Tag Archives: Four Stars

Film Review: Lady Bird (USA, 2017) is the most tender and genuine coming-of-age story in years

There’s something incredibly sweet about Lady Bird, without having the film push into over-sentimental territory. That in itself is a remarkable achievement for Greta Gerwig, who in her directorial debut has turned in an endearing and sincere coming-of-age story that, although quite monotone, springs to life with particularly powerful performances from two female actors of very different generations. As director and writer, Gerwig is at her observant best, penning what is seemingly a tender love letter addressed to both her parents and her hometown of Sacramento, but in doing so is careful to present characters which are complex and naturalistic enough so audiences around the world can find something they relate to, irrespective of gender.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Gurrumul (Australia, 2018) is a striking portrait of an enigmatic and impressive Australian musical talent

With Gurrumul, director Paul Damien Williams has created a striking and emotive portrait of one of Australia’s greatest musical talents – Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. But more than that, Gurrumul also affords us all a glimpse into the cultural life and traditions of the Yolngu people in North Eastern Arnhem Land, in what are some of the most visually striking moments of the film.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Molly’s Game (USA, 2017) is as sophisticated as it is entertaining

Known for his rapid-fire flair for dialogue, writer Aaron Sorkin proves ideally suited to tackling the true story of Molly Bloom.  Bloom, a former professional skier, earned her stripes working under one of the co-owners of the infamous Viper Room as she recruited high-profile talent to take part in secretive poker games in the club’s basement.... Continue Reading

Film Review: I, Tonya (USA, 2017) showcases Margot Robbie in the role of her career (so far)

To think that a notorious figure like Tonya Harding could be, in any way, made out to be sympathetic is no mean feat, yet screenwriter Steven Rogers, director Craig Gillespie, and star Margot Robbie (also serving as one of the film’s producers) have achieved just that in I, Tonya.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Sweet Country (Australia, 2018) is Australia’s answer to To Kill A Mockingbird

Man on the run. Sweet Country is based on the true, Australian story about a point in history where justice was put on trial. For this reason, it has echoes of To Kill A Mockingbird except that here, Atticus Finch isn’t a lawyer but a preacher played by Sam Neill. The result is a shockingly brutal and important film.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Japan, 2017) is a familiar yet dazzling adventure that will please Studio Ghibli fans

It’s that fantastic time of the year again! We have another Studio Ghi–Wait a minute! This isn’t a Studio Ghibli film! It is in fact, a Studio Ponoc film. In case you don’t know, Studio Ponoc is an animation studio that was founded in 2015 by people who used to work in Studio Ghibli. One of these people is Hiromasa Yonebayashi, the director of such Ghibli hits like The Secret Life of Arietty and When Marnie Was There.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Darkest Hour (UK, 2017) is a celebration of Churchill’s war of words

Winston Churchill was a leading writer and orator. So it should come as no surprise that Darkest Hour, a new biopic about the British leader sees the usual guns and weaponry synonymous with wartime films replaced with words, glorious words. While the story is not the most necessary one (as it has been told countless times before from varying perspectives) this is still a handsome and convincing portrait of a formidable Prime Minister and his involvement in a pivotal point in history.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Big in Japan (Australia, 2017) is far more than one man’s vainglorious pursuit

Where most foreigners settling in Japan pass their time in Japanese pubs, English schools or seeking out every piece of longstanding architecture, David Elliot-Jones spent his trying to become famous. And you’ve probably never heard of the guy, but that doesn’t mean he failed.... Continue Reading

TV Review: The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 7 “Time for After”

Eugene is a broken man. With his loyalty and decisions a major focus of “Time for After”, the penultimate episode before the Mid-Season Finale, we get to explore this character in a much more meaningful way than before. There’s some real depth here as he visibly struggles against his own conscious and deals with the decision he has made to stay loyal to Negan; it’s a surprise something like this didn’t come sooner – it certainly would have made more sense to – but Josh McDermitt sold it all incredibly well, portraying a man who is clearly trying his damn hardest to convince himself that he is Negan despite appeals by a feverish Father Gabriel and memories of his friends “travelling companions”.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Only the Brave (USA, 2017) is a heartfelt tribute to heroism and integrity

Given his capable work on Tron: Legacy and Oblivion it was interesting to see what Joseph Kosinski would do with a rugged autobiographical drama like Only the Brave. The true story upon which this human versus nature story is based is rife with strong emotion; dark and inspiring with a tale of redemption embedded within, and all of that is framed very well here, despite some slight melodrama – a credit to the excellent cast led by Josh Brolin and including Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Connelly.... Continue Reading