Australian Financial Review

Australian Financial Review is not a Tomatometer-approved publication. Reviews from this publication only count toward the Tomatometer when written by the following Tomatometer-approved critic(s): John McDonald
Rating Title/Year Author
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019) John McDonald If you're thinking this seems to be a list of horror clichés and stereotypes, that's not an uncharitable suspicion. The filmmakers' skill rests in the way these stereotypes are reanimated in a narrative that contains a surprising number of layers. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2019
Judy (2019) John McDonald Zellweger inhabits the character so comprehensively it's impossible to imagine another actor in the role. This may be because she has had her own share of unpleasant experiences in the spotlight. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2019
Joker (2019) John McDonald If violence is a natural product of a community that is learning to take pleasure from hatred, Joker affords us a glimpse of the coming apocalypse. EDIT
Posted Oct 13, 2019
Downton Abbey (2019) John McDonald In a world of vulgar, populist leaders with funny hair, one can understand the appeal of this vision of an orderly, hierarchical society ruled over by civilised beings - but it feels like a sales pitch on behalf of traditions that now lie in ruins. EDIT
Posted Sep 23, 2019
Ad Astra (2019) John McDonald Roy is a space-age Telemachus who reveres the father that set off on a voyage many years ago and remains a stranger. EDIT
Posted Sep 22, 2019
The Kitchen (2019) John McDonald What we get is a fullscale domestication of murder and extortion, as if these are regular businesses women have been unjustly prevented from pursuing. EDIT
Posted Sep 9, 2019
Dogman (2018) John McDonald It's obvious that Marcello the dogman is not just the keeper of a pooch parlour, he has a full set of dog-like instincts. EDIT
Posted Sep 1, 2019
The Nightingale (2018) John McDonald Every step in this grim story is deftly negotiated. The rape scenes are handled in a manner that is all menace and no eros. The violence is graphic and relentless, but never "gratuitous". EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2019
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019) John McDonald Tarantino's approach to filmmaking is that of an intellectual who wants us to think of him as a real badass dude. EDIT
Posted Aug 26, 2019
Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan (2019) John McDonald The dialogue may be stagey but these gun battles are horribly realistic, as shells whizz through the air like a swarm of angry insects. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2019
Ophelia (2018) John McDonald The first casualty is Shakespeare's richness of language, which was obviously judged too complicated to be imposed upon a generation brought up on social media. EDIT
Posted Aug 10, 2019
The White Crow (2018) John McDonald It was probably a much better idea to get a real Russian ballet dancer to play the role rather than an English-speaking actor with a phoney Russian accent and a dance double. EDIT
Posted Jul 31, 2019
The Third Wife (2018) John McDonald The story is hardly more than a series of brushstrokes that slowly create a nuanced picture of life in Hung's household. EDIT
Posted Jul 22, 2019
Apollo 11 (2019) John McDonald The Moon landing is weirdly exciting, although we already know it will go like a charm. EDIT
Posted Jul 22, 2019
() John McDonald Like a portraitist that does his best work when he knows his subject, Lowenstein has given us an insider's view of Hutchence in a film that has taken a decade to complete. EDIT
Posted Jul 10, 2019
Parasite (2019) John McDonald While Ki-taek's family toast their good fortune, catastrophe lies just around the corner. For the Parks, the fairy-tale of their lives proves too good to be true. EDIT
Posted Jul 4, 2019
Never Look Away (2018) John McDonald It may be proof of Donnersmarck's success that the artist has now dissociated himself from the film. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
Tolkien (2019) John McDonald Tolkien is the kind of movie that will give no joy to fans of his fantasy fiction. EDIT
Posted Jun 24, 2019
Rocketman (2019) John McDonald It's like sitting through a succession of riotous video clips punctuated by bouts of maudlin self-hatred. EDIT
Posted Jun 2, 2019
2040 (2019) John McDonald 2040 is an optimistic film that tries a little too hard to be entertaining as well as informative. EDIT
Posted Jun 2, 2019
Little Woods (2018) John McDonald The strength of Little Woods lies with the actors, and their ability to inject life into characters that lead ordinary, rather squalid lives in a non-descript frontier town. EDIT
Posted May 20, 2019
1985 (2018) John McDonald Tan stresses the tragic dimension of the story, but also its ordinariness. It's a tale of a boy and his family that could be played out in any American town, in 1985 or today. EDIT
Posted May 14, 2019
Peterloo (2018) John McDonald The bulk of Peterloo is an extended history lesson in which the reformers and their opponents deliver one long discourse after another. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2019
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018) John McDonald With anything that has been so long in the making one doesn't know whether to expect perfection or disaster. EDIT
Posted May 9, 2019
The Aftermath (2019) John McDonald If you're surprised by the ending you haven't watched enough movies. EDIT
Posted Apr 21, 2019
Burning (2018) John McDonald Burning is a film about the seen and the unseen; a film of small details, some of them obvious plot devices, others so subtle they could be easily missed. EDIT
Posted Apr 21, 2019
Woman at War (2018) John McDonald This dialogue about the boundaries of personal responsibility and the pursuit of public or private goals, lies at the heart of the story. EDIT
Posted Apr 6, 2019
Galveston (2018) John McDonald This is a movie that stays lodged in one's mind, although the images are not pleasant. EDIT
Posted Apr 6, 2019
Us (2019) John McDonald It's the revolt of the have-nots against the haves, a savage assault by the American underclass on a group of masters oblivious to their existence. EDIT
Posted Mar 31, 2019
Destroyer (2018) John McDonald We can figure out from an early stage that she's done a bad, bad thing or two, but it takes a bit of time and several extended flashbacks before all the pieces of the puzzle come together. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Sometimes Always Never (2018) John McDonald You will leave this film with an expanded view of Scrabble and a head full of pop cultural trivia. EDIT
Posted Mar 21, 2019
Greta (2018) John McDonald Greta is a contemporary version of the wicked witch who lures trusting children into her clutches. EDIT
Posted Mar 1, 2019
At Eternity's Gate (2018) John McDonald I began to wonder if Schnabel was pioneering a daring new theory that Van Gogh actually bored himself to death. EDIT
Posted Feb 16, 2019
On the Basis of Sex (2018) John McDonald Mimi Leder has given us a taste of a much rarer sub-genre: a romance among lawyers, in which a shared passion for legal matters is the basis of a happy marriage. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2019
Green Book (2018) John McDonald Whenever the plot appears ready to crash headlong into cliché, Farrelly avoids the danger with a neat little swerve. EDIT
Posted Feb 7, 2019
Storm Boy (2019) John McDonald The pelican wranglers or pelican whisperers have been working over-time. EDIT
Posted Jan 17, 2019
The Favourite (2018) John McDonald It's a tangled tale, with enough scheming, spying, treachery and cattiness to fill an entire mini-series. EDIT
Posted Jan 3, 2019
Cold War (2018) John McDonald It's an anthology of disillusions in which love is the only transcendent force. EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2018
Vice (2018) John McDonald The Cheneys must be among the most repellent characters ever to be the focus of a major Hollywood film EDIT
Posted Dec 28, 2018
Colette (2018) John McDonald Colette's embrace of eros gave her a broad, popular appeal, but her style and grace as a writer ensured that her books were viewed as literature. Can we see her in Keira Knightley? EDIT
Posted Dec 17, 2018
Ocean's 8 (2018) John McDonald For a society trained to measure happiness in terms of lifestyle and consumer goods the heist movie is an exercise in wish fulfilment. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2018
The Children Act (2017) John McDonald If there's a right and a wrong involved it's not immediately obvious. The film, like the book, is a conversation piece that will have viewers arguing over coffee. EDIT
Posted Dec 6, 2018
Manbiki kazoku (2018) John McDonald If the family is a natural masterpiece it is almost always a flawed masterpiece. EDIT
Posted Dec 5, 2018
Widows (2018) John McDonald If the filmmakers appear to take a cynical or pessimistic approach to American politics, they offer redemption in the spectacle of a disparate group of women working together to achieve an apparently impossible goal. EDIT
Posted Nov 22, 2018
The Old Man & the Gun (2018) John McDonald There was an old man with a gun Who spent his whole life on the run EDIT
Posted Nov 21, 2018
Suspiria (2018) John McDonald What's the point of remaking a classic only to turn it into a mess? EDIT
Posted Nov 12, 2018
1% (2017) John McDonald It would have been much more acceptable had McCallum set out to make a real B movie with all the exploitataive trimmings. EDIT
Posted Nov 5, 2018
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) John McDonald You leave the cinema knowing you've been had, but still feeling uplifted. EDIT
Posted Nov 5, 2018
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018) John McDonald In order to squeeze all this nonsense into a mere two hours and eight minutes the plot has more holes than Blackburn, Lancashire. EDIT
Posted Oct 26, 2018
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018) John McDonald If this were one of those reviews that run in a box at the side of the page it would read: "A relentlessly brutal and stupid film that does no-one any favours." EDIT
Posted Oct 26, 2018