Awards Season, Reviews / 25.11.2021

It's not often I find a film that leaves me truly speechless. Then again, it's not every day a film like Julia Ducournau's staggeringly audacious Titane comes along. It may be the most utterly insane film I've seen all year and I sincerely mean that as a compliment of the highest order. Provocative and unnerving but also strangely tender and beautiful, Titane is truly unlike anything else you will see in 2021. Ducournau's unwavering confidence radiates in every single frame of this boldly original body horror tale that's as...

Awards Season, Reviews / 12.11.2021

In 1996, the late Jonathan Larson changed the landscape of Broadway with his rock musical Rent. The show would run for 12 years and win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Musical. In 2015, Lin-Manuel Miranda equally rattled Broadway with his rap musical Hamilton. The show has been running for six years and also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Musical. These two titans of musical theatre combine with Miranda's feature directorial debut Tick, Tick...

Awards Season, Reviews / 08.11.2021

In the 28 years since Jane Campion became only the second female filmmaker in history to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, the writer-director has made just four films. Much like her careful filmmaking and storytelling style, Campion is a director who prefers to take her time. The results are always worth the wait. With her latest effort, Campion may have delivered her greatest work to date and one of the very best films of the year. A slow-burn character study that's as captivating as it is...

Awards Season, Reviews / 06.11.2021

Attempting to capture a figure's entire life in one film is a task doomed to fail. It's an issue we saw just a few months ago with the earnest but conventionally shallow Respect. The best historical biopics understand this and instead choose to limit the focus to one key period of time. It's just one of the elements that make Pablo Larraín's harrowing portrait of a tragic princess such a spectacular success. Another is an actor at the absolute top of their game in one of the finest...

Awards Season, Reviews / 04.11.2021

From Brad and Denzel to Angelina and Nicole, you know an actor has really hit the big time when they're known by just their first name. In the sports world, there are two instantly recognisable first names that have dominated the cultural zeitgeist for more than two decades; Venus and Serena. That's why it may seem strange Hollywood's first attempt to capture their life in an Oscar-bait biopic bears the moniker of their father. After viewing King Richard, you'll completely understand why. An entirely rousing crowd-pleaser that will leave...

Awards Season, Reviews / 23.10.2021

In 2020, we were served a throwback classic Western in the form of Paul Greengrass' charming News of the World. In 2021, co-writer-director Jeymes Samuel is here to give the genre one almighty shake with the coolest Western in years. A brutal, bloody affair that finally places an ensemble cast of actors of colour at the forefront of such a narrative, The Harder They Fall is stylish as hell, hugely entertaining, and uproariously fun. An ambitious directorial debut that announces the arrival of a bold new filmmaking talent, The...

Awards Season, Reviews / 20.10.2021

As the old saying goes, there are two sides to every story. But in the case of Ridley Scott's latest Middle Ages epic The Last Duel, there are actually three. A film that admirably attempts to dabble in the #MeToo movement but gets somewhat lost along the way, this is more of a medieval soap opera than a scathing critique of sexism and misogyny. Whether that's a compliment or a criticism will be entirely up to the viewer. Impeccably crafted and brilliantly acted, The Last Duel runs long and...

Awards Season, Reviews / 11.10.2021

It's been a strange and terrible year for many reasons. After the misery of 2020, we foolishly assumed this year had to be better. As someone who's been in the Sydney lockdown for over 100 days, I can attest this year has been more akin to a terrible sequel; more of the same, yet somehow so much worse. But if you'd told me at the start of 2021 that one of my favourite films of the year would star Nicolas Cage and its narrative would centre on his...

Awards Season, Reviews / 08.10.2021

For over two decades, the world has watched in horror at the news of yet another shooting inside an American school. From Columbine and Sandy Hook to Parkland and Virginia Tech, the number of shootings and the growing death toll is too painful to even fathom. There's a whole generation of children who have sadly grown accustomed to school shootings being a reality of their formative years to the point active shooter drills are now necessary to prepare American kids for the very real possibility of a shooting...

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...