Sydney Morning Herald

Tomatometer-approved publication
Rating Title/Year Author
The King (2019) Brad Newsome Almost everything about The King works brilliantly, from the casting (not least Robert Pattinson as a deliciously detestable Dauphin) to the generally cracking script by Michôd and Edgerton. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2019
3.5/5 Charlie's Angels (2019) Sandra Hall There's a jaunty feel to it all, together with a few well-placed plot twists, lots of good-humoured banter and the usual fun to be had from the Angels' fondness for disguise. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2019
4/5 Ford v Ferrari (2019) Sandra Hall This is certainly not a film for our times. Drawn from recent history, it's a nostalgic celebration of gas-guzzling fast cars and the people who risked their lives racing them. Yet it's wholly seductive. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2019
3/5 A Reindeer's Journey (2019) Paul Byrnes Sutherland adopts the tone of a kindly grandpa reindeer, or perhaps God himself, looking down from a drone's eye view. For younger kids, it might well work. For anyone over age 12, it will probably sound a little patronising. EDIT
Posted Nov 13, 2019
() SMH Staff The characters of the hero and heroine were finely acted by Thomas Meighan and Betty Compson, and the star film should prove a great draw. EDIT
Posted Nov 7, 2019
Hail Satan? (2019) Brad Newsome This engrossing documentary illuminates numerous facets of an outre circus with a serious purpose. EDIT
Posted Nov 7, 2019
Tell Me Who I Am (2019) Brad Newsome It's tragic but utterly compelling viewing as director Ed Perkins allows the two men to share their stories -- and their lifelong anguish -- direct to camera before they sit down face-to-face for a final, painful catharsis. EDIT
Posted Nov 7, 2019
4/5 Dolor y gloria (2019) Paul Byrnes A masterful, melancholy, tender, lacerating self-examination, filled with colour and light and the ghosts of those he has loved. Almodovar at 70, and perhaps astonishing to himself, continues to grow. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2019
2.5/5 Arctic Dogs (2019) Paul Byrnes It's more like a compendium of familiar ideas bolted together and painted white -- a snow job, in other words. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2019
3.5/5 Last Christmas (2019) Sandra Hall There are plenty of funny bits. Thompson is a delight and I appreciated the controlled elegance displayed by Yeoh in affording us a rare glimpse of her sense of humour. But the central romance lacks any trace of spontaneity. EDIT
Posted Nov 6, 2019
3.5/5 Emu Runner (2018) Sandra Hall There are few surprises here... But by the time it's done, you've gained a clear insight into the way racial prejudice can precipitate a rush to judgment by even the seemingly enlightened. EDIT
Posted Nov 5, 2019
3.5/5 Happy Sad Man (2019) Paul Byrnes It's a sobering film, not least because it suggests the problem is much greater than we have acknowledged. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2019
3/5 () Paul Byrnes The film is a solid political thriller, with good edge-of-the-seat tension if you don't mind everything slightly over-cooked. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2019
4/5 Yuli (2018) Sandra Hall It has all the makings of a perfectly formed feel-good movie, but Spanish director Iciar Bollain and British screenwriter Paul Laverty have less conventional ideas in mind. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2019
3.5/5 Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019) Sandra Hall Colaizzo gives us a vividly believable picture of what it's like to be youngish, single and in danger of losing your way in any big city where status can depend solely on a talent for keeping up appearances via an artfully arranged social media feed. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2019
In the Tall Grass (2019) Brad Newsome Netflix seems to be banging out Steven King adaptations as fast as King used to bang out books. This one, based on a novella by King and his son Joe Hill, is quite a decent little creeper too. EDIT
Posted Oct 30, 2019
3.5/5 Blinded by the Light (2019) Sandra Hall The deliberately amateurish style of the musical numbers is supposed to engender spontaneity but too often looks merely cack-handed. Nonetheless, you come out on a high. Springsteen fever proves to be contagious. EDIT
Posted Oct 24, 2019
3.5/5 () Sandra Hall It's not a particularly stylish film... But there's a simmering good humor to it and a sense of reality that turns its ordinariness into a virtue. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2019
3/5 After the Wedding (2019) Paul Byrnes When a story earns it, most of us are happy to give up some tears; this one only thinks it does. That kills emotion, offering a facsimile of drama rather than the real thing. EDIT
Posted Oct 23, 2019
3.5/5 Pavarotti (2019) Paul Byrnes Director Ron Howard knows how to make it emotional and appealing, to make us love the man as well as the extraordinary voice, as he skims the surface of a grand life and career. EDIT
Posted Oct 22, 2019
4/5 Maiden (2018) Paul Byrnes Maiden is simply riveting, a story of grandeur and sweep that's also moving and intimate because there are so many naked emotions in play. EDIT
Posted Oct 17, 2019
2.5/5 Locusts (2019) Jake Wilson It is, in short, very much a B-movie and, on this level, it's watchable though never especially inspired. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2019
4/5 () Sandra Hall [Director Partho Sen-Gupta]'s a confident talent with a finely tuned instinct for the mechanics of plot and character. There's a lot going on in this film and although the conclusion it reaches is pretty predictable, the trajectory it takes is not. EDIT
Posted Oct 16, 2019
2/5 Strange but True (2019) Paul Byrnes What's strange is that anyone thought this movie was worth making. It's a thriller with no thrills, almost no action and even less tension. What it does have is a strong cast, but who wants to see good actors going to waste? EDIT
Posted Oct 15, 2019
Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon (2015) Brad Newsome This documentary is a stunning visual achievement, with director Douglas Tirola using perhaps thousands of images to give us a real sense of the seminal, savage American satirical magazine National Lampoon. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
Hello, Privilege. It's Me, Chelsea (2019) Brad Newsome Worthwhile viewing -- especially if you don't believe in white privilege. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
4/5 The King (2019) Sandra Hall It looks to Shakespeare for its basic cues before taking off with a few imaginative flourishes. Most notably it gives Falstaff a new lease of life. EDIT
Posted Oct 10, 2019
4/5 Isha Ovedet (2018) Paul Byrnes This is a supremely clever movie, rooted in strong emotion that's rigorously controlled. It's a work of passion, told with utmost restraint. That makes it even more effective. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2019
4/5 Judy (2019) Sandra Hall Zellweger hasn't quite lost her off-putting propensity for straining for effect by scrunching up her face and squinting into the distance. Nonetheless, it's a remarkable performance. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2019
3.5/5 Hustlers (2019) Jake Wilson The hard-boiled exchanges between the women have a genuine exuberance, recalling Hollywood movies of the 1930s where showgirls trade wisecracks backstage. EDIT
Posted Oct 9, 2019
4/5 () Paul Byrnes Hosking does Tozer and us a service by broadening our understanding, both of what made him great and of what might have brought him to such a point. EDIT
Posted Oct 7, 2019
4.5/5 Pájaros de verano (2018) Paul Byrnes There are ethnographic films and there are crime films. I can't recall a film before this that does both successfully - but wait, there's more. Birds of Passage is also an epic tragedy... It's a breathtaking, moody, elegiac piece of work. EDIT
Posted Oct 2, 2019
4/5 Freedom (2019) Paul Byrnes Rathjen makes a powerful statement with this gripping debut. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2019
3/5 () Sandra Hall What interests Griffiths most is the Payne family and the film is at its best when concentrating on the dynamics of this close-knit clan. It's heartening and it's fun but Payne herself remains slightly out of focus. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2019
3.5/5 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) Sandra Hall The plot takes many twists with an ingeniously designed set of monsters creating havoc at regular intervals. EDIT
Posted Sep 25, 2019
3.5/5 Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019) Sandra Hall Those who have grown up with Dora should enjoy the reunion and a new generation will probably be just as entranced. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
4/5 Abominable (2019) Sandra Hall Jill Culton, who conceived the story and co-directed the film, was trained at Pixar and her work displays the Pixar trademark, a seamless blending of farce, wit, melancholy and the kind of reflectiveness that traverses the generational divide. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
4/5 Halston (2019) Paul Byrnes Tcheng treats the film like a film noir... It's a homage to the narrators in Citizen Kane and Sunset Blvd but it's unnecessary. The historical footage is good enough to sustain the story. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
() Brad Newsome A real gem... The first few minutes aren't the strongest, but once she hits her stride she hits it. EDIT
Posted Sep 18, 2019
Cosmic Psychos: Blokes You Can Trust (2013) Brad Newsome One of Australia's greatest rock stories. It's certainly the most hilarious, and also one of the most deeply poignant. EDIT
Posted Sep 12, 2019
Camp Rock (2008) Brad Newsome There are plenty of sound messages about the importance of honesty and not being ashamed of who you are, but it's nothing that anybody hasn't seen a dozen times before. EDIT
Posted Sep 11, 2019
3.5/5 Freaks (2018) Paul Byrnes Freaks is a compendium of movie love, as much as it is a movie. Its success rests on an astonishing performance by Lexy Kolker, who was seven when the film was shot. EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2019
4/5 Animals (2019) Paul Byrnes It's a tribute to [director] Sophie Hyde's work that these two gals, with tinkling white wine glasses and cackling laughter, become fully engaging women on screen. EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2019
3.5/5 Downton Abbey (2019) Sandra Hall A couple of Fellowes' narrative contrivances are decidedly creaky and the story's essential soapiness is more obvious on the big screen, but its many charms still encourage your indulgence. EDIT
Posted Sep 10, 2019
3/5 Angel of Mine (2019) Paul Byrnes The Australian adaptation is not quite a success, nor fully a failure. Some of its weaknesses come from the original. EDIT
Posted Sep 6, 2019
3/5 () Paul Byrnes It's funny in parts, innocently likeable, it has great locations amid stunning landscapes, but almost no narrative drive or tension. EDIT
Posted Sep 5, 2019
The Kleptocrats (2018) Brad Newsome The Kleptocrats is far more captivating than any documentary about a government embezzlement scandal ought to be. EDIT
Posted Sep 5, 2019
4/5 The Farewell (2019) Sandra Hall Launches no thunderbolts, no dazzling revelations. The film is too gentle for that, with too much affection for its characters. EDIT
Posted Sep 4, 2019
4/5 Dragged Across Concrete (2018) Paul Byrnes Dragged Across Concrete feels like you're dangling on the end of a meat hook. It's painful and tense and at the same time, a little ridiculous... Even then, it's full of surprises, and riches for those who like it darker. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2019
4/5 Amazing Grace (2018) Sandra Hall It's a perfect marriage of faith and showbiz, dignified by the fact that there's nothing ersatz about it. At its heart is an unfeigned exuberance, together with a sense of history, which informs the tears, laughter and fervent expressions of belief. EDIT
Posted Aug 28, 2019