Reviews / 20.06.2019

"It's a family film." That's how genius South Korean co-writer/director Bong Joon-ho introduced Parasite, his latest acerbic and satirical treasure that genuinely brought the house down at its Australian premiere at the Sydney Film Festival. After taking aim at classism, consumerism, and capitalism in his two previous films, Snowpiercer and Okja, Bong once against shoots straight at the heart of these achingly relevant themes. The result is nothing short of a cinematic masterpiece. While Parasite may not be surrounded by the lashings of metaphorical meanings from the sci-fi settings...

Reviews / 18.06.2019

When Pixar brought their Toy Story franchise to an emotional close in 2010, they did so in truly remarkable fashion. Both critically-acclaimed (it remains the last animated film to be nominated for Best Picture) and universally adored (it was the first animated film in history to gross a billion dollars), Toy Story 3 was the perfect farewell to a perfect trilogy. Few truly wanted a fourth film. It wasn't needed. We'd said goodbye. We'd closed that door. We all suspiciously sneered at the announcement of another instalment as a cheap...

Reviews / 15.06.2019

In the life of a film critic, there will always be critically-acclaimed arthouse darlings you simply cannot connect with. These are the types of films you feel you're practically required to award five stars to, in order to prove your high standards. This Sydney Film Festival season, that film is High Life, a 110 minute-long test of patience you will either find completely fascinating or tediously dull. There's little grey area on this one. It's divisive arthouse cinema at its best and worst. Working in the English language for...

Reviews / 13.06.2019

Tentpole sequels, reboots, and remakes have been dropping like flies in 2019. Godzilla: King of the Monsters has underperformed. The Secret Life of Pets 2 fell flat. The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part earned less than half what its predecessor did. Hellboy was an unmitigated disaster. And X-Men: Dark Phoenix is already dead on arrival. Next up on the gallows is Sony Pictures' attempt to revive the Men in Black franchise with a reboot no one really asked for. Over two decades after Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones (no, neither...

Reviews / 12.06.2019

Most of us long to finally get off our butts, lose some weight, and get healthy. But then the pizza delivery arrives and we go back to sitting on the couch, and those dreams evaporate, as you down your fourth slice while watching whatever the latest buzz-worthy show on Netflix. But what if we actually put on those barely-worn sneakers, stepped outside, and made a go at it? Herein lies the charming narrative of Brittany Runs a Marathon; a film you'll likely assume you've seen dozens of times before...

Reviews / 10.06.2019

Another day, another music biopic. Well, almost. Continuing the resurgence of cinematic fare concerned with the chaos that is the life of the musician, Her Smell takes inspiration from the 90s rock scene where female singers like Courtney Love, PJ Harvey, and Shirley Manson gave their male counterparts plenty of competition. With a bleached-blonde lead singer in the driver's seat of this film, the comparisons to Love are unavoidable. But even Love herself may be shocked at the antics displayed here. With a chaotic and destructive heroine, prone to...

Reviews / 09.06.2019

Great Britain in the late 1980s. A country in the grip of economic chaos, racial tensions, and political unrest. And a time fashion clearly forgot. It's a setting and era cinema has covered extensively over the years. With an inviting narrative and a soundtrack filled with 80s pop and rock wonders, Blinded by the Light is a dizzying mix of schmaltzy clichés, glorious music, and predictable scenarios, in a film full of the greatest intentions. Standing as both a touching coming-of-age story and a glitzy jukebox musical, writer/director Gurinder Chadha...

Reviews / 06.06.2019

It's easy to forget how game-changing the arrival of X-Men was back in the year 2000. Almost a decade before the Marvel Cinematic Universe began its vice-like grip on the box office, this ragtag bunch of mutants re-ignited the lagging superhero genre and paved the way for the revival of the public's interest in such cinematic fare. Over the last 19 years, the X-Men franchise has seen some incredible highs (X2: X-Men United, Logan) and some guttural lows (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: Apocalypse). Sadly, they've saved their worst...

Reviews / 27.05.2019

After Bohemian Rhapsody fandangoed its way to a worldwide box office of $903 million (!) and four (!!) Academy Awards, the music biopic genre has found itself suddenly in fashion again. Arriving completely coincidently to take advantage of the public's appetite for rock 'n' roll retrospectives, it's impossible not to compare Rocketman to the Freddie Mercury biopic. Both jukebox musicals feature a cinematic portrayal of the life and times of a flamboyant British musician from the 1970s/80s, infamous for their outlandish outfits, hugely successful music, and wild behaviour, fueled by sex,...

Reviews / 22.05.2019

Standing as the first Disney remake to be met with genuine alarm and sardonic online scorn, Aladdin arrives with a hefty point to prove. With many questioning the need for its very existence, this live-action re-imagining has caused all sorts of panicked anxiety amongst Disney purists. Put the pitchforks and torches down. Guy Ritchie's visual spectacle is far from the unmitigated train wreck many have predicted. Well, for the most part. While this updated version of one of Disney's most cherished animated works is entirely enjoyable (albeit rather pointless)...