As an ardent fan of Riz Ahmed of more than 15 years, the rave response to his revelatory performance in 2020's Sound of Metal was something I felt was long overdue. For more than a decade, Ahmed has been a consistently underrated performer in films like Four Lions, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and Nightcrawler. After his first Oscar nomination last year, the film industry finally appears to be paying attention. As such, it should come as no surprise to learn Ahmed delivers another mesmerising turn in co-writer-director Michael Pearce's...

Inspired by Danish author Maria Bregendahl's breakthrough macabre 1914 novel A Night of Death (En dødsnat), writer-director Tea Lindeburg delivers a quietly intoxicating debut feature with As in Heaven (Du som er i himlen). A tragic portrait of female oppression and the potential perils of religious beliefs, it's compelling, haunting, and hard to shake from your mind. The film centres on Lise (a terrific Flora Ofelia Hofmann Lindahl), the eldest daughter of a farming family in rural Denmark who is preparing to leave the farm to attend school. While her...

Almost three decades ago, one little Aussie film sought to put drag culture on the map. And it succeeded. The unassuming camp classic that is The Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert became a cultural phenomenon and the art of drag was celebrated on screen like never before. With the recent success of shows like RuPaul's Drag Race and Pose, drag culture has edged into the mainstream while still retaining its nonconformist sensibilities. Entering this new celebratory world of everything drag comes Everybody's Talking About Jamie, the glittery,...

Swimming is intrinsically linked to everyday life in Australia. Most Aussie kids learn to swim from the moment they can walk, so it's surprising swimming is a rare setting for Australian cinema. But writer/director Tyson Wade Johnston's Streamline isn't a celebration of swim culture. It's an unflinching portrait of the brutal nature of professional sport and the toxic masculinity that saturates it. A supremely impressive directorial debut from Johnston, Streamline is a powerful, pertinent work that refuses to pull any punches. Led by a breakthrough performance from Levi Miller...

Way back in 1992, a horror film delivered a slasher killer whose motivations were far more interesting than just plain psychotic. After years of villains who maimed and murdered hapless victims for no reason, Bernard Rose's Candyman presented a racially charged film whose killer represented everything America would rather forget. This boogeyman's revenge was entirely justified and the film drew parallels between the past and present in ways the horror genre had rarely dared touch. Almost 30 years later, America may proudly declare its progress, yet it prefers to...

There's always trepidation when an Emmy-nominated television writer/director makes the leap into feature films. While a television series has multiple episodes and potentially several seasons to weave the creator's vision, a piece of cinema is naturally far more confined. It's these limitations that create unfortunate issues for Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy's directorial debut Reminiscence, a film with boundless potential but unfortunate execution. While Joy's scope is impressive and her ambition is hugely admirable, Reminiscence can't break free of the shackles of homage or limit its focus within the confines of...

One of the most pleasing recent Hollywood trends has been female-led horror/thrillers that deliver the chill factor but also wisely offer affecting emotional narratives and dare to tackle pertinent themes. Think films like Hereditary, Midsommar, and The Invisible Man. In 2021, a great example of this emerging sub-genre of horror stands as The Night House, the impressive sophomore effort from director David Bruckner and led by a sublime performance from the eternally underrated Rebecca Hall. Both a haunting atmospheric psychological thriller and a gripping exploration of grief, The Night...

From writer/director Richard Bates Jr., King Knight centres on Thorn (Matthew Gray Gubler), the High-Priest of a modern-day Californian Wiccan coven he runs with his adoring wife, Willow (Angela Sarafyan). The pair have made a peaceful community for their clan of fellow Wiccans, which also doubles as the headquarters for Thorn's fledgling online birdbath business. The coven is busy planning for the upcoming Pagan holiday of Beltane, which celebrates fire, fertility, and the arrival of summer with numerous rituals and a large bonfire party that Thorn hopes will...

Last year, it was Billie Holiday and Ma Rainey. The previous year, it was Judy Garland and Elton John. This year, it's the Queen of Soul. Hollywood's recent obsession with Oscar-bait biopics centred on infamous divas of music finally reaches the late, great Aretha Louise Franklin. A film that's been cooking around in development since early 2018, Respect is a paint-by-the-numbers biography that feels far too conventional for a woman who was anything but. Saved by the magnificent performance of Jennifer Hudson, impeccable production values, and the jukebox soundtrack Hudson...

A refreshing change from the tentpole sequels, remakes, and adaptations that litter the U.S. summer box office season, Free Guy arrives in cinemas (and only in cinemas) unburdened by the heavy weight of hype. Sure, its release date has been postponed three times in the last 18 months, which naturally increases anticipation, but it's unlikely most audiences are expecting all that much from this film. Admittedly, I was one of them. But this superbly entertaining blast proves to be the biggest surprise package of the season and perhaps even...