All posts by Chris Singh

First Impressions: Sacha Baron Cohen gets boldly political on Who Is America?

Ultimate troll Sacha Baron Cohen is back in form for his new show Who Is America?, screening for Australians exclusively from today on Stan, and this time he’s splitting his time between four characters. You’ve got the right-wing blogger for a fictitious website dubbed “truthbay.org”; a cis-gendered liberal who is so open-minded he watches his wife have sex with sea mammals; an ex-con turned abstract artist who uses bodily fluids to create his works; and an Islamophobic ex-Mossad agent dripping in machismo and unwavering gun advocacy. It’s messy and unbalanced, but Bacon Cohen’s penchant for stripping away niceties and exposing the idiocy of his guests, through often extreme levels of satire, is still very much in tact.... Continue Reading

Games Review: Mario Tennis Aces (Switch, 2018) nails the sports-fighter hybrid

Introducing fighting elements to a tennis game was a clever move from Camelot, and its one which carries much of Mario Tennis Aces into uncharted territory, giving the gameplay just enough depth to justify stamping this as the finest Mario Tennis title to date. While there is most certainly a feeling of missed opportunities peppered through the game, there’s enough here to celebrate the franchise’s return with Nintendo smartly playing off the additional mechanics in creative (expected for a Mario game) and genuinely humourous ways. Continue reading Games Review: Mario Tennis Aces (Switch, 2018) nails the sports-fighter hybrid

Sydney Film Festival Review: BlacKKKlansman (USA, 2018) sees Spike Lee channel his frustration for one of his finest films to date

Spike Lee is quite clearly fired up as he scatters sharp, defiant dialogue all through BlacKKKlansman, his first feature film since 2015’s good-but-uneven Chi-Raq and without a doubt one of his best works to date. That is no overstatement either, with Lee directing a big middle finger to the racism both explicit and implicit, by care of lead John David Washington, who plays an African-American police officer conning his way into the inner-circle of the Colorado Springs chapter of the Klu Klux Klan. ... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Colin Minihan overindulges in tension with What Keeps You Alive (Canada, 2018)

Not truly knowing your significant other post-marriage must be a terrifying thought, and it’s one that grounds Colin Minihan‘s What Keeps You Alive in a genuinely frightening premise. Lock that idea up and throw it into a cliche cabin-in-the-woods scenario and you have yourself a fun horror film that’s intriguing and entertaining, if not a bit drawn out and tedious.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Jirga (Australia, 2017) is a humane look behind the curtain of war

That Jirga is quiet and understated is the film’s biggest strength, consciously moving away from the lurid details of your typical war blockbuster and presenting something of a bare-bones human story about redemption and forgiveness. When Director Benjamin Gilmour and actor Sam Smith, both Australian, spent 20 days shooting this film they did so at great risk to their own lives. It was made in secret, shot on a camera bought at a Pakistani shopping mall, amidst all the storied dangers of a country like Afghanistan, mainly the risk of being taken hostage by ISIS or killed in a suicide bombing. Smith reportedly slept with a knife in his hand under a pillow while staying in a hotel room with a broken lock, and one of the Afghani actors carried a handgun as security.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Hereditary (USA, 2018) is the dictionary definition of horror

When light finally filled the theatre at Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse Cinema I could see that the older man sitting next to me was visibly shaken. In fact, I could see many people who looked like they were in desperate need of a good, long hug and maybe a bathtub full of bright yellow rubber ducks with a Disney marathon playing in the background. I shared that feeling, whatever it was; the shared sinking sense of dread mixed with awe – powerful and strong responses to a powerful and tough-as-nails film. That’s the astounding debut from Ari Aster, Hereditary: a narrative feature he has both written and directed with such an ironically beautiful sense of pain, presenting one of the darkest horror-drama films I have ever seen.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Nature and nurture square off in the fascinating Three Identical Strangers (UK, 2018)

BAFTA-nominated documentary director Tim Wardle has an enviable subject with the highly publicised reunion of long-lost-triplets Robert Shafran, Eddy Galland and David Kellman, who found each other at the age of 19, tracking three identical New Yorkers separated at birth by a prominent Jewish adoption agency. It’s the kind of stranger-than-fiction story that the most engrossing documentaries are made of, and it certainly helps that the account is not lacking when it comes to eccentric characters. And that’s what truly strengthens Three Identical Strangers, with Wardle faithfully sticking close to the three brothers and those around them while gradually peeling back the layers to reveal a much larger narrative, questions around the age old “Nature vs Nurture” debate, and the moral implications that come with studying such a thing. It feels like a sitcom with a conspiracy wrapped around it, a wholly unique and endlessly fascinating stab at the dark side of psychological research and the importance (especially in this modern era) of individual differences.... Continue Reading

Interview: Ari Aster, Alex Wolff and Milly Shapiro on the making of Hereditary

Just about every horror movie leading up to release is dubbed “scariest. ever” because that’s the way hype works. “Scary” is what pulls us into horror movies and often creates unfair expectations which leave us – especially horror buffs – bitterly disappointed. As someone who is fairly well-versed in horror and finds something to love in just about every one he sees, I feel confident in writing that Hereditary is indeed one of, if not the, scariest movies ever made. This isn’t an overstatement, and you’ll find plenty of pieces across the internet which echo the same sentiment. This is as close to evil as a film I have ever seen, and it’s the debut feature from writer and director Ari Aster who has immediately become one of the most exciting in cinema. I write cinema because Hereditary should not be confined to a genre, as horror films usually are; Hereditary is a family drama first, horror film second and, as you’ll read below, that is an important distinction to make in order to truly understand just how terrifying the story is.... Continue Reading