All posts by Peter Gray

Film Review: Battle of the Sexes (USA, 2017) is topical, crowd-pleasing entertainment

Despite its 1973 setting, Battle of the Sexes is very much a film for the now with Billie Jean King’s story appearing just as relevant today as it did back then.  Stances on sexuality and the pay parity between genders as depicted here is likely to strike a chord with many an audience member, but as topical as Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘s film intends to be, it’s crowd-pleasing entertainment at the end of the day.... Continue Reading

Film Review: mother! (USA, 2017) will test even the most stern of viewers

Where does one even begin to describe the demented deliciousness that is mother!?  Despite the film’s rather studio-heavy calibre of talent on board, Darren Aronofsky‘s latest cinematic insanity is anything but an audience-friendly affair.  The mysterious marketing campaign has wound up viewer interest (and rightfully so), and I would wager many will be entering theatres under the falsest of pretences, but that is all part of mother!‘s twisted plan – to lure you in, only to strike you down when you least expect it.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Patti Cake$ (USA, 2017) constantly subverts our expectations

Patti Cake$ is the kind of movie that could have gone horribly wrong. The story of an overweight, white (trash) suburban girl gunning for glory in the hip-hop scene isn’t the most accessible story, nor is it culturally appropriate. Thanks to the wit of writer/director/composer Geremy Jasper though, Patti Cake$ disarms any of these potential hot buttons by addressing them with a sense of casual frankness; “Why don’t you act your age?” Patti (Australian find Danielle Macdonald), real name Patricia Dombrowski, asks her lush of a mother, Barb (Bridget Everett). “Why don’t you act your race?” is Barb’s snappy retort.... Continue Reading

Film Review: God’s Own Country (UK, 2017) is a moody and haunting emotional journey

As easy as it is to liken God’s Own Country to the similarly themed Brokeback Mountain, doing so is only ultimately stripping Francis Lee‘s film of its own identity.  A moody and haunting emotional journey for its protagonists, God’s Own Country is a slow burning, though rewarding drama propelled by a duo of strong performances from relative unknowns Josh O’Connor and Alec Secareanu as farmhands who unexpectedly ignite a passion within each other.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Small Town Killers (Denmark, 2017) never completely commits to its nasty premise

Like fellow Danish filmmakers Lars von Trier and Nicholas Winding Refn, Ole Bornedal made the leap from his homeland to Hollywood, though he opted for more an entertaining stance on his career as opposed to the heavy artistry his peers practiced; Bornedal was behind the rather unspectacular 2012 haunted house pic The Possession, whilst von Trier and Refn helmed such respective controversial pieces as Antichrist and Only God Forgives.... Continue Reading

Interview: American Made director Doug Liman talks about uncovering the heart at the centre of his action films

Doug Liman has never been a director afraid of making bold choices. Whether he’s taking the leap from indie cinema ala Swingers to expensive actioners like The Bourne Identity and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, or honing his skills as a wrangler in order to challenge a fearless performer such as Tom Cruise, the New York born filmmaker is arguably one of the industry’s strongest and most passionate players.  On the eve of the release of his latest effort, the biographical crime drama American Made, The Iris chatted to the director about what drew him to this outrageous story, and just how one gets away with calling Tom Cruise a “coward”.... Continue Reading

Film Review: American Made (USA, 2017) is a sharply paced outing that proves a welcome return to form for Tom Cruise

Simultaneously stepping away from the action brands they’re both primarily recognised for, there’s a sense of material re-engagement for director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Edge of Tomorrow) and star Tom Cruise with American Made.  Telling a story that’s less reliant on aesthetic spectacle and star power, Gary Spinelli’s account of pilot-turned-drug smuggler Barry Seal’s recruitment by the CIA in the 1980’s is one of those tales so unbelievable it could only be true.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Wind River (USA, 2017) is excitingly tense and beautifully shot

Having proven his worth as a screenwriter with both Hell or High Water and Sicario, Wind River serves as scribe Taylor Sheridan’s directorial debut.  Arguably arriving with high expectations, Sheridan’s tight, often brutal thriller proves his workings with such professionals as David Mackenzie and Denis Villeneuve has paid off, showcasing an ease behind the lens as he injects the appropriate amount of grit to his dark story.... Continue Reading