All posts by Chris Singh

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 5 “Burning in Water…” introduces a new conflict

Coming off one of their strongest episodes, the self-contained “100” with the focus solely on a returning Daniel (Rubén Blades), Fear the Walking Dead pull us back into life at the supposedly safe Broke Jaw Ranch where Madison is holed up with Nick and Alicia, trying to prove their value to the suspicious community. “Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame” brings the ranch’s curious history to the forefront straight from it’s awkwardly quick cold-opener in which one of several founders – the first we, as the audience, hear of Otto having partners who helped start the ranch – awakes to find his wife has turned, making the immediate decision to end both their lives which spills over into their house-on-the-hill burning down.... Continue Reading

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 4 “100” is the show’s best yet

“100” just may be the best episode Fear the Walking Dead has done to date. Daniel Salazar (Rubén Blades) was always one of the more interesting characters – that isn’t saying much though – in the show, up until the point where the writers made the terrible decision to randomly send him into “crazy” mode and throw a did-he-or-didn’t-he death mystery at us when we last him engulfed in flames. Appearing as the twist to cap of last week’s so-so “TEOTWAWKI”, Salazar brings a lot of promise with his return and so it feels just right giving him a bottle-episode, which Blades carries with aplomb.... Continue Reading

Film Review: All Eyez on Me (USA, 2017) is not the biopic Tupac Shakur deserves

In the years leading up to release, slipping out of John Singleton’s reliable hands and finding a way to Benny Boom didn’t inspire much confidence in All Eyez On Me, the long-gestating biopic of seminal emcee Tupac Shakur. Long before Straight Outta Compton chewed up the box office charts, those inside and outside of the hip-hop community have been placing a great deal of pressure on this film and whoever would end up charge – understandably high (perhaps unrealistic) expectations that come with doing justice to one of the most beloved and important recording artists of our time. ... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Better Watch Out (Australia, 2016) is a brilliant twist to the home invasion thriller

You may want to walk away from Better Watch Out during its first half. For the first 30 minutes Chris Peckover gives us a Christmas-themed home invasion thriller that is sorely lacking in originality and only manages a few mild chuckles, upheld by teenage actors who are clearly struggling with the seemingly insipid material script. That’s only the first 30 minutes though. Though Peckover and fellow screenwriter Zack Kahn may initially appear to have given us a middling and slow-moving slice of generic “horror”, they manage to pull off a genuinely shocking and unexpected twist, flipping the whole thing on it’s head and progressing to the point of no return. I felt like a fool for thinking I had wasted my time with this innovative, quirky and very self-aware horror.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: House of Others (Georgia, 2016) is haunted by the growing pains of war

The ghosts of never-ending war and destruction haunt Rusudan Glurjidze’sHouse of Others, overwhelming every abandoned corner of a ravaged town in rural Georgia. Gloomy and unkind, it’s filled with the type of desolation and helplessness that often pervades films about the devastating human effects of such obnoxious atrocities. Rarely is that atmosphere articulated as well though, with Gluridze offering up a striking, semi-autobiographical tale that connects two families from the opposing sides of a disastrous conflict, watching as they try and piece together some semblance of a life under an oppressive air where there are no winners and losers.... Continue Reading

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 3 “TEOTWAWKI” sheds more light on Broke Jaw Ranch

Last week’s odd decision to kill off the show’s strongest and most interesting character in a very off-hand fashion was a bold move. Fear the Walking Dead’s writing team has to date proven to be inconsistent, impatient and unable to squeeze the horror-survival for all the juicy potential it has, but there have been moments of great strength. ... Continue Reading

Sydney Festival Film Review: Axoltl Overkill (Germany, 2017) burns up Berlin with heavily stylised hedonism

Adapting her own novel for the big screen, German author-director Helen Hegemann makes a polished feature debut with Axolotl Overkill. Pulse firmly on the rapid strobe-lit streets of Berlin, the film is very much a muse on teenage excess and independence, as self-destructive as in can be, with an assured sense of style and impressive visuals to compensate for a lack of originality. Though there isn’t quite as much narrative heft behind it, often falling into repetition and not knowing how to fully capitalise on crucial moments, Hegemann is admirable as she follows sixteen year old Mifti (Jasna Fritzi Bauer) through unstable sexual relationships, a more-is-more approach to drugs, and a desperate desire for rebellion. ... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Sami Blood (Sweden, 2016) highlights the brutality of extreme prejudice

Fundamentally there is much about Sami Blood that cinema has seen many times over, though for her debut feature writer-director Amanda Kernell has delivered a uniquely complex and painfully relevant coming-of-age while also shedding light on the largely unknown indigenous population of Swedish Lappland. A film of cultural identity and great pain, the prodigiously talented director paints a picture so real this feature almost feels like a documentary, one with a brutal touch and an unflinching sense of cruelty so as to ensure it never downplays the effects of extreme prejudice.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: The Untamed (Mexico, 2016) is a slimy slice of social realism and alien sex

The Untamed, Amat Escalante’s oddball genre film built with space monsters and sexual tension, could have worked just as well as a dysfunctional family drama. The eccentric Mexican director has packed a lot into his fourth feature, an instantly memorable and incredibly unique piece that understands its best possible tension comes from contrasting a heady dose of social-realism with an intense show of spectacular sci-fi terror. While Escalante proves an intelligent and inquisitive mind when weaving through uncomfortable domestic drama, nothing can quite compare to his strange journey through suppressed desire, pleasure-giving tentacles and confected animal orgies (yes, confected animal orgies).... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Spookers (NZ/AUS, 2017) finds therapy under a mask of terror

Kiwi filmmaker Florian Habicht jumps from making documentaries about Pulp and demolition derbies to modestly prodding around the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest horror theme park with Spookers, a stylish 85-minute piece that manages to weave together stories of exploitation and therapy amongst a whole heap of (fake) blood, guts and playful vignettes. It’s clear Habicht and his various subjects, most of whom are amateur actors at this theme park just south of Auckland, had a lot of fun piecing together this documentary and although it overindulges in style while sacrificing deeper themes, it succeeds at presenting us with a unique take on how important it is for someone to feel like they belong.... Continue Reading