Jim Schembri

Jim Schembri
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 79% Good Boys (2019) Good Boys is essentially a look at what a man-child is like when he is still a child, figuring out the path to adulthood and valuing those early friendships that will keep him from having to surrender too much of that pre-pubescent energy as he grows. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2019
3/5 29% Rambo: Last Blood (2019) It's only a guess, but a good part of the sound effects budget for this film was probably spent on heads of lettuce, scores of which must have been torn apart in front of highly sensitive microphones to accentuate the carnage Rambo unleashes. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2019
3.5/5 86% Abominable (2019) Supremely well done and gorgeous to look at, with a loveable central character who continues the trend of showing monsters as critters who are out of place...Abominable is the latest non-Pixar film to reflect the best qualities of Pixar's early films. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2019
4/5 82% Ad Astra (2019) [A] haunting, slow-paced, superbly mounted space epic...The visceral feel of recent films such as Interstellar, Gravity and The Martian mark the super-high standard of the film's effects and cinematography. Echoes of Kubrick's 2001 permeate the film. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2019
3/5 85% Animals (2019) The strong chemistry between the two leads (Holliday Grainger & Alia Shawkat), who had apparently never met before being cast, drive the film as Laura and Tyler try coping with the changing circumstances that beset their change-averse lifestyles. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
3/5 72% The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) The main difference this second time around is the film's sheer payload of gags, both verbal and visual, that acknowledge the sensibilities of the adults in the audience who are watching with their kids. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
3/5 85% Downton Abbey (2019) The film serves its fanbase extremely well, sprinkling the soiree with breezy performances and crowd-pleasing humour...it's predictably pleasant, contains no surprises and leaves you with a sizeable smile. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 14, 2019
2.5/5 99% The Farewell (2019) A feather-light film whose inconsequential breeziness is perfectly complemented by its brevity. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
1/5 63% It Chapter Two (2019) As good as the horror-schlock of IT was, this way-overlong sequel pales in comparison by simply not containing sufficient scares. Or, indeed, any scares at all. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
3.5/5 39% Angel Has Fallen (2019) When it comes to big-screen meat-and-potatoes action, Butler has carved out a nice niche for himself, and as solid as Olympus Has Fallen and London Has Fallen were, this third installment is easily the best. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
4/5 99% Amazing Grace (2019) The verite nature of the film lends the film an ultra-fresh feel that often makes it seem like it was shot yesterday. Fans of Franklin are in for a major treat, but it's to those who only know her from The Blues Brothers who are most likely to be touched. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
2.5/5 22% The Kitchen (2019) Though panned by critics, the only real flaw in this otherwise watchable crime drama is that its proto-feminism is too loudly signalled...Elisabeth Moss provides a cutting portrait of a woman who channels her hatred of bad men into a love for violence. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
4/5 86% The Nightingale (2019) A searing Gothic revenge saga that unspools like the unholy offspring of The Piano and I Spit On Your Grave...a primal, visceral experience...A truly awesome film, in every sense of the word. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 8, 2019
4/5 83% Midsommar (2019) A disturbing and dark tale of manipulation, alt-religion, bizarre rituals and debauchery that might just leave you aghast...Fans of 1973's classic The Wicker Man will appreciate Midsommar's respectful nods in the manner it delivers its deepest frights. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
1.5/5 80% Late Night (2019) There wouldn't be a single minute of 30 Rock or Parks & Recreation that isn't funnier and more relevant than this film and its fumbling attempt to pursue a "woke" agenda about diversity, gender equality glass ceilings and male privilege...Groan-worthy. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
1/5 50% Palm Beach (2019) A film so boring that after about 30 minutes you begin wishing for a meteor strike. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
3.5/5 65% Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan (2019) The film is clearly designed as a tribute to the unfaltering courage of those men, yet it is not some hollow, patriotic flag waver, nor is there much glory in the outcome. The battle scenes are vivid, graphic and often brutal. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
4/5 100% The Australian Dream (2019) This detailed package of the media and public reaction to the actions and utterances of Adam Goodes is framed by his backstory and subsequent behaviour, yet there is enough fairly presented information in it for people to form an independent assessment. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
4/5 85% Once Upon a Time In Hollywood (2019) It's Tarantino's love of incremental tension-building that really sells - and sets apart - Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He's long proved a master at delivering great pay-offs and in that regard he might well have hit a career high point here. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 18, 2019
3.5/5 96% Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2019) A remarkable documentary about a remarkable woman...[Director Pamela] Green re-assembles her life with deep respect and a palpable love for an artist who bypassed the dictates of convention and rewrote the rules to suit herself. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
3.5/5 66% The Public (2019) Emilio Estevez shows his flair for ensemble directing here, sculpting an affecting, unusual urban drama about the warmth of compassion in a cold climate...A small gem of a film that takes a simple idea and gives it the oxygen and room to flourish. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
4/5 67% Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) Everything clicks perfectly into place in this mega-sized action-comedy both for fans of the franchise and for those in need of a thunderous, undemanding time-killer...There is so much testosterone gushing around you could go white-water rafting on it. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2019
4/5 100% Mystify: Michael Hutchence (2019) Director Richard Lowenstein constructs a vivid, immersive portrait of Hutchence, his rise and fall, his romances and his life-altering encounters with happenstance and road rage. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
2/5 17% After (2019) The leads give it all they've got, and Australian actress Josephine Langford is impressive given the limited range of her role. The film looks pretty and director Jenny Gage, to her credit, knows the rhythms of teen melodrama well. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 64% Child's Play (2019) Here's a terrific example of how to do a reboot: you take an existing concept, hold on to the central premise, then rethink everything from the ground up...[the film] reminds us of how totally creepy movie dolls have been since 1945's Dead of Night. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 65% Annabelle Comes Home (2019) The spirits unleashed do a splendid job, creating a lot of fun, B-grade spookery using in-camera effects. There is digital work in the film, of course, but all the trickery adheres to a wonderfully effective old-school aesthetic. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 90% Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) Most impressive here is the use of a European school excursion to emphasize Peter Parker's enduring appeal, that he is a mere teenager with raging hormones who is still learning about what it means to be a superhero. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 63% Yesterday (2019) The powerhouse duo of director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and rom-com screenwriting legend Richard Curtis (Love, Actually; Four Weddings, etc) deliver unto the world an extremely likeable, feather-light fable about music, love and plagiarism. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 42% Stuber (2019) It's a great follow up to The Big Sick for Kumail Nanjiani who has a very likeable, goofball presence. Bautista, too, gets some Mr Magoo-worthy laughs due to his poor eyesight. [But why] does a light-hearted action-comedy feel the need to be so violent[?] - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
4/5 97% Booksmart (2019) Actress Olivia Wilde's wonderful directorial debut [is] a singularly unconventional, extremely funny, occasionally insightful tale of high school hijinx, girl talk and how reality can sometimes slap you in the face at the least convenient moment. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
2.5/5 No Score Yet Defend, Conserve, Protect (2019) While we like to admire those who put themselves in harm's way for a cause they believe in, there is a difference between brave, crazy-brave and straight-out stupid. It would have been great to see that debated in the film. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3/5 88% Diego Maradona (2019) Made with Maradona's consent and co-operation, the unflattering portrait the film paints of his darker side suggests his editorial input was either negligible or that he dearly wanted all the warts of his story to be told. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3.5/5 99% Apollo 11 (2019) The film offers a truly visceral experience, creating the powerful illusion that the eight-day event is occurring in real time...It'd be a cold heart indeed who can watch this film without feeling a lump in the throat. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
2.5/5 66% The White Crow (2019) The solid final 20 minutes of the film demonstrate how strong a director Fiennes can be, but it's a slow, obviously deliberate build up that might test the patience of those who don't have a standing interest in the dancer or of this period in history. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3.5/5 53% The Lion King (2019) As with Aladdin, the chief virtue of this lavish remake will be to drive people to rewatch the original. With that said, this new Lion King is a terrific big-screen happening, a perfectly entertaining and engaging family film. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2019
3.5/5 93% Wild Rose (2019) We all know, having being reminded by the latest version of A Star is Born, that dreaming big in the movies often exacts a price, and the one facing Rose-Lynn makes for a gutsy, touching drama. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2019
3/5 51% Tolkien (2019) Well-directed with a close eye by journeyman Finnish director Dome Karukoski, the film looks handsome and offers a well-rounded look at the English class system while also providing insights into the inspirations behind Tolkien's visions. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2019
1/5 22% Men in Black International (2019) Absolutely awful. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2019
3/5 97% Toy Story 4 (2019) Featuring a decent handful of great laugh-out-loud moments, Toy Story 4 is certainly terrific family entertainment, though it doesn't quite hit the emotional peaks delivered by Toy Story 3. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 24, 2019
1.5/5 30% Red Joan (2019) This is the first movie in 22 years for director Trevor Nunn, and it really should be his last unless he demonstrates some flair for the medium...Red Joan doesn't even work as a cautionary tale about watching who you mix with at work. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2019
3.5/5 23% Dark Phoenix (2019) Dark Phoenix is full of the grade-A action we've come to demand from these films. But what really sets it off is the dramatic focus on Jean's journey. This keeps things emotionally grounded, however fantastical the FX sequences get. It's quite a feat. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 9, 2019
3.5/5 41% Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) Surprisingly terrific... kudos to director Michael Dougherty for actually making us care about the family amidst all the expensive demolition of cities and landscape. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
4/5 89% Rocketman (2019) A tightly packed, superbly mounted, decidedly barbed valentine...In keeping with the tradition of the best musicals, the song-and-dance scenes form an intrinsic part of the story [and] brim with creativity, energy and deliciously indulgent camera work. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 30, 2019
3/5 65% Peterloo (2019) It's a word-heavy drama, no doubt, but those attuned to Mike Leigh's cinema of discord and working-class anger will welcome it as one of his finest works. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2019
3/5 57% Aladdin (2019) Once you get passed the rather obvious fact that Will Smith is no Robin Williams, Aladdin unspools as quite a zesty, funny, family-oriented, visually delightful magic carpet ride. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2019
3/5 100% 2040 (2019) Gameau pulls away from the apocalyptic doomsaying hard-wired into so much of the enviro-debate...Wisely, his speculations are restricted by the self-imposed discipline that they all need to be rooted in practices that already exist. A very smart move. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 26, 2019
3/5 90% John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum (2019) Fans of the first two Wick epics will have no complaints, thanks to the action being as superbly mounted and the sparks of humour being as straight-faced. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
3.5/5 91% Acute Misfortune (2019) Full of rich imagery and insight, Wright's subtle direction examining the truths that lurk beneath the artist's skin...superbly done with top-notch performances and evocative cinematography. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 19, 2019
3/5 34% Poms (2019) The romp is gentle in nature, cheeky in tone and is clearly determined to join Keaton's other recent films in presenting a polite yet resolute middle finger to those who stereotype the elderly. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019
1.5/5 71% All Is True (2019) It might well have been the fulfillment of some kind of dream for life-long Shakespeare devotee Kenneth Branagh to play The Bard in a movie. So it's perfectly apt that watching him in All Is True might well induce filmgoers into extended fits of slumber. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted May 9, 2019