Tag Archives: Three and a Half Stars

Film Review: A Monster Calls (USA, 2017) Strikes At Your Heart

It would be a mistake to write A Monster Calls off as ‘just another one of those’ modern young adult bestsellers that’s gotten the Hollywood treatment. Sure, the narrative of the film is propelled forward by the on-screen performance of an emerging child actor (Lewis MacDougall) and the CGI-performance of a big established figure (Liam Neeson) in much the same way as something like The Golden Compass. ... Continue Reading

Film Review: Edgar Wright is a slave to the rhythm in Baby Driver (USA, 2017)

It’s obvious that great care and thought was put into Baby Driver; we should have expected nothing less from visionary Director Edgar Wright, he who has brought us incredibly unique films like Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and Shaun of the Dead in the past. With the idea snowballing in his head for decades, road-tested with a music video and teased through the years, Wright has finally sketched his high-concept music-action onto the big screen. The result is a visually sharp, fluid and thrilling piece which ebbs and flows like the soulful breaks which are in constant rotation on Baby’s (Ansel Elgort) collection of iPods. It’s high-octane, expertly choreographed entertainment with a beautifully directed soundtrack, if nothing else.... Continue Reading

Melbourne Documentary Film Festival Review: China’s 3 Dreams checks the aftermath of The Cultural Revolution two generations on

It’s been more than forty years since Emperor Mao Zedong passed, yet the events of the Revolution remain a foreign subject to much of China’s youth. Beneath the doctored history, propaganda and piecemeal curriculum, the impact of Mao’s leadership remains present in the generation that survived it.... Continue Reading

TV Review: Fear the Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 6 “Red Dirt” fixates on fear

“Red Dirt” continues Fear the Walking Dead’s vast improvement over its previous seasons as Broke Jaw Ranch is thrown into a panic in response to news that the show’s latest villain, Walker, is coming to claim the land by force. That’s some great material for the show to start exploring, leaving the walking dead out of it for the moment and just examining how survivors of this doomsday-prepped ranch react in the face of fear. It’s handled quite well for the most part, lifting certain characters even further as we start to really uncover the complexity behind people like Troy and Jeremiah who, in their own ways, struggle to maintain control after some people start planning to abandon the ranch.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: The Beguiled (USA, 2017) is a worthy remake with an excellent cast and crew

Apart from Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette, I haven’t seen much of director Sofia Coppola‘s work. Known for her filmmaking approach to humanize her subjects with unorthodox methods like gentle pathos, looking through different character points-of-views outside the norm and the use of anachronisms, Coppola has achieved a reputation of being a director that is both rebellious and restrained.... Continue Reading

Film Review: Detour (UK, 2016) tells its simple story with a violent edge and an air of unpredictability

Having made something of an underground name for himself in the horror genre with such European productions as Creep, Triangle, and Black Death, British filmmaker Christopher Smith opted out for a brief moment to helm some TV work and an out-of-character holiday-themed comedy; Get Santa with Jim Broadbent and Warwick Davis, for those playing along at home.... Continue Reading

DVD Review: A Cure For Wellness (USA/Germany, 2016) discovers glee in its unrestrained European sensibility

Returning to the genre that arguably brought him to fruition, Gore Verbinski’s (The Ring) A Cure For Wellness is a decidedly morbid slice of cinema that revels in its own jarring weirdness. Here’s a film that has considerable monetary backing (something of a surprise for a particularly eerie horror experiment) yet comes off more like a pet-project-come-cult-classic-in-waiting.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Rumble (Canada, 2017) gives long-overdue credit to American Indians & their contributions to popular music

It seems that American Indians have been erased from the history books, including the chapters relating to contemporary music. Until now. The documentary, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World looks set to change all of that by celebrating the contributions of these individuals and finally giving credit where it’s due.... Continue Reading

Sydney Film Festival Review: Wet Woman in the Wind (Japan, 2016) beckons the return of the Roman Porno

Akihiko Shiota’s Wet Woman in the Wind is a feature-length manhunt, set into motion by Shiori (Yuki Mamiya) riding her bike into the sea. She emerges as she entered, focused and unwavering, locking on to Kosuke (Tasuku Nagaoka), a playwright in pursuit of celibacy. Shiota’s film develops into a playful take on a Japanese sub-genre and introduces Western audiences to the type of film that couldn’t have originated anywhere else.... Continue Reading