Jim Schembri

Jim Schembri
Tomatometer-approved critic

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
3/5 No Score Yet I Am No Bird (2019) How easy it would have been for [director Em] Baker to default to a cynical viewpoint, highlighting the limitations and ruin marriage can inflict, and how out-of-date it supposedly is. The film delivers an understated backhander to such scoffing. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
2.5/5 83% Official Secrets (2019) Political films are at their best when they see both sides of a contentious issue. Even with such a raft of good actors putting in such sterling work, Official Secrets falls short of that. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
3/5 76% Judy & Punch (2019) It's no mean feat drawing comedy from the darkest of topics, yet Foulkes seems blessed with a sureness of touch when siphoning humour from tragedy, eliciting uncomfortable laughs from black moments as she shapes her story into a feminist revenge fable. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
3/5 58% Fisherman's Friends (2019) The film unspools as both a semi-musical comedy and as a light-hearted revenge lark about the sport of one-upmanship. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
3.5/5 100% Suzi Q (2019) Fans of 1970s rock icon Suzi Quatro will no doubt deem this excellent, detailed, enjoyable biographical documentary as a long overdue tribute to the great, leather-clad, Elvis-inspired rock performer who helped kick open the doors for women in rock. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
1/5 57% Charlie's Angels (2019) The latest excruciating example from Hollywood of big-budget franchise film-making gone wrong...Not so much a reboot as an act of cinematic vandalism, its only real value being that it reminds us of just how cool, wild and fun those McG movies were. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 20, 2019
3/5 81% The Report (2019) A prime example of strong, sturdy political filmmaking...It's a tough, timely message, well delivered, if occasionally hard to watch. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
4/5 92% Ford v Ferrari (2019) Easily one of the best racing films we've seen in decades. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 13, 2019
3/5 No Score Yet Dosed (2019) Clearly committed to revealing tough truths about addiction and recovery, director Tyler Chandler chronicles Adrianne's bumpy journey in exhausting detail...[Her] odyssey is compelling and occasionally harrowing. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
2.5/5 47% Last Christmas (2019) An unashamedly mushy rom-com and it's a safe bet that those willing to surrender themselves to the film's schmaltzy charms will get a medium high...Still, even in harmless fluff like Last Christmas, the sugary tone can become positively bland. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
3/5 88% Emu Runner (2018) The delicate direction by Imogen Thomas, who worked closely with cultural consultant Frayne Barker, occasionally hits moments of real poignancy and beauty. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
4/5 76% Doctor Sleep (2019) [An] excellent, immersive sequel...Doctor Sleep brandishes both the distinctive sting of Stephen King and echoes of Stanley Kubrick to deliver an unnerving spookfest...When the horror hits, it hits hard and it hits deep. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Nov 6, 2019
3.5/5 No Score Yet Happy Sad Man (2018) Without ever feeling forced or intrusive the film breathes with honesty and intimacy and is clearly designed as a push-back against the stereotype men have long been lumbered with, of having to suppress their feelings and suck it up when things get tough. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
3/5 81% Little Monsters (2019) Director Abe Forsythe leans into the crazy and milks the scenario for a sizeable quotient of laughs...Lupita Nyong'o puts in such a committed performance amidst all the low-budget mock-horror nonsense you'd think she was vying for a second Oscar. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
3/5 89% Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) What starts out sounding like a fat-girl comedy quickly morphs into a simple, soulful comedy-drama. Jillian Bell delivers a funny, barbed performance of a woman trying to change her outer self without sufficient regard for the flaws in her personality. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
3/5 71% Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) Thankfully, Terminator: Dark Fate is just fine. Original? Ha. Great? No. Not even close, but it does make up for the insulting mess of Genisys...The film's production specs are all that we expect with top editing, stuntwork and big-screen cinematography. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 31, 2019
2/5 40% Locusts (2019) The effort is there but there is just not enough scope, pay-off or hole-free plotting to the shenanigans in this crime-comedy-heist flick. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
3/5 69% Zombieland: Double Tap (2019) With very little story to go on director Ruben Fleischer obligingly keeps the intricately choreographed fight scenes coming at a snappy pace, along with the jokes and cultural references, with Elvis Presley featuring heavily. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
3.5/5 43% After the Wedding (2019) Moore again proves she is arguably the best American actress of her generation. As Theresa, she portrays a woman who has to reconfigure her life to accommodate a set of unexpected variables. It's a great performance at the heart of a mature, adult drama. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
3.5/5 88% Ready or Not (2019) Think of Meet the Parents as re-imagined by Stephen King and you'll get some idea of what to buckle yourself in for with the twisted, bizarre offerings in this knockout horror-comedy, skillfully directed with a terrific balance of laughs, scares and gore. - jimschembri.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 23, 2019
3.5/5 100% Slam (2018) Without descending into hysterics writer/director Partho Sen-Gupta does a fine job detailing how promptly fear and suspicion can be coaxed used to promote an official agenda. It's a strong-minded, subdued film that bravely confronts the politics of grief. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
3/5 55% Strange But True (2019) With revelations at every turn, director Rowan Athale and writer Eric Garcia prove themselves dedicated to unpredictability, with each scene designed to have you guessing how it will plug into the increasingly bizarre story. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
3/5 40% Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019) In terms of visuals, director Joachim Ronning does a swell job recreating the lush fantasy/Goth look of the first film with effects aplenty and grand flourishes of other-worldly architecture. Storywise it's feathery fluff. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
3/5 83% Judy (2019) Garland was a complicated mess and Zellweger truly captures her contradictory cocktail of confidence, desperation, ebullience, despair & stage fright. She's a has-been with a crinkled face and a defiant manner eager to reclaim her share of the spotlight. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 16, 2019
3.5/5 100% Buoyancy (2019) The brutal nature of the modern slave trade in South East Asia is exposed in often shocking and violent detail in Australian director Rodd Rathjen's extraordinary, gruelling debut feature. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
2/5 28% UglyDolls (2019) Even undemanding kids in need of distraction might find it hard not to get restless during this word-heavy, woke animation. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
1/5 24% The Goldfinch (2019) A dismal, interminable drama. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
2/5 56% The Dead Don't Die (2019) The prospect of a zombie apocalypse film by veteran arthouse filmmaker Jim Jarmusch sounds almost too enticing. Regrettably, the execution just doesn't do justice to the concept. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
1/5 79% Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) You'd have to be part of that treasured horror movie demographic who jumps with fright whenever somebody spills a box of popcorn to get much spook value out of this slice of sub-Stephen King schlock. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
2.5/5 90% The Souvenir (2019) The nuance-rich, slow-burn direction by Joanna Hogg really works for about the first hour before a dramatic inertia sets in and turns the enterprise into yet another mumblecore dirge about drug addicts. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 82% Memory: The Origins of Alien (2019) The film's chief purpose is to pull focus on the work of the late Dan O'Bannon (died 2009) who first dreamt up the idea. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
4.5/5 69% Joker (2019) As violent and as thematically dark as it often is, the film has moments of sheer brilliance and real bravery, especially when it comes to seeing the world from the point of view of somebody who is clearly deranged. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 No Score Yet The Rise of Jordan Peterson (2019) The who, what, why and how behind the phenomenal rise of Canadian clinical psychologist/author/professor Jordan Peterson gets a very thorough, if workman-like detailing in a feature-length look at his life, philosophies and motivations. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 No Score Yet Green Light (2019) A timely, punchy, highly emotional documentary that takes an uncomfortably close look at the benefits of cannabis oil...Made with conviction and a clear agenda, the film highlights the urgency for such treatments to be made widely available. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 26% Gemini Man (2019) If the plot of this movie sounds vaguely like the kind of high-end pulp Arnie would have made decades ago before he went into politics, you're right. Smith is no Schwarzenegger, yet he brings his swagger to this concerted re-entry into the action genre. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
4/5 97% Working Woman (2019) The intricacies of the power dynamics behind sexual harassment in the workplace are aired out in all their subtlety and savagery in this excellent Israeli drama [that] soundly demonstrates how hot-button topics are best dissected with a cool head. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 88% Hustlers (2019) A flashy, well-made crime comedy-drama, confidently directed by Lorene Scafaria...The film wisely has moral ballast about what these women do, so anyone looking for a quasi-feminist revenge-against-men lark might be disappointed. - 3AW EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 9, 2019
3/5 65% Ride Like a Girl (2019) A winning, girl-against-the-world tale of personal triumph that dutifully follows all the family film conventions to deliver a yarn that is satisfying and heartfelt... an impressive debut for actor Rachel Griffiths, who embraces the need for big moments. - jimschembri.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2019
2/5 28% UglyDolls (2019) [A] word-heavy, woke animation...The messaging comes with sledgehammer subtlety, the visuals offer a world of candy-coloured dullness and, despite a stellar voice cast veteran animator and director Kelly Asbury just can't bring the affair to life. - jimschembri.com EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 29, 2019
3/5 80% 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 27% 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 81% 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 84% 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 86% 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 73% 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 84% 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 62% 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