All posts by Jessica Shields

DVD Review: Creed (USA, 2015)

Sylvester Stallone has been playing Rocky Balboa for forty years. It’s a credit to the almost-70-year-old actor that he has found a way to breathe new life into the iconic character in Creed, the seventh film in the Rocky franchise. In fact, his efforts even earned him an Oscar nomination this year, the third of his career (the first two were for Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay for the first Rocky in ’76). ... Continue Reading

Film Review: Mistress America (USA, 2015)

In Frances Ha, co-writers (and real-life couple) Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig brought to the screen this generation’s twenty-something creative; simultaneously spoilt and burdened by choice. Their Frances, played adorably by Gerwig herself, was lively and resourceful, optimistic yet melancholic in her struggle to achieve some level of “success” and establishing a career post-college. Mistress America, Baumbach and Gerwig’s sophomore effort expands on those ideas, with two women either side of Frances’ age group.... Continue Reading

Sydney Underground Film Festival Review: Yakuza Apocalypse (Japan, 2015)

Director Takashi Miike is a workaholic, with 98 credits to his name on IMDb since 1991. A genre master, he has a devoted fan base; a group to which I admit I don’t belong, not because I’m not a fan, but simply because I’ve only seen one other of his films, Ace Attorney (2012), which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m told his films 13 Assassins (2010) and Ichi the Killer (2001) are must-sees and I will get to them eventually. But for now, I am a Miike novice and I certainly felt my inexperience in the audience for Yakuza Apocalypse at SUFF on Friday night. The uproarious laughter during the film made me feel like I was perhaps missing references because I unfortunately didn’t find Yakuza Apocalypse as funny or as entertaining as a particular group in the audience did.... Continue Reading

Sydney Underground Film Festival Review: Heaven Knows What (USA, 2014)

There is a moment in Heaven Knows What when a mobile phone is thrown up into the night sky and a surreal sparkle of fireworks cracks and fizzles from the point at which the phone disappears. This is the only moment of beauty and relief that the film offers. The rest of the time, it’s rough and gritty and grey. But that’s not intended as a criticism – the film’s authenticity and brutal honesty about life as a heroin addict on the streets of New York are refreshingly new and captivating.... Continue Reading