Tag Archives: Three and a Half Stars

Film Review: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (USA, 2017) is a family treat for the senses

DreamWorks Animation is back with a new film, and what can we say about this little animation company, soon to celebrate a successful 20-year run? They’ve come an exceedingly long way since their first animated feature, Antz, in 1998, a film that felt so forced to catch up with Pixar (who released A Bug’s Life around the same time amid a feud between the two companies) many wrote them off before they’d barely begun. The Prince of Egypt didn’t do them any favours at the time either, though both were commercial successes (not the same could be said for The Road to El Dorado, however). It wasn’t until their first stop-motion animation, 2000’s Chicken Run, where the tide seemed to turn.... Continue Reading

OzAsia Film Review: Pop Aye (Singapore/Thailand, 2016) is an amiable, bittersweet and surprisingly surreal piece of work

Although I am a fan of all film genres, I have an affinity for the human-fantasy friendship trope. Whether it’s between a human and a horse (War Horse), a human and a robot (The Iron Giant), a human and a mutant super-pig (Okja) or a human and a Totoro (My Neighbour Totoro), a strong bond is a strong bond, no matter how bizarre the circumstances are.... 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: The Dinner (USA, 2017) is an uncomfortable debate that will stay with you after you’ve left the cinema

In We Need To Talk About Kevin writer Lionel Shriver explored the idea of a mother grappling with her son’s heinous act. In The Dinner, four parents deal with the ramifications of a shocking crime perpetuated by their boys. They have to decide how far they will go in order to protect their teenage sons. The film is a tense and dark character study, which shows that one’s moral compass is not always what it seems.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Ali’s Wedding (Australia, 2017) is a warm comedy with a big heart

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. The events depicted in Ali’s Wedding, the new Australian film and Muslim rom-com are based on true events. Unfortunately. This comedy is a funny and vibrant look at life in Australia for a family of Middle Eastern immigrants and like Looking For Alibrandi, The Family Law and Acropolis Now, it is another strong voice in the chorus of individuals living in multicultural Australia.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Logan Lucky (USA, 2017) is a calculated, charming caper

It’s been a few years since director Steven Soderbergh had a feature film on the big screen but with Logan Lucky he makes a welcome return in this rollicking comedy-heist. It would be easy to boil this down to a red-neck dirty overalls wearing, whiskey swigging, pick-up truck driving version of Soderbergh’s own hit Ocean’s Eleven (and Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen) but that’s unfairly simplistic, even if it is true. The film manages to have a little more heart and some proper laugh-out-very-loudly moments that help to set it apart from the Ocean’s trilogy.... Continue Reading

Melbourne International Film Festival Review: Jungle (Australia, 2017) tells of Yossi Ghinsberg’s Intense and Dramatic Journey

Ever since his resounding success with the Harry Potter franchise Daniel Radcliffe has continued to push the boundaries of his acting career with fantastic and varied performances in both Swiss Army Man and Imperium. Now Radcliffe has completed one of his most physically demanding roles yet portraying Yossi Ghinsberg, an Israeli adventurer who became stranded alone in the Bolivian Amazon for 3 weeks back in 1981. Directed by Greg McLean (Wolf Creek), the survival thriller follows Yossi Ghinsberg along with his two friends Kevin (Alex Russell) and Marcus (Joel Jackson) who go on a once in a lifetime trek through the uncharted Amazon led by Karl Ruprechter (Thomas Kretschmann), a self-proclaimed expert of the area. But they soon realise they are no match for this uncharted wilderness as it begins to physically and mentally break them down.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Annabelle: Creation (USA, 2017) is a vast improvement over its dull predecessor

When James Wan’s The Conjuring hit cinemas in 2013 it was rightfully heralded as one of the greatest supernatural horrors ever made, instantly shooting to the very top of many genre aficionados’ lists and sewing the seeds for an ever-expanding cinematic universe to the scale no horror franchise has pulled off before. Then Annabelle was released. Perhaps it was too soon to try and capitalise on The Conjuring’s mega-success, particularly because the film felt like a rush-job, but Annabelle was largely disappointing, playing more like a paint-by-numbers ghost story than anything even close to the perils of Ed and Lorraine Warren.... Continue Reading