SXSW Film Review: Leigh Whannel crafts an incredibly fun sci-fi horror with Upgrade (Australia, 2018)

Technology gone overboard is a sci-fi trope that has been done to death in cinema, but it’s a pleasure to watch stories that are still bringing fresh takes on the theme. The latest is Upgrade, a techno-horror slash detective thriller written and directed by Leigh Whannell who moves away from the past few years of supernatural scares with the Insidious franchise and finds himself a bit closer to the gritty horror-thriller territory that first made him famous back in 2004 with Saw. This isn’t no torture-porn outing though, focusing on the paranoia of a technologically advanced world with Logan Marshall-Green’s oddly-named Grey Trace serving as Leigh’s conduit.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Mary Magdalene (UK, 2018) does little to cement itself as a worthy biblical epic

Mary Magdalene extends the long list of biblical film adaptations, and with it, brings a competent yet flawed look at one of the most scrutinised and controversial figures surrounding the life of Jesus Christ. While Mary Magdalene brings some refreshing aspects to the table, it also becomes the victim of its own ambition, sacrificing any deep character development in order to focus on the misunderstood relationship between Mary and Jesus.... Continue Reading

Perth Festival Film Review: Under The Tree (Iceland, 2017) is a masterclass in neighbourly mutually assured destruction

Neighbourly disputes are really not all that uncommon in the real world, but in Under the Tree, the third feature film from Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigur∂sson, a relatively minor disagreement between two suburban neighbouring families over a tree and the shadow it casts morphs into an ever escalating case of mutually assured destruction culminating in a truly hyperbolic and deadly finale.... Continue Reading

Film Review: The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung) (Switzerland, 2017) is a spirited ode to the Swiss suffrage movement

Suffragette was a film that covered the British women who protested in order to gain the right to vote. The Divine Order (Die göttliche Ordnung) is a film that covers things from a Swiss perspective. Whereas the suffrage movement happened in the UK in the early 20th century, for Switzerland it was 1971 before the women’s right to vote was subject to a referendum and legalised. The Divine Order is a sweet, easy to watch and feel-good story about a fictional grassroots movement that achieved big things in a small provincial town.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Pacific Rim: Uprising (USA, 2018) is a glorified B-movie that’s entertaining in all its wild stupidity

Given his penchant for dark, more gothic views on material, Guillermo del Toro‘s foray into big budget filmmaking – 2013’s Pacific Rim – always seemed a little odd.  Capable of delivering so much more than what that film ultimately was able to, del Toro may have injected some of his usual fantastic-ness into proceedings, but a procession of sequences featuring giant robots fighting mythical creatures interspersed with questionable acting resulted in a destructively silly actioner that was more trash than treasure.... Continue Reading

SXSW Interview: Ethan Hawke on directing Blaze Foley’s story in Blaze

Ethan Hawke‘s film about iconic country blues singer/songwriter Blaze Foley has been praised by critics since its premiere at Sundance in January, and last week it was Austin’s turn, with Blaze screening at SXSW. At that event, held in the city where Blaze lived for much of his life, we caught up with the Hawke to find out more about what drew him to this unique character and story.... Continue Reading

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