Reviews / 02.09.2021

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,...

Reviews / 27.08.2021

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...

Reviews / 26.08.2021

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...

Reviews / 19.08.2021

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...

Reviews / 18.08.2021

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...

Reviews / 09.08.2021

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...

Awards Season, Reviews / 09.08.2021

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...

Reviews / 06.08.2021

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...

Reviews / 02.08.2021

If most films earned $746 million at the worldwide box office and walked away with an Academy Award, you'd likely call them a roaring success. Yet, you'd be hard-pressed to find many who consider anything about 2016's Suicide Squad particularly successful besides its introduction of the magnificence that is Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. Whether it was the rumoured studio intervention of director David Ayer's vision or just poor execution all around, this muddled, hyper-coloured mess left a sour taste in the mouths of both fans and critics alike. As...

Reviews / 28.07.2021

Back in 2003, the world initially scoffed at the idea of a film based on a Disneyland ride. Admit it. You thought Disney had lost their mind. There were few who expected Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl to be particularly good, let alone score Johnny Depp his first Oscar nomination and launch a wildly successful franchise that would ultimately net more than $4.5 billion at the worldwide box office. Given that franchise has fizzled in recent times (a reboot appears to be on...