All posts by Peter Gray

Film Review: Mission: Impossible – Fallout (USA, 2018) toys with the expected and presents itself as a fresh product

Up to this point each Mission: Impossible film has operated on their own mechanisms.  The 1996 Brian De Palma-directed original felt like an organic extension of the 1960’s television series it drew its inspiration from; the 2000-released sequel was an orgy of unsubtle combat buoyed by the favoured-slow motion of Hong Kong filmmaker Jon Woo; J.J. Abrams’ second sequel in 2006 felt slightly more grounded in comparison, coming off like an appendage of the director’s own TV project Alias; 2011’s Ghost Protocol, under the eye of Brad Bird (The Incredibles), adopted the IMAX gimmick and went for broke in what possibilities lay in extravagance; and Christopher McQuarrie’s Rogue Nation in 2015 adhered to the modern temperament of the genre by delivering spectacle that didn’t overrun an intricate story.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Skyscraper (USA, 2018) delivers lunacy and ridiculous physic-defying stunts in spades

Is there anything Dwayne Johnson can’t overcome? Earthquakes, tsunamis, oversized gorillas, Vin Diesel’s ego…the hulking man mountain has tackled them all and emerged victorious.  For his latest spat with big screen-worthy roadblocks, the man no longer credited with his “Rock” moniker faces his biggest challenge yet – a skyscraper some three-times taller than the Statue of Liberty that’s been overtaken by a group of throwaway terrorists hellbent on burning it to the ground.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: The Breaker Upperers (New Zealand, 2018) is immensely entertaining, genuinely hilarious, and wonderfully heartfelt

Given that we can almost outsource every chore, errand, and activity that come our way, it only makes sense that the unfortunate responsibility that is breaking up with someone be a lucrative business too.  Enter The Breaker Upperers, a duo of frozen-hearted, screwed-over singletons who appear more than happy to break the heart of someone else’s significant other – for the right price of course.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Beirut (USA, 2018) is an absorbing thriller that doesn’t break convention

Aided by a sense of retro charm and bathed in a yellowy hue that appears to be the go-to filter for Hollywood’s take on anything Middle East, Brad Anderson‘s Beirut is an absorbing thriller that doesn’t break convention, but manages a certain robustness that keeps it sailing along with intrigue.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: The Seagull (USA, 2018) is a charming bore

Despite scene-swallowing work from Annette Bening (fabulous, as to be expected), the quiet mastery of Saoirse Ronan, and a brilliantly comical Elisabeth Moss, Michael Mayer‘s The Seagull (adapted from Anton Chekhov‘s classic play) fails to deliver them material worthy of their considerable talent.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Ocean’s 8 (USA, 2018) proves acceptable escapism that’ll steal your attention during its running time

Whilst it may not quite boast as impressive an ensemble as the original Ocean’s trilogy managed to concoct (George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts to name a few), Ocean’s 8 still steers ahead on charm and glamour, proving that an octet of women can do anything just as capable as an eleven-strong crew of men, if not more so.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Breath (Australia, 2017) thrives on deflecting expectation and wallowing in its own ethereal state

After a near two-decade absence from the Australian film industry, Simon Baker makes a glorious (ahem) splash with the soulful Breath.  Taking cue from the evocative descriptions set about in Tim Winton‘s 2008 novel, Baker proves both assured and affectionate as he takes directorial duties for an equally vivid and placid coming-of-age tale that benefits from its inexperienced ensemble.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Super Troopers 2 (USA, 2018) is mostly an enjoyably goofy, charmingly raunchy affair

First and foremost it must be noted that Super Troopers 2 is indeed a film made for a particular audience. The original 2001 comedy came and went theatrically without much notice, but over the years it earned rightful cult status as its receptive audience came to appreciate its random, low brow humour. As successful as the film became (its minuscule budget essentially guaranteed it to turn a profit) a sequel was never guaranteed, and even though the rowdy lads behind it – the quintet collective known as Broken Lizard – delivered further productions that failed to match the success of Super Troopers, a re-visit seemed unlikely.... Continue Reading