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...

Awards Season, Reviews / 08.09.2019

Most of us were likely begrudgingly subjected to reading the work of Charles Dickens in our school years. And cinema sure has mined most of his bibliography since the dawn of the medium. His semi-autobiographical work David Copperfield has itself been adapted numerous times over the years, most notably MGM's big-budget 1935 adaptation, which scored three Oscar noms including Best Picture. It begs the question of why offer up yet another incarnation of this classic tale. Enter writer/director Armando Iannucci to serve up one of the year's most delightful treats...

Reviews / 05.09.2019

Everybody loves a clown. After 2017's It shockingly became the highest-grossing horror film of all time, we all knew a sequel wouldn't be far away, particularly after the words "Chapter One" flashed on-screen during the closing credits. With its 1980s nostalgia, a winning ensemble cast of youngsters, and a menacing performance from Bill Skarsgard, the film deserved every dollar it raked in at the box office. Just two years later, it's time to head back to Derry where Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Skarsgard) is set to unleash a whole...

Reviews / 04.09.2019

Almost 20 years ago, a plucky little seven-year-old Latina girl named Dora debuted on Nickelodeon, determined to teach kids about riddles, puzzles, and, most importantly, the Spanish language. As we're in the age of cinematic remakes of cherished television shows, it was all but assured Dora would make her way to the big screen at some point. While the existence of the live-action remake Dora and the Lost City of Gold is far from a shock, the resulting film is one of the most pleasantly surprising experiences of...

Reviews / 29.08.2019

Picture this: a trio of wives find themselves in a bind after their mobster husbands leave them in the lurch, forcing them to take over the nefarious criminal activities to pay the bills. You don't have to picture it because we already saw this narrative in 2018 with Steve McQueen's shamefully Oscar-ignored Widows. Yet, less than a year later, here we are to do it all again with The Kitchen; a film which suffers terribly by unfortunate comparison to McQueen's masterwork. Lacking the deep characterisation, thrilling plot, and sharp...

Reviews / 17.08.2019

When a film begins with the title-card "based on an actual lie," you know you're in for an intriguing piece of cinema. Such is the case with The Farewell; writer/director Lulu Wang's sublime autobiographical sophomore film, inspired by the true story of a rather shocking deception she was forced to perform out of familial obligation. An authentic and touching look at the cultural divide between two wildly different civilisations, The Farewell offers an insight into a traditional practice many will be unfamiliar with. And perhaps rather startled by. But...