Tag Archives: Movie Reviews

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 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 10

Big Eyes (2014)

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

April 02

Miss Sloane (2016)

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

March 29

Land of Mine (2016)

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

February 15

Patriots Day (2016)

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

February 09

Fences (2016)

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

January 14

The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

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

December 29

Paterson (2016)

A whimsical essay into the ordinariness of human existence

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 23

I, Daniel Blake (2016)

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

November 09

The Accountant (2016)

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

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

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.

May 02

Marguerite (2016)

An operatic performance of pride’s folly.

April 28

Eddie the Eagle (2016)

This is a wonderfully filmed true story about the enobling human values of perseverance and belief in one’s self.

April 26

Burnt (2015)

An engaging film that will leave you feeling well fed in a cinematic kind of way.

April 22

Infinite (2016) (Short)

Looks at a painful subject in a poetically beautiful way.

April 20

Rams (2016)

An immersive insight into life on an Icelandic farm told through sensitive cinematography and understated storytelling.

April 17

Sherpa (2015)

Beautifully filmed story of Sherpa life and their struggle for respect.

April 14

Labyrinth of Lies (2014)

An investigation into the tip of an iceberg that grew until it overwhelmed a nation.

April 11

Salt (2010)

If you can believe the things that Jolie does in this film, narrative is the least of your concerns in this very entertaining but logic-defying film.

April 07

Eye in the Sky (2015)

Eye in the Sky stands out as both a thoroughly gripping film and a consciousness raising experience.

April 05

Crushed (2015)

A daughter’s quest for the crushing truth is the binding metaphor of this story.

March 31

Dirty Grandpa (2016)

If you can ignore the inane smut you will find some laughs.

March 28

The Witch (2015)

Not your standard horror with floating sheets or flying broomstick-type special effects.

March 21

A Bigger Splash (2015)

Beautifully photographed Sicilian landscape dwarfs four small lives and the mess they create.

March 17

10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

The ending transforms this film into an incoherent and unforgivable mess.

March 14

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)

A sweet self-narrated story of a butterfly emerging from a lonely, self-loathing teenage-hood.

March 10

Hail, Caesar! (2016)

This is an hilarious take on ‘the Hollywood dream’.

March 06

The Lady in the Van (2015)

A slow portrait of a fractious relationship between two misfits.

March 02

Son of Saul (2015)

In terms of cinematography, storytelling and emotional impact, this film is a modern masterpiece.

February 29

Ex_Machina (2015)

A chess game of guessing what is happening, who is manipulating who, and what is the real reason Caleb is there.

February 27

The Daughter (2015)

A metaphorical collision between a single ray of truth and the lie that connects two families.

February 21

Dogville (2003)

This allegorical meditation on the nature of evil and justice is as universal as the human condition.

February 18

Brooklyn (2015)

A beautifully photographed and finely acted historical drama.

February 16

Trumbo (2015)

the story of the 1950s right-wing purge of Hollywood

February 13

Concussion (2015)

The story of a modest hero who inconveniently discovers why so many pro footballers were dying and it shows the pressures that were mounted to silence him.

February 11

Holding the Man (2015)

Based on the 1995 memoir by revered gay rights activist Timothy Conigrave, the film version struggles to avoid soapy melodrama and corny humour.

February 07

Looking for Grace (2015)

Looking for Grace explores random destruction in a novel way by taking a simple plotline and splitting into separate narratives that converge with deadly force.

February 05

Anomalisa (2015)

Angst-ridden puppets disguise a lack of humanity, morality, or narrative purpose.

February 03

The Gift (2015)

We all fear false knowledge: the possibility that the person we know and love is really someone very different.

February 01

45 Years (2015)

While it is about life-cycles and memories and marriage, it is also a gendered probe into how differently men and women are emotionally constructed.

January 29

Spotlight (2015)

A David and Goliath style investigative drama where brave journalism exposes systemic corruption in the Catholic archdiocese of Boston.

January 26

Steve Jobs (2015)

An unexpectedly unflattering and melodramatic portrait of a tortured soul.

January 24

Last Cab to Darwin (2015)

This film can mess with your head about the complex issue of assisted dying, but it’s an Aussie gem well worth the effort.

January 22

The Danish Girl (2015)

Its like watching a newborn chick push its way through the shell of an egg: one faint crack becomes several and suddenly a new life form emerges, bewildered by the public gaze and nowhere to hide.

January 21

Truth (2015)

Its a gripping tale about the exhilaration of the hunt for big game and the carnage that follows if you pull the wrong lion’s tail.

January 19

Youth (2015)

The wit and wisdom of beautiful young people cuts through the homilies of elders to stop Youth from being a maudlin tale of loss.

January 17

Suffragette (2015)

A tale about brave protesting women and a suffragette who threw herself under the King’s horse.

January 16

The Intern (2015)

Do today’s audiences really want pre-feminist stories about wise old men that step in to prop up gorgeous and successful young career women…

January 14

Room (2015)

Brie Larson’s acting fixates on maternal dynamics at the cost of a convincing portrayal of captivity trauma.

January 12

The Dressmaker (2015)

The Dressmaker is a very funny and engaging Australian farce.

January 10

The Revenant (2015)

This film ticks all the top boxes for storytelling, casting, filming and action. It really is an epic.

January 09

The Martian (2015)

Science fiction or comedy, this is neither.

January 09

Goodnight Mommy (2014)

This is what the horror genre is all about: bringing us close to terror, then letting us down from the ceiling, calming us with logic to make our own lives feel better.

January 08

Carol (2015)

This is one Blanchett film that struggles to inspire.

January 04

The Bélier Family (2014)

Can you imagine crying over a song you cannot hear?

January 03

Joy (2015)

An entertaining but clichéd story of feminine triumphalism in the fabricated-value world of television commerce

January 01

Thelma & Louise (1991)

One of the most remembered stories of feminist struggle in modern times

December 24

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

A brave challenge to Hollywood’s idea of sexuality

December 22

Lost in Translation (2010)

A wonderfully crafted film, but unsettling in its ability to leave you yearning.

December 22

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

A cinematic triumph on its own merits or a beloved movie with a cult following?

December 22

A Room in Rome (2010)

A gem of a film that deserves more critical acclaim

October 27

Philomena (2013)

A story of a mother’s search for her son and the lack of compassion by religious institutions

September 27


A touching father and son road movie

August 29

Struggle Street (2015)

This is poverty-porn of the worst kind that does not even resemble a truthful documentary.

August 22

Aussie Wedding Films

How does Australian film represent the “white wedding” ritual?