Reviews

My thoughts on films, television shows, live shows and more.

Review: Bullet Train (2022)

Watching Bullet Train, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a Guy Ritchie film or second-rate Tarantino rip-off.

Review: Where The Crawdads Sing (2022)

Where The Crawdads Sing is one of the biggest books of the last decade, having enraptured millions across the globe with its writing and story by zoologist (and accused murderer) Delia Owens. But is the magic of the book lost in the transition to screen?

Review: The Forgiven (2022)

The Forgiven is the latest splashy narrative to be released about the tensions between the elite and the working class, mixing all the elements of a thriller, dark comedy and psychological thriller to no avail in this frustrating film.

Review: Elvis (2022)

The long awaited Elvis Presley film has openened on screens. Years after some of the biggest blockbusters have revisited the likes of Freddie Mercury, Elton John, and more, Elvis gets his own Hollywood treatment thanks to Baz Lurhmann’s frenetic and bombastic view of his life.

Review: Phantom Of The Open (2022)

The Phantom of the Open is one of those films that leans heavily into sentimentality and endures in its goal to please crowds, with much of it owing to its captivating story and fantastic star.

Review: Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

The danger zone, aviators and Tom Cruise are back with Top Gun: Maverick in this sequel to the action classic from the 1980s – and it’s one of the best films of the year.

Review: Downton Abbey: A New Age (2022)

The Crawley family return to the big screen and the public consciousness in this follow up to the long running series and sequel to the first film with Downton Abbey: A New Age.

Review: The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (2022)

Nicolas Cage’s career has seen him playing a host of memorable characters and even his most recent films’ primary success has been primarily due to his commitment as an actor and his overwhelming onscreen and off-screen persona.

Review: Ambulance (2022)

Big explosions, car chases and bank heists make a return to screen in Michael Bay’s latest action thriller Ambulance – the pinnacle of his fast cut, highly stylized, patriotic-infused filmmaking style.

Review: The Batman (2022)

Rebooting a superhero franchise is never the easiest, but writer and direct Matt Reeves takes the pressure in his stride with The Batman, a new take on the classic caped crusader.

Review: Morbius (2022)

If The Batman is the best superhero film of the year, Morbius takes the crown for the worst. Set within Sony’s Spider-Man Universe, you know there’s an issue with the film when the two (two!) post-credit scenes are the best part of the whole experience and conjure more excitement than the entire film preceding.

Review: No Exit (2022)

With streamers like Netflix, Disney, Amazon and more pumping out movies every other week, it’s hard to differentiate the trash from the treasure.

Review: Cyrano (2022)

Cyrano de Bergerac is a tale old as time yet seems to have vanished from cultural discourse in the 21st century.

Review: Marry Me (2022)

If you, like me, have been bombarded by ads for Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson’s latest rom-com Marry Me and subsequently have the lowest of expectations, I hate to say it…but you can probably listen to your intuition.

Review: A Stitch In Time (2022)

Most films rarely feature people, especially women, above 60 years old. But the new Australian film, A Stitch In Time, is a reminder that this isn’t always the case.

Review: Last Night In Soho (2021)

It’s easy to reminisce on the older periods of civilisation and the thrill of the Swinging 60s in London is front and centre in Last Night in Soho, the latest from director Edgar Wright.

Review: Cruella (2021)

Reimaginings are all the rage and it was only a matter of time for 101 Dalmatian’s villain Cruella de Vil to get the reinvigorated treatment.

Review: Minari (2021)

Few coming-of-age films are as delicately directed as Lee Isaac Chung’s deeply personal Minari.

Review: Words On Bathroom Walls (2020)

Mental illness hasn’t always had the best representation on screen. Whether its exploitative, melodramatic or underplaying its severity, sometimes highlighting a specific illness on camera does more harm than good for breaking down social stigmas. That is why, surprisingly, Words on Bathroom Walls is so good.

Review: Downhill (2020)

The premise of Downhill takes after Ruben Ostlund’s Force Majeure, telling the story of a couple on a family ski vacation that sees their relationship come to a breaking point after a certain event shapes what each other consider important in the face of a crisis.

Review: Onward (2020)

If you’re talking Pixar, you’re talking high quality, heartfelt, premium animation with a standard unsurmounted by other animated feature films.

Review: Honey Boy (2020)

It’s hard to make a movie about your life without seeming overly indulgent or seeking empathy at every turn.

Review: A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood (2020)

My first peek into this American TV legend from 1968 to 2001 was in the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? which took a peek at the man, Fred Rogers and his life before and during his hugely successful TV program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Review: Bombshell (2020)

Bombshell’s story is a perfectly manicured version of sexual harassment allegations against Fox New CEO and Chairman Roger Ailes.

Review: Spies in Disguise (2019)

I attended a screening of Spies in Disguise, a Blue Sky Studios – maker of Ice Age franchise and Rio – I went in with low expectations. And with such a lazy title, I expected the worst.

Review: Jojo Rabbit (2019)

Jojo Rabbit, based on the novel Caging Skies by Christian Leunens, is directed and written by Taika Waititi, and is most likely the first Nazi comedy that’s as subversive as it is boundary-pushing.

Review: Hustlers (2019)

“This is a story about control” starts the opening scene of Hustlers, as Janet Jackson’s hit plays while we meet Dorothy, now Destiny, (Constance Wu), the apparent new girl at a strip club in New York back in 2007.

Review: Ready Or Not (2019)

Woke horror-thrillers appear to be the thing of the moment after the successes of Get Out and Us, and the new Ready Or Not plays off a lot of similar concepts and narrative structure in this comedic take on a classic slasher film.

Review: Billy Elliot, Sydney Lyric Theatre (2019)

Opening with black and white footage of the UK in 1984, with clips of the nationalisation of the coal industry and the ensuing miner’s strike in an attempt to prevent colliery closures, sets the stage for Billy Elliot’s return to Sydney 12 years after its last visit.

Review: Brittany Runs A Marathon (2019)

Every star needs its vehicle and Jillian Bell runs a marathon performance (and more) in Brittany Runs A Marathon, her breakout film and one of the best crowd-pleasers of the year.

Review: The Lion King (2019)

As the third Disney remake to hit the silver screen this year after the critical failings of Dumbo and Aladdin, all eyes are on the classic “re-imagining” of the classic 1994 animated feature The Lion King

Review: Men In Black: International (2019)

Retreating once again into a formula that proved successfully exactly one time, Men In Black returns in 2019, this time global and with a – gasp – female lead in this tireless and bland retreat into the universe no one asked for.

Review: Storm Boy (2019)

There’s always little luck in adaptations of beloved children’s novels and a little less so when a majority of the population have grown up with it and studied it in school.

Eden’s Worst 5 Films of 2018

For Back Row: Fortunately for me, I didn’t see an overwhelming number of terrible films over the past year, but the ones that I did see, were ones I hope to never see again or subject anyone else to watch.

Eden’s Top 10 Films of 2018

For Back Row: For the first time in a few years my Top 10 Films list span a wide variety of genres, from blockbuster thrillers to historical comedies to art house dramas.

Objective Opinion: Top 10 Films of 2016

For Pulp Media: It is a truth universally acknowledged that 2016 has been a disaster of a year. In the wake of unparalleled political divergence across the world, the passing of some of our greatest cultural icons and the uncoupling of Brangelina, one thing has not failed us yet, and that is cinema.

Review: Kooza, Cirque du Soleil, Sydney Entertainment Quarter (2016)

For Pulp Media: Australia has had its fair share of circus shows in the last decade, so there’s been an obvious collective hesitation to attend another Cirque du Soleil production at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter beneath the behemoth that is the Grand Chapiteau that has kept the world captivated for years.

Review: Where To Invade Next (2016)

For The Australia Times: Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore hasn’t made a film since 2009 when he released Capitalism: A Love Story after the global financial crisis, and for many viewers, the last good film Moore did was Fahrenheit 9/11 way back in 2004.

Review: London Has Fallen (2016)

As a sequel to blockbuster action film Olympus Has Fallen, there’s little to be left to the imagination before watching London Has Fallen.

Review: Turandot, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour (2016)

Turandot is without a doubt one of the most popular and enduring operas created, so naturally it was only a matter of time until Handa Opera took the seminal story and performed it against the backdrop of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Review: 45 Years (2016)

On the week of their 45th wedding anniversary, Geoff (Tom Courtenay) and Kate (Charlotte Rampling) are a seemingly happy couple living in the English countryside.

Review: Unfinished Works, Seymour Centre (2016)

For Aphra Magazine: Entering the Reginald Theatre at the Seymour Centre, completely unaware of what Unfinished Works is, or what it is about, means a world of possibility and open mindedness from the audience for this new production by playwright Thomas De Angelis.

Review: The Witch (2016)

For The Australia Times: There are few cinematic experiences a filmgoer has when they see a new, groundbreaking work at a cinema.

Review: 13 Hours (2016)

For CelebrityOz: It’s been described as the film no one wanted, but Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is precisely what you would expect – over two hours of overdramatic storytelling about bravery against all odds.

Review: How To Be Single (2016)

For The Australia Times: Four girls live in New York City and try to navigate through the trials and tribulations of dating life. Sound familiar?

Review: Brooklyn (2015)

For CelebrityOz: Old-fashioned storytelling, classic film techniques and unbridled emotion take centre stage in every moment of John Crowley’s Brooklyn.

Review: Zoolander 2 (2016)

When Zoolander opened in cinemas in 2001, like most cult films, it premiered to poor reviews and little audience love.

Review: Burnt (2015)

For CelebrityOz: In the hype of reality cooking television series that appear to be overrunning our networks, it’s not unusual that film studios have tried to commodify this trend.

Review: Cats, Capitol Theatre (2015)

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 blockbuster musical Cats is without a doubt an example of worn out musical theatre, and in many circles is considered one of Lloyd Webber’s productions to dismiss entirely.

Review: Macbeth (2015)

Macbeth is certainly one of Shakespeare’s most popular works, and after so many adaptations through the years, there’s any wonder that a new film of the play could bring anything new to the table. But somehow Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel takes the source material, cuts out its best parts and makes it his own, contributing unique elements and creative flair so that it feels original and refreshing.

Review: The Dressmaker (2015)

Fortunately for comedy lovers, The Dressmaker is a deviation from serious flicks, and evokes the absurdity and farce of past Australian classics like Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert that have been absent from our domestic screens for too long.

Review: The Intern (2015)

For CelebrityOz: From What Women Want to Something’s Gotta Give to my personal favourite The Holiday, audiences have complained about Nancy Meyer’s approach to romance, feminism and viewpoint on life.

Review: The Martian (2015)

For CelebrityOz: It’s safe to say that director Ridley Scott hasn’t had the best luck with his films of late. From the tedious Prometheus to the disastrous Exodus: Gods and Kings, Scott has struggled to regain the brilliance and gravitas that his earlier works, including Alien and Blade Runner, added to the cinematic canon.

Review: Pan (2015)

For The Australia Times: There’s obvious hesitation to Joe Wright’s new film Pan. It’s the latest in a slew of remakes, sequels, prequels and reimaginings of old classics and adored children’s stories that seem to be saturating every cinema across the world right now.

Review: Anything Goes, Opera House, Sydney

For BULL Magazine: Anything Goes is one of Cole Porter’s most well known musicals and had been performed countless number of times since it was written. But while each amateur and professional production may be full of fantastic singing and stunning set design, Anything Goes is not one of the best shows in the musical theatre canon.

Review: Life (2015)

For OuttaGum: From the first few moments of Life, there’s absolutely no indication where the story is about to go.

Review: Holding The Man (2015)

For Aphra Magazine: Holding The Man is one of the most profound LGBT Australian books ever published. Released in 1995, the memoir chronicles the life of actor and activist Timothy Conigrave and his relationship with long-time partner John Caro, from their early days in high school through to their joint fight against HIV.

Review: Me and Earl and The Dying Girl (2015)

For CelebrityOz: Every few years sees the release of a new teen film dedicated to representing the quirkiness and nature of a generation. Millennials have already seen Mean Girls, Easy A and Juno represent many of our attitudes and contemporary behaviours, but there has always been a tendency toward fewer younger male voices who are less Perks of Being A Wallflower, and more 21 And Over.

Review: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)

For OuttaGum: The Mission: Impossible series has lasted for almost 20 years and is one of Tom Cruise’s most recognisable roles. They aren’t groundbreaking cinema, nor are they the best films about espionage in the modern age. But what they never fail to be is an entertaining, high impact action film series, with Cruise’s headstrong performances a primary reason to revisit them again and again.

Review: Fantastic Four (2015)

For CelebrityOz: Unfortunately this is not the reboot of Fantastic Four that the original 1961 comic book series deserves. Fant4stic (as it’s been remarketed) lacks the thrill, charisma and chemistry necessary for a superhero film to succeed.

Paper Towns and the death of the teen Manic Pixie Dream Girl

For Aphra Magazine: From the outset, Paper Towns just looks like another boring, predictable teenage film about a White unpopular high school boy and his infatuation with his beautiful White popular girl neighbour. But instead the film handles the main themes and common clichés well, with depth and humour throughout, making the film an above average teen rom com.

Review: Trainwreck (2015)

For CelebrityOz: In recent years Melissa McCarthy has brought to our screens a different kind of funny woman: rowdy, sex-positive, dirty-talking, and unconventional in every sense of the word. But comedienne Amy Schumer’s debut film Trainwreck embodies many of these aspects and more as she continues to drive a provocative humour that pushes many boundaries, making the film one of the funniest and more original ones this year.


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