Tag Archives: Four and a Half Stars

Sydney Film Festival Review: Call Me By Your Name (Italy/USA, 2017) is a near-flawless picture that celebrates the universality of love

Thoroughly engaging, immensely poignant, and remarkably evocative, Call Me By Your Name functions as both a coming-of-age tale and a love story, likely to surprise viewers as to where it travels on both accounts.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Better Watch Out (Australia, 2016) is a brilliant twist to the home invasion thriller

You may want to walk away from Better Watch Out during its first half. For the first 30 minutes Chris Peckover gives us a Christmas-themed home invasion thriller that is sorely lacking in originality and only manages a few mild chuckles, upheld by teenage actors who are clearly struggling with the seemingly insipid material script. That’s only the first 30 minutes though. Though Peckover and fellow screenwriter Zack Kahn may initially appear to have given us a middling and slow-moving slice of generic “horror”, they manage to pull off a genuinely shocking and unexpected twist, flipping the whole thing on it’s head and progressing to the point of no return. I felt like a fool for thinking I had wasted my time with this innovative, quirky and very self-aware horror.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Sami Blood (Sweden, 2016) highlights the brutality of extreme prejudice

Fundamentally there is much about Sami Blood that cinema has seen many times over, though for her debut feature writer-director Amanda Kernell has delivered a uniquely complex and painfully relevant coming-of-age while also shedding light on the largely unknown indigenous population of Swedish Lappland. A film of cultural identity and great pain, the prodigiously talented director paints a picture so real this feature almost feels like a documentary, one with a brutal touch and an unflinching sense of cruelty so as to ensure it never downplays the effects of extreme prejudice.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Ellipsis (AUS, 2017) is an intimate and beautifully real film

There’s a lot that can happen in 24 hours, and unless you stop and take a moment to let it sink in, you might just miss something magical. From acclaimed actor David Wenham comes his feature film directorial debut with Ellipsis, a film that came together under unusual circumstances but the end result is something truly special. With a tight budget and an even tighter shooting schedule of eleven days, Wenham and his small crew have created a film that feels intimate and real.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: In My Own Words (Australia, 2017) is an inspiring documentary about a program we should all support

Imagine living in a world where you found it impossible to understand your bills, where you couldn’t text people and you had difficulty getting a driver’s licence because you couldn’t pass the Ls test. For around 40-65% of Indigenous Australians this is a reality because they are functionally illiterate. The documentary film, In My Own Words is an uplifting story about an excellent program that takes on this sobering statistic and works hard to bridge the gap.... Continue Reading

Netflix Review: Season 2 of the Wachowski’s Sense8 stays true to itself

Though far from perfect, there was always something special about the first season of Sense8. In line with the Wachowski’s previous efforts, there was nothing quite like it and even when it rambled, it did so in a way that earned your attention (coincidentally, writing about the first season of Sense8 was one of the first things I ever wrote about at The Iris). The series didn’t always work but, when it did, it possessed a kind of unlikely spark that kept you watching.... Continue Reading

Film Review: The Innocents (Poland/France, 2016) is a remarkable, must-see film

Films based on true events are often met with a mixed response; audience left to question the validity of the liberties its filmmakers have taken. Though it can render some films as potentially predictable or even unbelievable, others can be inspiring and heart-wrenching. In the case of The Innocents, we find cinema that belongs to the latter camp; quietly powerful, thanks to a subtle approach to storytelling and assured direction.... Continue Reading

Gold Coast Film Festival Review: My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea (USA, 2016) is high school through a kaleidoscope

My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea is a psychedelic trip through four storeys of a floating high school. About as bad of a place as someone would want to take a transcendental journey, but for the main characters it’s an edifying one, filled with colour, strange visuals and awkward relationships.... Continue Reading