My thoughts on films, television shows, live shows and more.
Review: Pony, Griffin Theatre, Sydney (2023)
A stage. A giant pony. A stripper pole. That’s the first and only combination prop that greets the audience at Griffin Theatre Company’s Pony.
Review: Polite Society (2023)
The social impact of Everything Everywhere All At Once is clear in Polite Society, a new action comedy that blends coming of age with a toned down Kill Bill fighting scenes, culminating in an enjoyable experience for teens and young people.
Review: Air (2023)
Who knew the story of a marketing meeting between Nike employees and a promising new basketball player would make for such captivating entertainment?
Review: Collapsible, Old Fitz Theatre, Sydney (2023)
Few times has a solo-led stage performance been as sharp and poignant in its exploration of identity than in Margaret Perry’s work
Review: On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, Seymour Centre, Sydney (2023)
A modern take on this 1960’s Broadway show does its best with strong performances but still falters in its ethically dubious narrative
Review: Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023)
Zachary Levi returns as the happy go lucky, gullible hero in this sequel to the first Shazam film in 2019.
Review: Champions (2023)
Champions, based on the 2018 Spanish film Campeones, is similar to countless other inspirational sports movies, with a cringy but heartfelt twist.
Review: Cocaine Bear (2023)
Campy horror returns to the big screen with Cocaine Bear, Elizabeth Bank’s newest violent comedy that does exactly what it says on the tin – provides a goofy and so-bad-its-good adventure film with a bear literally on drugs terrorizing its large cast.
Review: The Rocky Horror Show, Theatre Royal, Sydney (2023)
The Rocky Horror Show returns to the Theatre Royal Sydney this year to celebrate 50 years since its original opening in 1973 and launched its classic cult status across the world.
Review: Women Talking (2023)
Actress turned filmmaker Sarah Polley follows up her films Take This Waltz and Stories We Tell with Women Talking, an emotional and intimate story of women who debate their next decision following a series of sexual assaults in their conservative religious community.
Review: Knock At The Cabin (2023)
M Night Shyamalan has created a monster. Ever since the brilliant and shocking The Sixth Sense, his following films have continuously teased mystery and horror, and almost every time, failed to deliver.
Review: Spoiler Alert (2023)
Spoiler Alert holds the key in its title. Based on the book Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello, is a moving portrayal of love in a gay relationship that is posing as an unconventional romantic comedy.
Review: What’s Love Got To Do With It (2023)
‘Arranged’ marriage takes center stage in What’s Love Got To Do With It, an unconventional rom-com that tries to both adhere to the traditions of the genre and subvert it, to mixed results and unsettling conclusions.
Review: Babylon (2023)
The debauchery and impulsiveness of the 1920s have their curtains pulled back by Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle’s newest film Babylon – a self-proclaimed “love letter to Hollywood” that combines dance, melodrama, comedy, and all too many bodily fluids in one of the most chaotic and frenetic films of the decade.
Review: M3GAN (2023)
Not for years have I witnessed a crowd as enthused, joyful, and energetic as those watching M3GAN, a new installment of horror comedy creature feature in a similar vein to Chucky and Gremlins, with moments of camp and terror.
Review: A Man Called Otto (2022)
Not all European films translate well to the US when remakes come around (see: Downhill).
Review: The Banshees of Inisherin (2022)
Director Martin McDonagh, and actors Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell reunite after the brilliant In Bruges for a hilarious and dark comedy infused with performances against a stunning backdrop.
Review: A Spy Among Friends (2022)
Kim Philby may not be as infamous a name to many young TV fans, but the story of the MI6 agent and secret Soviet spy will surely garner new interest in the case as the story gets the blockbuster treatment in the new series A Spy Among Friends.
Review: Bones And All (2022)
You haven’t seen young, star-crossed lovers like this before.
Review: She Said (2022)
Journalism dramas are a much maligned and obtuse segment of film, with varying degrees of success (see: Bombshell, The Post, The French Dispatch).
Review: The Menu (2022)
Lampooning the wealthy continues to be a popular pastime in cinematic history, and The Menu is another addition to the canon that does that and more, skewering the culture of excess and entitlement of the uber-rich against the backdrop of a fine dining establishment that gives it guests more than it bargained for.
Review: The Woman King (2022)
Viola Davis roars on screen in this historical epic film inspired by the kingdom of Dahomey, Africa in the 18th century.
Review: Black Adam (2022)
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is one of the most intriguing mainstream actors working today, often elevating and offering a some valuable input to his films.
Review: Bros (2022)
Bros is the brainchild of comedian Billy Eichner and is being promoted as the first major studio romantic comedy starring two gay characters.
Review: Sissy (2022)
Toxic positivity, influencer culture, and murder converge in Sissy, a new horror film with as much social commentary as fake blood splattered across the screen.
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: Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical, State Theatre, Sydney (2022)
All things the 90s takes centre stage at the State Theatre in Sydney as classic flick Cruel Intentions gets the musical treatment.
Review: M.Rock, Australian Theatre for Young People, Rebel Theatre (2022)
This revival of Lachlan Philpott’s play with a banging techno soundtrack reminds us to let our elders chase their dreams
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: How To Please A Woman (2022)
How To Please A Woman isn’t what it seems from the outset.
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: The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson (2022)
Henry Lawson’s 1892 classic Australian story undergoes its own postcolonial revisionism in The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson.
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: North By Northwest, Sydney Lyric Theatre (2022)
Stage and screen fuse together in this adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic suspense comedy at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre.
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: Fresh (2022)
There’s something fresh about Fresh.
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: West Side Story (2021)
West Side Story won 10 Academy Awards in 1961 and its original stage musical from 1957 is still beloved by many people.
Review: Jagged Little Pill, Theatre Royal, Sydney (2021)
Jagged Little Pill is without a doubt one of my favourite albums of all time and began my love affair with Canadian singer Alanis Morissette.
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: No Time To Die (2021)
No Time To Die is simultaneously the most Bond film and anti-Bond film in the series canon to date.
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: Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, Darlinghurst Theatre, Sydney (2021)
The visual of a body being dragged along the ground and buried beneath the stage is the first scene we are exposed to in Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner and immediately sets the scene for the rest of the play.
Review: La Traviata, Handa Opera, Sydney Harbour (2021)
The long tradition of Opera Australia’s annual Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour opened after a year long delay and reminded us why this seminal event is a highlight of the year.
Review: The Father (2021)
To overly explain The Father is to take the joy of watching the film for the first time.
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: The Broken Hearts Gallery (2020)
From the outset, The Broken Hearts Gallery is a winning formula
Review: The Current War (2020)
Is the history of electricity interesting?
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: Little Women (2019)
Little Women retains the spirit of the story but also makes it feel fresh for new audiences.
Review: Knives Out (2019)
The whodunnit renaissance is upon us!
Review: Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
I quite enjoyed Terminator.
Review: KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, Sydney Entertainment Quarter (2019)
Cirque du Soleil is hit and miss.
Review: School Of Rock, Capitol Theatre, Sydney (2019)
I love School of Rock. The 2003 film written and starring underrated Mike White is a fun, music-filled romp that is inspirational to kids everywhere and teaches them about “sticking it to the man”.
Nine Sydney Festival Experiences You Can Have For Less Than $40
For Concrete Playground: Lay down and listen to a historic organ in Sydney Town Hall, see an energetic display of youth in western Sydney and explore a light-filled inflated labyrinth in Darling Harbour.
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: The Politician: Season 1 (2019)
First there was Popular, a teen drama in the 90s, then there was Nip/Tuck, then a return to teen drama with Glee.
Review: Sweetbitter: Season 2 (2019)
Sweetbitter is just as the misnomer suggests, a bittersweet show.
Review: Ad Astra (2019)
Tackling space in film is a frontier I think has been well exhausted in recent years.
Review: The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)
I was pleasantly surprised with The Angry Birds Movie 2.
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: Animals (2019)
Off the bat, the script for Animals is excellent.
Review: Blinded By The Light (2019)
This year seems to be a big for jukebox musicals in the form of Rocketman, Yesterday and now, Blinded By The Light.
Review: Booksmart (2019)
There are lots of excellent things about Booksmart.
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: Dark Phoenix (2019)
Full disclosure: I’m a huge X-Men fan and have been for many years.
Review: Hotel Mumbai (2019)
I personally am not a fan of films about terrorism.
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.
Review: The Front Runner (2019)
I am a long time fan of Jason Reitman, ranking Up In The Air and Juno amongst my favourite films of the 21st century.
Review: Mary Poppins Returns (2019)
In the wake of Disney live action remakes and sequels, there were always going to be lots of eyes on the Mary Poppins follow up.
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: Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)
For The Australia Times: There was a time not long ago when it seemed like every second person in history was deemed worthy of a biopic.
Review: ACAR Revue (2016) brings their best for their sophomore year
For Pulp Media: Kicking off the first ever University of Sydney Union Identity Revue Season, the stakes were high for the Autonomous Collective Against Racism Revue’s second ever production, A Presidential Race.
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: Fiddler On The Roof, Capitol Theatre (2016)
2005 was the last time a huge professional production of Fiddler on the Roof played to Sydney audiences.
Review: Georgy Girl: The Seekers Musical, State Theatre, Sydney (2016)
The Seekers hold a place in Australian music history and have contributed significant amounts to music culture.
Review: Grimsby (2016)
For The Australia Times: There are expectations when going into a Sacha Baron Cohen film.
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.