Awards Season, Reviews / 28.10.2019

Sometimes, a movie star disappears, never to be heard from again. Occasionally, it's more an extended break before a stellar comeback performance to put them right back on the map. We've seen that once already this year, with Renée Zellweger making a roaring return in Judy. Now it's time for the glorious resurrection of Eddie Murphy, in a performance that's the best thing he's offered in more than a decade. After a string of disastrous failures which led to four (!) Razzie Award nominations in just six (!!) years,...

Awards Season, Reviews / 13.10.2019

Way back in 1996, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet twisted a classic piece of Shakespeare's work into something palatable enough for mainstream audiences to lap up, particularly teenage girls currently fawning over a young Leonardo DiCaprio. Taking equal inspiration from a piece of Shakespeare and with this generation's teen dream Timothée Chalamet at its helm, David Michôd's The King might just unintentionally pull in a similar crowd. Whereas Luhrmann's work was a direct (albeit wildly unique) Shakespearean adaptation, The King blazes its own daring trail by leaving Shakespeare's infamous iambic pentameter behind,...

Awards Season, Reviews / 04.10.2019

In all honesty, the sales pitch for The Aeronauts doesn't sound all that particularly enticing. Witness the daring 19th-century adventure of a mismatched British scientist and pilot, as they head off in a hot-air balloon to learn about weather prediction and break the world record for flight altitude. Sounds enthralling, right? But hold your horses. This impeccably crafted and surprisingly thrilling little gem is ultimately one of the year's biggest surprise packages. The reteaming of The Theory of Everything duo Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones proves the first time...

Awards Season, Reviews / 29.09.2019

It's fairly shameful it's taken us this long for a biopic on a historical figure as important as Harriet Tubman. Practically every other key figure in the Civil War has been covered by cinema, yet not the abolitionist who still inspires people to this day. In fact, the only cinematic appearance of Tubman has been a blink-and-you'll-miss-her role in 2012's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Yep. That's her current cinematic legacy. The time has finally arrived for Tubman to have her moment on the big screen. Brought to life by...

Awards Season, Reviews / 28.09.2019

Full disclosure - until last year, I had never heard of Fred Rogers. As someone living in the bubble that is Australia, the unassuming brilliance of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood had somehow never reached our shores. It took Morgan Neville's gorgeous and inspiring 2018 documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor? to introduce the magic of Mister Rogers to those of us previously uninitiated. After the documentary provided an intimate insight into both the public and private lives of Rogers, there seemed no need for a full-scale biopic. Thankfully, that's entirely...

Awards Season, Reviews / 18.09.2019

Cinema has been showing us the ugly side of divorce for decades now. Whether it's brutally on display in something like Kramer vs. Kramer or deceptively hidden in a film like Mrs. Doubtfire, the collapse of a marriage is only further complicated when children are involved. Saturated with intimate pain no doubt elicited from his own divorce, writer/director Noah Baumbach offers a deeply personal work with Marriage Story; one of the year's finest films and one of the most emotional experiences you will have in a cinema in...

Awards Season, Reviews / 13.09.2019

An origin story of Batman's greatest foe was something no one ever really asked for. Much like Disney's ill-fated attempt to flesh out the backstory of one of its greatest villains in Maleficent, the Joker is a character whose mystery is part of his endless charm. He's a character we can never fully understand. Nor should we seek to. So seemingly indiscriminate in his chaos, his brand of evil was perfectly summarised by Michael Caine's Alfred in The Dark Knight when he theorised, "Some men just want to...

Awards Season, Reviews / 11.09.2019

Renée! Renée! Renée! Does Judy! Judy! Judy! You'd be hard-pressed to find a better project for an absent Hollywood star to make her triumphant comeback than by tackling the most ambitious role of her career. In a twist of meta-laced irony, it's a character Renée Zellweger can clearly identify with. Chewed up and spat out by the industry that made her a household name, Zellweger obviously connects with a thing or two about the experiences of the legendary Judy Garland. In a heartbreaking look at the troubled final days of the Hollywood...

Awards Season, Reviews / 10.09.2019

There is one golden rule of comedy; either everything is fair game or nothing is. But there are those who consider there to be a few exceptions to this rule (which, in itself, is the definition of an oxymoron). To some, the Nazism movement of the late 1930s seems to be off-limits when it comes to comedy, despite the fact Adolf Hitler has been satirised for decades by The Three Stooges, Walt Disney, Looney Tunes, Mel Brooks, and, perhaps most famously, Charlie Chaplin. By expertly satirising something, you remove...

Awards Season, Reviews / 09.09.2019

If there was one inclusion on the Toronto Film Festival schedule this year that stood out as an intriguing addition, it was undoubtedly Hustlers; a film which, on its surface, appears like something more at home in a summer blockbuster season than amongst a litany of awards season hopefuls. With its ensemble female cast stacked with big names of both the film and music world and a narrative centred on the exploits of a group of strippers, you may be expecting a film devoid of any substance. You'd be...