are a Kiwi

May 31

The Boy (2016)

A horror movie with more originality than usual

May 29

God Willing (2015)

A morally challenging debate between Catholicism and atheism fought out between a cool ex-con priest and an arrogant surgeon

May 25

The Meddler (2015)

A weak script, full of clichéd melodrama, tired gags, and feigned sentimentality

May 23

The Wave (2015)

A highly engaging film that achieves much with little

May 20

Mia Madre (My Mother) (2015)

For audiences willing to vicariously experience a slow and dense melodrama about loss.

May 17

Hello, My Name is Doris (2015)

A story about a pitiable lonely older woman who overreaches romantically in a very funny way

May 15

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)

A mixed but engaging film.. not the comedy you expect

May 12

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2016)

A tale of two cultures that collide in the hallowed halls of Cambridge

May 09

Louder Than Bombs (2015)

A coming of age film thats more like a bomb about to explode

May 05

A Month of Sundays (2016)

A thoughtful and well-acted portrait of an emotionally convoluted archetypal Australian male who borders on clinical depression

May 02

Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)

A tragic tale about a mental illness that is displayed on an operatically grand scale.