Reviews / 01.11.2018

Based on your personal feelings towards Donald Trump and the Republican Party, your reaction to (and presumably interest in) Fahrenheit 11/9, Michael Moore's latest bombastic documentary, is likely already predetermined. If you consider Trump to be a crusading saviour of the people and his presidency really is making America great again, maybe sit this one out. That being said, and much to my surprise, Moore resists the urge to make this another cinematic presidential character assassination. Make no mistake, there are plenty of Trump attacks to be found...

Reviews / 28.10.2018

How do you summarise the extraordinary life of a larger-than-life icon in a two-and-a-bit hour film? This is the inherent conundrum facing any biopic, especially those based around a musician. Focus solely on a few key “important” moments in their life, and you’re missing the quieter, simpler times that balance the scales. But attempt to cram everything in, and you run the risk of delivering something entirely shallow. You really do have to sympathise with any screenwriter tasked with this difficult feat. Then there are those biopics which seemingly...

Featured, Reviews / 23.10.2018

They say truth is stranger than fiction, and that's especially evident in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the delightfully absurd and deliciously bizarre true story of a washed-up writer who discovers a knack for forgery and a strangely fulfilling career change she never saw coming. Mining the as-yet untapped but mightily impressive dramatic talents of comedic superstar Melissa McCarthy, this may be her career change you're not expecting either. Following in the footsteps of other comedians who flipped their waning comical image (with Life of the Party and The Happytime Murders,...

Reviews / 21.10.2018

Whenever we're presented with a film depicting the events surrounding a true-life terrorist attack, one has to ask if there is a greater purpose in making such a piece of cinema. Is this merely exploitation or is there something more to it? Through this kind of film, we may learn of acts of heroism and sacrifice not found in the headlines covering the incident or better understand how the event itself actually unfolded. Some examples of this genre do nothing more than recreating a moment in history few...

Reviews / 19.10.2018

Once a mainstay of Hollywood, the Western genre seemingly faded away in the late 1960s. In the last few decades, several filmmakers have made concerted efforts to keep the tales of the wild, wild west alive, in both traditional and non-traditional ways. Working very much in the former, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, the latest from writer/director duo Joel and Ethan Coen, is a six-part anthology with all the black humour, brutal violence, and gorgeous imagery we've come to expect from the Coen Brothers. Cinema purists may ponder if this can...

Reviews / 18.10.2018

When it comes to Hollywood remakes, you'd think rehashing a piece of cinema that's already been done three times before would be a colossal waste of time. Many were likely sneering at the thought of the fourth version of A Star Is Born, a film that has seen incarnations in 1937, 1954, and 1976. Plenty were also rolling their eyes when this latest version was delayed from May to October, with the hope of an awards season push. Writer/director (and actor and producer and songwriter) Bradley Cooper has...

Reviews, Uncategorized / 17.10.2018

The world of cinema loves to tackle the devastating effects of substance addiction. The life and times of a drug addict provide weighty fodder for any potential screenplay, particularly those which also seek to portray an addict's loved ones, as they watch helplessly from the sidelines. In writer/director Felix van Groeningen's compelling but frustrating Beautiful Boy, the tale is mostly told from the perspective of a beleaguered father, rather than the titular addict himself. It's a curious twist on this all-too-familiar tale, and one likely being lived by thousands of...

Reviews / 16.10.2018

It's always hard to say goodbye to a legend. When Robert Redford announced The Old Man & the Gun would be his final acting performance (although he's since slightly backed away from this comment), there were plenty who didn't want to see him go. Redford has been a stalwart of cinema for almost six decades now, and he's still giving us stellar work at the age of 82. But, if he is to stick to his word and this is to be his farewell, he's going out on a charming...

Reviews / 15.10.2018

In 2014, The Babadook marked the impressive arrival of actress turned writer/director Jennifer Kent. With her dazzling debut, Kent terrified audiences with one of the most original horror films in years. To call her follow-up "highly anticipated" would be an understatement. On paper, The Nightingale is a clear departure from the horror genre found in Kent's debut. But, make no mistake, this is a film that will still horrify an audience, albeit in an entirely different way. With its unflinching depiction of savage violence against women and Australia's indigenous people, The Nightingale is...

Reviews / 14.10.2018

A filmmaker at the top of his craft. An autobiographical narrative featuring the people, language, and locales of his homeland, all captured in mesmerising black-and-white cinematography. A simple yet powerful familial story where ordinary moments somehow become entirely extraordinary. An ineffaceable homage to Mexico City in the 1970s. This is Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, one of the year's most stunning achievements in cinema. When crafted by an expert, the simplest tales often become the most powerful and affecting. This rings especially true of Cuarón's latest masterwork.  There's little grandeur here. In its...