Festivals

Sydney Film Festival Review: Piercing (USA, 2018) is a sadistic screwball macabre comedy with two fantastic lead performances

June 13, 2018

Before I start this review, it has to be said that this writer has a sick and depraved sense of humour. So stepping in to watch this sadistic horror/comedy film Piercing for Sydney Film Festival 2018, my expectations were sky-high.... Continue Reading

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Juliet, Naked (USA, 2018) Is The Rom-Com We Deserve

June 13, 2018

Relationships are hard, messy complicated things. Finding a balance between what you want and what your partner wants, whilst still retaining a sense of uniqueness feels impossible. Most mainstream Hollywood rom-coms would have us believe that it’s possible with their glossy happy endings. Juliet, Naked is not the rom-com we need but the one we deserve, as it prefers to be a little more realistic.... Continue Reading

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Children Act (USA, 2018) is a slow-burning & challenging moral drama

June 12, 2018

The Children Act is a drama that is wrapped around a moral quandary. It asks the question, “How old should someone be before they can refuse medical treatment?” This adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel is an emotive legal and moral drama that will give audiences pause to think.... Continue Reading

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

June 12, 2018

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

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Sydney Film Festival Review: The Wife (Sweden/UK, 2017) is a slow-burning & tense character study about a woman’s conflicting emotions

June 11, 2018

The title of the film, The Wife, gives away about as much as the titular character. Is she a good one? A bad lady? The answer is a mystery for a large portion of this slow-burning character study. One thing’s for certain, this wifey is brimming with conflicting emotions in this bittersweet, character-driven drama.... Continue Reading

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist (UK, 2018) is about a style iconoclast & punk who became one fine dame

June 11, 2018

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist shares some things in common with David Bowie’s song, “Fashion” and not just for the obvious fact that Vivienne Westwood is a fashion designer. Consider Bowie’s “Listen to me- don’t listen to me/Talk to me- don’t talk to me/Dance with me- don’t dance with me, no” lyrics. It’s a curious dance straddling the lines between do you/don’t you want to and it’s in this same environment that Westwood operates here. She allowed cameras to follow her around but then she’s gone and publicly denounced the final documentary. In the opening scenes she is exasperated and assumes that looking at the past is “boring.” Westwood is quite possibly the world’s most reluctant interviewee even though she speaks well and has strong principles and opinions and it’s this dichotomy that makes this film such an entertaining one.... Continue Reading

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Nico, 1988 (Italy, 2017) shows the songstress left behind after all tomorrow’s parties

June 11, 2018

A bio-pic can be a tricky beast. When a person has achieved so much in their lifetime what part of the story do you focus on? If you’re Italian director, Susanna Nicchiarelli you eschew the obvious and omit the lauded days. Nicchiarelli instead focuses on later life and this is precisely the scene we are greeted with in Nico, 1988.... Continue Reading

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Sydney Film Festival Review: Chef Flynn (USA, 2018) is as neat & tidy as an entrée but you will probably be left wanting more

June 10, 2018

It’s fair to say that most of us home cooks are more like Nailed It! contestants than MasterChefs. So imagine how surprising it is to see a young child cooking up fine dining dishes with aplomb. Chef Flynn is a documentary about Flynn McGarry, this particular child prodigy. While it’s an entertaining story you can’t help but feel like you’re being served an entrée rather than the full three course menu.... Continue Reading

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

June 10, 2018

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

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

June 10, 2018

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

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